New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club

Contributors

The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club was a New Orleans social club that was founded in 1880. It was an extension of other social clubs in New Orleans formed to have a location to play chess, checkers, and whist. According to its charter,“the purposes and objects of the corporation are to promote the knowledge and encourage the development of the scientific games of Chess, Checkers, and Whist.” [1]

History

The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club was started by Charles A. Maurian, Charles F. Buck, and James D. Seguin. At the first meeting, Maurian was elected president and Mr. Seguin was elected secretary. Twenty-seven men attended the first meeting and that number increased to 800 members in its first twenty years. The club was a mix of old and young men who were given the club due to popular demand. A series of tournaments were held at the club. [2]
The club housed doctors, business professionals, and men who practiced law. Every man who was a chess player in New Orleans was a member of the club. The New Orleans Chess, Checkers and Whist Club was also a forum for important subjects and topics taken up by the men. Members of the club indulged in long discussions about issues of the time and expressed their opinions or knowledge of the subjects. [3]

Prominent Guests and Chess Players

George H. Mackenzie was a renowned chess player from St. Louis who was a guest of the New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club in 1881. At the club he gave exhibitions on chess. His visit was the beginning of many. [4]

Other great players who have visited the New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club are Zukertort, Lee, Steinitz, Pillsbury, and others. [5]

Closing

The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club lasted for over 50 years until the Great Depression and heavy mortgage commitments came into play. They were forced to suspend operations. The Paul Murphy Club is a direct successor of the N.O. Chess, Checkers, and Whist club. [6]

Homes of New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club

1. No.128 Gravier Street 1880-1881
2. No.168 Common Street 1881-1883
3. Corner of Canal and Baronne Streets 1883-1890, 1891-1930s (Fire destroys the club but is re-constructed on same location)

New Orleans Media and Cultural Production

The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club was an elite social club comprised of rich white men. It served as a place that held chess, checkers, and whist tournaments. It also was a forum for deep discussion and conversation. According to its 1903 charter, it also held a purpose for “the cultivation of literature and science by the establishment and gradual increase of a library and by the maintenance of a reading room, supplied with the leading periodicals, magazines, reviews and newspapers of the day; and thirdly; the regulation of social intercourse and amusement among the members of said Corporation; and to effect these objects and purposes said Corporation shall have, possess, enjoy and exercise all the rights, powers, and privileges of a corporate body.” [7]

Its tournaments and visits from renowned chess players were produced in newspapers in the late 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The newspaper clippings served as a story about a place where only the privileged could go. The idea that such a lavish club could be created for something as simple as playing chess, checkers, and whist serves as a symbol and reminder of the wealthy life in New Orleans and demonstrates how the rich could make any social club on whatever interests they had. Social clubs held reputable members who partied with the best and due to their wealth, they enjoyed things outside of the club as well, such as the opera, Carnival, and hotels. Overall, the New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club helped create a cultural production of games, tournaments, tourism, and events. The culture of gaming events and tourism remains in the city of New Orleans today.

Works Cited

  • New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club Year Book 1908-1909(New Orleans: 1908),1 (There is no author or publication company; most likely created by a member of The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club. Can be found at the Historical New Orleans Collection.)
  • Henry Rightor, Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana,(Cambridge, Massachusetts: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900),611.
  • Henry Rightor, Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana,(Cambridge, Massachusettes: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900),610-611.
  • Henry Rightor, Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana,(Cambridge, Massachusetts: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900),611.
  • Henry Rightor, Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana,(Cambridge, Massachusettes: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900),611.
  • New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club Year Book 1908-1909(New Orleans: 1908),3 (There is no author or publication company; most likely created by a member of The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club. Can be found at the Historical New Orleans Collection.)
  • New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club Year Book 1908-1909(New Orleans: 1908),1 (There is no author or publication company; most likely created by a member of The New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club. Can be found at the Historical New Orleans Collection.)

This page was last modified on 03 May 2012, at 11:03

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New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club

600 Gravier St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA