Chess Jottings by Edward Winter

 Chess Jottings

Edward Winter


chess jottings


A miscellany of older items from Chess Notes, together with some additional material:


Error prone

Chess by Paul Langfield was published by Macdonald Guidelines (London) in 1978.

langfield

The closing section on ‘Great Chess Players’ is astonishing. There are biographical entries for B. Brinck-Claussen, Ricardo Calvo, Nicholaas Cortlever, Svend Hamann and Axel Ornstein, but nothing at all on Labourdonnais, Rubinstein or Steinitz ... In fairness it must be pointed out that the author does say, ‘The list is an arbitrary one, culled from the author’s own reading in the world of chess, so inevitably there will be ommissions [sic]. For these, humble apologies are offered’ (page 76). One wonders, though, what kind of author it can be whose own reading gives Axel Ornstein preference over Wilhelm Steinitz.

(23)

A number of chess monstrosities were listed last time. Our last word on the subject is to say that they are compounded by the author’s inability to write a clear English sentence. Some of the following are models of superficial content wrapped up in sloppy language (all the examples are taken from the glossary on pages 93-94):

(74)

The dust-jacket of Paul Langfield’s Chess Move by Move (New York, 1968) stated that he was born in Bristol in 1914 and was the author of The A-Z of Greenhouse Plants.



How to define checkmate?

C.N. 107 highly praised the weekly chess column by Gordon Pollard (Wallingford, England) in the Abingdon Herald (also referred to as the ‘Herald series’). Below is an example (column dated 17 August 1978) which he sent us:

pollard



Cockburn’s ‘idle passion’

A reader informs us:

‘You will be surprised to learn that in 1967 Fischer played in an Interzonal held in Sussex. I gleaned this from Idle Passion by Alexander Cockburn (page 178). Did they play the Bognor-Indian? On page 131 of the same work we are told of the “tournament circuit: run-down seaside towns in England, such as Bournemouth or Hastings”.

Idle Passion is indeed a curious book about – well, we are not altogether sure what it is about. A sentence we once noted down from it:

‘Lasker is interesting not so much on the pathobiographical level as on the sociocultural one.’ (Page 55)

It is made up of the kind of prose where it would appear that nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. were all inserted separately by a different member of the committee, so it comes as a surprise to learn that Alexander Cockburn was single-handedly responsible for all parts of speech. In fact, it turns out to be one of those unlikeable books in which a writer slaps between two covers everything he thinks he knows about chess plus a little bit lifted from the local public library and then tries to give the whole a special, spurious slant – in this case presumably psychoanalysis. The trouble is that Mr Cockburn simply does not know enough about chess to write anything worthwhile; it is bad enough to wade through endless factual inaccuracies, but it is infuriating to find these mistakes then used as the basis of character analysis. On page 61 we read that Capablanca ‘rarely played outside tournaments and matches’. Quite untrue, naturally, since the Cuban was one of the most active players of simultaneous games. But too late. Deep-seated reasons for Capa’s ‘laziness’ are already under Mr Cockburn’s penetrating microscope. Thinking of Reuben Fine’s efforts in this field, we are impelled to ask why it is that writers on chess psychology always get their facts topsy-turvy. Now there’s a real question for the analyst.

(197)


Leonard Walls

Following publication of a position involving Leonard Walls in C.N. 207 (see also C.N. 5328), Paul Timson (Whalley, England) contributed the following, in C.N. 359:

poole lewis

The Poole v Lewis game: 1 Nf3 d5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 c5 4 d4 Nc6 5 O-O Bf5 6 dxc5 e6 7 c4 Bxc5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Qb3 Qe7 10 Nc3 Nxc3 11 Qxc3 O-O 12 Bg5 f6 13 Be3 Bb4 14 Qc4 Rac8 15 a3 Bd6 16 Rac1 Qf7 17 Nd4 Nxd4 18 Qxd4 Be5 19 Qxa7 Bxb2 20 Rxc8 Rxc8 21 Bxb7 Rd8 22 Qb6 Rb8 23 Qxb2 Rxb7 24 Qd2 Rd7 25 Qc3 Rc7 26 Qb4 Rb7 27 Qa5 Qd7 28 Rc1 Bh3 29 Qd2 Qa4 30 Qd6 Rd7 31 Rc8+ Kf7 32 Qf8+ Kg6 33 Qe8+ Kf5 34 Qh5+ g5 35 Qxh3+ g4 36 Qh5+ Resigns.

A notable remark by Walls at move 26:

‘As every chess player knows, the kind of play which is in the lower strata is [sic] designated as “Mucking Abart” becomes “Manoeuvring for position” as the Master Class is approached.’

walls

walls

As mentioned in Chess and Poetry, precise sources for the Walls material contributed by Paul Timson are sought, i.e. beyond the fact that the obituary was published in the Middlesex Chessletter.



Book prices

A letter from Tony Gillam (Nottingham, England) starts:

‘I very nearly wrote to you concerning items in one of last year’s Chess Notes, in particular the strange, primitive comments about book prices. It is best not to comment upon things you know little about. By all means write about it from the consumer’s point of view but assume that the publisher knows his work best.’

Since this magazine has never discussed the subject of book prices we assume that our correspondent will re-direct his remarks as appropriate.

(364)


Plenty wrong

walker

Only occasionally do books for novices give any indication of the existence of chess history, and it may therefore seem ungrateful to complain when, exceptionally, this does happen. However, a recent book from Oxford University Press deserves little mercy since it treats the history of the game with utter contempt.

The main problem is that J.N. Walker, the author of Chess for Tomorrow’s Champions, knows nothing about yesterday’s, but insists on writing about them. The book that he produces, well-nigh impeccable in its treatment of how to play chess, is a total shambles on ‘peripheral’ matters. Quite apart from factual errors and a distasteful liking for unsubstantiated trivia, the book evinces an astonishing lack of any historical judgment. From Philidor to Karpov everything is bungled.

Here are examples of how Walker sees things:

This is just a sample from a most slovenly book. The awkward question that J.N. Walker must answer to himself (it is probably too much to expect a public reply) is how he could possibly have been so unaware of his own limitations as to think himself capable of writing on chess history.

We are also writing privately to our old colleagues of Oxford University Press to record our dismay at the publication of Chess for Tomorrow’s Champions.

(557)

On 10 September 1994 John Walker sent us this letter:

walker

We provided the requested copy of the review but asked not to be mentioned in the new version. As noted on page 264 of Chess Explorations, the 1995 edition of Chess for Tomorrow’s Champions was better.

walker



Coincidence?

The first chapter of François Le Lionnais’ book Tempêtes sur l’échiquier (Paris, 1981) is intriguing. On page 10 he gives the score of the famous game Hamppe v Meitner, Vienna, 1872 (our readers will have no trouble finding the game) and then adds the following, astonishingly similar battle:

Rudolf Frauenfelder – Max Gschwend
Oerlikon, July 1956
Bishop’s Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nc6 3 Qe2 Na5 4 Bxf7+ Kxf7 5 Qh5+ Ke6 6 Qf5+ Kd6 7 d4 Kc6 8 Qxe5 Kb6 9 Na3 a6 10 Qxa5+ Kxa5 11 Nc4+ Kb5 12 a4+ Kxc4 13 Ne2 Bb4+ 14 Kd1 Bc3 15 b3+ Kb4 16 Nxc3 Kxc3 17 Bb2+ Kb4 18 Ba3+ Kc3 and drawn by perpetual check.

(Le Lionnais wrote ‘Frauenfelder v Gshend, Switzerland, 1957.’)

(286)

The game was published in the March 1957 BCM, page 59, the source being Leonard Barden’s The Field column of 17 January 1957. That must mean that Le Lionnais’ ‘1957’ was wrong. The BCM (D.J. Morgan’s Quotes and Queries column) gives ‘1956 Swiss Boys’ Championship’ and states that the players were R. Frauenfelder and M. Gschwend. D.J. Morgan’s view was that ‘two bright lads have pulled a fast one!’ He added that ‘the commentator on the game in the Zurich National Zeitung [sic] did not notice the identity of the old game’.

(1397)

The Frauenfelder v Gschwend game was published on pages 180-181 of the September 1956 Schweizerische Schachzeitung, where it is described as ‘the game of the tournament’ (Swiss Junior Championship). The annotations state that after move nine White recalled the nineteenth-century game from a column by Gygli a couple of years earlier.

frauenfelder gschwend

In May 1998 Richard Forster (Winterthur, Switzerland) verified the matter with R. Frauenfelder. The latter stated that several participants in the event, including Gschwend, were staying at his family’s home. Both he and Gschwend had lost badly the previous day and therefore decided to make an amusing and spectacular draw. In short, their game was pre-arranged.

(Footnote on page 50 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves)

Walter Korn gave the game on page 237 of the August 1957 Chess Review, commenting, ‘... we share our British colleagues’ opinion that this draw is somewhat wilful’.

The item concluded with a strange remark by Korn:

‘Finally, as we are debunking history, the 1872 game was also a mere analysis, more of which was summarized in the Deutsche Schachzeitung of 1895.’

On page 10 of the January 1890 International Chess Magazine Steinitz wrote:

‘... I beg to claim to the best of my belief and knowledge as my own entirely what is not distinctly acknowledged as belonging to somebody else, including “the principles” and “the modern school”, on which subject their full due is given in my book to Heydebrand, Staunton, Winawer, Paulsen, etc., and some more will be said in my second volume about a still more important forerunner of modern play, Herr Hammppe [sic] of Vienna.’

Steinitz was referring to his book The Modern Chess Instructor; the reference to Hamppe is most interesting. Who can say more about this unsung hero?

(1635)

From G.H. Diggle (Hove, England):

‘In C.N. 1635 you ask for more about the “unsung hero Hamppe”, misspelt by Steinitz “Hammppe” and by both Staunton and Harrwitz “Hampe”. I have had a little search and find the following item in the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1850, page 289:

“Chess in Germany. A few months since the members of the chess circle at Berlin were gratified with a visit from Herr Hampe, who since the departure of Mr Löwenthal is accounted the strongest player in Vienna. ‘He has won’, observes the Berlin Schachzeitung, ‘from Mr Jenay a majority though not a very large one; he has been defeated by the celebrated Löwenthal, but not disgracefully, since he won [sic] in the ratio of four to five. He played also with Mr Falkbeer in the last month which the latter spent in Vienna, about 30 games, of which Mr Hampe was only one or two ahead. Finally he has had an opportunity lately of measuring himself against Mr Szén, with whom, to use his own expression, he got off better than in former combats. The games which he played with us bear evident marks of that genius and originality for which his play is remarkable. In style he reminds us of an old friend, Mr Schorn, who has always ready some ‘devilment’ which is not to be found in the books.”

(Schorn was, of course, the weakest of the seven “Berlin Pleiades”, though he was “as much above Horwitz as a painter as he was below him as a chessplayer” – W. Wayte in the BCM, 1882, page 44.)

This paragraph is followed by two of Hamppe’s games, a draw v Hanstein and a win against Wolff.

In 1852 Harrwitz visited Vienna and played seven games with Hamppe (Harrwitz 4 Hamppe 1, drawn 2). For the scores see Chess Review, 1853, page 258 et seq.

Hamppe’s recorded games in Staunton’s Chess Praxis show him as a 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 addict: two losses to Szén on pages 81-82, a draw with Szén on page 429, two losses to Löwenthal on pages 431-435, one loss to Falkbeer on page 436. Page 225 of Harrwitz’s Chess Review, 1853 has a loss by Hamppe to Szén. His unique game against Meitner appeared in La Stratégie, 1872, page 323.’

(1714)

Detailed notes to the Hamppe v Meitner game are also to be found in the following sources:

A minuscule photograph of Hamppe was given in C.N. 3478. Regarding the comment by Steinitz concerning Hamppe’s significance in the development of the game, see the feature article Steinitz, Lasker, Potter and ‘Modern Chess’.

On the subject of Hamppe’s forename (Karl, not Carl), see C.N. 11434.



Best Chess Games

Deep, often original dissection of 47 outstanding games of the 1970s is offered by Jon Speelman in his recent book Best Chess Games 1970-80, published by George Allen & Unwin. The amount of work that Speelman puts into his analysis makes one realize the amount that other writers leave out.

And yet Best Chess Games is a woefully painful read. Immersed in variations, Speelman has forgotten how to write. There is an abundance of primary school vocabulary – words like ‘lots’ and ‘nice’ – while innumerable exclamation marks follow the most common-place statements (so, what a nice lot of exclamation marks!).

The excessive use of the subject pronoun ‘I’ also strikes a jarring note:

‘On looking at my notes to this game, I realise that I have rather shifted the focus from the smoothness of Karpov’s play to one tactical interlude which in fact never occurred. Of course I could have expunged the tactics after Diagram 85; but having spent time on them I prefer to leave them in!’ (Page 122)

As early as the Introduction the reader has to judder and shudder his way through such dismal passages as:

‘This book is entitled The [sic] Best Chess Games 1970-80. Whilst I would certainly admit that such a selection is a pretty subjective matter, I nevertheless think that all the games here are very good. No doubt somebody else would have made a different selection. In any case I have tried to give a wide variety both of types of game and of players.

Finally, I hope that the reader both enjoys playing through these magnificent games and even (without being pompous) learns something from them.’

(Why the reader should be pompous is never explained.)

Scrutiny of the notes reveals that Speelman’s basic error is all too similar to Evans’: so fearful is he of making chess sound dull that he constantly strives to spice up his text, whether by obsessive punctuation or such literary atrocities as:

‘Draško Velimirović is a ferocious attacking player who, having given up most of his pieces during a sacrificial attack, would certainly chuck in the kitchen sink as well if it were allowed!’ (Page 51)

A little later (page 65) there is this description of Kupreichik-Gipslis, Moscow Spartakiad, 1972:

‘... the game looks like a blue-print for a cosmic junkyard!’

Other sentences too mean nothing.

There has probably never been a chess book whose annotations would have been improved by the use of modern symbols rather than prose, but this Speelman work comes close. Active grandmasters are not expected to write like the Brontës, but some basic proficiency at putting words together is essential. The saddest indictment of Speelman’s (lack of) writing style is that it seriously undermines the undoubted quality of the analysis itself. In picking Best Chess Games as his book of the year the Spectator’s Raymond Keene was evidently drawing a charitable veil over J.S.’s tin ear for language and concentrating on the book’s notable strengths. Since most other reviewers have done likewise, we have chosen, whilst acknowledging the excellence of the analysis, to highlight the fact that Best Chess Games offers the worst English mangling for many a long year.

(332)



Handicapped

From Anne Sunnucks’ The Encyclopaedia of Chess (London, 1976):

‘Throughout his career, Anderssen was handicapped both by his age and by the lack of time for preparation due to his profession.’

To have spent his entire career being handicapped by age must have been a burden indeed.

(363)

From page 309:

‘Born in Kilkenny in Ireland on 19 November 1849, Mason’s family emigrated to the United States when he was a child ...’



Lasker and Schlechter

C.N. 394 (see page 234 of Chess Explorations) gave some quotes from Draw! by Wolfgang Heidenfeld (London, 1982), including the following from pages 26 and 30, with regard to the seventh match-game, Schlechter v Lasker, Berlin 1910:

‘It is probably the most profound game ever played in a world championship match.’

At the end of his (wonderful) annotations to the game Heidenfeld concludes:

‘And yet there are people who maintain that Karpov and Korchnoi are stronger than Lasker and Schlechter. They must be joking.’



Lugano, 1983

lugano 1983

Switzerland being a notoriously small country, we decided to nip along to the Lugano Open tournament.

By train it turned out to be a six-hour nip, but the journey was well worth it. The eventual winner, Seirawan, impressed by his cool approach, quite apart from the fact that he was one of the few masters whose clothes did not appear to have been put on with a hay-fork. Gheorghiu still has a total aversion to sitting down; he has the air of a Mediterranean barber who has decided there must be more to life than haircuts. Hort squares up to the chess board in the manner of a wicket-keeper, often seeming to rest his chin on d1 (especially if he is White...). One noted too, without being able to conjure up a satisfying psychological or sociological explanation, that pipe and cigar smokers are to be found only amongst the lower ranks, in the secondary tournament. With the masters it is cigarettes or nothing. Spectators were generally few in number – almost everyone was playing – but amongst those jostling for position behind the railings were a goodly number of dogs and babies (to the extent that either has the habit of jostling). The whole congress was played out in a relaxed, liberal atmosphere.

Of course, it is generally the little things that remain in the mind after such an event. Lugano must be one of the most beautiful places in Europe; the tournament was tenaciously fought out, making it an irresistible combination for the casual visitor.

(439)



An excellent chess film

On 23 March 1983 Antenne 2, the second French television channel, transmitted a truly fine film on chess, Moeurs en direct: jouer sa vie by Gilles Carle and Camille Coudari, a production of the Office National du Film du Canada and Radio-Canada.

A subtle, artistic treatment of the game, this film included much interview material (not all specially shot) involving Karpov, Fischer, Euwe (one sentence), Fine, Timman, Ljubojević, etc. Karpov spoke in a way suggesting that he had been away at a rehearsal camp for the previous three weeks; the Fischer of the late 1960s and early 1970s scowled and snapped suspiciously when trapped by a reporter and – of course – gave little away in his replies, but at least they were an improvization. Reuben Fine has an endearing habit of chuckling in mid-sentence as he contemplates the bons mots he intends to deliver; in the end, however, all one catches is the chuckle. Arrabal’s contribution was quite simply unwatchable. By contrast, the researcher, Camille Coudari, proved himself a natural performer, many of his extemporaneous observations being remarkably acute.

The programme was graced with much archive material of the old-timers and, whilst full of imaginative visual effects, did not shirk the technical aspects of the game. Coudari’s exposé of hypermodernism was excellent. Keep an eye open for this film; it is thoroughly enjoyable.

(464)

Addition on 1 August 2010: Jean-Pierre Rhéaume (Montreal, Canada) comments that Moeurs en direct was merely the name of the French television programme/series and was not part of the title of the film itself (Jouer sa vie).

Addition on 11 November 2018: C.N. 11091 pointed out that the film can be viewed on-line under its English title, The Great Chess Movie.



Test

A comment by Karpov after a colourless draw in 18 moves in the first game of the 1978 world championship match:

‘We were only testing the equipment.’

Source: page 19 of Chess Scandals: The 1978 World Chess Championship by E.B. Edmondson and M. Tal (Oxford, 1991).

(509)



Learn with Keres

Pergamon Press continue to bring the best of contemporary Soviet literature to the English-speaking chess community with an absolute gem of a book, Paul Keres Chess Master Class by I. Neishtadt. All aspects of attack, defence, counter-attack – in short, the very meat of the game – are dealt with in eloquent detail, everything being based on examples from Keres’ actual play. Since the great Estonian possessed a style of play virtually unsurpassed in its fiery elegance, there could hardly be a better choice of model for the aspiring student. To gain maximum benefit the reader will have to work hard with this book (Neishtadt understands Keres’ play inside out), but it is certain that no budding enthusiast could fail to be inspired by both the games and the notes.

keres

A truly excellent book. The English version (by Kenneth P. Neat, of course) runs most smoothly. Not to be missed.

(626)


British Chess

british chess1

Much as one might dislike criticizing any book which hands over part of its royalties to such causes as ‘Friends of Women in Chess’, it has to be said that British Chess, edited by G.S. Botterill, D.N.L. Levy, J.M. Rice and M.J. Richardson, is an absolute dud in spades. Both in conception and execution it has gone completely awry. Plush and well bound, it is less good on the inside, where a large number of writers, many with nothing to say, ramble on in isolation from each other. There is much generosity towards lesser-known figures, F. Boyd, for example, being granted five pages. He opens up, ‘I think it was while working for B.H. Wood at Sutton Coldfield ...’ B.H. who? There is no entry for any such person – OBE or no OBE.

But the things we learn about those lucky ones who are included. Robert Bellin plays the guitar and likes the paranormal. Rowena Bruce has three grandchildren exclamation mark. Fairhurst’s Olympiad adversaries included those well-known throat infections Matoczy and Mikemas. David Levy notes what a good month March is for chess births: Fischer, Larsen and Levy. (Although only he was born the same day as Einstein ...) Craig Pritchett achieves a double norm with the most tasteless remark in the book which is also the biggest non sequitur: ‘I always fancied girls, Reuben Fine. So much for latent homosexuality.’ Fellow masochists who look to Jon Speelman to hang, draw and quarter the English language will join our rejoicing over ‘... the Malta Olympiad, with its concomitment FIDE congress ...’ Concomitment should not, of course, be confused with intermittant, which graces the entry on the next page. Incidentally, Colin Sydenham ‘usually travels to work by bus’.

Messrs Botterill and Levy exploit their seat on the editorial board to award themselves acres of space (but at least the former writes intelligently). In fact, very few contributors seem to have understood that personal details about their own glorious selves generally make the most vapid reading, and the only entries that succeed are the few that look beyond Number One to wider chess issues, though even these are often mangled by an undiscriminating printer.

The blurb mentions that ‘every British Grandmaster or International Master was asked to select ... and to write ...’ etc., neatly concealing the fact that many refused the request. In these cases, third-person accounts were flown in, short and brutal so that the subject would regret not having participated actively in the project. Here only are we in sympathy with Pergamon Press; no doubt many courteous requests for articles were simply ignored, at least until a time when production could not be held up any longer. What is one to think of anyone – big wigs and small fry alike – who cannot be bothered to offer a brief autobiographical piece for charity?

In any case, the pre-publication traumas, lack of coordination and general carelessness show up starkly in the finished product. At nearly £15 it is not exactly a bargain, and we only hope that the Friends of Women in Chess are not expecting to rake in a fortune. An absolute must for every chess lover’s miss list.

(673)


Self-amusement

C.N. 711 reported that after we complained to a columnist, James Pratt (Odiham, England), that he had published assertions about Torre taking his clothes off in a bus, Weaver W. Adams being addicted to bicarbonate of soda and Steinitz claiming that he could offer pawn odds to God, we received this reply, in a letter dated 8 February 1984:

‘You are probably correct that my anecdotes about Steinitz, Torre and Adams are untrue but I was writing purely to amuse myself. I would be very stupid if I spent hours and hours on an article, weeks on research before that, only to have it dismissed as 25% of my stuff is.’

