The  History of Chess Columns in Newspapers

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The history of chess 2 - Chess columns in newspapers and chess contributions in periodicals in Europe and the USA in the 19th century (before 1870)

2.1 English-language newspapers

2.1.1 Early newspapers in Great Britain

Already before 1800 there were newspapers, which reported about the chess game. The Gentleman's Magazine, founded in London in 1731, was one of the first published periodicals. It was published nearly 200 years until 1922. In the short period from 1732 to 1756 more than 18 new magazines were founded in London. In the Gentleman's Magazine, in February 1742, The Origin of the Game of Chess was translated from the French by Mons. Frevet. In July 1787, The Morals of Chess by Dr. Franklin*) were published and in 1832 there was a six-page treatise on carved chess figures of the 12th century.**)

*) Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), his face is nowadays known by the 100 US dollar note.
**) The Gentleman's Magazine 1832, vol. 102, part 1, pp 445.

The Gentleman's Magazine London

The picture shows the head of the title page of the magazine from June 1735 with the centrally placed St. John's Gate in London.

The newspaper publisher Egerton Smith (1774–1841) founded the weekly Liverpool Mercury in 1811. The world's first chess column appeared here on 9 July 1813, which was edited until 20 August 1814, for almost a year, without interruption by Egerton Smith. At that early time the chess problems were already shown in diagrams.

From 13 July 1819 to 23 June 1829, Egerton Smith published another chess column for six years in the Liverpool newspaper Kaleidoscope (with interruption from 17 October 1820 to 6 July 1824).

On 1 October 1823, the weekly medical journal The Lancet was first published in London. The third issue from 19 October 1823, contains on pp. 105-107 an article entitled "Origin of the Game of Chess." Since 9 November 1823 chess problems appeared under the heading "Chess problems". A disadvantage was that the chess problems were not shown in diagrams. The Lancet is one of the oldest medical journals in the world and was founded by Thomas Wakley (1795–1862). Wakley was a well-known surgeon and coroner. The chess column was edited by Wakley (not George Walker, as is often claimed). The chess problems at The Lancet should provide the medical students with entertainment and relaxation. The less attractive chess column was hardly noticed and was discontinued after five months on 28 March 1824. High-circulation newspapers with chess columns

Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (from 1822 to 1886) is the oldest of the major weekly newspapers. From 4 January 1835 to May 1873, George Walker wrote weekly for the chess column.

The Illustrated London News was published from 14 May 1842 to December 2003 and had the greatest circulation in the 19th century. Until 1845 some anonymous contributions to chess appeared. From 22 February 1845 Howard Staunton edited the chess column for about 30 years until his death on 22 June 1874.

The Illustrated London News 1835

The Era. The London weekly newspaper was published from 1838 to 1939. Despite the high price, it had a similar spread as The Illustrated London News. The chess column was edited from 1854 to 1866 by J. J. Löwenthal. From 1867 to 1873 there was a new series with a new numbering of the chess problems, which were no longer edited by Löwenthal.

Sunday Times was a London newspaper and published articles about chess at irregular intervals in the Sporting and Agricultural Supplement. The chess column of this liberal and very popular newspaper has been edited since April 1857 to 6 November 1859 by the Austrian chess player Ernst Falkbeer.

The Daily Telegraph was founded on 29 June 1855. In 1867 a chess column was edited by J. J. Löwenthal. Newspapers in not so high edition

New Court Gazette, London. Chess column by Howard Staunton for a short time from 9 May to 5 December 1840.

Saturday Magazine, London. The newspaper was founded in 1832. A chess column was edited from 2 January 1841 to 28 December 1844 by Charles Tomlinson. In 1845, his book Amusements in Chess was published by J. W. Parker.

Galignani's messenger was a newspaper published in Paris since 1814 in English. The Italian Giovanni Antonio Galignani (1757–1821) lived in London, before he settled in Paris around 1800. The newspaper reported 1843 about the chess match Staunton against Saint-Amant.

The Pictorial Times, London. With a chess column from 5 February 1845 to 8 January 1848. From 15 January the newspaper was united with The Lady's Newspaper and the chess column was continued until 25 October 1851.

The Family Friend, London (1849–1921). The monthly family magazine had a chess column from 1 May 1849 to 27 October 1854, edited from 1850 by Daniel Harrwitz.

The Home Circle, London, had a chess column edited by Henry Cook Mott (1818–1875) from 7 July 1849 to June 1854, with the support of Josef Kling and Bernhard Horwitz.

The Illustrated Historic Times; a family journal of education, literature, science, and general intelligence was a newspaper of the English Church published by C. F. Whiting in London. The chess column, edited by Elijah Williams, appeared from 16 November 1849 to 26 September 1850.

