Pen portraits, Manchester 1890

Pen portraits, Manchester 1890

From Birmingham Weekly Mercury, September 6, 1890 [Robert John Buckley].

The habits and peculiarities of the players are a curious and interesting study.

Gunsberg usually wears his hat, and, leaning his head on both hands, never looks away from the game, upon which the whole of his faculties appear to be intently concentrated.

Taubenhaus is supplied with a decanter of water. He sips the inspiring fluid meditatively during the incubation of his ideas.

Bird never doffs a tall silk hat, which he wears with a jaunty and youthful air. He smokes incessantly, and varies the proceedings by silent greetings and handshakings with his innumerable friends, for Bird is immensely popular, and we may add, deservedly so.

Herr Schallop is a fine-looking man, stalwart and erect, though apparently long past his meridian. He is officially connected with the Prussian Government.

Tarrasch is an excellent example of the highly-cultured German – an accomplished linguist, and a charming conversationalist, in chess thorough and careful, yet capable of brilliant conceptions whenever brilliancy will pay. He is a Nuremberg physician.

Von Scheve is of conventional Teutonic type, being large and blonde. He expressed himself as being much fatigued by the hard play. The lady visitors watch his game with especial attention, and when Blackburne took off Von Scheve’s Queen […], a fair critic said: “Won’t Blackburne give the Queen back?” and on being answered in the negative, further plaintively remarked, “Won’t he really? How cruel. I wanted Von Scheve to win so much, he’s so nice-looking”.

We examined Mr. Gossip‘s chair with some anxiety. It will be remembered that his failure to carry off the chief prize of the American International has been attributed to the lowness of his chair, which prevented a proper view of the position. We trust his present seat will prove high enough, but we are harassed with doubts. He divides his attention between his opponent and a bottle of ruby-coloured liquid which the vulgar uninitiated might fondly imagine to be not altogether unconnected with old port, but which the cultured amateur, who knows his country’s history, immediately recognises as the mysterious mixture of unknown ingredients which is popularly supposed to operate so powerfully in the production of Mr. Gossip’s happiest inspirations.

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