See too pages 266-267 of Chess Explorations.



Lasker

We have just been re-reading Emanuel Lasker, The Life of a Chess Master by J. Hannak (London, 1959), ‘translated’ into English by Heinrich Fraenkel, an unreliable work.

To justify our remark, we take as an example a single page (page 27):

a) misspelling ‘concurrant’.

b) ‘Samuel Hoffer, Chess Editor of The Field ...’ Leopold would be correct. (Translator’s mistake.)

c) (At Amsterdam, 1889, Lasker ... ) ‘lost the decisive game against the British master Burn.’ Not so. In fact, Lasker never lost to Burn.

d) ‘For the first time in his life Lasker crossed the German border and got the thrill and experience of being abroad in a foreign land.’ (So much more thrilling than being abroad at home ...)

e) ‘Nor was he to fare any better when, early in 1890, he went to compete in a small Austrian tournament at Graz.’ ‘Late in 1890’ would be more exact since the event took place in September.

f) ‘True, he didn’t lose a game.’ Untrue, he did.

Not bad for one page.

(776)

Knowing the rules

In a match which decided the world championship a master proved ignorant of an elementary rule of the game. ‘Every schoolboy knows’ that the fact that a rook is attacked does not prevent castling with that piece, yet in the Candidates’ Final of 1974, Korchnoi v Karpov, the former – by his own admission – was uncertain. With regard to the position that arose after Black’s 17th move in the 21st match-game, Korchnoi writes on page 161 of Chess is My Life (London, 1977):

korchnoi

(795)



Much better

wade

A good beginners’ work is The Batsford Book of Chess by Bob Wade, a revised edition of Playing Chess, that neatly produced if floppy paperback of a decade ago. Whereas Levy and O’Connell would appear to have written Instant Chess in a weekend, Wade’s book represents the culmination – and the accumulation – of a lifetime’s teaching experience.

A valiant attempt has been made to keep the new format version as well illustrated as Floppy; however, too many of the photographs of the chess personalities are of poor quality or too dark. The one on page 89 is particularly shady:

shady

Reliable as Wade is on all technical aspects of chess, there is a most unhappy slovenliness on other matters of detail. A remark on page 20 about the possibility of publishers having to speed up the ‘inevitable change’ from descriptive to algebraic notation hardly strikes the reader as a 1984-type observation. One’s worst fears are confirmed on page 133 when the author fails to record Euwe’s death, which has occurred in between the two editions.

There is no justification for the statement on page 70 that Edward Lasker (in 1912) was an American. He had never even visited the New World at that time. Little care has been taken over name spellings towards the end of the book: ‘Kieseritsky’ (pages 111 and 112), ‘MacDonnell’ (pages 121 and 122), ‘Federation International des Echecs’ (page 155), ‘Jaque’ (page 158), ‘Bleyavsky’ (page 159), ‘Nenarakov’ (page 160), and ‘Nimozowitsch’ (page 160). Even the back cover misspells the name Hartston and the title of Golombek’s Encyclopedia.

Other rough edges include a reference on page 102 to a bibliography on page 158 which does not exist, the incorrect implication on page 122 that the ‘Immortal Game’ was played in the London, 1851 ‘even’ [sic], and the inclusion on pages 147-152 of the discredited Adams-Torre game.

Such defects could so easily have been avoided. They tarnish an otherwise well-written book.

(927)

A later (1991) edition was equally lax. See Kingpin, Autumn 1993, page 37.



Wrong result

It cannot be often that an annotator misunderstands the result of a game. In The Chess Career of Richard Teichmann Jack Spence (Nottingham, undated) gives the game Capablanca v Teichmann mentioned in C.N. 617. The slip of printing 23 P-B4 instead of 23 P-B3 (both moves are possible in the position) is nothing compared to J.S.’s astonishing claim that the game was drawn, in a bishops of opposite colour ending when the Cuban was a pawn up. How did this mistake arise when the correct score may be found in dozens of different books?

(928)



Abysmal

An item on page 266 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves:

On page 9 of The Moscow Challenge Raymond Keene wrote that it was ‘staggering’ that Steinitz had an ‘abysmal’ tournament record in his period as world champion (1886-1894). The truth is that Steinitz did not play in a single tournament during the period under consideration.

(976)

On page 256 of the June 1985 BCM Mr Keene made the astounding claim that ‘in calling Steinitz’s tournament record “abysmal” he was criticising it on the grounds of lack of activity’. By that logic, we pointed out on page 305 of the July 1985 issue, given that Fischer has played in no tournaments since 1970 his tournament record since then could be labelled ‘abysmal’.

A footnote on the same page of Kings, Commoners and Knaves:

Mr Keene’s ignorance of Steinitz was also demonstrated on page 35 of his volume Duels of the Mind, where he stated that Steinitz published a book called Modern Chess Theory. No such work exists.



Anti-historical, anti-geographical

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’.

(1006)



Another chess film

With a major musical and a prestige film about chess, the game is doing well for general publicity.

La Diagonale du Fou (Dangerous Moves) concerns a world championship match between an ageing Petrosian/Karpov figure and a dynamic dissident apparently based on Korchnoi/Fischer. Although without a fraction of the wit, charm and depth of the musical ‘CHESS’, it is enjoyable and gripping enough for an outsider’s view.

The fine photography shows that Geneva is as photogenic as ever, but the film also illustrates how difficult it is to ensure realism when presenting chess to a wide public. The moves are played at such speed that one might think it a match for the world blitz title, while the idea of the world’s top two players informing each other when a move gives check is also difficult to accept. There is ample opportunity to get to know the audience, which appears glued to the same seats throughout the match. The challenger has a bizarre second who, though capable of instantly spotting a mate in seven, does not know the name of the opening that begins 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c3. Perhaps he was preoccupied with writing an illicit book on the match.

(1014)

C.N. 1726 reported that we had jotted down this position from the 1984 film La Diagonale du Fou/Dangerous Moves:

dia

Black played 1...Qxh3+

The closing credits stated that Nicolas Giffard had created the games shown in the film.

In C.N. 1838 the late Jack O’Keefe pointed out that, with colours reversed, the position was almost identical to one published on page 134 of Chess Review, June 1938 (H.S. Hoit v Amateur, ‘a recent game’):

hoit

As mentioned on page 5 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, the Hoit ending was also on page 33 of Combinations The Heart of Chess by Irving Chernev (New York, 1960) and on pages 133-134 of The Fireside Book of Chess by I. Chernev and F. Reinfeld (New York, 1949). The former work gave no details beyond ‘Hoit-Amateur’, and the introductory note read:

‘Chess can be brutal! Black’s king and queen are forced to move to the sixth rank, where a vicious knight lies in wait, poised for the kill.’

The first comment in The Fireside Book of Chess:

‘From a game Hoit-Amateur at New York, in 1938. The winning combination is so elegant that it gives the impression of being a composed ending. Only unique and felicitous chance can produce such exquisite possibilities in practical play.’

The conclusion was given too, without even Hoit’s name, on pages 133-134 of Reinfeld’s The Secret of Tactical Chess (New York, 1958), billed as ‘one of the most beautiful examples of double attack ever conceived on the chessboard’.

The starting-point in all three books was the position after 1 Qe3 Rxd6.

About Howard S. Hoit information is sought beyond what appeared on page 200 of the October 1942 Chess Review:

hoit

Above all, can the full score of Hoit’s brilliancy be found?

(9559)



Another fine book

Here a mention must be squeezed in for a post-elementary book of a few years ago. Though short (99 pages) it is exceptional in its provision of common-sense practical advice, while the illustrations (by Edward McLachlan) must be amongst the most amusing ever seen in a chess volume: Chess for Tigers by Simon Webb (Oxford University Press).

simon webb chess for tigers

(1035)



Larry Evans

karpov

Anatoly Karpov

A remark by Larry Evans about Karpov on page 30 of the March 1986 Chess Life:

‘He will go down in history as the man who avoided a match with Bobby Fischer and then eluded him for the next ten years.’

This needs to be compared with what he wrote at the time Karpov became champion. From Chess Life & Review, November 1975, page 760:

‘Fischer refused to negotiate or compromise and his stubbornness is what killed the match – nothing or nobody else. Despite “mathematical proof” that his conditions were fairer than the old system, they were still not fair. “Fair” means no advantage to either side. All the words in the world can’t obscure that simple fact.’

And in the December 1975 issue, page 813:

‘Fischer was the best player. Seclusion has made him an unknown quantity. Karpov deserves to be world champion, and the burden is now on Fischer to prove otherwise.’

After quoting a tribute by Kasparov to Fischer, Evans comments in the March 1986 Chess Life that ‘this generous spirit was alien to Karpov’. Incredible. Karpov too has praised Fischer’s role in popularizing chess (e.g. in Chess Life, March 1983, page 11) and even observed in My Best Games, page 10, that ‘Fischer has been underestimated for a long time, in my opinion’.

(1143)

On page 44 of the August 1986 Chess Life, Larry Evans writes:

‘To set the record straight, some readers wondered how I could criticize both Fischer’s silly title conditions (10 wins, but the champion keeps his title in case of a 9-9 tie) and Karpov’s refusal to accept those demands (see CL, March 1986, page 30). What I actually wrote about Karpov was that “he will go down in history as the man who avoided a match with Bobby Fischer and then eluded him for the next ten years”. Whether GM Karpov was right or wrong, I believe that posterity will remember him mainly for ducking Fischer – just as we remember Howard Staunton for ducking Morphy. Not once after assuming the crown did Karpov make a conciliatory gesture to lure Fischer back to chess. And, perhaps, such will be Karpov’s epitaph.

History, after all, is a harsh mistress.’

Mr Evans, we fear, is tying himself up in knots. He believes Karpov was right not to accept Fischer’s 1975 conditions but also that Karpov will be remembered for avoiding that match. And although in 1975 Mr Evans was saying that Fischer’s ‘stubbornness is what killed the match’, and although on that very page 44 of the August 1986 Chess Life he states with reference to Fischer, ‘you cannot force someone to do something against his will’, he nonetheless criticizes Karpov for failing to make a conciliatory gesture. And because (according to Mr Evans) Karpov failed to make a conciliatory gesture, that proves that Karpov ducked Fischer.

Between 1866 and 1884 (though beyond that date too) Steinitz was generally considered to be the strongest active player in the world. During that period did he make any attempt to entice the retired Morphy back into chess? We must hope to goodness that he did, or else Larry Evans will next be on the warpath against Steinitz, the man who ducked Morphy.

(1192)

C.N. 1457 pointed out that on page 10 of The Chess Beat (Oxford, 1982) Larry Evans expressed the opposite view: ‘It looks like Fischer has been ducking Karpov, not the other way around.’ (The column had appeared on, for instance, page 16 of the Reno Evening Gazette, 10 February 1979.) As noted in Chess Journalism and Ethics Larry Evans wrote in January 1988: ‘FIDE drove two Americans Reuben Fine and Bobby Fischer out of chess.’

On page 348 of the June 1979 Chess Life & Review Evans wrote: ‘Up to now Bobby has been ducking Anatoly, not the other way around.’

In Chess Life, July 1991 (page 444) he tried to reconcile his various statements by claiming that Fischer and Karpov had ducked each other:

‘Who ducked whom? This has been asked many times; they both share the blame – and so does FIDE.

... Since Fischer’s demands were the only obstacle to their match, in that sense he certainly ducked Karpov. Yet nobody knows if Fischer would have played even if he got all of his demands!

That said, Karpov ducked Fischer by refusing to play under conditions mathematically more favorable than those offered to any FIDE challenger.’

***

To summarize, Larry Evans has written:

***

See also The Facts about Larry Evans.



Stewart Reuben

The first paragraph of C.N. 1160:

Chess Openings – Your Choice! by Stewart Reuben (Oxford, 1985) is one of the most peculiarly written books we have seen, no mean accolade. On the whole it merits a welcome for the practical assistance it offers the relatively weak player, and it is undoubtedly a work into which the author has put much. Nonetheless, we would be hard put to quote any other title which has so much wisdom and fatuity side by side. Just as one is admiring his presentation, S.R. suddenly goes berserk for a sentence or paragraph before the book resumes its normal respectable course.

Many examples were then given, the first being from pages 4-5, where Reuben offered for consideration ‘an alternative definition’ of the opening: ‘The opening is the stage of the game where at least one of the two players has seen the actual position on the board before.’

Below is a later item (C.N. 1650), which considered Reuben as a chess magazine columnist:

C.N. 1160 illustrated how Mr Stewart Reuben’s judgements are often erratic. Further proof of this is provided by his new series of ‘Viewpoint’ articles in the BCM. The June 1988 issue has an especially memorable example (elegantly entitled ‘Who Dun It?’).

‘The editor has asked me to write on the subject of collaborations in chess writing. Well, you can understand why he shirked the topic, can’t you? Who wants to be the subject of a libel suit or to be shunned by ones [sic] peers?’

Eyewash, because the BCM editor would in any case have to assume responsibility for a contributor’s libel, but at least the illogicality of this jaunty introduction serves to distract attention from the ‘ones’ and, for that matter, from the equally erudite ‘each others’ which graces the following paragraph.

The BCM’s star stylist informs us, with regard to his book Chess Openings – Your Choice!, that ‘... it took George Botterill to point out a glaring fault in an innovation I recommend. That was in his review of the book in the New Statesman. Now, that is what I call a review in depth!’ Now, that is what we call useful information: no identification of the blunder to enable readers to write a pencil correction in their copies.

Next on the bill is a shallow reference to Euwe’s literary collaborations, notable only for Mr Reuben’s ignorance of the entire subject (including, of course, Lodewijk Prins’ authoritative observations in C.N. 1529). The following is Mr Reuben’s full contribution: ‘Many of Dr Euwe’s works are thought to be primarily the work of his collaborators. However, one doubts such an honourable gentleman failed to give the material at least a cursory glance.’

The next stunning revelation from the BCM’s colourful columnist: ‘An English writer complained to me recently of the number of errors in a book he was reading for the first time. It did not seem to occur to him that having his name on the dust-jacket as a co-author carried the responsibility of at least reading the book in proof form.’ It is unlikely that many will have been electrified by this further phut of non-facts, limply justified in the very last paragraph of the article: ‘You will be disappointed that I have allowed certain practices to remain shrouded in anonymity but David Anderton (BCM’s lawyer) wouldn’t have allowed more frank confessions anyway.’

More evidence of a Stewart Reuben in peak form: ‘Kasparov and Keene came in for a great deal of stick because Batsford Chess Openings contained no references to their own analysis. It seemed obvious to Ray that, where a variation was unattributed, it came from one of the two co-authors. But nothing will now persuade some authorities that these Ks had anything to do with the book.’ It is possible that even Mr Reuben, on a good day, would admit that nobody in the world has ever claimed that ‘these Ks’ had nothing to do with Batsford Chess Openings.

And so it goes on. ‘The section on Psychology in one book received an excellent review. I happen to know it was written by a 120 strength player.’ Or again: ‘Another English grandmaster regretted lending his name to a work of inferior quality ...’

‘It is impossible to believe Fischer had much to do with most of the books which carry his name’, pontificates the BCM’s guest guesser, wrongly implying that countless different book titles are in question. One sentence later he drops the entire subject with a lame ‘who cares how such a great work [My 60 Memorable Games] came about?’, but not before sharing some more rock-solid information regarding Fischer’s book: ‘It is said he recorded his views on a tape recorder.’

Mr Reuben’s approach is contagious and irresistible, and we confess to having caught the bug. So here goes. Well, it is said in some circles that a certain British chess periodical, formerly a respected journal of record, has recently given a monthly column to a foolish and ill-informed writer. Some people, including three active players with a rating of over 2430 and one who has just achieved his second GM norm, are even claiming that the only reason he was given the job was that he holds a post in the national ruling body which owns the magazine. It is now openly rumoured that his engagement is just one more in a grave series of misjudgements by editor X of magazine Y.



Brief BCM obituaries

James J. Barrett (New York, NY, USA) writes:

‘P.W. Sergeant died in 1952. An almost insultingly brief “obituary” appeared in the BCM for November of that year (page 324). No mention of his long connection with the BCM. No mention of Morphy’s Games of Chess. Half a sentence skirts the subject of his considerable non‑chess publications. No mention of his date of birth or death. The only book mentioned is his A Century of British Chess and, oh yes, “helping R.C. Griffith with two editions of Modern Chess Openings”. The whole tone of this small paragraph that serves as an obituary is cold and unfeeling, and there was no follow-up. There must be a story here. Did he have a falling‑out with the BCM? And I could not find even a mention in CHESS.’

The worst case of brevity must surely be the BCM’s obituary of Réti (July 1929 issue, page 258): seven lines.

(1268)

The index to the 1946 volume of the BCM listed 40 obituaries. Fifty years on, in 1996, there were five. What conclusions should be drawn about the present-day health of chessplayers and/or of the BCM?

(Kingpin 1997)

See too pages 171-172 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves.



Queen versus pawns

Since the theoretical value of the queen is commonly stated to be nine pawns, what happens if this balance of material is applied in a game? The game hereunder is taken from pages 164-165 of the November 1846 Deutsche Schachzeitung and has an engrossing finish: there are four white knights.

General Guingret – Lionel Kieseritzky
Paris, circa 1846

dia

1 e5 e6 2 d5 d6 3 e4 c6 4 exd6 cxd5 5 e5 b6 6 d4 f6 7 Bd3 g6 8 Be3 Nc6 9 c5 Bg7 10 b4 Bd7 11 b5 bxc5 12 bxc6 Bxc6 13 dxc5 fxe5 14 fxe5 Bxe5 15 Nd2 Rb8 16 Rb1 Qf6 17 Ne2 Qg7 18 O-O g5 19 Nb3 h5 20 Bd4 hxg4 21 fxg4 Kd7 22 f4 Bxd4+ 23 Nbxd4 Nf6 24 f5 e5 25 Ne6 Rxh2 26 Nxg7 Nxg4 27 f6 e4 28 f7 Rbh8 29 f8(N)+ Kc8 30 d7+ Kb7 31 d8(N)+

dia

31...Ka8 and Black wins.

The Deutsche Schachzeitung adds a note on the mate-avoiding line 30 Nh7 R8xh7 31 Rf8+ Kb7 or Kd7 32 Kf1, allowing 33 Ng1.

The same magazine gives a number of games where White has eight pawns, in various initial formations, for the queen: 1849, pages 189-190, 1850, pages 21-24 and 1850, pages 153-160.

(1274)



Lionel Kieseritzky (1806-53) deserves to be remembered for more than losing the ‘Immortal Game’. The encounter below, played at unusual odds, illustrates his ingenuity and demonstrates that, contrary to what is often supposed, such concepts as play against a backward pawn were not unknown a century and a half ago.

Lionel Kieseritzky – Lecrivain
Paris, 1842
(Remove White’s rook at al and add extra white pawns at c4, d4 and f4.)

dia

1 e4 e6 2 d5 d6 3 d4 f6 4 dxe6 Bxe6 5 f5 Bd7 6 f4 Nh6 7 Qh5+ Nf7 8 Nf3 Qe7 9 Bd3 Nc6 10 c3 O-O-O 11 d5 Nb8 12 b4 c6 13 Be3 b6 14 O-O Na6 15 Nd2 c5 16 b5 Nc7 17 a4 Nh6 18 Bf2 Rg8 19 a5 Qe8 20 Qh4 Nxb5 21 cxb5 Bxb5 22 c4 Bd7 23 axb6 axb6 24 Nb1 Kb7 25 Nc3 Ra8 26 Rb1 Ra3 27 Be1 Qa8 28 Qf2 g6 29 fxg6 hxg6 30 Qb2 Qa7 31 Nb5 Bxb5 32 Qxb5 Ra6 33 Ba5 Rxa5 34 Qc6+ Ka6 35 Nd4 Qb7

dia

36 Qb5+ Rxb5 37 cxb5+ Ka5 38 Nc2 Ka4 39 Bc4 and White mates next move.

Source: Geistreiche Schachpartien by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1894), pages 54-55.

(2075)



Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King by John Donaldson and Nikolay Minev (Seattle, 1994) is the first of a two-volume work and covers the period 1882 to 1920, presenting 474 games, many with both contemporary and modern notes. Players and historians will appreciate the authors’ practice of examining opening variations in the light of modern knowledge. For instance, a game on page 27 begins 1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 c3 Qe7 4 cxd4 Qxe4+ 5 Be3 Bb4+ 6 Nc3 d5. Black’s sixth move is given an exclamation mark and described as ‘a major improvement over the example shown in ECO’ (6...Nf6).

The book is not without occasional slips, but no previous writers have revealed so much about Rubinstein’s obscure early years. Below is a game played in the event discussed in C.N. 2001 (see pages 317-318 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves):

Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein – Dawid Daniuszewski
Łódź, 17 December 1907
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 exd5 exd5 5 Bg5 c6 6 Bd3 Bd6 7 Nge2 O-O 8 Qd2 Bg4 O-O 9 Nbd7 10 Ng3 Qc7 11 h3 Bxg3 12 fxg3 Bh5 13 Qf4 Qb6 14 Na4 Qa5 Bxf6 Nxf6 16 Nc5 b6

dia

17 Qh4 Bg6 18 Rxf6 gxf6 19 Nd7 Rfd8 20 Nxf6+ Kg7 21 Bxg6 hxg6 22 Qh7+ Kf8 23 Rf1 Qd2 24 Qh8+ Ke7 25 Ng8+ Ke8 26 Nh6+ Black resigns.

(2076)

The same authors rounded off Rubinstein’s career in a second volume, Akiba Rubinstein: The Later Years (Seattle, 1995).



Endgame study

Richard Forster (Winterthur,  Switzerland) submits the following position, which appeared in Informator No. 49, with annotations by Krogius:

dia

Belik v Igonin, USSR, 1990

It is stated that White won by 1 Nb4 c4+ 2 Ka3 d3 3 Bxc4 bxc4 4 Na2+ Kd1 5 Nc3+ Kc1 6 Ka2 d2 7 Ka1 d1(Q) 8 Na2 mate.

In reply to a query from us, John Roycroft (London) states that he believes the position to be a study by V. Pachman, published in 1935 in Československý Šach. Confirmation is sought, as well as an explanation of the game version given by Informator.

