Historical notes on some chess players


A recent book by John Townsend, Historical notes on some chess players, is now available in a limited edition of one hundred copies. It is a hardback, size 234 x 156 mm., bound in green cloth, with spine and upper cover lettered in brass (see photo below). It is a collection of biographical notes on some British chess personalities of the nineteenth century. Here will be found very much that is new. The first chapter has brief notes about a very large number of players having in common that they were all members of the old London Chess Club, founded in 1807. Some are familiar names, including Alexander McDonnell, William Lewis, Deschapelles, Richard Penn, Daniel Harrwitz, William M. Popert, Frederick Lokes Slous, George Perigal, Augustus Mongredien, and George Webb Medley, while others are less known, sometimes no more than names appearing in the ancient records of the club.

Detailed studies follow of Jacob Sarratt, John Brand, C.F. Smith, and Charles Henry Stanley. The aim has been to paint the lives of the players against the background of the changing times and places in which they lived. There are many revelations, some startling. 

The final chapter is an update on research by the author into the former identity of Howard Staunton, a topic which was introduced in his 2011 book, Notes on the life of Howard Staunton. It builds on the discovery that the famous man was at one time known by the name of Charles Sta(u)nton.

It is hoped that this blend of little about many followed by much about few will be an agreeable formula. Illustrating that chess players are individuals, the subjects under discussion include one cricketer, one freemason, two military officers, two lunatics, one prisoner in jail, one homophobe, one alcoholic, and one suicide - some players falling into more than one category! The book is extensively researched, and is based on new historical material, which was the reason for producing the book. Copious notes at the end of each chapter quote source references, etc., and there is an index of names. With three illustrative games, one problem, four chess diagrams; x + 146 pp.


The price of the book is 17.95 pounds. The rates inclusive of postage are:


U.K. 20.75, Europe 23.45, Rest of World 25.65. All prices are in pounds (GBP).


For two copies and upwards, please e-mail for a quote by return. U.K. prices are for second class post. (Please ask for a quote if you require first class). All overseas deliveries use Royal Mail airmail services.


Make cheques payable to John Townsend, and send to John Townsend, 33 Bishops Drive, Wokingham, Berkshire. RG40 1WA. England. Customers outside the U.K., please indicate in the first instance how you intend to pay. PayPal is available, when a 4% surcharge will be applied to cover costs. (Please ask for the PayPal address). Otherwise, payments must be in British pounds (GBP), e.g. by sterling cheque, postal order, money order, banker draft. For any enquiries, please use the e-mail button below, or telephone.