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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Eugene Delmar

    A few days ago while playing over some old games I ran across one played by Delmar and found it to be filled with complications. The name Delmar was familiar, but not really knowing anything about him, I looked him up on the Internet. Unfortunately information on Delmar is scant, but I did find a number of his games and greatly enjoyed playing through them. 
     Eugene Delmar (born September 12, 1841, New York – died February 22, 1909, New York), was one of the leading US masters of 19th century and a four-time New York State champion in 1890, 1891, 1895 and 1897. By 1892 Delmar was an institution in New York City. Born when America was in love with Paul Morphy, in the 1850’s he was a regular at the Morphy Chess Rooms in the city. The Morphy Chess Rooms were located on the south-eastern corner of Broadway and Fourth Street and were the haunt of all the  city's leading players of the day.
Fourth & Broadway today

     Delmar played in the first Free Tournament held at the Morphy Rooms and gave free lessons to a promising player, Philip Richardson, who became one of the top players of the period. Known for his great tactical ability, Delmar was active for the better part of 50 years and won many local tournaments.  He was a four time New York State Champion; he also participated in famous Cambridge Springs tournament of 1904, but came in last with a +3 -9 =3; he was in his early 60's at the time, the oldest of all the participants.
     Chessmetrics puts Delmar’s highest rating at 2658 in July of 1886 which placed him at number 6 in the world behind Steinitz, Zukertort, Blackburne Englisch and Gunsberg. Away from the board he was a cantankerous old cuss and was frequently involved in editorial feuds with other players. 

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