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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

David G. Baird

 
    Baird (December 3, 1854 in New York City – October 8, 1913 in Elizabeth, New Jersey) lived most of his life in New York City. He won the New York State championship in 1895 and the Manhattan Chess Club championship in 1888, 1890, 1891, and 1895. 
     A writer for The New York Times described him as follows: He plays with characteristic Scotch carefulness, for he is of Scotch descent. Of medium height, he is inclined to stoutness, and is of light complexion. His brother John W. is very thin, although he looks like his brother in the face. He was one of the slowest players in the tournament. 
     His brother, John W, Baird (February 22, 1852 – 1923) was a minor American master, who played in a number of American and international chess tournaments between 1880 and 1906. He played in the 1892 Hauptturnier in Dresden, scoring 4.0-2.0, finishing in 2nd-3rd place and qualifying for the final, where he scored 4.0-4.0 finishing tied 4th-6th. 
    At a strong tournament at New York 1893, Baird finished with 4.5-4.5 (a half point more than his brother), tying for 5th-6th. Baird played in the very strong Meisterturnier (Master Tournament) at Leipzig 1894, scoring a respectable 7.5-9.5 and finished 12th. He also competed in international tournaments at Barmen 1905 and Nuremberg 1906. Chessmetrics assigns John a high rating of 2556 (Number 30 in the world) on the 1895 rating list.
     David participated at Vienna 1898 which was a huge double-round event with 19 players. Tarrasch and Pillsbury tied for first with 27.5-8.5 scores. There were four Americans participating: Pillsbury, Steinitz (4th place with 23.5 points), Jackson W. Showalter (14th place with 15.0 points) and David Baird who finished in 18th (next to last) place with 8 points. 
     In its description of the tournament the American Chess Magazine observed that the 44-year old Baird seemed to have lost the strength of his former years, adding that between 1880 and 1889 he made steady and consistent progress and his games promised a fine future. This description seems rather harsh. He did score wins over Chigorin, Walbrodt, Alapin, Showalter and Trenchard (of England). He also held Maroczy to two draws. So, for an amateur player he did pretty good.
     Chessmetrics assigns him a high rating of 2546 on its 1885 rating list placing him number 27 in the world. His performance rating at Vienna was 2483 against opposition rated 2663. 
     He also played in an international tournament in New York 1922 that was won by Marshall ahead of Capablanca, where he finished next to last, scoring +2 -8 =2. 
     In the following game Baird slaughters Amos Burn in New York, 1889, which was the Sixth American Chess Congress, US Championship and World Championship Candidates Tournament. 
     It was a huge 20-player double round tournament that at the time was one of the longest tournaments in history. In the first half of the tournament, draws were counted as a half point. In the second half, they were replayed once. Between the 38 regular rounds, 8 replay rounds, and 4 game playoff for first at the end, there were 50 rounds.
    This tournament consisted largely of foreign masters and the top American finisher was Solomon Lipschutz, who finished in 6th place with a score of +22-9=7. Lipschutz's supporters in the Eastern US tried to push his claim to being US Champion as a result of this tournament.
     The organizers of this event had announced that the winner would bear the title of US Champion and had made every effort to include the strongest players in the country. After winning the title in this event, in the future the title was to be defended in match play and the champion had to accept all reasonable challenges at proper intervals.
     Everybody didn't accept Lipschuetz's claim because Jackson W. Showalter was amaking a name for himself and their rivalry ended in a short match in 1890 which was won by Showalter, who claimed the title of US Champion.
     In addition to naming a US Champion, the organizers planned to finance the winner in a World Championship match against Steinitz. Max Weiss and Mikhail Chigorn tied for first and remained tied after drawing all 4 games of a playoff.
     Chigorin was not interested in challenging Steinitz again so soon and Weiss was not interested in playing at all, so there was no challenger to Steinitz.
     Isidor Gunsberg, the 3rd place finisher, was interested and the following year he drew a 10 wins match against Tchigorin (9-9 with 5 draws). As a result, Steinitz accepted his challenge and managed to win it with some difficulty. Read about the match HERE.

1-2) Weiss and Chigorin 29.0 – 9.0
3) Gunsberg 28.5-9.5
4) Blackburne 27.0-11.0
5) Burn 26.0-12.0
6) Lipschuetz 25.5-12.5
7) Mason 22.0-16.0 
8) Judd 20.0-18.0 
9-10) Delmar and Showalter 18.0-20.0
11) Pollock 17.5-20.5 
12-13) Bird and Taubenhaus 17.0-21.0
14) Baird, David 16.0-22.0 
15) Burille 15.0-23.0 
16) Hanham 14.0-24.0
17-18) Gossip and Martinez 
19) Baird, John 7.0-31.0
20) MacLeod 6.5-31.5

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