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Consultation Match Between Brooklyn And New York, 1869
by Joost van Winsen

The Turf, Field and Farm was the first paper to mention the consultation match between Brooklyn and New York, or, better said, between the Brooklyn Chess Club and the New York Chess Club. In its issue of March 12, 1869, the newspaper published the first game between the two cities, announcing to the public that the contest had started.(1)

The consultation match was the first public competition in which the reestablished Brooklyn Chess Club was involved.(2) According to Charles H. Stanley in The Round Table (March 27, 1869), consultation games, in which two or three players were pitted against a like number, were quite popular amongst the Brooklyn amateurs. For that reason it is perhaps not strange that the Brooklyn Chess Club preferred a consultation match as their first external trial of strength.

No rules or regulations have been found for this competition, with the exception that each club was to be represented by two, three or four prominent contestants in each game. The players on New York's side were James P. Barnett, F. Bernier, S.R. Dill and George H. Mackenzie. Those who represented the "City of Churches" were F. Eugene Brenzinger, Eugene Delmar, Charles A. Gilberg, Frederick Perrin and James Phelan. There was one sitting a week, on Friday evening, each club visiting the other club alternately.

The first game was played in the rooms of the New York Chess Club (in the University Buildings, Washington Square). This location also accommodated the final game of the match. The Brooklyn player's welcomed the opponents in their club room, which was at the back of Brenzinger's store, 304 Atlantic Street. The match turned out to be a one sided affair, New York winning all five games.

Brooklyn Chess Club000000
New York Chess Club111115

The fifth game was published in the Turf, Field and Farm of April 30, 1869, after which no new games appeared in the metropolitan chess columns. Frederick Perrin explained what happened (The Spirit of the Times, May 22, 1869):

The consultation games between the New York and Brooklyn clubs are suspended for the present. The New York players have every reason to be satisfied with the result, having won five successive games. We of Brooklyn would do better if Capt. Mackenzie was excluded. He is evidently too much for us.

The pièce de résistance was the third game, which took 105 moves and three sittings. According to Mackenzie it was one of the longest games he had ever seen.(3) The other four games were much shorter. The second game, for instance, lasted two hours.(4)

Notwithstanding Brooklyn's clear defeat in this match, Perrin wrote to a Detroit correspondent approximately six months later: "The Brooklyn Chess Club is not only in a flourishing condition, but counts among their number many strong players, who would give considerable trouble to any club who might desire to try conclusions with them." (The Spirit of the Times, October 30, 1869)

