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.

2 September 2008: C.N.s 5742-5743
4 September 2008: C.N.s 5744-5746
6 September 2008: C.N.s 5747-5748
10 September 2008: C.N.s 5749-5750
11 September 2008: C.N.s 5751-5753
12 September 2008: C.N.s 5754-5757
13 September 2008: C.N.s 5758-5759
14 September 2008: C.N.s 5760-5761
16 September 2008: C.N. 5762
19 September 2008: C.N.s 5763-5764
20 September 2008: C.N.s 5765-5768
21 September 2008: C.N.s 5769-5770
23 September 2008: C.N. 5771
24 September 2008: C.N.s 5772-5775
25 September 2008: C.N.s 5776-5778
27 September 2008: C.N.s 5779-5780
28 September 2008: C.N.s 5781-5782
30 September 2008: C.N. 5783
All feature articles and C.N. archives
C.N. Factfinder

First column << previous Archives [50] next >> Current column

5742. Who?


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.

5743. Grünfeld (C.N. 5733)

In C.N. 5733 Michael Lorenz (Vienna) mentioned that the gravesite register gave Grünfeld’s first name as Ernest, rather than Ernst, and he now supplies the following additional document:


Our correspondent comments:

‘This comes from the records of Grünfeld’s estate (A-Ws, BG Innere Stadt, 3A, 332/62). The registrar’s office in Ottakring, the district where Grünfeld died in hospital (the Wilhelminenspital, Montleartstraße 37, Vienna 16), reported his death to the court of Vienna’s first district, referring to him as “Ernest Grünfeld”. However, the “Ernest” may merely be a mistake which was later copied into the gravesite register.’

The photograph below was published on page 120 of the 15 April 1938 issue of Deutsche Schachblätter:


E. Grünfeld

5744. Rubinstein’s place of death

Stefan Müllenbruck (Trier, Germany) makes the following points:

a) authoritative sources such as Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia state that Akiba Rubinstein died in Antwerp, Belgium;

b) in an article on page 246 of the journal Menora, 1996 Ernst Strouhal wrote of Rubinstein:

‘Er wurde von seinen Söhnen im jüdischen Altersheim in der Rue de la Glacière untergebracht.’ [‘He was placed by his sons in the Jewish old people’s home in the rue de la Glacière.’]

Strouhal’s source was an interview by Monika Bernold with Rubinstein’s sons, Samy (Sammy) and Jonas in June 1995;

c) a Jewish old people’s home exists, still today, at rue de la Glacière 31-35 in Brussels.

Our correspondent asks how the discrepancy between Antwerp and Brussels is to be explained.

We have consulted Luc Winants (Boirs, Belgium), and his reply is given below:

‘I have checked the matter with Akiba Rubinstein’s daughter-in-law. She informs me that the home in the rue de la Glacière was temporarily closed for renovation and that the residents were all transferred to Antwerp.’

5745. Léonardus Nardus

Reports that Léonardus Nardus was an art swindler and forger were first mentioned in C.N. 4600, and we now add that there are several references to him in a fascinating book The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez (Orlando, 2008). For example, page 35 has a photograph of Nardus (from Marshall’s Chess “Swindles”) and a reference to ‘the fabulously dishonest dealer Leo Nardus, one of the most colorful figures in the history of the art world, although a man little remembered today’.

lopez nardus

5746. Simagin v Bronstein

Siegfried Hornecker (Heidenheim, Germany) asks whether it is possible to unearth the full score of the game Simagin v Bronstein, Moscow championship, 1947. The famous conclusion was:


1…h4 2 Qxd6 Qg2+ 3 Kb3 h3 4 Qd7+ Kg8 5 f5 h2


6 Bg5 h1(Q) 7 Qe8+ Kg7 8 Qg6+ Kf8 9 Qxf6+ Kg8 10 Qd8+ Kg7 11 Qe7+ Kg8 12 Qe8+ Resigns.

In no source, including books by and about Simagin, have we seen the complete game. Can it be traced?

5747. Fischer v Tal

Costas Karayiannis (Loughton, England) asks for corroboration of an episode related by Tal on page 124 of his book The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal (New York, 1976). The same text, except for minor linguistic changes, appeared on page 123 of the Cadogan Chess algebraic edition (London, 1997).


Tal reported that in this position, from a game in the Candidates’ tournament at Bled, 1959:

‘... Fischer first wrote down the move 22 Rael!, without doubt the strongest, and wrote it not in his usual English notation but in European, almost Russian. Then he not very deftly pushed the scoresheet towards me. “He’s asking for an endorsement”, I thought to myself, but how was I to react? To frown was impossible, if I smiled he would suspect “trickery”, and so I did the natural thing. I got up and began to calmly walk up and down the stage. I met Petrosian, made some joke to him, and he replied. The 15-year-old Fischer, who was essentially still only a large child, sat with a confused expression on his face ...’

