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.
Source: Punch, 14 October 1981, page 652. A chess article on the same page, ‘Above Board?’ by Jonathan Sale, attained a similar level of humour.
An article by Julio Kaplan (‘Games from Lone Pine’) on pages 364-366 of the July 1977 Chess Life & Review stated on the final page:
Chess literature has references by the barrowful to what this or that master ‘used to say’, but responsible writers do not diffuse such material without secure sources. The ‘long/wrong’ saying is commonly attributed to Larsen, e.g. by A. Soltis on page 190 of The 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, Ranked (Jefferson, 2000) and on page 27 of The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess (London, 2008). In each case the wording offered was ‘long variation, wrong variation’, and the corroboration offered was zero.
Larsen’s own words are shown below from page 46 of How To Get Better At Chess by L. Evans, J. Silman and B. Roberts (Los Angeles, 1991), in the chapter ‘How Do Top Players See Things So Quickly?’:
Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) provides a photograph from page 3 of Das interessante Blatt, 24 July 1930:
A game by Arne Desler was discussed in Chess and The Prisoner.
Source: page 119 of Complete Book of Chess Stratagems by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1958).
Brooklyn Standard Union, 15 January 1905, page 6
American Chess Bulletin, February 1905, page 126
The above illustrations were given in C.N. s 8244 and 3812 respectively. Below is a reverse shot, from page 18 of the Texas newspaper El Paso Herald, 29 December 1906:
From page 7 of the 10 May 1927 edition of the Manchester Guardian:
There was a detailed report on pages 253-254 of the June 1927 BCM. The event will be referred to in our feature articles Chess and the House of Commons and Chess and British Royalty, although so far we have found no apposite pictures of either the Prime Minister (Stanley Baldwin) or the Duke of York (the future King George VI).
Two cuttings from Steve Wrinn (Homer, NY, USA):
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 30 March 1913, page 6
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3 April 1913, page 10
William Wallace Young – Dawid Janowsky
1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 Bg7 5 O-O d6 6 d4 h6 7 c3 Ne7 8 Qb3 O-O 9 h4 Ng6 10 hxg5 hxg5 11 Nbd2 Nc6 12 Qc2 g4 13 Nh2 Nxd4 14 cxd4 Bxd4+ 15 Kh1 Qh4
16 Nf3 gxf3 17 Rxf3 Kg7 18 Bxf4 Bg4 19 Bg3 Qh5
20 Rxf7+ Rxf7 21 Bxf7 Bb6 22 Rf1 Rf8 23 Qc3+ Kh6 24 Rf6 Rxf7 25 Bf4+ Kg7 26 Rf5+ Kg8 27 Rxh5 Bxh5 28 Be3 Ne5 29 Bxb6 axb6 30 Qh3 Bg6 31 Qc8+ Kg7 32 Qxb7 Nc4 33 Qd5 Ne5 34 Kg1 Rf4 35 Qb7 Rf7 36 Nf1 Ng4 37 Qd5 Rxf1+ 38 White resigns.
Later that year, W.W. Young (1877-1940) was described
by the American Chess Bulletin (July 1913, page
162) as an engineer in a full-page feature on ‘The Young
Gambit’, which gave his well-known 13-move win against
Marshall in Bordentown, NJ.
Wanted: a better copy of the photograph below, which has been found by Gerard Killoran (Ilkley, England) on page 17 of the Evening Post, 15 February 1930:
The picture was taken during the first round, the pairings being (from the background to the foreground): Takács v Maróczy, Thomas v Vidmar, Winter v Capablanca, Menchik v Price and Sergeant v Yates.
From page 62 of CHESS, 14 October 1938:
A cursory Internet search (in, for example, Google Books) provides many appearances of the story, and even in a 1934 edition of Petroleum Engineer. An eccentrically written version is shown below from page 2 of the Patriot and Free Press, Cuba, NY, 6 February 1936:
What more is known about the case? It is notable that early reports mentioned no chess connection.
Comments by Bobby Fischer in the article ‘“This little thing between me and Spassky” – Bobby Fischer talks to James Burke’ on pages 51-52 of The Listener, 13 July 1972, further to a BBC-2 television programme broadcast at the beginning of the month:
I played a little with my sister, but she wasn’t too interested, so then I started playing games with myself. I would make the white moves and the black moves, and then I would just play through the whole game. My mother started to get worried that it wasn’t too healthy, playing chess by myself all the time, so she got me some opponents, local kids. I started getting lessons from a player in the Brooklyn Chess Club, and that is when I started to advance. I was lucky: he taught me an awful lot of things. I don’t think it would be possible to have a better teacher. We worked together for several years. I was giving him about a dollar a lesson, one a week.
