History of the Norfolk & Norwich Chess Club
Early Norfolk & Norwich Chess Club History (continued)
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).
In 1891, James Mason achieved a score of +23 =0 -3 and it is thought that Gunsberg visited in 1893 though no record of his display has been discovered. (continue …)