Fischer then wrote down and played a different move, 22 Qc6+, and went on to lose. Tal added:

‘When I later asked Fischer why he hadn’t played 22 Rae1, he replied: “Well, you laughed when I wrote it down.”’

Our correspondent asks whether any confirmation of the incident appears in other sources. He notes that Fischer made no reference to it in My 60 Memorable Games (game 17).

5748. Queen and knight


A particularly interesting chapter in Practical Endgame Play – beyond the basics by Glenn Flear (London, 2007) is entitled ‘Queen and Bishop versus Queen and Knight’ (pages 422-454). From his introduction to the topic, on page 422:

‘... I don’t necessarily agree with the clichéd adage that “the queen and knight duo are superior”.

This thought-provoking comment is generally attributed to the great pre-war technical specialist Capablanca. Is it that he felt that the queen and knight form a complementary partnership, whereas the strengths of queen and bishop are outweighed by their lack of flexibility, or even their incompetence, on one colour complex? It’s an interesting opinion, nevertheless, and one that is worth developing; especially as in most simplified positions, ceteris paribus, the bishop is generally considered as a superior piece to the knight. Determining whether or not the great Cuban was right is far from easy; for example, I have found no Capablanca games that would support his assertion.’


José Raúl Capablanca

As regards the Cuban’s specific statements on the subject, we reproduce below our overview in C.N. 2696.

From Tim Bogan (Chicago, IL, USA):

‘In Chess Fundamentals, in a section headed Relative Value of the Pieces, Capablanca weighs the usefulness of bishop and knight in connection with other pieces and pawns, and states, in part:

‘A bishop and a rook are also stronger than a knight and a rook, but a queen and a knight may be stronger than a queen and a bishop.’ (my italics)

How did this become “Capablanca’s contention that queen and knight are superior to queen and bishop in the ending is very insightful” in Steve Mayer’s Bishop versus Knight: The Verdict (page 209)?

After also referring to the discussion of this matter on page 350 of Fundamental Chess Endings by K. Müller and F. Lamprecht (who write, ‘Is Capablanca’s theorem that queen and knight are better than queen and bishop true?’) and Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by J. Watson (pages 71-74), our correspondent asks:

‘Did Capablanca ever state his “theorem” as strongly as these later writers suggest?

We are hovering, and havering, between ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘don’t know’. On a subsequent occasion (i.e. a May 1932 lecture - see page 250 of our book on Capablanca) he did indeed dispense with the ‘may be’, declaring:

‘Queen and knight, however, are stronger than queen and bishop. The outcome of a game often depends on being able to obtain this combination. In pawn endings a bishop is preferable to a knight; however, in queen endings the knight is stronger.’

In the ‘Endgame Masters’ chapter of Capablanca’s Last Chess Lectures the fifth of nine ‘simple but valuable rules’ was also categorical: ‘Queen and knight are superior to queen and bishop.’

However, such statements do not necessarily refer to a confrontation between these forces. Indeed, it was when discussing a position in which Black had queen and knight and White had no minor pieces that Botvinnik wrote:

‘The queen and the knight together work miracles here. Capablanca was the first to point out the strength of these two pieces working together.’

Source: page 52 of Botvinnik on the Endgame (Coraopolis, 1985).

An historical remark in passing: to mention just one pre-Capablanca book at random, in The Art of Chess (London, 1895) James Mason noted (pages 92-94) that the ending queen and bishop versus queen was usually drawn, whereas queen and knight versus queen was frequently a win.

On the substantive issue, therefore, our tentative conclusion is that whereas some present-day writers have examined Capablanca’s ‘theorem’ in terms of queen and knight versus queen and bishop, the Cuban was more likely merely expounding (though not inventing) a general preference for the queen to be accompanied by a knight rather than by a bishop, regardless of what material the opponent held.

5749. Showalter questions

Two questions regarding Jackson Whipps Showalter are raised by Kevin Marchese (Canal Winchester, OH, USA):

1) Is anything known about a meeting between Showalter and Zukertort? Our correspondent quotes the following uncorroborated statement on page 225 of Vlastimil Fiala’s book on Cologne, 1898 (Olomouc, 1997):

‘J.W. Showalter began playing about 1881, being beaten by Zukertort in a simultaneous at Cincinnati about that time.’

2) Is it possible to trace all of Showalter’s games at Cincinnati, 1888 (a tournament which he won by a margin of 3½ points)? At present, Mr Marchese has only Showalter’s victory over Moehle and his draw against Judd.


