The state of chess in Paris

The state of chess in Paris

By Robert John Buckley

Rosenthal has held the field in Paris for many years, but his star is waning. Taubenhaus and Goetz are now in possession, and de Riviére is more to the fore than ever. There has been a great split among the Parisian chessists, and an opposition room is now running in the Boulevard des Italiens. The old Café de la Regence holds its own as yet, and no doubt will continue to do so. We played five games there last week, and we may shortly give our friends the best of them.

The old place has been renovated since last we saw it, but the old-fashioned look remains. There is no chess until evening, and we were able to inspect the picture of Mr. Morphy playing eight games blindfold without inconveniencing anybody. It is an old French paint, and represents the great master as sitting with his back to the players without any facial bandage. The room appears to have been the second or inner chamber on the ground floor, which is used as a billiard room. The place is not so quiet and favourable for chess play as Simpson’s Divan, London.

This is probably the sketch mentioned by Buckley. From the John G. White collection at the Cleveland Public Library.

The French amateurs, contrary to expectation, are terribly slow; and they affect the French Defence – unfairly called by George Walker the “sneak” opening – to an alarming extent. When first player they often adopt the Double Fianchetto, which they call “the little Chapels.” They are wonderfully polite and obliging, and do not explain it too much when they lose.
[Source: Birmingham Weekly Mercury, August 15 1891]

Robert John Buckley – Hofmann
Paris 1891
Notes by Buckley
(remove White’s queen knight) 1. e4 e6 2. f4
Bad in even games, but affording good chances to the odds given.
2 … Nc6
d5 was his plan, followed after White’s e5, by c5.
3. Nf3 d5 4. e5 f6! 5. d4 Be7 6. c3 Nh6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. h4 Nf5 9. g4 Ng3 10. Rh3 Ne4 11. Qc2 f5 12. g5 g6
This pawn should not have been moved at the present. It can now be attacked by h5 whenever convenient to White.
13. Be3 Qe8 14. O-O-O Nd8 15. Rdh1 c5
This good move comes a little late.
16. Qh2 c4 17. Bc2 Nf7


18. h5
White having completed his arrangements, now proceeds to business.
18 … Nh8 19. hxg6 Qxg6 20. Rxh7 Nf7
To prevent Rh8+, or Rh6 attacking the queen.
21. Ba4
With an object which becomes apparent a little later.
21 … a6
Intending b5 to enable him to develop the bishop on c8.
And in this position White mated in four moves.
[Source: Birmingham Weekly Mercury, September 12 1891]

Our accomplished confrére, M. Numa Preti, in the September issue of his charming magazine, La Stratégie, points out that in our notice of French amateur play, we have not sufficiently considered that eight of the players at the Café de la Regence are foreigners. M. Preti says that the modern school has very few followers among the French players.
[Source: Birmingham Weekly Mercury, October 3 1891]

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