Brooklyn (Brenzinger/Delmar/Gilberg/Perrin) — New York (Barnett/Bernier/Mackenzie)
Game 1
Spanish: Closed (Center Attack)
1869.03.12USA New York (New York Chess Club)
Annotations by George H. Mackenzie (Turf, Field and Farm)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 Ne4 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nxd4 Nxd4
The propriety of this capture is somewhat doubtful, as it gives the White queen great command of the board.
9.Qxd4 Nc5 10.Nc3 Nxa4 11.Qxa4 0-0 12.Bf4 d5 13.exd6 Bxd6 14.Rad1
The first players have now yet an excellent game.
14...Bd7 15.Qd4 Bf5 16.Bxd6 Qxd6
We should have preferred playing Qh4, as the exchange of pieces relieves Black considerably.
17...cxd6 18.Rxd6 Bxc2 19.Rc1 Bf5 20.Nd5 Be6 21.f4 Rfd8 22.Rxd8+ Rxd8 23.Nc3 Rd2
The attack has now changed hands, and is maintained by Black to the end of the game.
24.b3 g6 25.Rd1 Rc2 26.Rd3 b5 27.a3 Kg7
They would have gained nothing by taking the queen's knight's pawn.
28.b4 Bc4 29.Re3 f5 30.a4 g5
A good move, as if White capture the pawn they would lose the rook.
31.g3 Kf6 32.axb5 axb5 33.h3 h5 34.fxg5+ Kxg5 35.Rf3 Rb2 36.Rf4 Rxb4 37.h4+ Kg6 38.Kf2 Rb2+ 39.Ke3 Rg2 40.Rf3 b4 41.Kd4 bxc3 42.Kxc4 c2 43.Rc3 Kf6 44.Kd5 Rd2+ 45.Kc4 Ke5 46.Re3+ Kd6 47.Rc3 Rg2 48.Rd3+ Ke5 49.Re3+ Kf6 50.Rc3 Rxg3 51.Rxc2 Rg4+ 52.Kd5 Rxh4 1-0
Turf, Field and Farm, 1869.03.19
New York (Barnett/Dill/Mackenzie) — Brooklyn (Brenzinger/Delmar/Gilberg)
Game 2
King's Gambit Declined: Classical
1869.03.19USA New York (Brooklyn Chess Club)
Annotations by Charles H. Stanley (The Round Table)
1.e4 e5 2.f4 Bc5
According to the latest analysis of the King's Gambit, Black's best move is to take the pawn.
3.Nf3 d6 4.c3 Bg4 5.Be2 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 Nc6
They might have prevented White from castling by taking pawn with pawn and subsequently giving check with Qh4, but the move made is probably safer.
7.b4 Bb6 8.b5 Nce7 9.d4 Ng6
A deviation from the usual mode of play, which is exd4.
10.f5 Nh4 11.0-0 Nxf3+ 12.Rxf3 Nf6 13.Bg5 Qd7 14.Qd3 d5
Well played, as it breaks up White's centre pawns.
15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Nd2 0-0-0 17.a4 dxe4 18.Nxe4
This move, which at the first glance appears to be a very good one, was not sufficiently considered and costs Black the game. The correct play, we believe, would have been to have moved bishop to a5.
19.a5 dxc3+ 20.axb6 Qxd3 21.Rxd3 Rxd3 22.bxa7 Kd7 23.Nc5+
It was this check that the Brooklyn players failed to take in account, when they allowed their bishop to be won on the 19th move.
23...Kd6 24.Nxd3 Ra8 25.Kf2 (...) 1-0
The Round Table, 1869.04.03
Brooklyn (Brenzinger/Delmar/Perrin/Phelan) — New York (Barnett/Bernier/Mackenzie) (5)
Game 3
1869.03.26-1869.04.09USA New York (New York Chess Club)
Annotations by Frederick Perrin (The Spirit of the Times)
The following endgame was played at the New York Chess Club between the New York and Brooklyn clubs, being the third evening of play, and the game having reached the 75th move.
The position was as follows:
The move rested with New York, and the game was thus continued:
75...a3 76.Bg6 Ba5 77.Nc1 Bc7 78.Ne2 Be5 79.Bf7+ Kb4 80.Nc1 g4 81.Bd5 g3 82.Na2+ Kb5 83.Kd2 Na4 84.Kd3 Kc5 85.Bg2 Nb2+ 86.Kc2 Nc4 87.Bh3 Bb2 88.Kb3 Nd2+ 89.Kc2 Nf3 90.Kb3 Nd4+ 91.Ka4 Kd6 92.Bg2 Ke5 93.Nb4 Kf4 94.Bd5 Kg4 95.Bg2 Kg5 96.Bd5 Kf4 97.Nd3+ Ke3 98.Ne1 Kf2 99.Nd3+ Kf1 100.Nf4 Ne2
The winning move, for the effects of which the Brooklyn players appear to have been quite unprepared.
101.Bc4 a2 102.Nxe2 a1Q+ (...) 0-1
The conduct of the above difficult endgame has been masterly on either side, and reflects the highest credit upon all parties concerned.
