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Ellen E Strong Gilbert
E E Gilbert 
Sci. Am. Suppl. v4 (Sep 1, 1877) p 1390  
Number of games in database: 2
Years covered: 1875 to 1879

Most played openings
C80 Ruy Lopez, Open (2 games)

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(born Apr-30-1837, died Feb-12-1900, 62 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

Ellen E. Gilbert (nee Strong) lived in Hartford, Connecticut, and was one of the strongest players there - if not the strongest, although she never played tournament chess. Her house was a gathering place for chess enthusiasts, and in 1876 she was elected president of the Hartford Chess Circle, a club that rapidly grew to become one of the largest (by number of members) in the United States. The year before, in 1875, she had defeated William J Berry in a correspondence game with claim of mate in 19 moves. This achievement was printed in many chess columns. She won fame when she defeated George Hatfeild Gossip in all four games between them in a correspondence match started in 1877 between Britain and the US. In one of the games she announced mate in 35 moves, and mate in 21 in another.

Ellen Gilbert also played blindfold games*. She was known as the 'Queen of Chess'.

Wikipedia article: Ellen Gilbert. Other sources: and *

 page 1 of 1; 2 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E E Gilbert vs W Berry 1-0241875CasualC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
2. Gossip vs E E Gilbert 0-1421879US-Britain corr. matchC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gilbert wins | Gilbert loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-07-08  Karpova: Jeremy Spinrad on page 4 of his August 2007 edition of "New Stories about Old Chessplayers" titled <Obituaries>:

Spinrad: <An unusual obituary came up in my research on a noted female chess player, Ellen Gilbert (née Strong) who was the wife of John W. Gilbert of Connecticut. She was left $100 in a bequest from a Mr. Sidney Hall of Hartford, but the bulk of Hall's estate ($11,120) went to quite an odd cause. The Washington Post discusses this strange will on July 29, 1899, with the headline "To Combat Immortality." At first, I thought this was an amusing typo, and that the money was given to fighting immorality, but the headline is correct. There is something delightfully ironic about giving money in a will to fight immortality, but Mr. Hall wanted to fight the "pernicious doctrine of the immortality of the soul," which he called "the greatest of pagan delusions, and upon which is founded all the great systems of error and superstition in the world.">

Oct-07-08  FrogC: Even in a correspondence game, to announce mate in 35 is an astonishing feat. Has anyone ever checked her claim with a computer?
Oct-07-08  PhilFeeley: <FrogC> Check out the discussion to the game above and your question may be answered.
May-09-11  SBC: .

I had written a 4 part series on Mrs. Gilbert that may be of interest to some folks:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Open Defence: long time no see <SBC>
May-09-11  Caissanist: Wonderful page, Sarah, many thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Karpova> Mr. Hall was ahead of his time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: The following was written by a female journalist from the Detroit Post and Tribune and printed in the Hartford Weekly Times, December 20, 1877:

<Hartford, November 26, 1877.
On one of our pleasantest avenues in what Holmes would call a "very plain stone front," lives the "Queen of Chess." But there was nothing to frighten even a timid person in the bright little lady that came forward to greet her guest so cordially, and we sat down to have a real woman's chat. We talked of the weather ! of some lovely new fancy work, and whispered the last bit of scandal that society was interested in, and the opponent of woman's suffrage would have taken heart to see this strong-minded woman's loving care of her little girl, even tying on the hat, and buttoning up the b--ts. Then our talk drifted to chess, and of course to the National Chess Tourney that is now interesting the chess world. Of the other players on each side I know nothing, but am particularly interested in Mrs. Gilbert and Mr. Gossip, because people say she is over-matched - and that a great English chess player never ought to have been given to a woman as an antagonist. There are growlers all around, you know, and I'd give my best Sunday hat to be sure that she would make mince meat of him, chaw him right up, that is, metaphorically. She showed me the four boards with the four games - and the pieces just as they stand - I looked at them with awe, and my head swelled with pride for the little woman that was quietly engaged in a battle of brains with a man !!! The games have been going on about six months, and it will be at least as many more before they are decided. She sends a move for each game, four at a time. It takes two weeks to reach Mr. Gossip, and two weeks for the answering moves to come back. Mr. Gossip is evidently on his best behavior, and the boards remind me of a real battle field when both sides are drawn up, each with a great respect for the other, neither side ready to make a plunge, but ready to pounce on the slightest advance. It is too early in the games to predict victory for either side, but, said Mrs. Gilbert, "I would not change my position in any of the games for his." "Suppose some one should knock these boards over and all the pieces should fall on the carpet, what would you do?" said I. "Put them all back as they were before." answered she. Just think what a memory!>

Read the rest at

Aug-08-15  zanzibar: Could some kind editor fix the final footnote link to the blindfold game?

(There's extraneous extra junk at the end... just copy this: )

Here's the blindfold game from that footnote, perhaps should be submitted to <CG>?

Wait, before I post it, here's a little puzzler from it...

What's White's best move? (There's more than one)

After 15...Nc6-e7?

click for larger view

Apr-30-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Ellen Gilbert.
Apr-30-16  zanzibar: No editor can be bothered to fix the intro, not even on her birthday?

Nor can <CG> publish the photograph I published of here?

Specifically this image:

There's a whole raft of unpublished photos in the blog post.

Jun-24-17  zanzibar: The "Queen of Chess" still lacks a portrait.

Neglected similarly to Junge, tis a shame!


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