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James Mortimer
J Mortimer 
Number of games in database: 156
Years covered: 1865 to 1907

Overall record: +30 -110 =15 (24.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Giuoco Piano (12) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Two Knights (11) 
    C55 C56 C59
 French Defense (10) 
    C14 C11 C13 C12 C17
 Sicilian (7) 
    B40 B32 B45 B35
 Scandinavian (6) 
 French (6) 
    C11 C13 C12
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (19) 
    C65 C77 C69 C91 C80
 Petrov (10) 
    C42 C43
 Giuoco Piano (6) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Vienna Opening (5) 
    C27 C26 C25 C29
 Orthodox Defense (4) 
    D50 D67
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J Mortimer vs A Skipworth, 1883 1-0
   J Mortimer vs J Mieses, 1900 1/2-1/2
   J Mortimer vs Lasker, 1891 1-0
   J Mortimer vs L Eisenberg, 1902 1-0
   J Mortimer vs Tartakower, 1907 1-0
   J Mortimer vs Chigorin, 1883 1-0
   L Didier vs J Mortimer, 1900 0-1
   Zukertort vs J Mortimer, 1883 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   London (1883)
   Paris (1900)
   London (1904)
   Ostend-B (1907)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for James Mortimer
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(born Apr-22-1832, died Feb-24-1911, 78 years old) United States of America (federation/nationality United Kingdom)

[what is this?]

James Mortimer was born in Richmond, Virginia. He spent the latter part of his life in England. He played at the British Chess Association tourney at London in 1866 and at Bradford in 1888. At Simpson's Divan in London 1888 he was 7th= with Johannes Zukertort. In 1911 he went to San Sebastian and died there after a short illness.

Wikipedia article: James Mortimer (chess player)

Last updated: 2019-03-10 10:30:52

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 161  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Mortimer vs S Rosenthal  1-0211865Cafe de la RegenceC51 Evans Gambit
2. J Mortimer vs S Rosenthal 1-0501867Paris mC50 Giuoco Piano
3. J Mortimer vs S Rosenthal 0-1441867Paris mC44 King's Pawn Game
4. J Mortimer vs S Rosenthal 1-0241867Paris mC54 Giuoco Piano
5. S Rosenthal vs J Mortimer ½-½501867Paris mC45 Scotch Game
6. S Rosenthal vs J Mortimer 1-0181867Paris mC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
7. J Mortimer vs S Rosenthal 0-1251867Paris mC20 King's Pawn Game
8. Mephisto vs J Mortimer  0-1301882Regent Street ExhibitionC45 Scotch Game
9. A Skipworth vs J Mortimer 1-0471883LondonA20 English
10. J Mortimer vs Zukertort 0-1511883LondonC45 Scotch Game
11. J Mortimer vs J Noa  0-1381883LondonC11 French
12. Steinitz vs J Mortimer 1-0371883LondonE48 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5
13. Bird vs J Mortimer ½-½791883LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. A Sellman vs J Mortimer 1-0271883LondonA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
15. J Mortimer vs Bird 0-1211883LondonC33 King's Gambit Accepted
16. S Rosenthal vs J Mortimer 1-0181883LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. Englisch vs J Mortimer  1-0571883LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
18. Chigorin vs J Mortimer 1-0191883LondonC52 Evans Gambit
19. Winawer vs J Mortimer 1-0571883LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
20. J Mortimer vs Blackburne  0-1811883LondonC11 French
21. J Mortimer vs J Mason  ½-½211883LondonC14 French, Classical
22. J Mortimer vs Mackenzie ½-½801883LondonC30 King's Gambit Declined
23. J Mason vs J Mortimer 1-0351883LondonC77 Ruy Lopez
24. Mackenzie vs J Mortimer  1-0621883LondonA10 English
25. J Mortimer vs A Skipworth 1-0671883LondonC13 French
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 161  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Mortimer wins | Mortimer loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: never heard of the <Mortimer Trap> before.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Some reading about the fellow:

J Mortimer vs Duras, 1907

May-16-09  Karpova: In C.N. 6122 Winter quotes <an article by James Mortimer entitled ‘How to Win at Chess’ on page 9 of the "Daily Mail", 6 October 1906:

<‘To those who have taken up chess as an intellectual and fascinating pastime, and who are often beaten at odds by players of inferior grammar, it will be cheering to know that many persons are skilful chessplayers, though in some instances their brains, in a general way, compare unfavourably with the cogitative faculties of a rabbit. They are simply familiar with the openings – the well-beaten paths discovered or devised by the masters of the game.’>>


Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: ¥ <CALLI> RE MORTIMERS INCARCERATION-AND THE IMPRISONMENT OF CHESSPLAYERS IN GENERAL: The story is told that one committee meeting of the British Chess Federation had to be cancelled because the group was inquorate. Mr Soanes turned up, but Mr Ritson-Morry was in jail for embezzlement, while Mr Stammwitz was in jail for bigamy. His feeble protestations at the trial of: 'I forgot about the other wife,' not unnaturally having been brushed aside. I used to hold the belief that teaching chess in prisons was a good idea. A controlled regime of exercise already ensures that the inmates of our jails are kept physically fit during their sojourn. It seemed, therefore, logical that improving the minds of those incarcerated, by the teaching and general encouragement of chess would be a beneficial parallel. Indeed, there are many examples of those imprisoned for political reasons turning to chess as a way of keeping their brains occupied, while they were out of circulation. A notable example was the former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachim Begin, who helped to keep his formidable mental powers in shape whilst jailed by the British regime in Palestine.

