December 29, 1883
Vol. XXVIII, No. 26
A cloud came out of the golden west,
A bell rang over the silent air,
The sun god hurried away to test,
Flushing with kisses each cloud he prest,
And oh! but the day was fair!
"How bright the year goes out!" they said;
"The glow of the sunset lingers long,
Knowing the year will be over and dead,
Its sad hours over—its sweet hours fled—
With service of evensong."
"How sadly the year came in!" they said.
I listened and wondered in dusk of night.
To me the year that might come instead
Of the old friend numbered among the dead,
Could ever be half so bright.
The sun-kissed clouds grew pale and grey,
The bells hung silent in high mid-air,
Waiting to ring the year away
In strains that were never so glad and grey
For me as I listen there.
Oh, hearts! that beat in a million breasts,
Oh lips! that utter the same old phrase,
I wonder that never a sorrow rests
In words you utter to friends and guests
In the new year's strange new days!
Is it just the same as it used to be!
Have new years only a gladder sound?
For ever and always it seems to me
That no new faces can be sweet to see
As the old ones we have found.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There is no cloud in the darkened west,
The bell is silent in misty air,
The year has gone to its last long rest,
And I who loved and knew it best
Shall meet it—God knows where!
J. W. S., Montreal.—Letter and paper to hand.
Correct solution received of Problem No. 463.
C. E., de St. Giles, Sorel, P.Q.—Letter received.
Many thanks for Problems. They came too late for insertion in to-day's Column.
A week or two ago we spoke of comparing the best play of the experts in chess of the present time with that of the great masters of sixty or eighty years ago. Within the last few days we have come across a pleasing article on the same subject, which originally appeared in the "Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph." The article is evidently written by one who is much interested in the subject, and we are sorry we cannot give the whole of his remarks. He says: "As we look over records of chess play of the past, we cannot but wonder whether the giants of old who fought the battles on the checkered field, could hold their own auainst [sic] the experts of to-day. In actual warfare, science has advanced wonderfully. The impregnable fortress of the last century would melt away like snow under a tropical sun before the batteries of a modern gunner. How would it be if Steinitz could meet Deschappelles? Who would be the winner in a match between Philidor and Blackburne?" Further on he says: "Philidor's games have many of them been preserved, and if we can step back eighty years it is possible to judge of his strength. The lover of chess should go over his games; he will be puzzled to decide who would win, Blackburne or Philidor. But if Deschappelles was living, how would he come out with Steinitz as an opponent? The question to us is an open one. We are prepared to be convinced either way." It is evident from these extracts that the writer declines to settle the matter, and, no doubt, wisely. It is now impossible to test the question by trial. The modern players are here, but the heroes of days gone by, have gone, and have left but few specimens of their skill to enrich our chess literature. Philidor's games, and the games played between La Bourdonnais and McDonnell, which are to some extent fair specimens to compare with the skill of modern players, will always afford an intellectual treat to the chess student, but it would take a long time with close study before any decision could be given of their merits when compared with the best games of our own time. It may be well to consider, also, that the professional player of to-day was not known sixty or eighty years ago. Philidor, we believe, gave lessons in chess, but by profession he was a musician, as is stated in the article from which we have quoted. In his time, chess was looked upon as an intellectual recreation, every well-educated man was supposed to know something of it, and most games were played in the social circle. All this is to be taken into account if we are to arrive at conclusions with reference to the strength of the old players by comparing their games with those of our living experts. Altogether, the subject is an interesting one, and worthy of careful consideration, which no doubt it will receive, when the excitement of chess tourneys is out of fashion, and the pleasure of quiet inquiry into matters of chess history has taken its place.
The intelligence that Dr. Zukertort, the famous chess player, is to visit Canada, which was made known through those columns a few days ago, has been received with much satisfaction by lovers of the game here. The places mentioned as likely to be visited by him were Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Montreal. Since that time an invitation has been sent to the doctor by the Dominion of Canada Chess Association to attend their tournament in Ottawa during the coming session of Parliament. Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to receive a reply to the invitation, but as Dr. Zukertort, so far as is known, having no fixtures ahead that would conflict, the probability is that he will accept.
A letter addressed to Herr Zukertort, care of this office, has been forwarded to the Doctor's address in New York.
Dr. Zukertort, in response to the challenge of Herr Steinitz to play him a match at the Paris Chess Club upon the Doctor's return to Europe, writes as follows: — "I do not propose to play Herr Steinitz outside of London. Neither of us is a member of the Paris Chess Club. It is a mistake to suppose that I will only play in the St, [sic] George's Club, of which I am captain. I will play Herr Steinitz in any respectable club in London." — Toronto Globe.
On Tuesday, 13th current, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Mr. Blackburne played 22 simultaneous games, of which he won 19, lost one (to Mr. F. Downey), and drew two (with Miss Kate Spence and Mr. J. Campbell respectively): and on Thursday, the 15th current, he played eight games, simultaneous and blindfold, at the Newcastle Art Gallery, of which he won five, lost one (to Mr. Zellner), and drew two (with Messrs, [sic] J. Nicholson and W. Park respectively).—Glasgow Herald.