Nellie Showalter Flashes Ankle, Defeats World Chess Champ; Jackson Whipps Showalter Guffaws

The First Jackson Whipps Showalter Post

Originally posted March 11, 2009, Jackson Whipps Showalter – Chess Champion, Curve Ball Proponent, Cigar Aficionado was a story into which I blundered because of genealogical coincidence while looking for something else.  The post’s introduction, which follows, indicates why I first became interested in Jackson Whipps Showalter and Nellie Showalter:


Another Showalter1 You Should Know

The devilishly handsome, dramatically mustachioed gent pictured above is one Jackson Whipps Showalter.

The family resemblance fairly leaps out at one, doesn’t it?

And, he’s not just another pretty face of the sort that is, after all, standard among the males who populate clan Showalter.2 Jackson Whipps Showalter cut quite a figure in the upper ranks of the international hierarchy of chess, ran a successful tobacco business, was alleged to have thrown the first curve ball, favored a good cigar, and married a smart, beautiful woman.

The Update

I did track down some new data about Jackson Whipps Showalter, including the fact that JW was inducted into the Chess Hall Of Fame August 7, 2010, and a couple of new images.

Nellie Showalter – Queen Of Chess

Even better, there have been significant additions to knowledge about  Nellie Showalter, Jackson’s talented and provocatively attractive wife.  My favorite new tidbit follows:

Nellie herself commented on [her defeat of the chess giant, Emmanuel Lasker] in an 1894 interview:

When I first came to New York I played with Mr. Lasker a match of five games up. He gave the odds of a knight and I beat him five to two. Lasker had beaten everybody in Germany and England, then he came and beat my husband, and his astonishment, he said, was great that I could whip him with the odds he gave me.

Lasker offered another perspective on Nellie’s strategy in their games:

At the critical juncture in the games, Mrs. Showalter would smile coyly, and then flash a bit of ankle. I was extremely flustered by such antics. When I complained to Mr. Showalter, he just guffawed and said, ‘My Nellie is such a card! Have a cigar.’3

The Stories Of Nellie  & Jackson Whipps

All this and more is now online at the updated version of the original post: Jackson Whipps Showalter – Chess Champion, Curve Ball Proponent, Cigar Aficionado.

  1. “Showalter” is the meatspace alias used by DrHGuy. []
  2. My genealogically astute brethren have informed me that almost all of the Showalters in this country are descendants of Christan Showalter or Jacob Showalter, Swiss Mennonite brothers who immigrated to Pennsylvania as adults with their families in 1740 and 1750, respectively. I have fastidiously avoided investigating this claim, thus eliminating hours of tedious and possibly counterproductive research to establish my family ties to another Showalter. If you’re willing to admit your name is “Showalter” or “Schowalter,” I’m willing to allege that you are kin – whether you like it or not. []
  3. Source: SBC/batgirl September 24, 2010 at []

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