See C.N. 6588 below.
Three feature articles of ours focus on Bogoljubow’s chess activities in the 1920s, i.e. his game against Capablanca at Moscow, 1925, his ‘FIDE championship’ match against Euwe in 1928, and his world title contest with Alekhine in 1929.
Three entries from Where Did They Live?:
Bogoljubow, E.: Funduklejewskaja 74, Kiev, Russia (Ranneforths Schach-Kalender, 1915, page 57).
Bogoljubow, E.: Französische Str. 57, Berlin W 8, Germany (Ranneforths Schach-Kalender, 1920, page 99).
Bogoljubow, E.: Villa Rosalia, Triberg, Germany (Ranneforths Schach-Kalender, 1930, page 63).
Below are the main C.N. items which are related to other aspects of Bogoljubow’s career.
Under the heading ‘A real scrap’ C.N. 513 gave Tartakower’s victory over Bogoljubow, London, 17 October 1927. Our concluding comment was, ‘Rarely can a loser have played so ingeniously’.
C.N. 1491 reproduced the entry on Bogoljubow in Chess Personalia by Jeremy Gaige (Jefferson, 1987):
‘Bogoljubow, Efim Dimitrijewitsch
born: 14 April 1889 Stanislavitsk/Kiev, USSR
died: 18 June 1952 Triberg, Federal Republic of Germany
Elo Historical Rating: 2610
American Chess Bulletin, 1952, page 72
British Chess Magazine, 1952, pages 253-254
Caissa, 1952, pages 133-134
Chess Pie No. l, 1922, pages 8-10
Chess Review, 1952, page 200
Chess Career of E.D. Bogoljubow by Jack Spence
Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1952, pages 224-225
Deutsche Schachblätter, 1952, pages 115-116
Grossmeister Bogoljubow by Alfred Brinckmann
Teplitz-Schönau 1922, pages 567-568.’
His date of birth is marked to indicate that it has been converted to the Gregorian Calendar (New Style).
From page 344 of the September 1947 CHESS:
‘The sub-committee deputed to consider Bogoljubow’s request for rehabilitation reported that they could not advise the FIDE to grant this master’s request for he had joined the Nazi party and taken no positive steps throughout the war to indicate divergence from their aims. On the other hand, it was pointed out that any tournament organizing committee was perfectly at liberty to either accept or reject him as a competitor.’
See too C.N. 9333 below.
Who was the first FIDE champion? Not Botvinnik in 1948, but Bogoljubow in 1928. The minutes of FIDE’s 5th Congress (The Hague, 1-5 August 1928) relate that the General Assembly regarded that year’s Bogoljubow v Euwe encounter (+3 –2 =5) as the first match for the title of FIDE champion. The organization believed that a general championship within FIDE could exist in addition to the world championship, with the two possibly combined later on. The President, Dr Alexander Rueb, acknowledged that the press and officials had reacted with astonishment and incomprehension to the idea of a separate FIDE title. The following year Alekhine defeated Bogoljubow in a world championship match, and the whole concept of a FIDE title faded away.
In The Hague, Alekhine agreed that future world championship matches should take place under the aegis of FIDE; however, any rematch with Capablanca would, he said, have to be held under exactly the same conditions as the 1927 Buenos Aires match. At the 11th Congress (Zurich, 27-29 July 1934) Rueb reported that Euwe had made a formal request to FIDE that his planned 1935 title match against Alekhine should take place directly under FIDE’s auspices. None of this materialized.
FIDE’s reports show that many masters, including Alekhine, maintained regular contact with the nascent ruling body. A future C.N. item will examine its attempts to establish criteria for the awarding of titles. To date, the subject of pre-Second World War chess administration has been neglected by historians and researchers.
See too Articles about the International Chess Federation (FIDE).
Hanon Russell of Milford, CT, USA has a collection of thousands of chess documents representing all periods. Its importance for serious historical research is immeasurable, but here we publish, with his kind permission, some lighter fare: masters’ comments on each other in correspondence.
a) Letter from Alekhine to Norbert Lederer, 15 February 1924 (item 1365 in the Russell Collection):
‘... I consider Mr Bogoljubow a “non-gentleman”, a man from whom anything can be expected at any moment ... Mr Bogoljubow has, in every tournament in which we’ve participated (growing worse each time), brought with him such an atmosphere of hate, envy and reckless, malignant delight which doubtless disturbed me in developing my full strength.’
b) Letter from Bogoljubow to Capablanca, 7 December 1926 (item 78):
‘Apart from the fact that, for instance, Nimzowitsch is very hostile to me and lately has not missed any opportunity to harm me, I cannot expect fair treatment at the hands of Alekhine, Spielmann or Vidmar. ... As far as Nimzowitsch is concerned, you know as well as I do that he, notwithstanding his fairly good results, is hardly a real grandmaster, so that I am really surprised that people make such a ridiculous fuss over him of late.’
White to move and win
Solution to this study by Bogoljubow: 1 Bf4 (not 1 exf6 gxf6 2 Bf4 h5) 1...fxe5 2 f6 g5 3 f7. 1...g5 2 d6 Bc6 3 e6 gxf4 4 d7 c1(Q) 5 d8(Q). 1...h5 2 d6. 1...Bxd5 2 exf6 g5 3 fxg6 hxg6 4 bxa4.
Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 25 April 1915, page 116.
Ulf Klimant (Dudweiler, Germany) questions the soundness of the Bogoljubow study. In the final line given in C.N. 2028 (1...Bxd5 2 exf6 g5 3 fxg6 hxg6 4 bxa4), our correspondent says that Black could play 2...h5. He proposes the variations:
a) 3 fxg7+ Kh7 4 f6 Kg6;
b) 3 fxg7+ Kh7 4 bxa4 h4;
c) 3 f7 axb3 4 Bc1 h4.
Page 16 of Complete Games of Alekhine, volume 2, by V. Fiala and J. Kalendovský (Olomouc, 1996) refers to a four-game match between Alekhine and Bogoljubow played in Triberg in June/July 1921:
‘Alekhine and Bogoljubow wrote down an agreement pledging that the results would not be published in the next 15 years. ... Bogoljubow himself confirmed the existence of the secret match (which ended in a draw +1 –1 =2) only many years later. It was mentioned in the Introduction to the collection of games from the  world championship match against Alekhine. In their lifetime neither protagonist made public mention of any game of this match.’
The book gives the four game-scores.
A game which has seemingly escaped the anthologists and theoreticians:
Efim Bogoljubow – Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich
Triberg, February 1917
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 b6 5 Bg5 Bb7 6 e3 h6 7 Bh4 g5 8 Bg3 Ne4 9 Qc2 h5 10 Bd3 f5 11 O-O-O Bxc3 12 bxc3 Qe7 13 Kb2 d6 14 d5 exd5 15 Nd4 dxc4 16 Bxc4 h4 17 f3 hxg3 18 hxg3 Rf8 19 fxe4 Bxe4 20 Qe2 c6 21 Ne6 g4 22 Nxf8 Qxf8 23 Be6 Ke7
24 Bc8 Qxc8 25 Rh7+ Ke6 26 Rh6+ Kf7 27 R1xd6 Qa6 28 Rh7+ Kg8 29 Qd1 Qb5+ 30 Ka1 Kxh7 31 Qh1+ Resigns.
Source: Časopis českých šachistů, October 1917, pages 139-140.
We can think of only one case where a prominent player (a world title challenger, in fact) appended question marks to three of his first six moves. Bogoljubow (White) won his eighth-round game against B. Koch at Bad Pyrmont, 1933 in 33 moves, yet he gave the opening as follows: ‘1 Nf3 d5 2 c4 d4 3 b4? f6 4 a3 e5 5 e4? c5 6 bxc5?’.
His annotations appeared in the Remscheider Generalanzeiger and were reproduced on pages 240-242 of the Deutsche Schachzeitung, August 1933.
Eduardo Bauzá Mercére has submitted the following game:
Allies (including B.W. Dunn) – Efim Bogoljubow (blindfold)
New York, 1924
King’s Pawn Game
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nd4 4 c3 Nxf3+ 5 Qxf3 Nf6 6 d4 d6 7 Bg5 Be7 8 h3 O-O 9 Nd2 Nd7 10 Be3 Bf6 11 Bd3 exd4 12 cxd4 c5 13 Nb3 b5 14 dxc5 Bxb2 15 Rb1 Bc3+ 16 Nd2 dxc5 17 Bxb5 Qa5 18 Qd1 Rb8 19 Bxd7 Rxb1 20 Qxb1 Bxd7 21 Qc11 Bb5 22 a4 Bd3 23 f3 Rb8 24 Kf2 c4 25 Rd1 h6 26 Bf4 Rb2 27 Kg3 g5 28 Be3 Rc2 29 Qa3 Qe5+ 30 f4 gxf4+ 31 Bxf4 Qg7+ 32 Kf3 Bd4 33 g3 Rc3 34 Qd6 Bf1+ 35 White resigns.
Source: Brooklyn Eagle, 8 May 1924.
A footnote on page 83 of A Chess Omnibus commented that 21 O-O Bxd2 22 Bxd2 Qxd2 23 Rd1 equalizes.
An excerpt from an article on pages 1-4 of Ajedrez, January 1930 by Tartakower (in which he referred to himself in the third person):
‘In the great tournament in Pistyan, 1922, Tartakower managed to win his games against the two winners of the event, Bogoljubow and Alekhine.
In the game Alekhine-Tartakower, played in the early stages of the tournament, the loser stated after the game that he had been influenced by the indecisive way Tartakower played many of his moves. (In effect, having won a pawn but unable to find conclusive continuations, Tartakower was far from satisfied with his moves.) The battle should have finished in a draw, and it was only because of a serious mistake – extremely rare for him – that Alekhine lost the game.
Not wishing to incur further reproaches of the same kind, Tartakower then resolved to exercise even more self-control with all his moves. However, in Tartakower v Bogoljubow the loser claimed after the game that he had been influenced by the resolute way Tartakower played his moves.
As may be seen, it will never be possible to conduct the battle to the full satisfaction of the loser, who will always find some claim or other to make.’
A challenging problem composed by Bogoljubow to mark the Staunton Centenary Chess Congress in 1951:
White mates in three moves
Source: BCM, August 1951, page 59.
Efim Bogoljubow – Schuppler
Haslach, September 1949
1 h4 d5 2 d4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nbd2 Bf5 5 c3 Nbd7 6 Ne5 Nxe5 7 dxe5 Nd7 8 Qa4 h5 9 Nf3 Qc7 10 Bf4 e6 11 Bh2 g6 12 Nd4 Bg7 13 Nxf5 gxf5 14 f4 Nc5 15 Qc2 Ne4 16 g3 Bh6 17 Bg2 O-O-O 18 Rd1 Rdg8 19 Bxe4 dxe4 20 O-O Rg4 21 Kh1 Rhg8 22 b4 Bf8 23 a4 Be7 24 Rd2 Rd8 25 Rxd8+ Qxd8 26 Rd1 Qc7 27 a5 Rg8
28 Bg1 Rxg3 29 Bxa7 c5 30 Qa4 Qc6 31 b5 Qe8 32 Rg1 Qg8 33 Rxg3 Qxg3 34 Qc4 Qh3+ 35 Kg1 Qg4+ 36 Kh1 Qh3+ 37 Kg1 Qe3+ 38 Kh1 Qh3+ 39 Kg1 Qg3+ 40 Kh1 Qxh4+ 41 Kg2 Qg4+ 42 Kh1 Qh3+ 43 Kg1 Qg3+ 44 Kh1 h4 45 a6 Qh3+ 46 Kg1 Qg3+ 47 Kf1 e3 48 White resigns.
