Blanshard was born in Leeds in 1852, the son of the Rev. Richard Blanshard
of Lincoln College, Oxford. An ancestor of his was William Isaac Blanshard,
a barrister at law and an expert at taking notes in a shorthand he devised
himself, and published a book on it in 1779, though it never reached the
popularity of Pitman's method. He also helped defend Warren Hastings when
he was impeached in 1787 for corruption in his position as first Governor
General of India.
attended Clifton College and took a scholarship to Queen's College,
Oxford, and in 1874 took first class degrees in both Chemistry and
Physics, the first person at Oxford to do so. In 1880 he took up the study
of phonography, much like his forefather, William. He started the Oxford
School of Shorthand and tried to get the University authorities to take
the subject seriously, without any lasting success.
main occupation was teaching, natural science, shorthand and modern
languages being his forte. There was a Charles T. Blanshard listed as
headmaster of Calday Grange Grammar School, on the Wirral, between 1886 -
1891, which could be our subject - the name, initials, profession and
dates are exactly right, but there is, at present, no corroboration.
was a great traveller, having visited most countries of Europe, including
Scandinavia and Russia. Three of these trips he made in a canoe. He was
fond of mountaineering and cycling.
from his many writings on shorthand and articles on various scientific
topics, he published five books on chess, including a series entitled Chess
Master Play, which gave the best games played in international
tournaments between 1887 and 1896. There were also three small volumes
called Classified Chess Openings. These were later published in one
started a chess column in the Plymouth-based Western Daily Mercury
in August 1902, which he edited for a year, together with Philip Dancer,
General Secretary of the new Cornwall C.A., who contributed the Cornish
he was not among the strongest of Devon players at that time, is
illustrated by the fact that he lost to Mrs. Rhoda Bowles on Board 8 of
the North v South Devon match in 1902. But at the same event, he gave a
blindfold exhibition, conducting two Knight's Tours simultaneously, so
clearly possessed a considerable mental dexterity. In fact, the Knight's
Tour held a special fascination for him, as it did for several other
chess-playing mathematicians. H. E. Dudeney was a leading expert at the
time, but Blanshard, working independently, made several discoveries in
this field which he published in the Chess Amateur in August 1923
the Southern Union Congress in Plymouth in 1903, he played in the third
American Section, where he won but a solitary point out of seven, and that
was against a Miss Hunt from North Devon, who scored a complete blank.
Henry Bremridge came 1st= with 5Ż.
Yet the fact that in the photograph below he was seated front
centre hints at the esteem in which he was held by his peers.
group from the Southern Union Congress at Goodbody's CafÚ, Bedford
Street, Plymouth, September 1903.
row: G. E. H. Bellingham, A. Clark.
(l - r): C. J. Lambert (Exeter); Rhoda Annie Bowles (born in Dawlish); R.
F. B. Jones; C. T. Blanshard (Totnes); Rev. W. C. Palmer; Mrs
Joughin; F. W. Forrest.
E. D. Fawcett; Thomas Taylor (Plymouth); A. Emery; Henry L. Bowles; W. P.
Weekes; C. F. Lewis; Rev. J. F. Welsh; C. F. Cooper.
row: F. J. Welsh; J. A. Parry; W. P. MacBean; W. H. Watts; A. Axtell.
the Devon Association was founded in October 1901, Blanshard was on the
committee, and he founded the Totnes club at this time. It is not clear
whether he stayed in Devon throughout the remaining 23 years of his life.
He certainly played postal chess for the county during this period, and as
late as 1922 was paying an annual fee of 52p to be one of the
Association's 28 Vice Presidents, but was not listed among the membership
of any Devon club. So perhaps he was living a distance away in his later
years, but maintaining contacts.
the DCCA's A.G.M. in October 1924, the General Secretary, George W.
Cutler, reported on the
passing, that year, of a great swathe of Pioneers, including Carslake
Winter-Wood and his sister, Mrs. W. J. Baird, the Secretary of the Totnes
Club, the "genial and much loved J. Darley Dingle", and followed
by "Mr. C. T. Blanshard, who was playing for Devon in a
correspondence match at the time of his death, and whose name and
connection with Devon Chess from the foundation of Association will be
familiar to very many of you".
been so active at the time of Devon's Chess "Big Bang" (1901
-02) Charles Blanshard was indeed a true Pioneer.
Knight's Tour Notes by George Jelliss.
Website: Calday Grange Grammar School, The Wirrall.