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Henry Hookham
Number of games in database: 10
Years covered: 1887 to 1897
Overall record: +3 -5 =2 (40.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born Oct-22-1824, died Nov-24-1898, 74 years old) United Kingdom (federation/nationality New Zealand)

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Henry Hookham was born at 15 Old Bond Street in London, England. He learnt to play chess around the age of ten and emigrated to New Zealand in 1865. In 1879 the Christchurch Chess Club organised and sponsored the inaugural New Zealand chess championship where Hookham became the first New Zealand champion. He later won the title again at Dunedin in 1890 and was second in 1893 and third in 1895-96. It is notable that he played in every Congress until the year before he died.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. P Eiffe vs H Hookham 1-0251887Australian ChampionshipB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
2. H Hookham vs Gossip 1-0471887Australian ChampionshipA13 English
3. F K Esling vs H Hookham ½-½471887Australian ChampionshipA03 Bird's Opening
4. H Hookham vs J G Witton 1-0261887Australian ChampionshipD05 Queen's Pawn Game
5. G B Hall vs H Hookham 1-0461887Australian ChampionshipC41 Philidor Defense
6. H Hookham vs D Heiman 0-1481887Australian ChampionshipD05 Queen's Pawn Game
7. W Tullidge vs H Hookham 1-0681887Australian ChampionshipC51 Evans Gambit
8. H Hookham vs J E Crewe 0-1721887Australian ChampionshipB25 Sicilian, Closed
9. H Hookham vs H Charlick ½-½461887Australian ChampionshipD05 Queen's Pawn Game
10. H Hookham vs Henry Andersen 1-0421897Canterbury Chess Club tournamentD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Hookham wins | Hookham loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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  GrahamClayton: Harry Hookham (1824-1898) was the inaugral winner of the New Zealand chess championship title, at Christchurch in 1879, and won again at Dunedin in 1890. 7th at the 1887 Adelaide Intercolonial Tournament. Chess editor of the "Canterbury Times".
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  OhioChessFan: I have a newfound respect for Bush1.
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  Benzol: The first New Zealand Champion. Great to see some of his games here.
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  Richard Taylor: I played in the Centennial 1979 NZCCs (not the main Championships but the Major Open). I had one good game I sacrificed a Queen to beat Bob Gibbons!

But I often look at thsoe old photos - they have some at our Club the ACC and wonder about those players in those days.

The first man to fly a more or less controlled and heavier than air plane was the New Zealander Richard Pearse (he just beat the Wright Brothers) ..and later he spent years working on a VTOL (I read biog of him) but by the time he finished it it was already made of those eccentrics we produce he had to document his work also the Wright Brothers did, and indeed he himself felt that de facto they had achieved the first significant flight but still I think he deserves a back slap from history)... but he made his own engines and they were horizontally opposed and his overall design was more or less more advanced with larger wings at the back) and he also played Chess in the Otago Club - one of the first Chess Clubs ever formed anywhere in the world!

But these guys were all Europeans probably quite well off...maybe farmers or doctors etc Be interesting to know how their lives went -I mean really know...

But NZ was and is still relatively isolated from the major Chess places so we haven't really ever had a very big chess interest here - and overall we are not strong chess playing country....but still amongst those who play there is a lot of interest.

The main new players playing now seem toe almost exclusively Chinese kids either born in China or born to Chinese who either live here or live in NZ and China...we seem to have virtually no (young and "up and coming") Indian players despite that there are many Indians here...which is strange considering the World Champion Anand is from India. Perhaps chess is relatively looked down upon in India as not being good for the soul or something.

But in the 60 and later in the 80s etc there were a number of Dutch players (probably grew up when Euwe became World Champion) and also some from Hungary and earlier some from Germany, Poland, Russia, Estonia and Latvia etc

There are some players from Eastern Europe but many of them are or seem to be busy with other things and we have few Maori or other Polynesians playing (there are some such as my friend Edward Tanoi who is quite a strong player).

But there are almost no young European Kiwi players wanting to take part in chess...maybe chess isn't considered "cool" or sexy enough! On rhe face of it it is rather a boring game....compared to more "obvious" sports or activities! The Chinese all wear glasses and play violins, so I suppose they are all considered to be geeks!!

Not that any of this matters!!

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  Stonehenge: Obituary:

Oct-20-12  brankat: <Stonehenge>

This site, "Paperpast", covers digitally almost 100 years of New Zealand newspapers and magazines.

I wonder if You by any chance know whether there are similar Internet sites for other countries. Thank You.

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  Stonehenge: I know of the Royal Dutch Library that they have 4 centuries of newspapers online:

Oct-22-12  brankat: Thank You Stony!
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  Chessical: HENRY HOOKHAM.