Source: Faschingsschach der Welt by H. Klüver, pages 10-11, which indicated that the game had originally appeared in Die Welt, 2 November 1949.
See too The Chess Opening 1 h4.
Shortly after the New York, 1924 tournament Bogoljubow began a match against Abraham Kupchik which has seldom been mentioned. There was a brief report on page 154 of the July-August 1924 American Chess Bulletin:
‘After six games of a match between E.D. Bogoljubow and A. Kupchik at the Manhattan and Rice-Progressive Chess Clubs, the score stands: Bogoljubow, 3; Kupchik, 1; drawn, 2. Twelve games in all are to be contested.’
The Bulletin did not revert to the subject and published no moves. However, Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) has sent us all six games played . Twelve games were due to be contested, but the match was broken off when Bogoljubow led +3 –1 =2. A correspondent, Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA), kindly sent us all six game-scores:
Efim Bogoljubow – Abraham Kupchik
First match-game, New York, 1924
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 5 O-O d6 6 Nxd4 Bd7 7 Bxc6 bxc6 8 Qf3 c5 9 Nf5 Bxf5 10 Qxf5 g6 11 Qf3 Nd7 12 Qc3 Qf6 13 Qa5 Qd8 14 Nc3 c6 15 Qa4 Qc7 16 Bf4 Be7 17 Rad1 O-O 18 Rd2 Rfd8 19 Rfd1 Nf8 20 Qc4 Ne6 21 Bg3 Rab8 22 b3 Rb4 23 Qf1 Rd4 24 Rxd4 cxd4 25 Na4 Qb7 26 f4 c5 27 Re1 d5 28 f5 gxf5 29 exf5 Ng5 30 f6 Bf8 31 Re5 h6 32 Qf4 Qc8 33 Qh4 Re8 34 Rxd5 Qc6 35 Re5 Re6 36 Bf4 Rxe5 37 Bxe5 Kh7 38 Qf4 Qe4 39 Qxe4+ Nxe4 40 Kf1 Kg6 41 Ke2 Kf5 42 Bb8 a6 43 Kd3 Nxf6 44 Ba7 Nd7 45 Kc4 Ke4 46 Nxc5+ Bxc5 47 Bxc5 Ne5+ 48 Kb4 Nc6+ 49 Ka4 Kd5 50 Bf8 h5 51 g3 f5 52 h4 Ke4 53 b4 d3 54 cxd3+ Kxd3 55 b5 axb5+ 56 Kxb5 Nd4+ 57 Kb6 f4 58 gxf4 Nf5 59 a4 Nxh4 60 a5 Resigns.
Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 30 May 1924 and New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 1 June 1924.
Abraham Kupchik – Efim Bogoljubow
Second match-game, New York, 1924
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 O-O 9 d4 Bg4 10 Be3 exd4 11 cxd4 Na5 12 Bc2 Nc4 13 Bc1 c5 14 b3 Na5 15 e5 dxe5 16 dxe5 Qxd1 17 Rxd1 Nd7 18 h3 Nxe5 19 Nxe5 Bxd1 20 Bxd1 Bf6 21 f4 Nc6 22 Bb2 Rae8 23 Bf3 Nxe5 24 fxe5 Bxe5 25 Bxe5 Rxe5 26 Nd2 Rd8 27 Nf1 g6 28 Rc1 Rd4 29 Rc2 c4 30 bxc4 Rxc4 31 Rd2 b4 32 Ng3 Rc1+ 33 Kf2 Ra1 34 Bd1 h5 35 Bb3 h4 36 Ne2 Rf5+ 37 Ke3 Re1 38 Bd1 a5 39 Rd4 Ref1 40 Kd2 R5f2 41 Rxh4 Rxg2 42 Rd4 Rh2 43 Rd3 Rf5 44 Kc1 Re5 45 Kd2 Kg7 46 Rd7 a4 47 Rd4 b3 48 axb3 axb3 49 Rb4 Rd5+ 50 Kc1 Rd3 51 White resigns.
Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 30 May 1924 and New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 1 June 1924.
Efim Bogoljubow – Abraham Kupchik
Third match-game, New York, 1924
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 Nxe4 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5 Be7 6 O-O O-O 7 c4 c6 8 Nc3 Nxc3 9 bxc3 Nd7 10 Nxd7 Bxd7 11 cxd5 cxd5 12 Qh5 f5 13 Qf3 Bc6 14 Bxf5 Bd6 15 Qh3 h6 16 Bc2 Qf6 17 Qd3 Rae8 18 Bd2 Re4 19 Rae1 Rfe8 20 Re3 R8e7 21 Rf3 Qe6 22 Rh3 Qd7 23 c4 Bf4 24 Bxf4 Rxf4 25 Qh7+ Kf8 26 Bg6 Re2 27 Qh8+ Ke7 28 Qxg7+ Kd8 29 Qxh6 Qg4 30 Bh5 Resigns.
Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 30 May 1924 and New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 1 June 1924.
Abraham Kupchik – Efim Bogoljubow
Fourth match-game, New York, 1924
Queen’s Pawn, Bogoljubow Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 Bb4+ 4 Nbd2 O-O 5 e3 Nc6 6 a3 Bxd2+ 7 Bxd2 Ne4 8 Bd3 Nxd2 9 Qxd2 d6 10 Qc2 f5 11 O-O-O Qf6 12 d5 Nd8 13 e4 e5 14 exf5 Bxf5 15 Bxf5 Qxf5 16 Qxf5 Rxf5 17 Rhf1 b6 18 Nd2 Nb7 19 Kc2 a5 20 f3 a4 21 Ne4 Raf8 22 Rfe1 Rf4 23 Kc3 Rh4 24 h3 Ra8 25 Re2 Ra5 26 Kb4 Rf4 27 Nc3 Rd4 28 Ree1 Rc5 29 Rxd4 exd4 30 Nxa4 Ra5 31 Re8+ Kf7 32 Rc8 Kf6 33 Rxc7 Nc5 34 Nxc5 bxc5+ 35 Kb3 Ra8 36 Rd7 Ra6 37 Kc2 h5 38 h4 g6 39 Kd3 Rb6 40 b4 Ra6 41 Ke4 g5 42 hxg5+ Kxg5 43 Rc7 d3 44 Ke3 d2 45 Kxd2 cxb4 46 axb4 Kf4 47 Kd3 Kg3 48 Rg7+ Kh4 49 c5 dxc5 50 g3+ Resigns.
Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 5 June 1924 and New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 1 June 1924.
Efim Bogoljubow – Abraham Kupchik
Fifth match-game, New York, 1924
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 d4 exd4 6 O-O Be7 7 e5 Ne4 8 Re1 Nc5 9 Bxc6 dxc6 10 Nxd4 Ne6 11 Nf5 Qxd1 12 Rxd1 Bf8 13 Nc3 Bd7 14 Be3 O-O-O 15 Ne4 h6 16 Nfg3 b6 17 f4 Re8 18 Rd2 c5 19 Rad1 Bc6 20 c3 Be7 21 Nd6+ cxd6 22 exd6 Bf6 23 d7+ Bxd7 24 Rxd7 Nd4 25 Rxf7 Rxe3 26 cxd4 Bxd4 27 Kf1 Re6 28 b4 Rd8 29 bxc5 bxc5 30 Nf5 Rf6 31 Rxf6 Bxf6 32 Rxd8+ Kxd8 33 Ke2 Kd7 34 Kd3 Ke6 35 g4 h5 36 h3 hxg4 37 hxg4 g5 38 fxg5 Bxg5 39 Kc4 Ke5 40 a4 Kf4 41 Nd6 Drawn.
Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 5 June 1924 and New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 8 June 1924.
Abraham Kupchik – Efim Bogoljubow
Sixth match-game, New York, 1924
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 Bg7 4 Nc3 O-O 5 h3 d5 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 e4 Nxc3 8 bxc3 c5 9 Be2 Nc6 10 Be3 cxd4 11 Nxd4 Qa5 12 O-O Qxc3 13 Rc1 Qa5 14 Nxc6 bxc6 15 a4 Rd8 16 Qb3 Ba6 17 Bxa6 Qxa6 18 Qc4 Qxc4 19 Rxc4 a5 20 Rfc1 Rab8 21 Rxc6 Bd4 22 Bf4 Rb4 23 R1c4 Rxc4 24 Rxc4 Bb6 25 Kf1 Rd1+ 26 Ke2 Rg1 27 g3 f6 28 Rc6 Bd4 29 Rc1 Rxc1 30 Bxc1 Kf7 31 f3 Ke6 32 Kd3 Bf2 33 Bd2 Bxg3 34 Bxa5 Kd7 35 Kc4 f5 36 exf5 gxf5 37 Bb4 e6 38 a5 Kc6 39 Bc5 h5 40 a6 h4 41 Be3 Bc7 42 a7 Kb7 43 Kb5 Bg3 44 Bc5 Bc7 45 Bf2 Bg3 46 Be3 Bd6 47 a8(Q)+ Kxa8 48 Kc6 Bg3 49 Kd7 e5 50 Ke6 f4 51 Bc5 e4 52 fxe4 f3 53 e5 Kb7 Drawn.
Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 5 June 1924 and New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 8 June 1924.
A game-score supplied by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA):
Efim Bogoljubow – Horst Leede
New York, 1924 (ten seconds per move)
37…Kf6 38 Rh7 h5 39 Rh6+ Kf5 40 f3 Ra2 41 Kh1 Bf1 42 g3 Bg2+ 43 Kg1 Bxf3 44 Nd4+ Ke4 45 Nxe6 Rg2+ 46 Kf1 Rxg3 47 Rg6 Kf5 48 Rh6 Rxh3 49 Kf2 g4 50 Ng7+ Kf4 51 Rf6+ Kg5 52 Rxb6 Rh2+ 53 Kf1 g3 54 Rb5+ Kg6 55 White resigns.
Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 19 June 1924.
In August 1937 Deutsche Schachblätter published the following picture of Post, Zander, Frank, Euwe, Miehe and Bogoljubow, under the heading ‘Weltmeister Dr Euwe in Berlin’:
From page 138 of Historia general del ajedrez by Julio Ganzo (Madrid, 1973):
Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) notes that the sketch purportedly depicting Bogoljubow was the work of Enrique Segura and was published on page 240 of Ajedrez Español, August 1943:
The ‘Bogoljubof’ prompts us to wonder whether any master has had his surname spelt so many different ways. It should be possible to find at least 15 or 20 variants.
Addition on 9 January 2022:
Our Spanish correspondent notes ‘Boglojubov’ on page 245 of Emanuel Lasker The Life of a Chess Master by Jacques Hannak (London, 1959).
We add that page 248 of the 1992 edition in the Oxford Companion to Chess had ‘Bugoljubow’, in capital letters.
From page 32 of CHESS, November 1948:
‘According to an announcement by Grob, Bogoljubow has invented a new game of “movement”, using chessmen and the chessboard. The whole game lasts at most 35 moves.’
Wanted: more details.
A sample of the dithyrambic skills of H.T. Bland appeared on page 207 of the December 1929 American Chess Bulletin. He exalted the challenger in that year’s world championship match:
Bravo ‘Bogol’, you’ve shown pluck.
One and all we wish you luck.
Gee, some thought you’d barged between
Other players who’d have been
Less likely straightaway to lose
Just as friend Alekhine might choose;
Undaunted, ‘Bogol’, you went in
Believing you’d a chance to win.
Or failing that, to make a fight,
Which you are doing as we write.
Alekhine annotated his brilliancy against Bogoljubow (Hastings, 21 September 1922) in such publications as the tournament book, the November 1922 La Stratégie and his first Best Games volume. No two sets of notes were identical. On pages 44-46 of the March 1923 Schweizerische Schachzeitung the game was given with the heading ‘D’après les commentaires de M. Aljechin dans la Nation Belge’. Can a reader provide those annotations, to enable us to see whether they too were different?
