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John Cochrane
Scientific American Supplement No. 123
May 11, 1878, p. 1964
Number of games in database: 785
Years covered: 1820 to 1874

Overall record: +456 -261 =63 (62.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 5 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (71) 
    B21 B20 B32 B30 B28
 Petrov (58) 
 King's Indian (39) 
    E76 E77 E61 E71 E90
 Pirc (38) 
    B07 B09
 King's Pawn Game (35) 
    C44 C20 C40
 Evans Gambit (23) 
    C51 C52
With the Black pieces:
 Giuoco Piano (117) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (46) 
    D00 D02 A40 D05
 King's Pawn Game (33) 
    C20 C44 C40
 Philidor's Defense (25) 
 Petrov (25) 
    C42 C43
 King's Indian Attack (22) 
    A07 A08
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Cochrane vs Mohishunder, 1848 1-0
   Cochrane vs Staunton, 1842 1-0
   Cochrane vs Staunton, 1842 1-0
   Mohishunder vs Cochrane, 1855 0-1
   Cochrane vs Mohishunder, 1855 1-0
   Cochrane vs NN, 1832 1-0
   Cochrane vs The Turk, 1820 1-0
   Mohishunder vs Cochrane, 1850 0-1
   Cochrane vs Mohishunder, 1854 1-0
   W M Popert vs Cochrane, 1841 0-1

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   John Cochrane vs. Bonnerjee Mohishunder by Penguincw
   First of Each ECO by Penguincw
   Chess Miniatures, Collection XIII by wwall
   Chess Miniatures, Collection XIII by Okavango

Search Sacrifice Explorer for John Cochrane
Search Google for John Cochrane

(born Feb-04-1798, died Mar-02-1878, 80 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

Scottish barrister John Cochrane became a leading London player in the early 19th century. In 1821 he went to France and played an odds match (a pawn and two moves) against Alexandre Louis Honore Lebreton Deschapelles and a level terms match against Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais and lost both. He went to India in 1824 and remained there until his retirement in 1869, but he took leave in 1841-43 and returned to London. During this period he played hundreds of casual games against Howard Staunton (losing the majority) and a match (which he won (+6, =1, -4)) against Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant.

His name is associated with a variation of the Petroff Defense, the Cochrane Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘f6 3.♘xe5 d6 4.♘xf7!?

Wikipedia article: John Cochrane (chess player)

Last updated: 2017-02-04 09:39:18

 page 1 of 32; games 1-25 of 785  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Cochrane vs NN 1-0301820CasualC41 Philidor Defense
2. Cochrane vs The Turk 1-0301820London000 Chess variants
3. La Bourdonnais vs Cochrane 0-1301821ParisC37 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Cochrane vs A Deschapelles 0-1251821Odds game000 Chess variants
5. Cochrane vs A Deschapelles 0-1271821Odds game000 Chess variants
6. Cochrane vs A Deschapelles 1-0311821casualC44 King's Pawn Game
7. Cochrane vs NN 1-0131822CasualC53 Giuoco Piano
8. Cochrane vs NN 1-0301822CasualC53 Giuoco Piano
9. Cochrane vs NN 1-0191822CasualC20 King's Pawn Game
10. Cochrane vs NN 1-0251822CasualC53 Giuoco Piano
11. NN vs Cochrane 0-1381822CasualC53 Giuoco Piano
12. Cochrane vs NN  1-0341825UnknownC33 King's Gambit Accepted
13. G Walker vs Cochrane 1-0241830Unknown-aroundC38 King's Gambit Accepted
14. Cochrane vs G Walker 0-1271830Unknown-aroundC20 King's Pawn Game
15. G Walker vs Cochrane 1-0151830Unknown-aroundC20 King's Pawn Game
16. G Walker vs Cochrane 1-0261830Unknown-aroundC20 King's Pawn Game
17. Cochrane vs NN 1-0141832Odds game000 Chess variants
18. Cochrane vs W Lewis  1-0351840Odds game000 Chess variants
19. Staunton vs Cochrane 1-0431841London m1C40 King's Knight Opening
20. Staunton vs Cochrane 1-0341841London m1C45 Scotch Game
21. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1271841London m2C44 King's Pawn Game
22. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1201841London m1C23 Bishop's Opening
23. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1261841London m1C02 French, Advance
24. Cochrane vs Staunton 0-1211841London m1C44 King's Pawn Game
25. Staunton vs Cochrane 1-0301841MatchC51 Evans Gambit
 page 1 of 32; games 1-25 of 785  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Cochrane wins | Cochrane loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <We have him onboard the ship “Antelope” in 1817. The muster book says he was born in Edinburgh and was aged 19.>

