Chess Jottings

Edward Winter

chess jottings

A miscellany of older items from Chess Notes, together with some of our other writings (most notably from Kingpin):

Error prone

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


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.


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):


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:


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.


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.’



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.


Plenty wrong


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.


On 10 September 1994 John Walker sent us this letter:


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.



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.’)


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’.


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?


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.’


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.

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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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


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.



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.


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):



See our feature article on Victor Korchnoi.

Much better


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:


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.


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 (Nottingham, undated) Jack Spence  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?



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 (1886-94). The truth is that Steinitz did not play in a single tournament during the period under consideration.


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’.


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.


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


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’):


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:


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


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


Larry Evans


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’.


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.


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 Chessand, 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.


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


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)+


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.


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.)


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


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.


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


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.


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:


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.


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:



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


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.’

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.’


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.’


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.’

See too our footnote on page 308 of A Chess Omnibus:

Another straightforward example of K. Whyld’s propensity for distortion and untruth is his assertion (Kingpin, Summer 1997, page 61) that on page 264 of Chess Explorations we ‘savaged’ Irving Chernev over a Lasker/Capablanca matter. The public record is 100% clear there too. As regards Whyld’s conduct regarding F.M. Edge (see pages 245-260 of A Chess Omnibus), at the Chess Café on 1 August 2000 we quoted a number of Frank Skoff’s apposite observations about Whyld, from a communication to C.N. dated 17 November 1989. Among the milder ones were: ‘He thinks calling people names (including myself) somehow is proof by itself’ and ‘It is astonishing how little value K.W. places on truth: He prefers its suppression at any cost. Why?’

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.


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.


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.


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.


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’.


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.


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 Finn.

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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”.’


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.’


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.


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


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.



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?’


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.


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


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:


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.


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


The Maróczy Bind

Wanted: information about the origins of the Maróczy Bind. One of the few writers to venture a precise game reference is Andrew Soltis. Pages 97-98 of his Pawn Structure Chess claim that ‘the first master game to gain recognition of the Bind was Swiderski v Maróczy, Monte Carlo 1904, in which Maróczy, with Black in a Dragon formation, was the “bindee” rather than the “binder”. It was his opponent who played P-QB4 and P-K4. But for years later Maróczy, a great Hungarian grandmaster and chess journalist, repeatedly drew attention to the powers of the Bind, and, by the 1920s, permitting the Bind was equated with making a blunder.’

The quoted Swiderski Bind actually arose through transposition; the opening moves were 1 e4 c5 2 c4 Nc6 3 Nf3 g6 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Bg7 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Nc3 d6 8 Be2 Bd7 9 O-O O-O, and subsequent imprecision by White gave Maróczy the game in 48 moves. Around this time, an early c4 by White in the Sicilian was being linked to Maróczy's name (e.g. Wiener Schachzeitung, October 1906, page 348), but it is far from easy to trace early specimens of the Maróczy Bind, played either by G.M. himself or by other masters.

(Kingpin, 1992)

The Dragon

Page 79 of Soltis’ Pawn Structure Chess notes that in his autobiographical Izbrannyye partii, published in 1953, F. Dus-Chotimirsky claimed to have invented the name ‘Dragon Variation’. This is another term whose origins tend to be skated over by the reference books. Dus-Chotimirsky recorded (pages 57-58) that his astronomy studies had led him, in 1901, to see a resemblance between the black pawn formation and ‘the pattern of Draco the Dragon in the northern sky’. It would be interesting to discover when ‘Dragon Variation’ started appearing in print.

(Kingpin, 1992)

A dozen years ago we discussed briefly and inconclusively the origins of the name ‘Dragon Variation’ in the Sicilian Defence and wondered when it began appearing in print.

No proposals having been received, we make a start here by quoting from page 43 of the February-March 1925 Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond. After the moves 1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Be2 g6, H. Weenink referred to ‘De “drakevariant” van den Siciliaan’.



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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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


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.


‘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’:


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.


Milk supply

‘Yes, Alekhine did it. He won the return match with Euwe. For nearly two years he had lived on sour milk, travelling around with his own cow.’

Source: Chess World, July 1954, page 160.

(Kingpin, 1995)

See also pages 384-385 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves.

C.N. 11022 showed this double mishap on page 241 of the Complete Book of Beginning Chess by Raymond Keene (New York, 2003):


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


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


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


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.


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).


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 ...


... 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.


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:


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:


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:


In reality, the game was played in 1909:


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


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


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.’


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:


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).


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):


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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 e5 5 c3 Be7 6 Bb5.

(Source: pages 238-239 of the tournament book.)

Wanted: other surprising transpositions.


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’.


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


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).


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.



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.



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.


The latest issue (No. 33) of the English magazine Kingpin has just appeared and is probably the finest of the entire run, with a better-than-ever mix of pure chess, burlesque, painstaking research, lacerating topical commentary and uncompromising book reviews.

Chess Horizons described Kingpin as ‘unquestionably the funniest chess magazine in the world’, yet despite all the jokes, which are of every kind imaginable, there is an underlying seriousness of purpose, founded on a commitment to truth, accuracy and plain speaking. The main targets of denunciation and ridicule are all the proper ones, and over the years Kingpin has achieved numerous scoops on important matters which other editors have neglected to broach publicly.


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.


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+.


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


C.N. 2137 raised the topic of obvious moves which masters chose not to play. Below is an (unsuccessful) example from W.H.K. Pollock, whose play contained many witty touches. He was Black against G.A. MacDonnell, and the game was played in London in July 1887:


23 Rxd6 Kxd6 24 Ne4+ Ke5 25 Qg7+ Kxe4 26 g3 Bc5 27 Qxh7 Rf6 28 h4 Ke3 29 h5 Ne5 30 e7 Rf1+ 31 Kg2 Rf2+ 32 Kh3 Rf1 33 Qd3+ and wins. White’s strange 33rd move is another illustration of this theme.

Source: Pollock Memories by F.F. Rowland (Dublin, 1899), page 43.


An intriguing game, taken from pages 111-112 of Schachjahrbuch für 1915/16 by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1917):

Gyula Breyer and Arthur Havasi – Lajos Asztalos and Zsigmond Barász
Budapest, 13 February 1915
Queen’s Pawn Game

1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 f5 3 Bg5 Nf6 4 Bxf6 exf6 5 Nh3 c6 6 e3 Bd6 7 Bd3 O-O 8 Qf3 g6 9 Ne2 Be6 10 Nhf4 Qe7 11 h4 Bf7 12 g4 fxg4 13 Qxg4 Kh8 14 h5 gxh5 15 Qf5 Be8 16 O-O-O Bxf4 17 Nxf4 Na6 18 Rxh5 Bxh5 19 Qxh5 Qg7 20 Ng6+ Kg8 21 Rg1 hxg6


22 Bxg6 (Bachmann’s book gives this move two exclamation marks, and it does indeed seem stronger than 22 Rxg6.) 22…Rfd8 23 Bh7+ Kf8 24 Rxg7 Kxg7 25 Qg6+ Kh8 26 Qh6 Resigns.


We have now noted that the Breyer consultation game was admiringly annotated by Tarrasch on pages 92-93 of the May-July 1915 Tidskrift för Schack. In particular, he regarded 22 Bxg6 as ‘very fine’.


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.


Teichmann miniature

The following miniature is well known:

Richard Teichmann – N.N.

(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


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.


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’


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


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

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




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’.


Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Canada) mentions that pages 293-295 of the October 1936 Wiener Schachzeitung gave the score of Porges v H. Sonneschein (a Döry Defence, i.e. 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 Ne4) played in Vienna on 12 October 1936. We can add that a game between a player named Sonnenschein (no initial indicated) and Schara, from a tournament in Vienna in June 1928, appeared on pages 275-276 of the September 1928 issue of Arbeiter-Schachzeitung, but a connection with the E. Sonnenschein mentioned in C.N. 2145 remains to be demonstrated.


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


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.’


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)

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


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.


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


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

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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


It may now be recorded that the game between O. Důras (simultaneous) and F. Lapka at Pisek on 31 August 1912 opened with exactly the same moves. Play continued with 18 Kh1 Qc7 19 Qxa8 Rxf1+ 20 Bxf1, and White won at move 33. The game was given on pages 14-15 of the January 1913 Deutsche Schachzeitung, as well as on page 152 of J. Kalendovský’s monograph on Důras (published by The Chess Player in 1997). For the venue the German magazine gave the incorrect translation Pilsen (which is another place, Plzeň).


The moves also 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.


Botvinnik v Suttles

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


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).


Oddly placed bishops

René Olthof (Rosmalen, the Netherlands) contributes the following game:

Andrey Kharlov- Alexander Vaulin
Petrov Memorial Tournament, St Petersburg, 1998
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Nf3 Nd4 4 Bc4 Nxf3 5 gxf3 a6 6 d4 b5 7 Bd5 Ra7 8 Bf4 e6 9 Bb8 Rc7 10 Ba8


10…cxd4 11 Bxc7 Qxc7 12 Qxd4 Qb8 13 Bd5 b4 14 Na4 exd5 15 exd5 Bd6 16 O-O-O Ne7 17 Qxg7 Be5 18 Qg4 d6 19 Qc4 O-O 20 f4 Bf6 21 b3 a5 22 Rhe1 Bf5 23 Re2 Ng6 24 Rg1 Kh8 25 Rd2 Re8 26 f3 Qa7 27 Rgd1 Qe3 28 Qa6 Nxf4 29 White resigns.

Source: Shakhmatny Peterburg, 1998/1-2, page 9.

‘White bishops on a8 and b8 after 10 moves must surely be unique’, comments Mr Olthof.


Miss C. – Miss M.
circa 1848
Evans Gambit Declined

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 d5 5 Bxd5 Nxb4 6 Nxe5 Nxd5 7 exd5 Bd4 8 Qh5 Qf6 9 O-O Bxa1 10 c3 Bf5 11 f4 Bxb1


12 Ba3 Bxc3 13 dxc3 Bxa2 14 c4 Ne7 15 Bb2 O-O 16 Bd4 Bxc4 17 Nxc4 Qxd4+ and Black won.

The score was published on pages 23-24 of the 1848 Chess Player’s Chronicle, which commented:

‘This promising little game recently played by two young Members of the Ladies’ Chess Club at Kennington, has, at least, the advantage of novelty to recommend it, since, if we mistake not, it is the only one in which the opponents were of the softer sex which has ever been published.’


Leonhardt blindfold game

Paul Saladin Leonhardt (blindfold) – M. Sauter
Frankfurt (date?)
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 Bd7 6 Nc3 Nf6 7 O-O Be7 8 b3 O-O 9 Bb2 Ne5 10 Bxd7 Nfxd7 11 Nd5 Bf6 12 f4 Ng6 13 Qf3 c6 14 Nxf6+ Qxf6 15 Bc3 Qd8 16 Nf5 f6 17 Qg3 Nc5 18 Rae1 Qd7 19 Qg4 Rae8 20 b4 Ne6 21 Re3 c5 22 Rh3 Rf7


23 Rxh7 Nef8 24 Rh5 Rxe4 25 Rf3 d5 26 Rfh3 d4 27 Rh8+ Nxh8 28 Nh6+ Kh7 29 Nxf7+ Kg8 30 Rxh8+ Kxf7 31 Rxf8+ Ke7 32 Rf7+ Resigns.

Source: Lasker’s Chess Magazine, April 1906, page 271.



Page 34 of the 23 October 1909 issue of the Chess Weekly reported that in Washington that month Capablanca won ‘16 straight off-hand games from Moorman, who in a similar seance with Jacques Mieses two years ago was able to divide the honors with the German master’.

We have biographical information on file about Wilbur Lyttleton Moorman (1859-1934) but no further data about his meetings with Capablanca and Mieses.


Brief brilliancy

Josef Kvićala – Moritz Porges
Prague, 27 March 1890
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 c4 e6 2 e3 Nf6 3 a3 d5 4 d4 c5 5 Nf3 Nc6 6 dxc5 Bxc5 7 b4 Bd6 8 Bb2 O-O 9 Nc3 a6 10 cxd5 exd5 11 Bd3 Bg4 12 O-O Bxf3 13 gxf3 Nh5 14 f4 Qh4 15 Nxd5 Rad8 16 Kh1 Bb8


17 Rg1 Rxd5 18 Qxh5 Qxh5 19 Rxg7+ Kh8 20 Rxh7+ Kg8 21 Rg1+ Resigns.

Source: Časopis Českých Šachistů, November-December 1917, pages 160-161.

(Kingpin, 1998)

Original combinations

The game below was published on pages 153-154 of the International Chess Magazine, May 1890, page 153:

Walter Irving Kennard – E.P. Wires
Correspondence game
Steinitz Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 exf4 4 d4 Qh4+ 5 Ke2 d5 6 exd5 Bg4+ 7 Nf3 Qe7+ 8 Kf2 Bxf3 9 Kxf3 Nd8 10 Bb5+ c6 11 dxc6 bxc6 12 Bxc6+ Nxc6 13 Re1 Nxd4+ 14 Qxd4 Qxe1


15 Bxf4 (‘The initiation of a brilliant, ingenious and quite original combination, which reflects the highest credit on Mr Kennard’s analytical powers.’ – Steinitz.) 15…Qe6 16 Re1 Qxe1 17 Qa4+ Kd8 18 Qa5+ Ke8 19 Qb5+ Ke7 20 Qc5+ Kf6 21 Qg5+ Ke6 22 Qd5+ Resigns.

The second game comes from page 28 of the November 1905 issue of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, which commented: ‘The combination, inaugurated by the sacrifice of the bishop on the 13th move of White, appears to be as sound as undoubtedly it is original’.

C.H. Strawhecker – A. Wolcott
Grand Rapids, 17 November 1905
King’s Gambit Declined

1 e4 e5 2 f4 Nf6 3 fxe5 Nxe4 4 Nf3 d5 5 d4 Bb4+ 6 c3 Ba5 7 Bd3 O-O 8 O-O f6 9 Qb3 Kh8 10 exf6 Nxf6 11 Bg5 Bb6 12 Ne5 Be6


13 Bxh7 Kxh7 14 Qc2+ Kg8 15 Ng6 Rf7 16 Rf4 Qd6 17 Rh4 Nh7 (An imperfectly played game, to be sure. Here, for instance, White could win quickly with 18 Rxh7.) 18 Ne7+ Rxe7 19 Qxh7+ Kf8 20 Nd2 Bg8 21 Qf5+ Ke8 22 Rh8 Qe6 23 Rxg8+ Qxg8 24 Qc8+ Kf7 25 Rf1+ Kg6 26 Qf5+ Kh5 27 g4 mate.

(Kingpin, 1998)

A forgotten brilliancy

Blackburne, who seldom annotated games other than his own, provided notes to the following brilliancy on page 23 of the 28 February 1865 issue of the Household Chess Magazine:

James Stanley Kipping – Eduard Pindar
Evans Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 Qb3 (‘This line of attack is, in our opinion, not so good as 6 d4.’) 6…Qe7 (‘6…Qf6 is the proper reply.’) 7 Ba3 d6 8 d4 exd4 9 O-O Nf6 (‘Enabling White to obtain a most powerful attack. 9…Nh6 or 9…Bb6 would have been better.’) 10 e5 Ne4 11 Re1 Nc5 12 Bxc5 (‘Here, we think, Mr Kipping scarcely made the most of his attack. He might have played, with advantage, 12 Bxf7+, when the following variation would be probable: 12 Bxf7+ Qxf7 (He can also play 12…Kd8 or 12…Kf8, but in either case White wins.) 13 exd6+ Kf8 14 Bxc5 Qxb3 (best) 15 d7+ Kf7 16 dxc8(Q) Qd5 17 Ng5+ Kg6 18 Qg4 and White must win.’) 12…dxc5 13 e6 f6 14 Nh4 g6 15 f4 O-O (‘This does not improve Black’s game; again, 15…Bb6 would have been preferable.’) 16 f5 g5 17 Nf3 Bb6 18 a4 Na5 19 Qa2 c6 (‘Why not take the bishop? That must have been his intention when he moved 18…Na5.’) 20 Nbd2 a6 21 Ne4 Ba7 22 cxd4 cxd4 23 Bd3 c5 24 Rac1 (‘The prelude to a most brilliant combination.’) 24…b6


25 Nxd4 (‘From this point the game is very interesting and instructive.’) 25…cxd4 (‘Apparently unconscious of the coming danger.’) 26 Rc7 (‘A beautiful continuation. After this move Black has no resource.’) 26…Qxc7 27 e7+ Kg7 28 exf8(Q)+ Kxf8 29 Nxf6 Qf7 30 Re8+ Kg7 31 Nh5+ (‘The decisive move, and must have been foreseen by Mr Kipping when he sacrificed the knight on his 25th move.’) 31…Qxh5 32 Qg8+ Kf6 and White mates in two moves.