Luc Winants (Welkenraedt, Belgium) and Leonard Skinner (Cowbridge, Wales) provide Alekhine’s notes in La Nation Belge, 16 November 1922. In some respects they differ from all the other sets of annotations by Alekhine mentioned in C.N. 3925.
‘1 d4 f5 Une défense risquée, que je n’ai adoptée jusqu’à présent que fort rarement dans les rencontres sérieuses. Mais dans la partie présente je devais absolument jouer pour le gain, afin de m’assurer le premier prix, tandis qu’à mon adversaire la nullité suffisait pour obtenir le troisième. Par suite je me suis vu contraint de courir un certain risque, qui fut d’ailleurs justifié par le résultat. 2 c4 Cf6 3 g3 e6 4 Fg2 Ce fianchetto préconisé par Steinitz et Rubinstein ne me semble pas être la plus forte ligne de jeu pour les Blancs, car par les coups suivants les Noirs obtiennent une partie au moins égale. 4...Fb4+ 5 Fd2 Fxd2+ 6 Cxd2 La reprise avec la Dame suivie de Cc3 est peut-être un peu préférable. 6...Cc6 7 Cgf3 O-O 8 O-O d6 9 Db3 Cette manœuvre n’empêche pas les Noirs de réaliser leur plan, mais il est déjà difficile de proposer pour les Blancs une ligne de jeu efficace. 9...Rh8 10 Dc3 e5! Ceci est possible parce [qu’après] la prise du pion, le CD blanc sera attaqué par la Dame noire. 11 e3 a5 Il était très important d’empêcher pour un moment le coup 12 b4 comme on le verra de suite. 12 b3 Et non 12 a3 à cause de 12...a4. 12...De8! 13 a3 Dh5! Maintenant les Noirs ont obtenu une position d’attaque car les Blancs ne peuvent pas répondre à ce coup, ni par 14 dxe5 dxe5 15 Cxe5 Cxe5 16 Dxe5 à cause de 16...Cg4 et gagnent, ni par 14 b4 à cause de 14...e4 15 Ce1 axb4 etc. 14 h4 Un bon coup de défense, qui ouvre au CR de nouvelles cases et renouvelle la menace dxe5, etc. 14...Cg4 15 Cg5 Les Blancs désirent déplacer au plus vite le gênant Cavalier adverse. 15...Fd7 16 f3 Si 16 Fxc6 Fxc6 17 f3 alors 17...exd4! 18 fxg4 dxc3 19 gxh5 cxd2 etc. avec une fin de partie de beaucoup supérieure. 16...Cf6 17 f4 Déjà nécessaire vu la menace 17... f4 etc. 17...e4 18 Tfd1 Afin de protéger le pion g3 menacé par Dg4, suivi de Ch5, etc. 18...h6 19 Ch3 d5! Par ce coup les Noirs annihilent complètement les chances de l’adversaire au centre et obtiennent bientôt d’une manière inattendue l’initiative du côté D. 20 Cf1 Ce7 Préparant a4! 21 a4 Cc6 Maintenant par contre ce Cavalier peut entrer dans le jeu adverse via b4-d3. 22 Td2 Cb4 23 Fh1 Une manœuvre compliquée qui a pour but de créer des chances d’attaque du côté Roi, et qui démontre clairement l’infériorité de la position des Blancs. 23...De8! Ce coup très fort assure aux Noirs dans tous les cas un nouvel avantage : ou bien la domination de la case d5, en cas de 24 cxd5, ou alors l’ouverture d’une ligne du côté Dame après 24 c5 b6, ou enfin comme dans la partie le gain d’un pion. 24 Tg2 Ils essayent toujours de parvenir à g4 mais même cette faible chance ne leur sera pas accordée. 24...dxc4 25 bxc4 Fxa4 26 Cf2 Fd7 27 Cd2 b5! La reprise de la lutte pour la case centrale, lutte dont les péripéties aboutissent à une fin émouvante et originale. 28 Cd1 Cd3! Ce coup prépare la combinaison qui suit. Bien plus faible aurait été 28...bxc4 car le Cavalier blanc aurait enfin trouvé une bonne case à e5. 29 Txa5 Si 29 cxb5 alors 29...Fxb5 30 Txa5 Cd5 31 Da3 Txa5 32 Dxa5 Dc6 avec une attaque gagnante. 29...b4! 30 Txa8 Ou bien 30 Da1 Txa5 31 Dxa5 Da8 32 Dxa8 Txa8 et l’entrée de cette Tour dans le jeu des Blancs décide la partie. 30...bxc3!! Comme on le verra ceci est bien plus fort que 30...Dxa8 31 Db3 Fa4 32 Db1 et les Blancs peuvent encore se défendre. 31 Txe8 c2!! La pointe. 32 Txf8+ Rh7 33 Cf2 Evidemment le seul coup. 33...c1(D)+ 34 Cf1 Ce1! Menace d’un mat étouffé. 35 Th2 Dxc4 Une nouvelle menace de mat par Fb5 37 Cd2 Dc1, etc. qui force les Blancs de sacrifier sur-le-champ l’échange. 36 Tb8 Fb5 37 Txb5 Dxb5 38 g4 La seule chance d’obtenir encore un peu de jeu, qui amène une nouvelle surprise. 38...Cf3+ 39 Fxf3 exf3 40 gxf5 Forcé car si 40 g5 les Noirs obtiennent deux pions passés par 40...Cg4 etc. 40...De2!! Ce coup amène une position de problème. Aucune pièce blanche ne peut jouer sans perte immédiate. Par exemple 41 Ch3 (ou 41 Cg4) 41...Cg4!! etc.; Si 41 Th3 Cg4 et gagnent dans les deux cas. Donc après deux coups insignifiants de pion, ils devront jouer e4, ce qui mène à une liquidation immédiate avec une fin gagnante pour les Noirs. 41 d5 Rg8! Et non le coup plausible 41...h5 car les Blancs se sauveraient alors par 42 Ch3-g5+-f3. 42 h5 Rh7 43 e4 Cxe4 44 Cxe4 Dxe4 45 d6 Afin de disloquer les pions noirs car ceux des Blancs ne peuvent plus être défendus. La partie est irrémédiablement perdue. 45...cxd6 46 f6 gxf6 47 Td2 De2! Une jolie fin digne de cette partie. Les Noirs forcent une fin de pions gagnée 48 Txe2 fxe2 49 Rf2 exf1(D)+ 50 Rxf1 Rg7 51 Rf2 Rf7 52 Re3 Re6 53 Re4 d5+ 54 Abandonnent.’
Below is a photograph of Alekhine and Bogoljubow from the October 1929 Schweizerische Schachzeitung:
In his report to the 1929 session of the FIDE General Assembly in Venice, Alexander Rueb stated that he would explain orally a complaint by Mieses against Bogoljubow. The affair was decided by FIDE in favour of Mieses. This information appeared on pages 4 and 5 of the minutes of FIDE’s 1929 General Assembly, but the nature of Mieses’ grievance was not indicated. Does any reader know more about it?
The obituaries of Čenĕk Kottnauer (1910-96) have, in common with all the encyclopaedia entries on him, been strangely wanting in pre-1940s references to his chess career. Czech magazines of the 1930s contain occasional games by ‘Kottnauer’ (no forename or initial given), including the following:
Kottnauer – Efim Bogoljubow (simultaneous)
Prague, 2 January 1932
Queen’s Gambit Declined
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 e6 5 Nc3 Nbd7 6 Bd3 dxc4 7 Bxc4 b5 8 Bb3 b4 9 Ne2 Be7 10 O-O O-O 11 Ng3 c5 12 e4 Bb7 13 Re1 cxd4 14 Nxd4 Nc5 15 Bc2 Rc8 16 Bf4 Qb6 17 e5 Nd5 18 Qh5 g6 19 Qh6 Nxf4 20 Qxf4 Rfd8 21 Rad1 Rd5 22 Nh5 Nd7 23 Ng3 Rc4 24 Nge2 Rxe5 25 Bb3 Re4
26 Bxc4 Rxf4 27 Nxf4 Bc5 28 Nfxe6 Ba6 29 Bb3 Bxd4 30 Rxd4 Nf8 31 Rd8 fxe6 32 Rxe6 Resigns.
Source: Československý Šach, January 1932, page 9. The score was also given, with notes by Vera Menchik, on page 153 of the April 1932 issue of the Social Chess Quarterly.
Although by no means unknown, the game below is notable for a curious march by the black king, which advances as far as f4 and e4 but is back on its home square at the moment of victory:
G. Bezručko – Efim Bogoljubow
Kemeri-Riga, March 1939
1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 Qxd4 Nc6 4 Qe3 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be2 d6 7 f4 Bg7 8 Nf3 Ng4 9 Qg1 f5 10 h3 Nf6 11 exf5 Bxf5 12 Nd4 O-O 13 Nxf5 gxf5 14 Be3 d5 15 O-O-O e6 16 g4 Ne4 17 gxf5 Nxc3 18 bxc3 Qa5 19 fxe6 d4 20 Rxd4 Kh8 21 Bc4 Qa3+ 22 Kd2 Na5
23 Qxg7+ Kxg7 24 Rd7+ Kf6 25 Bd4+ Kf5 26 Rd5+ Kxf4 27 Be3+ Ke4
28 Rd4+ Ke5 29 Rd5+ Kf6 30 Bd4+ Ke7 31 Rd7+ Ke8 32 Bb5 a6 33 Rxb7+ axb5 34 White resigns.
Source: Šachs Latvijā by K. Bētiņš, A. Kalniņš and V. Petrovs (Riga, 1940), pages 265-266. The game also appeared, with detailed (languageless) notes, on pages 229-230 of Bogoljubow – The Fate of a Chess Player by S. Soloviov (Sofia, 2004).
Below is Bogoljubow’s inscription in one of our copies of his 1935 book Schach-Schule:
When Réti died a Vienna newspaper, Der Abend of 6 June 1929, mixed him up with Bogoljubow:
As noted on page 228 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, almost a quarter of the entry on Bogoljubow in The Encyclopaedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks (London, 1970) was devoted to the well-known anecdote about how the master, beer mug in hand and looking out of place, was cut from a photograph. Sunnucks’ book stated that this had occurred in Switzerland, but other secondary sources were quoted by us which gave Spain and England. We also reported that the story had appeared on page 13 of CHESS (14 September 1935):
That, in fact, is the first appearance recalled by us, and it may be added here that the following year CHESS (14 November 1936, page 85) described it as ‘the joke about Bogoljubow which Koltanowski contributed to the first number of CHESS’.
Was it really no more than a ‘joke’? That is certainly not the impression given by, for instance, Koltanowski’s rifacimento of his story (‘a ten-board simultaneous blindfold exhibition against all the members of a small chess club in Switzerland’) on page 13 of Chessnicdotes 1 (Coraopolis, 1978). Finally, a discrepancy which we are unable to explain is that pages 28-29 of the 1936 edition of Chess Pie comprised an advertisement for CHESS which featured ‘some extracts’ from ‘the magazine that has taken the chess world by storm’. These included the Bogoljubow story but not only in a different wording but even with a switch from Switzerland to Spain:
This photograph was published as a supplement to the January 1930 issue of L’Echiquier. Alexander Alekhine and Efim Bogoljubow are seated in the foreground and the FIDE President, Alexander Rueb, is in the centre. Who are the others?