(2086)

We now have the 1935 Československý Šach and can confirm that the position claimed by Informator No. 49 to be from a game between Belik and Igonin was the mirror-image (i.e. with the white king on g3 instead of b3) of a study by V. Pachman(n) published on page 72 of the April-May 1935 issue of the Czech magazine:

pachmann

(2107)



Spelling Kasparov’s forename

C.N. 1231 commented briefly on New World Chess Champion by Garry Kasparov (Oxford, 1986). As reported in C.N. 1342, A.J. Gillam (Nottingham, England) wrote to us as follows on 13 January 1987:

kasparov gillam

kasparov

C.N. 10433 quoted from page 269 of Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov with Mig Greengard (New York, 2017):

‘Publications deciding on the English spelling of my first name used to fluctuate between Gary, Garry and even Garri, but I prefer Garry.’



Description of chess

A piquant description which deserves to be widely quoted:

‘A game to subdue the turbulent spirit, or to worry a tranquil mind.’

Source: The Kings of Chess by William Hartston (London, 1985), page 11.

(1381)

As mentioned on page 377 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, the description was included, at our suggestion, on page 165 of The Penguin Dictionary of Twentieth Century Quotations by J.M. and M.J. Cohen (London, 1993).



Pages 257-292 of Letters from London by Julian Barnes (London, 1995) featured an article about the 1993 Kasparov v Short match, and on page 282 he reported, ‘I lunched some observations out of the international master William Hartston’. One of these, on page 284, is an intriguing theory:

‘The history of the world chess championship shows that the way to beat a great player is to allow him to indulge his strengths in unfavourable circumstances.’

(3248)



Women in Chess

John Graham’s Women in Chess (Jefferson, 1987), though not as bad as his earlier book The Literature of Chess, is still very weak – a cuttings-library job replete with factual misconceptions and wishful thinking. In his Foreword Koltanowski writes meaninglessly: ‘If more attention was given to promoting chess among women, I would not be surprised if before long we have a woman as world champion.’ On the following page Graham claims that ‘the number of women players is still small to be sure, but those at the top are giving male players a good run for their money’. On page x he remarks that ‘nowhere can you find a book in English on Gaprindashvili’s or Chiburdanidze’s career or games’, without adding that the same may be said of dozens of other players with similar ratings.

Yet Graham can also be patronizing; one might even say sexist. He gives photographs and then fully describes what he sees in them. For instance, Rudenko (aged 78) is ‘a large woman, clad in black with a white woven shawl about her shoulders. She has straight white hair neatly cut about her strong and unlined face. She looks calm and serene. She looks like she could be anyone’s grandmother ...’ (page 21). In any case, to be ungallant, the word ‘unlined’ is inappropriate.

Graham’s historical fancifulness is shown by his treatment of Vera Menchik. We are told on page 16 that she ‘was a very good player indeed and equal to most men of her day’. The Companion (page 211) rightly says: ‘In international tournaments which did not exclude men Menchik made little impression’. And why does Graham believe (page 17) that it was in 1944, the year she died, that Menchik was ‘at the height of her chess prowess’? On page 18 he writes: ‘We will never know how good Menchik could have become, but she was better than most men and the equal of some very great players. Among those she beat were ...’ Winning an occasional game from Euwe, Reshevsky, etc. did not make her their equal. In the same paragraph, Tiller should read Golombek. On the next page it is misleading to say that ‘Menchik finished second in London 1932’. She was eighth at the London International Tournament of February 1932 and came second merely in the British Chess Federation Major Open (London, August 1932). On the same page we are told that ‘Capablanca beat her nine times, and although the result was never in doubt, Menchik was never totally outclassed by the world champion as many men might have expected a woman to be outclassed. In the following game she plays for a draw by exchanging pieces ... unfortunately, in hindsight, we know that the Cuban was one of the greatest endgame masters, and a slight advantage was all he needed for a convincing win’. Apart from the fact that Capa was the ex-world champion by the time he first met Menchik, the ‘in hindsight’ is really too much. Finally, one notes Graham’s obsession with Vera Menchik’s death. Page 11: ‘She died in the war in 1944.’ Page 17: ‘... in 1944, the entire Menchik family was wiped out in Kent by one of the last German V-2 buzz bombs to land in Britain.’ Page 21: ‘Menchik was killed by a Nazi bomb in 1944.’ Page 68: ‘Then war intervened, and when it ended Menchik was dead, a victim of a German buzz-bomb.’

(1405)

From Ken Whyld:

Women in Chess is less competent than you make it sound. Graham gives several championships as having unavailable details (which he could have found readily in Chess: The Records) but quite cheerfully counts as a world championship a four-game match between Menchik and Graf played in the home of Euwe from 21 to 25 March 1934. True, while they were there they did discuss the possibility of a title match later in the year, but nothing came of it.’

(1437)

The above items were published in the Chess Notes magazine (May-June and July-August 1987 respectively). Over two years later (in a letter dated 2 August 1989) Mr Whyld suddenly reverted to the matter (with many misguided references to and comparisons with the output of Raymond Keene). One assertion was: ‘you were restrained in your criticism of Graham’s book on women’s chess (from “your” publisher), although you did not, indeed could not, overlook its “sloppy history”.’

Our complaints about his reference to ‘from “your” publisher’ (i.e. McFarland, which was to publish our monograph on Capablanca about two and a half years after Women in Chess appeared) resulted in non-apologies (‘I am pleased to note your denial that you were trying to avoid offending the publisher’ and ‘I regret that you detected a smear’, but we persisted and, for our pains, the following Whyld Special was sent to us on 6 October 1989:

‘I have no right to question your opinion if you believe that Women in Chess did not deserve a strong review from you. At the time I found it incredible that you should have been so soft without some external factor colouring your judgment. The fact that you were at an advanced stage of producing a book for that publisher appeared to offer an explanation. If the truth is simply that you are ill-informed about the subject of Graham’s book (without sinking to the author’s level), then I was wrong and I apologize.’



Thomas Henry Hopwood (‘Toz’), the editor of the Household Chess Magazine

household chess

We are grateful to the Liverpool Record Office and the Central Library Manchester for information about Thomas Henry Hopwood. Between 1852 and 1902 Manchester area directories list him under a number of addresses and a variety of professions (hosier and smallware dealer; secretary to the Patent Atmospheric Marine Salvage Co. (Ltd.); accountant, auditor and shorthand writer; hosier etc.; accountant and patentee; accountant).

The Liverpool Directory of 1865 has no reference to him at 42 Brunswick Road, but the 1868 edition lists Thomas H. Hopwood, salvage agent, of Marsh & Hopwood, 38 Meville Place. The address for Marsh & Hopwood, National Marine Salvage Co. is given as 42 Duke Street. It can thus be seen that Hopwood (common links: marine salvage and inventions) did indeed have Liverpool and Manchester connections.

We are able to reveal when he died. In the 1890s he wrote a number of letters to the BCM from 29 Percival Street, Cheetham, Manchester. The same address appeared in an advertisement for ‘The “Toz” Chess Diagram and Game Recorder Combined’ in the 1893 book Liverpool Chess Club – A Short Sketch ... 1837-1893. The Probate Indexes have the following entry in 1902: Hopwood, Thomas Henry, of 29 Percival Street, Cheetham, Manchester, accountant, died 29 April 1902. Probate Manchester 7 June, to Ellen Maria Hibbitt (wife of Frederick Hibbitt). Effects £105. 10s. 2d.

(1408)

Hopwood and his magazine had been discussed in C.N.s 1188 and 1239.



C.N. 1626 reproduced in full our exchange of correspondence in April 1988 with Mr Jonathan Tisdall. A curious sideline illustrates how he conducted himself:

J.T. to E.W. (undated):

‘In closing, I would like a copy of the Schultz newsletter, in particular as I have mislaid his address.’

E.W. to J.T. (19 April 1988):

‘Under separate cover I am sending you a copy of the newsletter you request. It is curious that an American journalist who boasts about his proficiency should be unaware that Mr Schultz’s address is published on the title page of Chess Life every month.’

J.T. to E.W. (22 April 1988):

‘Finally, for your final snide remark: I do not receive CL, except on the rare occasions I write for it, when I simply file it.’

E.W. to J.T. (30 April 1988):

‘Since you say that you never bother to read Chess Life, let me inform you that its title page has been describing you as a “Contributing Editor” for the past two years.’

We heard no more from Mr Tisdall.



More books

Bruce Pandolfini has written yet another new book for the Fireside Chess Library: Russian Chess (subtitle: ‘Learn from the New Champions’). It contains only six games, all won by Soviet players in the 1980s, but the annotations, aimed at inexperienced players, are detailed. The first game, for instance, takes 30 pages. Prose explanations are preferred to variations, and there is a good selection of general principles (‘concepts’). A more eccentric and misleading practice is the provision of quotes by Russian/Soviet writers (even Chigorin and Alekhine), fitted in to suit the games under discussion.

That old American verbosity is sometimes on show. ‘Black is less declarative in playing 1...Nf6’ (page 18). ‘4...b5 contributes nothing developmentally meaningful’ (page 23). ‘For the odoriferous pawn Black would lose a piece’ (page 120).

Two matters of historical detail regarding Russian Chess: page 49 unjustifiably calls Staunton ‘the self-proclaimed British World Champion of the 1850s’. Secondly, page 142 mentions ‘the Cambridge Springs Variation of the Queen’s Gambit’ as being 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Nbd7 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Nxd5 Nxd5 7 Bxd8 Bb4+, etc.

The book acknowledges the help of ‘America’s preeminent chess historian, master Bruce Alberston, for his prodigious research, analysis, and technical virtuosity’. Pardon?

In Plan Like a Grandmaster (Batsford, translated from the Russian by Ken Neat) Alexei Suetin does a poor impersonation of Kotov, the author of the fine ...Like a Grandmaster series. Plan... has 354 scores (full or part), starting with the Famous Game Morphy versus the Opera allies (the date of which is five years out) and ending with the Famous Game Alekhine v Botvinnik, Nottingham 1936. Most of the 352 others are also Famous Games, the same old Famous Games that are constantly recycled in other dreary books.

The chief aim of Suetin’s work is to illustrate ‘the most vital point of a chess game’, which is ‘the transition between opening and middlegame’, but there is little detailed annotation and the general prose passages are rather soporific à la Pachman(n). That complex masterpiece Alekhine v Böök, Margate, 1938 has just two brief notes. Since the blurb says that the 354 games or extracts ‘illustrate how top masters handle the opening’ one would at least expect an index of openings. In short, the book (from the author’s point of view) has to be considered a characteristic example of the modern Easy Way Out school.

(1656)



Hastings, 1919

Christophe Bouton (Paris) points to the Winter v Capablanca game played in the Hastings tournament of 1919 and asks us, ‘Is that you?’

No. We had retired by then.

(1795)



Chess Trivia

Chess Trivia by Peter Hotton and Herbert A. Kenny (Quinlan Press, $7.95) is a series of quizzes, the standard of which can be gauged from the following sample with our comments in brackets:

Page 1: ‘What is the Udemann Code?’ (A misprint for Uedemann Code.)

Page 3: ‘What master once stood on his head between moves in a match? Nimzovitsch.’

Page 4: ‘What is axedras? The Spanish word for chess.’ (Chess in Spanish is ajedrez.)

Pages 4/13: ‘What is a fingerfelter?’ (A slip of the hand when typing Fingerfehler.)

Page 6: ‘What is the etymology of the word “gambit”? It is from the French cambi, meaning “exchange”.’ (It is from the Italian gambetta. French has no word cambi.)

Page 12: ‘Sam Lloyd’. (The Welsh puzzle king ...)

Page 21: ‘What master once stood on his head between moves in a tournament? Nimzovitsch.’ (So, once in a match and once in a tournament.)

Page 23: ‘What American chess master has written the most books about the game? Irving Chernev.’

Page 26 (and passim): ‘Rubenstein’.

Page 28: ‘What British champion conducts the chess column in the Manchester Guardian? Leonard Bardon.’ (The Manchester Guardian changed its name decades ago, but Barden has yet to change his.)

Page 31: ‘James Mason of Killarney.’ (Kilkenny.)

Page 32: ‘A.L.H. Deschappeles (1780-1842)’. (Evidently unrelated to A.L.H. Deschapelles (1780-1847) or to ‘Alexander Deschappelles’ further down the same page.)

Pages 39/49: (We are told that Steinitz was officially world champion for ten years, but claimed the title for 30 years, and that he was succeeded by Lasker, who was world champion for 30 years, from 1897 to 1927.)

Page 50: (‘Schlecter’, who, page 32 had claimed, died in 1916.)

Page 96: ‘What twentieth-century player was called the “crown prince of chess”? Keres.’ (Not Nimzowitsch, of course, whose match and tournament posture precluded crowning.)

Page 106: O’Kelly ‘is the only grandmaster who is a member of the nobility’. (He died in 1980.)

Page 112: ‘Who’s the world champion in 1983? Kasparov.’

Page 124: Euwe ‘world champion in 1948’.

Page 125: Botvinnik ‘world champion in 1950’.

It is like that from start to finish. ‘Emmanuel (and Emmanual) Lasker’, ‘Herman Helms’, ‘Paul Benko’, ‘Giovannie Leonardo’, ‘Paulson ’, ‘Compomanes’, ‘Taimonov’, ‘Olgan Menchik’, ‘Scheveninger system’, ‘en pris’, ‘William Tevis’, ‘The London Illustrated News’, ‘LaPalemede’, etc., etc., etc.

(1821)



The first?

‘America’s leading chess writer’ is the description of Bruce Pandolfini on the front cover of Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps (a Fireside Chess Library paperback from Simon & Schuster). After reading the back-cover description ‘the first completely instructional book ever written on chess openings’, one marvels at how the modern game kept going for five centuries until Mr Pandolfini was ready to do a Fireside paperback. But in reality, of course, there have been dozens of books like Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps, all undistinguished and undistinguishable. True enough, Mr Pandolfini does break new ground by revealing on page 36 that Rudolf Spielmann lived to be 109 and by providing such pioneering gems as (page 43) ‘you could win in this position by 10 Bf4! or you could win equally impressively with 10 Bf4!’ The bad diagram trouble starts on page 3. The prose is casual in the extreme (‘Does it matter if you’re up material but badly developed ...?’ – page 81), and the Glossary, despite some good definitions, has the occasional impenetrable explanation such as: ‘Base of Pawn Chain: the pawn closest to its own back rank, when two or more pawns for each side block and immobilize their enemy counterparts, for either side.’ The bibliography records its debt to such predecessors (evidently not ‘completely instructional’) as Flórian’s ‘The Schlilemann Variation of the Ruy Lopes’.

(1928)

Concerning our remark about Spielmann, see too C.N. 4857.



At sea

Who was the first player to give a simultaneous exhibition at sea? According to page 296 of the 14 April 1936 issue of CHESS:

‘Did you know ... that the first simultaneous display on board ship was given by Dr Tartakower on the Massilia in the Mediterranean, 1931? Also he is the only person to have given a simultaneous exhibition in an aeroplane – between Budapest and Barcelona in 1929.’

However, some years later (November, 1944, page 19) the same magazine quoted from the May-June 1944 Iowa Chess Correspondent the reminiscences of Norman W. Bingham, a boyhood friend of Pillsbury’s. The two crossed the Atlantic together in 1899:

‘... Pillsbury played a dozen blindfold simultaneous games against various passengers, winning them all handily. The tables were in the smoking room and Pillsbury sat with me on deck, talking about early school days. Stewards from the smoking room flitted back and forth with paper memoranda to communicate the moves from the various tables. I tried to get Harry to tell me how he did it, but he couldn’t; and I don’t believe he knew himself. He said he didn’t carry a picture of the various tables in his mind and he didn’t memorize the moves. He seemed to just know, when told what the move had been on one table, what he wanted to do. At any rate, if he was able to tell me how he did it, he successfully refrained ...’

Pages 356 and 373 of K. Landsberger’s 1993 book on Steinitz mention small displays by Steinitz during Atlantic crossings, in 1897 and 1898.

(1947)



Epifanio Nieto (Madrid) points out that the 1907 New York State tournament was played on board S.S. Alexandria, plying between Charlotte, NY and Quebec. The event was won by Julius Finn.

Source: American Chess Bulletin, August 1907, page 146.

(2058)



José Pérez Mendoza – Henneberg
On board the König Frederick August, 4 May 1912
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O b5 6 Bb3 d6 7 Ng5 d5 8 exd5 Nxd5 9 Nxf7 Kxf7 10 Qf3+ Ke6 11 Nc3 Ne7 12 d4 c6 13 Re1 Kd6 14 Nxd5 Nxd5 15 Rxe5 Be6 16 Bf4 Nxf4 17 Qxf4 Bxb3

dia

18 Rd5+ Kxd5 19 Qe5+ Kc4 20 axb3+ Kb4 21 Qe1 mate.

Source: El Ajedrez en la Argentina by J. Pérez Mendoza, pages 363-364.

(2083)

See pages 111-113 and 260-261 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves for two other games played on board ship.



Howlers and chicanery

Harry Golombek’s book Capabanca’s Hundred Best Games of Chess has highly inaccurate biographical material and results tables. Some examples were given in C.N. 1080, but the BCM took no notice when it reprinted the book in 1989. It gave just a cursory errata slip (which was itself wrong about a ‘missing’ tournament (Hastings, 1929-30), since it claimed that Capablanca scored three draws, instead of five).

On 22 November 1989, quoting a large number of examples, we informed the BCM Editor that many obvious factual errors had not been corrected. Our letter was ignored for three years, until the BCM (October 1992, page 520) found an exquisitely deceitful way of using it to ridicule us: out of all our corrections the magazine simply mentioned one (regarding Hastings, 1929-30), thus deluding its readers into believing that our complaint about the book merely concerned a single matter of detail.

To set the record straight (about this and other issues), on 5 October 1992 we wrote another letter to the BCM Editor. Naturally it too was suppressed.

(1951)

See also our article on Capablanca’s books in the algebraic notation. This shows that the BCM neglected to correct about 150 factual mistakes. The Editor of the BCM at the time was Mr Bernard Cafferty.



A new Morphy book

In March 1993 Caissa Editions brought out Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory by Macon Shibut. In a sense, it complements David Lawson’s extensive biography of 1976, which paid little attention to Morphy’s games. An underlying argument in Macon Shibut’s book is that they have seldom been accorded sufficient analytical attention, and he puts his case well (page 8):

‘Annotators who want to educate or entertain are not interested in tearing apart an instructive Morphy combination. Rather, they want to find characteristic errors in the opponents’ play, and they want the hero’s consequent victory to seem a matter of course (and the more elegantly achieved, the better). The effect of such presentations in countless beginner’s texts has been to reduce Morphy’s games to a collection of fables.’

The writings on Morphy of Steinitz and Réti are reviewed critically, and there is much original analysis. The author goes badly astray in the misnamed ‘Complete Games’ section, overlooking that Lawson gave more than 60 neglected Morphy games in the BCM of August 1978 and September 1979.

One matter of detail: Shibut’s game 368 (Morphy v Maurian at queen’s knight odds) is labelled New Orleans, 1866 and said to have been drawn shortly after move 41. However, Lawson (BCM, September 1979, page 414) asserted that the game was played in New Orleans on 9 May 1864 and that Morphy resigned after Black’s 30th move. The absence of game sources in both the Shibut book and the Lawson articles makes it hard to investigate the discrepancy.

(1966)

Reproducing that C.N. item on pages 351-352 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, we added a footnote with regard to the penultimate paragraph:

Alerted to this omission, the publisher brought out a 15-page addendum later in 1993.

maurian

Charles Maurian (American Chess Bulletin, September 1911, page 197)



The final paragraph of C.N. 1966 (see above) referred to contradictory versions of a game between Morphy and Maurian. We have now found the score in a nineteenth-century source: it was the first of three Morphy games ‘recently published for the first time in the New Orleans Times-Democrat’ which appeared on pages 90-91 of the 15 March 1887 issue of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle. The date indicated (9 May 1864) corresponds to Lawson’s, and the conclusion is given as 30...Bxf2+ ‘and Black wins’.

The third of these games is relevant to a matter raised by John T. Campbell (Arlington, VA, USA), who asks us about the accuracy of the following passage on page 76 of Blackmar-Diemer Gambit by Eric Schiller (Coraopolis, 1986):

‘In an article “Paul Morphy – Spiritual Father of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit” Diemer makes reference to the game Morphy-Blackmar, New Orleans 1866, which saw [1 d4 d5 2 e4 e6] 3 Nh3!?. Now this is a move in true gambit style. After 3...dxe4 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 O-O b6 7 6 f3 e3 7 Bxe3 Be7 White has reestablished material equilibrium.’

We have no knowledge of Morphy playing Blackmar, but page 91 of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle of 15 March 1887 has a queen’s knight odds game between Morphy and C.A. Maurian, played at New Orleans in 1866, which followed the same line as far as 7 Bxe3 Be7. At move six a note says: ‘As the New Orleans Times-Democrat remarks, the position is now very similar to one that occurs in the Blackmar Gambit.’ The Chronicle gives the opening moves as 1 e4 d5 2 d4 e6, but 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nh3 is the order in later sources.

(2044)

Tom V. Purser (Headland, AL, USA) reports that on pages 14-15 of issue 31 of his periodical Blackmar-Diemer Gambit World (May 1988) he and Anders Tejler discussed the question raised in C.N. 2044, concluding that the erroneous idea of a game between Morphy and Blackmar arose from a faulty reading by Eric Schiller of page 164 of E.J. Diemer’s (reprinted) book Das moderne Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (Heidelberg, 1976).

Gary Lane (Brussels) writes:

‘I am currently engaged in writing a book on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and should like to verify a claim on pages 8-9 of Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (Chess Digest, Dallas, 1977 edition) by Ken Smith and John Jacobs that one of Armand Edward Blackmar’s musical compositions “later became a part of the musical score to the Clark Gable-Vivien Leigh film version of Gone with the Wind”.’

(2063)

We are grateful to the publishers McFarland & Company Inc. (Jefferson, NC, USA) for contacting a number of their film music authors in an attempt to establish a connection between A.E. Blackmar and Gone with the Wind. So far, nothing has been found. Ken Smith (Dallas, TX, USA) informs us that he does not remember the source of the information that he gave in his 1977 book Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

(2119)

See too Chess and Music.



