Dawid Janowsky (1868-1927)
‘Even at New York, 1924, the masters agreed that for the first four hours of play Janowsky was equal to any player in the world.’ So declared the obituary of Janowsky on pages 28-30 of the February 1927 American Chess Bulletin, which also stated that around the first few years of the century he ‘was the strongest player in the world’. Without going that far, Capablanca wrote in My Chess Career that Janowsky had been ‘one of the most feared of all the players’. In Diario de la Marina of 20 April 1913 the Cuban mentioned that Janowsky’s best period was ‘around 1902’.
Ossip Bernstein gave the following assessment on page 15 of the January 1956 Chess Review:
‘Janowsky was no chess scientist or theoretician. He knew what he had to do on the chessboard; but he did not know, or could not explain, why it had to be done. He had only two rules in chess: always attack; always get the two bishops (and, indeed, he used the advantage of the two bishops wonderfully). His main strength, indeed, was his extraordinary intuition, which gave him the exact feeling for what to do and how to do it.’
The didactic value of Janowsky’s handling of the bishop pair was also stressed by Alekhine. Writing in 1945, he noted that the prodigy Arturo Pomar had not yet learned the value of the two bishops and advised that ‘it would be very profitable for him to study the best games of Janowsky’. (Source ¡Legado! by Alekhine, page 125.)
A prime characteristic of Janowsky’s playing style was its sheer energy, not to say restlessness. Little more than 20% of his tournament and match games were drawn. ‘Il n’est pas dans mon tempérament d’attendre’, he once declared (BCM, June 1909, page 261). His temperament has, in fact, attracted far more attention than his games or results yet he was, for instance, the only master apart from Tarrasch to beat the first four world champions, Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine. In all, he scored a dozen victories against them. Today, few brilliancies from his long career are kept alive, and only one book has been devoted to him, published in Russian in 1987. [See the updated information below.] His country of origin (Poland) has done no more for his memory than have his adopted homelands (France and the United States).
Dawid Markelowicz Janowsky (born 1868) was the last of the unsuccessful challengers for Lasker’s world championship title (Berlin, November-December 1910, a severe defeat). It is, or should be, well known that the two players’ ten-game match in Paris the previous year had not been for the world title, contrary to the assertions of such historical analphabets as Jonathan Speelman (The Observer Review section of 19 April 1998, page 13). In that same article Speelman gave a position from a familiar game in the match, and wrote, ‘I had never seen it before’. The position was incorrect.
There follow some neglected Janowsky combinations from off-hand play:
From a knight’s odds game between D. Janowsky and S. David, Paris, 1891 or 1892. 19 Bxg7+ Kxg7 20 Rxh7+ Kxh7 21 f6+ Kh8 22 Qh5+ and mate in two.
Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, February 1892, pages 50-51.
Janowsky v N.N., Paris, 1892
Play went: 16 Qxa7+ Kxa7 17 axb6+ Kb7 18 Ra7+ Kc6 19 Rxc7+ Kb5 20 Nc2 (20 c4+ would have saved a move.) 20…Nec6 21 c4+ Ka6 22 Ra1+ Na5 23 Nb4 mate.
Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, May 1892, page 152.
The position below is also from a Paris game, which Janowsky (White) played blindfold:
1 Nxg6 Qxg6 2 Bxf5 Qxf5 3 Qxg8+ Bxg8 4 Rxe7+ Kf8 5 Rxd8 mate.
Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, November 1893, page 345.
Friedman v Janowsky, Paris, 1894
1…h4 2 Nxd4 Ng3+ 3 hxg3 hxg3+ 4 Kg1 Bxd4+ 5 Rf2 Bxf2+ 6 Qxf2 Rd1+ 7 Qf1 Rh1+ 8 Kxh1 Rxf1 mate.
Source: BCM, September 1894, page 355 and November 1894, page 452.
Robino v Janowsky, Paris
1…Bf5 2 Nxf5 Qd2+ 3 Kb1 Qd1+ 4 Bc1 Qxc1+ 5 Kxc1 Ba3+ 6 Kb1 Rd1 mate.
Source: La Stratégie, 15 April 1898, page 118.
Coulomzine v Janowsky, Paris
29…Rg6 30 Kh2 Nd2 31 Rg1 e2 32 Qxd8+ Qxd8 33 Rxd2 Qxd2 34 Nxd2 Rxg2+ 35 Rxg2 e1(Q) 36 Re2 Qh1+ 37 Kg3 Qg1+ 38 Kh4 g5+ 39 Kh5 gxf4 40 Re5 and Black mated in three moves.
Source: La Stratégie, 15 November 1898, page 344. Typically complex Janowsky play, although various short-cuts would have been possible (31…Rxg2+, 33…Qh4 and 39…Qg3).
Janowsky was White in this position from a game at the Manhattan Chess Club, New York. He played 1 Na6+ Ka8 2 Nxc7+ Kb8 3 Na6+ Ka8 4 Rb7 e2 5 Rb8+ Rxb8 6 Nc7 mate.
Source: American Chess Bulletin, March 1918, page 69.
A specimen of his play in a consultation game:
Dawid Janowsky – Herbert Edward Dobell, Mackeson and Watt
Hastings, 1 September 1897
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 O-O Nxe4 5 Re1 Nd6 6 Nxe5 Be7 7 Bd3 Nxe5 8 Rxe5 O-O 9 Nc3 Bf6 10 Re3 g6 11 b3 Ne8 12 Ba3 d6 13 Nd5 Bg5 14 f4 Bh6 15 Bb2 Be6 16 Qf3 c6 17 Nc3 d5
18 f5 d4 19 fxe6 fxe6 20 Qh3 Bxe3+ 21 dxe3 dxc3 22 Qxe6+ Kh8 23 Bxc3+ Ng7 24 Rd1 Qe8 25 Qh3 Rd8 26 Qh6 Rd7 27 h3 b5 28 Rd2 Kg8 29 e4 Qe7 30 Kh1 Qc5 31 Bb2 Nh5 32 Kh2 Rdf7 33 Be2 Nf4 34 Bg4 Qb4 35 Rd4 Qe1 36 Rd7 Rxd7 37 Bxd7 Rf7 38 Be8 Qxe4 39 Bxf7+ Kxf7 40 Qxh7+ Ke8 41 Qh8+ Kd7 42 Qd4+ Qxd4 43 Bxd4 a6 44 g4 Ke6 45 h4 and White won.
