<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)