Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Robert Wormald
Number of games in database: 30
Years covered: 1858 to 1869
Overall record: +13 -15 =2 (46.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
C01 French, Exchange (3 games)
C44 King's Pawn Game (3 games)
C42 Petrov Defense (3 games)
C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed (2 games)
C77 Ruy Lopez (2 games)
C41 Philidor Defense (2 games)
C51 Evans Gambit (2 games)
C61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense (2 games)
C78 Ruy Lopez (2 games)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Robert Wormald
Search Google for Robert Wormald

(born 1834, died Dec-04-1876, 42 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

Associated to an attack in the Spanish game after 1 e4 e5 2 ♘f3 ♘c6 3 ♗b5 a6 4 ♗a4 ♘f6 5 ♕e2, the Robert Bownas Wormald Attack is covered in the Ruy Lopez (C77) chapter. When the idea of 5 0-0 ♗e7 6 ♕e2 is inserted, the Ruy Lopez, Closed (C84) & Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack (C86) chapters cover the sidelines & possible transposition to a closely related Thomas Herbert Worrall attack.

Last updated: 2019-08-17 08:01:53

Try our new games table.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. C Kenny vs R Wormald 0-1411858MatchC44 King's Pawn Game
2. J G Campbell vs R Wormald  1-0341858Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C41 Philidor Defense
3. J G Campbell vs R Wormald 1-0571859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. R Wormald vs F Burden  1-0351859London ENGC27 Vienna Game
5. R Wormald vs J G Campbell  0-1291859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
6. R Wormald vs J G Campbell  0-1631859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C42 Petrov Defense
7. J G Campbell vs R Wormald  0-1391859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C41 Philidor Defense
8. J G Campbell vs R Wormald  0-1271859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C45 Scotch Game
9. R Wormald vs J G Campbell  0-1401859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C42 Petrov Defense
10. J G Campbell vs R Wormald  ½-½301859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C78 Ruy Lopez
11. F Burden vs R Wormald 0-1291859MatchC51 Evans Gambit
12. R Wormald vs F Burden  0-1271859MatchC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
13. R Wormald vs F Burden  0-1281859MatchC78 Ruy Lopez
14. F Burden vs R Wormald  0-1331859MatchC57 Two Knights
15. J G Campbell vs R Wormald  ½-½321859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C01 French, Exchange
16. R Wormald vs J G Campbell  1-0351859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C42 Petrov Defense
17. R Wormald vs J G Campbell  1-0471859Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C01 French, Exchange
18. J Hannah vs R Wormald  0-1331860St. James's CC tC77 Ruy Lopez
19. J G Campbell vs R Wormald  1-0341860Campbell - Wormald 1858/60C50 Giuoco Piano
20. R Wormald vs S Boden  0-1171861LondonC25 Vienna
21. Kolisch vs R Wormald  1-0271861St. George's Chess ClubC44 King's Pawn Game
22. Paulsen vs R Wormald 1-0371861Blindfold simul, 10bC51 Evans Gambit
23. R Wormald vs Tennant  0-1271862Odds game000 Chess variants
24. R Wormald vs De Vere  0-1281868B.C.A. Glowworm Prize tC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
25. J W Hampton vs R Wormald 0-1401868BCA-02.Challenge CupC44 King's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Wormald wins | Wormald loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Wormald's "Handbook of Chess" can be seen in full on Google books.
Jun-03-13  thomastonk: His exact date of birth seems unknown here and elsewhere (e.g. in Gaige's Chess Personalia). But with the following information I think someone with full access to data will solve that issue easily.

He was baptized on May 12, 1834 in Braham Church, near Boston Spa, Yorkshire. His father was Samuel Wormald, and his mother Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Robert Bownas. I have much more biographical information (education, life, health and chess, of course), if needed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <thomastonk> I find scanned page from the parish church of Leeds, York: Robert Bownas born 28 Jan. 1829, baptism solemnized <25 June 1829>. Parents: Samuel and Elizabeth Wormald Knostrop. Looks like our man.

If May 12, 1834 is correct, it is well possible that the Leeds church was not licensed for baptisms in 1829.

Alternatively (and equally likely), the 1829 Robert Bownas died and they game this name to another son.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: The 1891 census has a "R. B. Wormald", 62 (= born 1829) who lives in Yeadon, Yorkshire (1891) and was born in Yeadon.

