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Franklin Knowles Young
Number of games in database: 16
Years covered: 1874 to 1907
Overall record: +8 -5 =3 (59.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born Oct-21-1857, died Dec-19-1931, 74 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Franklin Knowles Young was born in Boston and died in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He was an American author who tried to apply battlefield principles to the chessboard in a number of books. They were full of incomprehensibilities such as, "The normal formative processes of a Logistic Grand Battle consist, first, in Echeloning by RP to QR4 and then in Aligning the Left Major Front Refused en Potence by the development of QKtP to QKt5, followed by Doubly Aligning the Left Major Front Refused and Aligned by developing QRP to QR5." His books have been the subject of ridicule from the time they were published until the present day.

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 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Carapelli vs F Young 0-1131874GreeceC40 King's Knight Opening
2. F Young vs Zukertort 1-0231884Casual Game, BostonC52 Evans Gambit
3. Steinitz vs F Young  1-0361885Steinitz Simul 23bC14 French, Classical
4. Steinitz vs F Young  ½-½411886offhand gameC37 King's Gambit Accepted
5. F Young vs J M Hanham  ½-½591887Hanham - YoungC01 French, Exchange
6. J M Hanham vs F Young  0-1311887Hanham - YoungC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
7. F Young vs J M Hanham  1-0601887Hanham - YoungC41 Philidor Defense
8. J M Hanham vs F Young  1-0501887Hanham - YoungC77 Ruy Lopez
9. F Young vs J M Hanham ½-½461887Hanham - YoungC14 French, Classical
10. Burille vs F Young  1-0321888Boston CC TournamentB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
11. Pillsbury vs F Young 1-0201890Casual gameA02 Bird's Opening
12. F Young vs L Dore 1-0221892Casual gameC21 Center Game
13. F Young vs Pillsbury 1-0161893BostonC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
14. E M Jackson vs F Young  1-03518983rd Anglo-American Cable MatchC00 French Defense
15. F Young vs H N Stone 1-0241907BostonC34 King's Gambit Accepted
16. H Daly vs F Young 0-139190710th PNCCA Tournament Semi-FinalC29 Vienna Gambit
 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Young wins | Young loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-20-09  Calli: We now expect you to whip through the cable matches in short order with lots of interesting tidbits in your reportage. 8-]

I used to have a paper subscription to the Times and could look at the entire archive. Later they changed all the rates and I decided against renewal. Now they have Times Reader and am considering an online subscription.

Nov-24-09  TheFocus: <phony> I almost forgot that the Brooklyn Daily Eagle online site covers 1841 - 1902. I think a good many of the players playing for the U.S were from Boston.
Nov-24-09  Phony Benoni: <TheFocus> That could be a good source, since the Brooklyn Chess Club handled arrangements on the American side.

The New York Times source pointed out by <Calli> has resolved most of my questions. I don't how much more work I'm going to put into this, since I'm just an amateur in this field. If what I do simply brings together some information that helps out somebody more competent, I'll be satisfied.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <TheFocus . . . Funny thing is that Capablanca and several strong players liked Young's books.>

I'd be interested in knowing your source for this, and who the "several strong players" were. It's hard to believe that Capablanca, famous for the lucidity of his annotations, would have endorsed Young's verbose nonsense.

Nov-28-09  Dredge Rivers: Does Young Knowles Franklin?
Nov-30-09  TheFocus: <FSR> Indeed, I could not believe it either, but, I believe my source was Edward Winter's book on Capablanca. I will confirm this tonight.

After I downloaded Young's books, I thought that that anecdote had to be wrong, cause I sure do not think I will ever read them! I equate Young's books with Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch, one of the most ridiculous books I have ever had the displeasure of buying. Anyone want to buy it cheap from me? Hard bound.

Nov-30-09  MaxxLange: I read some of the lined books. What a nutjob.
Dec-01-09  TheFocus: <FSR> Winter's book on Capablanca nor his other books have the story in it. I will examine American Chess Bulletin.

The story goes that Capablanca and another player were walking in the city. Upon encountering Franklin Young, the second player introduced Capa to Young. Capa told him how much he enjoyed his books.

