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John Wisker
Number of games in database: 77
Years covered: 1866 to 1883
Overall record: +27 -36 =14 (44.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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C77 Ruy Lopez (11 games)
C45 Scotch Game (7 games)
A00 Uncommon Opening (5 games)
A02 Bird's Opening (4 games)
C51 Evans Gambit (4 games)
C35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham (3 games)
C01 French, Exchange (3 games)
C39 King's Gambit Accepted (3 games)
C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed (3 games)
A03 Bird's Opening (3 games)

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(born May-30-1846, died Jan-18-1884, 37 years old) United Kingdom (federation/nationality Australia)

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John Wisker was born in Hull, England. He was British Champion in 1870 and 1872 (after play-offs on both occasions). In 1873 he played three matches with Henry Edward Bird, drawing the first (+6, =1, -6), losing the second (+4, =2, -6) and winning the third (+10, =3, -8). In 1877 he learned that he had tuberculosis, and emigrated to Australia at the advice of his doctor. He passed away in Melbourne in 1884.

Wikipedia article: John Wisker

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 77  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Wisker vs Owen  1-0321866Counties Chess AssociationC39 King's Gambit Accepted
2. J Wisker vs Steinitz 0-1291868LondonC44 King's Pawn Game
3. J Wisker vs G MacDonnell 1-0341868BCA-02.Challenge CupC41 Philidor Defense
4. Owen vs J Wisker 1-0331868BCA-02.Challenge CupA00 Uncommon Opening
5. R Wormald vs J Wisker 1-0241868BCA-02.Challenge CupC77 Ruy Lopez
6. Bird vs J Wisker ½-½381868BCA-02.Challenge Cup+C77 Ruy Lopez
7. De Vere vs J Wisker  1-0571868BCA-02.Challenge CupC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. J Lord vs J Wisker  0-1251868BCA-02.Challenge CupC44 King's Pawn Game
9. J Wisker vs Bird 0-1481868BCA-02.Challenge CupC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
10. Blackburne vs J Wisker 1-0231868BCA-02.Challenge CupC77 Ruy Lopez
11. J Wisker vs Blackburne  ½-½381868BCA-02.Challenge CupC01 French, Exchange
12. Blackburne vs J Wisker 1-0231868BCA-02.Challenge CupC77 Ruy Lopez
13. G MacDonnell vs J Wisker  1-0411869GlowwormA02 Bird's Opening
14. Burn vs J Wisker ½-½591870BCA-03 Challenge Cup playoffC25 Vienna
15. J Wisker vs Owen  1-0311870BCA-03.Challenge CupC01 French, Exchange
16. J Wisker vs Burn 1-0571870BCA-03.Challenge Cup playoff-1plC60 Ruy Lopez
17. J Wisker vs Blackburne 1-0441870BCA-03.Challenge CupC15 French, Winawer
18. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker  ½-½481870London m1C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. J Wisker vs S Rosenthal  0-1281870London m1C33 King's Gambit Accepted
20. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker  0-1411870London m1C51 Evans Gambit
21. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker  ½-½361870London m1C47 Four Knights
22. J Wisker vs S Rosenthal  ½-½261870London m1C33 King's Gambit Accepted
23. J Wisker vs S Rosenthal  ½-½371870London m1A02 Bird's Opening
24. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker 0-1461870London m1C46 Three Knights
25. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker  1-0471870London m1C78 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 77  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Wisker wins | Wisker loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Wisker is a great might have been (more) of British chess.

In 1868 at the British Chess Association Handicap he came second to Steinitz.

He was British champion for two championships (Challenge Cups) running in 1870 and 1872.

In the third BCA Challenge Cup in 1870, Wisker defeated the up and coming Owen, Blackburne, and Gossip, and then defeated Burn in a play-off match.

He also played matches with Bird (1873).

"In 1873, Wisker was holder of the British Chess Association Challenge Cup, but had never seen or played with Bird, who had been for six years out of chess. An accidental meeting by them, and the presence and intervention of Lowenthal and Boden, led to the Wisker and Bird four matches, the first for 5 pounds, and the other for credit of victory only".(Bird)

Wisker had a further match with MacDonnell (1874).

Wisker co-edited The City of London Chess Magazine, (published from February 1875 to January 1876) with William Norwood Potter (1840-1895)and The Field (London).

Wisker also wrote a novel, "The Machinations of Detherby Yarke".

There was also a chess editor of The Sportsman (London) called John Wisker and it seems probable that this was him.

