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Captain William Davies Evans
Captain Evans 
Deutsche Schachzeitung - A. Anderssen 1873 p xiv.  
Number of games in database: 12
Years covered: 1827 to 1843
Overall record: +9 -1 =2 (83.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born Jan-27-1790, died Aug-03-1872, 82 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
William Davies Evans was born on Musland Farm, St. Dogwell's, North Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK. Although never a first-rate competitor, he left a mark on chess as important as any of the players of his era. It was in 1824 whilst commanding a steam packet that sailed between Milford in Wales and Waterford in Ireland he invented the gambit for which he became famous. Its original form was 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0-0 d6 5.b4.

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He used this gambit against Alexander McDonnell around 1825. (See Captain Evans vs McDonnell, 1826.) The opening grew in popularity and was later championed by Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais, Paul Morphy, John Cochrane, Howard Staunton, Adolf Anderssen, Joseph Henry Blackburne and virtually every master of the game during that era. Although currently out of fashion, it still is seen sometimes employed to this date as a surprise weapon, even among the highest calibre of grandmasters.

Evans analyzed the "Little Game of Chess" (an endgame composition involving only two kings with three pawns each)

click for larger view

to independently discover that it actually won for the player who moves first, not drawn as had been believed for over a hundred years. Captain Evans also invented a safety system of white, green and red lights at sea during the 1830s, which may be a precursor to modern traffic lights.

He passed away in Ostend in 1872.

See also Captain Evans / George Perigal

Wikipedia article: William Davies Evans

 page 1 of 1; 12 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Captain Evans vs McDonnell 1-0201827LondonC52 Evans Gambit
2. Captain Evans vs Brandreth  1-0261827Casual gameC50 Giuoco Piano
3. Captain Evans vs McDonnell 1-0201829LondonC51 Evans Gambit
4. McDonnell vs Captain Evans 0-1871829Odds match000 Chess variants
5. McDonnell vs Captain Evans  0-1691829Odds match000 Chess variants
6. McDonnell vs Captain Evans  0-1401829Odds match000 Chess variants
7. Cochrane vs Captain Evans 1-0161843Casual gameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
8. Captain Evans vs Saint-Amant 1-0241843Great BritainC20 King's Pawn Game
9. Captain Evans vs Horwitz 1-0271843LondonC44 King's Pawn Game
10. Captain Evans vs Saint-Amant  ½-½481843LondonC20 King's Pawn Game
11. Captain Evans vs Saint-Amant ½-½631843LondonC20 King's Pawn Game
12. Captain Evans vs G Perigal 1-0321843LondonC20 King's Pawn Game
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Captain Evans wins | Captain Evans loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <thomastonk> Yes, but I also think Löwenthal did not consider it much wrong if Staunton withheld information.

Perhaps the game is by Staunton himself? Just speculation.

Jan-18-14  thomastonk: <Tabanus: Perhaps the game is by Staunton himself? Just speculation.> Ugh! ;-)

To be serious: if I'm right with my observations, then Staunton published a lost game wrongly attributed to his arch-rival. This is a scandal in its own! But did he do this deliberately?! I don't think so. But who knows?

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <thomas tonk, Tabanus>


I wish you two could have your own Chess History TV show in which you investigate such mysteries for the audience.

Has either of you considered actually doing this by creating a "youtube channel" devoted to such a project?

It's not actually that hard to get a good audience for such topics on youtube, because people world wide who are interested in such topics would find you out.

Apr-06-14  Conrad93: He is the Joseph Conrad of the chess world.
Apr-08-14  N0B0DY: [insert rolling eyes here]
Apr-08-14  john barleycorn: <Nobody> looks at this:
Apr-08-14  Conrad93: NOBODY, you may not know the history of Conrad, but he wrote his first novel while he was captain of a British vessel. He would write it on and off from port to port.
Apr-08-14  Conrad93: The sea is a good a motivator.
Apr-11-14  N0B0DY: <The sea is a good a motivator.> Right! The sea and the gallows refuse none.
Mar-06-15  zanzibar: Cross your fingers, a fine portrait of the good Capt should soon be appearing... from

<Deutsche Schachzeitung - A. Anderssen 1873 p xiv>

Mar-12-15  zanzibar: From "Westminster Chess Club Papers" - v3 (1872) p210:

