Abbildungen der Seite

that he was ready to throw a candlestick, or any thing else that was near him, at his adversary; the prudent Colonel always took care thereforç, to be on his feet, to fly to the farthest corner of the room, when he said, “ check-mate, my

Lord !” The following anecdote, though not strictly according with the nature of the preceding, deserves a place for its singularity. It is to be found in the Introduction to Cunningham's History of Great Britain. - When Lord Sunderland was at the Hague, he contracted a particular intimacy with Mr. Cunningham, as they were both remarkable Chess-players. Whenever his Lordship was at leisure, he either drove to Cunningham's lodgings, which were at some distance, or sent his carriage for him. After playing for a course of time, Lord Sunderland discovered, that he who was jolted in the carriage before they sat down, was always sure to lose every game : for which reason, he gave over going to Cunningham's, but always sent for him, and always beat him, to his no small astonishment, as he was conscious that he understood the

game as well as his adversary. At last, when he was very much out of humour, Lord Sunderland told him the trick, and Cunningham insisted, that they should drive to one another's lodgings alternately, which confirmed his Lordship's observation, and restored Cunningham to his former level ; for, from that time, they won and lost alternately.

“ This fact, which appears not at all incredible, for the streets of the Hague were not, in the last century, so smooth as those of London are at present, proves how nicely the capacities of Sunderland and Cunningham were balanced against each other.”

The writer of this paragraph seems to think, that the head of a chess-player, before he plays, must be moved as carefully as a bottle of old port, before it be decanted.

While Mr. Cunningham resided at the Hague, a German Prince, hearing of his great skill in the game of chess, came to that city with a view of playing with him at that truly noble amusement. The Prince, whose name is not mentioned, informed Mr. Cunningham, by a note, of the purpose of

his coming to the Hague. Mr. Ogilvie, laird of Cluny, a Scotch gentleman, in the Dutch service, who passed with many

for little better than an ingenious madman, happened to be with Mr. Cunningham, when he received the note, to whom he said, “ that he did not chuse to risk his reputation, for the knowledge of the

of Chess, with a person whom he did not know; and wished, that Cluny would go and play a game or two with the prince, in the character of one of Mr. Cunningham's disciples.” Cluny agreed to go ; and Mr. Cunningham is said to have written to the Prince to this purpose—that although he had the honour of receiving his highness's invitation to play a game at Chess with him, he could not accept of that honour, as business of a particular nature would not permit him at that time ; but rather than his highness should be disappointed, he had sent one of his scholars to give him some entertainment that evening: and that, if his scholar should be beaten, he would do himself the honour of waiting on him (the prince) next day, and would play with him as many games as he should chuse.



Cluny accordingly went, and beat the prince every game they played. Early next morning, the prince left the Hague, sensible, that if he was shamefully defeated by the scholar, he had, if possible, still less chance of success with the master. This

story will not appear incredible, or, indeed, anywise extraordinary, if we flect on the high estimation in which the game was held in the last century throughout all Europe.

It is said, that Dr. Franklin and the late Sir John Pringle used frequently to play at Chess together ; and towards the end of the game, the physician discovered, that the velocity of his own as well as his adversary's pulse was considerably increased. And Mr. Twiss being requested to insert the circumstance in his book, seems to give it credibility.

Richlêt, in his Dictionary, article Echec, writes, « It is said, that the Devil, in order to make poor Job lose his patience, had only to engage

him at a game at Chess.” The Spaniards say, that the

of Chess is of use para deflegmár un hombre;


which may be translated, to dephlegmatize a


[ocr errors]

The practice of the Turks is worthy of imitation. Though fond of the game, and very expert at it, they play with great coolness, and testify neither joy at winning nor sorrow at losing, and yet they take such delight in playing, that they will


whole days in so doing

I shall add to this remark, and conclude these anecdotes, by mentioning, to the honour of Tamerlane the Great the Mogul Emperor, that though so attached to the game as to have named his fourth son, Shâh Rokh, from his having received the news of the birth of that prince while playing at Chess, and just as he had made the move so called, which is when the rook has given check, he was always rather pleased than hurt with the victory of a subject! an encomium, which the poorest Chess-player will know how to appreciate.

Lord Harvey, in the Craftsman, says, “ Chess is the only game, perhaps, which is played at for nothing; and yet warms the blood and brain as much as if the

« ZurückWeiter »