Is this a lone entry? The <Antelope> was based in the Caribbean around this time, wasn't she?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Yes he transferred to that ship but details where he was regarding his naval career before then are unclear.

He docked in Portsmouth on the 17th March 1819 and two months later joined the Inner Temple.

The important thing is another ref to his age though nothing, as yet, offical for him being born 1798/99 but good leads for an earlier date.

Maybe (speculation) he became a Cochrane in 1798/99 after being registered a few years earlier under another name. That would explain a few things but at the moment it is speculation. We have a lead in that direction. Yesterday after a visit to a church it took a wee knock. But other churches on the list to visit. If we do not get it, it will not be for the lack of trying.

More on the Antelope here.

'Between January and February 1817, Mr William Seaman, (sic) purser of HMS Antelope was tried by Court Martial aboard HMS Tigris at Barbados. He had been accused by Lieutenant Henry Boeteler of HMS Antelope of defrauding the ships company out of a considerable part of their provisions."

That happened before JC joined the ship which appears to be August 1817.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Stop me if I'm asking too many questions - are you at complete liberty to discuss your research? - but who was the <Rear Admiral Harvey> then in charge of the <Antelope>? Evidently not <Eliab Harvey> (

<He docked in Portsmouth on the 17th March 1819 and two months later joined the Inner Temple.>

How easy was it to leave the navy? Did recruits sign up to fixed term contracts? Was 14 the typical age for a boy recruit? In the wake of Trafalgar, I don't suppose they had any shortage of applicants.

<Maybe (speculation) he became a Cochrane in 1798/99 after being registered a few years earlier under another name. That would explain a few things but at the moment it is speculation.>

Not sure what you're implying here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I do not mind answering a few questions I do want to divulge all the things we are looking at just yet. (far too long) If we succeed we will, if not we will probably reveal what we tried to help others in the future.

Also answering a question or two as I go over what I know sometimes make me think of another line to chase. ( I'm using this thread as a notepad!)

No idea about Admiral Harvey or how easy to leave the Navy, but the war had finished so they were laying off sailors and soldiers.

Re young age, if connected your patron could enter you as a midshipman when you were very young.

The famous Thomas Lord Cochrane, when he was 5 had his name attached to the Vesuvius, the Caroline and the Hind. He was not allowed to serve at that age, (not sure at what age you could serve) but the point of enlisting a child was to give seniority of rank. It would date from the day his name was added to that ships books.

"Not sure what you're implying here."

One line of enquiry regarding the unproven 1799/98 birth is an earlier birth of John to Margaret McDougall two-three-four years earlier and this John was given the name McDougall - then name was changed to Cochrane in 1798/99.

What we are chasing points in this direction and things are (albeit loosely) fitting together. We just have to be sure we have the right Margaret and child John McDougall.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: < I do not mind answering a few questions.>

That's good. I don't want to get on the wrong side of <Alan McGowan> again.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I'm sure it's all water under bridge.

I know I bring Alan and Tony to the point of despair sometimes with a few of my hair brained theories.

On Monday I'll suggest:

Our John was the rightful heir to the Culross Estate but the records were mangled to rob him of his rightful inheritance and this Margaret MacDougall named in the will is a Man!

John's private tutor threatened to tell him the truth so they paid him off (the Margaret MacDougall £1,000 was a bribe, calling him John's Mother added to the deception.)

