Burnley Express, 1880

1–3 #2 (4 pr.)
Open to all. Usual motto and sealed envelope requirements; each problem to have its own motto. No competitor could receive more than one prize.
J. P. Taylor
Judgement would be based on the B. C. P. A. scale (i.e. Beauty 15, Novelty 10, Difficulty 10, Construction 10, and Variety 5)
1880-08-01 (UK), 1880-09-01 (abroad)
1 pr. J. G. Finch (Motto: Fleeting thoughts)
2 pr. B. G. Laws (We cannot all be masters)
3 pr. A. F. Mackenzie (Have you got it? Look again.)
4 pr. G. Morsch (Usus magister studiosorum)
1 hm. F. F. Beechey (Nihil sine labore)
2 hm. J. Crake (Puck)
3 hm. R. H. Seymour (Hydrogen) (see notes)
Burnley Express and East Lancashire Observer
i. 125 (1880-05-01), p. 8: prel. announcement
i. 126 (1880-05-08), p. 8: announcement
i. 139 (1880-07-31), p. 8: plans for publication
Burnley Express and Advertiser
i. 141 (1880-08-14), p. 3: prbs. received before 1880-08-01.
i. 144 (1880-09-04), p. 3: prbs. publ. without prior examination
i. 200 (1881-10-01), p. 8: lists of awards & other competitors
i. 205 (1881-11-05), p. 3: note on adjudication
i. 213 (1881-12-31), p. 3: note on precursor

No report seems to have been published.

The number of composers appears to be 27 or more: the printed lists omit 2 known composers (with 4 sets), and 2 sets by unknown authors (probably from the US), and that one set (Simplicity) is listed twice by different authors, but only published once. Add to that a set (A Failure) containing at least two problems that appears to have been withdrawn. The number of published problems is 46, but at least 6 named sets were not published for unstated reasons: all problems were said to be printed without prior examination, but see below.

On 1880-09-04 the chess editor recommended the author of the set A Failure to withdraw the two problems mentioned. As this set is not in the list from 1880-08-14, the author was probably not from the UK. The set was not published, and so was not subject to public examination. This suggests that at least this set was examined prior to publication, contrary to stated policy. The editor noted that he would be happy to receive them in corrected form, suggesting that incorrectness may have been a part of the reason for the withdrawal.

In the grace period before the awards became final the chess editor reprints a short note on problem coincidences from Illustrated London News, in which the similarity between the 1 pr. problem and a problem by S. Loyd (Hartford Globe, 1877, 8/8/8/1K3pr1/5R2/5QRp/6qp/7k) were mentioned. This looks like an issue that the judge normally should note and resolve, but nothing further seems to have been said about it.

No further information has been found in Burnley Express on the final award: it is assumed to have passed uneventfully.

In the grace period the chess editor reprinted a note from English Mechanic (October 28, 1881):

We this week publish the first two prize problems in the Burnley Express Tourney. The competition must have been curiously keen and close, for we learn that no less than seven problems scored an equal number of marks. The task of placing in some order of merit such a number of problems which by standard of points were equal, must have been a difficult task, even to such a master of two-move compositions as the judge, Mr. J. P. Taylor. If the prize-takers may congratulate themselves upon the distinguished position they occupy, the honourably mentioned may at least console themselves with the reflection that the merits of their problems were, in the opinion of the judge, not far behind the more fortunate compositions.

Although the source of their information is not presented, the absence of protest in Burnley Express suggests that it is substantially correct, in particular that it affects the composers who were mentioned in the awards list. As adjudication was based on the B. C. P. A. scale, this may have raised questions of if the scale was adequate or not. The lack of a full report from this tourney is unfortunate.

The 3rd hm. problem (R. H. Seymour, publ. on 1881-03-26) is the same as a problem submitted to the unfinished Forest and Stream tourney (v. 10, 1878-08-01, prb. 22, motto Down on the Duais).


1st Prize: J. G. Finch


2nd Prize: B. G. Laws


3rd Prize: A. F. Mackenzie


4th Prize: G. Morsch