Source: BCM, October 1897, pages 395-396. Janowsky played four games simultaneously against teams of three players.
Now a sample of Janowsky’s annotations to one of his games:
Georg Marco – Dawid Janowsky
Sixth match game, S.S. Pretoria, 13 June 1904
King’s Gambit Declined
1 e4 e5 2 f4 Bc5 3 Qf3 (An innovation meriting consideration. [In fact, 3 Qf3 was played twice by Charousek in 1896, against Showalter and Maróczy.]) 3…Nc6 4 c3 d6 5 Bc4 Nf6 (5…Be6 was stronger.) 6 d3 O-O (Premature, in view of the ease with which White sets up a king’s side attack. Here too 6…Be6 would be much better.) 7 f5 (Hemming in the enemy queen’s bishop and threatening g4, followed by h4.) 7…d5 8 Bb3! (8 Bxd5 Nxd5 9 exd5 Ne7 10 g4 Qxd5, etc. and 8 exd5 e4 9 dxe4 Ne5 10 Qe2 Nxc4 11 Qxc4 Nxe4, etc. would be to White’s disadvantage.) 8…dxe4 9 dxe4 Qd6 10 Bg5 (With 10 g4 he could have put his opponent in a very tricky position.) 10…h6 11 Bxf6 (The reply to 11 Bh4 would have been 11…Rd8.) 11…Qxf6 12 Nd2 Rd8 (Taking possession of the open file and having in mind the possibility of being able, if necessary later on, to escape with the king via f8 and e7.) 13 O-O-O a5 (To set up a counter-attack and chase the bishop away from the very awkward diagonal which it occupies.) 14 h4 (In positions of this kind there is rarely time to defend, and victory goes to the player who can attack the fastest.) 14…a4 15 Bc2 b5 16 Ne2 b4 17 g4 bxc3 (Too soon. 17…Ba6, threatening 18…Bxe2, followed by 19…bxc3, would have been much stronger.) 18 Nxc3 (Forced, for if 18 bxc3 then 18…Ba3+, etc.) 18…Nd4 19 Qg2 a3 20 g5 (20 b3 would be more solid.) 20…axb2+ 21 Kb1 Qc6 22 gxh6 (He has no time to play 22 f6 because of 22…Bb4.) 22…Qxh6 23 Nb3 Ba3 24 Nb5 (A tempting move, the consequences of which White did not examine sufficiently closely.)
24…Nxb5 (The attack he obtains provides ample compensation for the sacrifice of the exchange.) 25 Rxd8+ Kh7 26 Rd3 (If 26 Qg3 then 26…Rb8, threatening mate in a few moves by 27…Qc1+. After 27 R8d1, Black wins with 27…Qc6.) 26…Rb8 27 Qg5 (He was threatened with 27…Qc1+ 28 Rxc1 bxc1(Q)+ 29 Nxc1 Nc3+ and mate next move.) 27…Ba6 28 Nd2 Bc5 29 Rhh3 Nd4 30 Rb3 (After 30 Rdg3 Bb4 31 Nb3 Nxc2 32 Kxc2 c5 the loss of a piece is inevitable.) 30…Nxb3 31 Bxb3 f6 32 Qxh6+ (If 32 Qg2 then 32…Bb4, etc.) 32…Kxh6 33 Kxb2 (Material is now level, but Black has the better pawns, two bishops and a superior position.) 33…Rd8 (Decisive.) 34 Kc2 (If 34 Nf3 Kh5, etc., and if 34 Nc4 Rd4, etc.) 34…Bb4 35 Nb1 Bb7 36 Resigns. (His e-, f- and h-pawns cannot be defended.)
Source: La Stratégie, 21 September 1904, pages 263-264.
From the Marienbad, 1925 tournament book (see C.N. 9844)
Janowsky was active in chess play until the end. An onlooker at the 1925 Marienbad tournament wrote on page 295 of the July 1925 BCM: ‘Janowsky, gaunt, cadaverous, but with a ready smile which lights up his whole face, goes up to the two or three ladies who sit there waiting, and makes one of his many little witticisms about the other players. “Have you seen so and so? He sway to and fro, to and fro. If he do it much more, I tell him he make me sea-sick”.’
Dawid Janowsky (Wiener Schachzeitung, April 1926, page 106)
At Semmering, 1926 Janowsky was still winning remarkable games, including one against Rubinstein. He died on 15 January 1927 in Hyères (France). The Wiener Schachzeitung (February 1927, page 30) described him as ‘one of the greatest masters of the royal game’. Page 191 of Ludwig Bachmann’s Schachjahrbuch 1927 called him a genius. The obituary writer in L’Echiquier (January 1927, page 552), who had seen him a few months previously in Ghent, reported on the ‘sunken eyes behind large spectacles’ of a master who had been ‘one of the greatest players of his time’. John Keeble noted on pages 103-104 of the March 1927 BCM that Janowsky had arrived in Hyères in December 1926 for a tournament due to begin there the following month. He was diagnosed as being in the final stage of tuberculosis. In Keeble’s words, Janowsky ‘was absolutely without means and in a dying state. A lonely man (he had never married), no relatives near to him, no religion, no income and apparently no friends, for he was not really a sociable man to make them. What a sad end to a successful career devoted almost wholly to chess.’
With minor differences the above article appeared at the Chess Café in 1998.
Dawid Janowsky – N.N.
(Remove White’s queen’s knight.)
17 Re5 Qf2 18 Rg5+ Bxg5 19 Qxg5+ Kh8 20 Qxf6+ Rxf6 21 Bxf6 mate.
Source: La Stratégie, 15 April 1895, pages 115-116.
Some general comments on the relative strength of bishops and knights were made by Janowsky when annotating his win over Napier at Hanover, 1902. After Black’s 42nd move he wrote:
‘The two knights have been completely immobilized. The superiority of two bishops against two knights is demonstrated once again in striking form. This matter has been discussed in the chess press very frequently; some (Dr Tarrasch, for example) prefer the two bishops while others (Mr Chigorin) prefer the two knights. Some theoreticians have declared that everything depends on the position; that does not settle the issue since when a result depends on the position the superiority or inferiority of the two bishops is not demonstrated at all. In my opinion, having two bishops against two knights in a more or less equal position is a significant advantage.’