The Field, full title: The Field, the Farm, the Garden, the Country Gentleman's Newspaper (also the short form: London Sporting Weekly). The chess column was edited by Elijah Williams from 1 January 1853 to his death in September 1854. From 24 April 1858 to 1870, Samuel Standidge Boden (1826–1882) was the editor. In 1871, Cecil De Vere took over the chess column and from 1873 to 1882 the editor was Wilhelm Steinitz.

Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper. The cheap magazine was founded by John Cassell in 1853 and existed until 1867. The chess column of this London weekly magazine was edited from 31 December 1853 by Henry Cook Mott.

The Review – the Country Gentleman's Journal (short form: London Journal). The chess column was edited by Captain Crawley for only a few months from 1858 to 1859. Captain Crawley was the pseudonym of George Frederick Pardon (1824–1884).

The Family Herald, was a weekly newspaper founded 1843 by James Elishama Smith (1801–1857 in Glasgow) which was published until 1940. The chess column was edited by J. J. Löwenthal from 1858 to April 1860 together with Charles Tomlinson.

The Illustrated News of the World was a London weekly newspaper, which published chess articles by J. J. Löwenthal from 30 October 1858.

2.1.2 Early newspapers in the USA

Spirit of the Times. The New Yorker weekly newspaper was founded in 1831 by William T. Porter. There was a chess column from 1 March 1845 to 1860 edited by Charles H. Stanley, from 1869 by F. Perrin and from 1873 by James Mason. Porter sold the newspaper to John Richards and continued to work as editor. In 1855 he left the newspaper. (Continuation of the chess column see Porter's Spirit of the Times → 1856)

The Albion : British, Colonial, and Foreign Weekly Gazette. New York (1822–1856). With a chess column from 4 November 1848 to 15 March 1856 in the chronological order by Charles H. Stanley, F. Perrin, George Henry Mackenzie, Perrin (again), Mackenzie (again).

The Illustrated New York Journal was published by the newspaper publisher P. D. Orvis from August to December 1854 and had a chess column from 26 August to 1 December 1854. Orvis had asked the chess master Charles Henry Stanley to give a course for chess beginners in the journal. In addition to basic explanations on chess, 8 chess problems were also published for beginners. After the end of the journal in December 1854, the tradition of this journal was continued by Frank Leslie from January 1855 onwards.

Frank Leslie's New York Journal. Frank Leslie, formerly named Henry Carter (1821 Ipswich, England – 1880 New York City), was an English engraver and illustrator who came to the United States in 1848. In 1853 Leslie moved to New York. On 1 January 1855, he published the journal under the title Frank Leslie's New York Journal of romance, general literature, science and art : New Series Vol. I, part 1. Even the first edition contained a chess column. The chess problem No. 1 was by Daniel Harrwitz. After the publication of the 19th chess problem on 1 September 1856 Leslie stopped the publication of the journal, because of his in December 1855 newly founded newspaper Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, into which the chess column was taken over.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper was published weekly from 1855 to 1891. After that the newspaper was published until 1894 with the title Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. Then until 1901 as Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. After that the title changed until 1921 in Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper. The chess columns were edited since 15 December 1855 by W. J. A. Fuller, W. W. Montgomery, Napoleon Marache and Thomas Frère. In 1859, the newspaper published that William O. Fiske had composed his musical "Caissa, a Fantaisie". Fiske dedicated it to the famous chess problem composer Samuel Loyd. On 23 November 1861, the chess column had to be discontinued, because more space was needed for the reporting on the Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

New York Clipper (later titled The Clipper) has been published since 1853 weekly by Frank Queen. The newspaper was published until 1924. The subjects were circus, theater, music, dance, nature and sports. There were numerous contributions to baseball, billiards, bowling and chess. From 30 June 1855 to 16 August 1856, the chess column was edited by Napoleon Marache and then continued until 1873 by M. J. Hazeltine.

Porter's Spirit of the Times was founded in 1856 by George Wilkes as a sports newspaper. He employed William T. Porter as editor. The chess column was edited by W. W. Fosdick (from 6 September to 8 November 1856), and by C.H. Stanley (from 15 November 1856 to 28 February 1857).

Saturday Evening Gazette was published weekly from 1851 to 1906 in Boston, Mass. The chess column was edited from 1 May 1858 to 15 September 1860 by W. H. Kent and J. Chapman and from 6 October 1860 by H. N. Stone (members of the Boston Chess Club).

American Union was a weekly newspaper published in Boston with some contributions by the chess editor J. A. Potter from 8 May 1858 to 1 January 1859.

Wilkes's Spirit of the Times was published in parallel to Spirit of the Times and Porter's Spirit of the Times, and was after 1861 renamed Spirit of the Times. The chess column was edited from 10 September 1859 to 21 December 1861 by Napoleon Marache.

