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Antikvariska Bokhandeln

Kimmo Välkesalmi


1889 "CHESS SKIRMISHES" by I. O. Howard Taylor
Listing # 25274
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Current price : €245,00
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Location: Spain
Started: 2020-12-18 19:56:08
Ended: 2020-12-20 20:28:07
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By I. O. Howard Taylor




Taylor, I. O. Howard: "Chess Skirmishes". Chiefly light, short PARTIES won of or by the author, through sacrifices; with a selection from his Chess Contributions, Critical and Comical, in prose and verse; OBITUARY NOTICES of masters, (STAUNTON, COCHRANE, LOWENTHAL, DE VERE, BODEN, KOLISCH, ETC.) ENIGMAS, AND MATE POSITIONS. By I. O. HOWARD TAYLOR, Officer of his Hawaiian Majesty's Order, the Star of Oceania; upwards of thirty years Member, and sometime President, of the Norfolk and Norwich Chess Club; compiler of "CHESS BRILLIANTS".

Norwich, Agas H. Goose, 1889. Original publisher linen binding, with gold Title and Author in front cover, with Subtitle and blind black embossing on covers, and also Title blind black embossed in spine. I am almost 100% sure that the black letters and blind decorations do not have the gold erased, but that they are really black, since I have had several copies in my hands, and they were all like that. A fatal combination with the dark blue of the binding, as they are hardly visible. Later, in other Titles, this combination was used but with red binding, being completely visible. Half Title page + Title page + XVII + (3) + 248 pages. With 2 blue "marker" tapes. 19 x 13 cm. In English.


Good to very good: Slight cover wear, Black Title on the spine slightly faded, sticker residue and smudge on fep, contents otherwise clean; very light occasional foxing. Small, slightly visible wet spot on top inside corner of inside back cover. Small, light spots at the bottom of very few pages (maybe only 150-151 and 156-157) next to the spine, caused by the blue ribbons. Fold in the upper outside corner of pages 165-174, causing some slight foxing. Overall, a book in excellent condition.


L/N 3176; Betts 29-151: "70 miniature games (with annotations appearing on p.207-242), articles reprinted from the "Westminster Papers" 1871-3, obituaries, 19 problems and 10 game endings".




In the 32 editions of the Klittich-Pfankuch Auktion that I know, 2003 November - 2006 June, and 2008 November - 2020 November, a copy of this book was never auctioned.


In the 36 Editions of the GM Square Auctions (1-2, 4, 8-11 and 13-41) of Alexander Baburin that I have Results, a copy of this book was not auctioned either.


John Odin Howard Taylor was a Victorian chess player, a key contributor to the Norfolk & Norwich Chess Club, and is credited with the origination of the brilliancy prize in chess tournaments. This volume contains 70 of his games with annotations and remarks (given at the end of the book) including games against Zukertort, de Vere and Steinitz; 19 chess problems, 10 endings, obituaries and a number of Taylor's interesting articles. Honestly, I think it is a book that should be listed in the "Biographies" section.



(born Mar-02-1837, died May-15-1890) United Kingdom


Taylor was a chess player and direct mate composer. He was a solicitor in London and financial supporter of chess. He is given partial credit for the idea of a Brilliancy Prize. An illness forced his retirement and he died in Norwich.

"For upwards of forty years he was an enthusiastic supporter of local and national chess; he founded, in conjunction with the late Mr. F. H. Lewis, the brilliancy prize now established in connection with all important tourneys, and he regularly contributed to the principal tournaments in this country. His liberality was not by any means, however, confined to chess, and many other societies—religious, charitable, literary, and scientific—in his own neighbourhood have acknowledged ready help from him. Privately, his purse and pen were constantly in requisition for the benefit of those overtaken by misfortune." - The British chess magazine, Volume 10, page 229.

He was the author of two well known chess books: Chess Brilliants: One Hundred Games (1869), and Chess Skirmishes (1889).


Interesting link on Taylor's chess composer side:


In the following link it is possible to see the complete content of the book:




The foresight shown by Rainger and Howard Taylor in their inspired choice as their next invited master is something of which the club can be proud. Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841-1924), possibly the greatest of all British chess players, was becoming nationally known through his blindfold exploits in Manchester and at the London 1862 Congress. On 3rd December, 1862, the Norfolk amateurs gave the blindfold player a stern test for he achieved only a minus score of +2 =5 -3. Blackburne was to visit Norwich on numerous subsequent occasions and before almost every display he remarked how pleased he was to return to the city that had given him his first professional engagement.


In May, 1866, Rainger made his last great contribution to Norwich chess when he organised a successful double event. On the first day Blackburne entertained with one of his celebrated blindfold exhibitions (+8 =2 -0) and on the next day the distinguished veteran Lowenthal gave a conventional simultaneous display.


Unquestionably, the club’s most influential member was the previously mentioned local solicitor, John Odin Howard Taylor (1836-1890). He was an originator of the concept of awarding a ‘best game prize’ in tournaments. His book Chess Brilliants (1869) contained the best games of great players many of whom he was to entertain at his house ‘Pinebanks’ at Thorpe, near Norwich. His later Chess Skirmishes (1889), also published in Norwich, contains invaluable information about early Norfolk chess.


A great stalwart, both as a player and a club official in those early days, was W.G.Crook, who died aged 66, in 1895. His son, Dr.A.Crook, similarly gave the club yeoman service.


Howard Taylor conducted an excellent chess column in the Eastern Daily Press from September 1871 to the end of 1872. Zukertort arrived in Britain in 1872 and Howard Taylor wasted no time in inviting him to give simultaneous exhibitions in Norwich. A brilliant account of Zukertort’s visit appeared in the Eastern Daily Press on 29th September, 1872. The same column featured Howard Taylor’s fascinating interview with Zukertort entitled “The Chess Crichton”. It was from this article that all the fanciful stories of Zukertort’s prowess in fields other than chess emanated.


It is known that the eminent English player Samuel Boden was Howard Taylor’s house-guest in 1872, 1873 and 1875 and although he is reputed to have given displays at the Norwich club on all those occasions no record of them has survived. However, it is reported that whilst in Norwich Boden delivered a chess joke. Apparently, a Norfolk opponent remarked to him “I don’t like your style” to which Boden replied “Ah! but it’s a stile you can’t get over!


Following a further display by Blackburne in 1876 (blindfold +7 =1 -0), Howard Taylor persuaded William Steiniz to visit in both 1877 and 1879. Steinitz had already defeated in matches Anderssen, Zukertort and Blackburne, and was regarded as the world’s leading player though he was not officially acclaimed as Champion of the World until his further victory over Zukertort in 1886.


Steinitz’s first visit on 19th April, 1877 was also notable for two other reasons. On that occasion a chess board and men were presented to the club in memory of the Rev. Horatio Bolton by his widow and it was also the night that John Keeble joined the club.


It was reported that at the annual general meeting of the Norfolk and Norwich Chess Club on September 24th 1886, with the president, Mr. J. O. Howard Taylor, in the chair, the following gentlemen, Baron Kolisch, Herr Steinitz, Herr Zukertort and Mr.Blackburne were all elected as honorary members!


Zukertort in 1883 and Blackburne in December, 1888 gave large conventional displays (Blackburne played 29 games of which he won 26 and drew 3).


I can inform you by an automatic e-mail always when begin my new chess auctions, in case of your interest just click on the e-mail and send. Your e-mail address will be hidden to other recipients.

Item weight 334g








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