Staunton v. Williams, 1851
Entertaining article by Jeremy Spinrad about Elijah Williams at Chess Cafe.
I was interested in the following, about the Staunton v. Williams match:
" ... the impartial Löwenthal would support him in saying that Williams did
not play fairly, doing his best to:
".wear out his invalid host. Upon some occasions he did not appear until
mid-day had passed, in order that the game might be protracted to midnight.
At others he did not appear at all, but sent the most frivolous excuses."
But Williams' story seems to be that the three games were in exchange for
Staunton's desire to have the match played at Staunton's country home;
showing up late for some games does not strike me as giving Williams more
advantage than Staunton might get from not needing to travel."
Wouldn't this depend exactly how late Williams arrived? Staunton's "country
home" seems a slight misnomer, since throughout the 1851 tournament he lived
at 8 Sydney Place, Brompton - more of a town house. (It is where his wife
had lived before their marriage in 1849 and is still standing today.) To
reach the tournament rooms, Staunton would have needed to walk a few hundred
yards to Piccadilly, then turn left into Bond Street, before cutting through
Hanover Square to the Polytechnic Institution in Cavendish Square - in all
about one and a half miles.
If Williams lived to the south or west of Cavendish Square, his journey to
Staunton's house would have been shorter than to the tournament rooms; but
if he lived to the north or east, he would have had to travel a maximum of
an extra one and a half miles. Therefore, it would seem he had little
excuse for being more than ten or twenty minutes late.
I should imagine that three games start were much more than adequate
compensation for Staunton's advantage of home venue. In suggesting that
they played there, perhaps Staunton was thinking more of the absence of
distractions than avoiding the need to travel. At any rate, it would have
given him the opportunity, if he so desired, to go to bed for a few hours
while Williams was on move!
Howard Staunton Research Project:
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