New York Ledger was an illustrated weekly newspaper. The chess column was edited from 6 August 1859 to 4 August 1860 by Paul Morphy and W. J. A. Fuller.

Short biography to some names above:

2.2 French-language newspapers

Around 1860, there were several hundred newspapers and magazines published periodically (mostly weekly), which reported more or less regularly about chess. Correspondents from all over the world provided the newspapers with news, which were often published unaudited. The latest news had to be published as soon as possible before the competition could print and spread it.

L'Illustration Journal universe Paris 1843l

L'Illustration. Journal universel was the first illustrated weekly newspaper in French and was published from 4 March 1843 to 1944 in Paris. The newspaper was founded by Adolphe Joanne, Édouard Charton, Jacques-Julien Dubochet and A. Paulin. It was managed by Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Paulin. Already in the first year of 1843, the newspaper contained a chess column with chess problems. At irregular intervals some editorial contributions by French chess masters such as Alphonse Delannoy and Arnous de Rivière appeared. Alphonse Delannoy (1806–1883) was a chess player and editor of French Chess magazines Le Palamède in 1842. He lost to Paul Morphy in Paris in 1859. The newspaper is similar to British The Illustrated London News and the German Illustrirte Zeitung from Leipzig.

Journal du Plaisir, Paris. The chess column existed only briefly from 30 August to 15 November 1857 and was edited by Daniel Harrwitz.

Le Sport, Paris. The chess column was edited from 1858 by Saint-Amant and from 1864 by Jean Preti.

Le Monde Illustré, Journal hebdomadaire Paris

Le Monde Illustré, Journal hebdomadaire was founded in 1857. The illustrated newspaper was published weekly until 1940 and then from 1945 to 1956. From 1863 the newspaper had a chess column, which was edited by Paul Journoud.

Le Nord was a newspaper with a chess column in 1863 edited by Ignaz von Kolisch.

Nain Jaune, Paris. In 1866 James Mortimer edited a chess column in this newspaper. James Mortimer (22.04.1833–24.02.1911) was an American chess player and journalist. From 1855 to 1860 he lived as a US diplomat in Paris. In 1870, he moved to London together with Napoleon III., where he founded the newspaper The London Figaro (the official newspaper from the exile of Napoleon III). The chess column was edited from 1872 to 1876 by J. Löwenthal and from 1876 to 1882 by Wilhelm Steinitz.

The newspapers Le Figaro (period from 1826 to the present) and Le Journal des débats (1789–1944) rarely contained reports on chess.

2.3 German-language newspapers

Rudolf Zacharias Becker (* 1752 in Erfurt; † 1822 in Gotha) published in the German city of Gotha the newspaper kaiserlich privilegierter Reichs-Anzeiger. In number 244 from 1803 is a four-sided article on chess. The author, who is not mentioned, answers reader questions and gives advices to the Courier Game and the four-player chess.

In 1828, the first chess column appeared in a German-language newspaper Die Berliner Staffette, ein litterarisches Oppositionsblatt. It was published from April 1828 to December 1829 with a total of 458 numbers in the publishing house of Friedrich Laue. The publisher had emphasized in an advertisement that the Berliner Staffette should by no means confused with the Berliner Estaffette. In the first year the newspaper was edited by Julius Curtius (23.06.1802–10.03.1849, Prof. in Berlin, writer and journalist) and Karl Simrock (28.08.1802–18.07.1876, poet and philologist). In 1829, the newspaper was entitled Allgemeines Oppositionsblatt, eine Zeitschrift für Litteratur und Kunst and edited by Ludwig Rellstab (13.04.1799–27.11.1860, music critic and poet) and K. Isaak Coppenhagen (actually Isaac Coppenhagen, 1803 Bonn – 1829?) was from 1819 to 1820 a study friend of the German poet Heinrich Heine and Karl Simrock at the University of Bonn.

In 1829, the newspaper Allgemeiner Anzeiger der Deutschen published a comprehensive essay on the expansion of the chess game. The editor of the newspaper was Johann Friedrich Hennicke (1764–1848). The six-page editorial with the title ""Erweiterung des Schachspiels" was published anonymous under the abbreviation (K.F. St ---).

In 1833, chess problems were published in the Austrian newspaper Feierstunden by J. S. Ebersberg (published in the enclosed exercise books). During the first years there were only a few chess problems, one of them was by Julius Mendheim (1788–1836, he was the first Prussian chess master and one of the pioneers of the Berlin chess school). The successful solvers of the chess problems were named by the editor Josef Sigmund Ebersberg (1799–1854, he was an Austrian writer and journalist). From 1837 to 1838 some more chess problems were published, among others by Carl Grober and J. Rosmann in Feilhofen. The title of the newspaper changed to Der österreichische Zuschauer. The publication of the newspaper was discontinued in 1857.