<It is with sincere regret we learn that Captain Evans, the inventor of the Evans Gambit, is in great pecuniary distress. He is now 82 y,ears of age, nearly blind, and very infirm. He has a wife and sister dependent upon him for support. For some years past he has been residing in Belgium, but the doctors strongly recommend his removal to England, as the damp, cold climate of Ostend is killing him, and he cannot be moved unless certain little debts, incurred during his illness, are first discharged. What Arkwright was to Manchester, and Stephenson to railways, Captain Evans has been to Chess. His Opening was the greatest discovery since the days of Philidor and Lolli, and has caused more pleasure to Chess players than anything else connected with the game. It is proposed to raise £100 to assist him in his difficulties, and all gentlemen willing to help in this good cause, either with money or their names, are earnestly requested to communicate with Mr. George Walker, 40 Albion Road, Stoke Newington (who will vouch for the truth of this statement), or to Mr. Charles Mossop, solicitor, 1 Ironmonger Lane, E.C. These gentlemen will endeavour to form a committee of the leading Chess players to raise the required sum, and they will duly acknowledge the receipt of any contribution that may be forwarded to them.>

Mar-12-15  zanzibar: The excerpt from WCCP was from April, 1872. Evans never left Ostend, he died soon thereafter, in August.
Mar-12-15  zanzibar: He was buried (or rather, interred) in Ostend:

Mar-12-15  zanzibar: From Deutsche Zeitung v27 Nr. 9. September. 1872. p270/271 (google translated):

<Captain W. D. Evans from Milford.

Our readers will surely hear with regret and sympathy the sad news that we have today to communicate to them the death of the famous inventor of the ingenious Evans game. Collections were a few months ago in England held to give the 82-year Marine Capitain Evans support he needed urgently - and now, before the leaves overlooked the success of the general request comes from the east end there, at the news of his. Death in August. No one had, perhaps, at some time, a recognized world fame on so unpretentious manner attained, as the newly defunct chess friend. Thanks to him, countless players of all areas of the source of their most beautiful and successful combinations, and so could arguably the duration of his memory, with the easy part 4. b2-b4, be safe, but the memory of some ore dug in deed.

About the circumstances surrounding the Captain Evans and we expect about his activity as a chess player an essay in "Ill. Lond. News," we commemorate his time to use. At the same time we will bring a portrait of Evans.>

Mar-12-15  zanzibar: The above should read Deutsche Schachzeitung.
Jan-27-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Captain Evans!!

Thank you for your gambit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Liverpool Mercury, April 2nd 1892, p7:

<Probably few chess players are aware that the surviving daughter of the late Captain Evans is at present living near Liverpool in very reduced circumstances. The poor lady is in delicate health, and greatly needs some kindly help, and it has been suggested that, considering the debt of gratitude owed by the whole chess world to the inventor of the Evans Gambit, players in all parts of the country might gracefully recognise his services by extending help to his daughter in her time of need. The nucleus of a fund already exists in the hands of a well-known ship-owner, and the chess editor of the Weekly Mercury will be glad to take charge of any subscriptions sent to us, and see that they are properly administered. Acknowledged 10s., Gambit (Newry).>

Jul-10-17  morfishine: A pity, the great inventor of the Evans gambit has but 9 games in the database
Jul-10-17  The Kings Domain: Fascinating Victorian, quite the renaissance man.

morfishine: Nice avatar, striking and neat. :-)

Jul-10-17  morfishine: Thank You <The Kings Domain> I purchase only whole bean coffee, grind it myself, sometimes use my coffee press (usually on the weekend), and Wa La, fresh steaming coffee is ready to be served...


Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <zanzibar: He was buried (or rather, interred) in Ostend:

Interesting collection, thanks! You might want to add Alekhine in Cimtière Montparnasse:

Unfortunately the articles explaining Löchner's chess puzzle tombstone have gone the way of all "missing links" (proving once again that the internet is not only far vaster than the Library of Alexandria but also even more ephemeral).

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: correction: Cimetière
Jul-12-17  The Kings Domain: morfishine :-)
Jan-24-21  BIDMONFA: Captain William Davies Evans

EVANS, William D.

Jun-26-22  lonchaney: Chess composer

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