After reading this, I downloaded Young's books thinking that if Capa endorsed them, they must be good. I was disappointed when I browsed them, and figured that only by reading them, I would see what had enthused Capablanca. I have not yet read them. And have no time to.

Dec-18-09  Phony Benoni: You get the feeling Capablanca was being polite, or perhaps he enjoyed a good joke. However, FKY had at least one disciple!

See note (g), written by J.T. Wentworth, for the <Marshall - Wentworth> game beginning on page 9.

Dec-18-09  I play the Fred: It's MY money, and I want it NOW!!
Mar-08-10  Caissanist: In the introduction to <Chess Strategics Illustrated> Young claims an endorsement from Emanuel Lasker, who supposedly said that Young's work was "replete with logic and common sense".
Mar-08-10  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

<Always deploy so that the right oblique can be readily established in case the objective plane remains open or becomes permanently located on the centre or on the King's wing, or that the crochet aligned may readily be established if the objective plane becomes permanently located otherwise than at the extremity of the strategic front.>

-- Franklin Young

55 words too much!

Mar-08-10  paavoh: @Phony Benoni: "...Capa told him how much he enjoyed his books..." Perhaps enjoyed with the meaning of an occasional giggle, head shaking, or outright laughter?!
Oct-29-10  Phony Benoni: I've been looking at some of Miron Hazeltine's columns in the New York Clipper. The guy had a gentle but pointed streak of humor which still raises a chuckle.

In his column for February 2, 1901 (, Hazeltine printed this game:

Traxler, Karel - Jahn, J
Simultaneous Prague, 1901

<1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e5 Nh5 5.d4 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Bd3 d5 8.0-0 Bg4 9.Ne2 Qd7 10.Bxf4 Bxf3 11.Rxf3 c5 12.c3>

click for larger view

At this point, Hazeltine writes: <We don't know by which name Bro. Young would call this array of White pawns, but do know that, if he sees it, it will delight his heart.">

The mind does boggle at the thought of what F.K. could do with it, but here's what Traxler did. A typical bit of pushing the simulee around until he falls into it.

<12...c4 13.Bc2 Ba5 14.Rh3 Qg4 15.Qe1 Nxf4 16.Nxf4 Qxf4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Qe2 Bd8 19.Rf1 Qg5 20.Rh5 Qe7> 1-0

As White mates in four. Monday level.

Nov-07-10  Phony Benoni: A handsome right oblique:

Jul-16-13  Infohunter: Here is a quote from Franklin K. Young that I used to recite as a gag, when speaking to non-chessplayers:

"Given a geometric symbol positive or combinations of geometric symbols positive that is coincident to the objective plane; then, if the prime tactical factor can be posted at the point of command, the adverse King may be checkmated."

I'm pretty sure I saw that quote in Irving Chernev's *Chess Companion* (1968).

What made it so funny to me was the fact that this verbiage so well fits the stereotypical image of chess that non-players hold, while at the same time being utterly and completely alien to the thought process of any and every chessplayer I have ever known, and just about any chessplayer of whom I have ever known.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: < "The normal formative processes of a Logistic Grand Battle consist, first, in Echeloning by RP to QR4 and then in Aligning the Left Major Front Refused en Potence by the development of QKtP to QKt5, followed by Doubly Aligning the Left Major Front Refused and Aligned by developing QRP to QR5." >

Oh my. It's <chrisowens> great grandfather!

Jan-28-14  Shams: <OCF> I think new arrival <Greystripe> married into that family too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < Shams: <OCF> I think new arrival <Greystripe> married into that family too.>

<Boster> is similar as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I can visualize Capablanca slapping Knowles on the back and saying, "Always with the right obliques, eh, Knowlesy? Always with the right obliques!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Recall seeing at least one of Young's works in the book store as a novice and being appalled at the, shall we say, oblique language.
Jan-29-14  Abdel Irada: If only Young could have got a full set of pieces out on the grinder for some close-order drill, he could have had them right-oblique marching in a few weeks.

However, I can't guarantee that he could have got them on the objective plane while they did so; knights have a known aversion to marching while airborne.

Apr-06-14  bengalcat47: I'll give Young credit for some nice wins against Pillsbury, Steinitz, and Zukertort.
Apr-11-15  Amarande: I've just read some of Young's books, and I'm Frank(lin?)ly not really sure why they get such a bad reaction out of people.

