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Louis Paulsen vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
Blindfold simul, 10b (1861) (blindfold), Manchester ENG, Nov-28
Rat Defense: Small Center Defense (C00)  ·  1-0



Annotations by Joseph Henry Blackburne.      [148 more games annotated by Blackburne]

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-04-03  Rookpawn: Blackburne adopts the "Hedgehog" strategy of keeping all of his pieces on the seventh or eighth rank. Such formations are difficult to play against in a blindfold game because of their irregularity.
Oct-05-06  prinsallan: Paulsens finish, is as stated, nothing short of superb!
Sep-13-07  chessamateur: Wow, Blackburne actually annotated one of his losses.
Dec-10-07  sambo: The player of the day takes a hit in a blind simul...but not his blind simul! Surprising to say the least. Blackburne probably had a win earlier (27...Bxc3 28. Bxh4 Bxe1 29. Bxe1 and black is up a rook for a bishop), but didn't take it. Tsk tsk.
Dec-10-07  InspiredByMorphy: Blackburne deserves a lot more credit for this game than he is recieving. As he states himself 27. ...Bxc3 28.Bxh4 Bxe1 29.Bxe1 wins the exchange

Apr-07-09  WhiteRook48: what's up with 30 Bg8?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <Rookpawn>: "Such formations are difficult to play against in a blindfold game because of their irregularity."

As a blindfold simul player, I beg to differ. Their very distinctiveness makes them easier to remember, and the positional compromises make it easier to play against.

May-03-09  AnalyzeThis: I guess it depends on whether the hedgehog is done right.
Nov-10-10  Elsinore: Nice annot. at the end, "Mr. Paulsen at that time was, next to Morphy, the greatest living expert at this form of play." Makes you think about all of the players that Morphy should have played but never did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <what's up with 30 Bg8?>

It blocks the eighth rank, of course, allowing White's rook to enter.

Harding in his Blackburne biography (2015), p.19:

<30.Bg8! Good enough; in a blindfold game Paulsen could hardly be expected to find 30.Re7!! Qxe7 31.Be6+>

Quite, and yet it's always instructive to look at the difference between the great and the good.

After 30.Bg8, Black's only realistic try is 30...Bc6, covering the d7 square.

Then we have the line <31.Re7 Qxe7 32.Be6+ Qxe6 33.Qxe6+> and now 33..Bd7 means that the Bg3 will fall.

Without the interpolation of Bg8-Bc6, 32.Qe6+ can't be met by ...Bd7 and the Bg3 will live on.

Interesting but academic, you say. But more importantly, what does Harding say?

After 30.Bg8, he has: <If 30...Bc6 31.Re7 Kc7 32.Bxf4+ etc.> But ...Kc7 isn't even legal, so Harding's cocked it up. This error seems to have evaded detection, so far:

Even so, there's another consideration - after <30.Bg8 Bc6>, White's only winning line is with 31.Re7. If Paulsen could hardly be expected to find 30.Re7!!, why should he find 31.Re7?

Mar-25-21  Z4all: Harding, p19 G-17, gives this game as over two days - 1861-11-28 & -30.

Does anybody know why Harding had the game over two days?

(Harding's sources - Era 1861-12-08, 1862-01-25; Grapham (#250))

Also, I have another secondary source saying Blackburne was Paulsen's guide during his visit. Can that be confirmed?

And finally, did Blackburne really attempt his "sans voir" the very next day after playing Paulsen?


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Does anybody know why Harding had the game over two days?>

Renette's book on Paulsen has the same. Only one of ten games finished on the first day. This isn't an isolated example. Blindfold displays tended to be long-winded affairs and Paulsen was a slower player than either Morphy or Blackburne.

<Also, I have another secondary source saying Blackburne was Paulsen's guide during his visit.>

News to me.

<And finally, did Blackburne really attempt his "sans voir" the very next day after playing Paulsen?>

According to Blackburne, but only as an experiment with one opponent. His first public display, against three opponents, took place on December 7th.

Mar-27-21  Z4all: Thanks <Missy> once again. I'll have a look at some of the other reports on the handful of early practitioners of blindfold. I didn't realize the extended duration was so common.

<According to Blackburne, but only as an experiment with one opponent.>

Is his first opponent known?

(More homework for me, I guess).


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Renette reports that some of Paulsen's American exhibitions took three, four or even five sittings to complete.

<Also, I have another secondary source saying Blackburne was Paulsen's guide during his visit.>

What source? I could imagine that Paulsen would rather hang around with the youthful Blackburne than James Kipping, and Blackburne would have been eager to pump him for information about Morphy.

Mar-27-21  Z4all: <(10b .. Manchester .. 1861) ... Blackburne ... was asked to be Paulsen's official host and guide, to show him places of interest in the city. But Paulsen was so absorbed in his own thoughts that Blackburne never knew whether he was interested or bored.>

Blindfold Chess - Hearst & Knot (2007) p34

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Sounds like it probably came from a later Blackburne interview. Some of his reminisences weren't always strictly accurate but Paulsen was known to be taciturn. Something similar was written about Morphy when he was shown around London in 1858. There's also this from Karpov's participation in the BBC's Master Game series:

<He is cool, detached and almost aloof. During an interval of making the Master Games programmes in Bristol he was taken to see Brunel's spectacular masterpiece, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. To those who had taken him, his response was disappointing; he said nothing and expressed nothing, but a couple of days later, asked to be taken there again.> (The Master Game, BBC, 1979, p.89)

Mar-27-21  Hans Renette: Is there a source in Hearst & Knott?
Mar-27-21  Jean Defuse: ...

<Hans Renette> please take a look at Paulsen vs Kistner, 1861


Mar-28-21  Hans Renette: Typo of mine, you mean? Yeah, that spelling is difficult - sometimes I doubt :)
Mar-28-21  Z4all: <Hans R> - sorry, but I was working from a Google Preview of the book, and the references were excluded from my view.

(I often find interesting asides while googling topics)

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