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Thomas Bowdler vs Henry Seymour Conway
"Bowdlerized" (game of the day Apr-03-2009)
Casual game (1788), London ENG
Bishop's Opening: Boi Variation (C20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: just one bowdler i am afraid-he was in fact quite famous:

DR thomas bowdler, 1754-1825, was that prudish , yet self confident, man of letters who doubted that shakespeare could be served up whole for the tender sensibilities of women and children. for this reason he expurgated the bards original texts-or bowdlerised them-thus introducing a new word into the english language.bowdlers FAMILY SHAKESPEARE infamously "omitted those words and expressions which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family." less well publicised were bowdlers efforts on the chess board. an enthusiastic and imaginative player during the late 1780's and early 1790's, bowdler was a contemporary of the great french master philidor who had fled to london to escape the french of his games-the one here- has the distinction of being a role model for the immortal game between anderssen and kieseritsky played over half a century later.

also worthy of note is

bowdler v philidor london 1788

white to move ke1 ra1 rf1 bc1 p a4 b2 c3 d4 e5 g4 h3

black ke8 ra5 bf8 bb5 nh6 p b7 b3 c4 d5 e6

philidor as usual has set up an impressive pawn chain but has overlooked a tactic which wins material. what is it? answer:
rxf8+ wins two pieces for a rook and leaves whites passed pawns on the k side as a winning force.

May-01-07  vonKrolock: <ray keene showed>

Bowdler vs Philidor, London 1788

click for larger view

White to Play

This one is preserved as fragment?!

a complete game Bowdler vs Philidor, London 1783 (from a P.'s blind simul) 1. e4 c5
2. Bc4 e6
3. Qe2 Nc6
4. c3 a6
5. a4 b6
6. f4 d6
7. Nf3 Nge7
8. Ba2 g6
9. d3 Bg7
10. Be3 d5
11. Nbd2 O-O
12. O-O f5
13. e5 h6
14. d4 c4
15. b4 b5
16. Bb1 Bd7
17. Bc2 Qc7
18. h3 Kh7
19. Kh2 Na7
20. g4 bxa4
21. Bxa4 Nb5
22. Bxb5 Bxb5
23. Rg1 Rg8
24. Rg3 a5
25. bxa5 Rxa5
26. Rgg1 Rga8
27. Rxa5 Qxa5
28. Rc1 Qa3
29. Nf1 Qb3
30. Qd1 Ra2+
31. Bd2 Qxd1
32. Rxd1 Ba4
33. Rb1 Bb3
34. Kg3 Nc6
35. Ne3 Bf8
36. Bc1 Ba3
37. h4 Bxc1
38. Rxc1 Ne7
39. h5 Re2
40. Re1 Rxe1
41. Nxe1 fxg4
42. Kxg4 Nf5
43. Nxf5 gxf5+
44. Kg3 Bd1
45. Nf3 Bxf3
46. Kxf3 Kg7
47. Ke3 Kf7
48. Kd2 Ke7
49. Kc2 Kd7
50. Kb2 Kc6
51. Ka3 Kb5

Feb-02-08  just a kid: A fantastic game by Bowdler.
Apr-03-09  Thanatos13: wow, Bowdler made the black queen completely useless in the most incredible way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening:
Be this Bowdler who bowdlerized the Bard?!
Forsooth! A flagon of Rhenish upon
His whoreson, foolish, knavish, prating head!
Apr-03-09  YetAnotherAmateur: I'd propose alternate lines here, but I keep on getting censored.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mjmorri: I wonder how many players out there (including me!) would have played the spineless 15.Qxh8 instead of 15.Qg3
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Be browdlery-minded!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black is able to capture both rooks with the queen-while his own rooks are parked. White can mate with the queen and bishops-how brutal!
Apr-03-09  Defiler: I think it takes a great confidence in the supremacy of your tactical ability over your opponents to attempt something like this. It looks great when it works but people don't seem to remember all the times it just loses.

Amazing game though.