Warren H. Goldman

A death in 1992 that has gone unrecorded is that of Warren H. Goldman, in Heidelberg on 26 June 1992. Apart from New Ideas in Old Settings (an examination of 1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Qf3, published privately in 1958 and by CHESS, Sutton Coldfield in 1977), his best-known contribution to chess literature was a series of fine tournament books (Vienna, 1890; Berlin, 1897; Tamesvar, 1912). W.H.G.’s magnum opus has yet to appear: a monograph on Carl Schlechter which, his widow informs us, he finished writing the evening before he was taken ill. Over the years, Mr Goldman often showed us sample chapters, and we greatly look forward to the publication of a biography/games collection of remarkable quality.

(1974)

See too C.N. 2077 (reproduced on page 360 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves) and C.N. 11844.



Variant Chess

Variant Chess, a magazine which appears four times a year, provides an imaginative range of unorthodox games and problems. From the January-March 1993 issue we cull a specimen of Italian Progressive Chess, in which White and Black take turns to make an ascending number of moves:

G. Buccoliero – P. Novak
Italy v United Kingdom correspondence match, 1991

1 d4
2 c5 Nf6
3 e4 e5 exf6
4 d5 Bg4 Bxd1 gxf6 5 Nf3 Ne5 Nd7 Bb5 Nxf6 mate.

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The next game is an example of Vinciperdi, or Losing Chess, which has its own opening theory and grading list. Check does not exist and the king can be captured.

R. Magari (Italy) – P. Yearout (USA)
Heterodox Chess Olympiad (a correspondence event, 1989-92)

1 e3 b5 2 Bxb5 Nf6 3 Bxd7 Bxd7 4 c4 Bb5 5 cxb5 Qxd2 6 Qxd2 Nc6 7 bxc6 Nd5 8 Qxd5 Kd7 9 Qxf7 Kxc6 10 Qxg7 Bxg7 11 b4 Bxa1 12 b5 Kxb5 13 a4 Kxa4 14 Bb2 Bxb2

dia

15 Nc3 Bxc3 16 h3 Bxe1 17 Ne2 Bxf2 18 Rd1 Bxe3 19 Nf4 Bxf4 20 g3 Bxg3 21 h4 Bxh4 22 Ref Bxe1. White wins.

dia

Variant Chess is edited by Peter Wood (Hastings, England).

(1993)



The Russell Collection

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.’

c) Open letter from Emanuel Lasker, April/May 1927 (item 581); see too Lasker Speaks Out (1926):

On Capablanca: ‘I think not badly of him; he has great faults, as I shall presently explain, and also great virtues, for instance, his word is reliable even where others would falter; but he insists on misunderstanding my motives ...

[Capablanca] looks upon argument as a personal affair. He uses invective, sometimes direct, sometimes covered by a thin veil of inference. He assumes that his opponents, and possibly men generally, are actuated by highly selfish motives. At least, that has been my invariable experience with him for 16 years.

His great fault, from a chessic point of view, is lack of self-discernment. He is, without doubt, a chess master of exceeding merit and rightly belongs in the series of chess champions which starts with Philidor. Yet he is fearsome as if he mistrusted his own powers.

And that has grown on him and threatens to clog the wheels of his own evolution.

... Capablanca is passionately angered by every kind of opposition. That is a great danger to him, too. The genius of chess has been kind and generous to Capablanca, but if he insists on his present ways he will stand still while others advance and in the end cut only a poor figure in the gallery of champions.’

(1999)



A forgotten Chigorin game

Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin – Gratchevsky
St Petersburg, 1875
(Remove White’s queen’s knight.)

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O gxf3 6 Qxf3 Qe7 7 d4 Nc6 8 Bxf4 Nxd4 9 Qc3 Qc5 10 Kh1 Qb6 11 Bxf7+ Kd8 12 Be3 Bc5 13 Rad1 Nf6 14 Rxd4 Rf8 15 Rxf6 Bxd4 16 Bg5 Bxf6 17 Qxf6+ Qxf6 18 Bxf6 mate.

dia

Source: page 17 of La Revista de Ajedrez (Havana), 22 January 1889, which described it as ‘a previously unpublished game’.

(2000)



Search for Rubinstein games

Toni Preziuso (Suhr, Switzerland) is collecting the games of A.K. Rubinstein and sends us a list of those he still lacks, which include a few from the Hamburg and Prague Olympiads of 1930 and 1931.

(2005)



Reprints

C.N. 2012 invited readers’ proposals regarding old publications that deserved to be reprinted, and in C.N. 2056 Colin Russ (Herne Bay, England) wrote:

‘A problemist’s instinctive reply is: the A.C. White Series. One or two were reprinted (by Hippocrene Books), but most are collector’s items. The Good Companion Two-Mover is one lovely collection that comes to mind.’



Classic tournaments

In late 1993 Caissa Editions published St Petersburg 1914 International Chess Tournament by Siegbert Tarrasch, translated by Robert Maxham. Tarrasch’s excellent annotations have been supplemented with the notes of Georg Marco and much material from other sources.

Despite rather more editorial rough edges than one would expect, the book is a good record of one of the greatest tournaments, particularly when compared with AVRO 1938 by Arthur S. Antler. Background prose in the latter amounts to little more than quotes from well-known books, whereas the annotations even ignore essential works such as Euwe’s tournament book in Dutch.

An example of Tarrasch’s colourful prose is his explanation on page 177 as to why, against Alekhine, he played 3 e3 after 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e5:

‘On principle, I accept no gambit as the first player, for if I must defend myself as the second player and should also defend myself as the first player, when should I then really enjoy the pleasure of attack?’

(2018)



Openings books

W. John Lutes is the author of a number of monographs covering such openings as the Cunningham Gambit, the Danish Gambit, the McCutcheon Variation in the French Defence, the Anderssen Counter-Attack in the Scandinavian Defence and the Sicilian Defence, O’Kelly Variation. All feature awesome historical research.


(2020)



Two queens against one

A. Nelson – A. Freundlich
Handicap Tourney, New York, 1918-19
Odds of pawn and two moves; remove Black’s f-pawn.

1 e4 ... 2 d4 c5 3 Nf3 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Be3 Nf6 6 Nd2 Qa5 7 c3 e6 8 Be2 Be7 9 O-O O-O 10 f4 a6 11 e5 Nd5 12 Nc4 Qc7 13 f5 b5 14 fxe6 bxc4 15 Rxf8+ Bxf8 16 Bxc4 Nxe3 17 e7+ Nxc4 18 e8(Q) N6xe5 19 Nf5 Bb7

dia

20 Qeh5 Qb6+ 21 Kh1 Qxb2 22 Qhe2 Qxc3 23 Rc1 Qh3 24 Rxc4 Qxf5 25 Rh4 Rc8 26 Rh5 Qf4 27 Qb2 Ng4 28 Qdb1 Be4 29 Qe1 Rc2 30 Qb3+ d5 31 White resigns.

Source: BCM, May 1919, page 170.

An endgame featuring two queens against one is Réti v Rubinstein, Marienbad, 1925. Queens were exchanged at move 16, but three promotions on moves 52-54 led to this position:

dia

Play continued: 54...e3 55 Qa4 e2 56 Qd4+ Kf1 57 Qd3 Kf2 58 Qd2 Qb1+ 59 Kc7 c5 60 Qb3 Qxb3 61 cxb3 Kf1 62 Qd3 Kf2 63 Qc2 Kf1 64 Qc4 Kf2 65 Qxc5+ Kf1 66 Qc4 Kf2 67 Qd4+ Kf1 68 Qd3 Kf2 69 Qd2 Kf1 70 Qd3 Kf2 71 Qd4+ Kf1 72 Qc4 Kf2 73 Qc5+ Kf1 74 Qc4 Kf2 75 Qd4+ Kf1 76 Qd3 Kf2 77 Qd2 Kf1 78 Qe3 Bg2 Drawn.

(2025)

A recent specimen is Kasparov v Lautier, Linares, 1994.

(2042)



Impostors

Information about chess impostors will be gratefully received. The May-June 1923 American Chess Bulletin (page 112) quoted from The Brazilian American (Rio de Janeiro) a sceptical account of ‘a visit from a Dr Max Blumenfeld, who had arrived on the Lutetia from Belgium’. Wishing to give a simultaneous display, he said that he was a professional chessplayer who had won tournaments in Warsaw and Vienna and had defeated the Belgian champion, Colle. He claimed to have invented a ‘Blumenfeld Gambit’ in the Queen’s Pawn Opening and ‘he also showed us a couple of end games of his composition, which he has authorized us to publish as original contributions to our column’.

Page 110 of the American Chess Bulletin reproduced one of these, with the heading ‘End Game, by Dr Max Blumenfeld, Poland’. The next issue (July-August, page 136) contained a letter from D. Przepiórka of Warsaw pointing out that the study was by him; it was first published in Szachista Polski in 1920 and repeated in a number of journals. The letter added that no Dr Max Blumenfeld was known in Poland, although Beniamin Blumenfeld of Moscow was the originator of the Blumenfeld Gambit, an opening made famous by the game Tarrasch v Alekhine, Pistyan, 1922.

The study in question may be found, correctly ascribed to Przepiórka, on page 187 of 1234 Modern End-Game Studies by M.A. Sutherland and H.M. Lommer (London, 1938), page 254 of A.J. Roycroft’s Test Tube Chess (London, 1972) and pages 125-126 of David Przepiórka, A Master of Strategy by H. Weenink (Amsterdam, 1932). Where ‘Dr Max Blumenfeld’ came from and went to we do not know.

(2027)



A Bogoljubow study

bogoljubow

White to move and win

Solution: 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.

(2028)

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.

(2108)



Four queens

Robert Timmer (Hilversum, the Netherlands) quotes positions where each side has two queens only:

Informator No. 35 (page 331) gave the ending of Bacsó v Szlabey, Hungary, 1983.

dia

Play went: 1 Qh8+ Qad4 2 Qc8+ Qc5 3 Qe5+ Kb4 4 Qb2+ Ka5 5 Qa8+ Qa7 6 Qd5+ Black resigns. [Addition on 28 July 2021: Modern computer programs confirm that White had a forced mate in all lines, contrary to the 1999 note by Richard Forster which was added when this C.N. item was reproduced on pages 23-24 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves.]

ii) A composition by Noam D. Elkies on page 58-59 of issue 2 of the American Chess Journal. In the summer of 1992 Lewis Stiller discovered a mutual Zugzwang position (White: king on h1 and queens on h2 and g2. Black: king on a1 and queens on a7 and f6) which Elkies used to create the following study:

dia

White to move and win

The bare bones of the solution: 1 Qg7+ Kh2 2 f8(Q) Qb5+ 3 Kh6 Qb6+ 4 Bc6 Qxc6+ 5 Kxh7 b1(Q)+ 6 Kh8 Kh1 7 Qfg8 and wins. This is the Stiller position, rotated by 90 degrees.

(2034)



Common misspellings

Which chess personalties’ names are most commonly misspelt? Prominent examples are William Hartston, Alexander McDonnell, Lionel Kieseritzky and Lord Lyttelton, frequently given as ‘Hartson’, ‘MacDonnell’, ‘Kieseritsky’, ‘Lyttleton’, and other uncaring variants.

(2040)



A new Marshall book

In early 1994 McFarland & Company, Inc. published Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion by A. Soltis, a 383-page hardback, complete with 14 photographs, subtitled ‘A Biography with 220 Games’. The overall appearance is beautiful (no chess publisher rivals McFarland’s production standards), yet there are many unsightly factual mistakes and typographical errors (the latter particularly in the index). Although fluently written, the volume also suffers from the author’s rather romantic and anecdotal approach to chess history, information often being provided without any precise source. On the other hand, the presentation certainly achieves a skilful balance between known and unknown games/facts, and the author makes good use of Marshall’s hitherto unpublished archives. It is probably Soltis’s best historical work to date and, despite its weaknesses, offers much of interest.

(2041)



Tal’s neglected game

In C.N. 238 W.D. Rubinstein (Victoria, Australia) pointed out that the game below, taken from pages 113-114 of The Chess Sacrifice by V. Vuković (London, 1968), did not appear to have been published in any Tal monograph. We appealed for further details, without success.

Mikhail Tal – Alexander Koblentz
‘Training Game’, Riga, 1961
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Qf3 Qc7 9 O-O-O Nbd7 10 Be2 h6 11 Bh4 b5 12 e5 Bb7

dia

13 exf6 Bxf3 14 Bxf3 d5 15 Nxe6 fxe6 16 Bh5+ g6 17 Bxg6+ Kf8 18 fxe7+ Kg7 19 Bg3 Nf6 20 Rhe1 b4 21 Rxe6 bxc3 22 f5 Qb7 23 b3 Qd7 24 Be5 Qxe6 25 fxe6 Kxg6 26 Rf1 Nh7 27 Bxh8 Rxh8 28 Rf8 Rxf8 29 exf8(Q) Nxf8 30 e7 Kf7 31 exf8(Q)+ Kxf8 32 Kd1 and ‘White won in a few moves’.

In his book on the former world champion, Talj, Šahovski Umjetnik I Borac (Zabreb, 1964) Koblentz gave examples of his games against Tal, but not the remarkable one published here.

(2046)



‘The most humorous position’

Page 159 of the July-August 1915 American Chess Bulletin presented a composition by A.J. Fink of San Francisco that was described as ‘the most humorous position that has ever been set upon a chessboard’:

dia

White to move and mate in five moves

Solution: 1 c4+ Nxc4+ 2 Bd4+ Ne5+ 3 Ng5+ Bf3+ 4 Rb1+ Rxa8 5 Qxf3 mate. Other lines include: 1...Qxc4 2 Rb5+ Ke6 3 Ng5+ Kxf5 4 Be4+ Qxe4 5 Qxe4 mate.

(2048)



Staircase manoeuvre

Chess manuals quote few examples of the staircase manoeuvre from actual play. An example is the following, taken from pages 7-8 of the January 1929 American Chess Bulletin:

Erling Tholfsen – Horace Ransom Bigelow
Marshall Chess Club Championship, New York, 12 January 1929
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 d4 Bd7 5 Nc3 Nf6 6 O-O Be7 7 Re1 exd4 8 Nxd4 Nxd4 9 Qxd4 Bxb5 10 Nxb5 a6 11 Nc3 O-O 12 Bg5 Nd7 13 Bxe7 Qxe7 14 Rad1 Nf6 15 e5 Rfe8 16 f4 Ng4 17 Nd5 Qd8 18 h3 Nh6 19 Qc3 c6 20 Ne3 d5 21 g4 f6 22 Qb3 fxe5 23 Nxd5 cxd5 24 Rxd5 Qh4 25 Rdxe5+ Kf8

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26 Qb4+ Kf7 27 Qc4+ Kf8 28 Qc5+ Kf7 29 Qd5+ Kf8 30 Qd6+ Re7 31 Qxe7+ Black resigns.

(2050)

Steven Wagner (Urbana, IL, USA) sends the following game, taken from page 11 of the 3/1964 issue of Schach-Echo:

István Polgár – Jindřich Trapl
Budva, 1963
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 cxd4 5 Qxd4 Nc6 6 Qd1 exd5 7 e3 Nf6 8 Be2 Bb4 9 Bd2 O-O 10 Nf3 Re8 11 O-O Bg4 12 Qb3 d4 13 Nb1 Bd6 14 Qxb7 Rc8 15 Rc1 Rc7 16 Qb5 dxe3 17 fxe3 Bxf3 18 Bxf3 Nd4 19 Qf1 Rxc1 20 Qxc1 Nxf3+ 21 gxf3 Qb8 22 f4 Bxf4 23 exf4 Qb6+ 24 Kh1 Qb7+ 25 Kg1 Re2 26 Qf1

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26...Qb6+ 27 Kh1 Qc6+ 28 Kg1 Qc5+ 29 Kh1 Qd5+ 30 Kg1 Qd4+ 31 Kh1 Qe4+ and Black won. The magazine gives the line 32 Kg1 Ng4 33 Nc3 Qd4+.

Zoltán Blázsik (Szeged, Hungary) informs us that White in this game, played in the World Students’ Team Championship, was István Polgár. He is not known to be related to his celebrated namesakes.

(2065)



A familiar example of the staircase manoeuvre is the game Mojżesz Leopoldowicz Łowcki v Savielly Tartakower, Jurata, 1937; see, for instance, pages 322-323 of the first edition of the Oxford Companion to Chess.



On pages 47-48 of Instant Chess David Levy and Kevin J. O’Connell (Oxford, 1984) made a mess of a Tartakower position (from his game against Łowcki at Jurata, 1937, although the co-authors did not say so).

How interesting to find the selfsame mess (down to virtually identical notes) on page 127 of Chernev and Reinfeld’s The Fireside Book of Chess (New York, 1949).

(1357)



What was played?

Gabriel Velasco (León, Mexico) draws attention to a discrepancy in the score of the game Důras v Rubinstein, Carlsbad, 1907. The opening moves were 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bb5 Bb4 5 O-O O-O 6 d3 Bxc3 7 bxc3 d6 8 Bg5 Qe7 9 Re1 Nd8 10 d4 Ne6 11 Bc1 c6 12 Bf1 Qc7 ...

dia

... after which Kmoch’s monograph on Rubinstein (Vienna, 1933) says that White played 13 Nh4, whereas on page 37 of Akiba Rubinstein’s Chess Academy by Viktor Glatman (Moscow, 1992) 13 Ng5 is given. The books agree that there followed 13...Re8 14 Qd3 Bd7 15 g3 Rad8 16 Bg2 Bc8 17 f4 exf4 18 gxf4 Nf8 19 f5, but then Kmoch has 19...h6 and Glatman 19...g6. After 20 Bd2, Black played 20...N8h7 according to Kmoch whereas Glatman gives 20...Kg7. Both books state that the game ended 21 Nf3 Re7 22 h4 c5 23 Nh2 Rde8 24 Re3 b6 25 Bf3 Bb7 26 Rae1 c4 27 Qe2 Bxe4 28 Qg2 d5 29 Bc1 Bxf3 30 Nxf3 Rxe3 31 Bxe3 Re4 32 Qh3 Rg4+ 33 Kh1 Rg3 34 Qh2 Ng4 35 Bg1 Nxh2 36 Bxh2 Qf4 37 Ng1 Qxh4 38 Resigns. The respective annotators (Kmoch and, for the Glatman book, Lputian) naturally offer contradictory assessments of the game, since they were discussing different positions.

The Kmoch version of the score follows the Carlsbad, 1907 tournament book. We have yet to find any source that concords with the moves presented by Glatman’s book.

(2055)

Pages 323-324 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, presented a further discussion, beginning with a contribution from Richard Forster (Winterthur, Switzerland):

‘Further evidence in favour of the score as given by Kmoch is that in the Glatman version Black could simply win an important pawn by 19...Bxf5.

Incidentally, another Rubinstein game is the subject of an error in several monographs on him (viz. the ones by Kmoch, Glatman and Donaldson/Minev). At move 38 in the game Rubinstein v Tarrasch, Carlsbad, 1923 this position occurred:

dia

Kmoch writes that he cannot believe that 38 Qc4, which is given in contemporary sources, is the right move, because it allows 38 ... Qxe3. Therefore he decided that the move actually played must have been 38 Qc3. Since my analysis proves that White wins a piece after 38 Qc4 Qxe3 39 Qb4!! (39...Qe2 40 Rxb8 Qh5+ 41 Kg2 Qe2+ 42 Kg1 Dd1+ 43 Kf2! or 40...Qf1+ 41 Bg2 Qf5+ 42 g4 Qd3+ 43 Kh4!), I don’t think there is any justification for Kmoch’s altering the game course which has been copied widely.’

It should be noted that on page 97 of Rubinstein Gewinnt! Hans Kmoch wrote after 38 Qc3:

‘Die Bücher und Zeitschriften geben hier übereinstimmend, jedoch ohne Anmerkung 38 Dc4 an. Es is jedoch nicht zu sehen, warum Weiß den Bauer[n] e3 geopfert und Schwarz ihn nich genommen haben sollte.’

This was mistranslated on page 121 of Rubinstein’s Chess Masterpieces (Philadelphia, 1941) as:

‘The books and the newspapers unanimously recommend 38 Q-B4, but without analysis: However, it is not apparent why White sacrifices the pawn at K3, and why Black does not capture.’

In reality, Kmoch was reporting that all the publications had given 38 Qc4 as the move played, not as a recommendation. In short, he unjustifiably altered the score of the game.



Resisting a Marshall onslaught

C.N. 2062 (see page 77 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves) gave a Marshall v Whitaker game from page 165 of the July 1911 American Chess Bulletin:

marshall
        whitaker

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 Bg7 5 d4 d6 6 Qd3 Nc6 7 h4 h6 8 hxg5 hxg5 9 Rxh8 Bxh8 10 e5 Kf8 11 Qh7 Bg7 12 Qh5 Qe7 13 Nxg5 Nxd4 14 Na3 d5 15 Bxd5 Qxe5+ 16 Kf1 Nh6 17 Bd2 Bf5 18 Bb4+ Kg8 19 Bxf7+ Kh8 20 Re1 Qf6 21 Be7 Qb6 22 Nc4 Qa6 23 Kg1 Bg4 24 Qh2 Nf5 25 Qxf4 Nxe7 26 Rxe7 Qf6 27 Ne5 Rf8 28 g3 Bf5 29 b4 Bxc2 30 Re6 Qd8 31 Ne4 Qd4+ 32 Kf1 Bd3+ 33 Nxd3 Qxd3+ 34 Kg2 Nxf7 35 Qh4+ Kg8 36 Rg6 Ne5 37 Rxg7+ Kxg7 38 Qe7+ Rf7 39 Qxe5+ Kf8 40 Qh8+ Ke7 41 Qe5+ Kd8 42 Qh8+ Ke7 Drawn.

The introduction stated that the game was played ‘earlier this year’, and we duly gave the date 1911, as did John Hilbert in his monograph on Whitaker (see pages 37, 324 and 350).

On page 502 of the December 1969 Chess Life & Review Whitaker put 1910:

marshall
        whitaker

In reality, the game was played in 1909:

marshall
        whitaker

Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Sports Section), 28 August 1909, page 5

marshall
        whitaker

Times-Democrat, 19 September 1909, page 9.

Both newspapers gave one further move, 43 Qe5+.