Source: La Stratégie, 17 September 1902, page 283.
Page 31 of Chess Strategy and Tactics by F. Reinfeld and I. Chernev (New York, 1933) referred to Janowsky’s ‘inordinate and aggressive self-confidence, which gave rise to many amusing incidents. Thus, after the loss of his match against Marshall in 1905, he sent the American master a telegram offering to play him at knight odds!’
Forty years later Chernev still found the tale amusing enough to include on page 53 of his book Wonders and Curiosities of Chess (New York, 1974), under the heading ‘Offers victor knight odds’, but it is not true.
Marshall and Janowsky played a match at the Cercle Philidor in Paris from 24 January to 7 March 1905, and the final score was +8 –5 =4 in Marshall’s favour. The view that Janowsky suffered many unlucky accidents and that the two masters were of more or less equal strength was expressed by, for example, Alapin on pages 88-89 of La Stratégie, 17 March 1905, and page 89 also featured a letter which Janowsky wrote to Marshall on the same day as the last match game was played:
‘J’estime que le résultat de notre match est loin d’établir nos forces respectives, au contraire, étant donné que dans la majorité des parties j’ai laissé échapper soit le gain, soit la nullité, je suis persuadé que normalement j’aurais dû vaincre facilement.
J’ai donc l’honneur de vous provoquer pour un match de revanche aux conditions suivantes:
Le vainqueur sera le premier gagnant 10 parties les nulles ne comptant pas; je vous offre l’avantage de 4 parties, c’est-à-dire que mes quatre premières parties gagnées ne compteront pas; l’enjeu ne devra pas être supérieur à 5000 francs.’
An English version appeared on page 27 of the American Chess Bulletin, February 1905. The Bulletin commented that ‘such an address to a successful adversary cannot but make an unpleasant impression with the rank and file of lovers of chess and good sportsmanship’. That is hard to dispute, but it should be noted that there was no question of Janowsky offering Marshall knight odds; he was proposing to his victor the advantage of four points.
The sketch of Janowsky given below was on page 251 of the July 1905 issue of the Bulletin:
Another (less good) English version of Janowsky’s letter appeared on page 79 of Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion by A. Soltis (Jefferson, 1994), after which Soltis commented: ‘To this Marshall made no formal reply’. That is not true either. As recorded on page 150 of La Stratégie, 19 May 1905, a reply from Marshall, written in London on 22 April 1905, was published by Janowsky in Le Monde Illustré of 29 April 1905:
‘J’accepte le défi de votre lettre du 7 mars dernier à condition que vous pourrez obtenir pour moi les mêmes arrangements que le Cercle Philidor m’a accordés pour notre précédent match.’
Despite Marshall’s acceptance, the arrangements foundered, and it was not until January-February 1908 that the return match took place (five games up, with no odds) at the villa of L. Nardus in Suresnes. Janowsky won +5 –2 =3.
The photograph below, of Marshall, Nardus and Janowsky, is the frontispiece in The Match and The Return Match: Janowsky v. Marshall by L. Hoffer (London, 1908):
On the basis of Janowsky’s weekly chess column in Le Monde Illustré (11 February to 18 March 1905), as well as La Stratégie of 20 February and 17 March 1905, we list the total times taken by Marshall and Janowsky in their 17-game match in Paris. Marshall, who won +8 –5 =4, had White in the odd-numbered games:
1: 4.14 – 4.11;
2: 2.30 – 2.30;
3: 2.48 – 2.13;
4: 3.48 – 4.12;
5: 3.00 – 2.48;
6: 3.19 – 3.00;
7: 2.00 – 2.12;
8: 2.05 – 1.57;
9: 4.24 – 4.21;
10: 4.14 – 4.31;
11: 3.43 – 3.46;
12: 3.10 – 2.40;
13: 4.12 – 4.40;
14: 3.20 – 2.18;
15: 2.52 – 4.57 (Le Monde Illustré) or 4.37 (La Stratégie);
16: 1.49 – 3.00;
17: 3.03 – 4.35 (times omitted by Le Monde Illustré).
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) provides eight sketches published in the Pall Mall Gazette, 14 July 1899:
Our feature article on the event, London, 1899 Pen-portraits, has, in addition to a group photograph, a translation of an article by ‘André de M.’ from pages 210-213 of La Stratégie, 15 July 1899. The first two paragraphs:
‘It would, I think, be difficult to imagine two men more completely dissimilar than Lasker and Janowsky. Nothing disturbs Lasker; his shirt, his clothes are the least of his worries. He is hungry; he goes to the sideboard and returns with a bread roll, which he eats with gusto while continuing his game. His legs are in his way; he puts them over one of the arms of his chair and continues to play, smoking strong cigars; when he reflects deeply he blows the smoke through his moustache with a characteristic grimace.
Janowsky, by contrast, is correctness personified. Seated before his board, he remains almost totally immobile. With a dazzling shirt, Turkish cigarettes, ice-cold lemon-squash, which he sucks through a straw, he is a refined, sensitive player par excellence, a sybaritic player who may lose merely because of a rose-leaf being crumpled.’
A great player of the olden days is the subject of a large new monograph, Vabanque Dawid Janowsky 1868-1927 by Daniel Ackermann (Ludwigshafen, 2005). In the present brief notice, a few facts and figures are provided. It is a handsome 723-page hardback in German which includes a biographical narrative, 335 games (virtually all of them annotated), tournament tables and match charts, 12 pages of endnotes (the second of which errs by attributing to us a comment in C.N. 418 by W.H. Cozens), indexes and a nine-page bibliography.
An article entitled ‘Self publishing’ by Justin Horton dated 23 August 2013 shows that in dozens of Spectator chess columns Raymond Keene has advertised the books of Hardinge Simpole without declaring his status as a director of the company.
One extract that caught our eye was the Spectator column of 24 September 2005, which plugged a new book, David Janowski Artist of the Chess Board by Alexander Cherniaev and Alexander Meynell. The extract began:
‘Although a slim tome exists in Russian, and a massive one in German, Janowski has not been rewarded in English-language chess literature with the accolades he deserves.’