(Kingpin, 1998)

Concerning the note to White’s 31st move, on page 66 of A Chess Omnibus we mentioned that 30 Re8+ was not the only win for White.

Capablanca and Valentino

From page 27 of One-Move Chess by the Champions by Bruce Pandolfini (New York, 1985):

‘With his great abilities and striking good looks, Capablanca was idolized both in and out of the chess world. In a major magazine’s poll in the 1920s, he was ranked as the world’s third most handsome man, right behind Rudolf [sic] Valentino and Ramon Novarro. Cecil B. DeMille even brought him to Hollywood, where he planned to make him a star.’

Wanted: substantiation of any or all of this.


Now we read on page 71 of the Bruce Pandolfini’s book Every Move Must Have a Purpose (New York, 2003) that Capablanca …

‘… once came in third on Esquire magazine’s list of the most attractive men in the world. Back in 1927, only Rudolf [sic] Valentino and Ramon Novarro could claim to be better-looking.’

Given that Valentino died in 1926 and Esquire was born in 1933, we are unsure what to make of this.

The only connection between Valentino and chess that comes to mind is the portrait of him published on page 6 of the 8/2001 New in Chess.

Mention may be made here of a comment by Lajos Steiner about Octav Troianescu on page 45 of Kings of the Chess Board (Roseville, 1948):

‘This young Romanian doctor looks more like a film star than a chessmaster. Faultlessly dressed and dreamy-eyed, he reminds one of Rudolph Valentino.’


C.N. 4229 referred to an Austrian webpage with a collection of chess postcards. Page two of the ‘Herren’ section features the photograph of Rudolph Valentino [links broken] mentioned in C.N. 3097 (see page 108 of Chess Facts and Fables). Further details are sought, and particularly since in the biographies of the silent-film star (1895-1926) we recall no mention of chess.


Luc Winants (Boirs, Belgium) has forwarded to us the photograph of Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) referred to in C.N. 4758. It comes from the collection of Daniël De Mol, to whom we are also grateful.



We have now found that in the March 1953 issue of Esquire Fred Reinfeld wrote an article which included the following comment:

‘In his youth Capablanca’s stunning good looks ran him a close third to Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Novarro …’

This, of course, was merely a personal comment by Reinfeld, with no indication that any ‘poll’ had taken place. The article was reproduced on pages 14-17 of his book The Joys of Chess (New York, 1961).


Noah’s Ark Trap

Wanted: information about the origins of the ‘Noah’s Ark Trap’ in the Ruy López. So far the oldest specimen we have found is G. MacDonnell v J. Wisker, London, 1876 (Deutsche Schachzeitung, June 1876, pages 172-173), which began 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O d6 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 Nxd4 8 Nxd4 exd4 9 Bg5 (‘Naturally White should not capture the d-pawn owing to 9…c5! and 10…c4.’).

Annotating a game on pages 355-356 of the August 1895 BCM, James Mason wrote after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Qe2 d6 5 c3 Nge7 6 a4 ‘Simply by way of episode; or, reminiscent of Noah and his Ark!’, but when the name was first used for the Ruy López trap remains to be discovered.


About 20 years ago we saw a game involving Josef Noa (1856-1903) which featured the trap and were struck by the Noa/Noah connection. Now, however, it is proving impossible to locate the game in question. Can any readers help?


Dirk Gruijters (Leiden, the Netherlands) and Dennis Leong (Naperville, IL, USA) suggest that the game in question may have been Noa v Steinitz, London, 16 June 1883, in which there was an opportunity for the Noah’s Ark Trap to arise. The game began 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nge7 5 d4 exd4 6 Nxd4 Nxd4 7 Qxd4 b5 8 Bb3 d6. White now played 9 c4, which the tournament book (page 97) gave a question mark with the comment ‘9 c3 is much preferable’.


See also other references to the trap in the Factfinder.

Unknown Fischer games

Jean Hébert (Montreal, Canada) sends two Fischer games from a simultaneous display (+48 –0 =0) which were published in L’action catholique in February or March 1964.

Robert James Fischer – M. Tordion
Quebec City, 25 February 1964
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nxd4 5 Qxd4 e6 6 Nc3 Qc7 7 Nb5 Qxc2 8 Bf4 Bc5 9 Qd2 Qxe4+ 10 Be2 Bb4


11 Nd6+ Bxd6 12 Bxd6 Nf6 13 O-O Qd5 14 Qf4 Qe4 15 Qg3 Qg6 16 Qa3 Qg5 17 Rac1 Ne4 18 Bb4 a5 19 Bf3 Nd2 20 Bxd2 Qxd2 21 Qc5 Qb4 22 Qxc8+ Rxc8 23 Rxc8+ Ke7 24 Rxh8 h6 25 Rb8 b6 26 Rb7 Qxb2 27 Rd1 Qxa2 28 Rdxd7+ Ke8 29 Re7+ Kd8 30 Rbd7+ Kc8 31 Bb7+ Kb8 32 Re8+ Ka7 33 Ra8 mate.

Robert James Fischer – A. Bilodeau
Quebec City, 25 February 1964
Falkbeer Counter-Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 f4 d5 3 exd5 e4 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Qe2 Bg4 6 Qe3 Bf5 7 h3 Nxd5 8 Nxd5 Qxd5 9 g4 Bc5 10 Qb3 Be6 11 f5 Qd4 12 Qg3 Bd6 13 Qg2 Bd5 14 Ne2 Qc5 15 Nc3 O-O 16 b4 Qd4 17 Bb2 Bxb4 18 O-O-O Nc6 19 f6 g6 20 h4 h6 21 g5 h5 22 Be2 Ne5


23 Nb5 e3 24 Bxd4 Bxg2 25 Rh2 exd2+ 26 Kb2 Nc4+ 27 Bxc4 Bf3 28 Be2 Bxe2 29 Rxe2 Rae8 30 Rxe8 Rxe8 31 c3 a6 32 Nxc7 Re4 33 Rxd2 Ba5 34 Nd5 Kf8 35 Bc5+ Ke8 36 Rd4 Rxd4 37 Bxd4 Kd7 38 Kc2 Kd6 39 Ne3 Bc7 40 Kd3 b5 41 Ke4 Kc6 42 Be5 Bxe5 43 Kxe5 a5 44 Nf5 Kd7 45 Nd6 b4 46 cxb4 axb4 47 Nb7 Resigns.



Claiming that old games are ‘unknown’ can be risky, but the score below seems absent from the various Anderssen collections:

Count Conrad Woldemar Vitzthum von Eckstädt – Adolf Anderssen
Leipzig, 1855
Scotch Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Bc5 5 Ng5 Nh6 6 Qh5 (Known as the Vitzthum Attack.) 6…Qe7 7 f4 d6 8 h3 Na5 9 Bd3 Nf5 10 Nxf7 g6 11 Qe2 Ng3 12 Qf3 Nxh1 13 Nxh8


13…Qh4+ 14 Kd1 Nf2+ 15 Ke2 Nxd3 16 Qxd3 Be6 17 Qb5+ Nc6 18 Qxb7 d3+ 19 cxd3 Nd4+ 20 Kd1 Bg4+ 21 hxg4 Qh1+ 22 White resigns.

Source: Šach, September-October 1939, pages 148-149.


Ed Tassinari (Scarsdale, NY, USA) points out that the game was subsequently annotated by L. Prins in Master Chess (starting on page 46), with a note that in 1938 the Leipziger Zeitung had announced the discovery of a number of Anderssen games played in 1855. The date of Vitzthum v Anderssen was given as 5 April 1855.


Důras problem

The problem below, which may appeal to those who like ‘natural’ positions, is a three-mover by Důras which was originally published in Zlatá Praha on 7 May 1919:




Page 273 of the December 1912 American Chess Bulletin reported that William Bayard Rice (1895-1953) had his first problem published in the Chess Amateur ‘before he had contested a single game of chess over the board – truly a unique instance’.


Patron saint of chess

Christopher Fordham-Hall (Bournemouth, England) asks whether there has ever been a patron saint of chess.

We can do no better than quote Adriano Chicco’s words on page 356 of the November 1954 BCM:

‘… I suggest that the patron saint of all players, and therefore of chess-players, is St Francis of Sales, who, in the Introduction to a Devoted Life, Part III, Ch. 31, included chess among permitted games. We are reminded, too, that in Spain in 1936, the chess section of a religious club of Granada elected as its patron St Genadio, Bishop of Astoria in 899, who is said to have often played chess with Alfonso III (El Ajedrez Español, 1936, page 140).

Of St Francis Xavier it is said that one day, while sailing to Malavar, he began to play chess with a soldier of doubtful character in order to befriend and to convert him (Rosignoli, Societatis Jesus, Il Giuoco di Fortuna, Modena, 1703, page 187).

The Catholic Church, after the penalties of the first centuries, looked with favour on chess, if played without money stakes (see my article, “Chess and the Church” in L’Italia Scacchistica, 1938, pages 161-181).’


Giving the above item on page 142 of A Chess Omnibus, we added this footnote:

Another candidate is Teresa d’Avila (see page 506 of the Dizionario Enciclopedico degli Scacchi by A. Chicco and G. Porreca, as well as page 14 of the January 1955 BCM).


‘A remarkable and instructive example of a game drawn under circumstances that rendered it apparently impossible’ was the description of the final phase of the encounter below, published on pages 166-168 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1846:

Wilhelm Hanstein – Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa
Occasion? (circa 1846)
Scotch Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Bc5 5 c3 d3 6 b4 Bb6 7 a4 a6 8 O-O d6 9 Qxd3 Nge7 10 Bf4 O-O 11 Nbd2 Ng6 12 Bg3 Kh8 13 Rfe1 f5 14 exf5 Bxf5 15 Ne4 Nce7 16 Rad1 h6 17 h3 Qd7 18 a5 Ba7 19 Kh2 Rad8 20 Bxa6 bxa6 21 Qxa6 Bxe4 22 Rxe4 Qc6 23 Qxc6 Nxc6 24 Rc4 Nge5 25 Nxe5 Nxe5 26 Rxc7 Bxf2 27 b5 Bxg3+ 28 Kxg3 Rc8 29 Rxc8 Rxc8 30 Rxd6 Rxc3+ 31 Kf4 Nf7 32 Rd7 Rc4+ 33 Ke3 Rc5 34 Rxf7 Rxb5 35 a6 Ra5 36 a7 Kh7


37 Kd4 Kg6 38 Rb7 Kf6 39 Kc4 g5 40 Kb4 Ra1 41 Kb5 Kf5 42 Rf7+ Kg6 43 Rd7 Kf5 44 g3 h5 45 Kb6 Ke4 46 Kb7 Kf3 47 Rd3+ Kg2 48 Rd5 g4 49 Rxh5 gxh3 50 g4 Kg3 51 g5 Rb1+ 52 Kc6 Rc1+ 53 Kd6 Ra1 54 Rh7 h2 55 g6 Ra6+ 56 Ke5 Rxa7 57 g7 Rxg7 58 Rxg7+ Kf2 Drawn.


After reproducing the above score on pages 69-70 of A Chess Omnibus, we added this game, one of two played simultaneously and blindfold by Harrwitz:

Daniel Harrwitz – Smith and Bogle
Glasgow, 1848
Evans Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 O-O Bb6 7 d4 exd4 8 cxd4 d6 9 Bb2 Nf6 10 d5 Na5 11 Bd3 O-O 12 Nbd2 c5 13 Qc2 h6 14 h3 Qe7 15 Rae1 Nh5 16 e5 Bc7 17 Re4 dxe5 18 Nxe5 Qd6 19 f4 Bf5 20 g4 Bxe4 21 Nxe4 Qxd5 22 gxh5 b6 23 Ng3 Rad8 24 Rd1 Qe6 25 Kh2 Nc6 26 Bf5 Nb4 27 Qg2 Qe8 28 Ne4 Bxe5 29 Bxe5 Qxe5 30 fxe5 Rxd1 31 a3 Na6 32 Nf6+ Kh8 33 Bc2 Rd4 34 Ne4 Nc7 35 Nd6 Kg8 36 Nf5 Ne6 37 Nxd4 Nxd4 38 Qe4 Nxc2 39 Qxc2 Re8 40 Qe4 a5 41 a4 Re6


42 Kg3 Kh8 43 Qd5 g6 44 hxg6 Rxg6+ 45 Kf4 Kg7 46 h4 Re6 47 Kf5 Kf8 48 Qd8+ Kg7 49 h5 Rc6 50 Qd7 Re6 51 Qc8 Re7 52 Ke4 Re6 53 Kd5 Re7 54 Qb8 Re6 55 Qd8 c4 56 Qc7 Kf8 57 Qxc4 Re8 58 Qe4 Kg7 59 Kd6 Re6+ 60 Kd7 Kg8 61 Qa8+ Kg7 62 Qb8 Resigns.

Source: Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1848, pages 324-325.


Which is the recent book with the largest quantity of incorrect data for old games? Probably The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time by Graham Burgess (published by Cadogan Chess). To give (at least for now) just two examples: there is multiple imprecision in the Capablanca game on page 160, and page 67 has a game with the wrong name for Alekhine’s opponent, the wrong year and the wrong conclusion. Indeed, given its true length, that Alekhine game should not be in the book at all.


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.’


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 …’



This position is from a brilliancy prize game between D. Przepiórka and I. Dominik at the Warsaw, 1919 tournament:


Black now played: 26…g3+ 27 Rxg3 Qxg3+ 28 Kxg3 Rg7+ 29 Kh2 Rg2+ 30 Kh1 Bg4 31 Qg1 Bf3 32 Rc2 Kf7 33 Rxg2 hxg2+ 34 Kh2 Rh8+ 35 Kg3 Rh1 36 Kf2 a5 37 Nc8 Ke6 38 f5+ Kf6 39 Nd6 b6 40 Nc8 c5 41 Nxb6 cxd4 42 Nxd5+ Ke5 43 f6 dxe3+ 44 Nxe3 Kxf6 45 b4 axb4 46 Nd5+ Ke6 47 Nxb4 e3+ and White resigned. (There cannot be many games in which a queen remains en prise to a rook for a dozen moves.)

The score was widely published at the time (e.g. BCM, July 1920, pages 218-219, which called it ‘a very fine and interesting game’, and the July 1921 Deutsche Schachzeitung, pages 153-154). However, on page 211 of the December 1921 American Chess Bulletin A.J. Fink of the San Francisco Chronicle observed that the BCM’s notes had given the variation 29 Kf2 Rg2+ 30 Kf1 Bg4 31 Qe1 Bf3 32 Qh4 h2 and 33…Rg1+ and that in this line White could play 33 Rc1 (‘!!!’). He added: ‘In the attacking moves of Black from here on – and there are a good many – I’ve failed to find a win. The fact must not be overlooked that the knight, stationed at b6, does good work.’

Was Fink right in believing that he had ‘cooked’ the brilliancy?


Tal’s year of death

Mikhail Tal died in 1992, but even reporting that elementary fact has proven an insurmountable hurdle for a number of writers. Other years proposed include:

1991: Larry Evans on the ‘Chess master Network’ (Internet).

1993: Graham Burgess on page 496 of The Mammoth Book of Chess.

1994: Bjarke Kristensen and Don Maddox on page 19 of their book about the Kasparov v Anand match.

Not to be outdone, pages 50 and 368 of World Champion Openings by Eric Schiller refer to a game ‘Unzicker v Tal, Hamburg, ...1996’.


Red Reshevsky

From Ed Tassinari (Scarsdale, NY, USA):

‘The 3 November 1958 issue of Sports Illustrated had a short piece, with a number of illustrations, on the 1958 Chess Olympiad in Munich. It was stated that Samuel Reshevsky kept a journal of his experiences at that event, and his candid remarks, regarding his feelings in losing against Unzicker, are remarkable in that such candour from the loser is rare.’

Reshevsky’s words, from page 30 of the article:

‘Suddenly he made an inobvious move I had completely overlooked. I began to perspire; my face turned red. My mind became a complete blank. I sat there a few moments gazing at the board. There was no way out. I finally reconciled myself to the fact that I was lost. I made a few more moves, then I resigned.’

We take the conclusion to the game from page 58 of the March 1959 Schweizerische Schachzeitung:


27 Qe2 Qc8 28 Rc7 Qd8 29 Qc4 d5 30 Bxd5 Nd2 31 Qc6 Rf8 32 Rxf7 Rxf7 33 g6 hxg6 34 fxg6 Kf8 35 gxf7 Ne4 36 Qe8+ Resigns.

Unzicker provided notes in the Weltgeschichte des Schachs volume on his career, published in 1962. Another set of annotations by him, from the Süddeutsche Schachblätter, was reproduced on pages 276-277 of Földeák’s book Chess Olympiads.