Jackson Whipps Showalter

5750. Grünfeld (C.N.s 5733 & 5743)

Michael Ehn (Vienna) reports that there is no question of an error by the Viennese authorities in 1962, given that ‘Ernest’, and not ‘Ernst’, was the master’s original forename. From page 6 of Mr Ehn’s book Ernst Franz Grünfeld (Vienna, 1993):

‘Seine Geburtsurkunde besagt, daß er als “Grünfeld Ernest Franz” getauft wurde. Das etwas exotische “e” ließ man später der Einfachheit halber weg.’ [‘His birth certificate says that he was baptized “Grünfeld Ernest Franz”. The rather exotic “e” was subsequently omitted for the sake of simplicity.’]


The photograph below is reproduced from opposite page 81, with Mr Ehn’s permission:


E. Grünfeld, circa 1897

Our correspondent informs us that he has for sale a small number of copies of his Grünfeld book, which chronicles the master’s career as far as 1920, and we shall be pleased to pass on any enquiries from readers interested in buying a copy. Mr Ehn also tells us that he does not plan any follow-up volumes.

5751. Heinrich Müller

John Kuipers (Delft, the Netherlands) draws attention to pages 109-110 of Hitlers Berlijn 1933-1945 by H. van Capelle and A.P. van de Bovenkamp (second edition, Soest, 2007), which has a brief paragraph about Heinrich Müller (born in 1900), the head of the Gestapo from 1939 until the end of the Second World War:

‘Net als zijn directe baas Heydrich en zijn ondergeschikte Eichmann, die beiden viool speelden, was ook Müller muzikaal en speelde graag piano en als het even kon schilderde hij landschappen. Bovendien was hij een hartstochtelijk schaker en bridger. Eenmaal in de week kwamen Eichmann en andere hoge Gestapo-functionarissen in de Corneliusstrasse 22 bijeen om een partijtje te schaken. De kettingrokende Müller hield bovendien van een goed glas rode wijn en van cognac.’

Our correspondent’s translation reads:

‘In common with his immediate superior, Heydrich, and his subordinate, Eichmann, both of whom played the violin, Müller was musical and loved to play the piano and, when time permitted, he also painted landscapes. In addition, he was a passionate chess and bridge player. Once a week Eichmann and other leading Gestapo officers gathered at Corneliusstrasse 22 to play a game of chess. The chain-smoking Müller was also fond of a good glass of red wine or cognac.’

Mr Kuipers notes that Corneliusstrasse 22, Berlin was Müller’s private address, where he lived alone (his wife and children having remained in Munich). Müller disappeared in May 1945.

5752. Norbert Lederer and Lillian Day (C.N. 3716)

C.N. 3716 referred to two novels jointly written by Lillian Day and Norbert Lederer, and now Gene Gnandt (Houston, TX, USA) points out that the obituary of Lillian Day in the New York Times, 30 March 1991 stated that Lederer was her third husband.



5753. Who? (C.N. 5742)


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.

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.’

5754. Description of the knight’s move

Additions to our feature article The Knight Challenge are always welcome. Jon Crumiller (Princeton, NJ, USA) notes the following passage on page 98 of The Court-Gamester by Richard Seymour (third edition, London, 1722):


5755. Living chess (C.N. 5738)

From Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain):

‘Concerning living chess in Granada in 1408, I can add some information about the “Sultan” or “King Mohammed” in whose court the contest took place.

He was the King of Granada, Muhammad VII (or Mohamed VII). Born in about 1370, he reigned from 1392 until his death in 1408. I have contacted the Fundación Ibn Tufayl de Estudios Árabes  (Ibn Tufayl Foundation of Arabic Studies), and a Professor from the University of Almería has sent the following details. The full version of his name would be Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. Yusuf b. Muhammad b. Yusuf b. Ismail b. Faray b. Ismail b. Yusuf b. Nasr al-Ansari. He took the nickname al-Mustaʿīn (“who seeks help [from God]”).’

Our correspondent informs us that, in Arabic, أبو عبد الله "المستعين" محمد بن يوسف is the usual spelling of the King’s name.

5756. S.O. Weinstein

Mr Asturiano Molina also asks what the best source is for biographical information about Samuil Osipovich Weinstein (1894-1942). He notes that Nimzowitsch referred to Weinstein as ‘a friend of chess books’ when dedicating to him his booklet Kak ya stal grosmeysterom (Leningrad, 1929):

nimzowitsch weinstein

5757. Reuben Fine

Two addresses for Reuben Fine have been added to the Where Did They Live? feature article, courtesy of Russell Miller (Camas, WA, USA). Mr Miller points out that in the 1920 USA Federal Census the future chess master’s forename was given as ‘Rubin’. This may be a transcription error, but it brings to mind the claim that in later life he used the spelling ‘Ruben’ (see C.N. 3217, on page 281 of Chess Facts and Fables).


