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Friday, March 24, 2017

Preston Ware

Mr. Ware appears to have been camera shy
     Preston Ware Jr. (August 12, 1821 – January 29, 1890) was born in Wrentham, Massachusetts and died January 29, 1890 in Boston. 
     At the age of seventeen he became clerk in a wholesale boot and shoe house in Baltimore, Maryland at a salary fifty dollars a year (about $1,200 today) plus his room and board. It was during this time he learned to play chess. He was eventually promoted to a position as a bookkeeper for the firm and later was employed by Robert G. Ware and Brother, of Baltimore, a wholesale boot and shoe dealer. About this time he was one of the organizers of the Baltimore Chess Association. After a brief stay with Robert G. Ware and Brother he established the wholesale shoe company of Anderson, Ware and Co. Over the next several years Ware partnered with different individuals in the boot and shoe business, forming and selling several of them. 
     At one point Ware held interest in a freight company called the Jenk’s Boston and Baltimore Packet Line, which he had helped organize. The line lasted until it was put out of business by steam ships. 
     In 1852 Ware moved his family to Boston and joined another boot and shoe company named Joseph F. Dane and Co. In Boston he joined company with several other players who met regularly at the United States Hotel and in 1858 founded the Boston Chess Club. 
     In 1853 Ware bought out the Hayward Rubber Company and in 1855 he sold his interest in the shoe and boot business in Baltimore to his partner. In 1858 he sold his interest in the Joseph F. Dane and Co. and in 1860 sold his stock in the Hayward Rubber Company and became agent of the Newark Rubber Company. Not done with the shoe business, Ware formed another boot and shoe company which continued in business until 1879 when he sold out again. 
     Ware played in many local tournaments. Internationally he participated in Second International Chess Tournament in Vienna in 1882 where he finished in sixteenth place of eighteen scoring a total of 11 points out of 34. At least he had the satisfaction of beating Max Weiss and the winner of the tournament, Wilhelm Steinitz, in a game lasting 113 moves. At the time, Steinitz had not lost or drawn a game for nine years prior to this tournament and was the unofficial World Champion. 
     Ware also competed in the first, second, fourth and fifth American Chess Congresses. Ware was an influential member of the Mandarins of the Yellow Button in Boston. The Yellow Button was a pin worn in the hats of Chinese imperial officials to indicate high rank in the civil service. The Boston Mandarins were a group of amateur players who beaten a recognized master (a professional international player) in an even game...no simuls, etc. They played on Saturday afternoons and dined together in the evening. The group was the foundation of what would become the Deschapelles Chess Club in Boston.
     Ware was known for his eccentric opening play. He used the Ware Opening (1.a4, then known as the Meadow Hay Opening), the Corn Stalk Defense (1...a5, sometimes known as the Ware Defense), and the Stonewall Attack. Around 1888 he reintroduced the Stone-Ware Defense against the Evans Gambit, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bb4 5. c3 Bd6. The Edo historical rating site puts his rating at around 2350. 
     The following game is a typical Ware game. After a double Stonewall opening, Ware launches a Q-side P expansion, but black had several opportunities to launch a decisive K-side attack. When he failed to do so, things got really messy and Ware managed to establish advanced, connected passed Ps on the Q-side. Things were so messy in fact that I ran Shootouts using Stockfish at several points because I didn't think it was possible to rely on the engine evaluation. Given these circumstances it didn't seem fair to assign question marks to all the moves that Stockfish wanted to; the positions were just to complicated to be calculated over the board. Besides, in a number of cases I discovered that the engine's horizon effect was skewing the evaluations! 
     The game was played inthe 2nd American Chess Congress, held at the Kennard House in Cleveland, Ohio. Two decisive games (+2, -2, or +1 -1) were required against each opponent. Play was from 9-12 am, 2-5 pm, and 7-10 pm each day, but players were free to make other arrangements. 
     After the opening of the Ohio Canal in 1827, a number of large brick hotels with up to 200 rooms were built which included the Kennard House in 1855. All the hotels were 5 stories high with plumbing, bathrooms, and water closets located in common areas instead of in every room. The buildings generally had retail stores and office space on the street level, and several had balconies on the upper floors overlooking the street. The changes in name and management of these early 19th-century hotels were frequent. Today the Kennard House is a parking lot. 
Kennard House

1) Mackenzie **** 1=0- =10- 11-- 11-- 11-- 1=1- 11-- 11 (15.5) 
2) Hosmer 0=1- **** 11-- 1=1- 00-- 01-- 11-- 11-- 11 (13.0) 
3) Elder =01- 00-- **** 01-- ==01 11-- 11-- 11-- 11 (12.5) 
4) Judd 00-- 0=0- 10-- **** 11-- 10-- =11- =11- 11 (11.5) 
5) Ware 00-- 11-- ==10 00-- **** 01-- 01-- 11-- 11 (10.0) 
6) Smith 00-- 10-- 00-- 01-- 10-- **** 11-- 11-- 11 (9.0) 
7) Harding 0=0- 00-- 00-- =00- 10-- 00-- **** 01-- 11 (5.0) 
8) Johnston 00-- 00-- 00-- =00- 00-- 00-- 10-- **** 11 (3.5) 
9) Haughton 00-- 00-- 00-- 00-- ---- ---- ---- 00-- **** (0.0) 

The hapless Mr. Haughton withdrew after 10 straight losses and his unplayed games were awarded to his remaining opponents as wins. 
 

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