The family packed John off to the navy onboard a leaky ship with a bent purser and blind drunk look outs, (did you read that bit about the ship hitting an iceberg.)

On Tuesday I'll prove he was left on their doorstep wrapped up in a MacDougall tartan shoal with a chess piece tied around his neck.

Wednesday I'll be busy in Dubai reporting on the World Final for Red Hot Pawn. (I fly out on Sunday.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <who was the <Rear Admiral Harvey> then in charge of the <Antelope>? >

This fellow:

His obituary in the <Naval & Military Gazette> of February 27th 1837, p.124:

<Captain Harvey was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, Dec. 4, 1813. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Leeward Islands, and arrived, with his flag on board the Antelope, 50 guns, at Barbadoes, on March 2d, 1816. In a violent and destructive hurricane, Nov., 1817, the Antelope was, by the Rear Admiral's judicious arrangement, saved from being wrecked at St. Lucia, by timely proceeding to sea from that island. Rear Admiral Harvey returned to England and struck his flag, March, 1819.>

The date of the hurricane was, in fact, October 21st ( Reports in the British press in December raised fears the Antelope had been lost in the storm.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <One line of enquiry regarding the unproven 1799/98 birth is an earlier birth of John to Margaret McDougall two-three-four years earlier and this John was given the name McDougall - then name was changed to Cochrane in 1798/99.>

Any notion on why Gaige gave his birthday as February 4th?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Miss Scarlett,

That is one that has bugged us. Usually he was excellent at giving his source but in this case nothing. (why of all people did he have to make a tiny slip there.)

Where did he get it from? Any ideas? I am sitting on the location and have been going to old schools, letters to living descendants (nice reply but nothing revealing)

At the moment I am going around church yards looking at tombs (not everything is online - all you get is a few lines in a parish register. Some of these old tombs contain a wealth of info) Today was at Prestonpans looking for the tomb of Maggie MacDougall's father - a day before that I was in a graveyard in Dalkeith.

Next week Leith and Newhaven. If nothing then Culross (again!)

Her dad was sailor - the luck I'm having tracking him down I bet he was buried at sea!

Yes the lack of a source for the Gaige entry is baffling to the point of being intriguing. Where did he get it from.

I wonder if he got it from an Obituary - but if so why not name the source? (I'm thinking aloud there.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Have all Gaige's references been checked? How about the <Land & Water> obituary?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I found a John Cochrane born in Scotland on the 4th February 1798 - this site actually mentions him as chess player - it also said he was a politician, had 10 children and lived to be 100 years old.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <‘The Inner Temple Admissions Database indicates that John Cochrane was admitted to the Inner Temple on 13 May 1819, the third son of the Honourable John Cochrane, of Edinburgh, that he was called to the Bar on 29 June 1824...> (

This gives the impression he was inducted into the Inner Temple for a full five years, but is the process of being called to the Bar separate to the legal training? I'm wondering if he finished his studies somewhat earlier.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: A bit out of my sphere this one, My contact with the Inner Temple just confirmed the dates and no documentation of D.O.B required. As to what went on there, I've no idea.

His education is on my bucket list. The Cochrane family mainly went in for private tutors. The famous Lord Cochrane about whom quite a few books have been written (I have read a some of them) so we have his life fairly well doc'd had a French Tutor who he thought highly off. (later he earned a bucket load of medals fighting the French)

Whether John was privately tutored I do not know, have to assume yes. Though I did search for John McDougall or Cochrane in schools from that period. (no joy - but all schools were very helpful and searched what records they had.)

The school which was a good bet as it was very near a Cochrane Edinburgh address and the time scale matched perfectly was pulled down to make way for an extension of the Edinburgh University, all records are lost. (every path leads to either a brick wall, though in this case a demolished brick wall. But I'm determined to climb over it.)

