Chess Notes

Edward Winter

When contacting us by e-mail, correspondents are asked to include their name and full postal address and, when providing information, to quote exact book and magazine sources. The word ‘chess’ needs to appear in the subject-line or in the message itself. There is also a form available for submitting games.

3 October 2015: C.N.s 9510-9513
4 October 2015: C.N.s 9514-9515
5 October 2015: C.N.s 9516-9517
6 October 2015: C.N.s 9518-9519
7 October 2015: C.N.s 9520-9522
8 October 2015: C.N.s 9523-9526

Gideon Ståhlberg

A selection of feature articles:

How to Write about Chess
Сергей Прокофьев и шахматы
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Chess

Archives (including all feature articles)

9510. St Louis, 2015

As mentioned in C.N. 9368, we show recent signed items from our collection only occasionally. The latest addition, a photograph taken during the first round of the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis on 23 August 2015 and signed by all ten participants, has kindly been sent to us by Yasser Seirawan:

st louis sinquefield

9511. ‘According to Wikipedia ...’

To state the obvious, or what ought to be, great wariness is required over ‘community’ websites which, instead of trying to get matters correct from the outset, allow individuals, usually unnamed, to post whatever they choose. The onus is placed on others to try to make rectifications if they can be bothered.

In the particular case of Wikipedia, the quality of chess entries varies enormously (C.N. 5919 named two good ones, and there has been considerable overall improvement to the site since then). Discernment remains essential, and quoting Wikipedia is not a step to be taken lightly.

In C.N. 8110 (see Chess: The Need for Sources) a correspondent pointed out that in The Immortal Game by David Shenk (New York, 2006) ‘details of Spassky’s chess career are attributed to a Wikipedia entry’. Recent books with no qualms about citing Wikipedia include Miguel A. Sánchez’s volume on Capablanca (C.N. 9456); see pages 509 and 527. From the latter page:

‘According to Wikipedia ... But according to the more reliable version of Andy Soltis in ...’

McFarland books really should do better than that.

In Players and Pawns (C.N. 9500) the endnotes offered by Professor Gary Alan Fine include one on page 241 which gives a Wikipedia link combined with a reference to an atrocious book by Larry Evans, This Crazy World of Chess. On page 256 the Professor refers to Wikipedia for information about Claude Bloodgood.

On page 9 of Carlsen move by move (London, 2014) the vastly over-published Cyrus Lakdawala even quoted Wikipedia on matters of opinion:

‘Wikipedia says of Carlsen’s opening play: “He does not focus on opening preparation as much as other top players, and plays a variety of openings, making it harder for opponents to prepare against him.”’

The most glaring example found so far of a chess book’s lazy use of Wikipedia is on page 11 of Chess Openings for Dummies by James Eade (Hoboken, 2010):

‘According to Wikipedia, The Oxford Companion to Chess lists 1,327 named chess openings and variations.’

9512. Jottings on a wonderful study (C.N. 9508)

Joose Norri (Helsinki) notes an article by T.G. Whitworth about the 1922 study on pages 69-70 of EG issue 69 (July 1982): ‘Kubbel – A Case of Lèse Majesté?’.


9513. Speyer/Speijer v Lasker match

From Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) comes the front page of the Dutch publication De Revue der Sporten, 7 January 1909:

speyer speijer Lasker

The position is recognizable as from the second match-game, a draw played on 27 December 1908.

9514. Rotlewi, Alekhine and Euwe

Jan Kalendovský has also sent the items below:


De Revue der Sporten, 8 November 1911, page 410

alekhine euwe

De Indische Courant, 30 December 1935, page 13

euwe alekhine

De Telegraaf, 7 October 1937, page 4

9515. Capablanca v Spielmann, New York, 1927


Position after 20 bxa6

‘The combination here is unique in the literature of chess games. Where else can one find a rook’s pawn on the sixth rank stronger than a queen?’

Source: page 24 of Solitaire Chess by I.A. Horowitz (New York, 1962). Horowitz had not included that curious remark when his article, ‘Spielmann Outspielmanned’, was published on page 9 of Chess Review, January 1955.

The full game-score, for ease of reference: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 Nd7 4 Nc3 Ngf6 5 Bg5 Bb4 6 cxd5 exd5 7 Qa4 Bxc3+ 8 bxc3 O-O 9 e3 c5 10 Bd3 c4 11 Bc2 Qe7 12 O-O a6 13 Rfe1 Qe6 14 Nd2 b5 15 Qa5 Ne4 16 Nxe4 dxe4 17 a4 Qd5 18 axb5 Qxg5 19 Bxe4 Rb8 20 bxa6 Rb5 21 Qc7 Nb6 22 a7 Bh3 23 Reb1 Rxb1+ 24 Rxb1 f5 25 Bf3 f4 26 exf4 Resigns.

As shown on pages 167-168 of our book on Capablanca, the Cuban annotated the game in an article on pages 1 and 2 of the New York Times, 13 March 1927. Among his comments: ‘We have been warmly congratulated by amateurs and experts alike for the manner in which we conducted the attack.’ He also provided notes on pages 245-248 of A Primer of Chess (London, 1935).

