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Walter Penn Shipley
W P Shipley 
Number of games in database: 55
Years covered: 1883 to 1924
Overall record: +17 -27 =11 (40.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born Jun-20-1860, died Feb-17-1942, 81 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Walter Penn Shipley was a well-known organizer and chess patron. He was friendly with many famous players, including Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, Harry Nelson Pillsbury and Jose Raul Capablanca, and was the referee of Capablanca - Marshall (1909) and the temporary referee of the Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921). He was also an organizer of the Cambridge Springs (1904) and New York (1924) tournaments, two of the strongest tournaments ever held in the United States. As a long-time official (including president) of the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia, he was able to raise the funding for visits by many strong masters who frequently played not only simuls but also individual games and even short matches with the strongest club players. At the eighth American Chess Congress in Atlantic City in 1921, the US Chess Association (a forerunner of the present US federation) was formed and Shipley elected its first president.

Shipley was also a very strong amateur player, having faced and held his own with strong masters such as Steinitz, Lasker, Marshall, Pillsbury, Henry Edward Bird, Isidor Gunsberg, Albert Hodges, Samuel Lipschutz, and Eugene Delmar.

His lasting contributions were in organization. He arranged for the Philadelphia legs of the Lasker - Steinitz World Championship (1894) and the 1907 Marshall-Lasker match, and was responsible for the use of the so-called "Scheveningen system" method of running team tournaments for the 1897 and 1899 matches between the states of Pennsylvania and New York, a quarter century before its first international use in Scheveningen in 1923. His friendship with Capablanca and Lasker enabled him to become involved in negotiations for a title match between these two players during 1911-1912. Capablanca later incorporated a minor change suggested by Shipley into the draft of his "London Rules" that were intended to regulate world championship matches.

Before the USCF was formed to regulate US chess, Shipley’s influence was instrumental in shaping the process for determining the US champion. His opinions about the means for determining the US championship shortly before and also after Pillsbury's death were held as definitive by the US chess community, which relied on the match format for determining the champion until 1936 when the tournament format was adopted.

Shipley was also involved in organizing early correspondence chess in the US. Further information about Shipley and his role in US chess can be found in <crawfb5>’s post by linking to Biographer Bistro, and in the two consecutive posts commencing at Biographer Bistro.

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 55  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Steinitz vs W P Shipley 0-1251883Simul, 21bC25 Vienna
2. Zukertort vs W P Shipley 0-1281884Germantown YMCA, Simul 12bC25 Vienna
3. Steinitz vs W P Shipley  ½-½171887SimulC52 Evans Gambit
4. W P Shipley vs M Weiss 1-0191889PhiladelphiaC45 Scotch Game
5. W P Shipley vs Gunsberg 1-0281889PhiladelphiaC78 Ruy Lopez
6. J P Morgan vs W P Shipley 1-0381890PhiladelphiaC25 Vienna
7. J P Morgan vs W P Shipley 0-1121891PhiladelphiaC28 Vienna Game
8. J P Morgan vs W P Shipley 0-1241891PhiladelphiaC25 Vienna
9. W P Shipley vs Lasker 0-1381892Match seriesC55 Two Knights Defense
10. Lasker vs W P Shipley 0-1241892Match seriesC25 Vienna
11. M Morgan vs W P Shipley 0-1121893USA (m/2)C28 Vienna Game
12. Pillsbury vs W P Shipley 0-1101893PhiladelphiaA07 King's Indian Attack
13. Lasker vs W P Shipley 0-1541893Simul, 20bC25 Vienna
14. K Walbrodt vs W P Shipley 1-0281893Match seriesC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
15. W P Shipley vs H Voigt  ½-½221894New YorkB20 Sicilian
16. Albin vs W P Shipley  1-0181894New YorkC53 Giuoco Piano
17. S Ricardo-Rocamora vs W P Shipley 0-1231895Manhattan CC - Franklin CC telegraph mC42 Petrov Defense
18. E Delmar vs W P Shipley 1-0541896Manhattan CC - Franklin CCB73 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
19. W P Shipley vs Pillsbury  0-1371897ConsultationC49 Four Knights
20. M Morgan vs W P Shipley  1-0231897Continental TournamentA80 Dutch
21. H Davidson vs W P Shipley  ½-½221897Franklin CC - Manhattan CCC49 Four Knights
22. W P Shipley vs E Delmar  1-0481897New York State vs PennsylvaniaC03 French, Tarrasch
23. W P Shipley vs J M Hanham  0-1511897New York State vs PennsylvaniaC41 Philidor Defense
24. W P Shipley vs Pillsbury ½-½461897New York v Pennsylvania State Teams MatchC45 Scotch Game
25. H Voigt vs W P Shipley  1-0341898Philadelphia Franklin CC-chC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 55  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Shipley wins | Shipley loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-21-06  BIDMONFA: Walter Penn Shipley

