Little Bits of History

October 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2017

1956: Donald Byrne meets Bobby Fischer at the Marshall Chess Club. Byrne was 26 years old at the time and an acclaimed American chess master. He was playing in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City when he came up against the 13 year old Fischer. Byrne played White and opened with a noncommittal move. Fischer, playing Black, responded with a “hypermodern” principle-based plays. Byrne made what seemed to be a small mistake on move 11 but Fischer capitalized on it and eventually won the game on move 38 even after sacrificing his queen over 20 moves earlier. The match was called the “Game of the Century” by Hans Kmock in Chess Review.

Byrne was born in 1930 and was one of the strongest chess players in American in the 1950s and 1960s. He won the US Open Chess Championship in 1953 and went on to play or captain in five US Chess Olympiad teams between 1962 and 1972. He was awarded the International Master title by the World Chess Federation in 1962. During this particular game, it was obvious Fischer was winning and in a game between two masters, the losing player would normally resign but instead, at the urging of his friends as a “tip of the hat” to the teenager, they played out the game allowing Fisher to checkmate the more advanced player. Byrne died in 1976 at the age of 45 from complications of lupus.

Fischer was born in 1943 and became a grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Some consider him to the greatest chess player of all time. He appears first on a number of different ranking lists. While a brilliant chess player, Fischer ran into problems with other players and eventually went into semi retirement in the mid-1960s. He returned to the game and played well until he disappeared from the scene in 1972. He remained hidden for twenty years until in 1992, he met with Boris Spassky, beating him. However, US President HW Bush had imposed sanctions against Yugoslavia and warned Fischer not to play. Now a fugitive, Fischer took up residence in Hungary. He moved around and was in Iceland when he died in 2008 at the age of 64.

Chess is a game played on a 64-square board. The game is old and based on prior similar games. By 1200 rules were changing to make it more of the modern game we know today. Around 1475 several new rules were added which turned into what we know today. The Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation (FIDE) was formed in 1924 and has been the arbiter of international chess competitions since. Founded in Paris, it oversees the 185 national associations. The current champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway who took the title in 2013 and has successfully defended it in 2014 and again in 2016.

I just made the moves I thought were best. I was just lucky. 0 Bobby Fischer, after winning the Game of the Century

You have to remember, Bobby wasn’t yet Bobby Fischer at that time. – Donald Byrne, reminiscing about the game

When I won the world championship, in 1972, the United States had an image of, you know, a football country, a baseball country, but nobody thought of it as an intellectual country. – Bobby Fischer

All that matters on the chessboard is good moves. – Bobby Fischer




Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2015
Death warrant of King Charles I of England

Death warrant of King Charles I of England

October 17, 1660: The signers of the King’s death warrant meet their fate. King Charles I was the King of England and Ireland from March 27, 1625 until he was executed on January 30, 1649. The High Court of Justice was established by the Rump Parliament for the purpose of trying the King. During the English Civil War, Charles was permitted to have a small amount of power, but in using it, he provoked the second Civil War. Oliver Cromwell felt the King was responsible for the deaths of thousands due to the wars. The King’s trial began in Westminster Hall on January 20, 1649 and the end result was that 59 Commissioners signed the King’s death warrant.

Charles II, his son, became the King of Scotland on February 5, 1649 while England was under the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth period and ruled by Oliver Cromwell. The Battle of Worcester in 1651 was lost by the Scots and Charles II fled to the continent while Cromwell became dictator of the entire island. Cromwell died in 1658 and the rule of Great Britain was uncertain. It was decided that the monarchy would be restored and on May 29, 1660 (his 30th birthday), Charles II was received in London to public acclaim. All documents were then back dated to seem as if he had immediately followed his father to the throne. John Bradshaw (President of the Court), Oliver Cromwell, and Henry Ireton (Cromwell’s son-in-law) were posthumously executed by having their bodies disinterred and hanged and beheaded.

Something had to be done with the various officials who had condemned Charles I to death and so they were brought to their own trial. Nineteen of the signatories were already dead by the time of the restoration. That did not stop them from being tried.  The first to be executed was Thomas Harrison who died four days earlier. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered as soon as possible as he was a leader of the Fifth Monarchists and still posed a threat to Charles II. On this day, six Commissioners and four others were found guilty of regicide. One was hanged while the other nine were hanged, drawn, and quartered. In 1662, three more men were hanged, drawn, and quartered for the same offense. Nineteen more served life imprisonment.