Keres problem

Paul Keres was only 15 when he had the following fine problem published on page 350 of the November 1931 Deutsche Schachzeitung:


Mate in five


The Döry Defence

On page 76 of the 4/1998 New in Chess we mentioned that in a 1938 tournament game (in Montevideo) Alekhine essayed 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Ne4.

Here is A.E. Santasiere’s reaction to Alekhine’s play, on page 55 of the May-June 1938 American Chess Bulletin:

‘Annotating the champion’s South American games is like criticizing the behavior of a staid banker at a night club.’


Double rook sacrifice

An attractive variation on the double rook sacrifice theme:

‘Dr van B.’ – Wilhelm Gudehus
Amsterdam, 1919
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Bg5 Qa5+ 6 Qd2 Bb4 7 c3 Nxe4 8 cxb4 Qxg5 9 Qc2 Nd6 10 Nb5


10…Nxb5 11 Qxc8+ Ke7 12 Qxh8 Nc6 13 Qxa8 Qc1+ 14 Ke2 Nbd4+ 15 Kd3 Qc2+ 16 Ke3 Nf5+ 17 Kf3 Ne5+ 18 Kf4 Qxf2+ 19 Kxe5 Qd4 mate.

Source: pages 40-41 of Wilhelm Gudehus Ein Meister des Schachspiels by H. Römmig, a book published in 1920.

Databases give a 1980 game which went similarly (though with transpositions) but in which Black missed 18…Qxf2+.


The year after the Gudehus game, even a prominent master fell victim to the temptation of winning the two rooks:

E. Werner – Rudolf Spielmann
Vienna Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Nf3 d6 5 d3 Bg4 6 Be3 Nd4 7 Bxd4 Bxd4 8 h3 Bh5 9 g4 Bxc3+ 10 bxc3 Bg6 11 Qb1 Qc8 12 h4 Qxg4 13 Qxb7 Qxf3 14 Bb5+ Ke7 15 Qxc7+ Kf8 16 Qc6 Qxh1+ (Nimzowitsch pointed out that Black should have played 16…Rd8, and if 17 Qc7 then 17…Qxh1+, followed by 18…Qxh4.) 17 Kd2 Qxa1 18 Qxa8+ Ke7 19 Qe8+ Kf6 20 Qd8+ Resigns.

Source: Tidskrift för Schack, July-August 1920, page 143.

When the latter game (C.N. 2542) was added on page 73 of A Chess Omnibus, we pointed out that it was played in an eight-game simultaneous exhibition.

The French Defence

‘…that slowest of encounters, the execrable French Defence – “King’s Pawn one sneak”, as Walker omits no opportunity of stigmatizing it; or “King to Pawn’s one”, as Leonard used derisively to style it.’

From page ix of Brevity and Brilliancy in Chess by Miron J. Hazeltine (New York, 1866).


To help redress the balance, here is the view on 1…e6 expressed by Daniel Harrwitz on page 27 of his Lehrbuch des Schachspiels (Berlin, 1862):

‘This is the best game for the second player because he is exposed to no attack, and in a few moves the game is level.’


Further support for the French Defence comes from John Cochrane on page 260 of A Treatise on the Game of Chess (London, 1822):

‘I now proceed to the consideration of a game which has been hastily passed over as bad by almost every writer on chess; I say hastily, because they have evidently not given it that attention which its intricacy undoubtedly deserves: it is a game entirely of position, and, consequently, one of extreme difficulty. The attack, which is thrown into the hands of the second player, when the first endeavours to maintain his king’s and queen’s pawns in the centre, is a singular feature in it.’

On the next seven pages Cochrane analyzed four lines, mainly beginning 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5. It was not until the next decade that the name ‘French Defence’ was introduced; Cochrane called it the ‘King’s pawn one game’.


Study Botvinnik

From page 11 of Uncompromising Chess by Alexander Belyavsky (London, 1998):

‘In contrast to the wonderful books of previous World Champions, in my opinion the three-volume set of Botvinnik’s games is the first systemized work capable of giving a player a grandmaster understanding of the game. Botvinnik’s commentaries are so instructive, that for anyone wishing to become a grandmaster, I would recommend that in the first place they should study his works.’


Lasker’s state of mind

An extract from a letter from Emanuel Lasker to Walter Penn Shipley, as quoted on page 249 of the November 1919 American Chess Bulletin:

‘In chess I have become a “duffer”, though with training I might learn the game anew. I am rather sick of war, famine, revolution, immorality and violence. Not that I despair of the world – not at all – but for the moment I should like to be out of the center of the tempest; because my power of endurance is nearly used up, not physically, but morally. I have a longing to be at a quiet spot for a while until I know that fruitful effort is again appreciated. My wife is wonderfully patient and enduring, as, in fact, all good women are.’


A more elegant win


The above position is from a consultation game between Steinitz (White, to move) and Lyman and Richardson.

Steinitz won with 1 Bc3 Qa3 2 Rh1 f5 3 Qc4+ Rf7 4 Rxh7 Qc5+ 5 Qxc5 bxc5 6 Rh8 mate.

It was later pointed out by three readers of the International Chess Magazine that a more elegant win would have been (1 Bc3 Qa3) 2 Qxh7+ Kxh7 3 Rh1+ Kg6 4 Nf4+ Kf5 5 Rh5+ Ke4 6 Re5 mate.

Sources: the International Chess Magazine, January 1885, page 27 and February 1885, page 57.


Chess as a profession

‘Chess can never, either in England or America, become a profession. It is but a scientific recreation – the highest, indeed, of all – but still only a recreation; and he who would make it more, and propose it as the end and aim of his existence, must inevitably sink into that most contemptible of characters – the man of one idea – the mere Chess player.’

Source: the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1859, page 38.


Illegal position


The above position is evidently illegal, but why? Or, more precisely, for how many reasons?


The position was taken from pages 11-12 of The Problem Art by T.B. Rowland and F.F. Rowland (New Barnet and Kinstown, 1897), which used retrograde analysis to show the following units as being ‘out of place’:

White: king; rook at h4; bishop at d4; knight; pawn at a3. Moreover, the white queen is needed on the board.

Black: bishop at a8; pawn at b5.

However, Paul Janse (Leiden, the Netherlands) informs us:

‘I think counting the number of reasons for illegality is meaningless, because one such “reason”, for instance the pawn at a3, makes all argumentation about the position, in connection with chess rules, pointless. Maybe the move c2xa3 was played, the pawn capturing a piece which was not even on a3. Or, for all we know, the position in the diagram was the starting position. In that case you could say there is exactly one reason for illegality. However, it is just senseless to distinguish between impossible and impossible. Take a man, snugly living in a cottage on the sun. How many laws of nature are violated? This question is equally unanswerable.’


Down the drain

It is hard to resist quoting a double rook ending which the Chess Monthly (January 1881, pages 133-134) described as having ‘such a tragi-comic finish as rarely if ever before chronicled in the annals of serious chess contests’.


F.K. Esling v J. Wisker, ninth match game, Melbourne, 1880

Black to move.

Wisker immolated himself with 33…c2 34 Rc1 Rd8 35 Ke2 Rd4 36 Rb2 Rdc4 37 Kd2 Rd4+ 38 Ke2 Rdc4 39 Kd2 Rd7+ 40 Ke2 b3 41 Rxb3 Rd1 42 Rxd1 Re4+ 43 Kd2 Rd4+ 44 Kxc2 Resigns.


Walker’s view

Some comments by George Walker from pages x-xi of Chess Studies (London, 1844):

‘Mr Cochrane could have been the Philidor of the age; but would not. His ardent temperament, as a Chess-player, runs away with his judgment; disdaining to track a beaten path, even if certain victory present itself in the vista of the route. Mr Cochrane’s banner bears for its device, “Attack, attack”. – Attack at all risk – attack at every cost. Mr Cochrane is the most brilliant player I have ever had the honour to look over or confront; not even excepting De la Bourdonnais; and pity it is that his very brilliancy so often mars success.’

‘The somewhat severe – not to say cold – style of M. Popert’s game is more than counterbalanced by the talent he evinces for that vital principle of Chess – counter-attack. His judgment of position, too, is second to that of no man; and he plays endings with great mechanical accuracy.’

‘Speaking of ends of games, I must here observe, that of all players since Philidor, without exception, I believe Szén, of Hungary, conducts pawn-endings with the most deadly skill, as regards his adversary.’

Footnote on Cochrane: his obituary on page 84 of the 15 March 1878 issue of La Stratégie called him ‘the most brilliant player of the present century’.

(Kingpin, 1999)

Instant mate


White to move

M. Chigorin-A. Clerc, Paris, 15 November 1891

Chigorin played 62 Qg2, which was answered by 62…Qe1 mate.

Source: La Stratégie, 15 December 1891, pages 357-358.

(Kingpin, 1999)


‘Chess is a Siamese-twin of clean living.’

Emanuel Lasker, quoted on page 51 of the April 1926 American Chess Bulletin. He had been speaking in Los Angeles that March, also declaring: ‘Chess is the greatest game of all if played in moderation.’

(Kingpin, 1999)

Staunton on schools

In his Times column on 1 October 1999 Raymond Keene wrote, in amongst all the customary blank space, that Howard Staunton ‘had also embarked on a history of the English Public School system that remained unfinished when Staunton died in 1874’.

However, before us lies the first edition of The Great Schools of England, a 517-page book which was published in London in 1865. A quote from the Introduction (pages xxi-xxii) offers some characteristic Staunton prose:

‘Education in England is at present very much of a chance-medley affair. It has neither unity of object nor of spirit. The whims of individuals, the bigotry of sects, the timid interference of the Government, the tricks of charlatans, sciolism, incompetency, coarse popular feeling, and necessity, all commingle and counteract. What fruits can such a system, or rather such an absence of system, bear? A Minister of Public Instruction would not, it is true, eradicate the whole evil, would not provide a perfect remedy, but he would be an efficient instrument of a great reformation. He would potently help to bring order and unity; he would infuse energy, and would compel even the most recalcitrant and incapable to follow a comprehensive plan. In this country there is a dislike, and a very proper dislike, to that bureaucratic meddling which is the bane of Continental States. But we sometimes suffer as much from the want of centralization as other nations do from its excesses. By all means let bureaucracy, which is the pedantry of despotism, be opposed. Let no dread, however, be entertained of centralization where education is concerned; for vigorous centralization would quicken and stimulate public instruction, enlarge its scope, and hasten its march.’

And from pages xxxvi-xxxvii:

‘Of all the chief modern languages, English is perhaps the worst spoken and the worst written by educated people. It is written too often with an almost total disregard of euphony, elegance, and even grammar; and it is spoken mincingly or mouthingly, with countless horrible disfigurements. Why should not English be written with as much of precision and propriety and classical finish as French? Why should not Englishmen speak as accurately as Frenchmen? We need not, in England, as respects language, be apprehensive of becoming purists; the danger lies in the opposite direction. Pedantry in speech is an evil; barbarism in speech is a greater evil …

That a boy should be able to speak and write his native language as it ought to be spoken and written, is of more solid and lasting importance than that he should excel in the composition of Greek and Latin verses; yet many a boy can do the latter, who is utterly incompetent to the former.’

(Kingpin, 1999)

Bad starts to books

Two examples from 1999 publications:

The Human Comedy of Chess by H. Ree features, in its first paragraph (page 3), an obvious misdating of the termination of the first Karpov v Kasparov match (which occurred on 15 February 1985).

Strategic Chess by E. Mednis has as the first sentence of the first note of the first game: ‘It it this move that …’

(Kingpin, 1999)

The opening part of the first sentence (on page v) of the Preface to How to Play Better Chess by Fred Reinfeld (London, 1948):

‘Chess has been played for thousands of years …’

(Kingpin, 2000)

An addition on page 293 of A Chess Omnibus:

Another case is the first line of chapter one of The Chess Masters on Winning Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1960), where Steinitz’s year of death is given incorrectly (i.e. 1901, instead of 1900).

Quiet moves

Can readers supply little-known examples of quiet moves which crown an attack? One such finish follows:


‘H’ – J.H. Zukertort (Occasion?)

Black to move.

10…fxg2+ 11 Kxg2 Qh3+ 12 Kf2 d5 13 exd5 g3+ 14 hxg3 Ng4+ 15 Kf3 Nd4+ 16 Ke4


16…Bg7 and wins.

Source: the Chess Monthly, August 1881, page 375.


Kasparov win

Claus van de Vlierd (Oldenburg, Germany) sends the following game, which, he tells us, has not been published before:

Garry Kasparov – Claus van de Vlierd
Simultaneous exhibition, Cologne, 29 October 1988
Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Bf5 5 Ng3 Bg6 6 Bc4 e6 7 N1e2 Nf6 8 O-O Bd6 9 f4 O-O 10 f5 exf5 11 Nxf5 Bxf5 12 Rxf5 Nbd7 13 Qd3 Qc7 14 Ng3 Bxg3 15 hxg3 Nb6 16 Bb3 Nbd5 17 Bg5 Rae8 18 c4 Ne7 19 Rf3 Ng4 20 Raf1 Qd7 21 Bd2 Rd8 22 Bb4 Nf6 23 d5 cxd5 24 cxd5 Rfe8 25 Rxf6 gxf6 26 Rxf6 Nxd5 27 Rh6 Nf6


28 Rg6+ Kh8 29 Bc3 hxg6 30 Bxf6+ Kh7 31 Qc4 Qf5 32 Bxd8 (There was a mate in four with 32 Qxf7+.) 32…Re1+ 33 Kh2 Qh5+ 34 Qh4 Resigns.


kasparov van de vlierd

Soviet Championships

From Claus van de Vlierd (Oldenburg, Germany) we acknowledge receipt of a substantial list of historical errors in The Soviet Championships by B. Cafferty and M. Taimanov (Cadogan Chess, 1998).


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.



Wanted: information about the author of Bluff your way in Chess (Ravette Books, London, 1993), ‘B.W. Malpass’.

(Kingpin, 1998)


Owen Hindle (Cromer, England) writes:

‘On page 5 of Amos Burn The Quiet Chessmaster by R.N. Coles, there is a mention of the “premature death” of G.E.H. Bellingham, but I know of no evidence of this. In a booklet I had published last year, J.H. Blackburne The Final Years, I put forward the theory that Bellingham gave up chess early following the less than flattering review that his primer Chess received in the January 1909 BCM’.


Owen Hindle now points out that a brief reference to Bellingham’s death was made on page 272 of the August 1949 BCM.


Further to R.N. Coles’ incorrect reference to the ‘premature death’ of G.E.H. Bellingham (1874-1949), we now see from page 383 of the September 1939 BCM that Bellingham planned a come-back, having announced his participation in the Bath congress scheduled for 9-16 September. The event was cancelled owing to the outbreak of war.

Incidentally, page 69 of Bellingham’s 1908 book Chess quoted this remark by James Mason:

‘However bad the position, or strong the attack, in 99 cases out of a hundred, care and patience will find a way out.’


Hall of fame

John McCrary (West Columbia, SC, USA) sends us a copy of volume 1 of The Hall-of-Fame History of U.S. Chess, a 94-page work (published in August 1998) which investigates such issues as ‘The US Presidents (and their vices) and chess’, ‘Chess and Baseball’ and ‘Women in Early American Chess’. The last-named article quotes an interesting suggestion from pages 85-86 of the New York, 1857 tournament book that Louis Paulsen’s sister was ‘believed to be the strongest amateur of her sex in the country’.

Our correspondent’s volume should not be confused with The U.S. Chess Hall of Fame by Macon Shibut (Washington, D.C., 1995), which adopts a far less academic approach.



Of all possible publishing mishaps, one of the most unfortunate occurred in Paul Keres 50 parties (1916-1939) by J.-A. Le Monnier (Besançon, 1979): after game nine none of the headings identified the players. An errata sheet was added to list the players of the other 41 games, their names having vanished ‘à la suite d’une fausse manœuvre’.


From page vii of Part II of The Modern Chess Instructor by Steinitz:

‘One of the principles laid down in Part I of this work is that the Knight is stronger than the Bishop.’

The final page had an erratum:

‘On page vii of Preface top line read: The Bishop is stronger than the Knight.’


Maróczy book

In the early 1980s Daniël De Mol (Wetteren Belgium) bought from Szabó a book by Géza Maróczy, Végjátékok és Játszmák (published by Pantheon Kiadás, undated – but apparently during the Second World War). Our correspondent has been unable to find other references to the book.

Is it known to readers? Our own collection contains several books by Maróczy in Hungarian, but not that one.


Owen Hindle (Cromer, England) informs us that he has a copy of the Maróczy book. The 370-page volume A Modern Sakk Vezérkönyve was in three parts; the third of them (pages 235-370) being the work discussed in C.N. 2290.