A deeply researched, richly illustrated 384-page hardback has just been received: Pawns in a Greater Game by Justin Corfield (Lara, 2015).
An addition for Fast Chess from page 285 of Chess World, 1 December 1948, in a column written by M.E. Goldstein:
1 f4 e5 2 fxe5 d6 3 exd6 Bxd6 4 Nf3 g5 5 d4 g4 6 Ng5 f5 7 e4 Be7 8 Nh3 gxh3 9 Qh5+ Kf8 10 Bc4 Qe8 11 Qh6+ Nxh6 12 Bxh6 mate.
On page 62 of Irving Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (New York, 1955) White was identified as ‘Eliascheff’.
The letter below was published on page 217 of David DeLucia’s Chess Library A Few Old Friends (Darien, 2007) and is shown here with Mr DeLucia’s permission:
C.N. 3780 quoted a brief article by ‘Theta’ on page
129 of the Chess Amateur, February 1926. Below
is another one, from page 193 of the April 1927 issue:
Who was ‘Theta’?
Steve Wrinn (Homer, NY, USA) draws attention to a passage on page 404 of Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov Part III: 1993-2005 (London, 2014) regarding the game Leko v Kasparov, Linares, 2003:
Our correspondent remarks:
There are two words which all readers of chess books, magazines, websites, discussion groups, etc. should be encouraged to write publicly as often as appropriate: ‘Source, please.’
It may be naive to hope that many cheap-jack peddlers of untrue, uncertain and unsubstantiated quotes, anecdotes and other would-be information will care if those two words are, for instance, systematically tagged onto their vacuous Internet postings, but the attempt has to be made. ‘Source, please’ is a measured, much-needed plea for writers to act responsibly and for readers to be treated respectfully.
On pages 201-202 of the April 1974 CHESS Irving Chernev contributed an article, ‘Who were the greatest?’, which concluded:
Chernev adhered to the same list in his book The Golden Dozen (Oxford, 1976) but did not explain the omissions. His CHESS article was prompted by a poll conducted a few years earlier by William D. Rubinstein, whose report, ‘Who are, or were, the Greatest?’, was published on pages 75-76 of CHESS, 5 November 1970. Chernev was one of many prominent contributors, and in the 1980s Rubinstein sent us copies of all the correspondence. He has now given us permission to reproduce some of the material here.
In a letter to Rubinstein dated 28 April 1970 Chernev mentioned that his opinions were subject to change but that his current listing was:
A late contributor to the poll was Larsen, who replied on 17 November 1970 from Palma de Mallorca. The full letter is reproduced below verbatim:
In an article ‘I Was There’ by Dimitrije Bjelica on pages 49-50 of the February 1968 Chess Life the following exchanges with Larsen were reported:
The concluding exchange in ‘Larsen Interviewed’ by Dimitrije Bjelica on pages 283-284 of the May 1970 Chess Life & Review:
See too Larsen’s remarks (e.g. ‘If I were put back in the early 1920s, it would be easy, very easy to be world champion’) in his January 1973 discussion with C.H.O’D. Alexander, as quoted in Bent Larsen (1935-2010).
Larsen’s view of his own position among the greatest players was referred to by David Hooper in a letter dated 28 March 1971 which was published under the title ‘Are the moderns so wonderful?’ on pages 250-251 of CHESS, 13 April 1971. Below is an abridged version (without the diagrams and moves of the games cited, which are all familiar):
To pursue the topic of the greatest players past and present, information is sought, in particular, on other occasions when Larsen gave his views.
Further to Larsen’s controversial inclusion of himself on the ‘best’ list, we note Max Euwe’s reply to William D. Rubinstein:
Ross Jackson (Raumati South, New Zealand) forwards a photograph of Louis Paulsen which he owns:
Our correspondent points out that a similar photograph, believed to be taken by Sam Loyd during the New York, 1857 tournament, was reproduced, from the Russell Collection archives, in the International Chess Calendar 1991 (Russell Enterprises, Inc.).
The Gallica website has a photograph of the prodigy Reshevsky with the opera singer Joseph Schwarz (1880-1926).
The 32 units are placed on the board so that none can move.
Michael Schorr (Illingen, Germany) asks for details about this position:
White to move.