Reuben Fine

5758. Capablanca novel

Luca D’Ambrosio (Bolzano, Italy) informs us of a new novel about Capablanca, by Fabio Stassi: La rivincita di Capablanca (Rome, 2008):

capablanca stassi

5759. Carlos Torre v Edward Lasker (Chicago, 1926)

Dale Brandreth (Yorklyn, DE, USA) asks what basis exists for the following claims about Carlos Torre on page 425 of The Oxford Companion to Chess by D. Hooper and K. Whyld (Oxford, 1992):

‘At Chicago later that year, just before the last round of the Western championship (in which he tied for second place), Torre received two letters by the same post, one informing him that he would not get the teaching post for lack of academic qualifications, and the other from his fiancée saying she had married someone else. He suffered a nervous breakdown, returned to Mexico at the end of the year, took an ill-paid job in a drug-store, and played no more serious chess.’


Carlos Torre

5760. Simagin v Bronstein (C.N. 5746)

The hunt for the full game-score continues. Jurgen Stigter (Amsterdam) has forwarded to us pages 156-158 of the 6/1947 issue of Shakhmaty v SSSR, which included a crosstable of the Moscow, 1947 match-tournament and the moves of a draw between Simagin and Bronstein. However, regarding the game being sought, only the conclusion was published, with Simagin’s notes.


The front cover of the 1981 monograph on Vladimir Simagin by S.B. Voronkov

5761. Phrenological estimate

Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) has sent us a copy of the article ‘A Phrenological Estimate of Henry [sic] Nelson Pillsbury, the Champion Chess Player’ by John L. Capen in the July 1900 issue of The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health. It is accompanied by this illustration:


The numbers are given the following meanings: 1) Individuality; 2) Form; 3) Size; 4) Order; 5) Eventuality; 6) Comparison; 7) Causality; 8) Constructiveness; 9) Human Nature. From John L. Capen’s four-page article we pass on just one dazzling discovery:

‘The expression of the countenance of Mr Pillsbury shows great mental activity.’

5762. Philidor’s famous remark (C.N. 5560)

We are grateful to Jurgen Stigter (Amsterdam) for providing substantial information on the earliest appearances of Philidor’s remark about pawns being the soul of chess. The first occurrence was on page xix of L’Analyze des Echecs (London, 1749):


Below, to show the context, is the full page:


Subsequent editions in French (e.g. dated 1752 and 1754) featured the identical text, but with minor variations in spelling and accents.

The first English edition of Philidor’s book, Chess Analysed [Cheſs Analyſed] (London, 1750), had the following (pages ix-x):



5763. Guinness records

We continue our annual series, which is anthologized in The Guinness World Records Slump.


The index of Guinness World Records 2009 (London, 2008) includes only one reference to chess – page 264 – but it is page 263 which has the book’s solitary entry about the game: some 20 words on Sergei Karjakin (Ukraine) having become the youngest grandmaster in 2002.

That appears in a section entitled ‘Eastern & Central Europe’, and also on page 263 the reader is apprised of correspondingly impressive accomplishments in Estonia (‘largest matchstick’) and in Romania (‘longest chain of condoms’).

5764. Phrenology (C.N. 5761)

Dominique Thimognier (St Cyr sur Loire, France) recalls a passage concerning Deschapelles on page 46 of Chess & Chess-Players by George Walker (London, 1850):


5765. The Termination


Regarding the Termination of the 1984-85 world championship match, the new book ‘Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess Part Two Kasparov vs Karpov 1975-1985 including the 1st and 2nd matches’ (London, 2008) required Kasparov to choose (irrespective of the overall conclusions he wished to present) between two approaches:

  • Option A: a careful narrative founded on intellectual rigour and, as far as possible, documented sources;
  • Option B: a cut-and-paste treatment based on his earlier unreliable accounts (as scrutinized in, for instance, The Termination and Kasparov’s Child of Change).

It is Option B all the way.

5766. Semmering-Baden, 1937

Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) submits this feature from Wiener Bilder, 19 September 1937, page 2:

semmering baden

For a larger version, click here.

5767. Carlos Torre v Edward Lasker (C.N. 5759)

From Taylor Kingston (Shelburne, VT, USA):

‘In 1999, I worked with Gabriel Velasco on an English version of his book Vida y Partidas de Carlos Torre (Mexico City, 1993). It was published as The Life and Games of Carlos Torre (Milford, 2000). In my role as translator/editor I naturally compared Velasco’s work with other sources, including the entry on Torre in The Oxford Companion to Chess. I first noticed a minor error in The Companion’s account: the 1926 Chicago tournament at which the episode of the letters supposedly occurred was not the “Western championship”. The tournament in which Torre played Edward Lasker was the Chicago Masters. See page 111 of the September-October 1926 American Chess Bulletin.