OK, there are inaccuracies in some of the analysis - but then, those are everywhere ... including such howling gaffes as Tartakower's commentary on G MacDonnell vs Anderssen, 1862 (where he repeatedly spoke of Black hoping to play ... O-O-O, even though the game is an Allgaier where Black had of course moved the king earlier! Unless that wasn't a bar to castling in 1862 as long as the king had returned to e1/e8?) or the infamous mention in The Fireside Book of Chess of an openings manual where the masters writing the book had said, "Black has the superior position" when White had a mate in one!

OK, Young can be somewhat dogmatic, but that's always been a fault of chess writers, especially in that general era - Tarrasch comes to mind in particular.

The heavyweight analysis of pawn structure as a strategic basis in particular seems not to have significant fault; if anything, combined with the flowery old-timey military language, it reminded me somewhat of Nimzowitsch's writings (also to some degree Tarrasch, and it is notable that all three authors placed emphasis upon the nature of chess as being symbolic of warfare). Kmoch, who like Nimzowitsch and Young also made a heavy attempt at systematising pawn-structure based strategy, also comes to mind. (Then again, I see someone in this kibitz also being critical of Kmoch, and it's not like Nimzowitsch didn't have his share of mockery, e.g. Nimzowitsch vs Systemsson, 1927 ...) Even as early as Philidor, it was being noted that pawns were the soul of chess, after all;

Young's works are really quite fascinating, and certainly worth a read, at least; and really, if there's chess books that grate on me personally? It's not the ones like his with lots of long-winded language - it's actually more often the modern ones, where there's less and less "human" analysis and more and more reliance on regurgitated engine lines with often little more than single glyph annotations, which make one miss the wordy classics of old ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  opus: American Chess Bulletin, January 1932, page 10

The Late Franklin K. Young

It becomes our sad duty to record the death of Franklin K. Young on December 10 at the age of 74 at home in Winthrop, Mass. Mr. Young was well known to the present generation in the chess world through the books (six) which he wrote dealing with the theories of chess as one of the sciences. To the previous generation, however, he was more of a personality. In the middle ‘80’s, contemporary with George Hammond, Preston Ware, C. F. Burrille and Charles B. Snow, he was one of the finest chess players in America.

Mr. Young had a kindly manner and always was popular with younger players. These he inspired by this example, pointing out to them the beauties of chess as demonstrated by the theory of the game. Such celebrities as Harry N. Pillsbury and John F. Barry received some of their earliest impressions of the game through his kindly assistance.

Mr. Young excelled in other branches of arts and science and it may be news to many to learn that he gave much of his life in his youth to the study of military science and that during the Boer War his newspaper articles attracted nation-wide attention for their accurate forecasts of military events. Mr. Young also was a successful inventor of guns and other mechanical devices…

* * *

Books by Franklin K. Young
freely downloadable on

The Minor Tactics of Chess
A Treatise on the Deployment of the Forces in Obedience to the Strategic Principle by Franklin K. Young and Edwin C. Howell
© 1894; Sixth Edition; Little, Brown, and Company; 1906

The Major Tactics of Chess
A Treatise on Evolutions
The Proper Employment of the Forces in Strategic, Tactical, and Logistic Planes by Franklin K. Young
© 1898; Second Edition; Little, Brown, and Company; 1904

The Grand Tactics of Chess
An Exposition of The Laws and Principles of Chess Strategetics The Practical Application of These Laws and Principles to the Movement of Forces: Mobilization Development, Manoeuvre, and Operation by Franklin K. Young
Little, Brown, and Company; 1905
© 1897; Second Edition; Little, Brown, and Company; 1905

Chess Strategetics Illustrated
Military Art and Science Adapted to The Chessboard Positions and Examples from Morphy's Games
by Franklin K. Young
© 1900; Little, Brown, and Company' 1919

Chess Generalship
Volume 1: Grand Reconnaissance
by Franklin K. Young
© 1910 International Publishing Co.; 1910
* * *
“Chess is the deepest of all games; it is constructed to carry out the principal of a battle, and the whole theory of Chess lies in that form of action.” – Emanuel Lasker

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