Jackson W. Showalter

Jackson W. Showalter

(1859-1935)
United States – Inducted 2010

One of America’s top players from 1890 to 1917, Jackson Showalter was known as the “Kentucky Lion” in tribute to both his birthplace and his thick mane of hair. He first gained national prominence in 1888 by winning the first of a series of U.S. Chess Congresses, championships under the auspices of the U.S. Chess Association. He was recognized as U.S. Champion throughout the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th, often competing against perennial rival Harry Nelson Pillsbury until the latter’s death in 1906.

His notable games include two wins against Dawid Janowski and one against Adolf Albin. He finished fifth in the famous tournament at Cambridge Springs 1904 and was a member of U.S. teams in cable matches against Great Britain and in a correspondence match against Canada. In 1915 he won the Western Open, the tournament which would eventually become the U.S. Championship. His chess play tapered off after the turn of the century, though he did not play his last tournament until 1926. His peers commended Showalter not only for his strong chess ability, but also for his good social skills and affable personality, a rare combination in the midst of intense competition.