New York, 1915: A Chess Photograph

Edward Winter


In this photograph J.R. Capablanca, Edward Lasker, J. Bernstein and F.J. Marshall are readily identifiable in the foreground, but few of the remaining figures are easy to name. Can readers assist us in preparing a complete key?

For a large version, click here.


Attempts to identify the figures in the background of this photograph have been received from Gene Gnandt (Houston, TX, USA), John Hilbert (Amherst, NY, USA) and Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore). For identification purposes, a detail of the picture (which features the first-round pairings at New York, 1915) is split into two:


In the section above, immediately behind Edward Lasker the top of Abraham Kupchik’s head is visible. Standing second from the right is Hermann Helms. The others remain to be identified.


As mentioned in C.N. 5742, Jacob Bernstein and Frank James Marshall are in the foreground. Behind Bernstein is, partly obscured, Oscar Chajes. To Marshall’s right is Einar Michelsen. The grey-haired man seated is Albert Beauregard Hodges. Standing to his left is Aristides Martinez. To Martinez’s left is Marshall’s wife, and the boy may well be the Marshalls’ son, whose forenames were Frank Rice. Julius Finn is standing on the far left, and to his left is Hartwig Cassel. [For photographs of Frank Rice Marshall see C.N. 5778.]

Assistance with filling the gaps will be appreciated.

As regards the occasion, C.N. 2220 (see page 340 of A Chess Omnibus) quoted from page 91 of the May-June 1915 American Chess Bulletin:

‘… a genuine chess scene, and nothing less than the opening round of this tournament, was reproduced in motion pictures at various theaters throughout the country. On 17 April, on the invitation of the Messrs Pathé-Frères, the players, committee men and other prominent followers of the game repaired to the studio at the plant of that well-known concern and, under the direction of Mr Raymond J. Brown, the editor of Pathé News, posed before the camera which produced the films that were to make the public at large better acquainted with chess, and some of its chief exponents. In the principal sitting, the players were shown seated as paired in the opening round, making their moves, regulating clocks and recording scores, with officials and spectators grouped in the background. In addition, there were separate sittings for Capablanca and Marshall in individual poses.’


Joost van Winsen (Silvolde, the Netherlands) identifies another figure:

de visser

William M. de Visser

For purposes of comparison, see the picture of de Visser on page 32 of the January 1905 American Chess Bulletin:

de visser


On 24 September 2008 Mr van Winsen identified Gustav H. Koehler:


The picture below was published on page 105 of The Rice Gambit by H. Keidanz (published as a souvenir supplement to the American Chess Bulletin, 1905):


An addition on 29 January 2011 (referred to in C.N. 6921): John Blackstone (Las Vegas, NV, USA) draws attention to this material on page 3 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 22 April 1915:

new york 1915

new york 1915

The photograph of participants in New York, 1915 was published on page 752 of the 8 May 1915 issue of Motography:

new york 1915

From page 808 of the 15 May 1915 edition:

new york 1915


Latest update: 28 June 2017.

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