The Cherniaev/Meynell book may be regarded as an insult rather than an accolade (even the Foreword begins with an historical blunder), but a brief statistical comparison with the ‘slim tome’ in Russian, published in 1987, will suffice here:
A group photograph of Hyères, 1927 was shown in C.N. 3606, and below is a picture taken at the previous year’s tournament, our source being The Book of the Second Annual Chess Congress Hyères, 1926:
The Christmas 1969 issue of CHESS had a quiz which claimed (on pages 116 and 125) that D. Janowsky ‘was so annoyed at reaching a losing position against Sir George Thomas’ that he ‘did not arrive for resumption of play, and the tournament director upon opening the envelope merely found the word “abandonnent”.’ No occasion was specified or source given, but it seems that Janowsky’s only loss to Sir George Thomas was at Marienbad, 1925 – an 88-move game given on pages 96-97 of the tournament book.
In an article entitled ‘Unconventional Surrender’ on page 55 of the February 1950 Chess Review Hans Kmoch and Fred Reinfeld stated that such an incident occurred in the game between Müller and Yates at Kecskemét, 1927, and that White sealed ‘aufgegeben’. See page 130 of Reinfeld’s The Treasury of Chess Lore (New York, 1951). Kmoch was a participant in the tournament.
A passage on page 49 of The Delights of Chess by Assiac (London, 1960) has come to our attention:
The two masters played each other twice in a 1926 tournament in Ghent, but both games were drawn.
Can any reader supply a better version of this illustration of Janowsky and Chigorin in play at St Petersburg, 1900?
It appeared opposite page 129 of M. Yudovich’s monograph Михаил Чигорин (Moscow, 1985). Two games between Janowsky and Chigorin played in St Petersburg in December 1900 were published in the 15 January 1901 issue of La Stratégie (pages 4-5 and 9-10). Chigorin won both, and the conclusion of the latter game was given in C.N. 2499 (see pages 47-48 of A Chess Omnibus).
The article by Irving Chernev on the inside front cover of the April 1954 Chess Review (C.N. 6077) included 15 alleged quotes, none with sources. One was: ‘That boy understands as much of chess as I do of rope dancing.’ Page 125 mentioned that the speaker was ‘Janowsky, referring to his game with the prodigy Reshevsky’. The complete feature was reproduced on page 271 of Chernev’s The Chess Companion (New York, 1968).
On page 243 of Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters by Edward Lasker (New York, 1951) it was reported that Janowsky had made the remark to Lasker after 12 moves of the game Janowsky v Reshevsky, New York, 1922. It was a famous victory for the ten-year-old prodigy, and the following appeared on page 18 of Reshevsky on Chess (New York, 1948):
‘I was so excited and happy that I rushed home in a taxi to tell my father and mother. I couldn’t even sit down in the taxi. I jumped up and down all the way. When I got to the hotel, I ran up the stairs to our rooms, without waiting for the elevator, and broke the news to my parents: I had won from Janowsky! And then I sang. I sang so loudly that nobody could talk. It was one of the happiest days of my life.’
In Edward Lasker’s version (pages 247-248 of Chess Secrets) the prodigy’s father was in the taxi. The report on page 28 of the Sports Section of the New York Times, 13 October 1922 stated:
‘After 65 moves had been recorded, Janowsky, seeing his pawns falling one by one, resigned and was the first to offer his congratulations to the boy.’
This photograph was given on page 158 of the November 1922 American Chess Bulletin:
The tournament received a brief mention on pages 193-194 of A History of Chess by H. Golombek (London, 1976). Reshevsky’s final score and his placing were incorrect, as were Bigelow’s. Jacob Bernstein was misidentified as ‘S. Bernstein’, and the index reference to Jaffe gave his forename as Oscar, instead of Charles.
See too C.N. 7236.
From page 73 of The English Chess Explosion by M. Chandler and R. Keene (London, 1981):
‘No-one remembers Reshevsky’s losses as an 11-year-old, but everyone knows it was at this age he beat the former World Championship Candidate, Janowski.’
Everyone knows no such thing, for the simple reason that it is untrue. Reshevsky was ten, as the book itself had stated earlier (page 35):
‘Short’s achievement was even more momentous than Capablanca’s match win against Corzo in Havana in 1900 when Capa was 12, and almost on a par with the game won by 10 year old Reshevsky against the veteran GM Janowsky in 1922.’
However, that reference is wrong on other matters. The match took place in 1901, not 1900, and Capa’s age should read 13, not 12. Note too the slapdash inconsistency: two different spellings, Janowski/Janowsky.
The following photograph of Janowsky appeared in Le Monde Illustré on 27 September 1902, page 312:
From Olimpiu G. Urcan comes this sketch on page 438 of the November [sic – it was mistakenly headed ‘October’] 1905 BCM:
From Solitaire Chess by I.A. Horowitz (New York, 1962):
From page 17 of Why You Lose at Chess by F. Reinfeld (New York, 1956):
Other quotes on this theme will be welcomed.
We now add a ‘once’ account from page 72 of a book co-authored by Horowitz and Reinfeld, How To Improve Your Chess (Kingswood, 1955):
Below is what Reinfeld wrote in ‘Emanuel Lasker: An Appreciation’ in his edition of Lasker’s Manual of Chess (Philadelphia, 1947):
Potted biographies of Dawid Janowsky seldom mention his victory in the Eighth American Chess Congress at Atlantic City, NJ in 1921, ahead of Norman Whitaker and Charles Jaffe, with Frank Marshall finishing equal fifth. A photograph was published on page 214 of “Our Folder” (the publication of the Good Companion Chess Problem Club), August 1921:
The same picture, without the numerical references, appeared on page 128 of the July-August 1921 American Chess Bulletin, with this key on the next page:
Larger version of the photograph
From an article ‘Tall Tales of Teetotalers’ by H. Kmoch and F. Reinfeld on pages 136-137 of the May 1952 Chess Review:
‘He considered himself the strongest player of all time ...’
What are the grounds for asserting that such was Janowsky’s belief?
