Jaques Anderssen Library Size Chessmen, Circa 1862
Offered here is a set of antique Jaques Library Size Anderssen Chessmen, Boxwood and ebony, unweighted, felted, inscribed “Jaques London” on the rim of the White King. The King side Rooks and Knights are marked with the King’s crown mark on their summits. According to the Camaratta Codex, these are late Jaques Library Size Anderssen chessmen and were manufactured around 1862. The Knights are of the Anderssen style and the Bishops are very attractive with wide vertical miters. The King stands 2-7/8″ tall with a 1-3/8″ diameter base. The Chessmen have a pleasant patina and are in excellent condition. The pieces are housed in their original mahogany slide-top box, lined in red velvet, with the green manufacturer’s label. The pieces play and display best on a chessboard with 1-7/8″ or 2-0″ squares. The chessboard shown is not included. For a complete selection of our finest new and antique chessboards and game timers, click here. For more on the background of the John Jaques company, click here. For a history of the Staunton Chessmen, click here.
Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen was born on July 6, 1818 in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). He is considered to have been the world’s leading chess player for much of the 1850s and 1860s. Anderssen learned to play chess from his father at the age of nine. Anderssen worked as a professor of mathematics at a local college. Although he loved chess it was only considered a pastime, not his profession.
Anderssen was very successful in European tournaments from 1851 to 1878, taking first prize in over half of the events in which he played. Anderssen ranks as one of the top five players from 1851 to shortly before his death in 1879. Anderssen’s finest performance was the famous London Tournament of 1851. This is recognized as the first major tournament of the Modern Era. Anderssen triumphed in a knockout tournament boasting the 16 best players in the world. Although Wilhelm Steinitz is recognized as the first official world champion, the organizers of the 1851 London International tournament considered the winner of this premiere tournament to be the World’s Chess Champion.
That title was short-lived when Anderssen was quite soundly defeated by Paul Morphy in their 1858 march. However, Morphy abruptly retired from chess and Anderssen was again considered the World’s leading player. It is interesting to note that Anderssen achieved most of his successes when he was past 50 years of age.
Anderssen is famous even today for his brilliant sacrificial attacking play, particularly in the “Immortal Game” (1851) and the “Evergreen Game” (1852). Steinitz rated Anderssen as one of the two greatest attacking players of his time. An unassuming man, Anderssen was one of the most likable of chess masters and became an “elder statesman” of the game.
Anderssen died on March 13, 1879, in his hometown. The Deutsche Schachzeitung noted his death in 1879 with a nineteen-page obituary. His cause of death was a heart attack. Anderssen’s grave is now at the Osobowicki Cemetery.