The Spirit of the Times, 1869.04.17
New York (Barnett/Dill/Mackenzie) — Brooklyn (Brenzinger/Delmar/Phelan)
Game 4
Scotch: Pulling (Horwitz)
1869.04.16USA New York (Brooklyn Chess Club)
Annotations by Frederick Perrin (The Spirit of the Times)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qh4 5.Nb5 Bc5 6.Qf3 Nd4 7.Nxc7+ Kd8 8.Qf4
A grave error is here committed by the Brooklyn gentlemen, which, we are inclined to think, is sufficient to insure the loss of the game. They should, by rights, have taken bishop's pawn with knight, checking, which would have compelled their opponents to play Kd1. Under existing circumstances the latter will be able to play Kd2 when checked, thus enabling them to place adverse knight en prise a move sooner than they could otherwise have done. In cases like this everything depends upon a time saved.
9.Bxf4 Nxc2+ 10.Kd2 Nxa1 11.Nxa8 d6 12.Nc3 Be6 13.Bd3 Ne7 14.Nb5 Nb3+ 15.axb3 Bxb3 16.Bxd6 Bxd6 17.Nxd6 Kd7 18.Nxb7 Rb8
It will be observed that had they taken knight with rook a check from the adverse knight would have effected the capture of queen's bishop.
19.Nc5+ Kd6 20.Nc7 Kxc7 21.Na6+ Kb7 22.Nxb8
New York has the advantage of the exchange and a pawn, all sufficient to secure the game, which after a few more moves was resigned by the Brooklyn players.
22...Kxb8 23.Kc3 Be6 24.Bc4 Bxc4 25.Kxc4 1-0
The Spirit of the Times, 1869.05.08
Turf, Field and Farm, 1869.04.23
Brooklyn (Brenzinger/Gilberg/Phelan) — New York (Barnett/Mackenzie)
Game 5
Spanish: Morphy (Mackenzie)
1869.04.23USA New York (New York Chess Club)
Annotations by George H. Mackenzie (Turf, Field and Farm)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 Ne4 7.0-0 Nc5
7...Be7 is more commonly played, but the move in the text seems equally good.
8.Bxc6 dxc6 9.Nxd4 Ne6 10.Be3 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Bf5 12.c3 Be7 13.Nd2 0-0 14.Nf3
We should have preferred advancing pawn to f4 before playing the knight here.
14...f6 15.Rad1 Qe8 16.Qc4+ Qf7 17.Qxf7+ Rxf7 18.exf6 Bxf6 19.Nd4 Bd7 20.Rfe1 c5 21.Ne2 b6 22.Ng3 Re8 23.f3 Bc6 24.Bf2 Rfe7 25.Rxe7 Rxe7
Two bishops are generally considered to be slightly stronger than a knight and bishop; but in other respects the game appears to be perfectly even.
26.h3 Kf7 27.Rd2 Bg5 28.Re2 Rd7
We look upon this as an injudicious move, as it leaves White with an isolated pawn very difficult to defend.
29...Bxe4 30.fxe4
They evidently could not take with rook on account of Black's reply Rd2.
30...Rd1+ 31.Kh2 Bf4+ 32.Bg3 Bxg3+ 33.Kxg3 Ke6 34.Kf3 Ke5 35.Ke3 c4 36.g3
If 36.Rf2, Black would check with 36...Rd3+ and then play 37...Rg3.
36...c5 37.a3 b5 38.Kf2 a5 39.Kg2 b4 40.cxb4 cxb4 41.axb4 axb4 42.Kf2 Ra1 43.Kg2 Rc1 44.Kf3 c3 45.Kg4 b3 46.bxc3 Rxc3 47.Re1 b2 48.Rb1 Rb3 0-1
Turf, Field and Farm, 1869.04.30

(1) Frederick Perrin, chess editor of The Spirit of the Times, member of the Brooklyn Chess Club and contestant in two of the five games, reported the consultation match for the first time on April 17, 1869, when the contest was already going on for a couple of weeks.
(2) The Brooklyn Chess Club was reestablished in November 1868.
(3) Turf, Field and Farm, April 16, 1869.
(4) The Round Table, March 27, 1869.
(5) The names of the contestants were not given in The Spirit of the Times of April 17, 1869, the paper that offered the endgame. The Round Table (April 17, 1869) offered the names of the players who participated in the third match game.
© 2011 Joost van Winsen.  All rights Reserved.

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