John Townsend

Historical notes on some chess players

John Townsend:

My new book, Historical notes on some chess players, is now available in a limited edition of one hundred copies. It is a hardback, size 234 x 156 mm., bound in green cloth, with spine and upper cover lettered in brass. It is a collection of biographical notes on some British chess personalities of the nineteenth century. Here will be found very much that is new. The first chapter has brief notes about a very large number of players having in common that they were all members of the old London Chess Club, founded in 1807. Some are familiar names, including Alexander McDonnell, William Lewis, Deschapelles, Richard Penn, Daniel Harrwitz, William M. Popert, Frederick Lokes Slous, George Perigal, Augustus Mongredien, and George Webb Medley, while others are hardly known and sometimes no more than names appearing in the club's records.

Detailed studies follow of Jacob Sarratt, John Brand, C.F. Smith, and Charles Henry Stanley. The aim has been to paint the players' lives against the background of the changing times and places in which they lived. There are many revelations, some startling.

The final chapter is an update on my research into Howard Staunton's former identity, a topic which was introduced in my 2011 book, Notes on the life of Howard Staunton. It builds on the discovery that the famous man was at one time known by the name of Charles Sta(u)nton.

It is hoped that this blend of little about many followed by much about few will be an agreeable formula. Illustrating that chess players are individuals, the subjects under discussion include one cricketer, one freemason, two military officers, two "lunatics", one prisoner in jail, one homophobe, one alcoholic, and one suicide - some players falling into more than one category! The book is extensively researched, and is based on new historical material, which is the raison d'être for the book. Copious notes at the end of each chapter quote source references, etc., and there is an index of names. With three illustrative games, one problem, four chess diagrams; x + 146 pp.

The price of one copy sent by airmail to Europe is 23.10 pounds. You can pay by PayPal (when a 3% surcharge will be applied to cover costs) or by bank transfer (please ask for our bank account details). Otherwise, fuller details about ordering can be found on this web page:

  • Languagesenglish
  • Pages146
  • Formatshardback