In order to escape prosecution, seven of the signatories fled to Switzerland, four made their way to the Netherlands, and four escaped to Germany. Three made their way to America. John Dixwell was presumed dead in England and so no search warrants were issued. He lived in the colonies under an assumed name. Edward Whalley (c. 1607-1675) and his son-in-law William Goffe (c. 1605-1679 [really]) landed in Boston on July 27, 1660 and were received by the Governor. Upon their arrival it was thought they may have been pardoned. When it was later learned they weren’t, opinions were divided. Before the colonials could come to a consensus, the men fled, first to New Haven and then when they were found there, they escaped again. They managed to elude capture.

Will you dwell on killing this man? You wish for revenge? If you do, he has already killed you by slow poison. So, let it go. Why waste your time? His life will see to his death. – Lloyd Alexander

I tasted too what was called the sweet of revenge — but it was transient, it expired even with the object, that provoked it. – Ann Radcliffe

Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge. – Scott Adams

There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness. – Josh Billings

Also on this day: National Geographic – In 1888, the National Geographic Society began publishing a new magazine.
Fore – In 1860, the Open Championship was first played.
War on Poverty – In 1993, the UN sponsored its first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Tornado – In 1091, the London Tornado struck.
Man’s Achievement – In 1965, the New York World’s Fair closed.



Man’s Achievement

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2014
1964 New York World’s Fair

1964 New York World’s Fair

October 17, 1965: The 1964 New York World’s Fair closes. Also called EXPO New York 1964/1965, the fair’s theme was “Peace Through Understanding”. It was dedicated to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe” and American companies dominated the exposition. There were two six-month seasons with the first running form April 22 to October 18, 1964 and the second from April 21 – October 17, 1965. The admission price in 1964 was $2 for adults and $1 for children (about $15 and $7 respectively in 2014 dollars). The next year, the adult admission price was raised to $2.50 but children’s price remained the same.

The centerpiece of the EXPO was a twelve-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth called the Unisphere. Surrounded by fountains, it remains intact and located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in the borough of Queens, New York City. It was originally designed by landscape architect Gilmore Clarke and then refined by Industrial Designers at Peter Muller-Munk Associates. The original aluminum and metallic mesh continents morphed into the Stainless Steel globe which was built on the foundation that supported the Perisphere of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. Both of these events were preceded by the 1853-54 New York World’s Fair. All three of these were the only World’s Fairs which ran for two years rather than one.

The 1964/65 fair was conceptualized by New York City businessmen who fondly remembered the fair in the City during their younger years. A feasibility study was carried out and organizers turned to private funding and the sale of bonds to pay the huge cost of staging the event. The influx of tourists was considered to be worth the investment. Many of the pavilions were built in a modern style, heavily influenced by Googie architecture – a subdivision of futurist architecture of the Space Age and Atomic Age. The buildings were often able to have a more expressive façade due to the use of modern building materials.

The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) did not give its official sanction to the event. The absence of Canada, Australia, most major European nations and the Soviet Union tarnished the image of the fair. Almost all corporations in America had a presence along with nations with smaller economies. Spain, Vatican City, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Thailand, Philippines, Greece, Pakistan, and Ireland had national presences at the fair. One of the most popular pavilions was the Vatican City’s with Michelangelo’s Pieta on display. The fair did not have a midway as organizers did not feel it was the proper tone for the fair and the amusements provided were somewhat dull. The fair’s ending was shrouded in controversy over mismanagement of funds. The 1939 fair had returned 40 cents on the dollar for investors. This fair only returned 19.2 cents.

I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they’ve ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn’t know, because I won’t ever dare ask that question. – Dylan Thomas

New York is the meeting place of the peoples, the only city where you can hardly find a typical American. – Djuna Barnes

Make your mark in New York and you are a made man. – Mark Twain

New York, you are an Egypt! But an Egypt turned inside out. For she erected pyramids of slavery to death, and you erect pyramids of democracy with the vertical organ-pipes of your skyscrapers all meeting at the point of infinity of liberty! – Salvador Dalí

Also on this day: National Geographic – In 1888, the National Geographic Society began publishing a new magazine.
Fore – In 1860, the Open Championship was first played.
War on Poverty – In 1993, the UN sponsored its first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Tornado – In 1091, the London Tornado struck.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2013
Prestwick Golf Club

Prestwick Golf Club

October 17, 1860: The Open Championship is first played. Also called The Open or the British Open outside the UK, it is the oldest of the four major championships in men’s golf. The tournament is currently held over the weekend of the third Friday in July. Both The Masters and the US Open are played earlier in the season and The PGA Championship follows. The event takes place on one of nine historic courses in the UK. The prize fund, one time the lowest of the four major events, is now the highest at £4.2 million (about €6.2 million or $8.6 million).

