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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A chess book to help restore forgotten chess composer John Brown's gravestone!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hello everyone,

We love to hear anecdotes and stories that have chess playing such a heartwarming role in our lives. Here's another of those chess tales from Bridport.

Author Brian Gosling presents a copy of his book to Margaret Milree, assistant curator at Bridport museum
The gravestone of a long forgotten Bridport “celebrity” will be restored after a book about his life was published. Proceeds from amateur chess player Brian Gosling’s book will pay for the repairs of John Brown’s headstone. Fellow Methodist Mr Gosling will use money from the sale of “John Brown: the forgotten chess composer?” to restore the headstone at Holy Trinity Church in Bradpole. Bridport-born Mr Brown was the author of a book of chess problems published in 1865 and contributed to chess journals of the time where he referred to himself as “J B of Bridport”.
Mr Gosling, who has played chess at county level, took two years to write the book after being inspired to start it through his love of the board game.

The 64-year-old said: “I’ll never make a huge sum from selling a chess book but what I’m trying to do is restore John Brown’s grave. I doubt I will recoup the money I’ve spent on the book but I’ve enjoyed rediscovering Mr Brown because he was famous in Victorian times.
“I’ve got quite a lot out of writing the book because it’s opened my eyes to his achievements. He did make quite a contribution to the Bridport area.
“He was world class composer of chess problems and something I didn’t appreciate until I got into it was that you only had one or two people doing it at the time.”

Mr Gosling was helped in his research of the book by staff and volunteers at Bridport Museum’s Local History Centre. The museum was handed a copy of the book for reference as a thank you from Mr Gosling.

Margaret Milree, assistant curator at the museum, said: “Our local records at the centre started author Brian Gosling on his search for information about John Brown, which led him onto other research centres throughout the country. As well as the chess problems the book includes detailed information about the family of John Brown and their Bridport connections.

• John Brown was born in Bridport in May 1827 to John and Frances Brown who in 1841 were living in West Allington with their five children. The original 1865 publication of “A collection of the Most Beautiful Chess Problems” composed by J B of Bridport was published after his death to raise funds for his family.

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