Elo calculated his rating in the period 1846 to 1884 to be 2420. In comparison (on this scale): Bird was 2440, Blackburne 2570, and Wyvill 2460.

Sep-20-04  Knight13: John Wisker, who lost to Bird.
May-30-06  BIDMONFA: John Wisker


Aug-10-06  sneaky pete: Deviating from the biography here, Feenstra Kuiper lists 4 matches with Bird in 1873:

1. W 6 B 6 draw 0
2. W 4 B 6 draw 2
3. W 3 B 5 draw 1
4. W 10 B 8 draw 3

<In 1873, Wisker ... had never seen or played with Bird ... > except maybe for the 2 games from the 1868 BCA Congress.

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: While still in his twenties John Wisker showed a considerable talent for Chess.

On his "resume" Wisker had a number of wins against some leading European masters of the 1879s: Burn, Bird, Blackbourne, S.rosenthal, De Vere, G.MacDonnel!

A pity he died young.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: I always associate cat's food with his name. Wonder why ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Wisker was a journalist by profession,and wrote chess columns that were featured in publications such as "Chess Players' Quarterly Chronicle", "City of London Chess Magazine", "Westminster Papers" and "The Popular Recreator". After he emigrated to Australia he was the chess editor for the "Australasian"

Source: Gareth Williams "John Wisker (1846-1884)- 'The English Champion', "CHESS", January 2008

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: In 1877 Wisker gave a blindfold simul in Sydney, scoring +2, -4, en route to Brisbane. After moving to Melbourne in 1880, Wisker lost a match to Andrew Burns (+0, -3, =4). He then played Frederick Esling in a match where the winner was the first to achieve 6 wins. The match was abandoned with Wisker leading (+5, -4, =2) due to Esling moving to Bendigo to take up an engineering appointment.

Source: Anthony Wright "Australian Chess to 1914", Melbourne 1995

May-30-09  WhiteRook48: think I've heard of him!
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: As well as being a chess journalist, Wisker also wrote general articles as well. Here is discussion of an article that he wrote for the British magazine "Fortnightly Review" in 1879:

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Wisker's article called "The Coloured Man in Australia" can be read here in the "Fortnightly Review":

May-30-14  optimal play: <DEATH OF MR. WISKER.

The death of Mr. John Wisker, the well known chess-player, which occurred in Melbourne on Friday week, will be generally regretted in chess circles both in England and the colonies.

For the last quarter of a century he occupied a more or less prominent position in the chess world, and to the end his practice in and writings on the game were carefully watched and noted.

For a short time about twenty years ago he was the champion chess-player of Great Britain, and though he lost this position in a set match, yet for many years afterwards, and in fact until he came to Victoria, he was considered one of the few first-rates of the day.

During this time he played in several great matches in London, many of the games in which are recorded in "Chess Masterpieces."

Mr. Wisker came to Victoria seven or eight years ago with the object of improving his health, and at once took the leading position among chessplayers.

A year or two afterwards he was appointed chess editor of the "Australasian", which office he held till his death, but the state of his health prevented him from largely practising the game.

Some four years ago Mr. A. Burns (chess editor of the "Leader") wrested from him the championship of Victoria in a set match, and this was the last single-handed contest in which he took part.

He played, however, in intercolonial matches, and not unfrequently was the leading figure in simultaneous and blindfold exhibition play.

He could conduct six or eight games at once blindfolded with comparative ease, and was an exceedingly good analyst.

Mr. Wisker was also a fine whist player.

His profession was literature, his principal work being for English magazines and newspapers, though he now and then contributed articles to the "Melbourne Review" and other Victorian periodicals.

Mr. Wiskerís style of play was more like that of the Steinitz school than of any other.

He was not so brilliant as careful, and stood a better chance of winning against a player of his own metal than one of a bold and sparkling nature like Burns.

Occasionally, however, he would come out of his hard and deep shell, and attempt a high flight with success.

But he was not an even player.

Sometimes he would play a strangely inferior game, as in the last match between Melbourne and Sydney ; and at others it would require a very first-rate to get on even terms with him.

Probably the state of his health had something to do with this.

Mr. Wisker was a prolific writer and a highly cultivated man generally.

He doubted sometimes whether the time he had occupied in studying chess had been well spent, being inclined to think that it might have been devoted to other matters with advantage to himself.

- South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) issue Saturday 26 January 1884 page 15> (abridged)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <He doubted sometimes whether the time he had occupied in studying chess had been well spent, being inclined to think that it might have been devoted to other matters with advantage to himself.>

You really don't need to be all that good a player to think that occasionally.

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