Discovered mate

A game from page 157 of the 15 July 1887 issue of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle:

N.N. – van Foreest
Amsterdam, date?
King’s Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 h4 g4 5 Ne5 Nf6 6 Bc4 d5 7 exd5 Bg7 8 d4 Nh5 9 c3 O-O 10 O-O Qxh4 11 Bxf4 g3 12 Bxg3 Nxg3 13 Nf3 Qh1+ 14 Kf2 Ne4+ 15 Ke3 Qxg2 16 Qe2 Bh6+ 17 Kd3

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17...Bf5 18 Qxg2+ Ng3 mate.

It is unclear whether Black was Arnold E. van Foreest (1863-1954) or Dirk van Foreest (1862-1956). Lodewijk Prins (Heemstede, the Netherlands), the author of Een Hulde aan Jhr. Dr. Dirk van Foreest (Lochem, 1945), tells us:

‘In their early twenties they were renowned for spending days and nights playing chess within their circle of friends. Dirk was a paragon of solidity, whereas Arnold cultivated the coffee-house style. I feel that Arnold probably played the game in question, but how the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle got hold of it puzzles me.’

(2070)



Lasker v Steinitz discrepancy

From Brad Thomson (Ottawa, Canada):

‘While preparing an article (published on pages 34-39 of the June 1994 En Passant) on the 100th anniversary of the Lasker v Steinitz match, which concluded in Montreal, I noticed that the three sources I was using did not agree at one point. In game 17, Steinitz’s last victory, the following position arose:

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C. Devidé’s book on Steinitz gives Lasker playing 21 Ne1 c5 22 Qd2 Be6 23 b4 Qc7, and now 24 d5, at which point all sources agree again. But the move order given in The World Chess Championship: Steinitz to Alekhine by P. Morán and in the Weltgeschichte volume on Lasker is 21 b4 Qc7 22 Ne1 c5 23 Qd2 Be6 and now 24 d5, whereupon the transposition is complete.’

We add that the logical latter version is supported by such contemporary sources as the Deutsche Schachzeitung (July 1894, page 202), the BCM (July 1894, page 300) and the Chess Monthly (July 1894, pages 335-336).

(2071)



Smyslov v Reshevsky

Andreas Keller (Berne, Switzerland) writes:

‘There seems to be an inaccuracy in H. Golombek’s book The World Chess Championship, 1948 which is not mentioned in the foreword to the 1982 BCM reprint. At move 42 in the 11th-round game between Smyslov and Reshevsky the following position was reached:

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Golombek states that play went: 42 Kg3 Kf8 43 f3 Ra1 44 Kf4 a2 45 e5 Kg8 46 Kf5 Rf1 47 Rxa2 Rxf3+ 48 Kg6 Kf8 49 Ra8+ Ke7 50 Ra7+ Resigns.

However, the tournament books by Euwe and Keres, as well as Smyslov’s autobiographical collections, give: 42 Kg3 Re2 43 Kf3 Ra2 44 Ke3 Kf8 45 f3 Ra1 46 Kf4 a2 47 e5 Kg8 48 Kf5 Rfl 49 Rxa2 Rxf3+ 50 Kg6 Kf8 51 Ra8+ Ke7 52 Ra7+ Resigns.’

(2072)

Werner Kühne (Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany) sends a copy of the Russian bulletin of the world championship match-tournament, Na pervenstvo mira, 15 April 1948, No. 9, page 5. This, together with several other sources, would suggest that Golombek’s version of the final moves of the game between Smyslov and Reshevsky was incorrect.

(2110)



A Staunton position

Louis Blair (Keyser, WV, USA) submits a position discussed on pages 26-27 of The Chess-Player’s Handbook by Howard Staunton (various – but all? – editions):

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Staunton writes:

‘White is enabled to castle, giving check to the adverse king at the same time, and win the game easily, for Black has no square to which he can move his king without going into check, and is consequently obliged to interpose his Q. at K.B’s second or K.B’s third square [f7 and f6 respectively], in either case being checkmated in two more moves, as you will soon be able to see.’

Our correspondent wonders where the mate in two is after ...Qf6.

(2073)



Schlechter

Carl Schlechter! Life and Times of the Austrian Chess Wizard by Warren Goldman (Yorklyn, 1994) is a posthumous work of 537 pages in which the author presents an extraordinarily detailed account of a master too easily remembered solely for his drawn match against Lasker in 1910. As noted on page 51, Lasker wrote of Schlechter: ‘He knows every part of the game, opening, middle and particularly the ending. All adjectives apply to his style; it is bold and cautious, straightforward and trappy, complicated and simple, hard to define, and withal personal’.

When we once remarked to Warren Goldman that our favourite Schlechter game was his win against Walter John at Barmen, 1905, he told us that his own choice was the ‘heroic defence’ masterpiece against Schiffers (Vienna, 1898). Since both games are well known, we choose a lighter battle here:

Cavera – Carl Schlechter
Milan, 3 June 1901
Philidor’s Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 f5 4 dxe5 fxe4 5 Ng5 d5 6 Nc3 c6 7 f4 Nh6 8 Be2 Be7 9 h4 O-O 10 Bh5 Qb6 11 g4 Nd7 12 e6

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12...Ne5 13 Bf7+ Nhxf7 14 exf7+ Rxf7 15 Nxf7 Nf3+ 16 Kf1 Bxg4 17 Nxd5 cxd5 18 Qxd5 Bh3+ 19 Ke2 Be6 20 Qxe4 Nd4+ 21 Kd1 Bg4+ 22 Ke1 Bxh4+ 23 Kf1 Be2+ 24 Kg1 Nf3+ 25 Kg2 Qf2+ 26 White resigns.

This handsome hardback is extensively illustrated with rare photographs and documents. Sixty pages are devoted to analysing the games of the world championship match against Lasker and the controversy regarding the conditions under which it was fought.

It is hard to imagine any chess enthusiast who would not treasure this enchanting book.

(2077)



More fine books

Published at the end of 1994 by Games & Puzzles: The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants by D.B. Pritchard. In a 384-page hardback the author offers alphabetically-organized entries on an astonishing array of games deviating from the ‘normal’ chess rules. What a pleasure to see a writer showing such mastery of a broad field.

John Nunn’s Best Games (London, 1995; a 320-page paperback) has already been eulogized by many critics, and deservedly so. C.N. has frequently had harsh words for Batsford’s productions, but here is a superlative autobiographical games collection whose hallmarks are depth, clarity and common sense.

Also recommended are two beautifully produced hardbacks (256 pages each) from New in Chess. Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam’s Finding Bobby2 Fischer is an anthology of interviews with leading chess figures which have been published in the Dutch magazine over the past decade. Chess the Adventurous Way by Jan Timman presents 80 of his games, annotated in characteristically brilliant style.

(2078)



Morphy v Löwenthal

Ignacio Vidau Cabal (Gijón, Spain) asks how many games Morphy and Löwenthal contested in New Orleans in 1850. Some sources state two, others three.

C.N. 1015 pointed out that extensive research by David Lawson on pages 24-35 of his 1976 biography of Morphy had demonstrated that there were three games. On the other hand, although Paul Morphy, partidas completas (Madrid, 1993) by the error-prone Rogelio Caparrós purports to give the scores of three games, two of them (the draw on page 19 and the Morphy win on page 20) are virtually identical. The score of the third game has never been found.

(2081)



Flesch’s blindfold performance

Eliot Hearst and John Knott are studying the history of blindfold chess and are looking for information about the exact circumstances of the alleged simultaneous exhibition world record by János Flesch in Budapest in 1960. Two Hungarian correspondents – Iván Bottlik (Budapest) and Zoltán Blázsik (Szeged) – have drawn our attention to the report on page 172 of the November 1960 Magyar Sakkélet [see below]. Can anyone take the story further? Messrs Hearst and Knott are also seeking documentation about, inter alia, the blindfold records set by Najdorf.

(2087)

flesch



Another Junge

otto junge

N.N.-Otto Junge, Concepción, Chile, 1909?

Black to move

1...Nxe5 2 dxe5 Qg2 and Black wins. The purpose of the knight sacrifice was to prevent White from castling.

Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 27 February 1910, page 81.

It is probable that Black was Klaus Junge’s father, given that his name was indeed Otto and that Concepción was the birthplace of Klaus.

(2090)

A further game by Otto Junge:

Schwarz – Otto Junge
Hamburg-Altona, 21 December 1905
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 exd5 4 Bd3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bg4 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Nbd2 Be7 8 c3 O-O 9 Qc2 Re8 10 Ne5 Bd6 11 f4 Bxe5 12 fxe5 Nxe5 13 dxe5 Rxe5 14 Kf2 Qd6 15 Rae1? Rae8 16 Nf1 Rxe3! 17 Rxe3 Rxe3!! 18 Kxe3 Qb6+ 19 Kf4

otto junge

19...Qe6!! 20 Kg3 Qe1+! 21Kf4 Bd1 22 Bxh7+ Kf8 23 Qf5 Nh5+ 24 Kg5 f6+ 25 Kg6 Qe8 mate.

Source: Wiener Schachzeitung, July-August 1906, pages 223-224.

The game was annotated by Georg Marco, but only his punctuation is given above. Another game by Otto Junge (‘of Hamburg’) is to be found on page 14 of Hermann Heemsoth’s 75 meiner schönsten Partien (Kelkeim, 1990). It was played in the 1947-48 Klaus Junge Memorial Tournament.

(2179)



A quick Botvinnik loss

It is odd to think of Botvinnik losing a 19-move Evans Gambit but such a game has been published.

Ilya Ibramovich Kan – Mikhail Moseevich Botvinnik
USSR Championship (semi-final section), Odessa, 12 September 1929
Evans Gambit Declined

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bb6 5 a4 a6 6 Nc3 Nf6 7 Nd5 Nxe4 8 O-O O-O 9 d3 Nf6 10 Bg5 d6 11 Nd2 Bg4 12 Bxf6 Qc8 13 Nxb6 cxb6 14 f3 Be6 15 Bh4 Nxb4 16 Be7 Qc5+ 17 Kh1 Rfe8 18 Ne4 Qc6 19 Bxd6 Black resigns.

Source: Ajedrez, January 1930, page 12.

(2094)



Magic squares

Carlo Cappello (Milan, Italy) refers to Chapter 2 of Tartakower’s Bréviaire des échecs, which mentions an hypothesis ‘put forward in 1931 by a distinguished Russian amateur L. Isaïeff’ suggesting a relationship between the move of the knight and magic squares. More information on this hypothesis is requested. During its first few years (i.e. starting in 1846) the Deutsche Schachzeitung had well over a hundred pages on the general subject.

(2095)


The knight’s tour

Awani Kumar (Uttarkashi, India) raises the subject of the knight’s tour (whereby a knight visits each square once only). He draws attention to widely varying figures suggested for the number of possibilities (e.g. Your First Move by A. Sokolsky, page 15; The Complete Book of Chess by I.A. Horowitz and P. Rothenberg, page 183; The Even More Complete Chess Addict by M. Fox and R. James, pages 277-278).

(2098)



Alekhine v Vidmar Junior

Black in the game below was Dr Milan Vidmar’s son, then aged nearly 21.

Alexander Alekhine (simultaneous) – Milan Vidmar Junior
Ljubljana, 11 December 1930
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 Nbd7 5 Bg5 Be7 6 a3 O-O 7 e3 c6 8 Bd3 dxc4 9 Bxc4 b5 10 Ba2 a6 11 e4 c5 12 e5 Ne8 13 Bxe7 Qxe7 14 d5 exd5 15 Nxd5 Qd8 16O.O Nc7 17 Nxc7 Qxc7 18 e6 fxe6 19 Bxe6+ Kh8 20 Ng5 Nf6 21 Qf3 Bb7 22 Qh3 h6 23 f4 Ne4 24 Bf5 Rxf5 25 Qxf5 hxg5 26 fxg5 c4 27 Kh1Qc5 28 Qh3+ Kg8 29 g6 Ng5 30 Qg4 Ne4 and Black resigned.

Source: Magyar Sakkvilág, February 1931, page 70.

(2099)

For a photograph of Milan Vidmar Junior, see C.N. 6960.



By transposition

The Ruy López may occur even if White plays 1 d4. The game between J. Berger and A. Nimzowitsch at Carlsbad on 3 September 1907 (a 44-move draw) began 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d6 3 Nbd2 Nc6 4 e4 e6 5 c3 Be7 6 Bb5.

(Source: pages 38-239 of the tournament book.)

Wanted: other surprising transpositions.

(2100)

See also page 201 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves.



Bishop and knight ending

The ending with bishop, knight and king against a lone king is explained in countless books and is even described as ‘the most difficult Mate in Chess’ by Frank J. Marshall and J.C.H. Macbeth on page 117 of Chess Step by Step (New York, 1924). But when has the endgame occurred in actual play? Offhand we can think of only one example:

Wilhelm Hanstein – Carl Mayet
Berlin, 1 November 1837
King’s Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 Bg7 5 h4 h6 6 d4 d6 7 c3 g4 8 Bxf4 gxf3 9 Qxf3 Qe7 10 Nd2 Be6 11 e5 Bxc4 12 Qxb7 dxe5 13 Nxc4 exf4+ 14 Kf2 Qd8 15 Qxa8 Ne7 16 Qe4 O-O 17 Rae1 Nd5 18 g3 fxg3+ 19 Kxg3 Nf6 20 Qf5 Nc6 21 Rhg1 Ne7 22 Qf3 h5 23 Rgf1 Ng6 24 Ne5 Ng4 25 Nxg6 fxg6 26 Qc6 Bf6 27 Re6 Bxh4+ 28 Kh3 Bf6 29 Rfe1 Kg7 30 d5 Nf2+ 31 Kg2 Nd3 32 R1e4 g5 33 Kh2 Nf4 34 Re8 Rxe8 35 Rxe8 Qd6 36 Qxd6 cxd6 37 Ra8 Nxd5 38 Rxa7+ Kg6 39 a4 Be5+ 40 Kg1 h4 41 a5 h3 42 a6 h2+ 43 Kh1 g4 44 Ra8 Nc7 45 Rg8+ Kf7 46 Rxg4 Nxa6 47 Rg2 Ke6 48 Rc2 Kd5 49 b3 Kc5 50 Kg2 Nc7 51 Rc1 Nd5 52 c4 Nf4+ 53 Kf3 Kb4 54 Rb1 Nd3 55 Kg2 Nc5 56 Kh1 Nxb3 57 c5 dxc5 58 Re1 Bd4 59 Kxh2 c4 60 Kg2 c3 61 Kf3 c2 62 Ke4 Kc3 63 Rh1 c1(Q) 64 Rxc1+ Nxc1 ‘and Black won with knight and bishop against the solitary king’.

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Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, June 1858, pages 240-242.

(2121)

Ulrich Schimke (Göttingen, Germany) has checked the Tascbase databank, containing 146,000 games, and found 25 endings with bishop, knight and king against a lone king. The earliest is Flesch v Bárczay, Budapest, 1965, and the set includes a blindfold game Ljubojević v J. Polgar, Monaco, 1994. Only one of the 25 games was drawn (Lengyel v Loginov, Budapest, 1993)

(2129)

Carl-Eric Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) is another reader who has examined his database (Chess Assistant) for specimens of endings with bishop, knight and king against a lone king. It took 19 seconds for him to learn that there were 55 such games out of 400,000, i.e. one game in every 7,273.

(2136)



Banknotes

Jonathan Manley (Ilford, England) asks if there are any instances of money depicting chess, apart from the well-known Estonian banknotes featuring Paul Keres.

One case comes to mind. Schachfirma Fruth, Unterhaching, Germany is selling ‘emergency money’ from the early 1920s, during which period of hyperinflation German towns and villages were entitled to print their own currency. The banknotes included six chess series with 18 different chess motifs, including a portrait of Anderssen.

(2127)



Kingpin

We take this opportunity to remind readers that Jonathan Manley is the editor of Kingpin, a much-praised magazine which treats all aspects of chess with wit, candour and irreverence. Over the years, it has achieved many scoops, demonstrating a commitment to truth and openness that is woefully lacking in ‘standard’ pusillanimous chess journals.

... We must, however, declare a ‘personal interest’, as a regular contributor to Kingpin.

(2128)



Chess Fundamentals

Andrew Kinsman (New Malden, England) has placed on the Internet an analytical query (raised by Neil McDonald) regarding the game between F.F.L. Alexander and Sir George Thomas in the 1919-20 City of London Chess Championship.

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In section 25 of Chess Fundamentals Capablanca wrote that after 38 Nf4 Qh6 39 Qc2, ‘I take pleasure in offering the position to my readers as a most beautiful and extraordinary win for Black, beginning with 39...Qh3+!!! I leave the variations for the student to work out’.

Capablanca seldom accorded a move two exclamation marks, let alone three, but Neil McDonald believes 39...Qh3+ to be a blunder, refuted by 40 Nxh3 gxh3+ 41 Kh1 e2 42 Rbb1 exf1(Q)+ 43 Rxf1 Bg6 44 Rc1 Re3 45 Bxg6 hxg6, after which Black may still draw but is hardly winning.

The game has not been widely published, although Fred Reinfeld wrote on page 82 of A Treasury of British Chess Masterpieces (London, 1950) that Thomas’s finish was ‘one of the most beautiful conclusions in the whole range of chess literature’. Reinfeld referred to Capablanca and Chess Fundamentals but did not mention 39...Qh3+.

(2130)

As mentioned in a footnote on page 34 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, Sir George Thomas diffidently nominated this game as his best performance. See also The Best Chess Games.



Legall’s trap

A rare case of a master finding himself on the sharp end of Legall’s trap:

V. Sjöberg – Siegbert Tarrasch (simultaneous?)
Skifarp [modern spelling: Skivarp], 24 May 1911
Dutch Defence, Staunton Gambit

1 d4 f5 2 e4 fxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3 c5 5 d5 e5 6 dxe6 d5 7 fxe4 d4 8 e5 Nd5 9 Ne4 Bxe6 10 Nf3 Nc6 11 Bd3 Bg4 12 O-O Nxe5

sjoberg tarrasch

13 Nxe5 Bxd1 14 Bb5+ Ke7 15 Bg5+ Ke6 16 Bxd8 Kxe5 17 Ng5 Bh5 18 Rae1+ Ne3 19 Bc7+ Bd6 20 Ba5 Raf8 21 Rxe3+ dxe3 22 Bc3+ Kd5 23 Bxg7 Bxh2+ 24 Kxh2 Rxf1 25 Bxf1 Rg8 26 Nxh7 Rxg7 27 Nf6+ Ke5 28 Nxh5 Rf7 29 Ng3 Kf4 30 Bd3 a6 31 a4 Rc7 32 b3 Rc6 33 Ne2+ Kg4 34 Kg1 Rf6 35 Be4 Rf7 36 Nc3 b6 37 Bf3+ Kf4 38 Nd5+ Ke5 39 Nxe3 Resigns.

Source: Tidskrift för Schack, September-October 1911, pages 155-156, which contained brief notes by the winner.

(2133)



Who was Valenta?

Steinitz called the following ‘an instructive and beautifully terminated game’.

Hermann Neustadtl – O. Valenta
Prague, September 1889
Steinitz Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 exf4 4 d4 Qh4+ 5 Ke2 d5 6 exd5 Bg4+ 7 Nf3 O-O-O 8 dxc6 Bc5 9 cxb7+ Kb8 10 Nb5 a6 11 c3 axb5 12 Kd3 Bf5+ 13 Kd2 Qg4 14 Ke2 Nf6 15 Kf2 Ne4+ 16 Kg1 Ng5 17 Bxb5 Rxd4 18 cxd4 Bxd4+ 19 Kf1

neustadtl valenta

19...Qxg2+ 20 White resigns. (‘We do not remember having seen a finer two-move combination in actual play, and considering that it was forecalculated, we may say that Herr Valenta, who has hitherto been unknown to fame, certainly deserves a reputation in future’ – Steinitz.)

Source: International Chess Magazine, October 1889, pages 312-313.

Steinitz’s magazine inverted the names of the two players. Although this error was corrected on page 349 of the November 1889 issue, J.H. Ellis repeated it on page 127 of his anthology Chess Sparks (London, 1895). On the other hand, the brilliancy was duly credited to Valenta in various editions of the American anthology The Golden Treasury of Chess.

We have seen a few other games (not wins) by Valenta. Who was he?

(2134)

Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) sends extensive biographical information on Otakar Valenta (1859-1917), together with a number of games. From the latter we pick the following:

O. Valenta – Hermann Neustadtl
Prague, 1883
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 exd5 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Ne5 Bd6 6 Bg5 Qe7 7 f4 h6 8 Bh4 Bxe5 9 fxe5 Qb4+ 10 c3 Qxb2 11 exf6 Qxa1 12 fxg7 Rg8 13 Bb5+ c6 14 Qe2+ Be6 15 O-O cxb5 16 Qxb5+ Nd7 17 Qb4 f6 18 Bxf6 Nxf6 19 Rxf6 Bf7 20 Qxb7 Rxg7 21 Qxa8+ Ke7 22 Rf1 Qxa2 23 Qb7+ Kd8 24 Rf2 Qa1 25 Rf6 Ke8 26 Rc6 Kf8 27 Ra6 Resigns.

Source: Zlatá Praha, 28 July 1893.

(2174)



Obvious moves spurned

Wanted: cases where masters have spurned obvious moves. An example follows:

Victor Soultanbéieff – J. Kornreich
Ghent, October 1930
Queen’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 Nc3 Ne4 7 Qc2 Nxc3 8 bxc3 Nc6 9 O-O O-O 10 Ne5 Na5 11 Bxb7 Nxb7 12 Rd1 d6 13 Nc6 Qd7 14 Qe4 Bf6 15 Qf3 Qc8 16 g4 h6 17 Bxh6 Nd8 18 Qxf6 gxf6 19 Ne7+ Kh7

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20 Bxf8 (Soultanbéieff rewards this move with two exclamation marks and writes: ‘The point of the combination, whereas the weak move 20 Nxc8? would lose a piece after 20...Kxh6 21 Ne7 Re8. White is now threatening mate by Rd3-h3, and to avoid it Black has no option but to return the queen, with a decisive loss of material.’) 20...Nb7 21 Nxc8 Rxc8 22 Be7 Kg6 23 f4 Re8 24 f5+ Kg7 25 fxe6 Rxe7 26 exf7 Kxf7 27 Rf1 Kg6 28 Rf2 c5 29 Raf1 Rf7 30 Rf5 Na5 31 g5 Nxc4 32 Rxf6+ Rxf6 33 gxf6 Kf7 34 e4 Nd2 35 Rf4 Nc4 36 h4 Resigns.

