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Joseph Henry Blackburne
British Chess Magazine Vol 42 (1922)  
Number of games in database: 1,247
Years covered: 1861 to 1918

Overall record: +516 -279 =257 (61.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 195 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (85) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C13
 Scotch Game (71) 
 Ruy Lopez (61) 
    C77 C65 C60 C67 C70
 Vienna Opening (52) 
    C25 C29 C26 C28 C27
 King's Gambit Accepted (51) 
    C39 C33 C34 C38 C36
 Evans Gambit (49) 
    C51 C52
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (90) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C02
 Ruy Lopez (59) 
    C61 C62 C66 C60 C63
 French (39) 
    C11 C00 C10 C13
 Sicilian (36) 
    B45 B40 B73 B23 B22
 Queen's Pawn Game (32) 
    D02 D00 D05 A46 A45
 Scandinavian (25) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   NN vs Blackburne, 1884 0-1
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863 1-0
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863 0-1
   Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881 1-0
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871 0-1
   Blackburne vs Blanchard, 1891 1-0
   Blackburne vs Leverson, 1885 1-0
   Blackburne vs A Muller, 1894 1-0
   Bird vs Blackburne, 1886 0-1
   Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1883 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Berlin (1881)
   Vienna (1873)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   Manchester (1890)
   Paris (1878)
   London (1883)
   6th American Chess Congress (1889)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Berlin (1897)
   Vienna (1882)
   London (1899)
   Breslau (1889)
   Hastings (1895)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Anderssen - Blackburne - Charousek - Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Anderssen, Blackburne, Charousek by monet11
   Challenger Blackburne by Gottschalk
   1870s - 1890s Classic Chess Principles Arise by fredthebear
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by fredthebear
   tactics 2 of Blackburne by fredthebear
   tactics 2 by tactics
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by Patca63
   Annotations e4 Various Authorities & Fredthebear by mneuwirth
   Blindfold Blackburne by ughaibu
   Blindfold Blackburne by irrawang
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   1851 Beyond London by fredthebear

   NN vs Blackburne, 1884
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863
   Blackburne vs Leverson, 1885

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Joseph Henry Blackburne
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(born Dec-10-1841, died Sep-01-1924, 82 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

Joseph Henry Blackburne was born in Chorlton, Manchester. He came to be known as "The Black Death". He enjoyed a great deal of success giving blindfold and simultaneous exhibitions. Tournament highlights include first place with Wilhelm Steinitz at Vienna 1873, first at London 1876, and first at Berlin 1881 ahead of Johannes Zukertort. In matchplay he lost twice to Steinitz and once to Emanuel Lasker. He fared a little better with Zukertort (Blackburne - Zukertort (1881)) and Isidor Gunsberg, by splitting a pair of matches, and defeating Francis Joseph Lee, ( Blackburne - Lee (1890) ). One of the last successes of his career was at the age of 72, when he tied for first place with Fred Dewhirst Yates at the 1914 British Championship.

In his later years, a subscription by British chess players provided an annuity of £100 (approx £4,000 in 2015 value), and a gift of £250 on his 80th birthday.

In 1923 he suffered a stroke, and the next year he died of a heart attack.

Note: Blackburne played on the teams of Steinitz / Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Bird / MacDonnell, Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Aloof, Steinitz / Blackburne, Blackburne / Steinitz / De Vere, Blackburne / Potter, Blackburne / Horace Chapman & Joseph Henry Blackburne / Allies.

