26 November 2012

The Other Side of the Herring Pool

My latest conversion for About to Tripod, titled Deschapelles : The Chess-King, starts,

The English play more chess than the French; but the latter can boast of players with whom we have never been able to cope. We love to start with an apparent paradox. Our neighbours on the other side of the herring-pool have always possessed players of so high a pitch of excellence, that they may be fairly styled phenomena; but of artists a grade lower, Britain could at any time shew six for one.

The fact is, whatever be the pursuit taken up by the French, there are among them to be found individuals capable of carrying that pursuit to an excess inappreciable by souls of less ardent temperament. The best astronomers, chemists, cooks, mathematicians, dancers, architects, and military engineers, are French. And so it is with chess; while we are content to knock under, and as veteran soldiers, keep our places quietly in the ranks.

As with the other pages in this series, I added it to the index page on Chess History.

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