A more significant difference was that The Companion’s tale of the emotionally painful letters which Torre supposedly received before his game with Lasker was conspicuously absent from Velasco’s account. When I asked him about this, he expressed the opinion that the letters never existed. He pointed to two big improbabilities: one, that the Mexican government would offer financial support to a chessplayer, and two, that Torre, who was not noted for romantic involvement with women, would have been engaged.

Velasco also pointed out that Filiberto Terrazas’ novel El águila caída, written in 1962 and based on Torre’s life, featured the letters story prominently. Velasco regarded that book as more fiction than biography, and the episode of the letters as just one of its romantic embellishments. And I was struck by the fact that Terrazas’ tale of heartbreak closely mirrored another fictionalized biography, Frances Parkinson Keyes’ The Chess Players (1960), based on the life of Paul Morphy, in which a refused marriage proposal contributes to Morphy’s withdrawal from chess. Therefore, before the discussion of the Torre v Lasker game in The Life and Games of Carlos Torre we added a passage highly skeptical of the letters’ existence (see page 281).

It is perhaps a pity that Velasco did not ask Torre about all this in his 1977 interview, but there is Torre’s statement,“After the tournament in Chicago, in 1926, my health was shattered due to dietary difficulties. In fact, I suffered a nervous breakdown.” (See page 292 of The Life and Games of Carlos Torre.)

I asked Kenneth Whyld what sources he had used for the Torre entry in The Companion. At first he was unable to supply specifics, saying that some 20 different sources were consulted, some contradictory, and that it was a perennial problem for an encyclopedist to know which to believe. In further correspondence, however, he mentioned a source that not only referred to the letters but even gave a name to the supposed faithless fiancée: Susanna. The writer of this information? Gabriel Velasco himself.

What happened is this: Velasco began working on his Torre book in the 1970s. He consulted Whyld at that time about the possibility of an English edition, even sending him the manuscript. At that early point in his research, Velasco believed Terrazas’ story of the letters and the jilting fiancée, and had treated them as fact in his MS. Whyld then took this as an authoritative source. By the time The Companion was published, Velasco and Whyld were no longer corresponding, so Whyld never learned of Velasco’s change of mind until I contacted him in 1999.

I have confirmed all this recently with Velasco. On 18 September 2008 he wrote to me:

“I consider the Oxford Companion account false, in view of the testimony which was told direct to me by the late dean of chess in Mexico, Alejandro Báez Graybelt, who was the most reliable source for everything concerning Torre’s life. Señor Báez assured me that the story was merely an invention, or, as you called it once, ‘a story typical of a paperback novel’. What is true, of course, is that Torre suffered a nervous breakdown, returned to Mexico at the end of the year, took an ill-paid job in a drug-store, and played no more serious chess.”

torre maroczy

Carlos Torre and Géza Maróczy, Chicago, 1926 (American Chess Bulletin, November 1926, page 140)

5768. Przepiórka v Taubenhaus

An untraced game is the brilliancy by Przepiórka, not yet a teenager, against Taubenhaus. From page 13 of David Przepiórka A Master of Strategy by H. Weenink (Amsterdam, 1932):

‘Przepiórka learned chess at the age of seven all by himself, none of his family knowing the game. When only nine years of age he was a true chess prodigy and as a boy of 12 he beat the well-known master Taubenhaus in a brilliant game.’

Page 3 of Dawid Przepiorka His Life and Work by Tomasz Lissowski (Nottingham, 1999) stated:

‘Przepiórka’s debut in a public arena was a competition for solvers where his name was first mentioned in 1891. One year later he had an opportunity to play a game with Jan (Jean) Taubenhaus, a renowned Franco-Polish chess master, who participated in some great international events. The Warsaw press reported, “Przepiórka won his game in a sparkling style”, but the score of this sensational battle has not been preserved.’


Dawid Przepiórka (from H. Weenink’s monograph)

5769. Ladies’ chess clubs

Rod Edwards (Victoria, BC, Canada) writes:

‘Your Chess Records article has given information on the earliest recorded chess clubs but not on the earliest recorded women’s (or ladies’) chess club. I propose the following as a candidate, on the basis of Staunton’s answers to correspondents in the Illustrated London News:

“‘Margaret J.’, Kensington. – The establishment of a Ladies’ Chess Club, is, indeed, an event in the history of the game, and one of the most pleasing evidences of the progress this fine intellectual discipline is making in society. Let us hope the example set by the ladies in Kensington will be followed by our countrywomen in other directions. The game played between Miss E. and Miss M. is excellent in style, and calculated to afford a very high notion of the capabilities of the fair combatants. Can it be possible they have attained such knowledge of the game in three months’ practice only?” (27 November 1847, page 346.)