Source: L’Echiquier, December 1930, pages 1060-1061.

(2137)



Alekhine on Capa’s endings

The Czech writers Jan Kalendovský and Vlastimil Fiala are producing a series of detailed books on Alekhine in English. The first (187 pages) was published in 1992 and covered the period 1892-1921; the second (464 pages) takes the story up to 1924.

The second volume contains several interviews with Alekhine in which he expresses a high opinion of Capablanca’s endgame play. For example, page 265 quotes from page 14 of České slovo of 17 June 1923, where the Russian master stated that he felt superior in the opening (‘since Capablanca tends to underestimate its importance’) but added: ‘Naturally, as far as the endgame is concerned, Capablanca has no rival; no-one among the contemporary masters has any chance to beat him in it’.

Just a few years later, Alekhine had a very different assessment of the Cuban. On page 16 of his book Das New Yorker Schachturnier 1927 (Berlin, 1928) he wrote:

‘In the endgame he is not to be feared by a first-class master since here it is only exceptionally that he manages to raise his play above average.’

In fairness to Alekhine, his view may have changed because he drew an inferior rook ending against Capablanca in the fourth round of the 1924 New York tournament (a game which Mark Dvoretsky analysed in depth in an article on pages 36-43 of issue 3 of the American Chess Journal in 1995). On page 2 of his book On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927 (Oxford, 1984) Alekhine described that game as a ‘revelation’ and wrote, ‘I was convinced that if I had been in Capablanca’s position I should certainly have won that game’.

In fairness to Capablanca, he was ill at the start of New York, 1924. It is, of course, impossible to know whether Alekhine was being sincere in any or all of the statements quoted above.

(2138)


Teichmann miniature

The following miniature is well known:

Richard Teichmann – N.N.
Berlin
(Remove White’s queen’s rook.)

1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qd8 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 Bc4 e6 6 h3 Bxf3 7 Qxf3 c6 8 d3 Qf6 9 Qg3 Nh6 10 Bg5 Qg6 11 Nb5 cxb5

dia

12 Qxb8+ Rxb8 13 Bxb5 mate.

A number of books, including the 1970/71 and 1995 editions of Jack Spence's monograph on Teichmann, give the occasion as a simultaneous exhibition in Zurich in 1920. However, Richard Forster (Winterthur, Switzerland) points out that the score appeared on page 108 of a book published six years earlier: Schachmeisterpartien des Jahres 1914, Band II, by Bernhard Kagan. The venue is not specified, but Kagan states that White gave the odds of his queen’s rook.

(2141)



Addition on pages 106-107 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves:

Richard Forster has now found the game on pages 123-124 of the August 1914 Schweizerische Schachzeitung, which took it from the Hamburger Nachrichten. It is stated that White did give the odds of his queen’s rook and that the game was ‘played recently at the Café Kerkau in Berlin’.



Peter Anderberg (Harmstorf, Germany) has found that a famous short game (1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qd8 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 Bc4 e6 6 h3 Bxf3 7 Qxf3 c6 8 d3 Qf6 9 Qg3 Nh6 10 Bg5 Qg6 11 Nb5 cxb5 12 Qxb8+ Rxb8 13 Bxb5 mate) was played a little earlier than previously thought:

‘C.N. 2141 (Kings, Commoners and Knaves, pages 106-107) dealt with the miniature Teichmann-N.N. Now I have located the game-score in Tägliche Rundschau (supplement) of 3 September 1913, page 820. White gave the odds of his queen’s rook, and the game was “played recently at the Café Kerkau”. It was subsequently reprinted in, for example, the Hamburger Nachrichten, 3 May 1914 and the Deutsche Schachzeitung, October 1914, page 319’

(3299)



A Czech brilliancy

Vaclav Kautský – J. Knapp
Prague, 28 April 1911
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4 c5 6 Nf3 f6 7 Be2 Nb6 8 O-O cxd4 9 Nb5 Bc5 10 Nfxd4 a6 11 exf6 axb5 12 fxg7 Rg8 13 Bxb5+ Ke7 14 f5 Kd6 15 f6 N6d7 16 b4 Bb6 17 c3 e5 18 Kh1 Nxf6 19 Bg5 Bg4 20 Qe1 Nbd7 21 g3 Rxg7

dia

22 Rxf6+ Nxf6 23 Qxe5+ and mate in three more moves.

Source: Časopis Československých Šachistů, September 1924, pages 138-139.

(2143)



Miracle


diag

E. Sonnenschein-N.N., Czechoslovakia, Date?

This position appeared on page 236 of CHESS, 14 March 1938 and makes a good quiz question: how can White save his e-pawn, relieve the pin on the e-file and win the bishop at f6?

The ingenious solution is: 1 c4 Bxg2 2 Rg1 Bh3 3 Rg3 Bd7 4 Re3 ‘and the miracle has happened’.

(2145)



Sacrificial attack

C.T. Shedden – E.H. Bermingham
Correspondence game, 1911
Bishop’s Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 Bc5 4 Nc3 d6 5 f4 Ng4 6 g3 Nf2 7 Qh5 g6 8 Qh6 Nxh1 9 f5 Nd7 10 Bg5 f6 11 Qg7 Rf8 12 Nd5 fxg5 13 fxg6 c6 14 gxh7 cxd5

dia

15 Qg6+ (‘Three pieces down and two others en prise.’) 15...Ke7 16 Bxd5 Nf6 17 Qg7+ Ke8 18 h8(Q) Qe7 19 Qxe7+ Kxe7 20 Qg7+ Ke8 21 Bb3 Bxg1 22 Kd2 Nxe4+ 23 dxe4 Rf2+ 24 Ke1 Rxh2 25 Ba4+ Kd8 26 Qxg5+ Kc7 27 Qe7+ Kb6 28 Qxd6+ Ka5 29 a3 Bf2+ 30 Kd1 Bg4+ 31 Kc1 b6 32 Qb4+ Ka6 33 Bc6 Resigns.

Source: BCM, December 1911, page 462. The magazine wrote: ‘Rarely have we seen such a series of offered sacrifices as in this spirited encounter.’

(2147)



Unauthoritative monographs

Why do so many biographical monographs contain elementary blunders and attach little attention to basic presentation? For example, Paul Morphy, partidas completas (Madrid, 1993), a pitiful ‘bilingual’ Spanish/English book by Rogelio Caparrós, is rife with factual mistakes, typographical errors and faulty language. Magic Morphy by Chély Abravanel and Philippe Clère (1994) twice claims that its subject died in 1886, instead of 1884.

Aljechin, der Grösste! by Egon Varnusz and Arpád Földeák (Velten and Düsseldorf, 1994) goes wrong on the master’s birth date and, even, on the moves and dates of a number of his most famous games.

On page 141 of Pour Philidor (Koblenz, 1994) C.M. Carroll claims that ‘during the first half of the twentieth century, Philidor was not a well-known figure in history. As far as I can determine, the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1926 went by totally unnoticed ...’ To give just one straightforward refutation of that, the October 1926 BCM had a two-page article on Philidor by John Keeble whose first sentence referred to the bicentennial.

The ‘Champion Endgame Series’, published in the United States by Sergey Akhpatelov and Stephen Gordon, consists of monographs on Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine and Euwe, with more threatened. Steinitz’s forename is misspelled (‘Willhelm’) on the front cover of volume 1. The other books have a few lines of career information, seldom accurate. Lasker’s death date is wrong. Capablanca’s 1921 score against Lasker is incorrect, as are Alekhine’s birth and death dates. We learn that Alekhine ‘died March, 25 1946 in Portuguese’ and that hewon in 49 large toutnaments’ [sic]. Lasker ‘won in 13 large toutnaments’ [sic]. Twice in the Euwe volume (once on the front cover) the Dutchmans year of death is given as 1986, instead of 1981.

(Kingpin, 1995)



James Mason/Patrick Dwyer

There is an article about James Mason by Jim Hayes on pages 10-15 of the March 1997 CHESS. On the basis of detailed research in Kilkenny, Ireland, where was Mason was born, Mr Hayes attempted to solve one of chess history’s most enduring mysteries: what was James Mason’s real name? Although ‘absolute final proof’ was admitted to be lacking, he expressed the view that there was ‘overwhelming evidence in favour of him being Patrick Dwyer’.


Chess Café, 1998

Jean-Pierre Rhéaume (Montreal, Canada) asks whether, further to C.N. 6126 and our feature article on R.J. Buckley, any new information is available from a reliable source as to whether James Mason’s original name was Patrick Dwyer.

(11893)

John Townsend (Wokingham, England) writes:

‘In answer to your correspondent’s query in C.N. 11893, it seems fair to say that there is a lack of direct evidence linking Patrick Dwyer to James Mason, and, hence, the case for it is not a strong one.

In addition, a specific (and almost certainly fatal) flaw in the argument may be found in the circumstances of the baptism of “Pat Dwyer”, which was discussed in an article by Jim Hayes, entitled “James Mason 1849-1905”, on the Irish Chess Union website. Mr Hayes commented:

“... the balance of probability being that Patrick Dwyer, son of John Dwyer with mother’s maiden name given as Mary Dwyer, both of Barrack Street, Kilkenny, who was baptized on 20 November 1849, in St John’s parish in the city of Kilkenny, was to become the future James Mason.”

This baptism register can be viewed on-line at Ancestry.com. Two pages further on in the same register (on page 114) is to be found the baptism of a second “Pat Dwyer”, evidently to the same parents, on 9 March 1850. The normal reason for parents reusing a forename is that the first child has died, and there seems no reason to suspect that this is an exception (although it would obviously mean that the first baby of that name had been born at least nine months before 9 March 1850).

That the parents were the same in the two baptismal entries is corroborated by the names of the godparents and the place of residence, both of which are identical. The only slight irregularity, which is of no consequence, is that the parents in the first baptism were recorded as John Dwyer and “Mary D[itt]o”, while in the second entry the mother’s former surname is given, Mary Walsh, as is common practice in Catholic registers, and in keeping with other entries in this one.

As regards the “Pat Dwyer” who was baptized on 9 March 1850, there seems little reason for anyone to suggest that he could have become James Mason. To judge from remarks made by Mr Hayes in his article, it would seem that baptism within a day or two of 19 November 1849 was a key factor in his choice of Patrick Dwyer.’

(11899)



Harrwitz blindfold performance

Bernhard Horwitz and George Perigal – Daniel Harrwitz (blindfold)
London, 1846 or 1847

(Remove White’s queen’s rook.)

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5 6 Bb5+ Bd7 7 Qe2 Bd6 8 Bxd7+ Qxd7 9 c4 b6 10 Nc3 O-O 11 O-O Nb7 12 d3 Rae8 13 Kh1 h6 14 Nh3 Qg4 15 f3 Qh5 16 Nb5 e4 17 Qd1 exf3 18 Rxf3 Re7 19 Bd2 Ng4 20 Nxd6 Nxd6 21 Qg1 Rfe8 22 Nf4 Qh4 23 g3 Qf6 24 Bc3 Qf5 25 h3 Ne5 26 Qd4 f6 27 Rf2 h5 28 Kg2 Ndf7 29 b4 Ng5 30 c5 Nef3 31 Qc4 Ne1+ 32 Bxe1 Rxe1 33 d6+ Kh7 34 h4 Ne6 35 Nd5 Qg4 36 Qxg4 hxg4 37 d7 Rd8 38 c6 Re5 39 Nc3 Nd4 40 b5 Nxb5 41 Nxb5 Rxb5 42 d4 Kg6 43 Re2 Kf7 44 Kf2 Rf5+ 45 Ke3 Rd5 46 Kd3 Rd6 47 Rc2 Rf8 48 Ke4 Ke6 49 Re2 f5+ 50 Kd3+ Kf7 51 Rc2 Ke7 52 a4 Rff6 53 Re2 Rde6 54 Rxe6+ Rxe6 55 d5 Rd6 56 Kd4 g6

dia

57 Ke5 a6 58 Kd4 b5 59 axb5 axb5 60 Ke5 b4 61 Kd4 Rxd5+ 62 Kxd5 b3 63 Ke5 b2 64 Kf4 b1(Q) 65 Kg5 Qe4 66 h5 gxh5 67 Kxh5 Qxc6 68 Kg5 Qxd7 69 Kg6 Qe6+ 70 Kg5 Kf7 71 Kf4 Kg7 72 Kg5 Qe4 73 Kh5 Kf6 74 K moves Qh1 mate.

Source: Chess Player’s Chronicle, 30 January 1847, pages 33-34. Staunton’s magazine commented: ‘It is not often, over the chess board even, that anything finer or truer is seen than the play of Black throughout this game. When one looks at the precision of these latter moves, and remembers under what circumstances they were played, the whole thing becomes a marvel, as curious as it is inexplicable.’ The game lasted five hours.

(2153)



An entertaining game

N.N. – W.M. de Visser
Manhattan Chess Club, New York, date?
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Nxe4 6 d4 Be7 7 Re1 f5 8 dxe5 O-O 9 Bb3+ Kh8 10 Bf4 g5 11 Be3 g4 12 Nd4 Nxe5 13 Nxf5 Rxf5 14 Bd4 d5 15 f4 gxf3 16 gxf3 Rg5+ 17 Kh1 Bf6 18 fxe4 Bh3 19 Rg1 Ng4 20 Nc3 c5 21 Bxc5 Qc7 22 Rxg4 Bxg4 23 Qf1 Bxc3 24 bxc3 Qxc5 25 Qf6+ Rg7 26 Rf1 Rg8 27 h3

dia

27...Bf3+ 28 Kh2 Qd6+ 29 Qxd6 Rg2+ 30 Kh1 Rf2 mate.

Source: Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, 15 March 1887, page 94.

(2155)



A Kostić miniature

A game taken from pages 46-47 of part 1 of Schachjahrbuch für 1911 by L. Bachmann:

Georg Wiarda – Boris Kostić
Cologne, 15 April 1911
Four Knights’ Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bb5 Bb4 5 O-O O-O 6 d3 Nd4 7 Bc4 c6 8 Bg5 d5 9 exd5 Bg4 10 dxc6 Qc8 11 Bxf6 Bxf3 12 gxf3 Qh3 13 cxb7 Rae8 14 Bd5

dia

14...e4 15 b8(Q) Rxb8 16 Bxd4 Bd6 17 Re1 Bxh2+ 18 Kh1 Be5+ 19 Kg1 Bxd4 20 Rxe4 Rb6 21 Qf1 Qxf3 22 Re6 Qg4+ 23 Qg2 Qxg2+ 24 Bxg2 fxe6 25 Ne4 Rxb2 26 White resigns.

(2158)



Bishop v knight ending

An instructive piece of endgame play:

pirc flohr

V. Pirc-S. Flohr, Rogaska Slatina, 1929

40...a4! 41 b4 d4!! 42 Nxd4 Kd5 43 Kg2 Ba6 44 f3 Kc4! 45 fxe4 Kc3 46 Nf5 Kb3 47 Nd6 Bd3! 48 e5 Bg6 49 h4 Kxa3 50 Kf3 Kxb4 51 Kg4 a3 52 h5 Bxh5+ 53 Kxh5 a2 54 White resigns.

Punctuation by Flohr, who presented this ending on page 189 of the December 1929 Československý Šach. It was also annotated, under the title ‘a Flohr masterpiece’, by Roberto Grau on pages 38-39 of the February 1940 El Ajedrez Americano. Since the whole game appeared on pages 73-78 of the Rogaska Slatina, 1929 tournament book, it may be wondered why such an interesting piece of play has been so neglected.

(2161)



Tarrasch Defence

A strange article appeared on page 169 of the June 1918 BCM concerning a little-known line in the Queen’s Gambit Declined. It was reported that during a recent lecture at the Mercantile Library in Philadelphia Marshall had improvised ‘the following remarkable game’:

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 c5 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 cxd5 exd5 6 g3 cxd4 (‘This move, introduced by Marshall, if not properly answered, yields Black a good game.’) 7 Nxd4 Nc6 8 Nxc6 bxc6 9 Bg2 Bc5 10 O-O O-O 11 Bg5 h6 12 Bxf6 Qxf6

dia

13 Nxd5 cxd5 14 Qxd5 Bxf2+ 15 Rxf2 Qxb2 16 Rxf7 Rxf7 17 Rf1 Qb6+, and here the article ends rather mysteriously with the question ‘And what is the verdict?’

Wanted: more information about this line.

(2163)

The moves occurred in the game Marshall v Důras, Budapest, 1912.



Best books

Wanted: published nominations for the best-ever chess book. Three are given below:

i) ‘Signor C. Salvioli has reclaimed the birthright of chess literature for Italy. Without exception the first volume of his Teoria e Pratice [del giuoco] degli Scacchi as a collection of games alone is the most valuable chess book extant in any language’. W. Steinitz, on page 83 of the March 1885 issue of the International Chess Magazine.

ii) On page 151 of Instructions to Young Chess-players by H. Golombek (London, 1958) Réti’s Modern Ideas in Chess was described as ‘the best book ever written on chess’.

iii) ‘Without question, Chess Fundamentals, by Capablanca.’ M. Botvinnik, interviewed on page 26 of Chess Life, March 1984.

(2165)



Botvinnik v Suttles

Jorge Luis Fernández (Mendoza, Argentina) queries the analysis on page 401 of Botvinnik’s Partidas Selectas, volume 3: (Madrid, 1992)

dia

Mikhail Botvinnik-Duncan Suttles, Belgrade, 1969

White to move

Botvinnik writes that instead of 25 Rf3 he should have played 25 b3!! and if 25...Rxe4 26 Rxe4 Bxf1 White wins easily by 27 Ne6+ Kg8 28 Qb2 Ne5 29 Rxe5 dxe5 30 Qxe5 Rc7 31 Qxc7.

However, our correspondent suggests that 30...Kf7 would at least draw.

Similar analysis by Botvinnik appeared on page 323 of his book Analiticheskiye I Kriticheskiye Raboti 1957-1970 (Moscow, 1986), where he attributes the line to the Bulgarian master Tringov. The Spanish book does not mention Tringov by name, thereby giving the impression that the ‘Bulgarian master’ was Suttles, who is Canadian. Botvinnik gave different analysis on page 194 of Selected Games 1967-1970 (Oxford, 1981).

(2178)


Bogoljubow

A game which has seemingly escaped the anthologists and theoreticians:

Efim Dimitrijewitsch Bogoljubow – Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich
Triberg, February 1917
Nimzo-Indian Defence

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

dia

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.

(2196)



Unique queen sacrifices?

A. Rhode – Willi Schlage
Correspondence game, 1917
Two Knights’ Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 5 O-O Bc5 6 e5 d5 7 Bb5 Ne4 8 Nxd4 Bd7 9 Nb3 Ne7 10 Bd3 Bb6 11 Bxe4 dxe4 12 Bg5 h6 13 Bh4 g5 14 Bg3 h5 15 h3 Nf5 16 Kh1 e3 17 Nc3 h4 18 Bh2 exf2 19 Nd5 Ng3+ 20 Bxg3 hxg3 21 Nf6+

dia

21…Qxf6 22 Qxd7+ (Schlage: ‘The only move. These successive queen sacrifices, which are also the first moves by both queens, are most likely unique in chess literature.’ 22 exf6 is refuted by 22…Rxh3+ and 23…Bc6+.) 22…Kxd7 23 exf6 Rag8 24 Rfd1+ Ke6 25 Nd2 g4 26 Nf1 gxh3 27 Rd3 hxg2+ 28 Kxg2

dia

28…Rh1 29 White resigns.

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, May 1917, pages 106-107.

(2197)



Hype

Wanted: examples of chess hype. To begin with, three examples from what should prove to be fertile terrain:

From page viii of the Philadelphia, 1876 tournament book: ‘Harry Davidson, of Philadelphia, probably the most brilliant player in the country.’

Title of an article about John Litvinchuk on pages 15-17 of the March 1980 Chess Life: ‘America’s Most Promising Junior Ever?’.

In 1997 Rick Melton of Arizona brought out two spiral-bound volumes entitled The Complete Book of Chess Tournament Crosstables, covering 1851-1948 and 1949-1967. The ‘Complete’ was accentuated in the title but is complete nonsense. From the period 1851 to 1870 Mr Melton presented seven tournaments, whereas the corresponding figure for the first volume of Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Tournament Crosstables, published in 1969, was 30.

(2201)

The dust-jacket of Chess by K.M. Grover and T. Wiswell stated: ‘Kenneth M. Grover, when 12 years old, was hailed as a chess child-prodigy, and today he is America’s number-one chess player.’ The original (1941) US edition called him ‘America’s Number One chess and checker exhibition player’. In their other books, Let’s Play Checkers (New York, 1940) and Twentieth Century Checkers (Philadelphia, 1946), the twosome also awarded themselves high-pitched write-ups. The back-cover of the former said of Grover: ‘He is America’s No. 1 checker and chess exhibition star and is popularly known as the “Mighty Mite”.’

(2345)

‘One of the greatest masters in the world’ is the description of Fred Reinfeld in the entry for his book Scacchi per ragazzi on page 16 of Lineamenti di una bibliografia italiana degli scacchi by A. Sanvito (Rome, 1997). Our thanks to Alessandro Nizzola (Mantova, Italy) for drawing our attention to this considerable exaggeration.

The English-language edition of Reinfeld’s book, Chess for Children, called him a ‘Leading Chess Master’ and the ‘world-famous chess writer and champion player’. The dust-jacket also declared:

‘Fred Reinfeld is an author extraordinary. Some of his many readers call him a “genius”, and all recognize his versatility and talent. He is probably the most prolific American writer living today, author of about 75 books (more than he can count, he says).’

Yet those affirmations are like the gospel truth compared to the self-glorification in which Cardoza Publishing has recently allowed its chess writers to indulge – dregs pretending to be cream.

(2377)

See too Hype in Chess.