SHIPLEY, Walter P.

Mar-25-08  brankat: Pity, there is no action on this page.

Mr.Shipley was one of the most remarkable and respected Chess personalities of the first half of the 20th century. Not only in the States, but anywhere.

Mar-25-08  brankat: There is a book on Mr.W.P.Shipley, by John Hilbert:

"Walter Penn Shipley - Philadelphia's Friend of Chess"

Walter Penn Shipley was crucial to the development of chess in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His contributions were very great. He organized correspondence chess in the United States in the 1890s, became a talented player and dangerous opponent, and a friend and supporter of world champions and contenders.

This work is a complete biography and games collection of Walter Penn Shipley. It draws from such original documents as personal correspondence with great chess players of his era (Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Pillsbury and others), detailed Shipley family records, and extensive research conducted in contemporary newspapers, journals and magazines. The book contains approximately 250 games (most of them annotated), with 246 positional diagrams.

The Author John S. Hilbert also wrote: "The Tragic Life and Short Chess Career of James A. Leonard, 1841–1862" (2005).

Mar-25-08  brankat: A lot of interesting information can be found here: the link to "Shipley Family Papers, 1841-1911", University of Delaware.

May-18-08  Banoboy: 'brankat: There is a book on Mr.W.P.Shipley, by John Hilbert:

"Walter Penn Shipley - Philadelphia's Friend of Chess"'

I just finished reading that book. A very remarkable man.

May-19-08  brankat: <Banoboy> Hi. Glad to hear You liked L.Hilbert work on Mr.Shipley. I enjoyed reading the book, too.

Somehow, the older I get, the more interested I am in Chess History. Hmmm, I wonder why :-)

Jun-20-08  brankat: A fine gentleman, a chess enthusiast, a strong player, a chess benefactor and organizer. One of the most outstanding personalities of the world of chess, 1890-1930.

R.I.P. Mr.Shipley.

Jun-21-08  malthrope: <brankat: [...] Somehow, the older I get, the more interested I am in Chess History. Hmmm, I wonder why :-)>

You keep it up <brankat> ! :) Sometimes, I just like to follow <You> around so that I can view what's been neglected, what's been misunderstood, and most important of all what's "Hot" that we almost all forgot! ~lol~ <grin>

Clearly - Walter Penn Shipley - short bio here reflects a massive amount of 'Chess History' jam packed into a single paragraph! ;)

RIP Mr. W.P. Shipley... :)

- Mal

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <brankat> <Somehow, the older I get, the more interested I am in Chess History. Hmmm, I wonder why :-)>

I know exactly what you mean because the same has happened to me.

Chess is unique in that we have an almost perfect "video recorder" of just about every major game ever played. And that means access to a wealth of human stories - comedy, tragedy, intrigue, hope, despair.

I now spend more time trawling through all games than I do actually playing. Not what I had in mind when I took up the game all those years ago!

Jul-30-10  TheFocus: From Edward Winter's Chess Notes column:

5656. Who? (C.N. 5635)

C.N. 5635 asked who wrote the following:

‘I have played against the following noted players, winning the first game that I contested with each master, namely: Zukertort, Steinitz, Lasker, Pillsbury and Max Weiss.’

The answer is Walter Penn Shipley, in a letter on page 169 of Chess Review.

