Blackburne Joseph Henry (10.12.1841 – 01.09.1924)

Blackburne-Joseph-HenryEnglish player. He was one of the top six players in the world for more than 20 years. He learned to play chess in 1860 being inspired by Paul Morphy’s experience. In 1862 he entered the London International Tournament- first round-robin tournament in chess history and defeated Wilhelm Steinitz in their individual game. Blackburne finished 4th behind Steinitz, Thomas Wilson Barnes, and Johann Löwenthal. At the end of 1862 he played a match against Steinitz and lost scored 2-8. He took part in various international events and showed remarkable achievements in 1867 at Paris where he came out the 4th. In 1868-9 Blackburne won the 2nd British championship. He would become once more British championship in 1914…at the age of 72. In 1869 Blackburne won the playoff to the British championship and was then regarded to be England’s best player, a position he held for over 30 years. Other good results were in 1870 at Baden-Baden he was the 3rd after Adolf Anderssen and Steinitz. In 1872 at London he took the 2nd place behind Steinitz, followed by Johannes Zukertort. In 1873 at Vienna he tied with Steinitz for the 2nd place, but lost the play-off match. The tournament book called Blackburne the Black Death and that became his nickname. In 1876 Blackburne played a match with Steinitz and was defeated by the latter, losing all 7 games. It was considered an unofficial world championship match. This was the first time that spectators were charged an entrance fee (half a guinea) to see a chess match. In 1878 Blackburne defeated Bird in a match with a score 5-2. The same year he took 3rd place at Paris, behind Simon Winawer and Johaness Zukertort. In 1881 he took first prize at the 2nd German Chess Federation Championship. In 1885 at Hamburg he shared the 2nd place. In 1887 Blackburne defeated Zukertort (+5=7-1). The same year at Frankfurt he was equal second with Weiss, behind Mackenzie. In 1889 Blackburne took 2nd place in New York, behind Isidor Gunsberg. In 1890 at Manchester he finished 2nd behind Siegbert Tarrasch, in 1892 at Belfast he shared the 2nd place with James Mason. In 1892 at London he took the 2nd place behind Emanuel Lasker, next year at London he was the winner. In the 1890s he was playing over 2,000 games a year in simultaneous exhibitions. In 1899 Blackburne defeated world champion Lasker. It was the first time a British player had defeated a reigning world chess champion. Blackburne took part in eleven Anglo-American cable matches. It is estimated that during his chess career he played over 100,000 chess games,  more than any other chess player. He was also known for his temper. After losing to Steinitz in a match, he threw him out of a window. Luckily for Steinitz that they were on the first floor. He participated in 53 national or international tournaments in 53 years of international play. Historical ELO: 2570.