In the 1920s, other annotators included Maróczy (Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten, April-June 1927, pages 304-305) and Alekhine in Das New Yorker Schachturnier 1927. (The English translation of the notes on pages 116-117 of the ‘21st Century Edition!’ (Milford, 2011) made no attempt to capture Alekhine’s prose style.) Réti gave the game in Masters of the Chess Board.

On page 143 of The Immortal Games of Capablanca (New York, 1942) Fred Reinfeld presented Capablanca v Spielmann as follows:

‘This might well be considered the classic Capablanca game. It shows his proverbial clean-cut and logical simplicity in its most attractive form.’

It was also the game that Harry Golombek picked for the section on Capablanca on pages 222-224 of The Game of Chess (various editions). The introduction stated:

‘Here is a game that seems perfectly natural once one has played through it; but no-one, save Capablanca, could have produced it.’

A detailed set of annotations, by John Nunn, was published on pages 149-152 of an anthology which he co-wrote with Graham Burgess and John Emms: The Mammoth Book of The World’s Greatest Chess Games (London, 1998). From the introduction:

‘Capablanca had the unusual ability to dispose of very strong opponents without any great effort. At first glance, there is little special about this game; the decisive combination, while attractive, is not really very deep. The simplicity is deceptive; a closer look shows that the combination resulted from very accurate play in the early middlegame.’

This photograph of Spielmann and Capablanca in the New York, 1927 tournament is in our monograph on the Cuban:

spielmann capablanca

9516. A suggestion for David Smerdon

From ‘60 Seconds with ... Grandmaster David Smerdon’ on page 7 of CHESS, October 2015:

smerdon hesse

Leaving aside the confusion over Rowson’s Chess for Zebras and Webb’s Chess for Tigers, we suggest that, regarding his third choice, David Smerdon should read Copying.

9517. Photographic archives (11)


Vlastimil Hort


Anatoly Karpov


Smbat Lputian

9518. Petrosian (C.N. 9470)

C.N. 9470 discussed how Petrosian wrote his name in the Roman alphabet. David DeLucia (Darien, CT, USA) now reports that he has a copy of Tigran Petrosian His Life and Games by Vik L. Vasiliev (London and New York, 1974) in which Petrosian signed the first photograph in the plate section:


9519. Le secret de Morphy by Edgard Tchélébi

As shown in Zukertort v Blackburne, London, 1883, page 238 of the August 1963 BCM briefly noted that Edgard Tchélébi had died (aged 34, in fact):

zukertort blackburne

The book referred to, Le secret de Morphy (Limoges, 1960), is scarce, and most writers on the great American master have ignored it, the preference nowadays being for material easily accessible on-line.



There was nothing austere about the 284-page hardback, and in the introductory matter Tchélébi’s multiple exclamation marks and SUDDEN CAPITALS were an unbecoming way of conveying his unreserved admiration. From page 8:


The Morphy v Anderssen game referred to was on pages 231-235:






That encounter between Morphy and Anderssen (1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Nxd4 e6 5 Nb5 d6 6 Bf4 e5 7 Be3 f5 8 N1c3 f4 9 Nd5 fxe3 10 Nbc7+ Kf7 11 Qf3+ Nf6 12 Bc4 Nd4 13 Nxf6+ d5 14 Bxd5+ Kg6 15 Qh5+ Kxf6 16 fxe3 Nxc2+ 17 Ke2 Resigns) was one of only two match-games by the American which Steinitz believed could be called brilliant. On page 7 of the January 1885 International Chess Magazine he wrote:

‘On sifting the matter by a sort of statistical research, we were rather amused to find, and probably our readers will be astonished to learn, that out of all of Morphy’s match games with Paulsen, Löwenthal, Harrwitz and Anderssen, nay, even including his matches with “Alter” and Mongrédien, therefore in 56 games altogether, there were only two that can lay claim to being called brilliant, namely the ninth with Anderssen and the fourth with Harrwitz. As regards the former, Morphy leaves a bishop to be taken on the ninth move, for which he might gain a clear rook, coming out with the exchange ahead. He prefers instituting an apparently vehement attack, which might have resulted in an exchange of queens, Morphy remaining only with one pawn ahead, and with two knights against the adverse two bishops, and we do not agree that the game was so absolutely lost for Anderssen as represented by Löwenthal. Winning the exchange was more sure. Doubt has also been thrown by the Chess Monthly on the soundness of the sacrifice, on the ground that on the 14th move Anderssen might have played K-K2, a move which it would have been heresy to think of at that time, because it blocks up queen and bishop, but nowadays any second-class player would give it his first consideration if he has the chance of remaining a piece ahead; knowing that it has been often enough successful even with a pawn behind. However, Anderssen plays K-Kt3, overlooking a very brilliant winding up, of which his ingenious opponent fully avails himself.’