Lasker problem

There follows a composition by Emanuel Lasker which was published on page 45 of the March 1926 American Chess Bulletin:


Mate in three


We now note that the composition had appeared on page 203 of Checkmate, June 1903, where it was described as ‘an original contribution to Checkmate from the most eminent of the masters of the game’.



Schlechter’s compositions were discussed on pages 74-78 of Warren Goldman’s book Carl Schlechter! Life and Times of the Austrian Chess Wizard, which put at about 200 the number of problems probably composed by the Viennese master. A selection of 20 of them was included in the book, and here is another one:


Mate in three

Source: Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1910, page 420.


Daniël De Mol (Wetteren Belgium) is surprised by the remark about problems on page 75 of Goldman’s book on Schlechter (‘there are, perhaps, more than 150 of these – but no collection has ever been published’). Our correspondent points out that the 1920 monograph Carl Schlechter, sein Leben und Schaffen contains no fewer than 90 two-movers and 81 three-movers.

The explanation is that Goldman’s book wrongly presented the above words as if they were his own. In fact, he was more or less quoting the information provided by Alain C. White to William M. Russell for an article published on pages 63-68 of the March 1919 American Chess Bulletin, i.e. the year before the German work on Schlechter was published.


Valuable books

Stefan Bücker (Nordwalde, Germany) informs us that a US bookstore operating on the Internet is asking $3,000 for a copy of the New York, 1924 tournament book which includes all the competitors’ signatures on a sheet of Alamac Hotel stationery.

In similar listings we have noted some very optimistic pricing. One dealer is prepared to sell a signed copy of Znosko-Borovsky’s The Middle Game in Chess for $1,250 (few chess collectors would probably wish to pay one twentieth of that) as well as, for $10,000, three of Chéron’s endgame books, signed by Fischer. There is also a tendency for exorbitant sums to be asked for books inscribed by lesser-lights to leading figures (most notably to Fischer).


On pages 156-157 of the November 1983 issue of CHESS we chided a reader for complaining about the price ($1) of Fischer’s self-publication “I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!”. Now, 16 years on, we note that an Internet dealer is offering a copy (not signed …) for $150. It is classified under ‘true crime’ and, ironically, the vendor’s name is ‘Bargain Books’.



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.


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.


Englisch v Tarrasch, Hamburg, 1885

The opening moves were: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f4 O-O 6 Nf3 Nbd7 7 Be2 e5 8 dxe5 dxe5 9 fxe5 Ng4 10 Bg5 Qe8 11 Nd5 Ngxe5 12 Be7 Nxf3+ 13 Bxf3 c6 14 Bxf8 Qxf8 15 Nc3 Qc5 16 Qb3 Ne5 17 O-O-O


In this position [from a game which a columnist had discussed on pages 83-84 of the 5/1999 New in Chess] Samuel Rosenthal pinpointed 17…Nxc4 as an error, and gave a similar line to Pliester’s. He wrote:

‘Weak. It would be better to play 17…Be6 18 Qxb7 Re8, followed by …Nxc4 or …Bxc4; White could not defend the pawn with b3 because of …Nxf3, followed by …Bxc3.’

In his notes (La Stratégie, 15 August 1885, pages 230-231) Rosenthal disapproved of Black’s second move of the game. At move three he evoked what was later to be the Grünfeld Defence (‘If now 3…d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nxc3 6 bxc3, with a very strong centre and Black’s game is hemmed in.’). He liked 5 f4 but would have played 7 e5 instead of 7 Be2. (The pawn advance e5 was a pet move of Rosenthal’s.) Black’s seventh move, he said, lost at least a pawn, but it was difficult to suggest a good line. At move ten he indicated as better 10…f6 11 exf6 Bxf6 12 Bxf6 Nxf6 or Qxf6 13 O-O, although White would ‘maintain the extra pawn and a good position’.


No mate


Black to move

This position appeared on page 240 of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, September 1905, as well as on page 129 of Lasker’s book Curso de ajedrez (Mexico, 1908). Although both stated that with 1…Nf3 Black can force mate, it is not difficult to see that White can hold on with 2 Qe5.


Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) informs us that he has the fifth edition of the book (published in Paris/Mexico in 1925) and that on page 118 the position is given without the white queen. Its removal means that there is a forced mate, but most of the composition’s artistic flavour has gone.


Carlsbad, 1911

In the light of the recent discussion of Carlsbad, 1911 (e.g. on pages 8-9 of the 6/1999 New in Chess), it is worth recalling the opinion of Wolfgang Heidenfeld, given on page 33 of the January 1971 BCM (in a review of the BCM’s reprint of the tournament book):

‘The reviewer of Carlsbad 1911 is handicapped by the author: in his autobiographical work Goldene Schachzeiten Dr Vidmar calls it “the worst book I have ever written simply because it carried the shabbiest fee I have ever received”. Let me, however, say at the outset that, though not one of the great tournament books (in the class of St Petersburg 1914, New York 1924, Carlsbad 1929, Zurich 1959 or Santa Monica 1966) it is a good deal better than any of the tournament books edited by Bogoljubow, Maróczy and Teichmann, easily the three most boring authors of tournament books, and quite a bit above many other books not fathered by either [sic] of these three prize bores.’


Morphy v Anderssen

Referring to the 1858 match between Morphy and Anderssen, Frank Skoff (Chess Life & Review, October 1979, page 570) described it as ‘the only important match in chess history played for honor alone’.


Another Morphy

Page 379 of the December 1887 International Chess Magazine had this position, taken from the Irish Chess Chronicle:


J. Morphy-P. Rynd, Dublin, 1887 (?)

White to move

1 Qf3 Re1+ (1…Qf4 is noted as leading to a probable draw.) 2 Kh2 Qe7 3 Rc7 Re5 and White announced mate in four, beginning with 4 Rb7+.

‘The play of Mr Morphy in this fine ending would be worthy of his great namesake’, declared Steinitz.


Proper chess journalism

Some of today’s chess reporters may care to note how much work Amos Burn put into his weekly column in The Field. To take the 16 May 1914 issue (pages 1012-1013) as an example, the Englishman presented:

Two problems; the solutions to two previous compositions; a lengthy report (over 200 lines) on St Petersburg, 1914, including round-by-round results; eight annotated games from the tournament; an update on results (up to 14 May); a brief report on the Gambit Tournament in Baden, with the crosstable; a feature on Blackburne in Russia, with the text of a testimonial letter to him from the St Petersburg Chess Club; a replies-to-correspondents section (five items). Elsewhere in that issue of The Field was a portrait of the St Petersburg competitors and officials.

Burn’s column (actually five long columns, taking up nearly two pages of the magazine) puts to shame the ‘work’ of most modern chess journalists.


From Tim Harding (Dublin):

‘All due credit to Amos Burn, but in my experience the chess columnists are fighting for every column inch they can squeeze from the editors and senior executives of the publications they write for. The editors of the late twentieth century are not interested in chess by the yard, unfortunately. So there is no reason to speak of the “shame” of journalists who don’t write at Burn’s length.’

We see so many column inches wasted by chess writers that the key problem/issue must surely be the amount of work invested rather than the quantity of space allotted. On the subject of space, we offered Mr Harding some here to reply to our earlier criticisms of his output (e.g. C.N. 2255). The offer was neither accepted nor even acknowledged.


C.N. 2255 is given above, under the heading ‘Wrong century’. Burn’s Field column of 16 May 1914 was reproduced in its entirety in C.N. 8309.

Unusual prizes

Eugene Gibney (Lloydminster, Canada) draws attention to two unusual prizes that were awarded in the 1945 Canadian Championship in Saskatoon. As reported in the tournament book, there was a ‘Long Distance Prize’ (‘Twenty dollars awarded to the contestant coming the longest distance’) and a ‘Shortest Draw Prize’ (ten dollars).

What other offbeat awards have been made?


From Ed Tassinari (Scarsdale, NY, USA):

‘1. Ree in The Human Comedy of Chess, page 173, refers to the Berlin, 1918 double-round event (Lasker, Rubinstein, Tarrasch and Schlechter), in which 1,000 cigarettes were offered as first prize. He also gives an incorrect score for Schlechter in this tournament.

2. Denker’s biographical collection of best games, originally titled If You Must Play Chess, describes the game Denker-Schwartz, N.Y. Young Masters, 1930, in which the winner was to receive a barrel of schmaltz herring in addition to the (unnamed) regular first prize (page 10).

3. Chernev and Reinfeld in The Fireside Book of Chess, page 99, state that one of the prizes for the winner of the Tarrasch v Mieses match of 1916 was a half pound of butter.

4. Reshevsky (or more likely Reinfeld) in Reshevsky’s Best Games of Chess (Dover reprint edition, page 23) states that after winning the Western Championship event, Tulsa, 1931, his “prize” money amounted to “a few cordial words”.’

Regarding Berlin, 1918, see also page 388 of Goldman’s work on Schlechter, but page 3 of Kagan’s tournament book referred to the tobacco as a Spezialpreis, i.e. an additional award. Concerning item 3 above, Tarrasch wrote on page 4 of his match book that since the butter had arrived shortly after the start of the event he and Mieses had agreed to share it straightaway, before it went rancid.

Never let it be said that we are unwilling to tackle the big issues …


With regard to the second item in C.N. 2354, Aidan Woodger (Halifax, England) refers us to page 12 of Casey Bush’s 1991 book on Arthur Dake, Grandmaster from Oregon: ‘The pleasure of victory [in the 1930 tournament in New York] was only slightly diminished by the fact that the sponsor withdrew the prize before the last round and Arthur was not able to collect the barrel of schmaltz herring.’


When the above three items were given on page 158 of A Chess Omnibus, we added the following in a footnote:

L. Szabó reported on page 32 of his book My Best Games of Chess that after a tournament in Kecskemét in 1945 ‘I gladly presented my second prize, ten kilogams of lard, to my amazed mother’.

Anderssen v Dubois

Alessandro Nizzola (Mantova, Italy) writes:

‘I recently discovered an unknown game by Adolf Anderssen, a loss against Dubois. It was played according to the Italian rules of castling, at the home of Löwenthal. The source is a sheet manuscript which was owned by the nineteenth-century Italian player Francesco Discart and is now in my possession.’

Adolf Anderssen – Serafino Dubois
London, 1862
Muzio Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O (Kh1, Rf1) gxf3 6 Qxf3 Bh6 7 d4 Qh4 8 Nc3 Ne7 9 Bd2 d6 10 Rae1 Nbc6 11 Nb5 Bg4 12 Qb3 O-O-O (Kb8, Rc8) 13 Bc3 f5 14 e5 dxe5 15 d5 Nd4 16 Nxd4 exd4 17 Bxd4 Rhe8 18 Re6 f3 19 g3 Qh3 20 Rf2 f4 21 Ba6 b6 22 Rxb6+1 cxb6 23 Bxb6 Nxd5


24 Bxa7+ Kc7 25 Qc4+ Kd6 and wins.


On page 82 of A Chess Omnibus we added this note regarding 22 Rxb6+:

It seems that after 22 Bxb6 White would not stand worse.

Mr Nizzola adds:

‘I now learn that the game was published in the Nuova Rivista degli Scacchi, 1 December 1875, page 87, and that it was played on 29 June 1862. My new source is the book Serafino Dubois, il Professionista by A. Innocenti and L. Barsi (Messaggerie Scacchistiche, Brescia, 2000), as well as a letter in the June 2000 L’Italia Scacchistica (page 258) from a reader, Giovanni Lucci.’


Capablanca v Alekhine

On page 93 of the 7/1999 New in Chess Jan Timman referred to 40 Rb6 in the 31st Capablanca v Alekhine match-game as being ‘Fridstein’s recommendation’. (See also the detailed analysis by Hübner on pages 63-64 of the 8/1998 Schach.)


Yet 40 Rb6 is not a recent discovery. Page 212 of the April 1928 issue of Roberto Grau’s magazine El Ajedrez Americano commented:

‘The correct move would have been 40 Rb6, giving up the exchange but obtaining a pawn ending that appears won in the opinion of Capablanca himself. Let us see: 40 Rb6 Nxb6 (it is clear that if Black does not capture the rook 41 Rb8 follows, and Black has no way of taking control of the b-file, which is the key to Alekhine’s chances) 41 axb6 Rb7 42 Bc7 Ke7 43 Ke3 Kd7 44 Kf4 Rxc7 45 bxc7 Kxc7 46 Ke5 Kd7 47 d5!, breaking up the pawn base and winning on account of the king’s position.’

Důras too had recommended 40 Rb6 (‘!!’) on pages 23-24 of the February 1928 Československý Šach, although under the misapprehension that Black’s 39th move was …f4 rather than …g4.


Zukertort problem

A problem by Zukertort, from page 30 of his book Sammlung der auserlesensten Schach-Aufgaben (Berlin, 1869):


Mate in seven

The solution, which appears to be a refinement of the combination which occurred in an odds game between Deschapelles and Labourdonnais, runs as follows: 1 Rxg4 fxg4 2 Nh6+ gxh6 3 Qh8+ Kxh8 4 Kf7 d3 5 Bf6+ Bxf6 6 Rb8+ Bd8 7 Rxd8 mate.


Club team

What has been the most prestigious line-up in a club team? A strong candidate must be the City of London’s team which played against Bermondsey Chess Club, giving knight odds, on 23 October 1874: Steinitz, Zukertort, Bird, Blackburne, Boden, MacDonnell, De Vere, Löwenthal, Potter, Hoffer, Lord and Ballard (substituted for Wisker). The City side won +9 –3 =0.

Source: The City of London Chess Magazine, November 1874, page 237.


Grünfeld game

Not many games played by Grünfeld during the Second World War seem to have been published, but here is an unusual miniature:

Meyer – Ernst Grünfeld
Vienna, 30 November 1943
Queen’s Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 a6 4 a4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 e3 c5 7 Bxc4 Nc6 8 O-O Be7 9 Qe2 cxd4 10 Rd1 e5 11 exd4 exd4 12 b4 O-O 13 b5 axb5 14 Nxb5 Bg4 15 Bf4 Bc5 16 Rdc1 Rc8


17 Bxf7+ Rxf7 18 Rxc5 Nd7 19 Qc4 Nxc5 20 Ng5 Ne5 21 Bxe5 Qxg5 22 Nd6 Be6 23 Nxf7 Kxf7 24 White resigns.

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, January 1944, page 21. The game was given with Grünfeld’s annotations.


Developing bishops

‘It is a leading maxim of the modern school, that the bishops should, as far as possible, be kept in communication with both wings.’

Chess Exemplified by W.J. Greenwell (Leeds, 1890), page 21.


The Laskers

Confusion between Emanuel and Edward Lasker persists. On page 104 of The Amazing Book of Chess (Bramley Books, 1999) Gareth Williams gave the conclusion of the well-known game against Englund at Scheveningen, 1913 in the belief that the then world champion had been White.

An older example comes from page 59 of Famous Chess Players by Peter Morris Lerner (Minneapolis, 1973):

‘In 1921 Sammy [Reshevsky] played in a New York tournament during which former World Champion Emanuel Lasker required 70 moves to beat him.’

Again it was Edward Lasker. He won the tournament, for which 1922 would be the correct date.


When C.N. 2361 was given on page 310 of A Chess Omnibus we added a footnote:

In his subsequent book Master Pieces (see pages 127 and 160) G. Williams proved unable even to spell Lasker’s forename, which came out as ‘Emmanual’.

See too the episode related in our feature article on Yates, which included the following, published by the BCM in 2017:

emanuel lasker

Capablanca v Tartakower

Capablanca v Tartakower, New York, 1924 is, with its remarkable rook ending, one of the most famous games in chess literature, yet the first time it was published was in 1987. That, at least, is the assertion on page 159 of Scaccomania by M. Fox and R. James (Milan, 1988), which gave the score and added: ‘nel 1987, la vedova di Capa, Olga Capablanca Clark, mise in vendita il manoscritto della partita fino ad allora inedita.’

Our thanks to Alessandro Nizzola (Mantova, Italy) for pointing out this strange mistranslation from page 109 of the original, The Complete Chess Addict.


For the late 1930s game preserved by Olga Capablanca, see The Genius and the Princess.

History repeated

One curious way in which history repeats itself is in the practice whereby the quality of world championship match play is run down by contemporary critics but aggrandized by posterity. For example, page 5 of the Chess Amateur, October 1908 quoted from the Daily Mail:

‘The match in progress between Dr E. Lasker and Dr S. Tarrasch for the chess championship of the world creates in the minds of many chessplayers a feeling of doubt whether the pre-eminence suggested by such a title as “champion” ought justly to be the award of either player in this contest.

In the eyes of expert analysts only a small proportion of the nine games played up to the present moment can be called first-class chess – except by the players themselves.

The monotonous repetition of the Ruy López Opening, varied only by the equally tiresome and uninteresting French Defence, exhibits a want of enterprise disappointing to those who regard chess as a game par excellence of resource, imagination, and self-reliance; while the blunders committed on both sides in several of the games are blemishes which render them worse than useless as studies or models.’

