Chess Notes by Edward Winter

Chess Notes

Edward Winter

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3 August 2019: C.N.s 11430-11432
5 August 2019: C.N.s 11433-11436
6 August 2019: C.N. 11437
7 August 2019: C.N.s 11438-11440
9 August 2019: C.N.s 11441-11442
10 August 2019: C.N. 11443
11 August 2019: C.N.s 11444-11445
13 August 2019: C.N.s 11446-11447
17 August 2019: C.N.s 11448-11449

Aron Nimzowitsch

A selection of feature articles:

Nimzowitsch’s My System
A Nimzowitsch Story
Nimzowitsch the ‘Crown Prince’
Nimzowitsch v Alapin
The Nimzowitsch Defence (1 e4 Nc6)
The Australian Nimzowitsch

Archives (including all feature articles)


11430. Resigning (C.N. 6884)

C.N. 6884 reproduced this advice from page 92 of the 1 April 1949 Chess World:

‘... never resign just to show you can see your opponent’s threats.’

C.J.S. Purdy reverted to the matter on page 184 of the August 1961 issue of his magazine:

‘Never play quickly against a slow resigner just to show how easy it is. Likewise, never resign prematurely just to show you recognize your game is lost. In other words, showing off doesn’t pay.’

11431. Exact dates

Some observations by Jeremy Gaige on page 3 of his booklet A Catalog of U.S.A. Chess Personalia (Worcester, 1980):


11432. Claims about Alekhine (C.N.s 11410 & 11414)

Regarding the large number of languages allegedly mastered by Alekhine, C.N. 8950 showed the following from page 171 of CHESS, May 1946:

‘Alekhine’s culture and intelligence were extraordinary. He was an exceptionally well-read man and had really fluent command of about ten different languages.’

As related in C.N. 8950, there has been confusion as to who wrote those words.

The CHESS article also appears to be the original source of two widely-quoted remarks ascribed to Alekhine: ‘I dominate them all’ (in 1940, concerning masters of his own generation) and ‘I cannot conceive that nothing should be left of me after my death’.

11433. Staunton and Harrwitz (C.N. 11319)

C.N. 11319 showed extracts from Staunton’s Illustrated London News column of 5 November 1853, page 383, concerning the Harrwitz v Löwenthal match. An addition comes from page 427 of the 19 November 1853 issue:

staunton harrwitz

staunton harrwitz

A response to both columns appeared on the cover of the December 1853 edition of Harrwitz’s British Chess Review:

staunton harrwitz

11434. Karl Hamppe

Michael Lorenz (Vienna) reports that he is currently researching the life of Hamppe, and has found that he always signed his first name ‘Karl’ (and not ‘Carl’ as generally given in chess literature).

A specimen provided by our correspondent:


11435. Non-chess books by Gerald Abrahams

From page 29 of CHESS, November 1945:


Abrahams replied on page 52 of the December 1945 issue:



11436. Statistics

This table, one of a set forwarded by a correspondent, will be explained in the next C.N. item:


11437. The 1921 world championship match in Havana

From page 134 of The Human Side of Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1952), in the chapter on Emanuel Lasker:

‘He claimed that the climate had affected him adversely, whereas Capablanca’s praise of the climate sounded like plagiarism from a travel brochure. Who was right? Probably both men. The climate was probably unfavorable for a stranger, and an elderly man at that; and bearable to a native, who was 20 years younger.’

Lasker was aged 52 when he played the match, in March-April 1921. His remarks about the Cuban climate appeared in Mein Wettkampf mit Capablanca (Berlin and Leipzig, 1922), and two pages are shown here:



Those were the two pages specifically referred to by Capablanca in his response in 1922:


Capablanca’s Reply to Lasker has the full text, from pages 376-380 of the October 1922 BCM.

English versions of some despatches by Lasker from Havana were published in the Sunday Times in 1921 (see Lasker on the 1921 World Championship Match). He wrote a response to Capablanca’s BCM article, but the magazine refused to publish it (see page 37 of the February 1927 American Chess Bulletin).

In the archives of the Climate Center of the Institute of Meteorology in Casablanca, Havana, Yandy Rojas Barrios (Cárdenas, Cuba) has found day-by-day and hour-by-hour data on the temperature, relative humidity and winds in the Cuban capital in March and April 1921. For example:

havana climate

The set of eight tables has been added to the above-mentioned feature article Capablanca’s Reply to Lasker.

11438. L. Kieseritzky

Page 219 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1853 described Lionel Kieseritzky as ‘a blindfold player perhaps never surpassed’.