Wikipedia article: Joseph Henry Blackburne

1 Source: Grantham Journal - Saturday 17 December 1921, p.3.

Last updated: 2020-07-11 05:57:56

 page 1 of 51; games 1-25 of 1,255  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Blackburne vs E Pindar  1-0241861Casual GameC39 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1411861Blackburne - Pindar m(3)C01 French, Exchange
3. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1211861Casual GameC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
4. Blackburne vs E Pindar  1-0341861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)C01 French, Exchange
5. A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne 0-1241861ManchesterC44 King's Pawn Game
6. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0391861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)A02 Bird's Opening
7. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1291861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)B07 Pirc
8. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0201861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)C01 French, Exchange
9. Blackburne vs E Pindar  0-1331861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)C36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
10. E Pindar vs Blackburne  1-0261861Blackburne - Pindar m(1)A10 English
11. E Pindar vs Blackburne  0-1491861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)A20 English
12. Blackburne vs E Pindar  ½-½481861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)C01 French, Exchange
13. E Pindar vs Blackburne  0-1401861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)A03 Bird's Opening
14. Blackburne vs C Stanley  ½-½271861Offhand GameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0501861Casual GameC15 French, Winawer
16. Blackburne vs Paulsen ½-½291861Casual GameC60 Ruy Lopez
17. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-0331861Blindfold simul, 10bC00 French Defense
18. Blackburne vs Jetson 1-0191861Blindfold simul, 3bB40 Sicilian
19. Blackburne vs A Steinkuehler 1-0211862Manchester CC chC51 Evans Gambit
20. C Stanley vs Blackburne  0-1321862Offhand gameC44 King's Pawn Game
21. Blackburne vs E Pindar  ½-½421862Blackburne - Pindar m(3)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
22. Blackburne vs W Hamilton 1-0161862Blindfold simul, 4bC38 King's Gambit Accepted
23. Blackburne vs W Hamilton  0-1341862Blindfold simul, 7bC38 King's Gambit Accepted
24. Blackburne vs J B Payne 1-0301862Blindfold simul, 10bC45 Scotch Game
25. Blackburne vs G Tegeler  1-0321862Blindfold simul, 10bC66 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 51; games 1-25 of 1,255  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Blackburne wins | Blackburne loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-09-11  Karpova: C.N. 7114

Correspondent John Blackstone draws attention to page 11 of the 'New York Evening Post', 1910.10.05 written by Frank James Marshall

<My dear Blackburne,

I notice with a great deal of pleasure the movement which has been set on foot to commemorate the completion of 50 years of chess life in your career, and I want to add my personal good wishes to the many that will pour in upon you as the brilliant and much-loved representative of British chess. Your style of play, which to my mind should be cultivated much more than it is, has always appealed to me, and I believe I have profited much by a study of your famous games. Whether I have lost or won I have thoroughly enjoyed the games we have had together and both because of your standing in the chess world and my own regard for you I value as such the privilege of having met you so often face to face across the chequered board.

Regretting my inability to greet you personally on this auspicious occasion and hoping you may long survive in the interest of the cause you espoused and for the gratification of your man [sic], friends and admirers I remain yours very sincerely

(Signed) Frank J. Marshall

New York, 29 September.>

Dec-10-11  brankat: Born 170 years ago.

R.I.P. master Blackburne.

Jun-01-12  Llawdogg: Blackburne was a real chess professional.
Dec-10-12  brankat: Happy Birthday Master Blackburne.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: A Blackburne story, from the <Baltimore American> of May 4, 1884:

<"Mr. Blackburne was once contesting a game with a very absent-minded gentleman, when this position was reached:

click for larger view

Mr. Blackburne, who was playing with the Black pieces, in order to amuse the bystanders, seized the White bishop and moved it to f3, at the same time saying 'Mate!'

"'Oh, no, not mate', said his opponent, 'I can take it with the knight.'

"'I beg pardon', said Mr. Blackburne, 'You cannot capture your own piece.'

"'That's so', said the absent-minded gentleman, and sank back in his chair, resigned to his defeat.">

Feb-16-13  rookhouse: Article in which Blackburne refers to chess as "a vice" just posted here:
Jun-19-13  ughaibu: A collection of games in which Blackburne is given as having played blindfold: Game Collection: Blindfold Blackburne No doubt there are games I've missed, please let me know of any that you're aware of.