A familiar piece of gossip about Janowsky is on page 48 of Kings of Chess by W. Winter (London, 1954):
‘ ... he is reported to have said: “There are only three chess masters, Lasker, Capablanca, and the third I am too modest to mention” ...’
C.N. 6683 referred to the Pearl of Zandvoort, but a less familiar term occurs on page 61 of One Move and You’re Dead by Erwin Brecher and Leonard Barden (London, 2007). The conclusion of Janowsky v Schlechter, London, 1899 is given, with the comment that White ‘forced checkmate with such an impressive move that they called it The pearl of St Stephen’s after the London hall where the tournament was played’.
Wanted: other sightings of the term.
The game ended 34 Qxh7+ Kxh7 35 Rh5+ Kg8 36 Ng6 Resigns.
Four sketches by L. Nardus at Scheveningen, 1913 were published on page 311 of The Field, 9 August 1913:
Two reports from US newspapers in January 1916 concerning Janowsky’s internment after the Mannheim, 1914 tournament, and his subsequent movements before arriving in New York at the beginning of 1916.
The Sun (New York), 12 January 1916, page 8
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 12 January 1916, page 2
1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 c5 3 c4 dxc4 4 e3 e6 5 Bxc4 Nf6 6 O-O Nc6 7 Nc3 Be7 8 Qe2 O-O 9 dxc5 Bxc5 10 a3 Bd7 11 b4 Be7 12 Bb2 Rc8 13 Rfd1 Qb6 14 Rac1 Rfd8 15 Na4 Qc7 16 b5 Na5 17 Bxe6 Bxe6 18 Rxc7 Rxd1+ 19 Qxd1 Rxc7
Noting that databases have these moves as a game in the 1912 Marshall v Janowsky match, Pierre Bourget (Quebec, Canada) asks whether the game really ended at move 19 (as a win for White).
The answer is no. The above is less than half of the game, as Janowsky did not resign until move 45. The full score (eighth match-game, Biarritz, 12 September 1912) is on pages 440-441 of La Stratégie, November 1912, the additional moves being: 20 b6 axb6 21 Nxb6 Rc6 22 Na4 Nc4 23 Bxf6 gxf6 24 Nd4 Rc7 25 h4 Bd7 26 Qf3 Ne5 27 Qd1 Bxa3 28 Nc2 Bf8 29 Nb6 Bg4 30 f3 Be6 31 Nd4 h5 32 Nxe6 fxe6 33 Qd8 Rc1+ 34 Kf2 Kf7 35 Nd7 Be7 36 Nxe5+ fxe5 37 Qh8 Bxh4+ 38 Ke2 Bg3 39 Qxh5+ Kf6 40 Qh3 Be1 41 Qh6+ Kf7 42 g4 Bb4 43 g5 Be7 44 g6+ Ke8 45 Qh8+ Resigns.
An odd suggestion about Dawid Janowsky by I.A. Horowitz on page 8 of Solitaire Chess (New York, 1962):
‘Parodying one of Harry Lauder’s songs, the Polish master averred: “I’d rather lose my queen than lose my bishop.”’
From Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) comes this item on page 12 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 26 July 1917:
The position was given in C.N. 1108 and, when reproduced on pages 10-11 of Chess Explorations, caused Hans Ree to go off the rails on page 81 of the 8/1996 New in Chess.
The source specified in C.N. 1108 was page 313 of the October 1917 BCM, which took the position from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The newspaper’s text was also given on page 240 of the November 1917 American Chess Bulletin. See too page 7 of La Stratégie, January 1918. Furthermore, the position was discussed extensively on pages 38-39 of Jeugdschaak by L.G. Eggink and M. Euwe (Lochem, 1950), although White was named as Frank Marshall, and the position was said to have occurred at the Manhattan Chess Club in 1907.
In the domain of chess compositions the manoeuvre leading to mate by a knight on f2 has been known centuries. Below, for instance, is an extract from page 8 of Découvertes sur le cavalier (aux échecs) by C.F. Jaenisch (St Petersburg, 1837):
About Lester Keene a comment by William Lombardy on page 268 of the May 1976 Chess Life & Review is added warily:
‘Long ago there was a player at the Manhattan Chess Club, Lester Keene by name, who customarily defended the mate threatened at KR7 simply by playing ...P-KR3!’
The other Janowsky position given in C.N. 1108, and on page 11 of Chess Explorations, was the conclusion of a game also played at the Manhattan Chess Club in July 1917. Below is its appearance on page 147 of the July-August 1917 American Chess Bulletin:
The full game has still not been found.
Continuing with the ‘once’ theme, we give a snippet from page 324 of Pump Up Your Rating by Axel Smith (Glasgow, 2013), a highly interesting book:
In the bas quartiers of the Internet this Janowsky quote appears regularly and sourcelessly. As mentioned on page 396 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, it comes from Capablanca’s Lectures book:
This adds the worthwhile information that Janowsky often expressed such a view about the endgame, and that Capablanca strongly disagreed with it.
From page 73 of Championship Chess by P.W. Sergeant (London, 1938):
According to a reference book’s entry on him, this chessplayer attacked wildly, was unaware when to attack, was neither a scientist nor a theoretician, did not know, or was unable to explain, why what he did at the chessboard had to be done, cared relatively little about the outcome of a game, underestimated his opponents, appeared incapable of learning from his errors, was excessively self-confident, frequently lost his temper and was intolerable when defeated, did not have many friends and was virtually forgotten when he died.
The effusion of criticism and ridicule referred to in C.N. 9573 was on page 95 of B.J. Horton’s Dictionary of Modern Chess (New York, 1959):
C.N. 9582 showed how Dawid Janowsky was derided on page 95 of B.J. Horton’s Dictionary of Modern Chess (New York, 1959). Another example, anchored in tittle-tattle, comes from pages 99-100 of The World’s Great Chess Games by Reuben Fine (New York, 1951):
The famous game published by Fine was against ‘Schallop’ (sic) at Nuremberg, 1896.
Dawid Janowsky (American Chess Bulletin, February 1927, page 28)
However often Janowsky may or may not have been called ‘Jan’ orally, it is difficult to find the nickname in print during his lifetime. One instance occurs in G.C. Reichhelm’s annotations to the 16th match-game between Janowsky and Marshall, Paris, 4 March 1905, as published on pages 90-91 of volume two of Halpern’s Chess Symposium (New York, 1905). The note after 43...e5 was: ‘In the vain hope that “Jan” would take at once.’