11439. Berlin, 1897

From the first volume (1898-99) of Alapin’s periodical Der Schachfreund (frontispiece):


Larger version

The high-resolution scan is shown here courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library, which has also authorized us to reproduce this photograph from its archives:


Larger version

11440. Euwe in Cuba, 1947

Wijnand Engelkes (Zeist, the Netherlands) notes an article by Max Euwe on pages 664-665 of the 12/1947 issue of the Dutch magazine Op den uitkijk and, in particular, the former world champion’s comments on chess administration in Cuba on the latter page:

euwe cuba

In summary, Euwe referred to the tensions between the two chess organizations in Cuba. The unofficial one, which bore Capablanca’s name, had become smaller but owned premises donated by the Cuban Government. Euwe felt obliged to decline an invitation to go there, as he was in Cuba as the guest of the official organization. He also strove to allay his hosts’ fears that the Cuban Government might take offence at his refusal to visit a building which it had given. Furthermore, Euwe observed that the official chess body was not anti-Capablanca, whereas the other organization tended to exaggerate (being ‘more Capablanca than Capablanca himself’).

11441. The Nimzo-Indian Defence (C.N.s 7677 & 11156)

A footnote on page 447 of The Game of Chess by Edward Lasker (New York, 1972) with regard to the term ‘Nimzo-Indian’:

‘A horrible abbreviation of Nimzovich-Indian. The mutilation of the name of the greatest chess theorist, the father of what the jocular master Tartakower called “hypermodern chess”, is as unnecessary as it is undignified.’

The note is absent from page 352 of the 1997 algebraic edition by John Nunn and Graham Burgess (Chess: The Complete Self-Tutor). Elsewhere on that page is ‘Bogo-Indian’ (not used by Lasker).

11442. Notes by Steinitz

From page 4b of the St Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, 27 March 1910:

steinitz koch lambert

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 dxc4 5 Qa4+ Nc6 6 Bd2 Qd7 7 O-O-O Nf6 8 e3 O-O 9 Bxc4 a6 10 Qc2 a5 11 e4 Nxd4 12 Qd3 Rd8 13 Nxd4 Qxd4 14 Qg3 Qxc4 15 Bh6 Rxd1+ 16 Rxd1 Ne8 17 Rd8 Qf1+ 18 Kc2 Qd3+ 19 Kxd3 Resigns.

11443. Kings of the Chessboard

van der

Kings of the Chessboard by Paul van der Sterren (Landegem, 2019), a superficial 260-page paperback, is sourceless throughout. Page 55, for instance, has a ‘once’ comment attributed to Capablanca:

‘Typically, he once commented on a game where the opening had not gone to his liking by writing “I don’t know where I went wrong, for I have the fortunate habit to forget not just games by other players, but even my own games”.’

Page 64 also purports to quote Capablanca:

‘I am invincible and I know it.’

In the chapter on the 1834 Labourdonnais v McDonnell encounters, page 14 mixes up the chess master with his grandfather Bertrand-François Mahé de Labourdonnais (1699-1753):

van der

And from page 21:

van der

11444. Grandmasters

Among the points made on page 3 of The Guinness Book of Chess Grandmasters by William Hartston (Enfield, 1996):

  • ‘The term “Grandmaster”, spelt as two words or one, sometimes with a capital G, sometimes lower case, was appropriated by the chess world from its older uses among courtiers, military orders of knights and freemasons. When it was first applied to a great chessplayer is unclear, though it certainly long pre-dates the first instance recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1927.’
  • ‘Regulations are a great leveller. From the five Grandmasters with a capital G, at St Petersburg, 1914 [earlier on the page Hartston referred to the ‘popular myth’ of the involvement of Tsar Nicholas II], we now have over 400 grandmasters, many of whom, if truth be told, deserve little more than a small one.
  • This book is about the real Grandmasters.’

The on-line entry in the Oxford English Dictionary currently stands as follows:


From page 61 of the February 1927 BCM:


This was in the conclusion of the report on Hastings, 1926-27, where Yates defeated Tartakower and Réti.

Our feature article on this topic is Chess Grandmasters.

11445. Photographs of Capablanca

Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) provides the following photograph from Argentina’s Archivo General de la Nación, courtesy of the Ministerio del Interior, Obras Públicas y Vivienda (reference AR_AGN_DDF/Consulta_INV: 259951):


The reverse side states ‘Caras y Caretas - 25 Abr 1911 - Archivo’. This is a fine version of the portrait given in C.N.s 5235 and 9596. For a different shot of Capablanca at the same board and also showing his game against Bernstein, San Sebastián, 1911, see C.N.s 7582 and 7587.

Inventory item 260062 in the Archivo General de la Nación:


Mr Bauzá Mercére comments:

‘The reverse merely has “José Raúl Capablanca – Atento a una jugada de ajedrez”, and the stamp states Caras y Caretas – 25 Jul 1925 – Archivo”. The board position is from the 12th game of the Capablanca v Marshall match, 13 May 1909, after 7 d3 or 7...Be7. The signature “Lacalle Gutiérrez” (bottom left) may give a clue.’

