Elijah Williams (chess player)
Elijah Williams (7 October 1809 – 8 September 1854) was an eminent British chess player of the mid-19th century. The first president of the Clifton Chess Club, and publisher of a book of games from the Divan Club.
He was accused by British player Howard Staunton of taking an average of 2½ hours per move during some matches, a strategy thought to cause opponents to lose their focus on the match, earning him the nickname of the Bristol Sloth. According to Staunton, following a particularly dilatory performance by Williams in the London 1851 tournament, a 20 minute per turn time limit was adopted for standard play the next year. However other sources contradict this viewpoint and indeed it was not uncommon for Staunton to attribute his losses to the intolerable dilatory play of his opponents. Staunton is quoted as remarking while playing against Williams, "... Elijah, you're not just supposed to sit there – you're supposed to sit there and think!"
A musical tune "The Bristol Sloth" was composed by guitarist Leo Kottke (who also applied the term 'sitzkrieg' in describing Williams' playing style).
Williams died in London.
- Fox and James, The Even More Complete Chess Addict Faber and Faber.
- Gaige, Jeremy (1987), Chess Personalia, A Biobibliography, McFarland, p. 465, ISBN 0-7864-2353-6