Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dropped and Forgotten Chess Pieces

Earliest Known Chess in Tennessee Cities and Towns
by Jerry Spinrad (with permission)
(also, with thanks to Peter Lahde for contributing material)

As part of my research on chess history for my column "New Stories about Old Chess Players" (at, I have collected a very large file with information on 19th century chess. I decided to make a little survey of the first reference I could find to chess players in the various cities and towns of Tennessee.

The first Bon Aqua Springs Hotel 1870
Bon Aqua Springs: This city was the site of one of the most bizarre chess matches of all time, and the event was sufficiently funny that the story was told in a number of papers. A "chess player" named JC Rightor of Helena, Arkansas was staying in Bon Aqua in 1887, and boasted that he had never been beaten in the game. Bon Aqua resident Felix N Moore arranged for this supposed champion to play AB Hodges, the best player of Nashville and perhaps of the entire South. Hodges, of course, beat him repeatedly, also while giving odds, playing blindfold, and in every way a person could show superiority; Hodges account of this "match" is quite amusing, and shows that sometimes a local reputation as a great player may be less impressive than it seems to be!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Memphis Matches 1959-1974

TCN May-June 1959

Memphis Beats Nashville

Recently a match was played between Memphis and Nashville which resulted in a victory for Memphis with a score of 6:4.  The match took place on April 19, 1959 in Milan, Tenn.  It was played on five boards, with 2 games on each board.  Victorious for Memphis were Scrivener, Armstrong and Spiegel.  The winners for Nashville were Wolfensberger and Shore.  The first round games were played in the morning with Nashville having White.  This resulted in a 3½ : 1½ score in favor of Memphis.  In the afternoon Nashville was able to hold Memphis even with 2½ : 2½.

Here are the results:
(Click "Read more" below.)