A number of C.N. items have discussed, desultorily, the subject of Bogoljubow and the Nazis. For instance, Reuben Fine’s unsubstantiated claim that Bogoljubow had some of his rivals put in concentration camps by the Nazis was dealt with on pages 183-184 of Chess Explorations and pages 191-192 of Chess Facts and Fables, whereas page 92 of the latter book referred to Bogoljubow’s attempts at rehabilitation vis-à-vis FIDE in 1946. Has any chess writer ever published a rigorous, extensive study of Bogoljubow’s conduct during the Third Reich?
Below are three photographs from Deutsche Schachblätter:
Bad Harzburg, 1938 (15 July 1938 issue, page 215)
Cracow/Krynica/Warsaw, 1940 (1 December 1940 issue, page 192). Ludwig Fischer was hanged for war crimes in 1947.
Bogoljubow v Euwe match, Carlsbad, 1941 (1 August 1941 issue, page 113)
Our article on Sidney Bernstein related Reuben Fine’s claim on page xviii of Lessons from My Games (New York, 1958) that ‘Bogoljubow had some of his rivals put in concentration camps by the Nazis when they arrived on the scene in Germany’. Pressed to identify these rivals, Fine gave the name of one person, Seitz (who was not in Europe during the Second World War).
We add here that Fine made a slightly different allegation on page 211 of The World’s Great Chess Games (New York, 1951), when Bogoljubow was still alive:
‘In Nazi Germany a famous grandmaster tried to force his journalistic rivals into concentration camps to get their columns away.’
Further to C.N.s 1433 and 4821 (see too Interregnum), below is Erwin Voellmy’s summary of the discussion at the FIDE Congress in The Hague (30 July-2 August 1947), from page 155 of the Schweizerische Schachzeitung, October 1947:
The above photograph (Moscow, 1925) comes from page 27 of Shakhmatnaya pravda by S. Tartakower (Leningrad, 1926). As mentioned in the caption, the person standing is N.V. Krylenko.
An ultra-familiar chess quote is ‘When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubow.’ Wanted: early sightings of the phrase (e.g. during the master’s lifetime).
Efim Bogoljubow, Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond, August-September 1933, page 222
A letter published on page 129 of the May 1951 Chess Review:
C.N. 5063 asked for early sightings of the famous saying ‘When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubow’. The earliest that we can propose is on page 14 of the March 1947 Chess Review, in an article by Reuben Fine:
‘Because winning is so pleasant people are always ready to tell you how they lost but can rarely explain how they won. Many follow Bogoljubow’s well-known principle: “When I’m White I win because I’m White; when I’m Black I win because I’m Bogoljubow.”’
The article was reproduced on pages 76-80 of Fine’s book The World’s a Chessboard (Philadelphia, 1948).
From page 136 of The Adventure of Chess by Edward Lasker (New York, 1950):
‘More self-confident mortals are rarely encountered anywhere. A story, which has become a classic in chess circles, told of the Russian master, Efim Bogoljubow, bears amusing testimony to this fact. When an admirer asked him whether he preferred the white or the black pieces, he replied: “I have no preference. When I play White, I win because I have the first move. When I play Black, I win because I am Bogoljubow.”’
Some writers seem averse to mentioning Bogoljubow without relating the story, dressed up as the established truth. From page 252 of Capablanca move by move by Cyrus Lakdawala (London, 2012):
‘Bogo mistakenly plays for his now non-existent future attack. I read accounts of Bogoljubow’s legendary optimism. Like most super-GMs, Bogo was an unassuming and modest man, once making the claim: “When I am White, I win because I am White. When I am Black, I win because I am Bogoljubow!”’
As Jean-Pierre Rhéaume (Montreal, Canada) notes, the remark was attributed to Chigorin in the extract from pages 137-139 of the September-October 1967 Chess World shown in C.N. 9645:
‘There is something grandly memorable about Chigorin’s “When I am White I win because I am White, when I am Black I win because I am Chigorin”.’
We can add an earlier instance, from an article by Paul Hugo Little about Berlin, 1897 on pages 229-230 of the November 1939 Chess Review:
‘... Chigorin’s genius was so great that he could handicap himself in the opening and still win. He used to say, “When I am White, I must win because I am White; when I am Black, I must win because I am Chigorin.”’
On page 215 of William Steinitz, Chess Champion (Jefferson, 1993) Kurt Landsberger wrote, on the basis of nothing better than a second-hand 1961 source in German translated from Czech:
‘As he said, “When I am white, I win because I have white, but when I am black, I win because I am Chigorin”.’
Landsberger added this casual footnote:
‘The remark has also been attributed to other players.’
No names were supplied – not even Bogoljubow’s.
Impact of Genius by R.E. Fauber (Seattle, 1992) had only this about Chigorin (page 85):
‘When Chigorin had White, he played 1 e4 confident that he had a little bit the better game. When he had Black, he answered 1 e4 with e5 certain that he had at least equality.’
We can point out corroboration in Tarrasch’s essay on Chigorin towards the end of his book Die moderne Schachpartie (various editions, and page numbers vary). From page 415 of the Leipzig, 1924 edition:
The famous saying was included in the Bogoljubow section of Fauber’s Impact of Genius (page 212):
‘He had a simple view of chess theory: “When I am White, I win because I have the first move; and when I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubow.”’
It cannot be demonstrated whether Chigorin and/or Bogoljubow and/or any other master ‘once said’, or ‘often said’, or ‘used to say’, or ‘would say’, the phrase trustingly served up by so many chess writers. We can, though, offer a citation which not only stands as the earliest occurrence of the saying found so far but also involves both masters. It appeared on page 8 of Games Played in the World’s Championship Match by F.D. Yates and W. Winter (London, 1930), in a biographical note about Bogoljubow:
From page 33 of the December 1944 Chess Review, in an article by I.A. Horowitz:
Stefan Müllenbruck (Trier, Germany) sends a column relevant to two topics discussed in C.N.: the player who claimed never to have beaten a healthy opponent (pages 322-323 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves and C.N. 4189) and the ‘When I am White, ... when I am Black ...’ remark (C.N.s 5063, 9647 and 10407). Both observations were ascribed to Emanuel Lasker in a column by ‘Philidor’ (C.H.O’D. Alexander) on page 866 of The Spectator, 22 June 1956:
‘Efim Bogoljubow (1899-1952) was a chubby, bombastic drunkard known for his delusional thinking that he was invincible ...’
That comes from the very start of King’s Gambit by Paul Hoffman (New York, 2007), page ix. (‘1899’ is the book’s first date and is a decade out.)
Concerning the Alekhine v Bogoljubow world championship rivalry, page 297 of Learn from the Legends by Mihail Marin (Göteborg, 2004) states:
‘Ironically, Alekhine himself remarks in one of his comments to an emphatic win against his challenger: “This game is a clear hint about the pointlessness of the whole match”.’
We take that to be a rather simplified version of Alekhine’s observation (in his second volume of Best Games) about Bogoljubow’s 29th move in game four of the 1934 contest:
‘This game – more than any other – proves how useless from the sporting point of view was the arrangement of this second match, and at the same time explains my indifferent play on a number of occasions. I felt sure that Bogoljubow was no longer able to take advantage of the opportunities my play might present to him, and – very unfortunately for the general artistic value of the present match – the score 7 to 1 in my favour after the 22nd game fully justified my sanguine outlook.’
We should like to draw together any other comments by Alekhine, either at the time or afterwards, on the overall status, value or importance of the 1934 match.
A. Alekhine v E. Bogoljubow, 25th match-game, Berlin, 11 June 1934
Page 490 of Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games, 1902-1946 by Leonard M. Skinner and Robert G.P. Verhoeven (Jefferson, 1998) quoted a passage by Nimzowitsch in De Telegraaf, 1 May 1934 in which he reported on his conversation with Bogoljubow after the eighth match-game:
‘Apparently he believed that his performance in the match was being influenced by some hypnotic power brought about by Alekhine. In spite of being assured by Nimzowitsch that this was impossible, Bogoljubow insisted that it could be done. He seemed unable to comprehend that Alekhine was deliberately playing on his well-known sense of optimism in dealing with complicated tactical situations. Instead of defusing and simplifying the positions that Alekhine provoked, he aided and abetted Alekhine’s strategy by entering into the tactics with great enthusiasm.’
For further notes on hypnosis, see pages 170-171 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves. As regards optimism, it may be recalled from C.N. 832 (page 120 of Chess Explorations) that in an interview Bogoljubow stated:
‘People who know nothing about chess or character evaluation claim that I am an optimist. Quite the contrary, though, I am of a pessimistic nature. My wife always says (and quite correctly too), “Always expect the worst; if things then actually turn out better, you’ll be happy”.’
We quoted that passage from page 986 of L’Echiquier, March-April 1935, which mentioned that the interview had first appeared in Kasseler Neueste Nachrichten, 17 December 1932. Can a reader provide a copy of that original publication?
The text given by L’Echiquier, as quoted in C.N. 832:
‘Question: Tout le monde vous croit un optimiste. Que dites-vous de cette appréciation de votre personnalité?
Réponse: Les personnes qui ne comprennent rien aux échecs ou dans l’appréciation du caractère, prétendent que je suis un optimiste. Bien au contraire, je suis de nature pessimiste. Ma femme dit justement: “Il faut s’attendre toujours au pire, car si la réalité s’avere un peu meilleure, on s’en réjouit.”’
Page 14 of Chess World, 1 January 1947 quoted from an article by Botvinnik in Ogonyok which was subsequently published in Albrecht Buschke’s periodical Chess News from Russia. An extract is given below:
‘During the Nottingham tournament of 1936 I happened to watch a curious scene. Bogoljubow was sitting deeply bent over the board, and was thinking tensely. Alekhine was briskly wandering around the table, fixedly looking at his opponent. Willy-nilly, I became interested, drew near to the table and saw the position after Alekhine had made his 35th move P-N5 [g5].
What can Black do? He has an extra pawn, but the situation is tense and the material superiority does not tell. White threatens 36 PxP, after which his bishop would be very strong.
Bogoljubow played 35...PxP. He had not taken the pawn off the board when Alekhine hurriedly approached and, without sitting down, played 36 P-B5!!, noisily banging down the piece. This sacrifice was so unexpected that Bogoljubow literally jumped out of his chair, in spite of his solid constitution. Evidently he had figured only on 36 PxPch K-N1; and in view of the threat, ...P-K4, Black’s situation would be quite secure.’
Alekhine’s annotations to the game can be found in the Nottingham, 1936 tournament book and in his second volume of Best Games.
Some quotations from Olga Capablanca’s article ‘Tournament in Nottingham’, published in Town & Country, February 1945:
‘I have often heard masters themselves say that Capa was the greatest “Genius” of all time, though he did not always win the first prizes. The masters knew, however, that of all the players he was the most temperamental, the most human. The fullness of his life had interfered with his playing more than once. Then there were the unhappy circumstances of his private life, and his ill health. Also, he never practiced.’
On Tartakower: ‘I believe Capa was fonder of him than of any of the others because he admired sincerity next to intelligence, the qualities he looked for in others and were his own main characteristics.’
‘He had told me many times that he had returned to his chess career for me. The first time was in New York, soon after we met. He exclaimed, “Now I will return to chess. Once more I will be the greatest player in the world. For the past years I have been disappointed with everything. I even hated chess. But now everything is different. I shall play again and play well. I have to make money, too, enough for us to marry and take care of all my obligations.”’
The article also relates a bizarre incident. At Nottingham, 1936 Capa met Bogoljubow in the final round and all but lost. The game was adjourned at lunchtime with the Cuban in desperate trouble, but Olga told her future husband that he could win because Bogoljubow’s second move after the adjournment would be a mistake. In fact, the game ended in a draw. Some days later, in London, Capa woke up early and was thinking the game over when he suddenly realized that Bogoljubow’s second move after the break had been an error. ‘I could have won.’
