Thursday 17 March 2016

Thomas Long B.A., T.C.D.

Today is St. Patrick's Day so here is a short appreciation of a leading Irish chess personality of the 19th century; Thomas Long (18?? - 1907).

The following portrait is taken from the frontispiece to The British Chess Magazine for January 1884.


The date and month, but not the year, of Long's birth are recorded in Jeremy Gaige's Chess Personalia, Jefferson 1987.

Chess Personalia, page 255

Thomas Long wrote four books on the chess openings beginning with Key to the Chess Openings, published by Edward Ponsonby, Dublin 1871. 

This was followed by Positions in the Chess Openings, published by W.W.Morgan, London 1874, and was described as a Supplement to the Key to the Chess Openings.

Long's next work was Peeps at the Chess Openings, published by J.E.Wheatley & Co., Huddersfield 1886, written primarily for beginners, according to a review of the book in The British Chess Magazine 1886, page 118. His final book was Double Diagrams in the Chess Openings, published  by J.E.Wheatley & Co., Huddersfield 1894. This was again aimed at beginners and the frequent diagrams are shown in pairs, one from white's point of view and the other from Black's view.

All four of Long's books were illustrated with diagrams which had the peculiarity of printing the piece last moved sideways to `facilitate recognition for the student´. 

Diagram from Key to the Chess Openings, page 97

Thomas Long wrote the chess column in Rathmines School Magazine, Dublin 1872-1873, details of which can be found at Tim Harding's Chess Mail website.

Long was an occasional contributor to various chess periodicals including a four page article on A New Scheme of Tabular Chess Notation in The Chess Player's Magazine, 1866 pages 4-7, and a letter published in Chess World volume II, 1866 pages 250-251, regarding a proposed new move in the Evans Gambit defence. He also assisted John Watkinson as editor of The British Chess Magazine from 1881 to 1887.

Excerpt from Chess World vol. II page 250
British Chess Magazine 1887, title page

Long was chief organiser of Ireland's first chess congress held in Dublin in 1865 (according to Tim Harding in Eminent Victorian Chess Players, page 101), in which he played in the second tournament, and one of his games was published in Chess World, volume I, 1865 page 299. He was also the first president of the Irish Chess Association when it was founded in 1885. (A Century of British Chess by P. W. Sergeant, page 198)

The British Chess Magazine published a short obituary of Thomas Long in 1907, page 259, which was taken from the Weekly Irish Times of 25th May 1907.  

British Chess Magazine 1907, page 259

                                       © Michael Clapham 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment