Sunday 7 December 2014

Staunton - you hacker

Howard Staunton, English Chess Master, Shakespearean Scholar, illegitimate offspring of nobility, has had a reputation of being a somewhat dour player. I'm not sure whether this reputation is accurate, although there is a notion that he was a 'positional' player, before such things became fashionable.
However, when presented with an opportunity he could certainly go the hack. An example of this comes from the London Tournament of 1851. He plays an opening beloved by hackers, the Scotch Gambit, and is happy to surrender a couple of pawns for a lead in development. His opponent then chooses the wrong way to defend and suddenly Staunton is threatening to win material and/or checkmate his opponent. Given that the games in this tournament were untimed, I am a little surprised that his opponent allowed such an elementary checkmate at the end, but it is possible he was simply choosing the 'gentlemen's way out'.

Staunton,Howard - Brodie,Alfred [C44]
London knockout London (1.1), 27.05.1851

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