5677. Walter Penn Shipley (C.N. 5656)

Nikolai Brunni (Honolulu, HI, USA) writes:

‘The statement by Walter Penn Shipley that he won the first game he contested against Zukertort, Steinitz, Lasker, Pillsbury and Weiss does not seem entirely true. In Lasker’s case, Shipley lost the first serious game between them. During a two-week engagement at the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia, Lasker played two games against each of five players (D.M. Martinez, A.K. Robinson, G.C. Reichhelm, H.G. Voigt and W.P. Shipley).

According to <The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker> by K. Whyld (Nottingham, 1998), their first game was played on 24 December 1892, Lasker winning on the Black side of a Two Knights’ Defense; their second game, on 28 December 1892, was a Steinitz Gambit, won by Shipley as Black (see pages 43-44). The book then gave a further win by Shipley as Black with the same opening, but the source was merely specified as follows: “From Nepomuceno (Perhaps analysis of above.)”

Page 45 had another victory by Shipley against the Steinitz Gambit, in a simultaneous display by Lasker on 2 January 1893. In all three Steinitz Gambit games the first ten moves were the same.’

Jun-20-12  brankat: Happy Birthday Mr.Shipley.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <"Walter Penn Shipley -Philadelphias Friend of Chess"> by John S. Hilbert, 443p 2nd edition 2013

001 Introduction

003 1. Arrival and Antecedents (1860-1880)

020 2. Early Chess Club Play (1880-1887)

046 3. Philadelphia’s Champion (1887-1890)

074 4. Expansion and New Friends (1891-1893)

110 5. Golden Years, Golden Play (1894-1898)

196 6. Very Good Years (1899-1904)

267 7. Years of Transition, and Controversy (1905-1910)

349 8. Through the Decade (1911-1920)

396 9. Through the Years (1921-1942)

433 Selected Bibliography

437 Index

About the Book
Walter Penn Shipley was crucial to the development of chess in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He organized correspondence chess in the United States in the 1890s, was a talented player and was a friend of world champions and contenders. He served as the president of the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia at the height of its power and prestige.

This work is a complete biography and games collection of Walter Penn Shipley. It draws from original documents--correspondence with Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Pillsbury and others, detailed Shipley family records--and extensive research conducted in contemporary newspapers, journals and magazines. The book contains approximately 250 games (most of them annotated), with 246 positional diagrams.

About the Author
John S. Hilbert is the author of a dozen books and more than 100 articles on chess history. He lives in Amherst, New York.

May-09-14  ljfyffe: Shipley-John DeSoyres, Philadelphia, 1896: 1e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3Bb5 a6 4Ba4 Nf6 5o-o Bc5 6Qe2 b5 7Bb3 d6 8c3 Bg4 9d3 Ne7 10Bg5 Ng6 11h3 h5 12hxg4 hxg4 13Nh2 g3 14Ng4 Nxg4 15Qxg4 gxf2+ 16Rxf2 Bxf2+ 17Kxf2 Qd7 18Qxd7+ Kxd7 19Nd2 Rh5 20Nf3 Nf4 21Bxf4 exf4 22Bxf7 1-0. DeSoyres, an Anglican minister from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
May-15-14  ljfyffe: Shipley played James E. Narraway of Canada in 1891 correspondence. Shipley did so under the nsme of "Vaux".
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Walter Shipley.
Jul-01-14  ljfyffe: See Landsberger:Shipley did much to arrange Steinitz vs Zukertort/Steinitz vs Lasker.
Oct-22-14  ljfyffe: St. John Globe Correspondence Tournament no. 2: Announcing long mates was something of a badge of honour in the early years of CC and the Shipley-Vaux tandum took home the prize for the longest-announced mate: 22 moves. (agsinst John Hale).Zehr and MacDonald.
Oct-23-14  ljfyffe: <against>
Feb-17-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Walter Penn Shipley.
Apr-29-16  ljfyffe: Shipley (Vaux) - Cutlin correspondence game appears in Stubb's St. John Globe chess column, June 10,1892.
Jun-20-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Walter Penn Shipley.
Jan-09-22  Z truth 000000001: Shipley has an article about the <Continential Tournament> in Reichhelm's <Chess in Philadelphia> p57:

Apr-05-22  Z free or die: C.N. 9449 is now out of date - or so it seems.

Unfortunately I can no longer find the Shipley chess photographs online, and even the web archive version is practically useless:


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