In passing, we mention a discrepancy over the game’s conclusion.
Reichhelm gave ‘48 PxP RxP (An “oversight”.) RxR wins’, whereas some sources state that Marshall resigned after White’s 48th move. Those sources include Marshall’s own brief coverage of the game on pages 36-37 of a booklet on the match (published in London in 1905 with his annotations from the Manchester Guardian). Two noteworthy publications which presented the conclusion as 48 fxe5 Rxc6 49 Rxc6 Resigns were pages 84-86 of La Stratégie, 17 March 1905 (notes by Alapin) and, as shown below, pages 106-107 of the April 1905 Deutsche Schachzeitung (notes by Tarrasch from the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger):
Tarrasch gave similar annotations in Die Moderne Schachpartie (various editions, with different page numbers).
Moreover, according to the range of contemporary publications consulted, Black’s 47th move was ...Rc4, and not ...Rc5 as indicated by one or two unreliable databases.
Concerning ‘the two Jans’, a number of reference works (see, for instance, the entries on Janowsky in the Dictionnaire des échecs, the hardback edition of Golombek’s Encyclopedia of Chess and the 1984 edition of The Oxford Companion to Chess) affirm that this was a common term in the United States to describe a bishop pair. An extract from page 206 of the Dictionnaire des échecs by F. Le Lionnais and E. Maget (Paris, 1967):
We have yet to trace the term in chess literature during Janowsky’s lifetime.
After presenting some victories by Janowsky, C.N. 351 commented:
... such games offer little support to the theory that Janowsky was obsessed with retention of the bishop pair. On the other hand, on page 330 of the October-November 1904 issue [of the Wiener Schachzeitung] Tarrasch, annotating the Cambridge Springs game Mieses v Janowsky remarks: ‘Janowski ist einer der wenigen Spieler, die das Geheimnis der Läufer begriffen haben und die latente Kraft dieser Figuren herauszuholen verstehen’.
A consultation game in which Dawid Janowsky (White) faced Frank J. Marshall shows the former’s liking for the bishop pair:
1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Bc4 cxb2 5 Bxb2 Nf6 6 Nf3 d5 7 exd5 Bb4+ 8 Nc3 Qe7+ 9 Be2 Ne4 10 Rc1 O-O 11 O-O Nxc3
12 Rxc3 Bxc3 13 Bxc3 Nd7 14 Re1 Nf6 15 Bd3 Qd8 16 Re5 Re8 17 Rg5 h6 18 Rg3 Nh5 19 Bc2 Nxg3 20 hxg3 f5 21 g4 Re4
22 Ne5 Qg5 23 d6 cxd6 24 Qxd6 Qc1+ 25 Bd1 Rxe5 26 Bxe5 Kh7 27 Kh2 Be6 Drawn.
The game, played at the Automobile Club de France in Paris in October 1907, was published on pages 386-387 of La Stratégie, 20 November 1907 with Janowsky’s notes from Le Monde Illustré. Those annotations were the basis for what appeared on pages 289-290 of Voronkov and Plisetsky’s book on Janowsky (Moscow, 1987) and on pages 472-474 of Ackermann’s monograph (Ludwigshafen, 2005).
La Stratégie stated that Janowsky was partnered by Bonaparte Wyse, and Marshall by le baron de Laforie, although the annual index (page 454) gave le comte de Laforie. In the Soviet and German books the name was, respectively, Лафори and Lafore.
C.N. 2583 (see page 407 of A Chess Omnibus) quoted Najdorf on page 256 of Chess Life, November 1962:
‘When I play chess, I hardly ever calculate the play in detail. I rely very much on an intuitive sense which tells me what are the right moves to look for.’
An addition from pages 34-35 of How Not to Play Chess by E.A. Znosko-Borovsky (London, 1931):
‘Janowski, one of the most brilliant of masters, was once asked how he managed to play simultaneous games so well, making his moves, as he had to do, almost without thinking. He answered: “I play them as well as I do serious games. I see at once what move to make in a given position. In a tournament I would verify this by analysis, in a simultaneous display I do not, but I know that it is a good move.”’
In later editions the passage was on pages 41 and 46-47. The French version below is from page 32 of one of the editions of Comment il ne faut pas jouer aux échecs (Lille, 1948):
‘Le maître Janowski avouait un jour qu’il jouait ses parties simultanées aussi bien que ses parties sérieuses. “Je vois immédiatement le bon coup, disait-il. Toutefois, dans les tournois, je le vérifie par des calculs serrés, tandis que dans les simultanées je ne vérifie pas.”’
The present item begins by drawing together a set of contradictory claims discussed in C.N.s 1160, 1322, 1667, 2592 (see page 258 of Chess Explorations and page 111 of A Chess Omnibus) and, more recently, in C.N. 10002.
C.N. 1160 commented with regard to Das Spiel der Könige by Alfred Diel (Bamberg, 1983):
Another example of how information undergoes transformations, as hacks add a bit here, take out a bit there, and turn stories inside out and upside down on no more than a whim, concerns the description of Janowsky’s play (source never given) as ‘like Marie Antoinette – beautiful but unfortunate’. Diel decides the story would be more interesting if the words were put in Janowsky’s mouth. That, and an exchange of queens, gives the following (page 118):
‘After losing a game, Dawid Janowsky complained: “Chess is like Mary Stuart – beautiful but unfortunate”.’ [‘Nach einer verlorenen Partie klagte der Meister David Janowski, “Schach ist wie Maria Stuart – schön, aber unglückselig”’.]
C.N. 1322 pointed out the following passage about Janowsky on page 21 of The World Chess Championship: Steinitz to Alekhine by Pablo Morán (London, 1986):
‘He had a very high opinion of himself as a player and once compared his play to Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland, as both were “splendid but unlucky”.’
Morán’s original text, from page 27 of Los campeonatos del mundo de Steinitz a Alekhine (Barcelona, 1974):
‘Se creía superior a todos y comparaba su estilo con la reina de Escocia, María Estuardo, “hermosa, pero sin suerte”.’
