Joseph Blackburne
Joseph Blackburne

Celebrity Profile

Name: Joseph Blackburne
Occupation: Chess Player
Gender: Male
Birth Day: December 10, 1841
Death Date: Sep 1, 1924 (age 82)
Age: Aged 82
Country: England
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

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Height: in centimeters - N/A
Weight: in kg - N/A
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Joseph Blackburne

Joseph Blackburne was born on December 10, 1841 in England (82 years old). Joseph Blackburne is a Chess Player, zodiac sign: Sagittarius. Find out Joseph Blackburnenet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


His nickname was "Black Death" because of his shear dominance and he was known for drinking Scotch whisky during exhibition games.

Does Joseph Blackburne Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Joseph Blackburne died on Sep 1, 1924 (age 82).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He didn't begin playing chess until he was 18 years old, which is relatively late for a professional chess player.

Biography Timeline


Joseph Henry Blackburne was born in Manchester in December 1841. He learned how to play draughts as a child, but it was not until he heard about Paul Morphy's exploits around Europe that he switched to playing chess at the age of 17 or 18:


Blackburne joined the Manchester Chess Club in 1861. In July 1861 he lost 5–0 in a match with Manchester's strongest player, Eduard Pindar (and champion of the Provinces), but in August/September, Blackburne defeated Pindar (five wins, two draws, one loss). By the next year, Blackburne became champion of the city club, ahead of Bernhard Horwitz (who taught him endgame theory).

Blackburne's introduction to blindfold chess was a little later. In November 1861, Louis Paulsen gave a simultaneous blindfold exhibition in Manchester, beating Blackburne among others; Blackburne was soon thereafter playing chess blindfolded with three players simultaneously.


Blackburne's match results are weaker. He was twice soundly beat by Steinitz, in 1862/3 (+1−7=2) and 1876 (+0−7=0); but in 1862 Blackburne had been playing chess for barely 3 years, and in 1876 Steinitz was playing at his life-time best and in the middle of a 24-game winning streak. Emanuel Lasker beat Blackburne in 1892, but Lasker also beat Steinitz very decisively in their 1894 championship match. Blackburne was also comfortably beaten in 1881 by Zukertort (+2−7=5), who was in great form at the time; and Zukertort's health and play were declining rapidly when Blackburne beat him in 1887 (+5−1=7). On the other hand, against Gunsberg, Blackburne won his 1881 match (+7−4=3) and lost his 1887 match (+2−5=6); the 1887 match was Gunsberg's strongest performance, and Gunsberg only narrowly lost a world title match against Steinitz in 1890 (+6−4=9).


In the 1868–'69 season he won the British championship by beating the current holder, Cecil Valentine De Vere, and he was therefore regarded as England's best player. His first major international success was in a strong tournament at Baden-Baden in 1870, where he shared 3rd place with Gustav Neumann, behind Adolf Anderssen and Wilhelm Steinitz but ahead of Paulsen, De Vere, Simon Winawer, Samuel Rosenthal and Johannes von Minckwitz.


Blackburne is an icon of Romantic chess because of his wide-open and highly tactical style of play. His large black beard and aggressive style earned him the nickname of "der Schwarze Tod" ("the Black Death", based on the plague of the same name) after his performance in the 1873 Vienna tournament. According to Chessmetrics, he was ranked second in the world at various times between 1873 and 1889. He was especially strong at endgames and had a great combinative ability which enabled him to win many brilliancy prizes. He was also widely known for his popular simultaneous and blindfold displays.


Blackburne was regularly one of the world's top five players from 1871 to 1889, although Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker and, during his brief prime, Johannes Zukertort were clearly better players; and he remained in the top 20 until 1902, when he was 61 years old. His best results were in international tournaments. Although tournaments were much less frequent then than they are now, Blackburne played in nearly one strong tournament per year from 1870 to 1899; in particular he competed regularly in the German Chess Championship, which was an open tournament. In the 1870s and 1880s he was almost always a high prize-winner. His best results were 1st equal with Steinitz at Vienna 1873, where the commentators nicknamed Blackburne "the Black Death" (Steinitz won the play-off); 1st in London 1876 with a score of 10/11, ahead of Zukertort; and 1st in Berlin 1881, 3 points ahead of Zukertort. He also achieved 2nd place in: a strong mini-tournament in London 1872 (behind Steinitz but ahead of Zukertort), George Alcock MacDonnell and De Vere; shared 2nd place at Hamburg 1885 (with Siegbert Tarrasch, James Mason, Berthold Englisch and Max Weiss; behind Isidor Gunsberg; ahead of George Henry Mackenzie and five others); shared 2nd place at Frankfurt 1887 (with Weiss; behind Mackenzie; ahead of Curt von Bardeleben, Tarrasch and several others). His worst result from this 20-year period was 6th place in the very strong Vienna 1882 chess tournament, the one occasion on which all his major rivals placed ahead of him.

The 1876 match against Steinitz was held at the West-end Chess Club in London. The stakes were £60 a side with the winner taking all. This was a considerable sum of money in Victorian times – £60 in 1876 would be roughly equivalent to £29,000 in 2006's money. This was the first time that spectators were charged an entrance fee (half a guinea, = 52.5p in decimal terms) to see a chess match.


The Teesside Chess Association (formed in 1883; now called the Cleveland Chess Association) invited world-class players to give exhibitions, in order to raise money for the Association. Blackburne's fee for two simultaneous displays and a blindfold event in 1889 was 9 guineas (about £4,600 at 2006 values). Players paid the club a shilling for a simultaneous game or a half-crown to play him blindfold. In the simultaneous games he won 29, drew two and lost only one; in the blindfold he won seven and drew one with no losses.


After losing his job and discovering that he had a special aptitude for blindfold chess, Blackburne began giving blindfold and simultaneous exhibitions all over Britain, and for most of his career made most of his income from these exhibitions, including blindfold displays against up to twelve opponents simultaneously. He even travelled to Australia in 1885 to give exhibitions; on his arrival in Melbourne he was fined five pounds for assaulting a fellow passenger on the ship.


In addition he played (mostly on top board) for the British team in 11 of the Anglo-American cable matches which commenced in 1896 and in the first six matches he recorded a score of 3½–2½ against the top American, Harry Pillsbury.


In 1899 he published Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess, edited by P. Anderson Graham.

Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess, which he published in 1899, has been recently reprinted by Moravian Chess. It contains over 400 of his games, around 20 problems composed by him, and a short biography.


Blackburne wrote two articles on chess for The Strand Magazine, in December 1906 and December 1907, and annotated numerous games for chess magazines, but he was never a chess correspondent for any publication.


In 1914, at the age of 72, Blackburne won a Special Brilliancy Prize for his win over Aron Nimzowitsch at the great St. Petersburg 1914 tournament, but failed to qualify for the final stage. That same year he tied for first place in the British championship with Frederick Yates, but ill health prevented him from contesting the play-off for the title. This was Blackburne's last major tournament. However, in 1921 Blackburne was still giving simultaneous exhibitions.


In 1922 his wife died. Blackburne died of a heart attack on 1 September 1924 at the age of 82. He is buried in the Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries in Lewisham.


A new book about him was published by McFarland in August 2015. It contains over a thousand of his games and more than 50 problems with a detailed account of his life, family, and career.

Family Life

Joseph's father was a traveling temperance reformer.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Joseph Blackburne is 181 years, 1 months and 28 days old. Joseph Blackburne will celebrate 182nd birthday on a Sunday 10th of December 2023. Below we countdown to Joseph Blackburne upcoming birthday.


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