In contrast, here is a remark from page 3 of the 1951 world championship book by W. Winter and R.G. Wade:

‘… the play between Lasker and Tarrasch has generally been considered the best seen in any match for the world championship.’

To conclude here with a brief non-chess matter, various quotation books attribute the observation ‘History repeats itself; historians repeat one another’ to Philip Guedalla, in his 1920 work Supers and Supermen. We note, however, that the poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) gave the epigram as his own invention in a letter to Geoffrey Keynes dated 4 June 1906.


Capablanca v Bronstein?

From page 11 of The World Chess Championship: 1951 by W. Winter and R.G. Wade:

‘Like Bronstein, who drew in a simultaneous game against Capablanca at Kiev in 1936, Botvinnik came up against Capablanca in a simultaneous exhibition in 1925 …’

What is known about Capablanca v Bronstein?


Genna Sosonko (Amsterdam) has kindly asked David Bronstein whether he once drew a game against Capablanca in a simultaneous display. Here is Bronstein’s reply:

‘I never played a simul game against Capablanca. I may have been present at the 1936 Kiev event but I certainly did not participate. It is possible that I did see Capablanca there, but if someone had told me that it was Bohatirchuk I would probably have believed him. At the time I was 12 years old and although I did already play chess I was more interested in soccer in those days.’


Capablanca and Catalan

Carlos Alonso Mediavilla (Blanes, Spain) points out that the book Gent Nostra Capablanca by Marià Fontrodona (Edicions de Nou Art Thor, Barcelona, 1988) surprisingly states that Capablanca usually conversed with his mother not in Spanish but in Catalan. Here are the relevant passages from the book:

Page 3: ‘Josep Raül Capablanca i Graupera ostenta una nissaga plenament catalana, sense cap mena de dubte.’ Page 4: ‘El que reivindiquem aquí és la nissaga catalana de Josep Raül Capablanca i Graupera’. Page 5: ‘Des de la seva infantesa, el nostre personatge va parlar la llengua catalana, amb la seva mare i amb els familiars de la línia materna.’


C.N. 3333 below shows a 1906 letter from Capablanca to his mother, written in Spanish.

Two world champions on Yanofsky

The recent death of D.A. Yanofsky prompts us to record here two remarks by world champions. Firstly, Alekhine’s posthumous book Gran Ajedrez reproduced photographically part of his annotations (in English) to the famous game Yanofsky (aged 14) v Dulanto, Buenos Aires, 1939. At move 22 Alekhine wrote:

‘The whole little game is characteristic of the incisive style of the young Canadian, who was practically the only revelation of the Buenos Aires Team Tournament.’

In the introduction to Yanofsky’s book Chess the Hard Way! (London, 1953) Euwe, for his part, declared:

‘Considering his youth and his talent, I have no doubt that Abe Yanofsky will one day belong to the strongest of the strong ones, and many of my colleagues share this opinion.’

Chess the Hard Way! is, we believe, one of the best autobiographical games collections. Today, alas, it seems all but forgotten, as does Yanofsky’s 1957 treatise on the phase for which he was the most famed, How to Win End-Games.


François Mitterrand

There cannot be many political figures who have written books which mention chess, yet François Mitterrand did so in the opening paragraph of his 1978 work L’abeille et l’architecte:

‘As a child I did not play cards, any more than I do today. I did play chess, which I learned at the age of about ten, because my maternal grandfather, with whom I lived for half the year, out in the country, three kilometres from the nearest hamlet, had only one opponent to hand. We spent long evenings playing, unaware of the time passing as we moved our pieces around until the king was lost, after which we retired to bed, our heads buzzing with glory or with thoughts of revenge.’



See too C.N. 6594.

Johann Berger

‘The greatest polyhistor in the history of chess’ was W. Heidenfeld’s description of Berger (BCM, August 1970, page 233).



An oft-published miniature:

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 h4 g4 5 Ng5 h6 6 Nxf7 Kxf7 7 d4 d6 8 Bxf4 Nc6 9 Bc4+ Kg7 10 O-O Qxh4 11 Qd3 Nf6 12 e5 Nh5 13 Bg3 Qe7 14 Bh4 Qe8 15 Bf6+ Nxf6 16 exf6 mate.

The usual heading (e.g. on page 200 of Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess) is: ‘Maurian v Amateur, New Orleans, 1866’. However, the game was published on pages 212-213 of the 15 July 1891 issue of La Stratégie as played between Maurian and B.W. May at the Café de la Régence, Paris on 3 June 1891.


Difficult and easy

From page 22 of A Series of Progressive Lessons on the Game of Chess by William Lewis (London, 1831):

‘A chessplayer should have an equal share of confidence and diffidence; those who are over-confident are apt to despise their antagonist, and the too timid see difficulties in that which is easy; it is not a bad plan to undertake difficult things as easy, and easy things as difficult.’


World championship bickering

An observation by R.C. Griffith on page 155 of the April 1932 BCM:

‘It is most unfortunate that there always seems to be bickering between reigning and past champions. This has been the case for many decades, and it is for this reason that we so strongly advocate that the arrangements for the championship should be in the hands of the FIDE. If the patrons of chess who help to put up the necessary finance would agree that they would only do so through the FIDE, it is possible that our suggestion may be practical politics earlier than we anticipate.’

Steinitz demonstrated his outstanding eloquence and debating skills on umpteen occasions, and was seldom in the wrong. (His writings indicate that he was one of the most intelligent and honest of all the world champions.) He regularly expressed the view that tournaments had much less significance than matches, and during an argument with G.H. Mackenzie about a possible match he wrote (on page 333 of the November 1887 International Chess Magazine):

‘For my part, I would have been satisfied if he had called himself the International tournament champion and had left me the International match championship until such time when he was prepared to contest it, or until I otherwise forfeited my claim.’

‘We have two champions!’, commented La Stratégie of 15 November 1894 (page 357) after quoting a letter dated 10 October 1894 which was signed by ‘W. Steinitz, Chess Champion of the World’. Steinitz was addressing Lasker, reclaiming from him the title he had just lost, on the grounds that Lasker was refusing the agreed rematch:

‘No doubt you could retain the champion title, and prevent your ever being beaten on the checkered board, if the precedent were to be established that the champion could quite alone choose his own time of playing again, and break a positive agreement for a match, first on the plea of “a tour round the world”, and next of “chess and other engagements”, which it was your pleasure to enter into subsequently, instead of making preparations to fulfil your previous promise. But the general public will probably allow that I, as well as my backers, may hold a different opinion on the subject, and I shall therefore take the fullest responsibility of retaining the champion title, which you have forfeited by your letter of 22 June, after the expiration of the time of grace which I gave you for reconsideration.’

Lasker’s reign ended too in some disorder. In June 1920 he wrote publicly to Capablanca ‘I cannot play the match, knowing that its rules are widely unpopular. I therefore resign the title of the world’s champion in your favor’ (American Chess Bulletin, July-August 1920, page 126). The September-October issue of the Bulletin (page 142) published a statement by the Cuban dated 20 August 1920 which was signed ‘J.R. Capablanca, Chess Champion of the World’.

At least one chess writer has even affirmed that Alekhine retained the world championship after his death. On page 34 of Chess Openings for Progressive Players (London, 1949) M. Graham Brash intentionally gave the dates of the second reign as 1937-1948 ‘although Dr Alekhine died in 1946’.

Never, though, has there been such squalid anarchy as in the period 1993-2000.


On page 168 of A Chess Omnibus we added an endnote referring to the final sentence:

And some way on into the twenty-first century.


A forgotten Nimzowitsch exhibition game:

Aron Nimzowitsch – Otto Zimmermann
Berne, February 1931
Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 Bg4 4 d4 e6 5 Bd3 Nf6 6 O-O Be7 7 Be3 dxe4 8 Nxe4 Nbd7 9 h3 Bh5 10 Ng3 Bg6 11 Bxg6 hxg6 12 c4 Qc7 13 Qa4 Bd6 14 Ng5 Bf4 15 Ne2 Bxe3 16 fxe3 Rh5! 17 Nf3 g5 18 c5 Ke7 19 Nh2 Rah8 20 Qd1 Nd5


21 e4!! Ne3 22 Qd2 Nxf1 23 Rxf1 Nf6 24 e5 Nd5 25 Ng3 Nf4 26 Nxh5 Rxh5 27 Qd1 Rh6 28 Qg4 Ke8 29 Nf3 f6 30 h4 Qd7 31 exf6 gxf6 32 Re1 Qh7 33 b4! a6 34 a4 Rh5 35 b5 axb5 36 axb5 cxb5 37 d5 f5 38 Qg3 Qc7 39 Qf2 gxh4 40 Qd4 Nh3+ 41 Kf1 Resigns.

The punctuation above is by Nimzowitsch, who annotated this complex game on pages 49-51 of the April 1931 Schweizerische Schachzeitung.


Further evidence that nobody played quite like Nimzowitsch:

Oskar Naegeli – Aron Nimzowitsch
Berne, 10 March 1931
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 e5 Ng8 6 Bd2 h5 7 Be2 g6 8 Nf3 c6 9 a3 b6 10 b4 Nh6 11 Bxh6 Rxh6 12 Qd2 Rh8 13 h4 Bf8 14 Ng5 b5 15 Qf4 Qe7 16 a4 bxa4 17 Nxa4 Nd7 18 O-O Bh6 19 Nc5 Nxc5 20 bxc5 Kf8 21 Rfb1 Kg7 22 Rb3 Rf8 23 Rab1 a5 24 Rb6 Qc7 25 Bxh5 Kg8 26 Be2 f6


27 Nxe6 Qxb6 28 Qxh6 Qxb1+ 29 Kh2 Bxe6 30 Qxg6+ Kh8 Drawn.

Source: Schweizerische Schachzeitung, July 1931, pages 123-124.


Nimzowitsch’s activities during the First World War are cloaked in mystery, but below is a forgotten game from that period:

Elison – Aron Nimzowitsch
Riga, December 1915
Philidor’s Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Be7 6 Be2 O-O 7 O-O Nc6 8 Nxc6 bxc6 9 Bd3 Ng4 10 Bf4 Rb8 11 h3 Ne5 12 Bxe5 dxe5 13 b3 Bb4 14 Ne2 Qh4 15 Ng3 Bc3 16 Rc1 g6 17 Qf3 Qf4 18 Qxf4 exf4 19 Ne2 Be5 20 Rcd1 Be6 21 Rd2 Rfd8 22 Rfd1 Kf8 23 Ba6 Rxd2 24 Rxd2 c5 25 Nc1 c4 26 Ne2 Rb6 27 Bxc4 Bxc4 28 bxc4 Rb1+ 29 Kh2 f3+ 30 Ng3


30…h5 31 h4 g5 32 Kh3 Rh1+ 33 Nxh1 g4 mate.

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, June 1918, pages 128-129.


As mentioned on page 91 of A Chess Omnibus, the game against Elison appeared with brief notes by Nimzowitsch.


This position was published on page 335 of La Stratégie, 15 October 1896:


However improbable it may seem, the caption reads ‘A curious ending played recently in Havana’, the players being named as A.C. Vázquez and A. Fiol. White, it is said, announced mate in three moves. Has there ever been a more unlikely claim that a position arose in actual play?


Unusual material balance

Ed Tassinari (Scarsdale, NY, USA) submits this game:

Paavo Voltti – Jussi Kanervo
Championship tournament of Lapua, 1934
Owen’s Defence

1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Bd3 e6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Ne2 Qh4 6 O-O Bd6 7 Ng3 h5 8 f4 c5 9 Nb5 Ke7 10 e5 Bxe5 11 dxe5 a6 12 Nc7 Nh6 13 Nxa8 Ng4 14 Rf3 Qxh2+ 15 Kf1 h4 16 Bf5 hxg3 17 Qd6+ Ke8 18 Qxb8+ Bc8 19 Qxc8+ Ke7 20 Qxh8 Qxh8 21 Bxg4 Qh1+ 22 Ke2 Qxg2+ 23 Kd3 c4+ 24 Kc3 Qg1 25 Be3 Qxa1 26 Nxb6 g2 27 Bc5+ Kd8 28 Rh3 Qe1+ 29 Kxc4 Qf1+ 30 Kc3 g1Q 31 Rh8+ Kc7 32 Na8+ Kb7 33 Bxg1 Qxg1 34 Bf3+ Ka7 35 Kd3 Qf1+ 36 Ke3 Qc1+ 37 Kd3 Qxf4 38 Bh1 Qxe5


39 b4 g5 40 Rd8 d5 41 Rd7+ Kxa8 42 Rxf7 Qg3+ 43 Rf3 Qg1 44 Rf8+ Ka7 45 Rf7+ Kb6 46 Rf6 Qxh1 47 White resigns.

Source: Suomen Shakki 4/1945, page 131.

In the same spirit, we give a fascinating game which concluded with a configuration of extreme rarity:

H. Treer – Hans Fahrni
Correspondence tournament, 1927-1929
Dutch Defence

1 Nf3 e6 2 c4 f5 3 g3 c6 4 Bg2 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Nc3 d5 7 d4 Nbd7 8 b3 Bd6 9 Qc2 O-O 10 cxd5 Nxd5 11 Bb2 N7f6 12 Na4 Qe7 13 Rac1 Ne4 14 Rfd1 Nxf2 15 Kxf2 f4 16 Re1 fxg3+ 17 Kg1 gxh2+ 18 Kh1 Bg3 19 e4 Bxe1 20 exd5 Bg3 21 dxc6 e5 22 Qc4+ Kh8 23 Nxe5 bxc6 24 Nc5 Bf5 25 Nxc6 Qe3 26 Rf1 Rae8 27 Bc1


27…Qg1+ 28 Rxg1 hxg1(Q)+ 29 Kxg1 Re1+ 30 Qf1 h5 31 Qxe1 Bxe1 32 Ne7 Bh7 33 Ne6 Re8 34 Bg5 Bb4 35 Nc6 Rxe6 36 Nxb4 Bb1 37 Kf2 Rb6 38 Be7 a5 39 Nc6 a4 40 Nb4 axb3 41 axb3 g5 42 Bf3 g4 43 Bd1 Kg7 44 Nd5 Re6 45 Bh4 Rd6 46 Nf4 Ba2 47 Be7 Rd7 48 Bc5 Kh6 49 Kg3 Rf7 50 Bc2 Kg5 51 Ne6+ Kf6 52 Nd8 Rc7 53 Kf4 h4 54 Kxg4 Rg7+ 55 Kxh4 Rg2 56 Be4 Rg8 57 Nc6 Bxb3 58 d5 Ba2 59 Be7+ Kf7 60 Bg5 Re8 61 Bf3 Re1 62 d6 Ke8 63 Nb8 Be6 64 d7+ Bxd7 65 Bh5+ Kf8 66 Nxd7+


66…Kg8 67 Bf6 Rg1 68 Bd4 Rg2 69 Bf3 Rh2+ 70 Kg3 Rd2 71 Bd5+ Kh7 72 Nf8+ Kh6 73 Be3+ Resigns.

Source: Wiener Schachzeitung, July 1929, pages 214-216.


How to annotate

‘To annotate any game conscientiously it is necessary to accord it at least as much objective study as was expended by the players in the actual encounter.’

I. König, in his introduction to the book of the Nottingham, 1946 tournament (won by R.F. Combe).


The encyclopaedia that never was

Page 338 of the October 1919 BCM reported that Signor Anton Mario Lanza of Milan intended to bring out an ‘Encyclopaedia of Chess’ and was seeking assistance. (When this report was briefly mentioned on page 50 of January 1999 BCM his name was abbreviated to that of a famous actor/singer: ‘Mario Lanza’.) Page 88 of the April 1953 issue of La Scacchiera had a photograph of Lanza [see below], whom it called (inaccurately) ‘the author of the world’s first chess encyclopaedia’. Whilst reporting that the work had not yet been completed, owing to Lanza’s long illness, La Scacchiera sounded a positive note of expectation. But there was soon a change of tone by the magazine, which was also the intended publisher of the opus; a frosty editorial in the November 1953 issue (page 238) concluded that, despite a claim by Lanza that compiling the encyclopaedia had required nearly 40 years’ work, no book had in fact been written.

The entry on Lanza on page 303 of Chicco and Porreca’s Dizionario enciclopedico degli scacchi (Milan, 1971) affirmed that he tried to compile the book throughout his life but was unable to finish it. Subsequently, two Italian chess bibliographies (Lineamenti di una bibliografia italiana degli scacchi and Bibliografia italiana degli scacchi) recorded that three parts of Lanza’s Enciclopedia degli scacchi had been published (i.e. a modest alphabetical incursion from A to Alborghetti).

