John Owen is an English Chess master from years 1856 to 1899, primarily known as the eponym of the Owen’s Defense, a chess opening characterized by the moves 1.e4 b6, which he played to win a game over legendary Paul Morphy.
John Owen was an Amateur chess Master born on April 8, 1827, in Marchington, England. During certain timeframes of the 1860s, he was regarded as one of the best chess competitors in the globe. From the mid-1850s to the 1890s, Owen was a prominent figure in English chess.
Owen attended Repton School in Derbyshire for his primary education and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1850, and earned his M.A. three years later. Owen was consecrated by the Church of England in 1851 and worked as Vicar of Hooton, Cheshire, between 1862 and 1900.
In 1858, Owen defeated the globe’s greatest player at the time, Paul Morphy, a young American master who was traveling across Europe at the time. This resulted in a contest between the two. Owen was defeated 6-1 despite being awarded the chances of pawn and the move implying he began the contest with an additional pawn and always moved first. Owen progressed to compete in British Championships regularly and quite often effectively into the 1890s, and he excelled across many tournaments against the best British players who were largely chess specialists. Owen didn’t compete outside of the United Kingdom. He passed away in Twickenham on November 24, 1901.
Owen’s achievement in the 1862 London championship, the Initial international round-robin tournament in which every player battles each other, was even better. Owen placed third, ahead of subsequent title holder Wilhelm Steinitz, and was the only participant to defeat the championship’s ultimate victor, Adolf Anderssen. Louis Paulsen came in second. The outcome was undoubtedly Owen’s best chess result of all time.
John Owen vs Amos Burn – Casual game – Hooton, England – October, 1887
Paul Morphy vs John Owen – Casual game – London, England – July 03, 1858
This is the game where Owen defeated Paul Morphy with what is now called the Owen’s Defense.
Amos Burn vs John Owen – Liverpool, England – 1876
Owen defeated Amos Burn, another eponym in chess, with the Burn’s Variation of the French.