What was the move in question and have any annotators noted Bogoljubow’s mistake and Capablanca’s failure to take advantage of it?
An endnote on pages 271-272 of Chess Explorations:
C.N. 897 commented on an interview reprinted in Homenaje a José Raúl Capablanca (Havana, 1943):
On page 106 Capablanca speaks of his last-round game at Nottingham, 1936 against Bogoljubow, giving a version which contradicts the story of Olga Capablanca. He states that adjournment analysis convinced him that unless Bogoljubow had sealed the best move (which would draw) Capa should win. In fact, Bogoljubow had not put the correct move in the envelope, but when the game was resumed Capa completely forgot all the analysis he had done a few moments beforehand and became, inexplicably, convinced that the game would be drawn in any case. He therefore played for a draw in a won position. Neither story fits into Alekhine’s interpretation of the game in the tournament book, for he clearly believes that after the Cuban’s blunder on move 28 he had two (lucky) resources on moves 31 and 42 which were ‘just sufficient to save the vital half-point’. The game was drawn on move 46; had Capa won he would have taken first prize outright.
After Bogoljubow’s death a tribute by E.J. Diemer was published on page 221 of the August 1952 CHESS. Below is an extract:
‘The last time I saw him was in Freiburg, ten days before his death. On 6 June he won a lightning-chess tournament organized among the members of the Freiburg team, for whom he had played at top board since 1950. The next day, he helped Freiburg beat another local team by 8:0 and the same evening he beat the well-known Berlin master Mross (in the last tournament game of his life) to help Freiburg register a 4½-3½ win against a team (Berlin-Eckbauer) which had successfully defeated Luxembourg, Cologne, Basle and Lucerne.
I had a conversation with him then of rare seriousness. As if conscious of the nearness of his end, he spoke, on this last occasion, about – Chess Immortality. I discovered at this late hour in his life, and I pass it on as his closing thought, that Bogoljubow wanted his chess to be regarded as an art and himself as an artist. He feared, he said, that not one of his games, even from the great tournament at Moscow in 1925, the zenith of his career, would be deemed worthy of inscription in the scrolls of immortality. So high did he set his ideals. And so sceptically did he look back over his 40 years of masterly endeavour. Luckily the chess world will not share his pessimism. Countless masterpieces of play remain to assure him the immortality he sought.’
Page 229 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves referred to Alekhine’s alleged description of a dream in which chess masters were banned from Heaven but Bogoljubow gained entry because ‘he only thinks he’s a master’. See, for instance, pages 21-22 of The Bright Side of Chess by Irving Chernev (Philadelphia, 1948). We pointed out that the same yarn had appeared on page 6 of the July 1898 American Chess Magazine, and that item is reproduced below:
When were Alekhine and Bogoljubow introduced into the story?
An avoid-at-all-costs book is Chess Stories Through the Ages by Donald L. Boone (Lexington, 2010). For a sample snippet we cull from page 34 this ‘once’ anecdote concerning ‘Alehkine’ and ‘Bofolubov’:
Noting that the story had appeared on page 6 of the July 1898 American Chess Magazine, C.N. 5600 asked when Alekhine and Bogoljubow were introduced into it. The earliest instance we can offer now is in an article ‘Humour and Chess’ by J. du Mont on page 133 of the May 1941 BCM:
A ‘once’ yarn from a column by Al Horowitz on page 8 of the September 1948 Chess Review:
Horowitz also considered that the story, worded differently, merited a full page (page 134) in his book The New York Times Guide to Good Chess (New York, 1969).
The earlier C.N. items (see too page 229 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves) pointed out that the joke had been published on page 6 of the July 1898 American Chess Magazine. The earliest known inclusion of Alekhine and Bogoljubow’s names is in an article by Julius du Mont on page 133 of the May 1941 BCM.
The extract below from page 114 of CHESS, 14 December 1937 is relevant to our items ‘Two moves in succession’ (C.N.s 3202 and 5181) and ‘Heaven’ (C.N.s 5600, 6813 and 8672):
Pierre Bourget (Quebec, Canada) points out this pair of photographs of Alekhine and Bogoljubow, with Emanuel Lasker (Berlin, 1929):
They were published respectively on page 75 of Umkämpfte Krone by R. Stolze (East Berlin, 1986) and page 51 of Schach 2000 Jahre Spiel-Geschichte by R. Finkenzeller, W. Ziehr and E.M. Bührer (Aarau, Stuttgart, 1989).
Can the other persons be named? The man standing on the left also appeared with Alekhine and Bogoljubow in a photograph on page 191 of Grandmasters of Chess by Harold C. Schonberg (Philadelphia and New York, 1972).
Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) identifies the man standing on the right as Ehrhardt Post (1881-1947). We add below a photograph of Post from page 12 of the 1 January 1942 issue of Deutsche Schachblätter:
We add now the following from page 24 of Famous Chess Players by Peter Morris Lerner (Minneapolis, 1973):
Albert Silver (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) points out some film footage of the occasion, entitled ‘Campionato di scacchi a Berlino’.
C.N. 5667 referred to this photograph on page 191 of Grandmasters of Chess by Harold C. Schonberg (Philadelphia and New York, 1972), mentioning that the man behind the players remains nameless:
Page 8 credited the picture to Burt Hochberg. Although Alekhine’s eyes seem closed, it may be a matter of photographic exposure, given the following on page 79 of Umkämpfte Krone by Raymund Stolze (East Berlin, 1986):
Can the position on the board and/or on the demonstration board be identified?
On the basis of a more generously cropped version, Alan McGowan points out that the photograph under discussion shows the 12th match-game, played in Berlin on 11-12 October 1929:
The pawn chain is white.
Peter Anderberg (Harmstorf, Germany) identifies the man standing between Alekhine and Bogoljubow as P. Matzdorff, a board member of the Berliner Schachgesellschaft, as shown in this photograph on page 13 of Das internationale Schachmeisterturnier zur Hundertjahrfeier der Berliner Schachgesellschaft by Kurt Richter (Berlin, 1928):
C.N. 11760 refuted a correspondent’s tentative suggestion in C.N. 11756 that the man in question was Otto Conrad.
Zdeněk Závodný (Brno, Czech Republic) submits this photograph from the Prague, 1931 Olympiad:
Ştefan Erdelyi and Efim Bogoljubow
Source: Letem světem, 21 July 1931.
We are grateful to Ed Hamelrath (Memphis, TN, USA) for raising the subject of the 1940 game between Bogoljubow and Rellstab, as given on pages 199-200 of 107 Great Chess Battles by A. Alekhine (Oxford, 1980):
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b5 3 Bg5 Bb7 4 e3 a6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 a4 b4 7 Bd3 c5 8 O-O Be7 9 dxc5 Bxc5 10 e4
10...Be7 (Alekhine appended a question mark to this move and wrote, in our translation in the above-mentioned book: ‘It was absolutely essential to play 10…d6 although White would have obtained the advantage in any case by 11 e5 dxe5 12 Nxe5 Qd4 13 Nef3 Qd7 14 Re1 O-O 15 c4 bxc3 16 bxc3, followed by 17 Qc2 and 18 Rad1.’) 11 e5 Nd5 12 Bxe7 Nxe7 13 Nc4 Nc8 14 Re1 d5 15 exd6 Nxd6 16 Bg6 hxg6 17 Nxd6+ Ke7 18 Nxb7 Qc7 19 Qd5 Rh5 20 Qe4 Nc6 21 g4 Resigns.
Mr Hamelrath comments that, in the note cited, 15 c4 allows Black the simple win of a piece with 15…Qxd3.
The game was taken from pages 249-251 of Alekhine’s posthumous book Gran Ajedrez (Madrid, 1947), where White’s 13th move in Alekhine’s variation appeared merely as ‘13 C3A’, with no mention of whether it was the knight on e5 or on d2 that went to f3. In the light of our correspondent’s remark it seems evident that we should have given the move as 13 Ndf3, and not 13 Nef3. Alekhine’s note contained ‘13 Ndf3’ on page 231 of Bogoljubow – The Fate of a Chess Player by Sergei Soloviov (Sofia, 2004), although here too there is a complication: Black’s reply was specified as 13...Qd5, and not 13...Qd7 as in Gran Ajedrez.
We now see a further discrepancy in Gran Ajedrez (whose title page, incidentally, even misspelled Alekhine’s name, as ‘Alehkine’). The Spanish book stated that the Bogoljubow v Rellstab game was played in Cracow (‘Torneo del gobierno general de Polonia, octubre 1940. Celebrado en Cracovia’), and 107 Great Chess Battles also gave ‘Cracow’, as did the second volume of Bogoljubow’s games by Jack Spence published by the Chess Player (page 106) and page 68 of S. Petrović’s monograph on Bogoljubow (Zagreb, 1977). However, the above-mentioned Bogoljubow book by Soloviov had ‘Warsaw 1940’ and, on the basis of the reports in Deutsche Schachzeitung and Deutsche Schachblätter, it now seems to us that Warsaw, and not Cracow, is correct.
According to page 193 of Deutsche Schachblätter, 1 December 1940, which gave the crosstable, the tournament took place on 3-17 November 1940 (‘October’ was thus another mistake in Gran Ajedrez) as follows: in Cracow (rounds 1-4), in Krynica (rounds 5-7) and in Warsaw (rounds 8-11). Pages 169-170 of the November 1940 Deutsche Schachzeitung listed Bogoljubow’s opponents in the first four rounds (i.e. those played in Cracow) as Ahues, Richter, Müller and Gilg.
Rellstab himself was the annotator of his game against Bogoljubow on page 198 of the 1 December 1940 issue of Deutsche Schachblätter. No venue or round number was indicated in the game heading, but round nine/Warsaw was specified when Max Blümich briefly annotated the game on pages 9-10 of the January 1941 Deutsche Schachzeitung.
Even so, as regards the opening both German magazines had the game heading ‘Krakauer Verteidigung’ (Cracow Defence). The order of the initial moves in each periodical was 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 d4 b5, whereas Gran Ajedrez had 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b5.
Finally, at the end of the game the Spence and Petrović books added moves which were absent from both Deutsche Schachzeitung and Deutsche Schachblätter: 21...Rh6 22 Nc5.
Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) sends a page of cuttings from his archives and asks whether the publication in question (probably dated 1942) can be identified, and whether better-quality photographs can be found.
Alan McGowan notes that the photographs given in C.N. 6393 appeared in the 22/1942 issue of the German publication Signal and that there was a report on page 80 of the April 1943 BCM:
See too C.N. 6433
‘No world championship match ever produced a finer struggle than this.’
So wrote R.N. Coles on page 119 of Battles-Royal of the Chessboard (London, 1948), with regard to the 11th game of the 1929 Alekhine v Bogoljubow match. (He placed the game, a 63-move draw, in Wiesbaden instead of Heidelberg.)
Bogoljubow’s annotations were published on pages 408-410 of the December 1929 Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten.
From page 170 of the November 1929 American Chess Bulletin:
The above (concerning the game Bogoljubow v Réti, Berlin, February 1919) comes from page 115 of Modern Ideas in Chess by R. Réti (Milford, 2009) – a ‘21st Century Edition’ edited by Bruce Alberston.
What was known in the twentieth century is that page 157 of the English-language edition of Réti’s book in the descriptive notation (London, 1923 and London, 1943) erred by giving 11...P-R4 instead of 11...P-QR3. The double pawn move makes no sense, since the b5-pawn would remain continuously en prise later in the game. The error in the game-score was pointed out by Bernard Cafferty on page 215 of the May 1982 BCM.
