The Recreationist, 1873 (The “R” Tourney)

One direct mate, #3 or more, in the shape of the letter “R” (1–2 pr.)
If more than 6 participants entered, a second prize would be awarded. Solutions should not be sent in until requested.
? (Four examiners were appointed ...)
1 pr. R. W. Johnson
(2 pr. F. C. Collins -- withdrawn)
3 pr. = J. Smithwhite
3 pr. = W. Weatherstone
sp. pr. H. Walling
(= indicates a shared prize)
1/7 (Aug. 1873), p. 91: tourney closed
1/8 (1873-09-25), p. 106: request for solutions
1/11 (1873-12-25), p. 157: 2 pr. problem withdrawn

The announcement provided the following argument for letter problems: The composition of Chess Problems, [...], is not often, we believe, attempted by our British amateurs. It needs no great stretch of imagination to conceive an enthusiast in love and Chess employing such a composition as a medium, for which ordinary people would make use of love letters. What damsel could be in different to the charms of a Chess Problem in which the pieces formed her own initials? Let our young composers try its effect.

About 20 problems were sent in; the number of faulty problems was probably 3. (The summary report is unaccountably vague on these points.)

While only two prizes were announced, three were awarded, probably due to the relatively large number of competitors. A special prize was also awarded to a #9 problem as it was thought it could not be fairly judged with problems in 3 or 4 moves. All prizes (announced or not) have been included below, except for that of the second prize.

The second prize problem was withdrawn after the awards were published as it turned out to have been published elsewhere. It is not clear if any corresponding changes were made in the prize list, such as moving the 3 pr. problems into the 2 pr. position. (The problem was also published in Westminster Papers, v. 6, 1873-12-01, p. 160, prb. 351, with additional notes on p. 182; the provincial contemporary mentioned in those notes is currently unknown; as far as known, it was not published in the Recreationist. The Recreationist tourney manager acquitted the competitor from any unkind motive.)

Several other competing “R” problems were published in the last issues of volume 1.

The solution of the special prize problem as printed in the Recreationist, p. 174, is not correct: it is a #6 solution, and contains comments about a free Queen not present in the problem.

The chess section of The Recreationist ended with volume 1.


1 Prize: R. W. Johnson


2 Prize: (withdrawn)

See notes above.

3 Prize, shared: J. Smithwhite


3 Prize, shared: W. Weatherstone


Special Prize: H. Walling