Lot #585. Jaques Full Club Size Paulsen Chessmen


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Full Club Size Jaques Paulsen Chessmen.

Offered here is a set of Full Club Size Jaques Paulsen Chessmen, circa 1853. The chess pieces are Boxwood and Ebony, weighted and rest atop green baize base pads. The Jaques Paulsen chessmen are among the most attractive of all the Jaques’ designs. The King stands an impressive 4-3/8″ tall with a 2″ diameter base. The White King is stamped “Jaques London ” on the rim of the base and the Kingside Rooks and Knights are stamped with a red crown on their summits. The Bishops feature the wide open miter, so typical of the very early Jaques design. The Knights are very finely carved with a very attractive serpentine silhouette. The black Knights are ebony. This is significant because the Jaques Cooke, Morphy and early Paulsen sets used stained boxwood knight heads in place of Ebony. The reason is not entirely clear. A very unusual feature of this particular set is the lack of an Entered Number on the label. This oversight is has never happened before to my knowledge and is a one-of-a-kind error. This certainly adds to the collectability of this particular set of Jaques chessmen.

This King height is often referred to as the “Full Club Size.” The Jaques Paulsen Chessmen are housed in a solid Cocobolo hinge-top box with the original green Jaques maker’s label. The box is a very accurate recreation of the original Jaques boxes with a recreation of the keyhole and lid escutcheons as well as the hand-dovetailed joinery. The chessmen are in truly superb condition for their age. These Jaques Club Size Paulsen Chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 2-1/2″ squares.  A correct period antique chessboard can be purchased here. For a complete selection of our finest new and antique chessboards, click here.  For our extensive selection of contemporary and antique chess timers, please click here.  For more on the background of the John Jaques company, click here. For a history of the Staunton Chessmen, click here.

Louis Paulsen was born on January 15, 1833 in Gut Nassengrund near Blomberg, in the Principality of Lippe. Paulsen was a German chess player and a contemporary of American prodigy Paul Morphy. In the 1860s and 1870s, he was among the top five players in the world. He was a younger brother of Wilfried Paulsen.

Louis Paulsen arrived from Germany in 1854 along with his older brother Wilfried and worked as a tobacco broker. He was a relatively unknown player at the time of the 1957 First American Chess Congress, but finished in second place, Although having publicly proclaimed that he would win the tournament, afterwards he praised Morphy’s skills. As such he considered Morphy’s challenge to play any American at odds of a pawn and a move reasonable, even against himself. Paulsen later became one of the strongest player’s in the world and a leading theorist. Both Paul Morphy and Louis Paulsen were capable of playing 10 simultaneous blindfold games with reasonable accuracy.

Paulsen played in the final match of the 1857 First American Chess Congress, losing to Paul Morphy five games to one with two draws. In 1862 Paulsen challenged Adolf Anderssen for the world championship. The eight-game match was drawn and Anderssen remained the unofficial world champion. He finished second place in London, 1862 and took first place at Leipzig, 1877. Paulsen defeated both Max Lange and Gustav Neumann in 1864. He  then proceeded to defeat Anderssen in 1870, 1876 and 1877. An interesting summary of Louis Paulsen’s chess career can be found here.

Paulsen was one of the first players to challenge the notion that a successful attack could be constructed out of brilliance alone. He put forward the idea that any premature attack would fail against correct defense. His ideas were grasped by Wilhelm Steinitz, who declared that attack and defense have equal status. Aron Nimzovitch, listed Paulsen among his six greatest “purely defensive players”.

Paulsen has many contributions in the opening theory, such as the Sicilian Dragon, the Sicilian Paulsen Variation, French Defense Paulsen Attack and Vienna Game, Paulsen Variation. Paulsen pawns is a term coined by Nimzovitch for a restricted pawn center with two pawns on squares d6 and e6 for Black or d3 and e3 for White, often coupled with an open c-file. This restricted center makes it difficult for the opponent to generate an attack. Paulsen pawns are the stalwart of the Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian Defense. Louis Paulsen passed away on August 18, 1981. An article on Paulsen’s obituary can be found here

Additional information

Weight15 lbs
Dimensions14 × 14 × 14 in

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