There is also some information about Lanza in Storia degli scacchi in Italia by Chicco and Rosino (Venice, 1990). Born in Palermo in 1889, he died in Milan in 1964 without ever becoming the author of a chess book.



Long gaps

Ed Tassinari (Scarsdale, NY, USA) writes:

‘Reshevsky and Smyslov first met over the board at Leningrad/Moscow, 1939. Their final serious games took place at the Moscow Veterans’ Tournament in 1991, and a later four-game match at 30/30, in Moscow. Thus 52 years had elapsed between first and last serious play. Is this the longest time for players of IM/GM strength? Reshevsky and Fine apparently first met in tournament play at the championship of the Western Chess Association in Minneapolis in 1932. (Shortly afterwards they also played at Pasadena, 1932. Oddly, that seems to be one of the missing games from the event; it is not given in Gordon’s tome on Reshevsky.) In 1986, they played an exhibition game (at 30/30) during the 1986 US Open Championship in New Jersey. Thus, 54 years, if one contends that the exhibition game is a valid serious encounter.’

Does anybody have the score of the Pasadena game? Fine mentions it in a footnote on page 30 of his book Bobby Fischer’s Conquest of the World’s Chess Championship.


From Arnold Denker (Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA):

‘In 1946 at Groningen, Smyslov and I first played to an exciting draw. Fifty years later, again at Groningen and again with me having the black pieces, we drew. Regarding Reshevsky, I first played him at the Western Chess Association Meeting in Chicago in 1934, where I finished fourth after Fine and Reshevsky (equal first) and Dake. Reshevsky had been going to school to become an accountant, which was financed by Rosenwald, the head of Sears and Roebuck. Mr Rosenwald, his benefactor, insisted that he not play during school, so he was a bit out of practice, but I will never forget his marvelous knight maneuvers that helped him draw a most difficult ending with me. Considering that I was in top form after just beating Fine in match play 3-2 and 4 draws, that speaks very well for Sammy. My match with Fine was played for $50 put up by James R. Newman. The first to win three games was to be the victor. Fine won the first two games and then never won another. In the last game after I had tied the score he was an exchange down and never showed up after the adjournment. I had the Indian sign on him after that, just as Sammy had the Indian sign on me for many years, until 1948, when I beat him 2-0 in a practice match, after which he dropped out.’

Since we did not find the above-mentioned draw in various databases, it is given here, taken from S. Gordon’s 1997 book on Reshevsky:

Samuel Reshevsky – Arnold Denker
Chicago, July 1934
Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 O-O 5 Bd3 c5 6 Nge2 Nc6 7 O-O d5 8 a3 cxd4 9 exd4 dxc4 10 Bxc4 Bd6 11 d5 exd5 12 Nxd5 Nxd5 13 Bxd5 Qf6 14 Nc3 Bf5 15 Be3 Rfd8 16 Qb3 Rd7 17 Rad1 Be5 18 Ne4 Qg6 19 f3 Rc7 20 Rc1 Rac8 21 Qa4 Bxb2 22 Rc2 b5 23 Qa6 Bd4 24 Bxd4 Nxd4 25 Qxg6 Bxg6 26 Rxc7 Rxc7 27 Rd1 Ne6 28 Bxe6 fxe6 29 Ng5 Re7 30 Rd8+ Re8 31 Rd7 a5 32 Rb7 Bd3


33 Nf7 Rc8 34 Nd6 Rc1+ 35 Kf2 h6 36 Nxb5 Rc2+ 37 Kg1 Ra2 38 Nd4 e5


39 Ne6 g6 40 Nc5 Bc2 41 Nd7 Rxa3 42 Nf6+ Kf8 43 Rd7 g5 44 Nh7+ Ke8 45 Nf6+ Kf8 46 Nh7+ Kg8 47 Nf6+ Kh8 48 Ra7 a4 49 h3 Rc3 50 Kh2 Rc6 51 Nd7 Kg8 52 Nxe5 Re6 53 Nd7 Rd6 54 h4 gxh4 55 Ne5 Re6 Drawn.


On the basis of Gordon’s book, we gave White’s 39th move as Nb3. Gert Ligterink (Groningen, the Netherlands) subsequently wrote to us that the move played was almost certainly Ne6, so we checked with Arnold Denker. He informed us that 39 Ne6 was indeed the move played.


Colonel Moreau

Mike Franett (Seattle, WA, USA) invites readers to supply information about Colonel Moreau, who lost all 26 of his games at Monte Carlo, 1903.

On page 5 of Emil Kemeny’s American Chess Weekly, 29 April 1903, it was stated:

‘Colonel Moreau, who finishes last is perhaps stronger than the score would indicate, but he is not used to Tourney play, and too old to stand the continuous strain.’

The ‘perhaps’ is decidedly unflattering. It is difficult to find firm biographical information about the dogged colonel. Pages 175-176 of La Stratégie, 15 June 1874 gave a victory by Rosenthal at queen’s knight odds against a player named Moreau, and page 229 of the June 1900 BCM described the opening 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Bc4 Nc6 as ‘a defence much exploited, if not invented by Mr C. Moreau, of London’. Who can help build on these jottings?


Page 16 of the January 1893 BCM had a paragraph which began: ‘Mr C. Moriau (champion) is a Frenchman, but does not look it.’ He joined the City of London Chess Club in 1875 but subsequently went to the United States and France, rejoining the London club in 1888. Mention was made of a blindfold performance by Moriau at the Metropolitan Chess Club, where he played two games in English, two in French and two in German. A portrait of him was given in the same issue of the BCM. He would appear to be the player referred to in the 1900 BCM quote given in C.N. 2434.


H.J.M. Smout (Leiden, the Netherlands) mentions that an article by C. Moriau on 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Bc4 Nc6, the opening referred to C.N. 2434, was published on pages 44-48 of the February 1874 Deutsche Schachzeitung. Around that period the magazine had Moriau’s name several times, giving Lyons as his place of residence.


An additional comment on page 355 of A Chess Omnibus:

The list of 18 advance subscribers listed in Reinfeld’s 1935 book on Cambridge Springs, 1904 includes C. Moreau.

See too the references to Moreau in the Factfinder.


Naming racehorses after chess masters (see page 5 of the 6/2000 New in Chess) is not a novelty, and there was already a four-legged Steinitz in the nineteenth century. The Spirit of the Times of 24 April 1886 reported that T. Frère had given that name to his bay colt, and this prompted Steinitz to declare on page 113 of the May 1886 International Chess Magazine:

‘I can only express my most thankful appreciation of the unique and original compliment paid to me by Mr Frère, and I wish the utmost success to my namesake on the Turf.’

On page 331 of Chess Review, November 1952 Tartakower wrote:

‘It is well known that Capablanca was very popular in Buenos Aires; and, after I visited that city in 1931, my name often appeared in the newspapers there. Later on, we each had a racehorse named after us. It was gratifying to learn that “Tartakower” (the racehorse) chalked up more victories than his equine rival, “Capablanca”.’


From Yasser Seirawan (Seattle, WA, USA):

‘In 1999 I chaperoned the Malaysian businessman Dato Tan Chin Nam on his visit to Seattle. He asked my permission to have a racehorse named after me, and I happily assented, asking if he had others named after leading chessplayers. Dato stated that his stable included a racehorse called Kasparov. “In that case”, I said, “just make sure my horse is faster than Kasparov”.’



An observation by Alapin on page 77 of the March 1905 La Stratégie:

‘Losing a game that should have been won makes a difference of two points.’


A sense of humour

Which defeated world champion claimed that a prerequisite for success in top-level chess is a sense of humour?

The rather surprising answer is Botvinnik, in a statement dated 3 May 1957, i.e. shortly after he lost his world title to Smyslov. He wrote that despite the defeat he had ‘still tried not to lose the sense of humour that is so essential both for the struggle and for victory in this field’.

Source: World Chess Championship 1957 by H. Golombek, page 139.


Alessandro Nizzola (Mantova, Italy) draws attention to a comment by Tony Miles quoted on page 6 of How to Get Better At Chess: Chess Masters on Their Art by L. Evans, J. Silman and B. Roberts (Los Angeles, 1991):

‘Perhaps the most important trait a player needs to become successful is a warped sense of humor.’


As noted on page 393 of A Chess Omnibus, before publishing C.N. 2477 we checked with Tony Miles that he had indeed made the remark.

Young players

‘Young players often proudly “invent” what was discarded a generation ago. Then they add another chapter to a very old story, fancying all the while that they have just stumbled across the plot of a new one.’

Emanuel Lasker, Lasker’s Chess Magazine, June 1908, page 43.


Chasing the king

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


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.



A strange position allegedly from a game between Alekhine and Bogoljubow (‘Vienna, 1922’) has been published in a number of places (e.g. on page 180 of the Skinner/Verhoeven book on Alekhine). At the Chess History Center website conducted by Richard Forsterit has now been revealed, following research by Jack O’Keefe, that it was all a joke/hoax by J. Krejcik, who gave the position on pages 39-40 of his book 13 Kinder Caïssens (Vienna, 1924).


Alekhine on Teichmann and chess theory

On pages 132-133 of L’Echiquier, July 1925, Alekhine wrote an obituary of Teichmann in which he presented an overview of the development of chess theory:

‘His death marks the loss of one of the last representatives of the “classical” school, the principles of which were established and disseminated chiefly by Dr Tarrasch, who simplified them and thus made understandable for the public at large the brilliant, though sometimes excessively complex, ideas of Steinitz, the great forerunner.

The three basic principles of the school may be summarized as follows:

1. The importance of the pawn centre.

2. Exploitation of weaknesses in the enemy position.

3. The concept of free play, which was considered the objective of opening strategy.

However correct they may be, these principles, taken too narrowly and applied rigidly, gradually contributed to the decline of the “classical” school (“pseudo-classical”, in our view), and its rare devotees (Spielmann, for example) are now able to achieve merely succès d’estime in their major battles – despite all their innate talent.

Far from denying the validity of the above-mentioned principles, the representatives of the young generation take them as the very basis of their conception but interpret them more profoundly.

1. They replace the notion of pawn centre by centre alone, i.e. the central squares, domination of which – even by pieces – is the true aim of opening strategy.

2. Instead of exploiting a weak point, they prefer, in principle, the exploitation of a group of squares which have been weakened by, for instance, the disappearance of an enemy piece (a bishop which controlled the squares in question) or thanks to a special pawn configuration leaving the squares without defence.

3. The pieces’ freedom of action in the opening is subordinate to the need to create, from the very first moves, a harmonious plan of development which has the concrete aim of weakening the enemy position. Thus freedom of action takes on real importance only if it can contribute to exploiting an advantage acquired.

Teichmann belonged to the generation of Tarrasch, Pillsbury, Schlechter, Maróczy, etc. To the end of his days, he would not hear of these new ideas, which were so different from the ones familiar to players of his generation. This, in our view, explains his relative lack of success in recent years.

Even so, for about 20 years Teichmann was one of the most formidable tournament players, and he almost always achieved a highly respectable placing. His great success was at the Carlsbad tournament of 1911, where he won first prize, ahead of 26 [sic; 25] of the best players of the time.

… Although Teichmann’s tournament results were very considerable, they do not in themselves give a wholly exact idea of his strength and, in particular, of his deep understanding of the spirit of chess – within the limits permitted by his period. Nor should it be forgotten that he was often at a disadvantage owing to his ill-health (he lost an eye when very young) or that, despite his wrestler’s build, he did not have the real temperament of a fighter and often settled for a draw in cases where his strength would have allowed him to aspire to victory.

In conclusion, another great chess figure has gone, and of those there are all too few.’


Randomized chess

A particularly early reference to randomized chess was given on page 330 of the October 1851 Deutsche Schachzeitung:

‘In order to neutralize the advantage which a player might, through study of the classical authors, enjoy over a less learned opponent, Zuylen van Nyevelt recommends in La Supériorité aux Echecs, his work on endgames which was published in 1792, that behind the pawns the two sides’ pieces should be placed in the same sequence as each other, as determined by lot.’


Prime ministers

From Carl Fredrik Johansson (Stockholm), the Editor of Schacknytt:

‘On 12 December 2000 the Stockholm Rapid Chess Summit was held in Rosenbad (the Swedish Prime Minister’s Office). At the inauguration ceremony four prime ministers were present: Göran Persson (Sweden), Mart Laar (Estonia), Andriz Bērziņš (Latvia) and Rolandas Paksas (Lithuania). Mr Persson and Mr Laar played a short game of chess, which proved very popular with all the photographers present. It went: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d3 Bd6 4 Ng5 O-O, and a draw was agreed. Are any other games between prime ministers known to exist?’


Euwe and Alekhine return match

Did Euwe chivalrously grant Alekhine a return match for the world title in 1937? Many authors think so. For example, Richard Eales wrote on page 167 of Chess The History of a Game (London, 1985): ‘But it was only Euwe’s sportsmanship which gave Alekhine the chance to play the match at all.’

Adri Plomp (Hilversum, The Netherlands) sends us a copy of the contract signed on 28 May 1935 between Alekhine, Euwe and the organizing committee for the 1935 match. Article 14 stated:

‘If Dr Euwe wins the match in accordance with Article 4, he is first of all obliged to play a return match against Dr Alekhine if the latter makes such a request within six months of the last game being played. Within a further six months thereafter Dr Alekhine must deposit 2,000 guilders with a bank ... The essential conditions for that match shall be the same as for the match regulated by this agreement, except that the names of Alekhine and Euwe shall be interchanged. It shall be played in Europe at a time acceptable to Dr Euwe, in view of his profession.’


Analytical hiccup

C.N. 1658 (see page 22 of Chess Explorations) gave this position:


White to move

Play was said to have continued 44 h6+ Kxh6 45 e7 Rb8 46 Kc1 Kg7 47 e8(Q) Rxe8 48 Kb2 Re2 49 Ka1 Drawn. Our source was Verkhovsky’s book on drawn games; see page 27 of Nichya! (Moscow, 1972) or page 39 of the Spanish translation Tablas (Barcelona, 1973). The heading in each case was ‘Teichman v Marbl, Leipzig, 1913’, but it has still not been possible to corroborate this.

Now René Olthof (Rosmalen, the Netherlands) writes:

‘I have used the position in a training session at my chess club HMC. I believe that together with Harold van der Heijden I have discovered an analytical hiccup:

44 h6+ Kxh6 45 e7 Rb8 46 Kc1 Kg6 (rather than the illogical 46…Kg7) 47 e8(Q)+ Rxe8 48 Kb2 and, with the king on g6 instead of g7, 48...Ra8! suddenly wins. For example, 49 Ka1, when the obvious 49...Ra4? 50 Ne3! Kg5 51 Nd5! only draws, but 49...Kf5! 50 Nb4 Ke4 (or 50...Rb8) 51 Nxa2 Rb8! is a database win: 52 Nc1 Ke3 53 Ka2 Kd2! 54 Nb3+ Kc3 55 Nc5 Rd8 56 Ne6 Rd5, etc. In fact, 46...Kg5! may win even more quickly.’

We now notice that a correspondent’s contribution on this topic in C.N. 1839 (see page 23 of Chess Explorations) incorrectly reported as ‘La Stratégie, 1923’ the source of a study by Anatole Mouterde with the theme resulting from the above position. In fact, the composition first appeared in the French magazine’s January 1916 issue (page 27).


See too C.N.s 5201 and 5212.


In the 11th-round game between R.J. Broadbent and W.A. Fairhurst in the London tournament of 1946 the final position was:


White has just played 59 Kh3. Page 123 of the March 1946 CHESS, as well as page 59 of the tournament book, reported:

‘Broadbent v Fairhurst agreed a draw and the result was scored as such on the notice-board and (we believe) published as such in the papers. Some time afterwards Fairhurst found that in the final position he had a forced win and telephoned Broadbent to this effect, and, incredible as it may sound, the two agreed to ask the Committee to amend the result to a win for Fairhurst. Still more fantastic, the Committee accepted the amendment!

With the best will in the world we cannot find anywhere in the rules any justification for the alteration of the legal result of a properly-conducted game (the result in this case being, of course, a draw by agreement) by any subsequent process, and therefore we score the game as a draw.’


Our footnote on page 46 of A Chess Omnibus:

This incident was subsequently discussed in a brief article by Alistair Maxwell on page 12 of the October 2002 Scottish Chess. On the basis of a Fairhurst notebook, the concluding moves were given as 59...Bf4 60 Qg4 Be5 61 h5 c6 62 Qg2 Qe3+ 63 Kh4 Qxd3 and wins.

Spielmann on Réti

‘The late master was one of my most dangerous opponents, and I must honestly admit that he surpassed me in terms of richness of ideas in the opening. In almost every game he played against me he invented something new. Yet perhaps his strength lay not so much in the discovery of a new move or a hitherto unknown tactical finesse as in a new strategy. Very frequently, and within just a few moves, I would find myself in a lost position against him without knowing exactly how it had happened.’