Prestwick Golf Club hosted the first Open only for professional golfers the first year. The field of eight played three rounds on the 12-hole course all in one day. They completed their 36-hole rounds with Willie Park, Sr. taking the title. He beat the favored Old Tom Morris by two strokes with a final score of 174. The winner was awarded the Champion’s Belt – a red leather belt with a silver buckle. There was no prize money. A purse of £10 was added in 1863 but the monies were shared by the second, third, and fourth placed professionals while the leader was given the belt – for a year. If a player won three consecutive years, he got to keep the belt.

The Open was played only at Prestwick until 1873 when the venue changed to St. Andrews. To date, there have been 14 different courses hosting the event. Seven are located in Scotland, six in England, and one in Northern Ireland. Prestwick is no longer used, but St Andrews is along with Carnoustie, Muirfield, Turnberry, Royal Troon, Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes, and Royal Liverpool. The field is open to 156 players. Two-thirds are pre-qualified as leading players while the remaining third must successfully complete “Local Qualifying” or “International Qualifying” rounds.

The oldest winner was Old Tom Morris (age 46 years and 99 days), the champion in 1867. His son, Young Tom Morris (age 17 years, 181 days) was the youngest winner, taking home the belt in 1868. Harry Varton has won the most – 6 times (1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911, and 1914). Greg Norman shot the lowest 72-hole score in 1993 with an ending score of 267. Tiger Woods came in with a 19 under par (best relative score) in 2000. The lowest 18-hole score record is held by seven players, each shot 63 for a round. Scotland has taken the title 42 times with 22 different winners while the US has 41 titles and 26 winners. Third place is England with 27 titles taken by 14 winners.

“Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.” – Jimmy Demaret

“Golf isn’t a game, it’s a choice that one makes with one’s life.” – Charles Rosin

“If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play at it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.” – Bob Hope

“If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any office of trust in the United States.” – H. L. Mencken

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The Challenge Belt was used between 1860 and 1870 when Young Tom Morris won for the third consecutive time and got to keep the belt. Beginning in 1873, the Golf Champion Trophy, also called the Claret Jug, replaced the Belt. The year before, when the trophy wasn’t yet ready, a Gold Medal was awarded to the winner. It has been used ever since. A Silver Medal is awarded to the winning amateur and has been since 1949. Beginning in 1972, a Bronze Medal is a given to all amateurs playing in the final round. The Professional Golfers’ Association of Great Britain and Ireland also have three awards for their own members. The Ryle Memorial Medal is awarded if the winner is a PGA member. It was begun in 1901. Since 1966, the highest finishing PGA member is awarded the Braid Taylor Memorial Medal. Since 1924 the Tooting Bec Cup has gone to the player with the lowest round. The last two are only available if the participant or his parents were born in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.

Also on this day: National Geographic – In 1888, the National Geographic Society began publishing a new magazine.
War on Poverty – In 1993, the UN sponsored its first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Tornado – In 1091, the London Tornado struck.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2012

Depiction of the London Tornado of 1091

October 17, 1091: The London Tornado of 1091 strikes. It was Britain’s earliest reported tornado, possibly because it was so fierce. Only two people were reported killed, however damage to London was immense. There were reports of four rafters being driven into the ground. The beams were 26 feet long and yet only four feet were protruding from the ground after the storm passed. This has helped modern meteorologists to set the force of the tornado at T8 or F4. Much of London was wooden construction and therefore susceptible to damage. The wooden London Bridge was destroyed.  St. Mary-le-Bow was badly damaged, losing the rafters mentioned above. Many other area churches were also demolished and over 600 houses were destroyed.

London became what we would consider a city with the Roman occupation. In the year 140 there were about 45-60,000 inhabitants of Londinium. City size dropped with the fall of the Empire and by 300 there were only 10-20,000 residents. By the beginning of the first millennium, the population had dwindled to only 5-10,000 but it was picking back up. With the destruction of the Cnut dynasty in 1042, English rule came under Edward the Confessor and the foundation of Westminster Abbey is credited to him. By the end of the century there were probably about 18,000 people living there watching this gigantic twister strike the city.

St. Mary-le-Bow had been part of London since the Saxon period of England. The medieval version of the church was the one destroyed by this tornado. During the Norman period, a church known as St. Mary de Arcubus was built. It was famous for its two arches or bows. Today, the church remains a historic London building. According to tradition, in order to be considered a true Cockney (East End working class Londoner), one must be born within earshot of the sound of the church’s bells. The present day church was designed by Christopher Wren in the Baroque style and there are twelve bells ringing out.

