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Hudson County Chess Association, Inc.

Chess Stories, Benjamin Franklin, Humphrey Bogart, John wayne
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History:

The game of chess was especially important to Benjamin Franklin, and he likened his life of business and diplomacy to the game. In his Morals of Chess (1779) Franklin wrote, “Life is a kind of Chess, in which we often have Points to gain, & Competitors or Adversaries to contend with. . . .The game is so full of events . . . that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of Victory from our own skill.”

Franklin’s own life was instrumental in the founding of the United States and influential in its course since. He was the only person to help draft and to sign all of the nation’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, in 1776; the Treaty of Paris, in 1783; and the Constitution of the United States, in 1787. In addition, he negotiated and signed the Treaty of Amity with France, in 1778, which secured France’s financial and military support without which the American Revolution would likely have foundered.

While living in the Paris suburb of Passy from 1776 to 1785, Franklin was the American rebels’ representative not only to the French court but to the world. He frequently entertained friends, spies, and fellow statesmen. Franklin’s continued popularity with the French helped guarantee his greatest diplomatic victory, the 1783 Treaty of Paris, officially ending America’s Revolutionary War with Great Britain.

It was during this time in Paris that Franklin likely purchased the missing table around which he would have discussed his official duties as well as pursued his passion for chess. This would make the table witness to some of the most diplomatically delicate moments in American history.

Franklin probably brought his “chess” table back to Philadelphia with him when he returned from Paris in 1785 as well a fruitwood chess set likely made in France between 1750 and 1780. Morris Duane, a member of the American Philosophical Society and Franklin descendent, presented the chess pieces, with a 19th century English chess board not connected to Franklin, to the Society on December 28, 1976.

Underscoring the importance of chess in Benjamin Franklin’s life are the large number of anecdotes, most of them likely apocryphal, about Franklin and chess. However, two of the most amusing stories are documented.

One evening, Franklin played late into the night with Madame Brillon de Jouy (1744-1812), a much younger woman with whom he was close friends in Paris, while she lay in the bath. Franklin wrote to her afterward, “Upon returning home, I was astonished to find that it was almost eleven o’clock. I fear that because we were so overly engrossed in the game of chess as to forget everything else, we caused great inconvenience to you, by detaining you so long in the bath. Tell me, my dear friend, how you feel this morning. Never again will I consent to start a game in your bathing room. Can you forgive me for this indiscretion?”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) recorded this exchange that Franklin had in Paris: "When Dr. Franklin went to France on his revolutionary mission, his eminence as a philosopher, his venerable appearance, and the cause on which he was sent, rendered him extremely popular. For all ranks and conditions of men there, entered warmly into the American interest. He was therefore feasted and invited to all the court parties. At these he sometimes met the old Duchess of Bourbon, who being a chess player of about his force, they very generally played together. Happening once to put her king into prise, the Doctor took it. 'Ah,' says she, 'we do not take kings so.' 'We do in America,' says the Doctor.”

Benjamin Franklin rented rooms from 1757 to 1775 at 36 Craven Street, London (now known as The Benjamin Franklin House and open for tours). It is now the only house Franklin lived in still standing. His childhood home in Boston and the house that he built for his family in Philadelphia were both later torn down. For this reason, objects known to have belonged to Franklin are especially important to our understanding of the man and his world. The fact that this table is connected with Franklin’s chess-playing makes it all the more important.

The table is not designated by name in the inventory of Franklin’s possessions taken on his death. There are six tables listed, usually as being mahogany. One entry cites “Chair & Table” without mentioning a wood, and assigns a combined value of ₤3 to both. The value put on each other table alone is between ₤2 and ₤4, putting the pair of objects below the average. The table in this pair is likely the missing French “chess” table.

The table descended to Franklin's granddaughter, Deborah, who married William Duane. It passed to their daughter, Elizabeth Duane, who married Archibald Hamilton Gillespie, and was inherited by their daughter, Ellen Duane (Gillespie) Davis. Following Mrs. Davis' death it was sold, with many other family "relics," by the auctioneers Stan V. Henkels and Son, on June 16, 1924.