“‘R.T.C.’–‘V.’–‘Amazon’. – The Ladies’ Chess Club, to which we alluded in our last, is established at Kennington, not Kensington; and is to be called ‘The Penelope Club’. We presume it will be composed exclusively of female members; but, possibly, as an incentive to excellence, an exception to this rule will be admitted in the case of the leading player of the time, who might without impropriety be entitled to the privileges of an ‘Honorary Member’.” (4 December 1847, page 371.)

The game mentioned in the first of these items would seem to be the one published in the January 1848 issue of the Chess Player’s Chronicle (pages 23-24), between “Miss C.” and “Miss M.”, which Staunton claimed to be the first game involving women ever published. You gave the score on pages 63-64 of A Chess Omnibus (C.N. 2447).

There is one other somewhat curious answer to a correspondent (apparently, the same “Margaret J.”):

“‘M.J.’ – We had not overlooked your question, but could hardly imagine you were in earnest. What would be said to such a procedure as giving the names of several private gentlemen, accompanied by comments on their age, looks, personal deportment, and acquirements, in a public newspaper, simply to gratify the curiosity of a few amiable admirers? The proposed name is very appropriate. We shall hope to hear from you again.” (18 December 1847, page 402.)’

5770. Who? (C.N.s 5742 & 5753)

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.

5771. More copying

A) Below is the text of C.N. 4682 (posted on 29 October 2006):

‘“The world’s biggest-selling book” is the boast on the back cover of Guinness World Records 2007 (London, 2006). Two pages include entries on chess: page 99 has a couple of dozen words about Sergei Karjakin being the youngest grandmaster, while page 137 offers brief features on the smallest and largest chess sets, as well as the following: “On 25 June 2005, 12,388 simultaneous games of chess were played at the Ben Gurion Cultural Park in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.” That is all. The four entries from the 2006 edition have been dropped.

Although poker has five entries on page 136, games such as draughts and bridge receive no treatment at all, and the editorial team’s interests are evidently on a different plane. For example, pages 8-9 document such pivotal attainments as “most heads shaved in 24 hours”, “fastest time to drink a 500-ml milkshake”, “longest tandem bungee jump”, “fastest carrot chopping”, “largest underpants”, “most socks worn on one foot’ and “fastest person with a pricing gun”.’

B) From an article ‘Densa and Densa’ by Raymond Keene (posted on the Internet on 21 September 2008):

‘I therefore decided to take a look for myself to ascertain whether Guinness is dumbing down or not, and to discover if their response is an honest appraisal of the situation or pure hypocritical cant?

“The world’s biggest-selling book” is the boast on the back cover of “Guinness World Records 2007”. Seven pages in total include entries on Mind Sports: a couple of dozen words about Sergei Karjakin being the youngest chess Grandmaster, while another page offers brief features on the smallest and largest chess sets, as well as the following: “On 25 June 2005, 13,388 simultaneous games of chess were played at the Ben Gurion Cultural Park in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.

Although poker has five entries, games such as draughts and bridge receive no treatment at all. For example, it documents such pivotal attainments as “most heads shaved in 24 hours”; “fastest time to drink a 500ml milkshake”; “longest tandem bungee jump”; “fastest carrot chopping”; “largest underpants”; “most socks worn on one foot” and “fastest person with a pricing gun”.’

5772. Pillsbury’s mate

James Stripes (Spokane, WA, USA) informs us that he has written an article about the origins of ‘Pillsbury’s mate’. It includes a discussion of ‘Pillsbury v Lee’, which was referred to in our feature article A Sorry Case. As Mr Stripes remarks, that alleged game was given in chapter 12 of The Art of the Checkmate by Georges Renaud and Victor Kahn (New York, 1953).

5773. Showalter questions (C.N. 5749)

Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) notes that a third game played by Showalter at Cincinnati, 1888 (against J.M. Tomlinson) was given on pages 105-106 of the Columbia Chess Chronicle, 22 September 1888.


Jackson Whipps Showalter

As regards a possible over-the-board meeting between Showalter and Zukertort, Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) reports that the New Orleans Times-Democrat chess column of 20 April 1884 referred to a blindfold simultaneous display in Cincinnati in which Zukertort defeated Treichler, V. Abraham, Showalter and Euphrat, lost to Ettlinger and drew with Dr Keeney. As noted by Harrie Grondijs (Rijswijk, the Netherlands), the account of the display on page 115 of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, 15 May 1884 had the spelling ‘Thowalter’ (and stated that Zukertort defeated Dr Keeney). Moreover, page 150 of Mr Grondijs’ book Steinitz with Zukertort (Rijswijk, 2006) quoted the report in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette of 12 April 1884, which referred to ‘Showalter’.

