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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Walter James Joseph Knight
"Blackburne Singing in the Dead of Knight" (game of the day May-14-2012)
Railway Clearing House (1878), London ENG, Apr-05
Scandinavian Defense: Ilundain Variation (B01)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-14-12  Abdel Irada: The punitentiary is open and waiting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: CG, we again thank you for everything--including your way with great puns. Excellently done!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Very good pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: ...all your life, you were only waiting for h7 to arrive...
May-14-12  ZeejDonnelly: Cool pun, although the quality of the game seems a bit lacking to me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: Another excruciatingly awful, but therefore brilliant, pun.
May-14-12  sorokahdeen: Older games fascinate me.

They show a time before television and computers, but also one where there were fewer great chess-players who could turn raw talent into instructive principles.

This game is long before Steinitz, Nimzovitch and Rubenstein and there is no maneuvering: you don't see the attention to the possibility of an endgame and it lacks the cold-blooded attention to detail in modern games that tends to shut-down king-side attacks before they begin.

We tend to admire old games for their fire, but looking at them makes you wonder if there is anything to them but the depth of the player's tactical calculations.

May-14-12  Llawdogg: Great pun. Thanks for the chuckle.
May-14-12  solskytz: What a beautiful, creative and fitting pun!! Loved it

Take these broken wings and learn to fly...

May-14-12  srag: Wonderful pun, specially for old guys like me! Congratulations!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Take your broken wings and learn to play...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White chases the king into the open and takes...the queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I see that the Beatles' song "Blackbird" is not as obscure as I thought it was. Maybe there is no such thing as an obscure Beatles song
May-14-12  JonathanJ: everybody's got something to hide, except for me and my monkey.
May-14-12  Shams: <I see that the Beatles' song "Blackbird" is not as obscure as I thought it was.>

"Blackbird" is to the guitar what "Imagine" is to the piano: every dabbler knows these songs.

May-14-12  optimal play: Wow, that was quick! Only 2 days!
May-14-12  newzild: I don't think it's such a great pun. What does "dead of knight" have to do with this game?
May-14-12  TheTamale: <newzild>: Just that Black's name is Knight, and he loses. I admit that in a way it's a stretch, but it's still kind of nice the way the names play together for the pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Now that that's settled, we just need to know how a railway clearing was named after Yifan Hou.
May-14-12  optimal play: The pun is obviously on the player's names; Blackburne is singing because he's winning; and after 34.Rd1 Knight's game is dead.

Also I can imagine that after Knight blundered with 27...Qd2? an observant onlooker might have turned to Blackburne and said "You were only waiting for this moment to arise..."

Jun-19-14  gars: <newzild>: the pun is about the first phrase of "Blackbird", a song by the Beatles: "Blackbird singing in the dead of night, thake these brokens wing, learn to fly..."
Jun-19-14  RookFile: I like this game. Interesting play on both sides.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I see someone got here before me....
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Played in 1872, 1877 or 1878?

<On Tuesday last Mr Blackburne gave another proof of his wonderful aptitude for playing without sight of the board by contending against the following eight picked players of the Railway Clearing House Chess Club: Messrs Hill, Jones, Tarsell, Linton, <Knight>, Eales, Cox, and Kindell. The result being that Mr Blackburne won seven and drew one. The interest taken in this match will be understood when we mention that such plavers as Messrs Löwenthal, Boden, Duffy, Potter, Down, Heath, and De Vere were present. Mr Percy, the president of the club, and <Mr W. J. J. Knight>, the secretary, deserve the highest praise, both for organising the meeting, and for the courtesy they showed to the visitors.> - The Field, 13 January 1872, p. 40)

<Railway Clearing-House Chess Club. Mr Blackburne gave a blindfold exhibition against eight members of this club at their rooms, 123. Seymour-street, Euston-square, on Friday, the 5th inst. Play commenced about 5.30 p.m., and was continued without intermission till a few minutes past eleven o'clock. The first game finished was against Mr Kindell, jun., who accepted an Evans Gambit and defended it very skilfully. About the twentieth move the blindfold player and his opponent found it necessary to make a repetition of moves and the game was consequently declared a draw. The next was against Mr Eales, who was showing signs of distress in defending an Allgaier gambit, but was soon relieved by an announcement from the blindfold player that he would be mated in four moves. Then came Messrs Tuckfield, Hoare, and Undferdown who resigned in the order of their names. Mr <Knight> was the next to surrender, after an interesting and well-contended game. There then remained only Messrs Tarrant and Hill, the first named player making a desperate resistance in the hope of drawing his game, but it soon became apparent that be could not neutralise the performer's superiority, and he therefore resigned. At the same time Mr Blackburne gave up his game with Mr Hill, and it is only fair to state that the performer made a mistake early in the game, by which he lost a piece and got in difficulties which notwithstanding the ingenuity of his subsequent play, were insurmountable against Mr Hill's care. Mr Blackburne was in very good form, and his astonishing exploit was keenly watched during the evening by a large number of spectators, which comprised some well-known metropolitan players.> - The Field, 20 April 1878, p. 475)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: The game is in Kentish Mercury, 15 March 1889, p. 2, which says it's from Chess Monthly, and <played with 7 others simultaneously in April, 1877.>

Western Morning News, 13 September 1924, p. 2 also has this game and says it was played in 1878 against the strongest player of the Railway Clearing House Club.

I'll date it 5 April 1878 soon..

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