Blackburne learned the game at the relatively late age of 18 but quickly became a strong player. He went on to develop a professional chess career that spanned over 50 years. At one point he was the world's second most successful player, with a string of tournament victories behind him. Blackburne especially enjoyed giving simultaneous and blindfold displays around the country. Blackburne also annotated a collection of his own games (explained the moves), and was a chess correspondent for a leading journal until his death.
- "For more than 20 years he was one of the first six players in the world, and for even longer the leading English-born player".p42
Blackburne was fond of Scotch whisky, and often drank during a display. He once drank his opponent's glass, and said: "He left it en prise, and I took it en passant!"  Much loved, he was supported by subscriptions from his fans in his last years.
- Graham P.A. (ed) 1899. Mr Blackburne's games at chess. London, reprint 1979.
- Hooper D & Whyld K. 1992. The Oxford companion to chess. 2nd ed, Oxford University Press.
- en prise = loose, available; en passant = in passing (chess terms).