Mr. Blackburne, the celebrated English chessplayer, engaged in 20 games simultaneously on Saturday night against 20 members of the Victorian Chess Club. The play lasted four hours. Mr. Blackburne won 18 games and drew two. He leaves for Sydney in a day or two, where he will try conclusions against the most accomplished players in the colony.>

- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) issue Monday 9 February 1885>

Jul-03-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Blackburne has proven you can live a long hectic life of a chess master while drinking considerably and even keep your chess prowess ( see <keypusher>'s post above). Reminds me of Fritz Saemisch who equally lived long , this time , chain smoking all the time.
Aug-01-13  optimal play: <<<Mr. Blackburne has not been so successful in his blindfold play in Sydney as in Melbourne, but it may be remarked that at the former place he had, perhaps, six of the best players the colony could muster against him. It is not usual to oppose first-class players to these who essay to play blindfold, as of course the latter are at the best laboring under disadvantages.

The Sydney Morning Herald gives the following account of the match which took place on Thursday, February 26 : >

There were about 150 chessplayers present during the evening. His Honor Mr. Justice Windeyer presided, and Mr. P. B. Walker, Acting Superintendent of Telegraphs, president of the Sydney Chess Club, and the Rev. S. S. Tovey, vice-president, called over the moves.

There were eight games proceeding simultaneously, Mr. Blackburne having a seat on the platform with his back towards his opponents, who were ranged at the boards ; placed in a row in front of the platform.

The following was the order of players :

Board No. 1, Mr. Deholery ;
No. 2. Mr. Ridley ;
No. 3. Mr. Heiman ;
No. 4. Mr. Newman ;
No. 5. Mr. Chamier ;
No. 6. Mr. Russell ;
No. 7. Mr. Crane ;
No. 8. Mr. Gea.

The wonderful performance of playing so many strong players at once lasted from 7 o'clock until 20 minutes past 12, when the first draw was called.

Mr. Blackburne's marvellous faculty was manifested in a marked manner at board 5, about the 23rd move. There had been a slight inaccuracy in calling over the moves, by which a Rook came to be misplaced. In correcting the error Mr. Blackburne called over the position of every piece on the board, for which he was loudly applauded.

At 20 minutes past 12 o'clock Mr. Gea, at board 8, after the 37th move, suggested a draw, and Mr. Blackburne agreed. No. 4, Mr. Newman, resigned after the 30th move, at five minutes to 1 o'clock. Mr. Blackburne resigned at No. 1, after the 37th move, at 10 minutes past 1, in favor of Mr. Deholery, who was heartily congratulated on his victory. At 1.25 a.m. No. 2 declared a draw. Mr. Blackburne resigned at board 5, on the 36th move, in favor of Mr. Chamier. Mr. Heiman won at board 3. At No. 7 board Mr. Crane resigned in favor of Mr. Blackburne.

The result was that Mr. Blackburne won two games, lost three, and three were drawn.>

- South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) issue Saturday 7 March 1885>

Sep-29-13  Karpova: In a match ending on June 8, 1887, Blackburne beat Johannes Zukertort by the score of +5 -1 =8 according to page 5 of the July 1887 'Wiener Schachzeitung'.

Differing results have been claimed by other users, see posts: Joseph Henry Blackburne and Johannes Zukertort

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <ntiochus: 1125 games of Blackburne are here (a cura di Franco Pezzi):>...
I'm glad he has so many games. Very entertaining!

Nov-07-13  Nosnibor: Towards the end of his career Blackburne was giving simultaneous exhibitions and I hold an original letter of his addressed to "Hon.Sec.Leicester Chess Club"This was sent on the 16th September 2010 from his address at 39 Stillness Road,Forest Hill,S.E.It reads:-Dear Sir I am booking dates for my usual annual tour and shall be in the Birmingham district ftom the 11th to 19th of October,and if a visit to your club could be arranged about that time,I would come to Leicester and play 20 games simultanneously for a fee of two guineas-Will you kindly let me knowat your earliest convenience-I remain yours truly J H Blackburne The actual event took place at the King`s Restaurant,Leicester on Wednesday 12th October 1910.He contested 21 games losing to Dr.H Mason,drawing with Dr.Bennett,E.H Collier,A. Underwood,V.H.Lovell,V.D Pavord,A.F.Atkins,J Lee,H. C.Eales,W.R.T.Whatmore and H.W.Bourne.He won the remaining 10 games for a score of 15.5/21.Not bad for someone approaching his 70th year.Here is the game he contested against Lovell(Black)French Defence,Exchange variation 1e4,e6.2d4,d5.3exd5,exd5.4Nf3,Nf6.5Bd3,Bd6.60-0,- 0-0.7c3,c6.8Bg5,Be6.9Qc2,h6.10Bh4,Nbd7.11Nbd2,Qc-
e1,b4.22Nh5,Nxh5.23Qxh5 Draw agreed.Maybe Black can win at this point by 23g6?
Nov-08-13  Nosnibor: In my last post the dste of Blackburne`s letter was of course 16th September,1910 and not 2010!Apologies.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Quaint story about Blackburne and one of his simultaneous performances>