Misspellings

Tentative nomination for the chess book with the most misspellings of players’ names: Traité du jeu des échecs by Jean Taubenhaus (Paris, 1910). For example, pages 222-223 alone refer to de Rivièr, Andersen, Teichman, Maison, Tarrasche, Mises, Zuckertort, Levis, Marocy, Veiss, Jaowski, Vinaver, Lepchitz, Soldatenkor, Benstock, Forgace, Snosko-Borouski, Holperin, Salve, Zukerlort, Blackburn, Marschal, Nuzio, Cochran, Kieseritzki and Chotard.

The proofreader is apparently still alive and working on books by Dimitrije Bjelica.

(2212)



Opening fashions

Zukertort’s view, culled from page 53 of the Chess Monthly, October 1879:

‘Chess openings are, like everything else, governed by the tyrannical law of fashion. Tried friends are neglected and superseded by upstarts of doubtful origin, whose only claim to favour is that some chess swell patronized them on a more or less important occasion. All the wisdom and science of analytical writers will fail to dethrone one opening or raise another on the pedestal of public favour.’

(2233)

From an article (unsigned) in the Chess World, 1865, pages 97-99:

‘… We could willingly banish from the chess state that servile reproduction of others’ thoughts and learning which marks the hackneyed player, and in its stead bring back again something like invention and original ability. Chessplayers of the present day study too much when away from, too little when at, the board.

… If players would but come to the game in the spirit rather than with the exact words of Lewis, they would in a short space of time do much more for the general cause of chess and for their own individual skill than they will ever do under the present vicious system. Amongst the brute creation, a donkey obeying nature is a most useful and valuable animal, but if dressed in a lion’s skin it becomes ridiculous, for, alas!, it cannot get rid of either its voice or its ears.

… We unhesitatingly assert that those players who aim at being most scientific, and place their chief reliance on a knowledge of openings, are not in the long run the most successful. Cochrane was more learned than Deschapelles, McDonnell than Labourdonnais, Löwenthal than Harrwitz; yet native wit triumphed. In the first of these instances the result is the more remarkable, because no more original player than Cochrane ever lived …’

(2507)



Winning streaks

From page 220 of Schlechter’s Chess Games by Tom Crain (Yorklyn, 1998):

‘Starting back in Pistyan, 1912, up to and including [Vienna, 1915], Schlechter had played 117 competitive tournament games. He lost only twice, once to Tartakower in the Vienna Chess Club anniversary tournament, in 1913, and once to Kaufmann, in Vienna, 1914. An extraordinary record. Even though Lasker had a lower percentage of lost games in his career than Schlechter, Lasker never approached this record. In fact, none of Schlechter’s fin de siècle contemporaries ever approached this record, not Tarrasch, Pillsbury, Maróczy, Rubinstein, no-one. No-one, that is, until Capablanca set his more widely known record. Starting with New York, 1915, up to and including New York, 1924, Capablanca played 112 competitive games (89 tournament games and 23 match games). He lost only twice, once to Chajes in New York, 1916, and the other was his celebrated loss to Réti in New York, 1924. The point is this: not only had Schlechter proved himself Lasker’s equal in 1910, he also proved he was as “invincible” as Capablanca. Schlechter was, indeed, the zwischenzug between the two world champions.’

In fact, Capablanca’s total should read 108, since there were only 19 match games.

(2282)

Page 94 of Deutsches Wochenschach, 25 April 1920 reported that since his arrival in Berlin at the beginning of the previous year A.S. Selesniev had played some 50 master games (against, among others, Bogoljubow, Réti and Spielmann) without defeat.

(2314)



All pieces sacrificed

On page 37 of the 5/1999 New in Chess Gregory Serper referred to a game in which he sacrificed all his pieces:

Gregory Serper – Ioannis Nikolaidis
St Petersburg, 1993
King’s Indian Defence

1 c4 g6 2 e4 Bg7 3 d4 d6 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Nge2 Nbd7 6 Ng3 c6 7 Be2 a6 8 Be3 h5 9 f3 b5 10 c5 dxc5 11 dxc5 Qc7 12 O-O h4 13 Nh1 Nh5 14 Qd2 e5 15 Nf2 Nf8 16 a4 b4 17 Nd5 cxd5 18 exd5 f5 19 d6 Qc6 20 Bb5 axb5 21 axb5 Qxb5 22 Rxa8 Qc6 23 Rfa1 f4 24 R1a7 Nd7 25 Rxc8+ Qxc8 26 Qd5 fxe3 27 Qe6+ Kf8 28 Rxd7 exf2+ 29 Kf1 Qe8 30 Rf7+ Qxf7 31 Qc8+ Qe8 32 d7 Kf7 33 dxe8(Q)+ Rxe8 34 Qb7+ Re7 35 c6 e4 36 c7 e3 37 Qd5+ Kf6 38 Qd6+ Kf7 39 Qd5+ Kf6 40 Qd6+ Kf7 41 Qxe7+ Kxe7 42 c8(Q) Bh6 43 Qc5 Ke8 44 Qb5+ Kd8 45 Qb6+ Kd7 46 Qxg6 e2+ 47 Kxf2 Be3+ 48 Ke1 Resigns.

Remarkable indeed.

(2312)



Chasing the king

Positions are sought where a king was chased to its doom, as in the following specimen:

loman
        mueller

R.J. Loman-O. Müller, London, 1897

Loman played: 1 Qh6+ Ke5 2 Qe6+ Kd4 3 Qd5+ Ke3 4 Qd3+ Kf2 5 Qf1+ Kg3 6 Ne2+ Kh4 7 Qh1+ Kg5 8 Qh5+ Kf6 9 Qh6+ Ke5 10 Qe6 mate.

Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 11 July 1897, page 227.

(2462)



Caricatures

Occasional C.N. items will reproduce caricatures of chess figures. Here is a less than flattering depiction of the Argentine master Roberto Grau (1900-44), taken from page 50 of M. Czerniak’s book, published in Buenos Aires in 1946, Torneo Internacional del Círculo de Ajedrez Octubre 1939:

grau

(2491)



Steinitz challenges Anderssen

It tends to be forgotten that in 1866 there was some criticism of Steinitz’s wish to play a match against Anderssen. For example, the following appeared on page 379 of the February 1866 issue of the Chess World:

‘… the error committed by Mr Steinitz in consenting to this match is as nothing compared to that which he is rumoured to have in contemplation, to wit, the challenging of Mr Anderssen to a contest, upon even terms, for £100 a side! We suspect, however, and hope that this absurd report will prove to be an idle hoax.’

‘This match’ was a reference to Steinitz’s encounter with De Vere, in which he gave the odds of pawn and move. De Vere won with a score of +7 –3 =2.

(2508)



Open to doubt

C.N. 2436 quoted some advice from page 67 of How to Play Chess by Charlotte Boardman Rogers (New York, 1907):

‘The object of the game is, of course, to checkmate the king, and before the first move, the player should determine in his own mind how he is going to do it and then develop the fighting qualities of his men accordingly.’

The same page of the book offers this pronouncement:

‘In the early days of chess-playing, people used to take literally weeks in which to make a single move, as they wished to study every possible situation which might develop therefrom. The chessboard would become grey with dust and all interest, as far as the spectators were concerned, would be gone.’

(2512)



Lasker on Lasker

From a letter (written in Moscow on 23 April 1936) which Emanuel Lasker had published on pages 357-358 of the 14 May 1936 issue of CHESS:

‘Réti’s alleged remark that my conception of chess as a fight is fully in accordance with my philosophy to fight against my opponent not only intellectually but “with the whole of my personality” is astounding. I often wrote of the theory of contests – in Common Sense in Chess, 1896, in Struggle, 1906, in Das Begreifen der Welt, 1913, in Die Philosophie des Unvollendbar, 1918, in Lasker’s Chess Manual, also in my Chess Primer. Moreover, my philosophical books were painstakingly discussed, over a period of five years, by the pupils of a professor of philosophy at the University of Giessen, but I do not think anybody has found in my writings anything bearing out the above remark, even remotely. My writings deal only with the laws and principles governing the struggle between perfect strategians. These do not exist in the flesh, because no-one, in any respect whatever, is perfect. Perfect strategians are instincts personified and idealized, for instance the perfect strategian at chess is the perfect chess instinct (usually called judgement). My books do not deal with mistakes or human foibles. Only my latest manuscript goes further than that, in that it deals with the erring and blundering creature, his psychology, his ethos and his drama. But it was never known to Réti. In fact, only a few persons know it, because, as the world at present runs, it has, as yet, not found its publisher.

But did Réti make the above remark in sober earnest? I think not. I have examined what he said of my style in his Lehrbuch (1930) page 123 e.g. and in the sentences cited by Fred Reinfeld and Reuben Fine in their Dr Lasker’s Chess Career page 12. In the former book Réti explains my style in that I strive to take advantage of the shortcomings of my opponent (but everybody does that) and in the latter by “my boundless faith in common sense”, which is much more to the point. Probably, after mature deliberation, Réti preferred to express his real views as in these two places, and the remark you quote was uttered as a mere casual and only half-serious conjecture.

The worst of his remark is that it is very vague. What does “the whole of one’s personality” circumscribe? Did other masters fail to fight “with their whole personality”? Without further explanation Réti’s alleged remark, I fear, has many widely different meanings. Under the cloak of such vagueness a debater is at liberty to support any theory whatsoever, for instance, that of Kmoch (“infallible judgment”, “elasticity of outlook”) or Spielmann’s (“the ideal fighter”) or Dr Tartakower’s (“unswerving belief in the elasticity of the position”; I became “the father of ultra-modern chess”) or Dr Tarrasch’s (in his Die moderne Schachpartie, 1916, page 193, he said, one is tempted to believe that I use witchcraft, hypnotism or such in order to induce my opponent to commit mistakes) or that of Maróczy (I smoke execrable cigars during play which cause my opponent to deteriorate for the time being, New York Times, 1928).

A collection of judgements on my style would be quite interesting and instructive. As the years passed I came across many of them. He who judges another, judges himself. However, I cannot go into this question at present. But I have repeatedly explained my conception of a contest between masters, i.e. between creative minds representative of their period. The fight between them is the necessary and sufficient condition of their creative work. To have a worthy opponent is a boon. He is short-sighted who strives for indisputable supremacy in his domain, whether at chess or other creative work. If, by ill-chance, he succeeds in approaching his stupid goal, he is blinded to his defects and deteriorates. When the outcome of tournaments is most uncertain and incalculable, as at present, then is chess passing through its most fertile periods.’

(2516)

See too C.N.s 6889 and 8660.



Lasker’s style

An otherwise complimentary evaluation of Emanuel Lasker on pages 174-177 of Everybody’s Guide to Chess and Draughts by Henry W. Peachey (London, 1896) contains the following:

‘Lasker is essentially a disciple of the modern school, which, unlike the Morphys and Andersons [sic] of the past, is content to let brilliancy severely alone and play for a draw. … He has gone, in fact, ahead even of the modern school. His practice is to treat the opening and middle game as means to the end, that is, of bringing about a pawn ending, in which, by some subtle and perhaps only theoretical advantage gained by previous play, he can steer through to victory. Few of his games come to an early close. Nearly all result in pawn endings, and in these he is a master of masters.’

(2525)



Capablanca versus (?) Nimzowitsch

From page 84 of From Morphy to Fischer by Al Horowitz (London, 1973), in a discussion of Capablanca’s performance at New York, 1927:

‘… the situation reached the height of absurdity in his game with Nimzowitsch, where he had to send a message to his opponent (?) through the tournament director to make better moves or he would be unable, with the best will in the world, to avoid winning!’

Horowitz had written similarly on page 206 of Chess Review, July 1949:

‘The prearranged draw is really the blight upon the game. Even some of the greatest masters are guilty of this sin. On good authority comes the story of the Capablanca-Nimzowitsch, New York 1927, fiasco and its hilarious overtones. Capablanca, having first prize clinched, the story goes, agreed to draw with Nimzowitsch. In so doing, Capablanca would avert the effort and Nimzowitsch would insure half a point against the invincible Capablanca. Hence, both were satisfied. The game, however, did not follow conventional lines and Nimzowitsch mangled the defense. Capa was embarrassed! He requested the referee to intervene and advise Nimzowitsch to improve his play. Otherwise, Capablanca would be compelled to win!’

In the following issue (August 1949, page 225) Norbert Lederer commented:

‘In fairness to Capa, it should be noted that he had already secured first prize since he had a three and a half point lead with only three games to play; these were against Alekhine, Nimzowitsch and Vidmar. Capa announced that, in order not to appear favoring one of the three, who were all in the running for second or third prize, he would play for a draw against each of them, and he so informed me as tournament director. Needless to say, I did not relish this attitude, but there was little I could do about it.

During his game with Capablanca, Nimzowitsch indulged in some fancy play and found himself with a practically lost position. Capa then not only asked me to warn his opponent, but actually had to dictate the next four or five moves which Nimzowitsch played with great reluctance as he suspected a double-cross. However, he did follow instructions and a draw was reached four moves later.’

Capablanca referred to the matter in his tournament report in the New York Times, 27 March 1927, pages 1 and 4:

‘Our game with Vidmar needs only a few remarks. The peculiar position in which we found ourselves with regard to the other three leading competitors made us decide to exert ourselves to play for draws unless our opponents threatened to win, since any defeat at our hands would put any one of them out of the running for a prize, without any benefit to ourselves. Our opponent being satisfied to draw, the game could only have one result.

… The same remarks about our game with Vidmar in the previous round apply to our game with Nimzowitsch, except that here we had a chance to win, of which we did not avail ourselves.’

(2527)



Tartakower on decisiveness

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.’

(2540)



First instructional film on chess

When was the first instructional film on chess produced? We do not know, but it can be mentioned that the concept was put forward by Ernest C. Mortimer on page 102 of the January 1924 Chess Amateur, in a feature entitled ‘Chess and the Cinematograph’:

‘The idea, such as it is, of this article occurred to me while watching the film Armaggedon at the Tivoli in the Strand. In that film a long step forward has been taken in what may be called “the science of explanation”. By means of diagrammatic representation, which is not merely static, as on the printed page, but dynamic, the campaign in Palestine is described more simply and clearly than would be possible by any other mode. The average onlooker can pick up in an hour or so the essentials of the campaign better than by hearing any number of lectures or reading columns of despatches.

There is no doubt that this method of exposition will be perfected and applied in many ways. It seems to me to be especially applicable to the teaching of chess. The chief difficulty in popularizing chess is undoubtedly the initial difficulty of explaining the moves and powers of the pieces, which must seem complicated to the beginner however able the instructor may be.

[…] The commercial practicability of the idea is a matter entirely beyond me, but I do not see why a carefully prepared short film, How to Play Chess, should not be a popular item in a film programme. It would certainly be something new! If the scheme were taken up it might advance to explanatory films of well-known games, for the enjoyment of those who are not beginners, but this is looking too far ahead.’

(2547)

Philip Woliston

From John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA):

‘Philip Woliston first came to the attention of the chess world when he won the 1939 California State Championship ahead of several prominent players. Chess Review (December 1939, page 259) wrote:

“Philip Woliston, 19-year-old Los Angeles youth, scored a smashing victory in his conquest of the California State Championship tournament which concluded 23 November. Losing only one of his eight games, he outranked a field which included Harry Borochow, state titlist since 1930, Herman Steiner of the 1931 American international team, and George Koltanowski, better known for his exploits sans voir.

Woliston, youngest competitor in the field of nine, and the youngest state champion ever to win El Dorado’s crown, has made an auspicious entry in this, his first important tournament. 1. Woliston 7-1; 2-3. Borochow and Steiner 6; 4. Koltanowski 4½; 5. Kovacs 4; 6. Fink 3; 7. Patterson 2½; 8. Bazad 2; 9. Gibbs 0.”

Later in 1939 Woliston lost a match to Steiner. The following year he played in the US Championship and Ventnor City, finishing near the bottom of the field in the former but with a respectable 50% in the latter.

Reshevsky included a victory over Woliston (1940 US Championship) in his book(s) Reshevsky’s Best Games of Chess/Reshevsky on Chess.

The name of Philip Woliston disappears after Ventnor City, 1940. He does not appear on the United States Social Security Death Index. Did he perhaps die during the Second World War? Woliston spent his high school years in Seattle (he attended the same high school as Olaf Ulvestad, but a few years later) before relocating to Los Angeles. Does anyone know what happened to him?’

woliston

Philip Woliston

(2551)

In C.N. 2551 John Donaldson asked what became of Philip Woliston, a US player well-known some 60 years ago. Our correspondent has now provided the answer, jointly with John Hilbert, in a detailed article published on pages 26-29 of the October 2003 Chess Life. Woliston, Philip Reinhold Geffe, is still alive, a resident of Murrieta, CA. Woliston was his mother’s maiden name.

(3063)



Hallucinations

We have been unable to find game-scores which fit in with the following report, taken from page 315 of the Chess Amateur, July 1908:

‘Referring to “hallucinations that occur in match and tournament play”, Mr Bruno Siegheim mentions in the Johannesburg Sunday Times that in one of the games of the Blackburne-Steinitz match, a check which could have won a rook was left on for several moves. The possibility was seen by everyone present in the room except the two players. Mr Siegheim adds that a still more curious incident occurred at Breslau, in an Alapin-Blackburne game. Mr Blackburne checkmated his opponent, but assuming that Herr Alapin would see thme mate, Mr Blackburne did not announce it. Herr Alapin looked at the position intently, trying to find a move, and the spectators smiled and whispered. At the end of five minutes Mr Blackburne relieved his opponent’s anxiety by informing him that he had been checkmated.’

(2557)



Beauty contest winner

C.N. 2404 drew attention to a magazine report on how R. Fischer (USA) became the only person in the world ‘to have won prizes both in a national beauty competition and a national chess tournament’.

Further particulars are available in Chess Review, June 1938, page 146 and the Australasian Chess Review, 30 June 1939, page 134. The player in question was Rosemarie Fischer of Milwaukee (born circa 1914). Her most notable chess achievement seems to have been second prize in the American Chess Federation’s women’s championship in Chicago in 1937 (American Chess Bulletin, July-August 1937, page 73).

fischer

Rosemarie Fischer

(2561)



Queen sacrifice missed?

The game-score below, from a simultaneous display, appeared on page 154 of Schachjahrbuch 1914 I. Teil by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1914), but we wonder if it is correct, given that, at move 23, White could have forced mate with a standard queen sacrifice.

Joseph Henry Blackburne – E.S.
St Petersburg, 9 May 1914
Vienna Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nc6 4 d3 Be7 5 f4 exf4 6 Bxf4 Na5 7 Nf3 Nxc4 8 dxc4 d6 9 O-O Bg4 10 Qe1 Nh5 11 Be3 O-O 12 Nd5 a6 13 Rd1 c6 14 Bb6 Qd7 15 Ne3 Bxf3 16 Rxf3 Qe6 17 Nf5 Rae8 18 Bd4 Nf6 19 Qg3 g6 20 Nxe7+ Qxe7 21 Bxf6 Qxe4 22 Qh3 Re6

dia

23 Bc3 f6 24 Re1 Resigns.

(2562)



Romanovsky’s recollections of Alekhine

From Björn Frithiof (Älmhult, Sweden):

‘At the time of the Alekhine Memorial Tournament in 1956, many writers with personal memories of Alekhine wrote articles describing their impressions of him. One of Peter Romanovsky’s articles was reprinted on pages 248-251 of the 6/1956 issue of the Swedish chess magazine Tidskrift för Schack. (The actual Soviet source where the article was first published was not indicated.) Romanovsky relates that following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Russian players in Mannheim were transferred to Baden-Baden, where they all lived in the same hotel, Alekhine on the first floor and Romanovsky on the third. Romanovsky writes that here Alekhine started work on a book about the recent All-Russian Championship. Together, the two masters analysed the games every evening:

“Once we analysed a game for several hours, Alekhine recording extensive comments on several pages. I went to bed very late. At 4 a.m. I received a telephone call from Alekhine, who asked me to join him downstairs immediately. ‘We failed to notice the move b2-b4’, he said, ‘it refutes everything.’ We sat all morning and the next day, and it turned out that Alekhine was right.”

Has any of this material ever been discovered or published?’

Our correspondent also refers to Romanovsky’s recollections of a conversation with Alekhine immediately following the great St Petersburg, 1914 tournament:

‘After the last round I went up to Alekhine and congratulated him. Alekhine’s eyes were bright. “Thank you”, he said, “but you know, I consider my success only to be one step forward.” “What do you think about Lasker’s victory?”, I asked. “I am not quite satisfied”, he said. “I should have preferred Capablanca.”’

(2566)

In C.N. 2566 (see A Chess Omnibus, page 361) a correspondent referred to Romanovsky’s (lost?) reminiscences on Alekhine. We now note that his archives were discussed (although without anything about Alekhine) in a feature by Averbakh on pages 18-19 of Shakhmaty-in-English, September 1966: ‘P.A. Romanovsky’s collected works are now being compiled. An important part of the archives will be Petr Arsenievich’s unusual chess diaries and memoirs. They are accurately written, in small calligraphic handwriting.’

(2831)



‘Glorious massacre’

‘Paris in 1879 was the scene of this glorious massacre. Schnitzler (White) was the winner and Alexandre (Black) his unfortunate victim.’ So writes John Walker on page 63 of 64 Things You Need to Know in Chess (London, 2002), but is it known whether these particulars are accurate?

First, a reminder of the moves:

1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Bc4 cxb2 5 Bxb2 Qg5 6 Nf3 Qxg2 7 Bxf7+ Kd8 8 Rg1 Bb4+ 9 Nc3 Qh3 10 Rg3 Qh6 11 Qb3 Bxc3+ 12 Qxc3 Nf6

dia

13 Rg6 hxg6 14 Qxf6+ gxf6 15 Bxf6 mate.

An eager researcher may begin by noting the lack of consensus about the occasion of this game. For instance, page 149 of Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess had ‘Berlin, 1879’, whereas some other sources state ‘1869’. The players’ names were given with a little more information (i.e. ‘G. Schnitzler’ and ‘A. Alexandre’) in J. du Mont’s 200 Miniature Games of Chess (see pages 82, 282 and 285) and, indeed, on page 28 of John Walker’s book Chess for Tomorrow’s Champions (published in 1983 and 1995), which also used the term ‘glorious massacre’. As regards Black’s name, an eyebrow goes up, since Aaron Alexandre died in 1850. Concerning White, however, an investigator can find plenty of references to, and other games by, Georg Schnitzler by perusing the Deutsche Schachzeitung of the mid- and late-1800s. For example, he learns from page xi of the index to the 1862 volume that Schnitzler was an architect from Düsseldorf, and by checking as far as 1889 he comes across the briefest of mentions of Schnitzler’s death (in London in 1887, according to the July 1889 Deutsche Schachzeitung, page 201).

