The name Sir George "Tit-Bits" Newnes (1851 - 1910) figures much in contemporaneous accounts of the cable matches. He was an enthusiastic supporter and sponsor. We have encountered him before in our blogging: he was a chum of the unavoidable "Adonis" Donisthorpe, with whom he went on a Boy's Own-style adventure as recounted here. It was Newnes who provided the trophy for the main run of cable contests, and when he died in 1910 the matches fizzled out a year later when GB finally claimed ownership of his trophy with a third successive win.
|Sir George and his trophies. |
Tit-bits evolved into a pin-up mag.
The Cable Matches have been well documented in two excellent booklets by A.J. Gillam, to which this episode is indebted. They are of invaluable help by reproducing material from the contemporaneous chess press on this side of the pond - most especially The Field . There is also a more accessible Wiki article here that gives all the players and results over the years (and see the Appendix below for a summary) - the matches are also mentioned in Harding's Blackburne as he played in eleven of them. So, in this blog episode we don't need to go into comprehensive detail, and we will try instead to concentrate on Herbert's efforts (though, inevitably, we may be distracted). We can also draw on American sources - principally The Brooklyn Daily Eagle - these days available on-line. Occasionally we get a revealing contrast in the respective reportage from each side. And there will be pictures.