CS1904 Lost Chess Sets
Camb. Spr. Defense |
Rice Gambit |
Chess Sets Used at Cambridge Springs 1904
As noted on this site's home page, the American Chess Bulletin, Vol.I, No. 1, published in June 1904, mentions that "The eight sets of boards, pieces and clocks used by the competitors in the tournament, each accompanied by a certificate bearing the signatures of the sixteen players, were purchased by the following gentlemen:"
As best as I can tell, the whereabouts of these chess sets is unknown. However, I have begun research on these gentlemen and the following is some initial information that I have found:
- Hon. S. C. Shannon, Brockport, N.Y.
- John Lindsay McCutcheon, Pittsburg, Pa.
- Peter Toepfer, Milwaukee, Wis.
- Richard H. Johnson, Boise, Idaho
- Edward F. Johnson, Woburn, Mass.
- Charles L. Clark, Bangor, Maine
- John L. Emerson, Titusville, Pa.
- Jno. B. Smithman, Oil City, Pa.
John Lindsay McCutcheon
- McCutcheon was an amateur chessplayer from Pittsburg(h), Pennsylvania.
- Born May 28, 1857; Died July 17, 1905.
- The McCutcheon variation of the French Defense (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 ) is named after him.
- McCutcheon defeated Steinitz in an 1885 simultaneous exhibition with his pet variation. This game can be found in an article about a contemporary (Kenneth S. Howard) at The Campbell Report.
- McCutcheon is mentioned in Napier: The Forgotten Chessmaster (Caissa Editions 1997, pp.96-98).
- Click here to see a series of blog entries regarding McCutcheon. The entries can be found in the August 2010 portion of the archives (scroll down the page).
Peter G. Toepfer
- Toepfer was a chess enthusiast from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- Born 1857; Died 1915.
- Reportedly, Lasker gave an exhibition in Milwaukee in or around 1900 using life-size chess pieces created by Toepfer. Apparently at one time these pieces were on display in a University of Wisconsin museum. Source: The ChessMill website (www.chessmill.com).
- The Daily Bulletin from the Cambridge Springs tournament mentions that Lasker gave a lecture entitled "Chess, and How to Learn It" on April 30, 1904 using Mr. Peter Toepfer's patented "Exhibition Chessmen." A detailed description of the pieces and board was provided. See the Gallery on this site for an image describing the lecture and depicting the Toepfer chess pieces.
- I once saw an online reference to an antiquarian book for sale that was once part of the "Peter G. Toepfer Chess Collection". In 2010 I was told via email by a medical doctor that Toepfer's chess book collection was donated to the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The writer indicated that it can be found in the hard-to-access rare book collection there. I also found reference to Toepfer's Collection on a Dutch(?) website, but was unable to translate the description.
Richard H. Johnson
- Richard H. Johnson was likely a lawyer. Click here or here for source information.
Edward F. Johnson
- Our Edward Johnson was likely the first mayor of Woburn, Mass. Click here
John L. Emerson
- Emerson was the son of an oil and gas baron (E.O. Emerson). Click here to see an article containing a photo of the house he constructed at 701 N. Perry St. in Titusville around 1908.
- Emerson was the Director of the Titusville (PA) Board of Trade in 1896. Photo
- In March 2004, I was contacted by the great-grandson of Mr. Emerson. I learned that a number of Mr. Emerson's personal effects are still owned by the family. Two chess sets that were in the family for many years have found new homes. One is a beautiful carved antique set that was donated to the Old York Historical Society in York, Maine. The other set was considered to have little value and was sold with a group of items about seven years ago. The whereabouts of that set is not known."
Jno. B. Smithman
- Smithman may have been an oilman. I found reference to a J.B. Smithman in a history of Ashland Township, Clarion County (PA) wherein Mr. Smithman is reported to have struck oil on August 11, 1885 (75 barrels per day!) and on at least one other occasion. The area discussed in the linked article is only a few miles from my childhood home.
- There is a Smithman Street in Oil City (PA), possibly named after our Mr. Smithman or his family.
At this time I have not located any information about the other chess set purchasers.
If you have any information about these individuals or the chess sets from the Cambridge Springs 1904 tournament, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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