Our correspondent notes that according to pages 182 and 185 of Erfolgreich kombinieren by Volkhard Igney (Zurich, 2002) the conclusion was 1 Re1 Rd8 2 Qb5 c6 3 Qb6 Rc8 4 dxc6 Rxg2+ 5 Kh1 and wins, whereas pages 27 and 190 of Improve Your Chess Tactics by Yakov Neishtadt (Alkmaar, 2011) had 1 Re1 Rd8 2 Qb5 Rxg2+ 3 Kh1 Resigns; the headings in the books were, respectively, ‘Wehnert-Liess, Saßnitz 1962’ and ‘Wehnert-Leiss, East Germany 1962’.
On page 399 of the September 1978 BCM W.H. Cozens remarked that The Encyclopaedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks (London and New York, 1970) was ‘loaded with what we must now call female chauvinism’, and on the following page he pointed out that since the entry for ‘Hastings Christmas Chess Congress’ contained crosstables printed one to a page, that single entry occupied one-thirteenth of the whole book.
When it first appeared, the Encyclopaedia was witheringly criticized by Wolfgang Heidenfeld in letters published on page 233 of the August 1970 BCM and on pages 80-81 of the February 1971 issue. The second letter was in reply to comments by Anne Sunnucks on page 358 of the December 1970 BCM. The specific complaints in Heidenfeld’s first letter included the allocation of only eight lines to Stoltz and four to Richter, ‘but 21 lines are wasted on Miss Sunnucks herself and 25 (!) on a “player” of the strength of Lisa Lane’. (In fact, Lisa Lane’s entry was much longer even than that: 43 lines. On the next page Bent Larsen received 24 lines.)
Heidenfeld’s first letter concluded:
In his second letter Heidenfeld observed:
CHESS was, at first, more lenient on the Encyclopaedia, and the brief initial notice on page 288 of the 12 May 1970 issue read strangely:
From page 27 of the 21 August 1970 CHESS:
Some repairs were made in the second edition (London and New York, 1976), but it received little attention.
Having watched The Story of LIFE Magazine, Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England) points out that the comments about Fischer by the photographer Harry Benson (in the sequence beginning at about 54'15") are markedly different from what Benson said in the documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World (C.N. 7345).
As mentioned in our feature article on Sidney Bernstein, in 1986 he told us that the best game he ever played was against R. Pestic, Philadelphia, 1978. Now, Brian Lawson (Douglaston, NY, USA) has forwarded a letter from Bernstein dated 10 July 1982:
From page 15 of A Book of Chess by C.H.O’D. Alexander (London, 1973):
C.N.s 2447 (see page 393 of A Chess Omnibus) and 9260 have quoted from How To Get Better At Chess by L. Evans, J. Silman and B. Roberts (Los Angeles, 1991), and Jean-Pierre Rhéaume (Montreal, Canada) asks for details about the genesis of the work.
The introductory section on pages ix-xi states that the book is based on interviews conducted by Betty Roberts, but information is sought as to the circumstances and whether full transcripts are extant.
Source: C.J.S. Purdy, Chess World, 1 February 1950, page 43.
Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Canada) sends an extract from page 304 of the October 1962 Schach, in an article by Kurt Richter:
As mentioned in C.N.s 1136 and 3995 (see Pictures of Howard Staunton), page 129 of the April 1930 BCM referred to a Staunton painting on which details are lacking:
John Townsend (Wokingham, England) writes:
White mates in two moves.
Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Canada) has found film reports on the tournaments at Prague, 1942 (start: 0’30”) and Prague, 1944 (start: 4’05”). The former newsreel, for instance, includes footage of Alekhine and Junge, and we have made these screen-shots:
From the same site which provided the footage of Prague, 1942 and Prague, 1944 in the previous item, we point out Dutch film reports on the first part of the world championship match-tournament (The Hague, round nine, 23 March 1948) and the first Women’s World Team Tournament (Emmen, 1957).
Further to Chess and Women (a feature article which has just been greatly expanded), Vladislav Tkachiev (Moscow) asks what rules have ever existed, whether before or after the foundation of FIDE, which specifically permitted women to play in men’s tournaments, or specifically disbarred them from doing so.
Our latest feature article is on the ‘fantasy opening’ 1 h4.
Paolo Bertino (Madrid) has now provided a new link.
Ross Jackson (Raumati South, New Zealand) draws attention to a Ph.D. dissertation ‘Storming Fortresses: A Political History of Chess in the Soviet Union, 1917-1948’ by Michael A. Hudson (September 2013).
Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.