In C.N. 1667 Jack O’Keefe (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) noted that page 90 of the 1987 Russian book on Janowsky by S.B. Voronkov and D.G. Plisetsky quoted from Pester Lloyd, 21 June 1898:
‘According to Janowsky, his play is like Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots: “beautiful but unlucky”.’
Subsequently, we found an English version of the Pester Lloyd article in the American Chess Magazine, with the following on pages 63-64 of the August 1898 issue:
‘His play is, according to a remark of his own, like Mary Stuart, “beautiful but unfortunate”.’
C.N. 2592 cited a note by Hermann Helms on page 11 of the New York Evening Post, 22 June 1918 (in a discussion of Capablanca v Fonaroff, New York, 1918):
‘A real inspiration and, against an adversary of the Cuban’s stamp, would have made of Black’s game a genuine masterpiece, except for a slight flaw. “Beautiful, but unfortunate” about expresses it, in the language of the late W.H.K. Pollock when he was wont to draw a parallel between an unsound, brilliant combination and Mary, Queen of Scots.’
We commented that this was the only time that we recalled seeing the ‘beautiful, but unfortunate’ remark attributed to Pollock (or, indeed, to anybody other than Janowsky). Now, a comment can be added from a report about New York, 1915 on page 92 of the May-June 1915 American Chess Bulletin:
‘Neither A.B. Hodges nor E. Michelsen, who brought up the rear, came up to expectations, but ... the latter probably played the liveliest chess of any in the competition. With him it was a case of “beautiful but unfortunate”, as the late W.H.K. Pollock was wont to say.’
Moreover, there is an earlier instance of Hermann Helms ascribing such a remark to Pollock, is his column on page 9 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 13 May 1906, which gave a game played in Brooklyn by George Schwietzer and Edward Libaire:
1 d4 f5 2 e4 fxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 c6 5 f3 e3 6 Bxe3 d5 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 f4 Qb6 9 Rb1 e5 10 fxe5 Nxe5 11 Nf3 Nxf3+ 12 Qxf3 Bd6 13 Bf4
13...O-O 14 Bxd6 Bg4 15 Bxf8 Re8+ 16 Be2 Bxf3 17 Bc5 Qd8 18 gxf3 b6 19 Ba3 Nh5 20 O-O Nf4 21 Rf2 Nh3+ 22 Kf1 Nxf2 23 Kxf2 Qh4+ 24 Kg2 Qxd4 25 Bd3 Qf4 26 Rf1 Re5 27 Ne2 Rg5+ 28 Kh1 Qf6 29 b3 c5 30 Bc1 Re5 31 Ng3 g6 32 Bb2 d4 33 Ne4 Qc6 34 c3 Kf8 35 cxd4 cxd4 36 Rc1 Qd7 37 Ba3+ Kf7 38 Kg2 Ra5 39 Bd6 Rxa2+ 40 Kg3 Qf5 41 f4 Kg7 42 Rc7+ Kh6
43 Nf2 Resigns.
The notes were reproduced on page 164 of the August 1906 American Chess Bulletin.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 7 March 1912, page 14
C.N. 10002 mentioned our wish to add some references to Marie Antoinette’s name in connection with Janowsky (see C.N. 1160 above), but they are still proving surprisingly elusive. Any citations mentioning a third queen, Mary Tudor, would also be welcome.
Attributions to Janowsky are fertile ‘once’ territory, and an old specimen comes from page 593 of the Literary Digest, 12 November 1898:
Another example of ‘once’ is on pages 44-45 of Jewish Chess Masters on Stamps by F. Berkovich (Jefferson, 2000):
‘Janowsky himself once described his game as “like Mary Queen of Scots – beautiful but unfortunate”.’
Finally, an inevitable contribution by Andrew Soltis, from page 204 of his book Why Lasker Matters (London, 2005):
‘Janowsky himself once compared his play to Mary Queen of Scots – “beautiful but unlucky”.’
Mate in three
This composition was given in C.N. 1428 (see page 18 of Chess Explorations), our sources being page 74 of the American Chess Bulletin, March 1927 and page 311 of issue 10 of Les Cahiers de l’Echiquier Français. The latter publication stated that the problem had appeared in Le Monde Illustré when Janowsky had a weekly column there, but no date was given.
We add now that it was published, without a source, on page 29 of La Stratégie, 21 January 1903 and that the previous page had another composition by the master:
Mate in two.
Page 70 of The Big Book of World Chess Championships by A. Schulz (Alkmaar, 2016) states that Dawid Janowsky ‘died, only 56 years old, alone and completely penniless’.
At the time of his death, aged 58, Janowsky’s circumstances were indeed dire, but the financial support of A.J. Maas is not to be forgotten. From page 553 of L’Echiquier, January 1927:
‘Le maître Janowski vient de mourir, samedi, 15 janvier, à la clinique de Hyères où, grâce à la générosité de M. A.J. Maas, le grand maître a pu être entouré de tous les soins que nécessitait une maladie incurable.’
For photographs of Maas, see C.N. 3606 and (a group picture also featuring Janowsky) C.N. 4023.
John Keeble wrote an obituary of Maas on pages 413-414 of the October 1933 BCM:
C.N. 10776 referred to the financial support given to Dawid Janowsky, shortly before his death in Hyères, by A.J. Maas.
On page 16 of the January 1956 Chess Review Ossip Bernstein described the oscillating relationship between Janowsky and Léonardus Nardus and concluded:
‘A few weeks before Janowsky’s death in 1927 he fell very ill. I cabled Nardus, who then lived in Tunisia, and he immediately sent a substantial amount of money for Janowsky.’
Two books by Edward Lasker quoted a conversation with Janowsky in Berlin in 1910, at the time of the latter’s world title match against Emanuel Lasker.
From page 101 of The Adventure of Chess (New York, 1950):
‘Instead of admitting that he spent his nights at roulette, he said to me one day: “I don’t think I will win a game in this match. Lasker plays too stupidly for me to look at the board with any interest.”’
From page 115 of Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters (New York, 1951):
‘After losing the first three games of the match, he said to me: “Your namesake plays such stupid chess that I simply cannot look at the board while he is thinking. I am afraid I shan’t do well in this match at all.”’
