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 • Laurel Hill Cemetery
 • Reading
 • Middlesex County
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Harry Nelson Pillsbury
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Birth: Dec. 5, 1872
Somerville
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Jun. 17, 1906
Frankford
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Harry learned to play chess at 14 at the urging of his family,thinking it would help him in his mourning over the death of his mother. In 1894 he moved to New York City,joining the Brooklyn Chess Club.He won an international tournament in Hastings England in 1895,beating the best players in the world.In 1897 he became United States Chess Champion,a title he held until his death. In 1898 Harry moved to Philadelphia and became a member of the Franklin Chess Club.In 1901 he married Mary Ellen Bush of Philadelphia. Harry is perhaps best known for his simultaneous "blindfold" exhibitions wherein he would play up to 20 other players.While not literally blindfolded Harry would be in another room (often playing cards and smoking a cigar) and the moves of his opponents would be called out to him.He in turn would announce his moves as the games progressed. He won four other tournaments before dying at 33 due to complications from syphilis.He had no children,thus there are no direct descendants. Harry is generally considered to be the third best American-born player,behind only the immortals Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy. While it is difficult to rate players from the past with any degree of certainty most chess historians would easily place Harry in a Top-50 list of players to have ever played the game.When considering his chess-playng career was only 18 years (he didn't play any competitive chess the last two years of his life) it is easy to speculate he may have accomplished even more than he did. "Of all the words taken to mouth and pen none are sadder than these: it might have been."...John Greenleaf Whittier. 
 
Inscription:
Harry N. Pillsbury 1872-1906
 
Note: United States Chess Champion 1897-1906
 
Burial:
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Reading
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA
Plot: Obelisk in the rear of the cemetery
 
Created by: Paul MacInnis
Record added: Jan 24, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13110589
Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Added by: Anonymous
 
Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Added by: William Sweeney
 
Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Added by: Bob on Gallows Hill
 
 
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