Apr-03-09  WhiteRook48: the strength of white's attack is that of a bowlder
Apr-03-09  Aas: Is'nt 23Qa3# prettier?
Apr-03-09  chessman95: <Is'nt 23Qa3# prettier?>

That loses the queen... lol

Apr-03-09  chessman95: <<Is'nt 23Qa3# prettier?>

That loses the queen... lol>


Sorry I was half daydreaming when I said that... I was looking at 22.Qa3 instead of 23.Qa3


Jun-08-09  WhiteRook48: splendid sacrifices
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Steinitz once said, "A win by an unsound combination, however showy, fills me with artistic horror." Personally, I think this game beautifully exemplifies that. When Bowdler sacrificed both rooks, I rather doubt he had done much calculation. Most likely, he just crossed his fingers and took his shot at a combination that might go down in history. Reading Keene's post about Bowdler, a blind sacrifice that might lead to an immortal game was completely consistent with his personality.

Now, I realize that may sound like sour grapes, but, as <ToTheDeath> points out on page 1, Black didn't defend this at all well and missed several better moves. In addition, Bowdler's attack doesn't strike me as a model of precision - at moves 13-15, why does he move the queen three straight times, ending up at g3, when he could have just played 13. Qg3 immediately? This queen maneuver only allowed his opponent time to give his king some breathing room, a luxury he definitely could have utilized better. However, a move that looks even better to me than 13. Qg3 is 13. e5!?, which also opens lines to the exposed king. The queen is in no rush to get to g3, as it may be better placed on f3, where it hits d5. Who knows, after 13. e5 or 13. Qg3, the two rook sac may actually be sound.

As for Bowdler's decision not to grab the rook on move 15, I think that was easy. After 15. Qxh8? Qxg2+ 16. Ne2 N7f6, White will be forced to trade off one of his attacking pieces to free the trapped queen.

Nov-17-12  RukiMotomiya: @ OBIT: Doesn't 13. Qg3 lose the mate? 13. Qg3 Qxg7+ 14. Qxg7 Nf6 and now the Queen must either take time to remove the Knight and allow Black to get it's Rooks into play or be unable to mate with Bd5+ and then be shaky attack-wise with a Queen, Bishop, 6 Pawns and maybe a Knight to a Bishop, Knight, two Rooks and 4 Pawns, which could be possibly played to a draw.
Jan-20-13  FlintEastwood: Great game! But Qxg7 looks like a pretty terrible move. Down two rooks, no amount of pawns will compensate! It's mate or nothing.
Feb-24-16  The Kings Domain: Oldie but goodie; the direct ancestor of "The Immortal Game".
May-11-18  Tal1949: Such a shame that those Anderssen games have pages devoted yet this amazing game has only two...

Some amazing stuff here- far more intrigue than the 'immortal game.'

The real question is what sort of emotion was running through white during this game- clearly it was a casual game, but did white always just expect to win or was he just throwing out moves?

11. Nbc3 is not quite correct, but it is absolutely insane to face that over the board. I feel sorry for black!

15. Qg3 is also not quite correct, but I still love the strength to avoid trapping the queen in that h8 corner.

16. Nb5+ is stellar!

19. d4 is like honey poured from a pitcher.

Jun-17-18  zanzibar: While researching some other thing I happened across a column with this thing, which got me wondering...

1) What source was used for this game?

2) What source was used to assign the date for this game?

It might be interesting to backtrack the provenance of this game.

(I can verify the game, but not the date)

Jun-17-18  zanzibar: Everybody on the net gives it as 1788, but...

I first thought that was because everybody was copying <CG>...

until I found <Tartakower - 500 Master Games> also gives 1788, but on what basis?

Personally, I think it's because Philidor gives the game in his book, and naturally everybody assumes the Conway game was played at the same time as Bowdler's games with Philidor.

But, Bowdler could have been saving the game's record, only too happy to share his "brilliancy" with Philidor during his London visit, etc. etc.

(Note: Philidor (1835) doesn't give the date of this game, but does for other games-

Jun-18-18  zanzibar: OK, I did a rough write-up of my research into this game. The ride may be a bit bumpy, but I think there's a few interesting stops along the way....


Feb-08-21  mifralu: <zanzibar: Everybody on the net gives it as 1788, but...>

Schach-Jahrbuch 1891 gives it as <1790>, and last move as <23. Qa3#>

Jul-17-22  LoveThatJoker: Game ten of the 1869 book, "Chess Brilliants", by John Odin Howard Taylor.


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