During his time at the Inner Temple he wrote his treatise on chess, dedicated to Lewis and giving his address as the Inner Temple 1822.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I assume that many of the Inner Temple inductees would already have studied Law at Oxbridge, so maybe this explains why Cochrane's training took longer than normal (assuming it did).
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Traditionally Oxford and Cambridge did not see common law as worthy of study, and included coursework in law only in the context of canon and civil law and for the purpose of the study of philosophy or history only. The apprenticeship programme for solicitors thus emerged, structured and governed by the same rules as the apprenticeship programmes for the trades.[18] The training of solicitors by apprenticeship was formally established by an act of parliament in 1729. William Blackstone became the first lecturer in English common law at the University of Oxford in 1753, but the university did not establish the programme for the purpose of professional study, and the lectures were very philosophical and theoretical in nature.[19] Blackstone insisted that the study of law should be university based, where concentration on foundational principles can be had, instead of concentration on detail and procedure had through apprenticeship and the Inns of Court.[20]

The Inns of Court continued but became less effective, and admission to the bar still did not require any significant educational activity or examination. Therefore in 1846 the Parliament examined the education and training of prospective barristers and found the system to be inferior to the legal education provided in the United States. Therefore, formal schools of law were called for, but not finally established until later in the century, and even then the bar did not consider a university degree in admission decisions.>

Or maybe not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <At the moment I am going around church yards looking at tombs (not everything is online - all you get is a few lines in a parish register. Some of these old tombs contain a wealth of info) Today was at Prestonpans looking for the tomb of Maggie MacDougall's father - a day before that I was in a graveyard in Dalkeith.

Next week Leith and Newhaven [and Dubai]. If nothing then Culross (again!)>

Inspired by <Miss Sally>'s peregrinations, I've been to visit Cochrane's last known addresses:

<The age of John Cochrane the chessplayer was given as 72 in the 1871 census (National Archives, RG 10/165, folio 48), his place of birth being entered as Edinburgh. At that time, he was living as a lodger in a boarding house at 32 Seymour Street, Marylebone, described as “Barrister in Practice”. In the same house were two women by the name of Emily Cochrane; their ages were given as “60” and “30-40”.


His own will is referenced in the National Probate Calendar, which shows that he died on 2 March 1878 and that his personal estate was valued at under £200; the sole executrix was his niece, Emily Cochrane, a spinster, and the address of both was entered as 12 Bryanston Street, (which, incidentally, differs from the 6 Bryanston Street given for Cochrane’s death in the Inner Temple Admissions Database.)>

32 Seymour St. seems to be there much as he left it - maybe the doors and windows have been changed occasionally - and it's still split into flats, as the number of door bells attest. I took a nice picture. Next door, #28-30, is a small hotel once named after the late, great <Edward Lear>. There used to be a blue plaque to mark his residence at #30, but it was removed during a recent makeover. It's been upgraded to the <Zetter Townhouse>:


But still lives on as:

#32 can be glimpsed in this shot:

6/12 Bryanston St. is another matter. Those properties are gone. There's a DoubleTree Hilton Hotel at #4, and a modern office complex labelled #16 Bryanston St fills in the rest. But from #18 onwards, there are period style houses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Standard, March 6th 1878, p.1:

<COCHRANE - March 2, at No. 12 Bryanston-street, John Cochrane, Esq., late of Calcutta, aged 78.>

A similar notice (it specifies <in his seventy-eight year>) appears in the <Morning Post>, p.8, of the same date.

The <Homeward Mail from India, China and the East>, March 11th 1878, p.261, likewise, except <aged 77>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: H J R Murray in his 'History of Chess' has his D.O.B. as (? 1792 - 1878) the '?' indicates he has no proof or is is unsure.

It's very possible he got that from the March 1882 BCM who gave John's age at the time of death as 86 ( 1878-86 =1792) but H.J.R. could not confirm it.

(Murray confirms as a source BCM 1881 and onwards.)

Westminster Papers have our John at 87 when passed away.

Reports indicate our John was always shy about his past. 'reticent ' is the word often used.