Morphy’s ‘secret’ was explained by Tchélébi on page 11:


David Hooper sprinkled some vinegar on Tchélébi’s book, and on Morphy, in a short review on page 148 of the May 1963 BCM:

‘Although Steinitz and Lasker, and doubtless others, were in their time as much ahead of their contemporaries as was Morphy, and although they played a greater number of brilliant games and made deeper combinations, many players still regard Morphy as by far the greatest of them all, and his games are published again and again ...

No new light is thrown on Morphy by this book. It contains 11 of the serious games and 66 other games, all chosen for their combinative brilliance. The best of Morphy’s chess is here. The copious if effusive notes are easy to understand ...’

Before concluding ‘it may also be pointed out that Morphy sometimes made unsound sacrifices’, Hooper commented:

‘Before yet another book is written in praise of Morphy it may be pointed out that although he had studied the openings deeply he added nothing significantly new. The much praised 9 Kt-QB3 in the Evans’ Normal Position, and the defence 5...Kt-R3 in the Scotch Gambit after 4 B-QB4 B-B4 5 Kt-Kt5, are both in Staunton’s handbook; as for the Morphy Defence to the Ruy López, 3...P-QR3, he was shown it by Löwenthal.’

9520. Tsar Nicholas II

Information about Tsar Nicholas II and the ‘Grandmaster’ title has yet to be found in Russian sources at the time of the St Petersburg, 1914  tournament, but Dan Scoones (Coquitlam, BC, Canada) notes a Soviet perspective by Lev Travin on pages 4-5 of the 14/1974 issue of 64:


Our correspondent has translated the relevant section, at the start of the article:

‘This international tournament was held in 1914 and featured an outstanding entry. It was organized by the St Petersburg chess circle, which had just moved into a spacious new building at 10 Liteyny Prospekt.

The organizers’ intention was to make it the largest chess event of the day, and it was therefore decided to invite only grandmasters.

At that time, the term “grandmaster” was reserved for players who had gained at least one first prize in a major international tournament. There were very few such players. With the exception of the 77-year-old Winawer, who had retired from tournament chess, there were only two players in Russia who held the title: Akiba Rubinstein of Łódź, and the Moscow lawyer Ossip Bernstein.

The other Russian masters were invited to participate in an event known as the All-Russian tournament, the winner of which would be admitted to the grandmaster tournament ...’

9521. Problem by Dawid Przepiórka

The photograph taken in The Hague in 1928 serves as a reminder of a problem published on page 79 of David Przepiórka A Master of Strategy by H. Weenink (Amsterdam, 1932):


9522. Prague, 1931 (C.N. 6154)

A fine copy of the photograph in C.N. 6154 was published opposite page 72 of Comparative Chess by Frank J. Marshall (Philadelphia, 1932):


9523. Comparative Chess


On page 27 of Comparative Chess Marshall gave some singularly unhelpful notes to the start of the game between ‘Makaarzyk’ (Makarczyk) and Steiner, Prague International Team Tournament, 1931:


9524. Photograph collections

Regarding Chess History: Photograph Collections, an addition is the Dutch Nationaal Archief.

9525. Blackburne v Mackenzie (C.N. 5935)

In C.N. 5935 a correspondent enquired about a ‘Blackburne-Mackenzie’ game which he had seen only on page 456 of Carlo Salvioli’s Il Giuoco degli Scacchi (third edition, Livorno, 1921):


Our item asked what was known about the game, noting that it was still being given in much later editions of Salvioli’s book, e.g. on page 546 of the eighth edition (Florence, 1961).

Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Komi, Russian Federation) remarks that the game is on page 338 of T. Harding’s new book about Blackburne: Blackburne v Arthur John Mackenzie, simultaneous exhibition, Birmingham, 18 October 1894, as published in the Birmingham Weekly Mercury, 20 October 1894.

We note Harding’s comment that it was included in the book ‘chiefly to clear up a confusion because the win has sometimes been attributed to G.H. Mackenzie’. The corresponding endnote (page 552) provides no information as to where any such attribution has been made, but refers only to our C.N. item, posted ‘on 34 [sic] January 2009’. That material (C.N. 5935) did not mention G.H. Mackenzie.

9526. Bird and Buckle

C.N. 9457 observed regarding Joseph Henry Blackburne. A Chess Biography that ‘the work as a whole would have benefited from greater attention to certain C.N. material’. Page 111 of the book provides another example:


The picture shows not Henry Edward Bird but Henry Thomas Buckle, as was pointed out in C.N. 8346 in connection with page 29 of the hardback edition (1977) of Harry Golombek’s Encyclopedia of Chess:

bird buckle

The Harding book (as well as Emanuel Lasker Denker Weltenbürger Schachweltmeister – see page 691) took the illustration from opposite page 194 of A Century of British Chess by P.W. Sergeant (London, 1934):



We do not know why Sergeant/Diggle thought that the picture was of Bird.

It was included in an item about Buckle (C.N. 3464), and below are the frontispiece and title page of Essays by Henry Thomas Buckle (New York, 1863):


Chess Notes Archives


Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.