Yet there is still difficulty in locating the game-score in a dependable contemporary source, and it is a relief at least to find it in a nineteenth-century book such as Chess Sparks by J.H. Ellis (London, 1895), where (page 84) the heading was ‘Played about 1879’, ‘G. Schnitzler’ and ‘Alexandre’.

Perhaps openings books will be more helpful, thinks the sleuth. He sees the score on page 125 of Nordisches Gambit by Ingo Firnhaber (Düsseldorf, 1989) as ‘Schnitzler-Alexandre, Berlin, 1879’, whereas in the discussion of the game on pages 106-107 of Danish Gambit (Coraopolis, 1992) W. John Lutes gave ‘Paris, 1869’ and claimed that Firnhaber had put ‘Berlin, 1869’. There is also puzzlement over this remark about 5…Qg5 in Lutes’ book:

‘Alexandre’s Defense. “Recommended in 1872 by the Deutsche Schachzeitung, but clearly inferior.” du Mont: The Chess Openings Illustrated: Centre Game and Danish Gambit, 1920, page 73.’

The trouble here is that far from recommending 5…Qg5, the 1872 Deutsche Schachzeitung (April issue, page 115) gave the move a question mark. That was in the game Elson-Whiteman, played in the United States. No 1872 issue seems to contain any mention of either ‘Alexandre’ or Schnitzler.

Next, the investigator lights upon a game with 5…Qg5 (between W. Hockin and W. Searle) on page 178 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1872 (where the queen move is described as ‘apparently quite untenable’), but he is still making scant headway with clarifying when and where the ‘glorious massacre’ occurred. At which point, therefore, he unceremoniously breaks off and invites fellow explorers to join in the hunt.

(2570)



Fan mail

‘Since the last match, the membership of the Dutch Chess Federation has doubled. Euwe gets a “fan mail” of three thousand letters a week, which keeps two secretaries at hard whole-time work.’

CHESS, 14 November 1937, page 78

(2576)



Nostalgia

Readers may find that these photographs have a pleasantly nostalgic air, i.e. from the days when Fischer was interviewable:

fischer

Chess Review, August 1962, page 227

fischer

Chess Review, July 1965 (front cover)

Page 196 of the July 1965 Chess Review named the interviewer as Jean Parr of CBS-TV (Channel 2)

(2596)



Historia del ajedrez

gomez

A photograph caption on page 160 of Historia del ajedrez by Gabriel Mario Gómez identifies Botvinnik as Alekhine.

On the next page is a portrait of ‘Erik Elis Kases’. Numerous other names are deformed, a double example being the caption ‘Alhekine-Bogojukov’ on page 133. On successive pages thereafter, the text relates that a) there were only ten games in the 1921 world title match, b) Fine was a participant in the 1948 world championship event, half of which took place in Havana, and c) Fischer was born in New York.

For the record, Historia del ajedrez (182 pages) was published by Planeta, Buenos Aires in 1998. The ability to read Spanish is a disadvantage.

(2765)

Regarding the above-mentioned misidentification of Botvinnik as Alekhine, see C.N. 8969.

Page 139 of The Personality of Chess by I.A. Horowitz and P.L. Rothenberg (New York, 1963) described Fischer as ‘a native of New York City’.



Reshevsky v Chaplin

C.N. 198 briefly discussed the meeting in the early 1920s between Reshevsky and Charlie Chaplin. There are two well-known photographs of the celebrities in play against each other; in addition, page 191 of Chess Life & Review, April 1979 reproduced a shot of the prodigy watching a game between Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin.

A decade or so ago we noted that the following alleged game between Chaplin and Reshevsky had been published on page 414 of Şah Cartea de Aur by Constantin Ştefaniu (Bucharest, 1982), with a claim (devoid of any source) that it had been won by Reshevsky in New York in 1923:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 exd4 4 e5 Ne4 5 Qe2 Nc5 6 Nxd4 Nc6 7 Be3 Nxd4 8 Bxd4 Ne6 9 Bc3 Be7 10 Nd2 O-O 11 Ne4 d5 12 O-O-O Bd7 13 Ng3 c5 14 Bd2 b5 15 Nf5 d4 16 h4 Nc7 17 Nxe7+ Qxe7 18 Bg5 Qe6 19 Kb1 Nd5 20 g3 Nb4 21 b3 Qa6 22 a4 Qa5 23 Kb2 bxa4 24 Ra1 Rab8 25 Kc1 a3 26 Bd2 Be6 27 Bxb4 cxb4 28 Qa6 Qc5 29 Bc4 Rbc8 30 White resigns.

We submitted the game-score to Frank Skoff, who scrutinized the matter in considerable detail in Chess Life, December 1992 (page 37) and June 1994 (page 10), reaching the following conclusion:

‘The game is a myth, to phrase it delicately, though some would bluntly call it a hoax. All that is left is the score, the origin of which is practically impossible to track down since it would have been copied from any game anywhere, or perhaps even composed by the perpetrator, man the myth-making animal in either case.’

(2875)

See also C.N.s 7236 and 7531.



Botvinnik v Capablanca, AVRO, 1938

‘Botvinnik-Capablanca, Amsterdam 1938’ is the game heading in Jewish Chess Masters on Stamps by F. Berkovich (Jefferson, 2000), page 108, i.e. in the section written by N. Divinsky. It is an elementary mistake, commonly seen. Botvinnik’s famous brilliancy was played (on 22 November 1938) in Rotterdam, as is recorded by many contemporary sources (e.g. page 106 of Euwe’s book on the tournament).

The bibliography of the Berkovich book (page 132) contains some improbable references, such as items purportedly written by L. Shamkovich and D. Spanier in 1935 and 1934 respectively.

(2976)

Regarding the Botvinnik v Capablanca game, Amsterdam was given as the venue by Raymond Keene on page 30 of The Sunday Times Book of Chess (Aylesbeare, 2005). The column in question was dated 23 January 2000.



Chess in Pieces

In the half-hour television programme Chess in Pieces (BBC Four, 7 July 2003) an assortment of unprepossessing chessists and actressy artists waffled on inconsequentially within an over-blown, under-researched narrative. ‘Lenin declared that chess was the gymnasium of the mind’, intoned the voice-over, although that well-known phrase dates back to 1803 (Studies of Chess). The viewing hundreds were also informed that chess ‘began in Persia around 7 AD’ and were left to conclude that the game’s history ceased in 1972, after a Spassky-Fischer match which ‘lasted three months’. The existence of Karpov and Kasparov was left undisclosed. Capablanca and other notables were visible for a few seconds, without the courtesy of identification. There was, however, a caption for the programme’s advisor, Gareth Williams, who was also billed for his big day as ‘a leading author and chess historian’.

(2987)



Story-telling in Bobby Fischer Goes to War

A book just published by Faber and Faber, Bobby Fischer Goes to War by David Edmonds and John Eidinow, focuses on the 1972 world championship match. Becoming cagier with every day that passes, we venture no assessment of the precision or otherwise of the authors’ narrative about Fischer (the world champion whose life is probably the most difficult to chronicle without factual error), and our observations here are confined to one unfortunate aspect of the supporting material offered. The extensive presentation of ‘sophisticated’ journalistic and political comment merely underscores the authors’ naivety about, and indifference to, (pre-Fischer) chess history. An example of their unquestioning reproduction of chess-lore chestnuts long since refuted comes on page 24:

‘… a German book, Instructions to Spectators at Chess Tournaments, containing three hundred blank pages followed by the words “SHUT UP”.’

Why is that there? Because on page 79 of Bobby Fischer’s Conquest of the World’s Chess Championship (New York, 1973) Reuben Fine wrote:

‘A German wit in fact once wrote a book entitled Instructions to Spectators at Chess Tournaments. The book consisted of three hundred blank pages and one other page on which was written: KEEP QUIET.’

However, as discussed in C.N.s 857 and 884 (see page 121 of Chess Explorations) the German publication was no more than ‘a little pamphlet’. See also pages 252-253 of Chess Facts and Fables.

Page 68 of the Edmonds/Eidinow book attempts to titillate with the hoary falsehood that Morphy ‘was found dead in a bathtub, surrounded by women’s shoes’. As noted in C.N. 2913 (see page 231 of Chess Facts and Fables), Alexander Cockburn wrote on page 16 of Idle Passion that Morphy died ‘according to some accounts, in his bath, surrounded by women’s shoes’. The Fischer book has even unobtrusively dispensed with the wishy-washy, story-spoiling ‘according to some accounts’.

On the next page the co-authors inform us:

‘the Mexican master Carlos Torre removed all his clothes while travelling on a public bus in New York, his breakdown possibly triggered by a relationship with a young woman that had gone sour. From that moment on he never recovered his sanity.’

Why? Again because writers like Reuben Fine and Alexander Cockburn wrote things like that about Torre, without a scrap of substantiation, and Messrs Edmonds and Eidinow appear qualmless about presenting as fact any second- or third-hand yarn, even if (especially if) it entails a great master of the past being ridiculed or depicted as a freak.

(3099)



Fischer, psychoanalysis and President Kennedy

fischer

Bobby Fischer

A book by Peter Fuller entitled The Champions and subtitled ‘The secret motives in games and sports’ (Urizen Books, New York, 1977) discusses figures from the worlds of chess, bullfighting, boxing and motor-racing. The chess chapter (pages 49-104) has plenty of trivia and tripe about the masters of yesteryear (the first paragraph states, ‘Steinitz claimed to have played God at pawn odds and won’) but is essentially about Fischer, viewed from a psychoanalytical standpoint.

The results are spectacular. Fuller opines that Fischer’s queen sacrifice in his famous game against Donald Byrne in 1956 ‘is central to the understanding of Fischer’s psychological motivations in chess’ and that ‘more has been written about this queen sacrifice than about any other single move made this century’ (pages 71-72). The implications for Fischer were, it is indicated on page 81, greater than anybody could have imagined:

‘Although Fischer played excessively aggressive chess, it remained difficult to demonstrate manhood through a non-physical game, in which the queen is represented as the main ally.

His need to disguise his internal Regina affected chess and life. On the board it was first expressed in the queen sacrifice. The historic move paralleled his ego-ambition to deny identification with his mother, simultaneously symbolizing a refusal to accept the option of homosexuality, and a defiant rejection of infantile dependence. A reversal of usual chess practice, it paralleled a reversal he was trying to bring about with himself.’

These observations were considered so judicious that the sentence beginning ‘The historic move’ was paraded on the back of the dust-jacket. Yet it is on page 100 that the chapter attains its high-water mark:

‘For some Russians, as Lenin warned, chess may become an alternative to revolutionary thought: instead of confronting the failure of the revolution in terms of history, players may attempt to achieve individualistic solutions on the chess board, and these become inextricably bound up with their own private conflicts. Chess, and its accompanying strategical and tactical theory, may thus be pursued as a way of working out a better form of regicide, and of evading reality and retreating into a private world at the same time.

We may correspondingly speculate (and it is no more than that) that the dramatic upsurge of interest in Fischer in the sixties, combined with the sudden birth of chess as a major cultural component in America, was in part related to the continuing national preoccupation with the assassination of President Kennedy. Interest in the game may socially have been a way of mastering the guilt and anxiety inevitably associated with the murder of a leader. The wish to return to the traumatic event may thus parallel, within a broader context, the desire of Freud’s grandson to return to the scene of his mother’s departure in order to find a way of binding the anxiety associated with it. It is at least possible that chess thus provides a way of repeating rather than remembering national as well as personal conflicts.’

(3100)



Fabergé

Hans Maurer (Effretikon, Switzerland) writes regarding a report on page 178 of the 17 May 1914 issue of Deutsches Wochenschach. It refers to a banquet held in honour of the participants in the St Petersburg tournament during which the young Prokofiev gave a piano recital and each of the 11 participants in the tournament received a wine goblet (old Russian style) donated by Carl Fabergé.

Our correspondent wonders if anything is known about the fate of these objects.

For reference, below is the relevant passage from Deutsches Wochenschach:

‘Eine glänzende Klavierleistung des jungen Laureaten des St Petersburger Konservatoriums, Herrn Prokofjew, bildete den Schluss des überaus gelungenen Abends. Der Hofjuwelier K.E. [sic] Fabergé hat 11 kunstvoll gearbeitete Weinbecher (in altrussischem Stil) für sämtliche Teilnehmer am Grossmeisterturnier gespendet.’

(3105)

Some additional information appears on page 90 of the February-May 1914 Wiener Schachzeitung: the goblets, presented by Eugene Fabergé, were gold enamelled, and the five finest were reserved for the participants in the Final Section (i.e. Capablanca, Lasker, Tarrasch, Alekhine and Marshall). As in the case of C.N. 3105, we give for the record the original German text:

‘Eine schöne Überraschung bereitete den Turnierteilnehmern der Hofjuwelier Eugen Fabergé, indem er am 25. April (8. Mai) auf dem zu Ehren der Meister vom Schachverein gegebenen Festbankett für jeden Turnierteilnehmer einen goldenen emaillirten Becher in altrussischem Stile spendete. Sechs Becher wurden sofort den Nichtpreisträgern überreicht, die fünf schönsten Becher hingegen für die fünf Sieger aufbewahrt, die von 10. Mai bis 22. Mai n. St. um die Preise zu ringen hatten.’

(3123)



An old hoax

Nearly two decades ago, in C.N. 700, we reported from our reading of Europe Echecs:

‘A hoaxer, named as Jean-Marie Morisset of Rouen, is at work, creating spurious games claimed to have been played by various ‘celebrities’ (Delius, the Pope, etc.).’

The deception, uncovered by Marc Durand, was written up in a number of magazines at the time, and a feature on pages 192-193 of the May 1984 BCM quoted a sentence from a long letter of apology from J.-M. Morisset: ‘J’espère que vous me pardonnez mon impudence’.

The hoaxes concerned various invented games and problems, the most notorious specimen being a 1946 game between the future Pope John Paul II and ‘Wanda Zartobliwy’. It emerged that ‘Zartobliwy’ is the Polish word for ‘facetious’ or ‘jocose’.

For further information, readers are referred to page 17 of The Even More Complete Chess Addict by M. Fox and R. James (London, 1993) and, in particular, the article ‘No Chess in the Vatican’ by Tomasz Lissowski on pages 306-310 of the Winter 2000 issue of the Quarterly for Chess History. The latter item is also available on-line at: http://www.astercity.net/~vistula/vatican.htm. The Quarterly published a follow-up piece on pages 366-367 of its Spring 2001 issue. For Hans Ree’s account of the trickery, see pages 76-77 of the 3/2001 New in Chess.

Of course, the hoax has become so well known that no competent chess writer would fall for it today.

(3118)

Larry Evans fell for it on page 44 of Chess Life, January 2004.



W.H. Cozens

For decades the BCM’s pages featured historical and literary articles by three of the most graceful chess writers in the English language, W.H. Cozens, G.H. Diggle and D.J. Morgan. All have now gone, and it is sad indeed to recall that 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of W.H. Cozens, who was the first subscriber the magazine Chess Notes ever had.

His tremendous set-piece articles ‘Half a Century Back’ began in the BCM in 1958 and ran for over two decades. However, on 10 December 1981 he informed us:

‘Half a Century Back will not be appearing any more. When I submitted the 1981 (i.e. 1931) script Cafferty said he had no room for the next six months unless I would permit him to cut it by 50%. Well, I know the editor is entitled to his blue pencil, but not even the newest new broom can be allowed to cut an article to ribbons. I politely suggested that he return it to me; I shall not be troubling the BCM again.’

Cozens’ love of good writing was demonstrated by an anthology he edited in 1971, The Pan Book of Revenge Stories:

coezns

(3183)



Beginners’ book from India

raman

‘Is the rook same as a bishop?’, asks the back cover of All About Chess by Priya and R. Raman (Minerva Press, New Delhi, 2000). The answer, it emerges, is no, it is not same. Even so, anyone relying on this 125-page book for an introduction to chess (a game which, according to the blurb, ‘has always been the sole proprietary of aristocratic classes’) may wonder if anything is straightforward. On page 33 a pin is defined as ‘the confinement of a chessmen to the king or a piece of higher value’. A section on exchanges on page 51 advises: ‘Exchange at the right moment. Well I can hear you ask which is the right moment. Only from experience one can understand that.’ Page 53 says: ‘Do not accept the poised pawn, lest you repent of indigestion.’ The same page proffers counsel all too easily forgotten: ‘Remember that a good move in one position may be a blunder in yet another position.’ The following page advises: ‘Remember the king cannot check. So in a mad rush to checkmate your opponent do not get mated because that way you would have indirectly blocked your emergency exit also.’ From page 54 comes this too: ‘Chess is not always pure mathematics. In chess, a diagonal is equal to a side.’

On the next page we learn that ‘a bishop can hold His Majesty with the queen’, whereas page 56 states: ‘Other things being equal check eventually leads to an advantageous position – there are exceptions too.’ On page 65 the novice is warned, ‘Beware of self blocks that facilitate reflexive mates’ and ‘When your opponent advances a pawn in one file, you must advance your pawn to distract his attention’. On the next page the co-authors affirm that ‘the king is safe even at the centre when the soldiers are stationed affront’. Page 70 discusses sacrifices and offers yet another memorable maxim: ‘Sacrifice to get it back with rich dividends at overburdened locations.’

A proper introductory book on chess is still awaited from India.

(3243)



28 April 2016: An addition from our collection, following the death of Victor Gavrikov:

gavrikov ekstrom

Victor Gavrikov and Roland Ekström (Schlieren, 1990)



The first two paragraphs of the Introduction to Draw! by Wolfgang Heidenfeld (London, 1982), page 1:

‘Drawn games have a poor press. Far too often the result is reached without a fight: the players do not want to play chess but score half a point.

And yet who can doubt that draws that are both well-fought and free from major error (though chess is so complicated a game that what Suetin calls secondary errors are virtually unavoidable in a real fighting game) constitute the highest form of chess? Where every brilliant attack finds an equally brilliant parry, where each “unexpected” combination is in fact expected and therefore met successfully, we have no victor and no vanquished. But even such nearly flawless games are often little-known merely because they carry the mark of Cain of the unshed blood.’



Hans Berliner (1929-2017)

berliner



Anaphora

G.H. Diggle’s article below (BCM, January 1955, pages 34-36) is a pre-eminent example of anaphora in chess literature:

diggle

diggle

diggle



Literary controversies

An article by the Badmaster, G.H. Diggle, in the February 1985 Newsflash which was reproduced on pages 15-16 of volume two of Chess Characters (Geneva, 1987):

‘The chess public seems to be becoming far less docile towards chess literature and the unfortunate Editors, Authors and Publishers who produce it. Indeed, the correspondence columns of CHESS and the BCM have of late shown an increasing “militant tendency” in various quarters of the Realm. In the November CHESS, for example, there “came up from Zummerzet” a letter full of “strong cider” upbraiding the Editor for wasting “the first six pages of the June issue with pointless waffle about the Phillips and Drew tournament when you could have given us six pages of games instead”. (In fact, there were ten pages of games already, and it could be argued that topping up with six more might have reduced the average reader to the plight of the replete youth at the Sunday School Treat who could not manage his last cream bun: “Sorry, Miss, I can still eat but I can’t swaller!”) Equally startling was an earlier letter to the BCM from a canny Scot who clearly expected chess news and not chess history for his “saxpences” and recommended one lengthy article (by none other than the Badmaster!) as “a cure for insomnia”. (The astonished BM proceeded to re-read his own “masterpiece” and soon “dropped off” himself.)

But all this is water-gruel compared with a remarkable review of current chess literature in general (CHESS, August 1984) by Edward Winter, “with whose opinions”, added the experienced Editor, “we may not entirely agree”. Nevertheless Mr Winter presents a cogent case, and he has a vivid turn of phrase worthy of Enoch Powell and his famous “rivers of blood”. We read of “closet wordsmiths scrambling out to catch the tide”, “slim book shorn of illustrations and stripped of hardback covers”, “the most widely travelled writers often boasting the most narrow minds” and “stale bread on sale causing customers to stay away”. To this onslaught GM Raymond Keene, as befits an expert on the Openings, has replied (CHESS, October 1984) with “The Publishers’ Defence”, a spirited counter-attack with a number of interesting variations, some of which Mr Winter has subjected to “further analysis” in the Christmas Number. So far we have had some sparkling argument and great fun, though the BM respectfully hopes that what Dr Watson would have called “The Strange Affair of the Missing Photocopy” will not be allowed to dominate the contest until it degenerates into a Karpov-Kasparov serial.

A somewhat similar controversy was in progress 50 years ago, though it concerned not Chess Literature as a whole but one famous book. An English edition of Dr Lasker’s Chess Manual had just come out to a most reverential reception by the critics. The Doctor, however, had by no means done his homework on Chess History, and furthermore had indulged in some obscure philosophy and phoney eloquence which, had it come from anyone else, might have raised an awful whisper of “Waffle!”: “La Bourdonnais died young in London, and the goddess of Chess, Caissa, very much grieved, mourned for him and forgot to inspire the masters with her sunny look ... And then – fickle Goddess – she gave her love to a young mathematician, the German Anderssen, and inspired him to superb combinations. And then – Oh the weakness of her – she spied with her great sunny eye in far distant Louisiana a boy ...”

The starry-eyed reviewers, however, raised no murmur until suddenly (BCM, February 1933) that eminent Cambridge scholar, B. Goulding Brown demolished part of the “historical edifice” in detail and even cast doubts on the “philosophy”. Both Dr Lasker and his publisher (W.H. Watts) made good-humoured relies, but one admirer of the Manual took the line “Chess History be damned!”, and pointed out that “even a learned University Professor might easily improve his own game by studying other parts of the book!”. Against this, another letter expressed the view that “Chess History should not be trifled with, even by the great” – and for this principle no-one has fought harder in modern times than Mr Winter.’



Dragoslav Andrić

A letter to us from D. Andrić dated 15 January 1986:

andric



Latest update: 1 December 2021.


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