 

Clues:

The table was last seen in the Loan Exhibit of the Philadelphia Antiques Show in 1963, loaned by its last known owner Mrs. Benjamin R. Hoffman (Margaret Clawson), and is illustrated in the show’s catalog. It may have been sold at Freeman's auction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1973, following the death of Mrs. Hoffman.

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Entertaining Chess.

 

Hello, I would like to give to my readers some insight on how, not only popular Chess indeed is, however, how entertaining it could be.

Tournament Chess.

Anyone could play in chess tournaments. There are a few requirements. You join the chess federation, for an annual fee, in which includes a monthly chess magazine and you get a chess rating. However don’t fear, I assure you it is one of the most enjoyable events, and everyone should experience this.

            A chess rating is when you participate in a chess tournament; you are given a provisional chess rating of 1200. A master is 2200. It is a mathematical formula. Easily understood, if you win you go up about 15 to-30 points a game, based on your opponents rating. Lose you go down.  

            There are tournaments available. Most popular are on weekends. I will be directing a few in Hudson County, And possibly Secaucus.

            To improve in chess, like anything else, practice. I’m a believer of books. Computers are very popular, and lessons from a chess instructor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Chess.

Some of the most popular people played chess. Benjamin Franklin is my favorite. He also wrote the first Chess book in the USA called the morals of chess.

He went everywhere with a chess board. All his endeavors were over a chess board.


Benjamin Franklin's chess set. Courtesy of American Philosophical Society

History:

The game of chess was especially important to Benjamin Franklin, and he likened his life of business and diplomacy to the game. In his Morals of Chess (1779) Franklin wrote, “Life is a kind of Chess, in which we often have Points to gain, & Competitors or Adversaries to contend with. . . .The game is so full of events . . . that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of Victory from our own skill.”

Franklin’s own life was instrumental in the founding of the United States and influential in its course since. He was the only person to help draft and to sign all of the nation’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, in 1776; the Treaty of Paris, in 1783; and the Constitution of the United States, in 1787. In addition, he negotiated and signed the Treaty of Amity with France, in 1778, which secured France’s financial and military support without which the American Revolution would likely have foundered.

While living in the Paris suburb of Passy from 1776 to 1785, Franklin was the American rebels’ representative not only to the French court but to the world. He frequently entertained friends, spies, and fellow statesmen. Franklin’s continued popularity with the French helped guarantee his greatest diplomatic victory, the 1783 Treaty of Paris, officially ending America’s Revolutionary War with Great Britain.

It was during this time in Paris that Franklin likely purchased the missing table around which he would have discussed his official duties as well as pursued his passion for chess. This would make the table witness to some of the most diplomatically delicate moments in American history.

Franklin probably brought his “chess” table back to Philadelphia with him when he returned from Paris in 1785 as well a fruitwood chess set likely made in France between 1750 and 1780. Morris Duane, a member of the American Philosophical Society and Franklin descendent, presented the chess pieces, with a 19th century English chess board not connected to Franklin, to the Society on December 28, 1976.

Underscoring the importance of chess in Benjamin Franklin’s life are the large number of anecdotes, most of them likely apocryphal, about Franklin and chess. However, two of the most amusing stories are documented.

One evening, Franklin played late into the night with Madame Brillon de Jouy (1744-1812), a much younger woman with whom he was close friends in Paris, while she lay in the bath. Franklin wrote to her afterward, “Upon returning home, I was astonished to find that it was almost eleven o’clock. I fear that because we were so overly engrossed in the game of chess as to forget everything else, we caused great inconvenience to you, by detaining you so long in the bath. Tell me, my dear friend, how you feel this morning. Never again will I consent to start a game in your bathing room. Can you forgive me for this indiscretion?”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) recorded this exchange that Franklin had in Paris: "When Dr. Franklin went to France on his revolutionary mission, his eminence as a philosopher, his venerable appearance, and the cause on which he was sent, rendered him extremely popular. For all ranks and conditions of men there, entered warmly into the American interest. He was therefore feasted and invited to all the court parties. At these he sometimes met the old Duchess of Bourbon, who being a chess player of about his force, they very generally played together. Happening once to put her king into prise, the Doctor took it. 'Ah,' says she, 'we do not take kings so.' 'We do in America,' says the Doctor.”

