"... life's too short for chess."
Henry James Byron
Our Boys, 1875
This quote comes from a 3 act comedic play entitled Our Boys by English dramatist Henry James Byron (first performed in London, January 1875). The quote is often misattributed to Lord Byron. The excellent Chess Notes website by Edward Winter, as usual, clarifies the historical facts with an image of the important page from the play (article 5304). The context relevant passage of the play is documented below:
CLARISSA has entered, spoken briefly aside to SIR GEOFFREY and is now down beside TALBOT.Winter also, in the same article (5304), reports the interesting fact that Henry James Byron "... invented the pantomime characters of Buttons and Widow Twankay ..."
CLAR. Talbot, it is so delightful to have you back again. I shall now have such charming evenings with you at chess.
TAL. At what?
CLAR. Chess ----the king of games.
TAL. Do you call it a game? Ha ! Ha ! No, thankee; life's too short for chess.
CLAR. Well, well, we'll say backgammon.
TAL. I don't mind saying backgammon, but you don't catch me playing backgammon.
Tags: Backgammon - Buttons - Chess Quote - Edward Winter - Henry James Byron - Play - Widow Twankay