2013 Championship

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Here Is A Post From The Past - Jackson Whipps Showalter

If you thought the title was a typo and were looking for a game between two new members; it was an intentional "curve ball" thrown to get your attention.

Showalter who was known as "The Kentucky Lion" for his huge mane of hair in addition to his ferocity at the chess board; was the 5th US Chess Champion. Also the 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th!!
Showalter was held in such high regard by his peers that both Pillsbury (after his triumph at Hastings-1895) and Marshall (after winning in Paris -1909) refused to accept the title of United States Chess Champion; which their fans tried to thrust upon them; until they could arrange (and win) a match against Showalter!

If you think Showalter was a backwoods push over; think again, the list of players he beat is a "who's who" list of his era including two World Champions: Bird, Blackburne, Burn, Chigorin, Albin, Alapin, Janowski, Lasker (Emanuel), Maroczy, Marshall, Mieses, Pillsbury, Steinitz, and Von Bardeleben.

Showalter had to satisfy his chess appetite through correspondence chess for most of his early years due to work/family responsibilities and the transportation limitations of his day or his chess accomplishments might have even been greater.

Oh yeah; that curve ball thing. Showalter was an avid baseball player in his youth and is credited with inventing the curve ball by some sources. He was probably the first to throw a curve ball in Kentucky; it is doubtful if anyone can prove who among the 7-9 claimants really deserves the honor of "discovering" the curve ball and in all likelihood it was discovered by several players independent of each other.

I could go on; but then I'd rob my readers of the joy derived from investigating for his/her self; was his wife Nellie a knock out in both beauty and chess; why did he go to Texas, and who was William "Candy" Cummings?

For more explorations try:

Note: While I researched and wrote this article in 2009; Bob Lenning added the links and "more explorations" which made it one of the best Blog posts ever (in my opinion) - Jerry