Benjamin Franklin rented rooms from 1757 to 1775 at 36 Craven Street, London (now known as The Benjamin Franklin House and open for tours). It is now the only house Franklin lived in still standing. His childhood home in Boston and the house that he built for his family in Philadelphia were both later torn down. For this reason, objects known to have belonged to Franklin are especially important to our understanding of the man and his world. The fact that this table is connected with Franklin’s chess-playing makes it all the more important.

The table is not designated by name in the inventory of Franklin’s possessions taken on his death. There are six tables listed, usually as being mahogany. One entry cites “Chair & Table” without mentioning a wood, and assigns a combined value of ₤3 to both. The value put on each other table alone is between ₤2 and ₤4, putting the pair of objects below the average. The table in this pair is likely the missing French “chess” table.

The table descended to Franklin's granddaughter, Deborah, who married William Duane. It passed to their daughter, Elizabeth Duane, who married Archibald Hamilton Gillespie, and was inherited by their daughter, Ellen Duane (Gillespie) Davis. Following Mrs. Davis' death it was sold, with many other family "relics," by the auctioneers Stan V. Henkels and Son, on June 16, 1924.

 

Clues:

The table was last seen in the Loan Exhibit of the Philadelphia Antiques Show in 1963, loaned by its last known owner Mrs. Benjamin R. Hoffman (Margaret Clawson), and is illustrated in the show’s catalog. It may have been sold at Freeman's auction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1973, following the death of Mrs. Hoffman.

Special thanks to:
The staff of the
Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary
American Philosophical Society

 

 


The chess table as shown in the catalog of the Loan Exhibit of the Philadelphia Antiques Show in 1963. Courtesy of Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humphrey Bogart the same.

 In his most famous movie, Casablanca, there is a famous scene, where he is playing, you guessed it, CHESS. John Wayne was a big time player as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

The Foxwoods had a Chess tournament, where one of the sections were celebrities only. Dustin Hoffman was present along with many others. I’m in the process of setting up a chess game with a very aspiring  chess player, Sharon Stone. If this indeed takes place, then my chess career will be complete. Ha Ha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chess Hustler.

One very entertaining chess setup are chess hustlers in famous chess parks. New York has a dynamic community. Chess in the parks are played by, what we call Chess hustlers. They play for money, and during play, basically trash talk there opponents to death.

My favorite is Russian Paul.  If you ever had the pleasure of watching one of his games, the pieces are moved at lightning speed.  I once brought my chess camp to Washington Sq Park, the most famous Chess park, And after viewing Russian Paul in a heated game of one minute blitz, That’s right, the game was played in 2 minutes, one minute for each player, the kids were saying he had a robotic arm, That a human hand could not move that fast.

 

   I have a friend who may be a bit more entertaining  however. I call him Black.

He tells me he’s known as the Don Bello, by him of course. While playing him, he won’t shut up! I once told him if his Bishops where as powerful as his mouth, he would be unbeatable. He will scream out, “don’t touch that pawn! I’m going to crack your knight with my bishop”, and holler “CHECK”. “Then after you move the king, I’m going to grab your Queen, I’m a bully you know. I’ll do It!” 

Now sometimes his talk is bogus, however, sometimes he does what he says hes going to do, so you must be careful. In blitz chess you have no time to be care full, so you are in his element. While you calculate the options, he’s hollers again “it’s over” this I found to be his favorite line, so beware. You could play the Don Bello at 169th st @ Washington Ave  in NY. I'm planning on having him present for our Pizza party on December 12th, so you could be entertained. $5 dollars a game. LOL. But beware he’s a bully.

 

Human Chess.

Last week I had the pleasure of  putting together an event called Human chess, where the chess pieces are humans moving across the  board. This best part of this, was the idea was from a first grade student of mine. Her name is Love, and it was during her birthday party this wonderful event took place.

 

Upcoming events;

Please support our upcoming famous Friday knight Chess / Pizza party. December 12th in Hoboken. Pizza and Chess from 6:00 PM-7:00 PM, followed by a chess tournament at 7:30 PM.

Friday December 19th, Chess Trophy Knight / Pizza Party.

All info and other Chess parks, you could view on the web.

 

http://hudsoncountychess.tripod.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right, New Jersey Scholastic State Chess

 

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