Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Chicago original

J.R. Houghteling was a strong Chicago player around the turn of the 20th century. Here is his most famous game. White's play is feeble, but Houghteling concludes the game with a beautiful checkmate. Irving Chernev, in his classic The Thousand Best Short Games of Chess, noted that Bigelow called the final position "a rainbow of Bishops and Knights." Francis Wellmuth in The Golden Treasury of Chess wrote that it was "[o]ne of the most extraordinary mates ever given in actual play."

The wonderful chess writer and novelist Tim Krabbé once questioned the game's veracity (scroll down to No. 355), but later acknowledged, "A communication by Frederick Rhine makes it clear that speculations of [Dodge-Houghteling] being a hoax, are unjustified." In the same post, he gave several later examples of similar mates.

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