Spielmann annotated ‘one of the best games Réti played against me’, from the Vienna, 1923 tournament (although he gave the date as 1920, the opening move-order as 1 Nf3 e6 2 c4 d5 and the conclusion as ‘28 a3 and White won quickly’). His notes concluded, ‘an excellent game, typical of Réti’s style’.

Source: L’Echiquier, August 1929, pages 338-339.

The full score is given below:

Richard Réti – Rudolf Spielmann
Vienna, November 1923
Réti’s Opening

1 Nf3 d5 2 c4 e6 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 c5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 d4 Nc6 7 O-O cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 Nxc6 bxc6 10 Qc2 Qb6 11 Nc3 Bd4 12 Na4 Qb5 13 Rd1 Be5 14 Be3 O-O 15 Rac1 Ba6


16 Nc5 Rab8 17 Nd3 Nd7 18 Bxa7 Rb7 19 Nxe5 Nxe5 20 Bd4 f6 21 Bxe5 fxe5 22 Qxc6 Qxe2 23 Bxd5+ Kh8 24 Bf3 Qb5 25 Qxb5 Rxb5 26 Be2 Ra5 27 Bxa6 Rxa6 28 a3 h6 29 Rd7 Raf6 30 Rc2 Rf3 31 Re7 R8f5 32 Re2 Rb3 33 R7xe5 Rxe5 34 Rxe5 Rxb2 35 a4 Ra2 36 a5 Kh7 37 h4 Kg6 38 h5+ Kf6 39 Rb5 Ra4 40 Kg2 Ke6 41 Rb6+ Kf7 42 a6 Ra5 43 Rb7+ Kf6 44 a7 Ra4 45 f4 Ra3 46 Kf2 g6 47 Rb6+ Kf5 48 Rxg6 Rxa7 49 Rxh6 Ra2+ 50 Kf3 Ra3+ 51 Kg2 Kg4 52 Rg6+ Kxh5 53 Rg5+ Kh6 54 Kh3 Rb3 55 Ra5 Kg6 56 Kg4 Rc3 57 Ra6+ Kg7 58 Kh4 Resigns.



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:



Pleasing geometry

Two positions with geometrical play:


Cyril Bexley Vansittart-N.N., Rome (date?)

White played 1 Ra3 and after 1…Qxh2 announced mate in three, i.e. 2 Ra8+ Kxa8 3 Qa6+, etc.

Source: Chess Monthly, December 1885, page 122.

Now a most unusual form of perpetual check:


Görgen-Arno Faust, Sprendlingen, 1938

1…Qe1+ 2 Kxf4 Qh4+ 3 Kf5 Qh5+ 4 Ke6 Qe8+ Drawn.

Source: Deutsche Schachblätter, 15 September 1938, page 284.


‘Exceedingly interesting’

Sir George Thomas called the following game ‘exceedingly interesting’ at the conclusion of his detailed annotations on pages 210-212 of the May 1922 BCM:

Roland Henry Vaughan Scott – Edward Guthlac Sergeant
City of London Chess Club Championship, 1922
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 Nf3 Nbd7 6 e3 O-O 7 Rc1 b6 8 cxd5 exd5 9 Bd3 Bb7 10 Ne5 Nxe5 11 dxe5 Ne4 12 Bf4 c5 13 Qc2 f5 14 Nb5 g5 15 Bg3 f4 16 f3 fxg3 17 fxe4 c4 18 Be2 Bb4+ 19 Nc3 d4 20 Bxc4+ Kg7 21 Rd1


21…dxc3 22 Rxd8 cxb2+ 23 Rd2 Rad8 24 Qxb2 Bxd2+ 25 Qxd2 Rxd2 26 Kxd2 Rf2+ 27 Kd3 Rxg2 28 hxg3 Rxg3 29 Rf1 Bc8 30 Rf7+ Kg6 31 Rxa7 h5 32 e6 b5 33 Bd5 Bxe6 34 Bxe6 h4 35 Bf5+ Kf6 36 Ra6+ Kf7 37 e5 h3 38 Rh6 Resigns.


Instructive ending

An instructive ending (first pawns only, then queens only) which was presented on page 94 of the June 1899 Wiener Schachzeitung:


Gustav Zeissl-Eduard Hamlisch, Vienna, 26 April 1899

Play continued: 1 Kd5 Kc3 2 c5 bxc5 3 Kxc5 Kd3 4 Kd5 Ke3 5 Ke5 Kf3 6 Kf5 Kg3 7 Kxg5 Kxh3 8 Kf4 Kg2 9 g5 h3 10 g6 h2 11 g7 h1(Q) 12 g8(Q)+ Kf1 13 Qc4+


13…Kf2 14 Qc2+ Kf1 15 Qd1+ Kg2 16 Qe2+ Kg1 17 Kg3 and wins.

On page 19 of the January 1900 Wiener Schachzeitung Hamlisch pointed out that in the diagram above he could have drawn with 13…Kg1.


Chigorin correspondence game

N.N. – Mikhail Chigorin
Correspondence game, Russia (date?)
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O d6 6 Nc3 b5 7 Bb3 Bg4 8 d3 Qd7 9 Nb1 Nd4 10 Nbd2 Ne6 11 Qe1 Nf4 12 Qe3


12…Bh3 13 gxh3 Ng4 14 Qe1 Nxh2 15 Qe3 Ng4 16 Qe1 Nh6 17 Nb1 Qxh3 18 Bxf4 exf4 19 Nbd2 Ng4 20 Bd5 h5 21 Bxa8 Rh6 22 e5 Rg6 23 Be4 Ne3+ 24 Bxg6 Qg2 mate.

Source: La Stratégie, 15 April 1901, pages 105-106.


President Grévy

A head of state genuinely connected with chess was Jules Grévy (1807-91). When he was elected President of France in 1879 La Stratégie (15 February 1879 issue, pages 51-52) described him as ‘a very strong chess amateur’ and recalled that under the Empire he had often been seen at the Café de la Régence and had played many games against Jean Preti. However, he had been absent from chess for about a decade, owing to his political commitments.

The French magazine’s obituary of Grévy (15 September 1891 issue, pages 277-278) commented that his most frequent chess opponent had been Albert Clerc, counsellor at the Paris Court of Appeal, who had participated in the Paris, 1878 tournament. A game between the two was published in Le Matin of 6 October 1891, an article reproduced in La Stratégie, January 1916, pages 18-20:

Jules Grévy – Albert Clerc
Paris, 28 January 1856
King’s Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 h4 g4 5 Ne5 h5 6 Bc4 Nh6 7 d4 f3 8 gxf3 d6 9 Nd3 Nc6 10 Be3 Bg7 11 c3 Qe7 12 Nf4 Bf6 13 Nxh5 Bxh4+ 14 Kd2 gxf3 15 Qxf3 Bg4 16 Ng7+ Kd7 17 Qg2 Rag8 18 Bxh6 Bg5+ 19 Kc2 Bxh6 20 Qxg4+ Kd8


21 Rxh6 Rxh6 22 Ne6+ fxe6 23 Qxg8+ Kd7 24 Nd2 Na5 25 Rf1 Rh7 26 Bxe6+ Kc6 27 b4 Rh2 28 Bd5+ Kb6 29 bxa5+ Kxa5 30 Qg3 Resigns.

In addition to the game against Clerc, two losses by Grévy against P. Journoud were given in an article on pages 481-483 of issue 32 of Les Cahiers de l’Echiquier Français, taken from La Régence of 1860-61. Further information about Grévy may be found on pages 97-101 of the April 1887 International Chess Magazine.


C.N. 2511 referred to the source of two games lost by the President of France, Jules Grévy (1807-91), against P. Journoud. They are now given below:

Paul Journoud – Jules Grévy
Scotch Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 Ng5 Ne5 6 Qxd4 Nxc4 7 Qxc4 d5 8 exd5 Nxd5 9 O-O Be7 10 Nc3 c6 11 Nxd5 cxd5 12 Qb5+ Qd7 13 Qd3 Qf5 14 Re1 h6 15 Qe2 Qf6 16 h4 Bd7 17 b3 hxg5 18 Bxg5 Qe6 19 Qd2 Qc6 20 Rxe7+ Kf8 21 Rae1 Be6 22 R1xe6 fxe6 and White announced mate in three.

Paul Journoud – Jules Grévy
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 f4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 Nc6 5 c4 d4 6 d3 Nh6 7 Be2 Be7 8 O-O O-O 9 h3 f6 10 Nbd2 Nf5 11 Ne4 fxe5 12 fxe5 Qc7 13 g4 Ne3 14 Bxe3 dxe3 15 Qc1 Nxe5 16 Qxe3 Nxf3+ 17 Rxf3 b6 18 Rxf8+ Bxf8 19 Rf1 Bb7 20 Ng5 e5 21 Bf3 Re8 22 Be4 h6 23 Rf7 Be7 24 Rxg7+ Kh8


White announced mate in five.


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.’



Although not a vintage Marshall win, the encounter below, played at the Marshall Chess Club and described as ‘a “hard skittles” game’, has historical interest because it took place in the final year of his life:

Frank James Marshall – Donald Henry Mugridge
New York, 1944
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 b4 cxb4 3 a3 d5 4 exd5 Nf6 5 axb4 Nxd5 6 Nf3 Bg4 7 h3 Bxf3 8 Qxf3 Nc6 9 Ba3 e5 10 Bc4 Nf6 11 b5 e4 12 Qg3 Qd4


13 bxc6 Qxa1 14 O-O bxc6 15 Qb3 Bxa3 16 Bxf7+ Kf8 17 Nxa3 Qd4 18 Qb7 Rd8 19 Be6 Nd7 20 Qxc6 h5 21 Nb5 Qxd2 22 Bb3 Rh6 23 Qc4 Resigns.

Source: Chess Review, January 1965, page 15.

The same issue of the US magazine (pages 13-14) contained a condensed version of a talk about Marshall given by Mugridge at the Washington Chess Divan in 1945. Among some interesting observations was the following:

‘The endgame was not the field for which he is best known, yet it is a field in which Marshall was frequently a very distinguished performer. His most original contribution to chess practice, I think, was in the tactical handling of chess endings. Marshall did not need a board full of pieces to call forth his tactical ingenuity: he could exercise it with comparatively restricted material. You could simplify with Marshall, and still you were not safe from surprises.’


A forgotten example of a Marshall surprise in the endgame:


G.C.A. Oskam-F.J. Marshall, Rotterdam, 28 May 1906

Play continued: 39 Bc5 h4 40 f4


40…Bd6 41 Bxd6 g4 42 hxg4 h3 43 gxf5 h2 44 f6 h1(Q) 45 f7 Qe4+ 46 White resigns.

Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 10 June 1906, pages 196-197.


When this item was given on pages 180-181 of A Chess Omnibus the black pawn on a7 was incorrectly placed on g7.

C.N. 2514 quoted high praise of Frank Marshall’s endgame skill. A contrary view was voiced by E.G.R. Cordingley on page 109 of the Chess Students Quarterly, June 1947:

‘Marshall was never, contrary to the opinions expressed most often in his own country, among the world’s first three or four most accomplished living players, though he did gain one outstanding triumph and was both a very dangerous opponent to the best players and a potential winner in any tournament where there was a fair divergence in the abilities of the contending players. Again, he was definitely not a “master of the endgame”, as has been claimed; indeed, his technical skill was appreciably below that of the best during his years of practice, also well below his own marked talent for combinational play.’

On the other hand, Capablanca commented on page 8 of the New York Times, 13 February 1927:

‘In the endings, contrary to many people’s idea, Marshall is an A1 performer. To be truthful, he is no Dr Lasker or Rubinstein, when the latter is at his best, but only one or two of his competitors in the coming tournament [New York, 1927] will have the slightest advantage over him in this department of the game.’


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.’


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.’


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.’


Walbrodt and Delmar

Carl Walbrodt – Eugene Delmar
First match game, New York, 1893
Philidor’s Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nc3 d6 4 d4 Nbd7 5 Be2 Be7 6 O-O c6 7 b3 Qc7 8 Bb2 Nf8 9 Qd2 h6 10 Rad1 Bg4 11 dxe5 dxe5


12 Nxe5 (Later examples of a similar sacrifice include Nimzowitsch-Marco, Göteborg, 1920 and Castaldi-Tartakower, Stockholm, 1937.) 12…Rd8 13 Nd3 Bd6 14 e5 Bxe5 15 Bxg4 Nxg4 16 Qe2 h5 17 h3 Ne6 18 Nxe5 Nxe5 19 Nb5 cxb5 20 Bxe5 Qc6 21 Rxd8+ Kxd8 22 Qe3 Ke7 23 Re1 Rh6 24 c4 Rg6 25 f3 bxc4 26 Rc1 Qc5 27 Qxc5+ Nxc5 28 Rxc4 Nd3 29 Bb8 f5 30 Rc3 Nb4 31 Rc7+ Kd8 32 Rxb7 Nxa2 33 Bxa7 Nc1 34 Be3 Nd3 35 Bd4 Ne1 36 Rxg7 Nxf3+ 37 Kf2 Rxg7 38 Bxg7 Nd2 39 b4 Kd7 40 Kg3 Ke6 41 Kh4 f4 42 Kxh5 f3 43 gxf3 Nxf3 44 Kg4 Nd2 45 h4 Nc4 46 h5 Nd6 47 h6 Kf7 48 Kf4 Ne8 49 Be5 Kg6 50 b5 Resigns.

Source: BCM, June 1893, pages 285-286.

Pages 306-307 of the July 1893 BCM reported that a subsequent game in the match (also with Walbrodt playing White) began 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 Bxf6 Bxf6 6 e5 Be7 7 f4 c5 8 dxc5 Bxc5, after which:

‘…Walbrodt intended to continue with the Steinitz attack, 9 Qg4, but found that his king and queen had been transposed inadvertently in setting up the pieces, so that he could not make this move, for Mr Delmar insisted on the rules in Staunton’s Companion which govern this match being observed, one of which says that if more than four moves have been made before a misplacement is discovered, the position holds good. Walbrodt therefore played instead 9 Nge2, and eventually won the game.’

When selecting the above Philidor’s Defence game for publication we happened to note a discrepancy with an article on the Walbrodt v Delmar match by John S. Hilbert on pages 23-32 of issue 5 of Lasker & His Contemporaries (where a different score was given as the first match game). We have therefore raised the matter with John Hilbert, who responds as follows:

‘The error is mine, and I am not entirely sure how it came about. The correct game-score, the Philidor’s Defence game as given by you, was published in the New York Sun for 24 April 1893. Thank you for, literally, setting the score straight.

As you note, the third match-game between Walbrodt and Delmar was played under rather unusual circumstances. After eight moves it was discovered that Walbrodt had inadvertently reversed the position of his king and queen in setting up the board. Delmar insisted the game be played out with his opponent’s royalty remaining where they were. Despite this somewhat curious handicap, Walbrodt went on to win the game.

Apparently Delmar didn’t learn his lesson about how rigidly requiring rules to be enforced could boomerang. At the Buffalo tournament the following year his sixth-round opponent overslept and faced playing his first 25 moves in ten minutes. His opponent’s roommate, Walter Frere, had also overslept, and his opponent, Philadelphia’s John Welsh Young, was willing to give Frere his full time back if Delmar were prepared to do the same for his opponent. Delmar refused. His opponent, Hermann Helms, made the time-limit, and went on to win. See pages 72-73 and 76 of my book Buffalo 1901 and 1894 Chess Tournaments (Yorklyn, 1996).’

Eugene Delmar – Hermann Helms
Buffalo, August 1894
Queen’s Fianchetto Opening

1 b3 e5 2 Bb2 d5 3 Bxe5 Nc6 4 Bb2 Nf6 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 Be6 7 Be2 Qd7 8 d4 Ne4 9 O-O f5 10 Nbd2 Bf6 11 c4 O-O-O 12 Rc1 g5 13 cxd5 Bxd5 14 Bc4 h5 15 Bxd5 Qxd5 (It is hard to imagine what Delmar had in mind when playing his next move.) 16 Rc5 Nxc5 17 Nc4 Ne4 18 Qe2 h4 19 Ne1 g4 20 Nd3 Bg5 21 f3 gxf3 22 gxf3 Rdg8 23 Kh1 Ng3+ 24 hxg3 hxg3+ 25 Kg1 Rh2 26 Qe1 Rgh8 27 Qxg3 R2h3 28 Qg2 b5 29 e4 Qg8 30 Nf2 Rh2 31 Qg3 Bf4 32 Qxg8+ Rxg8+ 33 White resigns.

Source: Brooklyn Standard Union, 17 August 1894.


Lilienthal and literacy

The April 2002 book reviews at the Chess Mail website offer the spectacle of John Elburg passing strictures on the quality of English prose in a recent Lilienthal book:

‘Unfortunately the English translation and layout of this work is not perfect done, for example the gamers are to much compressed together and some translations are horrible.’