We add that 11...a6 was given correctly on page 98 of the original German edition, Die neuen Ideen im Schachspiel (Vienna, 1922), as well as in such sources as page 229 of the November 1919 Deutsche Schachzeitung and page 30 of Schachjahrbuch 1919 by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1920).
The ‘21st Century Edition’ has added many diagrams to the game, with the black a-pawn consistently misplaced on a5.
When planning to reprint or otherwise reissue an old book, publishers could easily make an open appeal for information about errors which anyone may have marked in his copy of the original. Yet publishers do not do so. Why not?
From Oliver Beck (Seattle, WA, USA):
‘While observing a game of chess, a character in Stefan Zweig’s Schachnovelle (Buenos Aires, 1942) points out its similarity to Alekhine v Bogoljubow, Bad Pistyan, 1922. In fact, beginning with 38...Kh7 the game described in Zweig’s novella appears identical to that game.
I find it interesting that Zweig was inspired to use the Alekhine v Bogoljubow game as a model, and I wonder what his source for this game might have been. There appears to be no obvious connection between the text on pages 33-37 of the Suhrkamp Verlag edition of Schachnovelle (Frankfurt, 2001) and the game’s annotations found on either page 139 of the tournament book or pages 84-85 of Tartakower’s Die hypermoderne Schachpartie.
Zweig’s source may have been another book of collected games. We learn that the aforementioned character had become familiar with this game through his study of “ein Schachrepetitorium, eine Sammlung von hundertfünfzig Meisterpartien” (page 64), and in a letter written in Petrópolis, Brazil on 29 September 1941 and quoted on page 111 of Siegfried Unseld’s afterword, Zweig writes:
“... habe eine kleine Schachnovelle entworfen, angeregt davon, daß ich mir für die Abgeschiedenheit ein Schachbuch gekauft habe und täglich die Partien der großen Meister nachspiele.”
Can a likely source be identified?’
The matter was discussed in detail in an article ‘Stefan Zweig Schachspieler’ by Egbert Meissenburg on pages 20-28 of 65 Jahre Schachnovelle edited by S. Poldauf and A. Saremba (Berlin, 2007):
See too Stefan Zweig and Chess.
A fast game of chess (but what were the exact conditions?) was given on page 168 of the August 1923 Wiener Schachzeitung:
Efim Bogoljubow – Savielly Tartakower
1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nxd5 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 Bc4 e6 6 d4 c6 7 h3 Bh5 8 g4 Bg6 9 Ne5 Bd6 10 Qf3 Bxe5 11 dxe5 Nd7 12 Bf4 Qa5 13 Bxd5 cxd5 14 O-O-O Rc8 15 h4
15...Qa4 16 Rd2 Rxc3 17 Qxc3 O-O 18 h5 Be4 19 f3 Qxa2 20 Rdh2 d4 21 Qa3 Qxa3 22 bxa3 Bxf3 23 Rg1 Rc8 24 h6 Rc3 25 Rd2 Nc5 26 Kb1 d3 27 cxd3 Nxd3 28 Rg3 Rc1+ 29 Ka2 Bd5 mate.
Below is part of C.N. 2839 (see page 73 of Chess Facts and Fables):
On page 34 of The Encyclopedia of Chess (1977), Golombek called [1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+] the ‘Bogoljubow Defence’, observing: ‘Otherwise known under the hideous name of Bogo-Indian Defence, this defence often transposes to other openings (Nimzo-Indian, Queen’s Indian, Catalan, etc.).’ W.H. Cozens observed on page 401 of the September 1978 BCM that Golombek ‘describes the word Bogo-Indian as hideous, while allowing the exactly analogous Nimzo-Indian to pass without stricture’, and the paperback edition of the Encyclopedia (1981) dropped the ‘hideous’ criticism.
We now add that Golombek touched on the matter in his column in The Times of 5 February 1977:
‘Another opening with different and confusing names is the defence introduced by Nimzowitsch to the Queen’s Pawn Opening. Though I have fought for some time against the ugly hybrid form of Nimzoindian Defence, I now have to admit defeat since it does seem the most economical way to describe the opening.’
Elsewhere in that article, about openings nomenclature, Golombek wrote:
‘Where chessplaying is most active and where in consequence opening theory is most rife, there nationalistic feelings rage and madden round the land. The Russians and the Germans, the Dutch and the Yugoslavs, are all most active in this field. In most cases it would take a Solomon, or a Caucasian chalk-circle, to determine the true parent of an opening variation.
I myself have suffered at the hands, or rather the claws, of these predators, having had no less than four lines filched from me in the course of some 40 years of international play. Nor am I the only sufferer. There is the Reynolds variation in the Semi-Slav that the Germans have called the Klaus Junge line and the Abrahams variation of the same opening known to the Dutch as the Noteboom line.
Perhaps one ought to try and form a RSPCOI (a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Opening Innovators).’
In C.N. 1006 we commented:
A Pergamon book, Play the Bogo-Indian, has a brief ‘Historical Introduction’ that confirms our increasing doubts about the writing skills of S. Taulbut. Bogoljubow himself is represented by one single (atypical) game, against Grunfeld (no umlaut, of course) at Marienbad, 1925. The game must be ranked as one of B.’s most remarkable achievements, given that he did not even play in that tournament. But, then, Marienbad, Breslau, what is the difference? For good measure, a note at move 21 is misplaced. The next game is played at ‘International, Prague, 1937’, followed a little later by one at ‘Los Palmas’. Warmly recommended too is the Korchnoi-Andersson game on page 44, played at ‘Wiju Aram Zee’.
Steve Wrinn (Homer, NY, USA) draws attention to the following remark by Emanuel Lasker:
‘Bogoljubow, it seems, believes in the art of subjecting one person to the will of another by some extraordinary power. Can such an art exist? Decidedly no. If it did exist and someone set himself up as a teacher of this art, he would have the whole world for his customers and yet derive no advantage therefrom, because his pupils would hypnotize him and then suggest to him the return of the tuition fee.’
This comes from page 11 of Lasker’s book Games Played in the Return Match for the World’s Championship (London, 1935), and for the context we reproduce below the full page:
‘People who know nothing about chess or character evaluation claim that I am an optimist. Quite the contrary, though, I am of a pessimistic nature. My wife always says (and quite correctly too), “Always expect the worst; if things then actually turn out better, you’ll be happy”.’
C.N. 5274 quoted this passage from page 986 of L’Echiquier, March-April 1935, which stated that the interview with Bogoljubow had appeared in the Kasseler Neueste Nachrichten, 17 December 1932. We asked whether a copy of that original publication could be found.
Alan McGowan notes this news item on page 339 of the August 1934 BCM:
‘In his column, the Augsburger Schachblatt, Dr Adolf Seitz recently reprinted an interview with E.D. Bogoljubow, which appeared in the Kasseler Neueste Nachrichten in December 1932, but did not obtain much publicity. In it, among other opinions, Bogoljubow expressed his view that the reason why Germany had ceased to have a master of the world-rank was that German chess was over-organized, to the loss of freedom for talent.’
Is it possible to trace the interview in either of the German-language sources?
Peter Anderberg (Harmstorf, Germany) has found the Bogoljubow feature published in the Kasseler Neueste Nachrichten of 17-18 December 1932:
Our correspondent has also provided this transcript:
‘Interview mit Großmeister Bogoljubow
für die Kasseler Neuesten Nachrichten.
Unser Schachmitarbeiter, Herr Heinemann, hatte gestern Gelegenheit, mit Großmeister Bogoljubow über einige aktuelle Schachfragen zu plaudern:
1. Frage: Welcher Ihrer Fähigkeiten schreiben Sie Ihre Erfolge als Schachmeister zu? – Antwort: An erster Stelle meiner Phantasie, ferner meinem Erinnerungsvermögen und meinem Talent für schnelles Erfassen von Situationen.
2. Frage: Kann man “Gut Schach-spielen” wissenschaftlich lernen? – Antwort: Nein, durch wissenschaftliche Schulung kann man sich wohl stark verbessern. Aber Schach ist Kunst und auch Spiel. Das Persönliche spricht stark mit.
3. Frage: Welcher Ihrer Gegner “liegt” Ihnen nicht? – Antwort: Das ist eine Gewissensfrage. Aber hören Sie: Früher konnte ich nie gegen Capablanca gewinnen; selbst in Gewinnstellung verlor ich doch noch. Ich glaube jedoch, daß ich heute besser abschneiden würde, da ich nicht mehr so temperamentvoll spiele, wie früher. Ich bin nüchterner geworden.
4. Frage: Alle Welt hält Sie für einen Optimisten. Was sagen Sie zu dieser Einschätzung Ihrer Persönlichkeit? – Antwort: Die Leute, die nichts von Schach oder von Charakterdeutung verstehen, behaupten, ich sei Optimist. Demgegenüber stelle ich fest, daß ich von Natur aus Pessimist bin. Meine Frau sagt richtig: “Man muß immer das Schlimmste erwarten, denn wenn es dann besser kommt, freut man sich.” (!!)
5. Frage: Woran liegt es, daß Deutschland außer Ihnen zurzeit keinen Spieler von Weltrang hat? – Antwort: Das deutsche Schachleben ist überorganisiert. Viele Talente haben keine Bewegungsfreiheit.
6. Frage: Glauben Sie, daß in absehbarer Zeit ein solcher Spieler auftaucht? – Antwort: Vorläufig sehe ich niemanden, der Talent zu ganz Großem hat. Rödl könnte es vielleicht schaffen, wenn er einen starken Willen dazu hätte. Sehen Sie, da ist Kurt Richter, der geniale Veranlagung hat, dem es aber an Willensstärke fehlt – da ist Kieninger, der aus verschiedenen Ursachen erst jetzt nach vorne kommt, viel kann – aber jetzt zum Kampf nach oben hin viel zu alt ist. Ehrlich gesagt, ich sehe vorläufig keinen neuen deutschen Großmeister.
Aber nun habe ich Ihnen ja genug gesagt. Ich will Ihnen noch etwas von mir erzählen. Wie Sie wissen, ist Frl. Lotte S. aus Frankfurt mein “Manager”. Seitdem weiß ich nicht mehr, wo und wann ich spiele. Und seit neulich der Vorsitzende des Schachklubs in Bad N., Dr. H., (der es als gebildeter Mann ja wissen muß), meinen Namen in einer großen Rede mit einem mir unaussprechlichen Akzent ausgesprochen hat, weiß ich auch nicht mehr, wie ich heiße!’
Regarding Bogoljubow v Capablanca, Bad Kissingen, 1928 Irving Chernev wrote on page 238 of Combinations The Heart of Chess (New York, 1960):
‘For Capablanca this victory must have been especially gratifying. It proved once again that Bogoljubow had been deluding himself when he made the statement, “There is nothing more to fear from the Capablanca technique”.’
Where did Bogoljubow make such a statement?
Robert Sherwood (E. Dummerston, VT, USA) draws attention to this passage by Bogoljubow on page ix of his book on the Moscow, 1925 tournament:
Our correspondent’s translation:
‘The sporting result of the tournament is as follows.
It has been shown that advanced age does not preclude the highest achievements. Dr Lasker, who for the third time finished ahead of Capablanca, must without question be considered the most successful master of all time. His play yet again is enterprising and almost youthfully fresh.
Further, it is apparent that Capablanca finds it very difficult to separate himself from his dry style of play. His technique, on the other hand, has been at least equalled by Bogoljubow and is not especially feared by the other masters.’
Noting that Bogoljubow played in a small tournament in Zurich in 1946, Adrian Mikhalchishin (Lviv, Ukraine) asks whether any of his games from the event are known.
