John Owen (chess player)

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John Owen (8 April 1827, Marchington – 24 November 1901, Twickenham) was an English vicar and strong amateur chess player.

In 1858 he won a game against Paul Morphy, which led to a match between the two. Despite being given odds of pawn and the move (meaning he started the game with an extra pawn and always moved first), Owen lost the match 6–1, never winning a game.

His performance in the 1862 London tournament, the first international round-robin event (in which each participant plays every other) was more impressive - he finished third, ahead of future world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, and was the only player to win against the eventual tournament winner, Adolf Anderssen.

Owen is the eponym of Owen's Defence, a chess opening he often played (including in his victory over Morphy) characterised by the moves 1.e4 b6.

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