In this week's column I take a look back at a pair of consultation games between Paul Morphy and his elusive prey, Howard Staunton. Staunton, whether due to cowardice or busyness, never gave Morphy the one-on-one contest the latter desired during his trips to Europe in the late 1850s, but they did play a couple of games against each other with a partner. What happened? Go and see for yourself!
Entries in Howard Staunton (2)
A couple of readers thoughtfully offered some content suggestions to help out once the back problems hit; I happily pass them along to you.
First, a piece about Magnus Carlsen as a marketing figure. (HT: Bob Banta.) I'm a little surprised by how little he makes (not that I'd mind his income, but considering the game's popularity worldwide, his prowess and his youth I'd have expected more), but if he becomes the champion this year and works on his body language a bit more I'd expect his income to go up dramatically. (There's also a link within the piece that's interesting, estimating the top 10 chessplayers in 2012 in terms of their earnings. Again, it's disappointing.)
Second, and in a seemingly completely different direction, Jerry Monaco passes along an article from the Smithsonian's website on the evolution of the Staunton chess set. It turns out, however, that there's a thematic link between this article and the one discussed in the preceding paragraph. Did you know, for instance, that the "Staunton" design was not designed by Staunton? (Wags, especially on my side of the Atlantic, might suggest that he didn't have time to design them, as he was too busy ducking Paul Morphy, but no: the Staunton design preceded Morphy's rise and conquest of the European chess scene.) What Staunton did do was to allow his name and prestige to be used in the marketing of the new design, which worked out very well for everyone (except for the makers of the styles that died out, anyway) - I'm sure he made some good coin off of the deal, the chess sets proved very popular, and the world gets to enjoy an attractive and more or less standardized set of pieces. Successful marketing!