Bogoljubow’s loss to Adolf Staehelin was given on pages 144-145 of the Schweizerische Schachzeitung, September 1946:
The score is also on page 362 of Schachgesellschaft Zürich 1809 bis 2009 by Richard Forster (Zurich, 2009), and Mr Forster has sent us Bogoljubow’s third-round game:Efim Bogoljubow – Henry Grob
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Be7 4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 d6 6 Nc3 Nf6 7 f3 O-O 8 Be3 Bd7 9 Qd2 a6 10 Nxc6 Bxc6 11 O-O b5 12 Bb3 Bb7 13 Ne2 c5 14 c3 Qc7 15 Nf4 Rad8 16 Nd5 Nxd5 17 Bxd5 Kh8 18 Rad1 f5 19 Bxb7 Qxb7 20 exf5 Rxf5 21 Rfe1 Rdf8 22 Bf2 d5 23 Re6 Bg5 24 Qd3 Qf7 25 Rxa6 c4 26 Qf1 Bf4 27 Re1 Qc7 28 h3 Qc8 29 Ree6 Bb8 30 Qe2 b4 31 cxb4 Qc7 32 Kf1 c3 33 bxc3 Qxc3
34 Rac6 Qxb4 35 Qd3 Qf4 36 Be3 Qb4 37 a3 Rxf3+ 38 gxf3 Qh4 39 Qf5 Qd8 40 Bb6 Rxf5 41 Bxd8 Rxf3+ 42 Ke2 Rf8 43 Be7 Rg8 44 Bc5 Resigns.
Sources: Tat, 6 July 1946 and Henry Grob’s score-sheet.
Jan Kalendovský submits a photograph of Bogoljubow from page 12 of Wiener Bilder, 2 September 1928:
A picture from our collection:
Pages 16-23 of volume three of Klassische Schachpartien by E. Bogoljubow (Berlin and Leipzig, 1928) had a section on correspondence chess. He reported that between October 1920 and August 1921 he played 25 games against Swedish players and clubs, scoring +19 –1 =5. Below is the first of the five games (one of two between the same parties) which Bogoljubow annotated. His punctuation is provided here for general guidance:Eskilstuna Club (W. Lundmark) – Efim Bogoljubow
1 e4 c5 2 Bc4 Nc6 3 Nf3 e6 4 Qe2 Be7 5 Nc3 a6 6 a4 Nb4 7 d3 d5 8 Bb3 Nf6 9 Bd2 dxe4 10 Nxe4 Nbd5 11 Ne5! O-O 12 O-O Qc7 13 f4 b6 14 Rae1 Bb7 15 c3 Rad8 16 Ng5! h6
17 Rf3!! b5 18 Rh3 c4! 19 dxc4 Qb6+ 20 Kh1 bxc4 21 Bxc4 Qxb2 22 Ngxf7 Rxf7 23 Nxf7 Kxf7 24 Qxe6+ Kf8 25 Rd3! Bc8 26 Qe5! Qb7 27 f5 Ng4! 28 Qg3 h5!! 29 h3 Ngf6 30 Qg6 Qc7 Drawn.
Bogoljubow’s concluding comment was:
‘One of the most difficult correspondence games that I have ever played.’
This portrait was the frontispiece to volume one of Klassische Schachpartien (Berlin and Leipzig, 1926):
A footnote on page 45 of Znosko-Borovsky’s The Art of Chess Combination (London, 1936):
‘Bogoljubow wrote of a “family check” administered by knight to king, queen and two rooks!’
The entry on ‘family check’ on page 100 of An illustrated Dictionary of Chess by Edward R. Brace (London, 1977) even stated that ‘the term was devised by Bogoljubow’.
The earliest citation that we have found is on page 54 of Alekhine’s Hastings, 1922 tournament book (or page 50 of the Dover edition):
But why ‘family check’ in this instance, as opposed to ‘family fork’?
From Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) comes this feature concerning ‘Boris Bogoliubov’ from page 9 of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 13 December 1925:
Seldom is a brilliancy-prize game in a master tournament almost wholly forgotten, but Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) draws attention to this miniature on page 61 of the March 1912 American Chess Bulletin:Hersz/Gersz Rotlewi – Efim Bogoljubow
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 d6 3 Nc3 Nbd7 4 e3 e5 5 Bd3 g6 6 Nge2 Bg7 7 O-O O-O 8 f4 Qe7 9 f5 Nb6 10 Ng3 Bd7 11 d5 e4 12 Be2 c6 13 a4 cxd5 14 a5 Nxc4 15 Nxd5 Nxd5 16 Qxd5 Nxb2
17 f6 Bxf6 18 Rxf6 Qxf6 19 Nxe4 Qg7 20 Qxd6 Be6 21 Qe7 Qe5 22 Nf6+ Kg7
23 Ng4 Rae8 24 Qxf8+ Kxf8 25 Nxe5 Resigns.
We note that the score was given on pages 104-105 of volume five of Arcymistrzowie, mistrzowie, amatorzy ... by Tadeusz Wolsza (Warsaw, 2007). Mr Bauzá Mercére observes that the crosstable of the Warsaw, 1910 tournament, which Rotlewi won jointly with Rubinstein, is on page 178 of Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King by John Donaldson and Nikolay Minev (Seattle, 1994).
From Olimpiu G. Urcan comes this photograph on page 643 of the Illustrated London News, 12 October 1929:
An interview with Alexander Alekhine shortly after his 1929 world championship match against Bogoljubow has been brought to our attention by Thomas Niessen (Aachen, Germany). It was published in the Allgemeine Zeitung (Chemnitz) and reprinted in the Aachener Anzeiger – Politisches Tageblatt of 30 November 1929:
Below is our translation:
‘Conversation with the world chess champion
I met Dr Alekhine in the hotel. The last game had just finished, and I congratulated him with the comment that he had now truly earned a rest.
‘A rest – I do not know what that is. I am now going to prepare all the games for publication in book form under the title “Chess Thoughts During the Match with Bogoljubow”, and I shall clarify the meaning of all the games, where it was not always understood correctly. Then on 15 January there begins the San Remo tournament, in which I am taking part.’
‘And the match with Capablanca?’
‘If I receive his challenge, I shall meet him in a year’s time, probably in America, where it is an easy matter for him to acquire the money necessary.’
‘For that too you need to prepare.’
‘That is true, but I have my personal and quite idiosyncratic method of preparing. Essentially, I prepare only during the first games. I note exactly which variations my opponent chooses, what he is striving for, and then I select the openings which I shall play and establish my entire tactics accordingly. I find that each player should be allowed to play in his own style, but it is naturally then necessary to try to defeat him with his own weapons. Later on, I think about my own play, and my opponent’s. To give an example, in The Hague on one occasion I found a theoretical novelty in a cinema.’
‘What do you regard as the most important consequences of the match?’
‘Firstly, that everything that has been said recently about the draw death in chess is senseless. Every position, and even the best known, contains so many possibilities that it is merely necessary to make the effort to look for them. The largest number of drawn games was in the Lasker v Schlechter match and in Capablanca’s matches; however, that is the fault not of chess but of the style of the players concerned. Secondly, that the new legend that, with the progression of tournaments and every new winner of a first prize, the number of evenly-matched players will become larger and larger is absolutely false. No doubt the world champions occupy a special position.’
‘A very original and strong player with whom it is very difficult to do battle. However, for him psychological moments play a decisive role, and if fortune does not smile on him at the start of a tournament, this can affect his entire subsequent play. From that standpoint, Bogoljubow merits only respect, for he always remained very cool-blooded even if the situation in the battle was by no means fortunate for him. He was always cheerful and pleasant.’
‘What do you consider to be his greatest strengths?’
‘He possesses inexhaustible fantasy. There is no position where he finds nothing. His disadvantage is that in a bad position he does not have the necessary calm. It then seems to him that the position is lost, and he does indeed lose. Precisely in the positions where Capablanca managed to put up the greatest resistance, Bogoljubow breaks down completely. In contrast, he handles very well positions in which he stands somewhat better.’
‘So you do not believe that Bogoljubow played more weakly in this match than usual?’
‘That is what is always said about the player who loses. The same was also asserted about Capablanca. I have nothing against everyone losing against me even if afterwards it is claimed that they played more weakly than usual.’
‘Whom do you consider stronger? Capablanca or Bogoljubow?’
‘Oh no, it is really not possible to compare the two players. With Capablanca, for instance, everything is logical and natural. One knows exactly what he wants and how he will play. With Bogoljubow, though, it is always a case of being hurled into an unexpected adventure. On that account he is also more dangerous, although it is much more difficult to win against Capablanca.’
‘Are you satisfied overall with the course of the match?’
‘Yes, the organization was quite good. There is just one thing that I should like to see changed. The games should not be played in public. Instead of a chessplayer, one becomes a performer. The impression given is that the public is more or less interested only in outward appearances, instead of focussing on the game. In this respect it was better in Buenos Aires, as we were not exposed to the eyes of spectators.’
‘And travelling from city to city?’
‘That was because of the financial agreement, and from the standpoint of chess publicity it is very good and important. Wherever we went, we received a very friendly welcome. It was obvious to me that the sympathies lay with Bogoljubow, who lives in Germany and wants to become German. I was prepared for that and was therefore not surprised that general goodwill was primarily directed at Bogoljubow’s personality. But everyone was at pains not to give any such impression, and if I ever noticed anything I did not feel offended. I also think that this often gave me a fresh incentive to play better. I regard chess as an art. For me, the chess board and chess ideas are the most important thing. Sympathy and antipathy are human passions which have nothing to do with chess.’
Further to our feature article Hypermodern Chess, Peter Morris (Kallista, Australia) notes on page 256 of 500 Master Games of Chess by S. Tartakower and J. du Mont (London, 1952) the following annotation in the game Paulsen v Rosenthal, Vienna, 1873, after 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 Bc5 4 Bg2:
‘In an open game, and at a time when chess went through its “heroic period”, White applies a principle which was later on to be brought to the fore by the masters of “hyper-modern” chess, Breyer, Réti, Nimzowitsch, Bogoljubow, and up to a point by Alekhine and others, namely, control of the centre instead of its occupation.’
The passage is particularly interesting for its reference to Bogoljubow; our article expressed doubts as to whether he should be regarded as a hypermodern player.
As mentioned on page 63 of the Southsea, 1950 tournament book, Pratten held the post of Honorary Congress Secretary of the Southern Counties Chess Union.
From Steve Wrinn:
‘I have a question concerning the precise regulations governing Alekhine’s world championship matches against Bogoljubow and Euwe. All were scheduled for 30 games, with 15½ points being required for victory and with the added proviso that the victor must score at least six wins. But information on precisely what would have occurred if neither player won the required six games during the first 30 games is often incomplete and contradictory. To take the Alekhine-Euwe 1935 match, for example, here are three widely divergent descriptions of the match conditions:
a) On page 284 of its September 1935 issue the Wiener Schachzeitung stated:
“Die Bedingungen sind gleicher Art wie bei den letzten Weltmeisterschaftskämpfen. Es werden mindestens 30 Partien gewechselt. Wer die Mehrzahl der Punkte erreicht, ist Sieger, vorausgesetzt, daß er sechs Partien gewonnen hat. Andernfalls wird der Wettkampf bis zum sechsten Sieg fortgesetzt.”
This indicates that play would continue after 30 games even if Alekhine were in the lead but had not attained six wins. There is no mention of the possibility of a drawn extended match as referred to in my point b below. Additionally, according to the first sentence, such conditions also held true for Alekhine’s matches against Bogoljubow. (See, however, my point point c below.)
b) Skinner and Verhoeven, on page 534 of Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games, 1902-1946, cite The Times of 3 and 4 October 1935 and paint a very different picture:
“The match would consist of 30 games and the title would go to the player who first scores 15½ points, with at least six won games. If after 30 games Alekhine has a majority of points, but not necessarily six won games, the match is to be given up as a draw and Alekhine retains the championship. If Euwe is ahead after 30 games have been played but without six wins, then the match will be continued until either Euwe wins six games or Alekhine equals his score. In the latter case Alekhine retains the title and the match is drawn.”