Tornadoes are violent storms with a rotating column of air and they can also be called twisters or cyclones. There are a variety of ways to measure them. The TORRO scale is one method and rates intensity from T0 to T11. It evolved from the Beaufort Scale which measured intensity from 8 to 30. The other type of scale often used is the Fujita Scale which rates storms from F0 to F5. These scales are based on a number of factors including wind speed and resulting damage. On the TORRO scale, T8 through T11 are considered violent storms. An F4 storm leaves behind “devastating” damage.

A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income. – George Bernard Shaw

I think London’s sexy because it’s so full of eccentrics. – Rachel Weisz

People in London think of London as the center of the world, whereas New Yorkers think the world ends three miles outside of Manhattan. – Toby Young

You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. – Samuel Johnson

Also on this day:

National Geographic – In 1888, the National Geographic Society began publishing a new magazine.
Fore – In 1860, the Open Championship was first played.
War on Poverty – In 1993, the UN sponsored its first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

War on Poverty

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2011

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

October 17, 1993: This is the first UN sponsored International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 47/196 on December 22, 1992 naming this date as the time for the world to take a closer look at the inequity of distribution of natural resources. The Social Perspective on Development Branch of the UN is concerned with economic and social affairs. Its mission is to help with government implementation of the policies adopted in the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development.

Since 1987, when the first group of 100,000 gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris, the day has been used to focus world attention on unmitigated poverty, violence, and hunger. When the UN brought forth their resolution, it helped to focus a wider audience’s attention on these devastating issues.

Poverty is usually thought of as a material need: for food, clothing, shelter, and health care. It can include social aspects such as exclusion, dependency and a lack of self-determination. It is usually associated with a lack of income or wealth. Poverty may be absolute or relative. Absolute poverty means that basic needs are not being met, while relative poverty in most developed countries is called such because it is relative to others with a higher standard of living in that society.

Poverty has many causes. The climate or environment is a main contributor. Without fertile land and fresh water, usually associated with rivers or coastlines, it is difficult to generate the food needed to feed the population. This leads to the next cause, inadequate nutrition. Without proper diet, children do not develop properly and the cycle of poverty continues. Disease is another cause and effect of poverty. Unstable governments can wreak havoc even with a viable economic system. Overpopulation is another cause of abject poverty. There is a push to create more welfare states to ameliorate the crushing poverty as well as hope to get charitable donations and tax shelters to help ease the burden.

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” – Kofi Annan

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” -Coco Chanel

“Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.” – Benjamin Franklin

Also on this day:
National Geographic – In 1888, the National Geographic Society began publishing a new magazine.
Fore – In 1860, the Open Championship was first played.

National Geographic

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 17, 2010



The first National Geographic (1888, vol 1, No. 1)


October 17, 1888: The National Geographic Society produces a magazine that goes on sale at newsstands. On January 13, 1888 thirty-three founding members met in Washington DC to create a society “for the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge.” Their organization published the National Geographic Magazine and shipped it to 200 charter members at the beginning of the month  with sales at newsstands beginning on this date.

The soon to be yellow edged magazine was filled with articles about geography, popular science, world history, and current events. Photography was an early part of the magazine as well, but a minor part. In 1905, the editor-in-chief, Gilbert H. Grosvenor published eleven pages of photos of Lhasa in Tibet. Rather than being sanctioned, the photo spread was a huge success. Photography became an essential part of the magazine.

Years of beautiful and accurate photography proved invaluable in 1941 when they were used to aid President Roosevelt and the US armed forces. Not content with photography of the surface of the planet, in October 1952, the first deep sea photographs were published. The society also awards The Hubbard Medal for outstanding exploration, discovery, and research. The medal has been awarded 33 times. Today the magazine is published in 31 languages and there is a National Geographic cable channel.

The society continues to sponsor scientific research and exploration. Results are published in their magazine as well as other magazines, books, and other publications in many languages and countries around the world. They have recently bestowed their 9,000th grant for scientific research.

“The National Geographic Society is a very powerful brand, whose impeccable, family-oriented reputation for bringing knowledge of different cultures and geographies to many people is a perfect fit for our vision of this project.” – Kevin Donavan

“It takes a special breed of artist to be an illustrator for National Geographic. There’s lots of collaboration between the researchers and the artists, and it could take over a year to get it right.” – Steaphanie Plunkett

“I truly love being outdoors and working with cameras. My dream would be to someday shoot for National Geographic.” – Pamela Moore

“I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society where it is traditional to wear clothes.” – Erma Bombeck

Also on this day, in 1860 the first Open Championship (British Open) was held.