On Thursday, 24th ult, Mr. Henry Hookham, the veteran New Zealand chessist, whose name is a household word amongst followers of Caissa, not only in Maoriland, but throughout Australia, died at Christchurch (N.Z.). Mr.Hookham was born in London in 1824 and when 20 years of age left for New Zealand, where he has since been known as a leading player. At the first Australasian Intercolonial Congress, at Adelaide, in 1887, Mr. Hooker defeated Gossip, and drew with Esling and Charlick. The present writer had the pleasure of personal acquaintance with this able analyst and enthusiastic player, whose genial presence will be sorely missed by the members of the Canterbury Chess Club.

<Source: "Sunday Times" (Sydney, NSW), Sunday 11 December 1898, p.16.>

Mr Henry Hookham

Mr. Henry Hookham, whose death was reported in "The Australasian" of last week, was born at 15 Old Bond Street, London, on October 22, 1824. He acquired his knowledge of chess as a young man in the chess circles of the metropolis. In 1850 be became a partner in "Hookham's Library" and when, some 13 years later, the library was converted into a company, he was appointed the manager. This position he resigned after a tenure of two years. He then emigrated with his wife and children to New Zealand, and settled near Christchurch. He first tried farming, but, after the experience of a few years, he became a schoolmaster, and he pursued the business of this calling till 1885, when he retired into private life.

He won the Chess Championship of the Province of Canterbury in 1870. Nine years later, when the first New Zealand Chess Championship tourney was held at Christchurch, he became the first chess champion of the colony. This position he retained for 10 years, losing it, in the city in which he won it, in the year of the establishment of the Annual Championship Congress of New Zealand. He regained the title, however, at Dunedin a year later; but, at the end of a second year, he finally lost it at Wellington, the physical dis abilities of advancing age preventing him from holding his own against players in the prime and vigour of life. Mr. Hookham was the representative of New Zealand chess at the Adelaide Congress of 1887. He did not succeed in winning a prize; but in his individual contests with Mr. Charlick, Mr. Esling, and Mr. Gossip, who came out first, second, and third, he drew with Mr. Charlick and Mr. Esling, and won from Mr. Gossip.

Mr. Hookham has been the president of the Canterbury Club ever since its foundation; and by the members of that body his death will be regarded as an irreparable loss. He has also been the chess editor since 1882 of the "Canterbury Times;" and his performance of the duties that have devolved upon him in that position has been characterised by ability and by soundness of judgment, as well as by consistent kindliness to all young players who have sought for his experienced help and guidance.

<Source: "The Australasian" (Melbourne, Vic.), Saturday 17th December 1898, p.65>

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  Chessical: Mr. Henry Hookham, the grand old man of Australasian chess, died at Canterbury, N.Z., at the end of last month. He was born in London in 1824, and played chess with many of the celebrities of the day.

When 40 years of age he came to New Zealand, and immediately his chess strength asserted itself. In 1879 he won the first prize, £50, and the championship of his adopted colony, and kept the title for several years.

After winning many honours in New Zealand chess he, at the age of 63, pluckily journeyed to Adelaide to compete against the cracks at the first Australasian chess congress in 1897. There strangely enough, he lost to several of the weaker competitors, but scored well against the strongest. He drew against Messrs. H. Charlick (1st prize winner) and F. K. Esling 2nd), and defeated Mr. G.H. D. Gossip, who gained third place. As Mr.Charlick wrote at the time,

<'Mr. Hookham was like the image of scripture, with its head of brass and its feet of clay. When in form he can play with the best of them, and yet he lost to some of the weakest.'>

The special correspondent of the 'Sydney Mail' at the Adelaide congress, in writing of the personnel of the participants in that tournament said,

<'I will commence with Mr. Hookham, certainly one of the most venerable and interesting chess-players of Australasia. Of medium size, sparely built, I judge him to be about 60 years of age. A most affable and good humoured gentleman, and perhaps second to none of us in skill. He plays ingeniously, and makes his moves with the greatest deliberation and care. He shows an endurance and tenacity which an much envied by his competitors.'>

As chess editor of the 'Canterbury Times' for over 17 years, Mr. Hookham showed depth of analysis and a disinclination to 'slum' his work. He was ever courteous when differing from the opinions of others, and his brother editors in Australia feel that with Mr. Hookham's death they hare lost a respected and dear friend.

<Source: "Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser" (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 17 December 1898, p.1520>

Sep-02-17  Arconax: <The first man to fly a more or less controlled and heavier than air plane was the New Zealander Richard Pearse (he just beat the Wright Brothers)>

Is this story true? Richard Taylor seems to think so.