Those last two sentences amount to a de facto requirement that the challenger (in this case Euwe) win an extended match by at least two points; in other words, a 6-5 victory would be impossible to achieve past the 30th game, as the previous 5-5 score would have brought the contest to a close. A related point is that under such conditions only the challenger could win an extended match, as once the trailing champion equalized the score he would retain his title via a drawn result.
Times, 3 October 1935, page 10
Times, 4 October 1935, page 16
c) On page 9 of his Tagebuch vom Wettkampf Aljechin-Euwe (Vienna, 1936) Hans Kmoch stated explicitly that the proviso that the champion would retain his title upon equalizing the score at any time after the 30th game, and the concomitant de facto requirement for the challenger to win an extended match by two points, were not in effect for the 1935 match. He added that they had been in effect for Alekhine’s earlier matches (i.e. the two contests against Bogoljubow). He thus contradicts both points b and a above. Kmoch also wrote that in 1935 a drawn match was possible only if the score was equal after 30 games and each player had won at least six games (the situation that would, in fact, have occurred if Alekhine won the 30th game):
“Wenn nach der 30. Partie ein Stand von 15:15 erreicht wurde und beide Spieler mindestens 6 Partien gewonnen haben, dann wird der Wettkampf als unentschieden abgebrochen und Aljechin behält seinen Titel. Im anderen Falle kann der Wettkampf nicht unentschieden ausgehen und es entscheidet unter allen Umständen die 6. Gewinnpartie. Diese letztere Bestimmung differiert von jenen früherer Wettkämpfe Aljechins: dort hieß es nämlich, daß der Wettkampf zugunsten des Weltmeisters unentschieden abgebrochen werde, falls der Weltmeister nach 30 Partien im Nachteil ist, es ihm aber später gelingt, gleichen Stand zu erreichen.”
That three contemporary sources could give such varying and irreconcilable accounts is remarkable. What were the exact final rules for the 1929, 1934, 1935 and 1937 world championship matches?
Incidentally, Skinner and Verhoeven (pages 364, 490 and 593) briefly mention the 15½ points/six wins requirement for the 1929, 1934, and 1937 world championship matches, but provide no further details, except to note that Euwe as world champion would retain the title if the 1937 match were tied after 30 games. The Wiener Schachzeitung offered the same minimal information (15½ points/six wins) for Alekhine’s 1929 and 1934 matches against Bogoljubow (see page 253 of the August 1929 issue and page 97 of the April 1934 issue), but did not spell out the conditions under which those contests would have continued after the 30th game.’
A news item on page 26 of the Chess Amateur, November 1928:
‘La Nation belge states that the Alekhine-Bogoljubow match will be played next May, starting at Bad Kissingen and continuing in India! The authority for these statements is dubious.’
What was the ‘authority’?
A few C.N. items have discussed whether or not Efim Bogoljubow was a hypermodern player. Now, Dmitriy Komendenko (St Petersburg, Russia) submits the entry on the master in volume six of the first edition (1927) of the reference work Большая советская энциклопедия:
The highlighted passage asserts that until recently Bogoljubow had been regarded as a representative of hypermoderism but that, of late, he had moved away therefrom to the classical theory of Chigorin:
‘Ещё недавно Б. считался представителем течения, известного в шахматной практике и теории под именем “гипермодернизма”; в последнее время Б. отошёл от новейших принципов в сторону классической теории Чигорина.’
Our correspondent Dmitriy Komendenko also asks whether documentation exists on Bogoljubow’s reaction to Alekhine’s death in 1946 and to the procedure for establishing the world champion’s successor. On the latter point, attention is drawn to a brief note (C.N. 2704) in Interregnum.
Steve Wrinn recalls the report in the Bled, 1931 tournament book by Hans Kmoch that Bogoljubow announced a non-existent mate in two against Asztalos:
Bogoljubow overlooked that after 51 g6+ Kh6 there could occur 52 Qh8+ Kg5 or 52 Qh4+ Qh5.
From pages 110-111 of Kmoch’s tournament book, published in 1934:
The relevant text is on page 121 of Bled 1931 International Chess Tournament translated by Jimmy Adams (Yorklyn, 1987).
Mr Wrinn also mentions that the English edition includes an article by Salo Flohr, translated from a 1976 issue of 64, which refers to the announced mate (on pages xi-xii). See too page 29 of the March 2003 CHESS, in which issue the full Flohr article was reprinted.
Instances of surprisingly high praise are always welcome. Pages 63-64 of the December 1929 Chess Amateur introduced as follows Bogoljubow’s 71-move victory over Alekhine in the 14th game of that year’s world championship match:
‘One of the finest games we have ever published.’
Harry Golombek wrote as follows about Bogoljubow on page 76 of Chess Treasury of the Air by Terence Tiller (Harmondsworth, 1966):
Jan Kalendovský submits a photograph from page 3 of Das interessante Blatt, 20 July 1933:
This position, in which Black has just played 11...Ng4, will be discussed in the next C.N. item.
From page 81 of the February 1971 Chess Life & Review (‘Larry Evans on Chess’):
It was hardly justified for Dennis King to assert that Reinfeld gave ‘two opposite opinions’ on White’s 12th move. Concerning P.W. Sergeant’s Championship Chess (London, 1938), Reinfeld brought out updated editions (New York, 1960 and 1963), with extra games but without revising Sergeant’s annotations. The other book, A. Alekhine vs. E.D. Bogoljubow (Philadelphia, 1934), was co-written by Reinfeld with Reuben Fine.
Such points passed Evans by, and his cursory remark that 12 Bh3 ‘looks like the best chance’ did not mention that the move was recommended by Bogoljubow, though not by Alekhine.
Below is a non-exhaustive compendium of notes to Bogoljubow’s 12th move (after 1 d4 c5 2 d5 e5 3 e4 d6 4 f4 exf4 5 Bxf4 Qh4+ 6 g3 Qe7 7 Nc3 g5 8 Be3 Nd7 9 Nf3 h6 10 Qd2 Ngf6 11 O-O-O Ng4):
Championship Chess by P.W. Sergeant (London, 1938), page 192
A. Alekhine vs. E.D. Bogoljubow by F. Reinfeld and R. Fine (Philadelphia, 1934), page 28
Schachkampf um die Weltmeisterschaft by E. Bogoljubow (Karlsruhe, 1935), page 56
My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937 by A. Alekhine (London, 1939), page 140
Alekhine vs. Bogolubow by I.A. Horowitz and S.S. Cohen (New York, 1934), page 13
Deutsche Schachzeitung, May 1934, page 146 (annotator: M. Blümich)
BCM, June 1934, page 264 (annotator: J.H. Blake)
Alexander Alekhine II Games 1923-1934 by A. Khalifman (Sofia, 2002).
Some annotators made no comment on 12 Be2, examples being Lasker in his match-book (page 38), Kmoch on page 146 of the May-June 1934 Wiener Schachzeitung and Tartakower on page 551 of L’Echiquier, 8 August 1934.
The game was played in Pforzheim on 25 April 1934. Page 55 of Bogoljubow’s above-mentioned match-book gave the players’ times as two hours and 41 minutes for White and 58 minutes for Black. See too pages 96-97 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess by I. Chernev (New York, 1974).
From pages 162-163 of The World’s Great Chess Games by Reuben Fine (New York, 1951):
‘After that [i.e. after Bogoljubow’s greatest period, specified as 1925-31] he could not hold his own against the new masters. “The young people have read my book”, he would wail in his jovial manner. “Now I have no chance.”’
In a column reproduced on page 50 of The Chess Beat (Oxford, 1982) Larry Evans wrote:
‘He [Bogoljubow] blithely explained away his steady losses to the new generation: “The young demons have read my book. Now I have no chance.”’
A paragraph about Bogoljubow from page 216 of Impact of Genius by R.E. Fauber (Seattle, 1992):
‘He left as a literary legacy a single volume, Klassiche Schach [sic], which featured the games of the hypermoderns. When his results declined in the 1930s he lamented that he had trouble with the rising generation. “They have all read my book”, he complained.’
Bogoljubow wrote a number of books, including three volumes of Klassische Schachpartien (Berlin and Leipzig, 1926, 1926 and 1928). Our set includes this card:
Has any such Bogoljubow ‘my book’ story been related by a dependable writer?
Deutsche Schachzeitung, November 1941, page 162
Comments about players’ preferred pieces are of interest if considered with circumspection. From page 40 of Modern Master-Play by F.D. Yates and W. Winter (London, 1929):
Gerard Killoran (Ilkley, England) provides a cartoon from page 8 of the Sun (Sydney), 30 October 1929:
The cartoonist, Arthur Mailey (1886-1967), was an Australian test cricketer.
A photograph (Euwe v Bogoljubow match, Carlsbad, 1941) published on page 114 of the August 1941 Deutsche Schachzeitung is shown here courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library:
From the Detroit Free Press (Rotogravure Supplement), 23 March 1924:
From left to right: Efim Bogoljubow, Géza Maróczy, Richard Réti, Emanuel Lasker, Savielly Tartakower
From page 96 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess by Irving Chernev (New York, 1974):
This was number 63 in Alekhine’s second volume of Best Games. The final clock times given on page 55 of Bogoljubow’s book on the match were White: 2 hours 41 minutes; Black: 58 minutes.
A contribution from Olimpiu G. Urcan regarding Chess Masters on Film is an informal Bogoljubow v Euwe game in 1928:
‘Played without board or men, this game should go down in history as one of the most remarkable games on record.’
David A. Mitchell made that remark on page 85 of his book Chess (Philadelphia, 1918):
It is one of two such blindfold games in Rastatt on page 108 of the Skinner/Verhoeven book on Alekhine. The source specified (page 317 of Shakhmatny Vestnik, 1914) is shown below, courtesy of Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Russian Federation):
Michael Lorenz (Vienna) reports that a series of caricatures by Leopold Löwy was published in Die Bühne in 1925, including the following:
From Bernd-Peter Lange (Berlin):
‘After the Second World War, all German members of the National Socialist Party were required by the Allies to fill in a questionnaire (Meldebogen) for political examination. Bogoljubow’s was written in his own hand in September 1948 in the French zone of occupation where he was resident. It gives a great deal of information about, in particular, the years 1940-44, when he was in the service of Hans Frank, the Governor General of German-occupied Poland. He was employed firstly as a translator and interpreter (Ukrainian and Russian) in the Propaganda Department and then, for a longer period, as a chess instructor in German military hospitals in the Generalgouvernement and for chess-related tasks such as the design and distribution of a new chess set.
The denazification questionnaire gives precise details of his times of employment, payment received, dates of his party membership, and his political justification for having joined the Nazi Party.
A discussion of these texts – together with passages (some hitherto forgotten) related to Bogoljubow and chess matters in the vast service-diary of Hans Frank – has been prepared for the 1/2021 edition of the German-language magazine KARL, under the title “Bogoljubow im Generalgouvernement”. Later in 2021 there will be an expanded version in English, discussing Bogoljubow’s career from 1933 onwards.’
Our correspondent has forwarded us a PDF file which includes the questionnaire completed by Bogoljubow.
Our feature article on Hans Frank includes additional material on Bogoljubow.
See too further games played by Bogoljubow which are referred to in the Factfinder.
Latest update: 7 September 2023.
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