1841 - 1862
The Civil War affected the entire American landscape in ways not always given their due consideration. Not only did it determine the political future of a nation, it influenced the scientific and cultural development of the country as well.
The war cost America many of its best and brightest in every venue.
James A. Leonard was one such loss: a brilliant up-and-coming chess player in 1861–62 before he made the decision to serve his country during wartime.
Born November 6, 1841, James A. Leonard was the son of a poor Irish immigrant—but even a poor child could play the game of kings. Leonard grew up in a time when interest in chess was experiencing a revival, and contemporaries such as Paul Morphy, Eugene Delmar and Leonard’s mentor Philip Richardson captured the interest of a country.
Leonard defeated a number of the country’s notable chess players and was widely viewed as the “New Morphy.” This biography discusses what little is known of Leonard’s life and death but concentrates primarily on Leonard’s ability and his sadly shortened career.
Game scores and diagrams from 96 of Leonard’s games are included, with detailed descriptions regarding place, date and opponents.
John S. Hilbert is a senior attorney for the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration. He lives in Amherst, New York.
Publisher: Mcfarland 1. edition 2014, first edition 2006
Edition: Paperback edition