There are also cases of strong chessplayers in their own right -not just chessplaying politicians and committee members-finding themselves behind bars. For example, the two US International Masters, Norman Whitaker and Raymond Weinstein were jailed respectively for confidence trickery and murder. The Yugoslav Grandmaster Milan Matulovic was sentenced to nine months for careless driving after a fatal car crash, while the two world champions Wilhelm Steinitz and Bobby Fischer both found themselves under arrest for bizarre reasons. Steinitz, was arrested and accused of spying when the moves of some of his correspondence games were intercepted. The authorities suspected that the moves were coded military secrets. Meanwhile, Bobby Fischer was arrested in Pasadena in May 1981 under suspicion of being a bank robber. Other chessplayers, including Alexandre Deschapelles, James Mortimer,as we have seen, Ludek Pachman, Alex Wojtkiewicz and Vladimir Petrov were all jailed for political dissidence or matters of principle.

While inside,we are told, Mortimer taught his fellow inmates how to play chess. This is all well and good, but I have re -thought this entire matter of how best to handle the criminal classes. Surely, by insisting on physical exercise, we are helping to breed stronger and fitter criminals to be given free run on our streets. Meanwhile, by encouraging chess, or other mind games for inmates, we are, in fact, assisting recidivists to develop Moriarty-like cunning for their new forays, once released, to be unleashed against the law-abiding citizenry.

Surely this is all wrong thinking-the result of discredited wishy washy liberalism and the false belief that the criminal classes can be successfully rehabilitated.The harsh but true answer , actually, is as follows, following what I now christen the <PUFF PASTRY THEORY OF PENAL REFORM> The prison population should a) be deprived of all contact with chess and other mind-enhancing activities, and b) cut off from all forms of physical exercise and fed on an exclusive diet of cholesterol-forming, high calorie cream cakes. This way, we will ensure that instead of dangerously fit and intelligent malefactors being reintroduced into society, all REPEAT OFFENDERS would, in fact, become stunningly stupid, lumberingly obese and absolutely ill-equipped to elude the constabulary by running away successfully from any crime they might commit in the future.


Jul-05-09  biglo: <Calli> perhaps Mortimer himself was the author of the article and thefore was not so much brave :)
Jul-05-09  Calli: <perhaps Mortimer himself was the author of the article>

Right, he went to jail in order to prevent himself from going to jail. Have you been watching too many political talk shows? ;-)

Jun-09-10  myschkin: . . .

“May not the same reproach be applied to enthusiasts of cricket, football, bridge and other popular games, which lure their infatuated devotees from their legitimate pursuits and render them unfit for work?”

"Chess and madness"

(by Olimpiu G. Urcan, 2005)

<ref> </ref>

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: A picture and discussion of the "Mortimer Trap" can be found at:

Mar-20-12  wordfunph: Mortimer's Trap:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7 5.Nxe5??

5...c6 followed by 6...Qa5+! picking up the knight on e5 :)

rest in peace, James Mortimer..

Mar-20-12  brankat: A great essay Mr.Keene!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: Did this guy ever serve in the army? And if so, did he perchance rise to the level of colonel?
Mar-20-12  brankat: Everyone in the Army of the South rose to the level of Colonel :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Colonel Mortimer: Ah yes, my great, great, great grandfather.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I wrote a post regarding Mortimer and his connection to Paul Morphy at
Jul-01-12  Llawdogg: That was a fun article, FSR.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Thanks, <Llawdogg>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Mortimer has an interesting lifetime score against Lasker:

Speaking of which, here is another game purporting to be between the two, played "recently" accoding to the "Baltimore American" of May 12, 1901:

Dr. Lasker - J Mortimer

<1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0-0 Nf6 5.b4 Bxb4 6.c3 Be7 7.d4 d6 8.Ng5 0-0 9.f4 h6 10.Nxf7 Rxf7 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.d5 Nb8 13.c4 Kg8 14.Nc3 Nbd7 15.f5 a6 16.g4 Nh7 17.Be3 Ndf8 18.Qe1 Bg5 19.Bf2 Bf4 20.a4 Qe8 21.h4 g5 22.h5 Bd7 23.Kg2 Nf6 24.Kf3 N8h7 25.Rb1 b5 26.a5 Kg7 27.cxb5 Nxg4>

click for larger view

If 28.Kxg4, Black mates in two.