Thirdly, inventory item 260060 in the Archivo General de la Nación:

capablanca milner-barry

This is a fine version of a photograph in Chess Pictures in The Sphere. For another shot of Capablanca which shows the same game (Margate, 1936), see C.N.s 6204 and 6199.

11446. William Joyce (1906-46)

From page 66 of The Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James (London, 1987):


The same text was given, also without any source, on page 87 of the revised 1993 edition.

A news item on page 96 of CHESS, February 1946:


A number of British newspapers published on the day when Joyce was hanged for treason included the words ‘without the least sign of strain’ with reference to his chess games against prison officers. For instance:


Nottingham Journal, 3 January 1946, page 1


Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 3 January 1946, page 1


Birmingham Daily Gazette, 3 January 1946, page 4

Reports in late editions the same day also mentioned chess. Two similar examples:


Daily Mail (Hull edition), 3 January 1946, page 1


Gloucester Citizen, 3 January 1946, page 1



Plate opposite page 40

Page 274 of Lord Haw-Haw – and William Joyce by J.A. Cole (London, 1964) quoted a letter from Joyce to his wife regarding Wandsworth Prison (‘we have much chess’), but the most detailed reference to the game is on pages 55-56, concerning the 1930s. Joyce’s closest friend was John Angus Macnab, whose recollections included the following:



11447. Capablanca and Marshall


Regarding this photograph of Capablanca given in C.N. 11445, Lonnie Kwartler (Chester, NY, USA) notes that the board may look wrongly positioned:


However, as pointed out by Rudy Bloemhard (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands), it appears to be a case of the a-file being blocked from view by the rim of the board.

On the subject of possible misunderstandings in photographs of board positions, C.N. 5514 showed this picture from page 26 of the February 1931 American Chess Bulletin:


In C.N. 5124 a correspondent, Ola Winfridsson, suggested that nothing was necessarily amiss:

‘It all depends on the original shade of the squares of the chessboard; in some old black and white photographs and films, lighter colours appear darker than darker colours.’

11448. The Giuoco Piano

Roger Gabrielson (La Jolla, CA, USA) draws attention to pages 108-109 of The Giuoco Piano by E. Gufeld and O. Stetsko (London, 1996) and the following annotation after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Bc5 5 c3 Nf6 6 e5:



Counterplay in the centre in the spirit of the Two Knights’ Defence. There is a definite risk linked with retreating [sic] the knight, which the renowned Austrian [sic] theoretician Bilguer showed in his analysis:

a) 6...Ng4 7 Bxf7+ Kxf7 8 Ng5+ Kg8 9 Qxg4 Nxe5 10 Qe4 Qe7 11 O-O h6 12 cxd4 Bxd4 13 Qxd4 hxg5 14 Nc3 with an advantage to White ...’

Our correspondent asks whether von Bilguer really gave that line, which disregards a forced mate with 9 Qb3+. The answer is no. Page 116 of the Handbuch des Schachspiels (Berlin, 1843) had 8...Ke8, and not 8...Kg8:


The same line is on pages 348-349 of the 1922 edition of the Handbuch, continued with 11...h6 12 cxd4 Bxd4 13 Qxd4 hxg5 14 Nc3 and the comment ‘Weiß hat zwar einen Bauern weniger, aber eine sehr starke Stellung’.

11449. Pointed out

From page 40 of the 12/2003 issue of Schach, in a lengthy examination by Robert Hübner of the first book in Kasparov’s Predecessors series:


This concerns the final game of the 1910 world title match. For an English translation see C.N. 3180 in The Lasker v Schlechter Controversy (1910). In short, replying to the claim in the Kasparov book that 50...Qb2+ was ‘another mistake that was not pointed out by anyone!’, Hübner wrote:

‘Yet it is not so astonishing that nobody has pointed out this continuation, for a queen move from c1 to b6 was against the rules of the game at the time.’

The temerarious words ‘not pointed out by anyone’ also occur on page 284 of the Predecessors volume, in connection with this position in the ‘Immortal Zugzwang Game’ (Sämisch v Nimzowitsch, Copenhagen, 1923):


Position before 24...Bd3

The assertion in Kasparov’s book:

‘Black is playing for zugzwang, but it is amusing (and also not pointed out by anyone) that it was also possible simply to win the queen: 24...Re2! 25 Qb3 Ba4 26 Rc8+ Rf8.’

The possibility of trapping the queen with 24...Re2 had already been pointed out by John Emms on page 115 of a book which he co-authored with Graham Burgess and John Nunn, The World’s Greatest Chess Games (London, 1998). The note regarding 24...Bd3:

saemisch nimzowitsch

Readers may well be able to point out other precedents.

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