<Blackburne's guile>

The "Yorkshire Weekly Post" says that during a recent simultaneous performance against the members of a ladies' chess club Mr J .H. Blackburne had worked up a Queen sacrifice against one of his opponents.

On the master's next visit to the board the lady said: 'Had you not better reconsider your last move, Mr Blackburne? You have put your Queen en prise'.

Mr Blackburne sighed his usual sigh, and answered - 'It will have to stand madam, I never take moves back.' So the Queen was captured, and then the arch-deceiver remarked - 'I am afraid, madam, that I shall have to mate you in three moves.'"

The Brisbane Courier p.11 - Saturday 24 February 1906

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Blackburne was in poor health for the final year of his life, with his wife recently predeceasing him.

<Hull Daily Mail> - Tuesday 02 September 1924

Mr Blackburne was seized with slight paralytic stroke about year ago.

<Western Morning News> - Wednesday 03 September 1924

Mr. John Henry Blackburne, the great English chess player, died on Monday at Lewisham in his 83rd year. ..." The intrinsic merits of Blackburue's characteristic games are such," says " The Times," " that he must rank the finest player this country has ever produced, though, unlike Staunton, he never became the world's champion."

He was buried in Ladywell Cemetery, Ladywell Road, Lewisham, London SE13 7HY.

From the on-line records it appers that his grave is
Plot 5925.
Mary Jane BLACKBURNE died 1922 aged 83 - Wife
Joseph Henry BLACKBURNE died 1924 aged 82 - Husband

Dec-10-13  Robespierre: I'm one of those patzers who's a big Blackburne enthusiast because of his fondness for the Evans Gambit -- at which opening he was quite successful! And, how many top level chess players live to the age of 82!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Joseph Henry Blackburne.
Dec-10-13  Nosnibor: One of the feww players of his time to have a plus score against Pillsbury.(+2).R.I.P.Master Blackburne
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Nosnibor> Not all of the Pillsbury - Blackburne games are here in <CG>.

Their actual record is +4=4-4.

Dec-10-13  Nosnibor: <TheFocus> I am afraid I do not agree.Their actual head to head scores is 5 wins to Blackburne,3 wins to Pillsbury and 5 draws,ignoring 2 consultation games where they scored one each.Blackburne won at Nuremberg 1896,Cable match 1896,twice at London 1899 and Cable match 1899.Pillsbury won twice at Vienna 1898 and Cable match 1901.Draws were scored in the Cable matches in 1897, 1898 and 1900,Hastings 1895 and an exhibition game in Vienna 1898.I am not aware of any other games between these two contestants.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I am talking about official games, not exhibitions or consultations.
Dec-10-13  Petrosianic: Depends what you mean by exhibition games. Simultaneous exhibitions, sure. But there were a lot of one or two-shot games in those days, played independently of a tournament or match, and regarded as absolutely "official" (whatever that meant in those days). One of Capablanca's most famous games was one such exhibition:

O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I am wrong. I thought they split their games in London 1899. Instead Blackburne won them both.

Thanks <Nosnibor>. I will change my database.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I consider those 2 game shots to be matches.

I do draw the line at a one game shot. To me that is an exhibition game.

But, I don't get to make those decisions. That's above my pay grade.

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