Feierstunden von Josef Sigmund Ebersberg in Wien


In 1834, the Pfennig-Magazin published in number 69 and 70 an article in two parts, entitled "Das Schachspiel, Allgemeine Betrachtung über den Nutzen desselben – Erfindung, Rösselsprünge, Schachmaschine". The Pfennig-Magazin was published weekly from May 1833 to 1855. The author of the chess article was not mentioned. The publisher and chief editor of the newspaper was Johann Jakob Weber.

In 1843, Johann Jakob Weber (1803–1880), together with Carl Berendt Lorck (1814–1905), founded the Illustrirte Zeitung, modeled on The Illustrated London News. The newspaper was published for more than a hundred years until September 1944. The first issue of the Illustrirte Zeitung was published on 1 July 1843. On the 12 August the first chess problem was published. The chess column was edited by Karl Julius Simon Portius (1797–1862). He was a teacher in Leipzig. 1827 he had published Fünfundneunzig Sätze gegen das Schachspiel and 1846 the Schach-Almanach. 1854 followed his book Katechismus der Schachspielkunst. After his death in 1862 Max Lange took over the leadership of the chess column only temporarily, before the Leipzig chess player Richard Mangelsdorf (1823–1894) took over this for 20 years. In 1881 he handed the chess column for another ten years to Johannes Minckwitz junior (1843–1905).

Illustrirte Zeitung von Johann Jakob Weber in Leipzig


The French newspaper L'Illustration was founded four months earlier on 4 March 1843 and had its own chess column already in the first edition. The Illustrated London News was the first illustrated newspaper in the world, which was published weekly from 14 May 1842 onwards.

In 1847, the issue number 49 of the weekly newspaper Wochenbände für das geistige und materielle Wohl des deutschen Volkes contains an article about recreational games with the title Erholungsspiele im Hause. Among other games, Dr. Franz Kottenkamp describes the chess game. Franz Justus Kottenkamp (1806–1858) was a writer, philologist, translator and historian.

Wochenbände für das geistige und materielle Wohl 1847


1853–1937 was the time of the illustrated family magazine Die Gartenlaube, founded by Ernst Keil and Ferdinand Stolle in Leipzig. Ernst Keil (1816–1872) was a Leipzig bookseller, publisher and a champion of freedom of the press. Ludwig Ferdinand Stolle (1806–1872) was a Dresden writer and journalist. Until 1862 Stolle was the publisher. In 1859 a regular chess column was set up and edited by Jean Dufresne.

1853–1902 the illustrated periodical Die Illustrirte Welt – Blätter aus Natur und Leben, Wissenschaft und Kunst zur Unterhaltung und Belehrung für die Familie was published by Eduard Hallberger in Stuttgart. From 1859 there were regularly chess problems.

1854–1869 the Illustrirtes Familien-Journal - eine Wochenschrift zur Unterhaltung und Belehrung was published by A. H. Payne in Leipzig. From the number 173 in the year 1857 onwards, there were regularly chess problems, which Herrmann Pollmächer edited in Leipzig. After his death on 24 December 1861, Dr. Johann Heinrich Eugen von Schmidt (1821–1905) took over the editing of the chess column.

Payne Illustriertes Familienjournal in Leipzig

In addition, an annual family calendar was published with the title Payne's illustrirter Familien-Kalender with many chess problems of that time. It is rarely found in public collections. Therefore I published the book:
Elke Rehder: Schachaufgaben im Original. Band I: Payne's Illustrirter Familien-Kalender 1858–1865. Format: 30.5 x 21.5 cm. Hardcover. 111 pages with numerous illustrations of the original chess problems. Barsbüttel, Elke Rehder Presse, 2016.

In 1855, the catholic illustrated newspaper Katholische illustrirte Zeitung in Leipzig was published from 1 January to 22 December (more not published). There were some articles on chess under the editorship of the Leipzig chess player Richard Schurig (1825–1896).

1857 the illustrated newspaper Der Bazar, Illustrirte Damen-Zeitung in Berlin started in January a chess column.

In 1859, there was a chess column in the illustrated newspaper Über Land und Meer - Allgemeine Illustrirte Zeitung published by Friedrich Wilhelm Hackländer in the publishing house Hallberger in Stuttgart. The first volume from November 1858 to June 1859 had in number 9 from 2 February a chess column, edited by Jean Dufresne. The first chess problem was by Friedrich Wilhelm von Mauvillon (1774–1851), who was a Prussian colonel. He is the author of the 1827 published chess book Anweisung zur Erlernung des Schach-Spiels. The second chess problem in issue no. 10 of 9 February was a selfmate (sui-mate) chess problem by Jean Dufresne.

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