He gave us rich and fascinating detail on the two players, their social backgrounds and political outlooks, as well as a graphic evocation of the atmosphere of the match (or matches - there were six back to back high-rolling slugfests altogether). The Frenchman was dominant, winning 45 of the total 85 games played (McD won 27, with 13 drawn).
Was it all just a historical curiosity, or the dawn of modern match play? Paul made a good case for the latter, as well as putting us right on the spelling of the Irishman's name, introducing us to the wicked delights of Walker's Chess and Chess Players of 1850, and giving us, in passing and off piste, a synopsis of the evolution of chess - and a succinct assessment of Howard Staunton's personality. Quite a tour de force.
I'd say that a dozen was a pretty decent number for such a niche subject: no more obscure than many others on the City Lit's wide ranging programme. Would we like more of this sort of thing? Yes, please, and we'll post a flyer here for the next one.
Thanks again, Paul. Brilliant initiative.
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