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  Richard Taylor: <Arconax: <The first man to fly a more or less controlled and heavier than air plane was the New Zealander Richard Pearse (he just beat the Wright Brothers)> Is this story true? Richard Taylor seems to think so.>

There is a book about it. But Pearse (who by the way was a chess player at what is possibly the oldest chess club in the world, the Canterbury Chess Club or the Otago Chess Club) worked alone with a few helpers on the day. He built his own engines. His larger wings were in the rear. But he himself heard abou the Wright Brothers and didn't consider himself really "first" as he didn't document and, indeed worked alone. He was strange figure who I think slowly went mad. He invented a VTOL which he spent years making after he moved to Auckland but it was never flown. By the time it was finished there had been many of them.

There is some debate but his aircraft got off the ground. I flew about 500 yards or so and crashed into a hedge. I know it sounds crazy but it is true. Well it is reasonably well documented that he did it at the time. The time difference was problematic as it took so long to get the news from overseas in those days....

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  Richard Taylor: But there is another story re this. I was in a pub in Mission Bay Auckland about 16 years ago and in it they had model aircraft and pictures of old planes and so on (the owner must have been an aviation enthusiast or even a pilot) and I was talking to this young American girl and I said: "You know, the first flight, powered and controlled was in was..." "Kitty Hawk, United States" she said. "The Wright Brothers". I was knackered, knocked for a six. I completely forgot his name. My theory is because his first name was mine. Some thing like that. It really annoyed me. But I left it and just agreed. I forget even what she looked like. I used to drink quite a bit then but I wasn't drunk, just the onset of the down turn... Such is life.
Mind you the New Zealander Rutherford was the first in the world to send radio signals over any significance distance. He sent them I think from near Nelson to Christchurch. (Source 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' by Richard Rhodes.) He beat the Italian Marconi. He was also the first to split the atom. (Not that that did anyone any good.)
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  HeMateMe: His opponents played 'Hooky.'
Sep-02-17  Arconax: <Richard Taylor> You sure provide a lot of interesting information! Great story about this Pearse fellow, and very little known I think. Never heard of Rutherford either. Funny how many inventions are credited to one person while in fact there's another guy somewhere who was indeed first. Like with the telephone, it wasn't Bell, it was Meucci. Not many people know about these things.
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  Richard Taylor: <Arconax> Rutherford spent most of his time in Cambridge. He was very famous. Leo Szilard once asked him whether nuclear energy etc could ever have any practical use or value to which he replied:

"That is all moonshine!"

Later Szilard invented or developed the theory of the chain reaction and patented it! Then he approached Einstein, who had never considered any use of nuclear energy either. Szilard was concerned that either the Japanese or the Germans could develop nuclear weapons. Einstein agreed to write a letter to Roosevelt and eventually the US started the Manhatten project.

Some of the is in 'The Ascent of Man' by Jacob Bronowski (primarily a mathematician but he also took an interest in literature and wrote a book about Blake) and in Richard Rhodes' Pulitzer Prize winning 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' which is also a fascinating book.

I read a book by someone. I think it
was Ogilvie.

But it is moot when he actually flew but he was nevertheless an interesting character. Regardless even he was dismissive of what he had done. He didn't think he had actually "beaten" the Wright Brothers (one only drops this in to conversations -- esp. with those of US persuasions -- if you want a good altercation to fire up...

But one of those things about history. I also read a bio of Howard Hughes that was great but I see now one of the bios was a bit dubious. But history, from Herodotus (the father of lies and history) has always been problematic.

But I turned the story of Hughes or part of it into a poem (satirical to comic)...he kept bottles of piss under his bed, was paranoid about 'informers' or agents, watched endless movies and if a new icecream came on the adverts he would change. Sometimes the colour. So he ordered a big truckload of ice-cream to travel miles to where he was but by that time the adverts had changed so it was paid for and dumped!

Such things about bottles of piss and ice-cream colours are too priceless to not be true...

I got a bio off <Benzol> but I am not sure if that is the one I read (it was almost 30 years ago).

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  Richard Taylor: But <Arconnax> you have to be wary of these things. It is as the old saw goes:

"It wasn't Shakespeare who wrote those plays, it was another bloke with the same name."

By and large Bell and the Wright Brothers contributed a lot.

I used to work as a telephone lineman etc and with a chap called Tom Bell. And in the 70s telephones had bells in them, invented we believe by Bell and continued by Bell telephone. So now we can (as they used to say) "bell" people.

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  MissScarlett: <I read a book by someone. I think it was Ogilvie.>

I read a book once. Green it was.

Sep-03-17  Arconax: <Richard Taylor: But <Arconnax> you have to be wary of these things. It is as the old saw goes: "It wasn't Shakespeare who wrote those plays, it was another bloke with the same name.">

Some say it was Sir Francis Bacon :=

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  MissScarlett: Ah, shut up. Everyone knows it was Cecil Valentine De Vere.
Oct-22-18  Nosnibor: <Chessical> Reference your article of July 30,2015 it would appear that the newspaper report got his age wrong when he competed in the 1897 Australation Congress. He was 73 years of age and not 63.I know what it feels like playing in tournaments at such an age being 75 myself.

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