PfeilJohn S. Hilbert

Walter Penn Shipley

Philadelphia's Friend of Chess



Late in the last millennium, having essentially finished work on the life of Norman Tweed Whitaker (Shady Side: The Life and Crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chess Master, Caissa Editions, 2000), I turned my attention from one of the most problematic personalities in twentieth century American chess history to one of its leading stars. Walter Penn Shipley stands, along with Hermann Helms and very few others, as one of the most important men in late nineteenth and early twentieth century chess development in the United States. Arguably the organizing genius of correspondence chess in this country in the 1890s, a talented player and dangerous opponent at all times, a friend and supporter of world champions and contenders, well respected internationally for his fair dealing and honesty, and long-time treasurer and later president of the Franklin Chess Club at the height of that club's power and prestige in the country, Shipley ranks high among those who have given all they could to the game.

Shipley remained throughout his life a dedicated husband, father, lawyer, and member of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Indeed, it is the strong connection between Shipley's background, most clearly defined through his membership in the Friends, and his work in chess as a promoter and friend to beginners and world champions alike, that has suggested the title for this book, for if anything, Shipley truly was Philadelphia's "Friend" of chess, in that word's every sense.

Here the reader is offered insight into the chess of an accomplished player of master strength, at one time recognized as one of the dozen or so strongest players in the United States, and one who could easily have held a high board during the Anglo-American Cable Match series for many years, had he been willing to participate. The reader is also offered a glimpse into the personal life of a man dedicated to family, friends, and community, and a man who strove with all his might to enrich all three. Shipley, if anything, should be remembered for what he teaches us about how the greatest accomplishments in chess are not necessarily those enacted over the chessboard alone, but are also those enhanced by the time, commitment, and energy devoted to increasing the pleasure others experience in this pastime suitable for all...

001 Introduction

003One . Arrival and Antecedents: (1860-1880)

020Two. Early Chess Club Play (1880-1887)

046Three. Philadelphia's Champion (1887-1890)

074Four. Expansion and New Friends (1891-1893)

110Five. Golden Years, Golden Play (1894-1898)

196Six. Very Good Years (1899-1904)

Between pages 266 and 267 are 16 plates containing 23 photographs

267Seven. Years of Transition, and Controversy (1905-1910)

349Eight. Through the Decade (1911-1920)

396Nine. Through the Years (1921-1942)

433 Selected Bibliography

437 Index

Article number:
18.3 cm
26.0 cm
1.000 kg
John S. Hilbert: Walter Penn Shipley
442 pages, 246 diagrams, 23 photos, clothbound, 1st edition 2003.
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