Edward Lasker’s statements on chess history require caution. For example, page 101 of The Adventure of Chess placed both of the longer Lasker v Janowsky matches in Berlin. On that point, page 88 of Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters was correct (the former ‘took place in Paris in the fall of 1909’) but wrongly asserted that it was for the world title.
See Lasker v Janowsky, Paris, 1909.
Our article on the Lasker v Janowsky match in Paris includes the following:
The opening words of the Foreword (page 11) to the dire book David Janowski Artist of the Chess Board by Alexander Cherniaev and Alexander Meynell (Aylesbeare, 2005):
‘At the present time the career of David Janowski amounts to a gap in most people’s knowledge of chess history. They know about him because of the two world championship matches (1909 and 1910) which he played against Emanuel Lasker – and lost without a fight.’
Macauley Peterson (Hamburg, Germany) asks about the birth-date of Dawid Janowsky, in view of queries about this recent statement in a ChessBase article by André Schulz:
‘According to the Gregorian calendar, which is used today, Janowski was born on June 7, 1868, in Wolkowysk, a Polish town which at that time was part of the Russian empire. But according to the Julian calendar, which at that time was still in use in Wolkowysk, Janowski was born on May 25.’
Firstly, we note that the ‘standard’ date given in chess literature is 25 May 1868, as exemplified by these extracts from page 7 of Voronkov and Plisetsky’s book on Janowsky (Moscow, 1987) and from page 1 of Ackermann’s monograph on him (Ludwigshafen, 2005):
The Russian text was a translation of a 1927 article by Alphonse Goetz; the first sentence in the footnote is a general remark that dates throughout the book, including those taken from Russian sources, are given in the new style. (That does not apply to the date 25 May 1868.) Concerning the Julian and Gregorian calendars, it may be wondered why the difference for that nineteenth-century date is given as 13 days and not 12. (See When Was Alekhine Born?) One would expect 25 May/6 June 1868.
Another question is what relevance the two calendars may or may not have in the context of Janowsky’s place of birth, given in various English-language sources as Volkoysk, Volkovysk, Walkowisk and Wolkowysk (Wołkowysk) and, in German sources, as Walkowijsk, Walkowisk and Waukawysk. On page 15 of the January 1956 Chess Review, Ossip Bernstein wrote that Janowsky was born ‘in the Polish-Jewish industrial city of Łódź, then still in Imperial Russia’.
Jeremy Gaige’s entry in the unpublished 1994 edition of Chess Personalia:
At the very least, we should like to build up a list of publications during Janowsky’s lifetime which specified an exact date and place of birth. No such information is given in the biographical note on him in the Hastings, 1895 tournament book (pages 355-356); page 581 of the Teplitz-Schönau, 1922 tournament book – another standard source for such information – stated: ‘geb. am 25. Mai 1868 in Walkowisk bei Grodno’. Page 216 of the November 1898 American Chess Magazine reported that ‘he was born in Russian Poland, 25 May 1868’, and the same date was in F.M. Teed’s ‘Chess Chronology’ on page 169 of the May 1903 issue of Checkmate. On page 307 of The Year-Book of Chess, 1912 edited by E.A. Michell (London, 1912) Janowsky’s entry in the ‘Chess Lovers’ Kalendar compiled by Miss Clara Millar’ had 28 May 1868.
In view of the dearth of primary sources, anyone given to Grübelsucht may be tempted to ask provocatively: how can it be stated for certain that even the year 1868 is correct? Where is the documentation?
Can readers assist us in taking the matter forward?
From Walter Penn Shipley’s chess column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 February 1927 (page 3, puzzle section):
‘Janowsky had a very high opinion of Rubinstein and considered the Polish master one of the best living exponents of the chess openings. He told the editor of this column a few years ago when they met in New York that all the great masters at that time studied Rubinstein’s openings.’
A detail (Marshall and Janowsky) from the Ostend, 1907 group photograph shown in C.N. 11365:
Our above-mentioned feature article on Léonardus Nardus includes these pictures:
C.N. 11525 quoted from page 16 of the January 1913 edition of La Stratégie:
In C.N. 11511 Michael Lorenz (Vienna) reported that a series of caricatures by Leopold Löwy was published in Die Bühne in 1925, including the following portrait of Janowsky, on page 63:
See our Factfinder for references to a discussion of the spelling question (Janowsky/Janowski) and for further games played by him.
C.N.s 367 and 525 briefly discussed Chaim Janowski (the brother of Dawid), and the latter item mentioned that John Rather (Kensington, MD, USA) had sent us a portrait of him in Księga Jubileuszowa Łódzkiego Towarzystwa Zwolenników Gry Szachowej 1903-1938 (Łódź, 1938):
Below are two games published on pages 42-43 of volume two of Arcymistrzowie, mistrzowie, amatorzy ... by Tadeusz Wolsza (Warsaw, 1996):Chaim Janowski – S. Rosenblat
1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e3 e5 4 Bxc4 exd4 5 exd4 Nf6 6 Qb3 Qxd4 7 Bxf7+ Kd8 8 Be3 Qb4+ 9 Nc3 Qxb3 10 Bxb3 Bd6 11 O-O-O Ke7 12 Bg5 c6 13 Nf3 Rd8 14 Ne4 h6 15 Rhe1 Kf8 16 Nxf6 Bf4+ 17 Bxf4 Resigns.Georg Salwe – Chaim Janowski
1 e4 e5 2 f4 Nc6 3 Nf3 d6 4 Bc4 Be6 5 Bxe6 fxe6 6 fxe5 dxe5 7 d3 Nf6 8 O-O Bc5+ 9 Kh1 O-O 10 Nc3 Ng4 11 Qe2 Nd4 12 Nxd4 Rxf1+ 13 Qxf1 Bxd4 14 g3 Qe8 15 Nd1 Qh5 16 h4 Rf8 17 Qe1 Nf2+ 18 Nxf2 Qf3+ 19 Kh2 Bxf2 20 White resigns.
Wolsza’s book records that Chaim Janowski died in 1935, his year of birth being unknown. On page 16 of the January 1956 Chess Review Ossip Bernstein described him as ‘a wealthy merchant in Łódź’.
To the Chess Notes main page.
To the Archives for other feature articles.
Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.