It remains to be ascertained why, as quoted in C.N. 5749, V. Fiala’s book on Cologne, 1898 stated, ‘J.W. Showalter began playing about 1881 [emphasis added], being beaten by Zukertort in a simultaneous at Cincinnati about that time’.

5774. Reuben Fine (C.N. 5766)

Ola Winfridsson (Cambridge, England) observes that the Wiener Bilder illustration gave Ireland as Reuben Fine’s country.


We can offer no explanation for the reference.

5775. Ladies’ chess clubs (C.N. 5769)

A contribution from Robert John McCrary (Columbia, SC, USA):

‘Concerning the earliest ladies’ club, the Chess Player’s Chronicle, volume five, 1844, page 64, quotes a toast at the annual dinner of the Liverpool Chess Club as follows:

“Mr W. Lockerby gave ‘The Ladies’, and in so doing stated that the formation of a Ladies’ Chess Club, and the admission of ladies to their annual festivity, would enhance the pleasure of both sexes.”

The earliest recorded, actually-played, game involving a woman that I have found is given on page 112 of Amusements in Chess by Charles Tomlinson (London, 1845). He presents the first 32 moves of a pawn-and-move game won by the Automaton against “Miss Hook” in London, evidently in 1819 or 1820:


The same game is on pages 55-56 of The Turk, Chess Automaton by Gerald M. Levitt (Jefferson, 2000), where White is named as “Hook”, without the “Miss”. Levitt gives the date as 1820. Tomlinson concludes with “and wins” after Black’s 32nd move, but Levitt adds four more moves.’

5776. Nimzowitsch and Enevoldsen (C.N. 4307)

In C.N. 4307 Michael Negele (Wuppertal, Germany) presented a photograph taken by him of the Nimzowitsch-Enevoldsen ‘double grave’ in Copenhagen:

nimzowitsch enevoldsen

Phil Bourke (Blayney, NSW, Australia) asks why the two masters share the same resting place.

The matter was discussed on page 11 of Schaakgraven (the booklet mentioned in C.N. 4452). That publication relates that Nimzowitsch described Enevoldsen as ‘the hope of Danish chess’ after losing to him in the Copenhagen, 1933 tournament. Enevoldsen died in 1980, and in his will he expressed a wish to be buried alongside Nimzowitsch. The Danish Chess Union, the owner of the plot, acceded.

Per Skjoldager (Fredericia, Denmark) informs us:

‘Enevoldsen’s obituary by Poul Hage in Skakbladet, July 1980, pages 99-102 does not mention the matter, but I have checked the facts with Steen Juul Mortensen, who was the President of the Danish Chess Union in 1980. He confirms that Enevoldsen wanted to be buried alongside Nimzowitsch. His family made a contribution to the fund.

Nimzowitsch, for his part, had no family in Denmark when he died, in 1935. A number of chess friends created a fund to care for his grave, and the fund still exists today, administered by the Danish Chess Union.

As noted by Hage in the above-mentioned obituary in Skakbladet, Enevoldsen was a great admirer of Nimzowitsch, and they became friends in 1933. On page 150 of his autobiography 30 år ved skakbrættet (Copenhagen, 1952) Enevoldsen wrote about his victory over Nimzowitsch at Copenhagen, 1933 (my translation from the Danish):

“As you can imagine, the waves rose high when Nimzowitsch turned over his king. The master removed his glasses and wiped away the perspiration from his brow, stood up and disappeared. From all sides people shook hands with me and slapped me on the back. My elderly mother, who was a spectator that particular day, was as moved as when she became a grandmother ...

A few minutes later Nimzowitsch came back as calm and composed as would be expected. As a good sportsman he offered me his hand and thanked me for the game.

From that day on, he had tremendous respect for my play and never again regarded me with the usual lack of interest. In fact, we began to appreciate each other. Unfortunately, this lasted for only the two years that he had still to live. I am sure that he would have been happy to see the many games that I have played since then in his spirit and in accordance with his principles.”


5777. Group photographs

Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Komi, Russian Federation) refers to a report on the Kemeri-Riga, 1939 tournament in the 11/1989 issue of Shakhmaty (Riga), and we note in particular the photograph on page 10:


However, this shot was evidently taken at the Folkestone Olympiad six years previously. Feigin, Petrov, Apscheneek and Hasenfuss represented Latvia in that event, and a similar photograph of the US team appeared as the frontispiece to the Olympiad book:


From left to right: A.W. Dake, Mrs Kashdan, I. Kashdan, A.C. Simonson, F.J. Marshall, R. Fine

See also the photograph of the British team on page 233 of the July 1974 BCM and on page 141 of Mir Sultan Khan by R.N. Coles (St Leonards on Sea, 1977).