(maybe a relative tampered with the D.O.B. details to bump themselves up for the next in line for the Earldom ladder. Made him younger, born in 1798 instead of 1792 to counter any claim our John might have. I'll contact Dan Brown this can be his next novel.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: After the big match is over, are you intending to stop off in Calcutta, <aka Kolkata>, to scope some of our boy's old haunts?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Buckinghamshire Advertiser, June 15th 1878, p.4:

<BAKER & SONS Will sell by auction, at the Mart, Tokenhouse-yard, on Friday, June 21st, 1878, at 2, in two lots,

TWO HOUSES and SHOPS, No. 28, Edgware-road, and No. 60 (late 12), Bryanston-street, one door from Edgware-road, both let on repairing leases, and held for long unexpired terms. Particulars and conditions of sale may be had at the Mart; [...]>

Hmm, does <late 12> mean what I think it does? That shortly after Cochrane's death, Bryanston St. was renumbered? In which case, Cochrane lived at the Edgware Road end of Bryanston St (which has been completely redeveloped). It might even explain why the Inner Temple Admissions Database has his final address as 6 Bryanston St - could it actually be 60?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: He certainly went to a great deal of trouble to cover his tracks. He even swapped the door numbers around on his street.

My best bet will be the family letters between 1801 and 1805 (the time of the will.) He was left £1,000 some other family members got nothing.

One of the family must have griped. 'How come that ?? year old got £1,000. (and the '??' will give us the D.O.B.)

Or "Is he really John's son." and a reply might be most enlightening.

Last time I was there the clerk brought me a trolley load of boxes.

I admit now I was looking in the wrong places. I was spending most of time looking for his death details because we knew those and I knew what to look for but got carried away reading, basically, junk mail (though interesting junk mail.)

Next time I'll narrow my search to these dates.

I'm still a paid up member of whatever it is I am a member of that allows a trusted me to look at these things. I have a special I.D. card (somewhere) I cannot recall the exact title but it's valid and actually looks pretty cool. (more official looking than my bus pass.)

So Covid permitting I'll make an appointment and see what's what. (if it turns out he was woman masquerading as a man to join the navy then so be it. Joanna saw it here first.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <That shortly after Cochrane's death, Bryanston St. was renumbered?>

It's possible, of course, I've got things back to front - that the renumbering occurred before his death. In which case, he did die at #12, but the property had earlier been a higher number.

Or maybe I'm reading far too much into it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I admit now I was looking in the wrong places. I was spending most of time looking for his death details because we knew those and I knew what to look for but got carried away reading, basically, junk mail (though interesting junk mail.)>

I'm still hopeful that his sojourn back to Britain (only to London?) in 1841-42 might reveal something interesting. Why did he come back? A career break? Some family business to attend to? He seems to have spent most of his time playing chess with Staunton and Stanley. I wondered before if Cochrane may have acted as peacemaker, permitting Staunton's acceptance into the St. George's club (without which the matches with St. Amant would probably not have occurred). Could he also have inspired or even helped finance Stanley's emigration to America?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Miss Scarlett,

According to Wiki and his page seems well researched, he '...had accumulated a lot of leave and he spent 1841 to 1843 in the UK."

Could be as simple as that, a holiday.

Regarding my, Alan and Tony's interest in this matter I think the answer will be by sniffing about in the early 1800's and see if there was debate about the will.

In 1806 The Earl of Vincent wrote;

"The Cochranes are not to be trusted out of sight, they are all mad, romantic, money-getting and not truth-telling—and there is not a single exception in any part of the family."


I have to admit I've plummeted to new depths of nerdiness. I have the famous Admiral Cochrane's book: 'The Autobiography of a Seaman.' in CD format. I have copied it to my mp3 player and listen to it on my jaunts about town.

You can listen to it here;

It's been transcribed by Timothy Ferguson, an Australian and I've started speaking with an Australian accent!

Alan thinks I'm fixated and should seek help.

G'day Cobber.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: What induced Cochrane to spend 41 years in India? Were the brown holes of Calcutta that inviting? Maybe he got a taste for it in the Caribbean.
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