1871: In the old style
Exeter Chess Club was founded in 1895 under the wing of Exeter Literary Society. Little record of chess in Exeter before 1900 exists in the club but we did come across the following game, disinterred by Nick Pope who has spent some considerable time and effort locating and translating to electronic media games from the 1800s.
Here we have the attentions of the then World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, as annotator, seen in his important column in The Field . Although the Exeter side lost this game, it has a real whiff of the old style, featuring that most enduring of nineteenth-century inventions, the gambit of Captain Evans — DR
(Dates: From 27 Feb-27 Nov 1871)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Bc5 6. d4 exd4 7. O-O d6 8. cxd4 Bb6
[ Steinitz does not remark on White's next move, which some modern eyes might regard as over-eager. Morphy often preferred development by 9. Nc3 — DR]
9. d5 Nce7 10. e5
This defence was first tried by Steinitz against Neumann, at the Paris Congress of 1867, in a game which ended in a draw. In the Baden Congress, it was successfully adopted by Winawer against Anderssen, but it has never been sufficiently analysed to enable us to pronounce a decided opinion on its merits.
11. Nc3 O-O 12. Ne4
Anderssen, in the game referred to, played here 12. Bxh6, followed by 13. Qd2 and 14. Rae1.
12...dxe5 13. Bxh6 gxh6 14. Nxe5 Ng6 15. Nxg6 hxg6 16. Qd2 Qh4 17. Rfe1 Bf5 18. g3 Qe7 19. Bd3 Kh7
20. Qc3 would have forced Black to take the Knight, in which case White must have come out with a fine attack, and with all the chances of drawing the game at least, on account of the hostile Bishops remaining of opposite colours.
20...Qf6 21. Bxf5 Qxf5 22. Na4
An injudicious move, made probably with the object of preventing Bishop to a5. 22. Rab1 would have answered that purpose better. At all events, White could have but little chance left after exchanging pieces.
22...Rfd8 23. Nxb6 axb6 24. Qc3 Qd7 25. Rac1 Rxa2 26. Qxc7 Qf5 27. Rf1 Rxd5 28. Qxb7
"Black's King is in perfect security, and his Rooks are well posted. White could not hope to counterbalance his inferiority in Pawns by an attack, and his game must have been lost slowly but surely, as Black would double the Rooks next move on the seventh file, harassing the opponent's position still more."
[Notes by Wilhelm Steinitz from The Field , London, 29th November 1873.
Notes transcribed by Nick Pope, Historian of Michigan Chess Association, posted to the rec.games.chess.analysis newsgroup in 1997, and reproduced here with his permission.]