5778. Frank Rice Marshall

C.N. 2113 (see page 233 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves) mentioned the report on page 10 of the January 1906 American Chess Bulletin that F.J. Marshall’s son (born on 28 December 1905) was named Frank Rice Marshall. We wondered whether the second forename was chosen in honour of Isaac Rice, but nothing further has yet come to light.

C.N. 5753 suggested that the boy in the New York, 1915 group photograph was probably Marshall Junior.


Below is a picture of him on page 15 of My Fifty Years of Chess by Frank J. Marshall (New York, 1942):


Regarding the Ostend, 1907 tournament, page 16 of Marshall’s book stated:

‘Carrie and I decided that we would go abroad together and take Frankie along, although he was only 16 months old.’

He looks considerably older.

Although biographical details about Marshall Junior are sparse, his photograph occasionally appeared in US chess magazines. An example, from page 9 of the April 1945 Chess Review, was given in C.N. 4347. Page 5 of the January-February 1945 American Chess Bulletin presented him in army uniform (and stated that he had served in France as a corporal in the Signal Corps and that ‘he weathered three of the major campaigns with Gen. Patton’s army’).

The photograph below was published on page 10 of the December 1945 Chess Review. It shows him preparing a radiogram for transmission to Moscow in the USA v USSR Radio Match, and on his left is Al Horowitz.


5779. Excelsior, 1905

Below is the crosstable of the sixth Western Chess Congress, held in Excelsior, MN, USA on 21-27 August 1905, from page 287 of the September 1905 American Chess Bulletin:

excelsior chess

Marc Hébert (Charny, Canada) draws attention to the selection of games from the event published on page 148 of the July 1906 issue of the same periodical:

excelsior chess

Was the game between E.P. Elliott and A.T. Bigelow a draw (as stated in the crosstable) or a win for Elliott (i.e. as in the game-score). Moreover, why are games given by the non-participants MacLeod and Jellett?

5780. Amsterdam Olympiad, 1954

John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA) sends a photograph from the archives of the late Frank Anderson:

amsterdam chess

For a large version, click here.

Some figures are readily identified, but all suggestions from readers will be welcome.

5781. Bellingen

Graham Clayton (South Windsor, NSW, Australia) writes:

‘In August 1913 William Viner and Spencer Crakanthorp played a match for the Australian title in the small NSW country town of Bellingen, located 470 kilometres north of Sydney. Viner won the match (+7 –1 =3). The population of Bellingen, even today, is only 2,500. Is it the smallest population centre to have hosted a national title match, or even a national championship tournament?’

From a detailed account of the match by the late John van Manen, an outstanding chess historian, on pages 45-56 of volume three of Australian Chess Lore (Modbury Heights, 1984) we note that Viner had lived in Bellingen since 1911. All 11 match-games were given by van Manen.

5782. Alekhine’s birth certificate (C.N.s 4719 & 4739)

C.N.s 4719 and 4739 discussed Alekhine’s birth certificate, as reproduced in a Russian-language magazine in 1972. Now Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) specifies that the periodical was Shakhmaty (Riga) and provides a more detailed scan of the document:


For a large version, click here.

Since the reproduction in Shakhmaty (Riga) was of poor quality, we are still looking for a good, fully legible copy of the certificate.

5783. Talent-spotting

Page vii of One Move and You’re Dead by Erwin Brecher and Leonard Barden (London, 2007) records that Barden ...

‘... was the first to predict in print that Garry Kasparov (then 11) would become world champion and that Nigel Short (then nine) would become Kasparov’s challenger.’

Regarding the Kasparov forecast, we are grateful to the Guardian Research Department for sending us the column in question (The Guardian, 24 February 1975, page 16) and for permission to reproduce it here:


In C.N. 507, after the prediction’s appearance on pages 5-6 of the book on Kasparov Fighting Chess (London, 1983), we described it as ‘an amazing piece of talent-spotting’. Fighting Chess called the passage ‘the first western report’ on Kasparov.

Further to the remarks about English players in the above Guardian column, Mr Barden informs us:

‘My comment that “England, too, has some possible world class prospects” was a reference to both Julian Hodgson and Nigel Short. It was not until March-April 1975, after Short had performed impressively in Jersey and in a junior event in London, that I rated him ahead of Hodgson, allowing for age, and as a potential rival for Garry Kasparov. At the end of the London event I asked Čenĕk Kottnauer, whose opinion on juniors I regarded highly, to analyse and play a game with Short, and Kottnauer was greatly impressed.

The invitation to the Soviet Embassy for Weinstein to play was on my prompting, my grounds being that he would be nervous on his first journey to the West and that Hodgson could gain a psychological edge for battles to come. Moscow refused.

My forecast in the Guardian of 24 February 1975 was made about 15 months before Botvinnik went into print with his famous remark about the future of chess being in Kasparov’s hands.’

First column << previous Archives [50] next >> Current column

Chess Notes Archives

Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.