Monday 4 March 2019

Double Exclam

One thing noticeable in looking at very old chess books and publications, is the absence of what is now familiar punctuation. No ! or ? moves, just wordier comments ('good move', or 'shocking mistake'). Even + for check took a long time to come into vogue.
According to William Edward Winter's "Chess Notes", the first sighting of ! (or in this case !!) occurred in 1874 in "The Westminster Papers". It was included in the notes to the following game, although it's use may not have been intentional.
The game itself is not that high quality, and soon Black finds himself up a rook. (As an aside it is actually very similar to the game I published yesterday). But White chooses not to resign, and eventually Black catches the king in a mating net. However at  move 33 Black misses a mate in one. In the comments, Zukertort states "We prefer 33 R to K7 mate !!". Given that !! usually points to a brilliant and hard to find move, I suspect the exclamation marks here are for dramatic effect, rather than a comment on the quality of the move.

Madan,Mr - Keynes,Mr [C50]
Oxford-Cambridge, 1874


Ian Rout said...

That should read Edward Winter's "Chess Notes". William Winter exists but is someone else.

Shaun Press said...

Thanks for picking that up Ian. I've made this mistake before!