<28.Rh1 Nh2+ 29.Kg2 Qxh5 30.Qe2 g4 31.Qd3 Ng5 32.Bg3 Qh3+ 33.Kf2 Ngf3 34.Bxh2 Bxh2> 0-1

THere are some evident typos in the printed score, but I'm pretty sure they are ironed out.

Is there another source for this gam? I've learned to be careful about material from this newspaper.

Feb-05-14  Karpova: From the death announcement:

On February 27, 1911, the veteran James Mortimer (born April 2, 1833, in Richmond, Virginia) passed away in San Sebastian. He was working as a reporter for the 'Daily Mail' and 'Evening News' there.

In 1853, Mortimer came to Paris as an embassy attaché (<Gesandtschaftsattaché>) and was well-known in the Chess Circle of the Café de la Régence already around 1860. He was a brilliant player and often dabbled in International tournaments, where he achieved some brilliant accomplishments, but greater successes were denied to him.

A variation of the Evans Gambit is named after him, and there is also the defense 4.d3 Ne7 in the Ruy Lopez.

He authored the books 'The Mortimer Fraser Gambit', 'The Chess Pocket Book' and the the 6th edition of 'Manual of the Openings' (London, 1890).

Source: Page 138 of the May-June 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Apr-22-14  offramp: He was in prison for reporting hoax Ufo sightings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Obituary from the New York Times, dated February 25, 1911:

Once in American Legation at Paris He Befriended Emperor Napoleon III

LONDON, Feb 24:- James Mortimer, once attached to the American Legation in Paris, died yesterday at San Sebastian, where he was attending a chess tournament.

In the course of his sojourn in Paris Mr Mortimer became an intimate of Napoleon III, and was the last person to speak to him before the fatal operation at Chiselhurst in 1873, where Mr Mortimer had procured shelter for the exiled imperial family at the house of his friend Strode. Mr Mortimer, who left America at the age of 23 years, has been living mostly in London, where he once edited a newspaper called The London Figaro."

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: It will be cheering to know that many people are skillful chessplayers, though in many instances their brains, in a general way, compare unfavorably with the cognitive faculties of a rabbit. - Mortimer

Should I be offended or not!?

Feb-04-16  zanzibar: Comments on Mortimer's performance in <2nd BCA Congress - London (1886)>

<"Mortimer's play was very characteristic and many of the masters—notably Taubenhaus and Mason—have cause to remember it, and his four wins were carried off against good men and had considerable results in the final arrangement of prize-winners.

-- BCM v7 p356 >

Apr-22-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, James Mortimer.
Mar-10-19  Jean Defuse: ...

<Mortimer Time>

James Mortimer C.N. 11249

Further information about Mortimer C.N. 11250

A three-mover by Mortimer C.N. 11251


A knockout handicap tournament, lasting several months, played in Paris 1865. The three finalists were Rosenthal, Mortimer and Duclos, and they were to play off for the first prize.

Initially, Duclos beat Rosenthal, Mortimer beat Duclos and Rosenthal beat Mortimer, so it was still tied. Le Palamède Français of Apr. 1865 suggests that there were more games between Mortimer and the others with the same result, but how many and with what score is not clear.

[Event "Grand Tournoi de la Régence play off"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Date "1865.03.??"]
[White "Mortimer, James"]
[Black "Rosenthal, Samuel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C51"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Bc5 6. O-O d6 7. d4 exd4 8. cxd4 Bb6 9. d5 Nce7 10. e5 Ng6 11. e6 fxe6 12. dxe6 Qf6 13. Qe2 Ne5 14. Nxe5 Qxe5 15. Qf3 Nf6 16. Nc3 Ba5 17. Bb2 c6 18. Bb3 d5 19. Rae1 Qh5 20. Qf4 O-O 21. e7 Re8 22. Ne4 Nxe4 23. Rxe4 Bd7 24. Re5 Qf7 25. Qh4 Qf6 26. Qa4 Bc7 27. Rxd5 cxd5 28. Qxd7 Qxe7 29. Qxd5+ Kh8 30. Qh5 Be5 31. Re1 Qb4 32. Re3 Re7 33. Bxe5 Rc8 34. h3 Qc5 35. Bxg7+ Rxg7 36. Re8+ Qf8 37. Rxf8+ Rxf8 38. Qc5 Ra8 39. f4 b6 40. Qd5 Rf8 41. f5 h6 42. Qe5 Kh7 43. f6 1-0

Source: Le Palamède Français 1865 p. 453-455.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Is there another source for this gam? I've learned to be careful about material from this newspaper.>

Turns out to be a kosher game, but the Dr. Lasker is Berthold Lasker and the 'recently' is 1894. Game submitted.

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