Yeadon is today a town within the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, in West Yorkshire. Are you sure he died in 1876?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar has a Robert Bownas Wormald who died Dec. 4, 1876.


Premium Chessgames Member

shows that the first Robert Bownas died 21 Dec. 1829, 10 months old. I find no later birth/baptism records, except some "Robert Wormald"'s b. around 1835 with other parents.

Jun-06-13  thomastonk: The current birth and death information are those from Gaige's "Chess Personalia", which points to the following sources:

"The Chess Player's Chronicle", 1877, p 20-21:
"Death of Mr Wormald.-- We much regret to have to announce the death, on December 4th, of Mr Wormald, the Chess Editor of the Illustrated London News, who, since the decease of Mr Staunton, has conducted the Chess column of that paper. ...."

The "Westminster Papers", October 1876, p 104:
Mr. Robert B. Wormald is a scion of one of our oldest county families, and was born in the vicinity of York in the year 1834. ...."

The "Westminster Papers", January 1877, p 164-65:
"Death of Mr.Wormald.
Only three months ago we published a brief sketch of the Chess career of Robert Bownas Wormald, and now it is our sad duty to record his death, which occured on the 4th ultimo, in the forty-third year of his age. ..."

From these sources: he entered Oxford University in 1853 and obtained his degree in 1857. His entry in "Alumni Oxoniensis" Vol. VIII, p 1609 from 1891 is: "Wormald, Robert Bownas, 35. Bryan, from Branham, Yorks, gent. LINCOLN COLL., matric. 2 June 1852(sic), aged 18, bible clerk 1852-56, B.A. 1857. [25]" (By some reason "35. Bryan" shall mean "3rd son of Brian Wormald, gent.")

There is also an article on Wormald in "Chess Life-Pictures", p 45-48, by George Alcock MacDonnell, but I have no access to that.

Some information from other sources: he married 1865 in Braham "Frances, daughter of Thomas Kell, of an old Border family and land-agent for George Lane-Fox". He died at "23 Angell Road, Brixton, December 4, 1876 and was buried at Norwood Cemetery".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <thomastonk> Ok, so it seems we will have to live with just "1834" for a while. He is no doubt named after the one who died 10 months old. I won't write any bio, it's all in your post and in the Yorkshire chess site.
Jun-06-13  thomastonk: <Tabanus> Thank you for the efforts! <it seems we will have to live with just "1834" for a while> This week was not the first time I tried to find this date. And I know I haven't been the first one who tried it: the while is lasting already for more than 100 years, I think, but the date of baptism was a new hope.
Aug-08-15  zanzibar: A mini-bio, with portrait, appears in <Sci. Am. Suppl. (Dec 8, 1877) p1614>.

The <CG> bio should mention his prominent role as editor of <Bell's Life> ("conducted the chess department of ~).

Also this:

<He was universally beloved and admired, and his loss have been mourned by the entire chess faternity.>

Included is also a 1869 "Challenge Cup" game, Wormald--de Vere which de Vere won in 26 moves.

Jan-17-16  zanzibar: Edward Winter has a discussion of the controversy Steinitz embroiled himself in by publishing a negative review of Wormald's <Chess Openings (1875)> book:

<A notable assertion by MacDonnell was that a negative book review by Steinitz led to the closure of the City of London Chess Magazine. On pages 39-40 of The Knights and Kings of Chess MacDonnell wrote of Steinitz:

‘Years ago he said to me, “Nothing would induce me to take charge of a chess column”; and when I asked why he replied, “Because I should be so fair in dispensing blame as well as praise that I should be sure to give offence and make enemies.” However, when offered a column in the Field, he accepted it, and conducted it for some time with fairness and decorum. His first false move was his attack on Wormald’s book on the openings. When he showed me the proof of his review, I at once condemned its tone, and advised him to omit personalities. But he declined to do so and, the Field rejecting the article, he was fain to publish it in the City of London [Chess] Magazine, where its appearance caused much confusion, and led ultimately to the extinction of that journal. Of the article, suffice it here to say that it filled eight octavo pages, took Steinitz eight months to write, and took his friends eight years to forget.’>

Winter quotes this from Steinitz:

<In fairness to the other critics who have pronounced views opposite to our own in reference to Mr Wormald’s book, we frankly confess that at first we were much prepossessed in its favour, having been taken in by the remarkable garrulity of the author, which we trusted would be at least supported by common care and ordinary judgment, until on closer research we found the most hollow propositions spread out over pages.’>

Much more can be found here:

Jan-17-16  zanzibar: It's a little sad to say, but Steinitz may have been right in his criticism. At least if Gossip's opening book can be trusted:

Look at all the footnotes mentioning Wormald.

