Civil War Wiki

George Henry Mackenzie (March 24, 1837, Bellefield, Ross-shire, Scotland – April 14, 1891, New York City) was a Scottish–American chess master.

He was educated mainly in Aberdeen, at the Aberdeen Grammar School and the Marischal College, University of Aberdeen; but he studied in Rouen, France, and Stettin, Prussia, from 1853 to 1855. He was commissioned into the 60th Foot in 1856, when he was nineteen years old. Soon after, his regiment was sent to the Cape of Good Hope, and thence to India. He returned to England in 1858, having been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In 1861 he sold his commission and retired from the army. In 1862, Mackenzie won a handicap tournament in London in which he defeated Adolf Anderssen.

In 1863, during the middle of the American Civil War, he moved to the United States. In 1865 he came to New York, where he wrote on chess matters for Turf, Field, and Farm. He won the first prizes at the annual contests of the New York Chess Club in 1865, 1866, 1867, and 1868.

Mackenzie’s international successes came after a fifteen year period in the United States, from 1865 through 1880, when he amassed a record of thirteen straight first place finishes in tournaments, while winning six of seven matches, with only one drawn. His successes in the U.S. included first place at Cleveland 1871, Chicago 1874, and New York 1880, the second, third, and fifth American Chess Congresses, respectively.

Subsequently he played in many tournaments both at home and abroad. In 1878, he tied for 4-5th in Paris. In 1882, he tied for fourth in Vienna (Wilhelm Steinitz and Szymon Winawer won). In 1883, he tied for 5-7th in London (Johannes Zukertort won). In 1885, he took 4th place in Hereford (Joseph Henry Blackburne won), and took 7th in Hamburg 1885 (Isidor Gunsberg won). In 1886, he tied for 7-8th in London.

Finally, Captain Mackenzie capped the climax of his chess achievements by winning the first prize, ahead of Blackburne, Zukertort, Englisch, Weiss, Bardeleben, Tarrasch, and Paulsen, in the 5th German Championship at Frankfurt-on-the-Main 1887. He won the 5th Scottish Championship at Glasgow 1888. He came 2nd at Bradford 1888, and tied for 3rd-4th at Manchester 1890. S. Lipschütz replaced him as the United States Chess Champion in 1890.

Chess strength[]

According to Chessmetrics, at his peak in October 1882 Mackenzie's play was equivalent to an Elo rating of 2712. At that time, and in nine other months between March 1881 and October 1882, Chessmetrics ranks him as the number three player in the world.[1][2] His best single performance was at Frankfurt 1887, where he scored 8.5 of 12 possible points (71%) against 2621-rated opposition, for a performance rating of 2725.[3] Judged by modern standards, Mackenzie would surely be a Grandmaster. Today FIDE, the World Chess Federation, often awards that title to players with Elo ratings of 2500 and above.[4]

See also[]

32x28px United States Army portal
32x28px American Civil War portal


  1. Jeff Sonas, Chessmetrics Player Profile: George Mackenzie. Retrieved on 2008-12-17.
  2. Jeff Sonas, October 1882 rating list. Retrieved on 2008-12-17.
  3. Jeff Sonas, Frankfurt, 1887. Retrieved on 2008-12-08.
  4. Under FIDE Regulation 1.50 (retrieved on 2008-12-17), a player can achieve the Grandmaster title by earning two or more grandmaster norms in events covering at least 27 games, and attaining a rating of 2500 at some point.

External links[]


Template:Start box |- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Paul Morphy |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|United States Chess Champion
1871–1889 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
S. Lipschütz |- |}

br:Georges-Henri MacKenzie de:George Henry Mackenzie fr:George Henry Mackenzie it:George Henry Mackenzie he:ג'ורג' הנרי מקנזי pl:George Mackenzie ru:Макензи, Джордж Генри