Chess in 1861

by Bill Wall


In 1861, the first game by means of underwater cable, Liverpool-Dublin, was played.


In 1861, William Chrisman was playing chess at the Philadelphia Mercantile Library when he had a heart attack and died.  He was 30 years old.  (source: Richmond Dispatch, April 9, 1861)


In 1861, the 2nd American Chess Congress was being organized, but it was cancelled due to the Civil War.


In 1861, the first match with timed moves (by sandglass: 24 moves in 2 hours), Anderssen-Kolisch, was played.


In 1861, Wilhelm Steinitz won the 1861 Vienna tournament.


In 1861, the American Watch Company began to advertise their gold and silver watches, using a letter from Paul Morphy as an endorsement. (source: Steuben Republican (Angola, Indiana), March 30, 1861)


In 1861, the Chess Association was renamed to the British Chess Association (BCA).


In 1861, Captain George MacKenzie resigned his Army commission to become a chess professional.


In 1861, Johannes Zukertort learned chess at Breslau.


In 1861, Francis Healey's (1828-1906) "Bristol" problem was published.


By 1861, Blackburne had played over 50,000 games in simultaneous and blindfold exhibitions.


In 1861, prisoners of war during the Civil War were allowed to play chess, but no gambling.


In 1861, Congressman Alfred Ely (1815-1892) of New York, while witnessing the First Battle of Bull Run, was taken prisoner by the Confederates and imprisoned in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.  While a prisoner, Paul Morphy came to Richmond and visited him. (source: New York Times, Feb 4, 1862)


On March 4, 1861, Curt von Bardeleben was born in Berlin.  He was German champion in 1893 and 1904.  He died in 1924.


In April 1861, Theodor Lichtenhein was chess champion of New York City.  He served as a Major in the 58th Regiment of New York Volunteers during the Civil War and organized a corps of artillery, consisting of picked men who had seen at least one year’s service.  (source: New York Times, April 19, 1861)


On June 1, 1861, Charles Stanley won the Leeds knockout tournament.


On June 30, 1861, Johann Bauer was born in Prague.  He was a strong Viennese master.


On July 21, 1861, Albert Hodges was born in Nashville.  He operated Ajeeb.  He won the US championship in 1894.  He died in 1944.


In September 1861, a chess club was formed in St. Petersburg. 


On September 14, 1861, Louis Paulsen won the Bristol knockout tournament.


On September 22, 1861, the first West German Chess Congress, Dusseldorf, was won by Conrad Waldemar Vitzthum von Eckstaedt (1802-1875).


On October 6, 1861, Arthur Ford Mackenzie was born.  He was a chess problemist and composed dozens of chess problems while blind.


On October 26, 1861, a telegraph match between the Liverpool CC and Dublin CC was played.


On October 24, 1861, Paul Morphy visited the Richmond Chess Club in Richmond, Virginia.  A Richmond newspaper wrote that Morphy “has kindly consented to be present” at the meeting of a rebel chess club in the Confederate capital.  (source: Reading Times, Nov 7, 1861)   Another source mentioned that Morphy was to join the staff of Confederate General Edward Johnson (1816-1873) and that Morphy was practicing law in Richmond.  (source: Alexandria Local News, Jan 3, 1862)


In November 1861, the Paulsen Chess Club was formed in New York, organized by German chess players.  (source: New York Times, Nov 9, 1861)