Wormald's original book can be found online here:

(at least today it can - you know, the internet and all that)

Jan-18-16  zanzibar: Wormald's <Chess Openings> book was first published in 1862, and an enlarged 2nd edition in 1875.

He was an associate of Valentine Green and others from their time at Oxford.

More biographical info in <Westminster Papers v9 (1877) Oct 1876 p104>

Mar-10-16  zanzibar: < OUR PORTRAIT GALLERY N0. 8, -- MR. ROBERT B. WORMALD.

MR. ROBERT B. Womald is a scion of one of our oldest county families, and was born in the vicinity of York in the year 1834. While yet a schoolboy he evinced remarkable talent for Chess, and it was first displayed as a problem composer in the columns of the Illustrated London News: at the early age of fifteen. In 1853 he entered Oxford University, and during his undergraduate career he became associated with Brien, Ranken, Wilkinson, Dolby, Valentine Green, and many others whose names are familiar to every reader of the Old Chess Players' Chronicle, and whose exploits upon the chequered field had spread the fame of the Hermes Chess Club throughout the entire Chess World. Mr. Wormald obtained his degree in 1857, and coming to London adopted the profession of journalist, devoting much of his leisure to practical Chess play and the composition of problems. In 1858 he played a match with the late Mr. Charles Kenny, a prominent amateur in those days, winning every game, and in 1859 the only other public match in which he has engaged, was fought with Mr. Campbell, then the rising star of English Chess. This match, which was, perhaps, the most stubbornly contested one on record, no fewer than fourteen drawn games having occurred in it, was won by Mr. Campbell with a score of seven to five. Mr. Wormald's Chess Openings was produced in 1862. Its success at once placed him among the first analysts of our time, and the new and enlarged edition of the work produced in 1875 was endorsed with the approval of every authority on the subject. Since his arrival in London, twenty years ago, Mr. Wormald has been a constant contributor of problems, analyses and games to the newspaper and periodica literature of Chess, and his life-long friendship with the late Mr. Staunton marked him out as the fittest successor to that gentleman in the post he now worthily fills on the staff of the Illustrated London News. His writings are distinguished by scholarly grace and amodesty of statement in Chess analysis, unfortunately somewhat novel to the subject, and his high personal qualities have secured for him the cordial regard of every one that knows him. >

Westminster Papers v10 (2nd Oct 1876) p104

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, December 9th 1876, p.247:

<WE chronicle, with much pain, the somewhat sudden demise of Mr. Robert Wormald. It is nearly twelve years since the present writer and poor dear Wormald discussed in Fleet-street the then nebulous Sportsman, upon which journal they had severally been engaged. At that time he was a stalwart fellow, abounding in "go," who looked all his inches (he stood upwards of six feet high), and boasted a physique such as those who have only known him during the past five years would find it difficult to credit him with. [...]

Latterly his failing health prevented him, poor fellow! from doing perfect justice to his prostrated powers. For many weary years a martyr to rheumatic gout, last winter found him laid aside with a complicated attack of bronchitis and congestion of the lungs. His friends feared that his end was at hand, but such was his own brave cheery nature that, hoping with all their might against hope, they prayed that "Dear old Tommy" (the name by which he was best known to the friends who loved him, and to know him was to love him) would yet recover. But, alas! it was not to be. The seldom genial days of early summer were too fleeting to bring in their train any permanently healing influence on the pitifully emaciated frame. He never gave in - he was too brave for that - but his friends did. Only last week, seated in the very room where at this moment these lines fall so feebly from the pen, he spoke with the heart of a lion of what he would do in the future, when he had taken another house. He went home and died. In many a circle for many a year to come Wormald's name will be remembered with deep and tender regret. He never made an enemy and never lost a friend. He was a gentle-man in the old chivalric sense of the term. In truth, a very perfect knight. In closing this sadly inadequate notice of Robert B. Wormald, we remember, with mournful pleasure, that he was connected with this journal from the first number to the hour of his death. Almost the last lines he wrote were the Answers to Correspondents, in our last week's Chess column. The last important work of his pen is a story which will appear in our "Christmas Number," to be published next week. Poor Wormald leaves a widow to mourn his loss. God rest him and comfort her.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Sporting Times, December 9th 1876, p.5:

