Quotes & Queries
5967 The Cable Match series for The George Newnes Trophy ended just over a century ago, on Saturday 22nd April 1911. Great Britain defeated the USA 6-4 to record a third consecutive victory thus securing the trophy . Play began at 15.00 GMT on Friday 21st. The games were adjourned after a six hour playing session and resumed the next day. Yates defeated Voigt in the last game to finish . They had played just 60 moves. The series extended over thirteen matches, from 1896 to 1903, then from 1907 to 1911. The inaugural match was played over eight boards, rising to ten in all subsequent contests. The leading players on both sides did badly. Blackburne, Burn, Marshall and Pillsbury all posted minus scores. The USA dominated at first and won four out of five contests 1899 to 1903.The British side was strengthened in the critical 1901 match by the inclusion of James Mason, who had been American champion in 1876! Meanwhile, the American team was weakened by their inability to include foreign residents. Had they been able to call on the services of Lipschutz , Kemeny and Max Judd from the start, then they would have assuredly secured the trophy in short order. During the gap between matches, 1904 – 1906, the death of Pillsbury and the retirement of Showalter were bitter blows to the American team. The top boards continued to perform well, but the lower half of the team proved increasingly vulnerable.
Meanwhile the annual BCF tournaments provided valuable practice for the British team as well as an opportunity to impress the selectors .When the series started the British team was predominantly metropolitan in composition. Burn and Atkins were the only provincial representatives in 1896. By the time of the last match the majority of the team was drawn from outside London.
5968 Anthony Dod was one of the strong players who was not selected for inclusion in the cable match side. Three times champion of the Liverpool Chess Club, he was Lancashire Champion in 1902. He was Northern Counties Champion in 1903 and 1904. Here is a good example of his skill, from The Sunday Chronicle, 27th September 1903. White A Dod
Black A Burn
Liverpool Chess Club, 1900
Classical, French Burn C13
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Nbd7 6 Bd3 Be7 7 Nxf6+ Nxf6 8 Nf3 c5 9 Qe2 cxd4 10 0–0–0 Qa5 11 Bb5+ Kf8 12 Rxd4 Qxa2 13 Qd3 Qa1+ 14 Kd2 Qa5+ 15 Ke2 Nd5 16 Bd2 Qa2 17 c4 Bf6 18 cxd5 Bxd4 19 Qxd4 Qxd5 20 Qb4+ Kg8 21 Rd1 h6 22 Bc3 Qf5 23 Rd8+ 1–0
Dod was unable to play in the 1905 selection tournament, won by RP Michell, and had retired from active play by the time the series resumed in two years later.