William Davies Evans
Evans was born at St Dogwells, Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is almost certain that young Evans went to Haverfordwest Grammar School, the only school of any antiquity in Pembrokeshire. About the beginning of the century the family moved to Castle Pill, the name of an inlet of Milford Haven on the north side, just east of Milford town. By 1818, he had learned the moves of chess.
|Moves||1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4|
Evans served at sea in the navy from 1804, when he was 14, until the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815.
He was then transferred to the postal department. By 1819, he had reached the title of Captain of the sailing packet.
Around 1825–1826, on shore leave in London, Evans played Alexander McDonnell, beating the latter with what is now regarded in chess circles as the first Evans Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4). According to GM Andrew Soltis, Evans was "the first player to be widely honored for an opening we know he played".
Evans is known for inventing tri-coloured lighting on naval vessels designed to prevent collisions at night. For this invention he was awarded £1500 by the British government and a gold chronometer and £200 from the Tsar of Russia.
- Tim Harding, ‘Evans, William Davies (1790–1872)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May 2012
- Soltis, Andy (February 2022). "Chess to Enjoy". Chess Life: 10.
- The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) p. 274. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6, OCLC 1023231768
- William Davies Evans player profile and games at Chessgames.com
- Welsh Chess Union: William Davies Evans Ceremony 19th October 2019