<It is with great regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. R. B. Wormald, which sad event took place somewhat suddenly in the early part of the present week. Mr. Wormald was an accomplished scholar and excellent gentleman. In his death, chess has lost one of its finest exponents. He was also a first-class whist player, a rare judge of aquatics, and a good fisherman. His writing was of a very pleasant character, and when we last saw him, not a fortnight ago, he arranged with us to communicate sporting notes to these columns. For some time past he had been in very delicate health, and to the gout he was a martyr. In his life he was geniality itself, combined with gentleness. Light lie the turf o'er his head.>

Aug-17-19  wordfunph: too young at 42, rest in peace Wormald Attack..
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Alternatively (and equally likely), the 1829 Robert Bownas died and they game this name to another son.>

But the father in 1829 is Samuel, and the father of our man is, apparently, Bryan.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Probably not Bryan ...

1834: Robert Bowman Wormald. bapt 12 May 1834 in Bramham Yorks., father Saml. Wormald, mother Elish (England Select Births and Christenings) (not orig. document, perhaps misread)

1851 census Holywell Oxford: Robert Wormald, Visitor, 17, --------, born in Yorksh Bramham.

1865: Robert Bowner Wormald married in Bramham 22 June 1865 to Frances Kell. Father: Samuel Wormald. (England Select Marriages)

1865: Bramham Electorial list of 1865 has Robert Bownas Wormald in No. 5 Clement's Inn, London, W. C.

1868: Bramham Electorial list of 1868 has Robert Bownas Wormald in 23 Lorn Road, Brixton, London.

1871 census Brixton, Lambeth, London has Robert B Wormald, 37 (= abt 1834), journalist B. A. Oxford, born in Bramham Yorkshire (= E of Leeds). Wife Fanny, 36, also born in Bramham.

1876: <The Will of Robert Bownas Wormald late of 23 Angell-Road Brixton in the County of Surrey Batchelor of Arts who died 4 December 1876 at 23 Angell-road was proved at the Principal Registry by Frances Wormald of 23 Angell-road the sole Executrix.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Morning Advertiser, 4 March 1834, p. 1:

<Pursuant to a Decree of the High Court of Chancery, made in a Cause "Barker v. Wardle," the Creditors of Bryan Wormald, late of Leeds, in the county of York, Woollen-draper, deceased, (who died in the month of December, 1832,) are, by their Solicitors, forthwith to come in and prove their debts, before John Edmund Dowdeswell, Esquire, one of the Masters of the said Court, at his Office, in Southampton-buildings, Chancery-lane, London, or in default thereof they will be excluded the benefit of the said Decree.>

I found no son of Brian or Samuel b. 1834. Perhaps 1833 (or 1832) ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Yes, I'd seen that but an obituary list of the <Leeds Mercury> of April 14th 1838, p.8:

<Same day [April 9th], aged 42, Mr. Bryan Wormald, fourth son of the late Mr. Bryan Wormald, woollen draper and tailor, of this town.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Only just got around to noticing that Robert had an older brother called Bryan:

<Bryan Wormald

born 09/03/1824, to Samuel Bownas, woollen draper, Trafalgar Street

baptised 21/07/1825, St Peter, Leeds, by R. Fawcett, vicar>

Maybe the father was <Samuel Bryan>.

These Yorkshire folk seem very incestuous. It's possible the Hajnal line bisected the Pennines.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: York Herald, 24 March 1832, p. 3:

<Deaths ... On Saturday last, in her 71st year, much and deservedly lamented by her numerous family and friends, Martha, the wife of Mr Bryan Wormald, of Leeds.>

Leeds Intelligencer, 19 July 1832, p. 3:

<Deaths ... On Saturday last, suddenly, Mr. Samuel Wormald, cloth dresser, formerly of Woodhouse-lane, in this town.>

Yorkshire Gazette, 5 January 1833, p. 3:

<Lately, Mr. Bryan Wormald, mercer and woollen-draper, of Leeds, in the 74th year of his age. Mr. Wormald was the oldest, and certainly one of the most respectable shopkeepers in Leeds.>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific player only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC