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The Independent Culture
At 11.30am today, the honorary secretary of the Staunton Society, the artist Barry Martin, will unveil a National Heritage blue plaque in honour of the maestro at 117 Lansdowne Road, London W11, in a ceremony that all are welcome to attend.

Howard Staunton, who lived from 1810 to 1874 and spent three years at the very end of his life at the above address, was considered the world's best player in the 1840s - though this was before "official" world championships.

An actor in his early life, Staunton was 26 before he turned his attention seriously to chess, but he progressed rapidly and by 1843 was strong enough to face the leading French player Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant (1800-1872). St Amant won a short match in London, 3.5-2.5, but Staunton took the return in the Cafe de la Regence in Paris by the decisive score of 11 wins, 4 draws and 6 losses: and in 1847 he won matches against Bernhard Horwitz (1808-1885) and Daniel Harrwitz (1823-1884). Following his marriage in 1849, though, he sought a more reliable occupation than chess-playing; he wrote considerably on chess and also edited an edition of Shakespeare.

Staunton played a huge number of games in 1842 against the Scotsman John Cochrane (1798-1878), then home on leave from India. Here is one of them.

6 d4 is considered much more dangerous today and Black would have been fine after 8 ...Qf6. Obviously after surrendering the centre with 8 ...exd4? he intended the sequence up to 12 ...Na5? - 12 ...Ng4 is much tougher - but 13 exf6! blew him apart.

White: Howard Staunton

Black: John Cochrane

Evans Gambit

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bc4 Bc5

4 b4 Bxb4

5 c3 Ba5

6 0-0 Bb6

7 Ba3 d6

8 d4 exd4?

9 cxd4 Nf6

10 e5 dxe5

11 Qb3! Qd7

12 dxe5 Na5?

13 exf6! Nxb3

14 Re1+ Kd8

15 Be7+ Ke8

16 fxg7 Rg8

17 Bf6+ Qe6

18 Bxe6 Bxe6

19 axb3