Nimzowitsch v Koch

Although seemingly forgotten today, the game below was published in a number of contemporary magazines, including the Chess Amateur, May 1928 (pages 244-245), where Fairhurst bravely annotated it in detail. He expressed a low opinion of White’s opening (6 f4 was censured as ‘A feeble, illogical eccentricity, typical of Nimzowitsch’s play’) but he also commented, ‘The way in which he turns an apparently hopeless position into a brilliant win will certainly evoke the admiration of the reader’.

Aron Nimzowitsch – Berthold Koch
Berlin, February 1928
English Opening

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 cxd5 Nxd5 4 g3 Nxc3 5 bxc3 Bd7 6 f4 c5 7 Bg2 Bc6 8 e4 Qd3 9 Nh3 g6 10 Nf2 Qa6 11 Bb2 Bg7 12 d3 O-O 13 O-O Rd8 14 Qd2 Qa5 15 h4 c4 16 h5 cxd3 17 hxg6 hxg6 18 Ng4 Qc5+ 19 Rf2 Nd7 20 c4 Nf6 21 Nxf6+ exf6 22 Re1 Qxc4


23 f5 gxf5 24 e5 fxe5 25 Rxe5 Rd6 26 Rexf5 Bxb2 27 Qxb2 Rg6 28 Rh5 Rg7 29 Rf6 Be4 30 Rfh6 Bh7 31 Rxh7 Rxh7 32 Rg5+ Kf8 33 Qa3+ Ke8 34 Re5+ Qe6 35 Rxe6+ fxe6 36 Qxd3 Resigns.


Beginners’ book

From today’s range of chess books for beginners we believe that one stands out as the best: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chess by Patrick Wolff (second edition, Indianapolis, 2002). It is a 367-page paperback and costs $16.95. Written breezily but with care, the book is particularly successful in conveying the author’s zest for the game. In the Introduction (page xii) he writes:

‘… I have years of experience teaching people of all levels how to play chess. I know lots of people think chess is for high-brows, but I also know that’s nonsense. Chess is an incredibly fun game. It offers a lifetime of excitement, beauty, and challenge to anyone who takes it up. Sure chess exercises your brain: That’s what makes it so great! But it’s absolutely not just for intellectuals. Anyone can learn chess and learn to play it well, and just about everyone who does so loves it forever after.’


An incident

From John Hilbert (Amherst, NY, USA):

‘In discussing the marathon 14th match-game between Lasker and Tarrasch in 1908, in which Tarrasch, a bishop ahead but in what was considered at the time to be a dead drawn rook and bishop vs. rook endgame, continued to play on for 50 moves despite having no chance to win, Walter Penn Shipley wrote in his 25 October 1908 Philadelphia Inquirer column:

“The continuation reminds us very much of a game played in one of the Franklin Chess Club championship tournaments between Emil Kemeny and a strong member of the Franklin Chess Club. Kemeny had a king and his opponent had king and pawn, Kemeny, however, having the opposition. Kemeny mildly suggested that the game was a draw, but his opponent remarked that he was a pawn ahead and that no doubt the game was a draw if Kemeny made the best moves, but so was the game from the start and that he proposed to continue. Kemeny had about two hours’ extra time to spare, so he remarked certainly he would be glad to continue the game, and it being his move, his clock going, he left the room, bought a newspaper, returned, [and] sat down in a comfortable chair by the window to look over the news of the day. His opponent fidgeted around for ten or 15 minutes and then called Kemeny’s attention to the fact that it was his move and that his clock was going. ‘Oh, yes’, said Kemeny, ‘I know that, but I was just a little tired; thought I would take a rest of an hour or so, and look over the paper. Before my time is run out I will make a move.’ A smile went around among the other players in the room, and about ten minutes later Kemeny’s opponent remarked that he guessed after all that the position was only a draw and he was quite content to have the game so scored. Kemeny bowed politely and said it was entirely agreeable to him to have the game scored as drawn or to have it continued.”

Shipley did not identify Kemeny’s obdurate opponent or the Franklin championship tournament in which this lesson in when enough should be enough was given. Research now rudely reveals, however, what Shipley’s good manners refrained from mentioning. Kemeny’s opponent was the strong club player Alfred K. Robinson, and the game was played in the 1894-95 Franklin championship. Kemeny himself published the game in his 16 February 1895 Philadelphia Ledger column, though with no reference to his opponent’s stubbornness. Robinson was 45 at the time the game was played, and would continue living in Philadelphia until his death in 1918. Shipley’s decision not to reveal Robinson’s identity in his 1908 column no doubt helped keep the peace at the Franklin. The position when Kemeny purchased his newspaper was:


Curiously enough, neither Robinson, who had a score of 9½-4½, nor Kemeny, who stood even better, at 13-2, was able to finish the 1894-95 Franklin championship. That year’s title went instead to D. Stuart Robinson, who finished with a score of 17-5.’

(Kingpin, 2001)

A lost manuscript?

On 18 January 1889 a retired marine infantry captain named Joinaux died in his 76th year. Then, as now, his name was unknown in the chess world, but since 1853 he had been carrying out ‘un véritable travail de bénédictin’, compiling by hand an enormous chess encyclopaedia in eight parts (openings, endings, annotations, problems, endgame studies, bibliography, etc.). An overview of Joinaux’s Musée des Echecs was provided by Renault on pages 59-60 of the 15 February 1889 issue of La Stratégie, and it concluded with this incredible statement: ‘The Musée comprises about 20,000 games, all annotated by the great players, and as many problems.’

What became of the Joinaux manuscript?

(Kingpin, 2001)

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.’


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?’


Philip Woliston


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.



The Chess Scene by D. Levy and S. Reuben (London, 1974) has a considerable penchant for anecdotes whose main, or sole, interest seems to lie in whether they can be traced back to a reliable source. With regard to the ‘Absent-minded Grandmasters’ section on pages 95-96, for instance, we are moderately curious as to the origins of this epic contribution to chess scholarship:

‘Tartakover was once playing in a tournament on a very hot day. He called for a glass of iced water. The waiter prepared him a drink with lavish care, squeezing out fresh oranges. He brought it to the table where Tartakover was deep in thought. Without looking at it, Tartakover picked up the glass and poured the contents over his head.’


A footnote on page 360 of A Chess Omnibus:

In an article about Tartakower in the Chess Café archives, Hans Kmoch wrote regarding Tartakower at the 1950 Olympiad in Dubrovnik: ‘Only occasionally did his grim sense of humor break through, as on the day he ordered water, got lemonade, and washed his face with it anyway.’ See also CHESS, February 2003, pages 35-36

A further reference is Kmoch’s obituary of Tartakower on pages 123-125 of the April 1956 Chess Review.

Passed pawns

The position below, which occurred in the game Ståhlberg v Bogoljubow, Stockholm, October 1930, is taken from page 373 of the December 1930 Deutsche Schachzeitung. A snap question: how many passed pawns are there on the board?


On the basis of definitions given in various reference books, the answer presumably has to be six (five white, one black), even if it is difficult to regard the units at e4 and e5 as passed pawns.



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.’


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).


Rosemarie Fischer


Early Flohr games

Two Sicilian miniatures played early in Salo Flohr’s career:

Salo Flohr – Gottlieb Machate
Sumperk (Mährisch-Schönberg), August 1928
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 d6 3 Nge2 g6 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Bg7 6 Be2 Nf6 7 O-O O-O 8 Be3 b6 9 f4 Bb7 10 Bf3 Nbd7 11 Re1 a6 12 Bf2 b5 13 e5 Bxf3 14 Qxf3 dxe5 15 fxe5 Nh5 16 Nc6 Qc7 17 Nd5 Qb7


18 Nd8 Nxe5 19 Rxe5 Bxe5 20 Nxb7 Resigns.

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, October 1928, page 313.

Salo Flohr – Savielly Tartakower
Berlin, 1928
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d3 d5 4 Nbd2 Nc6 5 Be2 Bg4 6 h3 Bh5 7 e5 Nd7 8 e6 fxe6 9 Ng5 Bf7 10 Bg4 Nde5 11 Nxf7 Kxf7 12 Nf3 h6 13 Qe2 Nxg4 14 hxg4 Nd4 15 Nxd4 cxd4


16 g5 Qd6 17 gxh6 gxh6 18 Qh5+ Kg8 19 Qg4+ Kh7 20 Bf4 Rg8 21 Qxg8+ and wins.

Our source for the above game is page 97 of Schachjahrbuch 1928 by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1929), which reported that this victory was from a series of ‘free games’ in which Flohr defeated Tartakower +6 –2 =5.

Page 176 of the November 1928 Československý Šach reported that in Berlin Flohr played various masters in ‘free games’ and participated in two rapid-play tournaments alongside such figures as Tartakower, Nimzowitsch and Spielmann.


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.”’


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.’


‘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


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.


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



‘The following game, played in the recently-concluded Australian championship tournament, was a real “wild-wester” and the unusual conclusion only added to the general excitement. I doubt if any game has ever caused so much comment in Australia and New Zealand.’

So wrote Koshnitsky at the start of an article on pages 360-361 of CHESS, 20 June 1939. He also annotated the game on pages 13-14 of the Australasian Chess Review, 25 January 1939, and below we have incorporated into the game-score a few of his descriptive notes, as well as the punctuation, from both sources:

Alfred William Gyles – Gregory Simon Koshnitsky
Sydney, 1938
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 d6 5 c3 Bd7 6 d3 g6 7 Nbd2 Bg7 8 Nf1 Nf6 9 Ne3 h6 10 Qe2 Ne7 11 Bc2 c5 12 a4 b5 13 O-O O-O 14 Bd2 Nh5 15 g3 Qc7 16 Bb3 Be6 (‘An impatient move. I deliberately invited complications. But I got more than I bargained for.’) 17 Bxe6 fxe6 18 Ng4 Kh7 19 d4 exd4 20 axb5 axb5 21 Rxa8 Rxa8 22 Qxb5 Rb8 23 Qc4 d5 24 exd5 exd5 25 Qa2 d3 (Given an exclamation mark in the Australian magazine, but in CHESS Koshnitsky put ‘!?’ and added: ‘Was 25…dxc3 better? Perhaps. At any rate it was safer. But the temptation to obtain the passed pawn on the sixth was difficult to resist.’) 26 Re1 c4 27 Re6 Qd7 28 Qa6! Rxb2 29 Nge5! Qb7 30 Qd6 Nf5 31 Qd8


31…d4!! (‘White’s sacrifice of a pawn appears to have more than justified itself. Black is compelled to take extraordinary measures to stave off the mating attack. And he rises to the occasion!’) 32 Qe8! (‘After making this move Gyles left the board satisfied that Black had no satisfactory defence against 33 Qxg6+. All the spectators and most of the players had gathered around the board. They smelt blood. Some of them started to congratulate Gyles and others were ready to sympathize with me.’)


32…Nh4!! (‘Looks like a move of desperation, simply postponing the resignation for a move or two, but on closer inspection the hidden merits become apparent. Most of the onlookers thought that I was trying to bring off a “swindle”. Gyles had foreseen the move but like the others had underrated it and now was spending the precious minutes trying to find a knock-out.’) 33 gxh4 Qe4 34 Rxg6 (‘Gyles made this move after some deliberation which left only a few minutes for his next two moves. He was still under the impression that he was in the winning position …’ Koshnitsky then provided analysis to show that White had no more than a draw.) 34…Rxd2


35 Nxd2 and White lost on time. (‘Although I had about ten minutes on my clock I was thinking furiously. Every spectator in the room was watching our game, but no-one noticed that Gyles had not stopped his clock. The director of play was also looking on but even he took no action. The flag fell with a sickening thud!! The director of play immediately awarded the game to me. Gyles very naturally became agitated thinking that he should have been warned that his clock was going. He was under the impression that he was in the winning position at the time. I thought that I had good chances with my queen’s-side pawns and I was sorry that the incident occurred. Apart from the director of play who was very sure of his ground, no-one was absolutely certain whether Gyles had grounds for appeal against the umpire’s decision. Gyles did appeal but withdrew his protest the following morning. I was very pleased that the incident did not alter the probable result, as Black had a forced win after his 35th move. White’s last chance to force a draw was on the 35th move, by a pretty combination found by Purdy, e.g. 35 Rxh6+!! Bxh6 (forced) 36 Ng5+ Bxg5 37 Qxh5+, drawing by perpetual check.’) In the final position Koshinitsky gave detailed analysis to demonstrate a win for Black after 35…Qe1+ 36 Nf1 Qxe5.


A curious finish

José Fernández – N. Domínguez Cowan
Mexico City, 1885
Centre Counter-Game

1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qa5 4 Bc4 e6 5 Nf3 c6 6 O-O Nf6 7 d3 Be7 8 Bd2 Qc7 9 Qe2 b5 10 Bb3 O-O 11 Rae1 Nd5 12 Bxd5 cxd5 13 Nxd5 exd5 14 Qxe7 Qxc2 15 Bb4 Nd7 16 Rc1 Qxb2 17 Ng5 a5 18 Bc3 Qxa2 19 Ne6 Qe2 20 Rfe1 Qxd3 21 Nxf8 Nxf8 22 Bxa5 Be6 23 Bb4 Ng6 24 Qb7 Re8 25 Rc3 Qd2


26 Rc8 Qxe1+ 27 Bxe1 Bxc8 28 White resigns.

Source: Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, 15 October 1885, page 13.


Early Fairhurst

Not a spectacular game, but an early indication of Fairhurst’s strength:

Boris Kostić (Simultaneous) – William Albert Fairhurst
Manchester, 1922
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 Be7 5 Bg5 Nbd7 6 e3 O-O 7 Rc1 c6 8 Qc2 c5 9 Bd3 cxd4 10 exd4 b6 11 O-O dxc4 12 Bxc4 Bb7 13 Ne5 Nxe5 14 dxe5 Ng4 15 Rfd1 Qc7 16 Bxe7 Qxe7 17 Qe2 Qh4 18 h3 Nxf2 19 Qxf2 Qxc4 20 Nd5 Qe4 21 Ne7+ Kh8 22 Rc7 Ba6 23 Re1 Qb4 24 Nc6 Qc4 25 b3 Qc3 26 Re3 Qc1+ 27 Re1 Qc3 28 Re3 Qc1+ 29 Kh2 Bb5 30 Qf3 Bxc6 31 Rxc6 Qd2 32 Rc7 Kg8 33 Rxf7 Rxf7 34 Qxa8+ Rf8 35 Qe4 Qxa2 36 Qc6 Qf2 37 Qxe6+ Qf7 Drawn.

Source: the Chess Amateur, May 1922, pages 230-231.


Non-chess books

The chess column of the Cincinnati Commercial of 1 April 1882 stated:

‘Mr John Wisker, formerly chess editor of the London Field [sic], and now one of the strongest players in Australia, is the author of a novel, The Machinations of Detherby Yarke, now publishing serially in the columns of the Federal Australasian, of Melbourne.’

Whether the oeuvre also came out in book form we have been unable to verify.

‘Two well-known chessplayers burst into the literary limelight lately. Nothing to do with chess. V.L. Wahltuch, one of England’s strongest players a decade ago, produced a little booklet, under the auspices of Printing-Craft, on contract bridge; whilst Barnie Winkelman, Pennsylvania expert, wrote a real book on Rockefeller.’

The source of the above quote is CHESS, 14 October 1937, page 45. Winkelman’s book was entitled John D. Rockefeller and was published in Philadelphia in 1937. He had already written Ten Years of Wall Street (Chicago, 1932) and was to produce John G. Johnson (Philadelphia, 1942).

Another chess expert who wrote on bridge was Gerald Abrahams, with Brains in Bridge (1962). He also brought out books on such subjects as law and political thought, as well as publishing three volumes of fiction. A list of his output is given opposite the title page of his 1974 book Not Only Chess.

From CHESS, 20 July 1939 (page 391):

‘E.G. Sergeant has produced a monumental volume on law which will inevitably become a standard work for future generations: Sergeant on Stamp Duties.’

William Fairhurst, a civil engineer, was a specialist in bridges rather than bridge, and in 1945 he wrote the book Arch Design Simplified.


From page 20 of the January-February 1943 American Chess Bulletin:

‘Chessplayers, who have a talent for writing, do not necessarily confine themselves to the subject of chess. Browsing through the Post Headquarters Library during the Reshevsky-Kashdan game at Plattsburg, the publisher saw a copy of The Tools of War, of which James R. Newman of the Manhattan Chess Club, is the author.

Later, a column review of John G. Johnson, in the N.Y. Sun, called to mind that Barnie F. Winkelman had been busy for some time in his preparation of the manuscript for the biography of that famous Philadelphia lawyer.

Quite recently we received from Leslie Balogh Bain, publicist and broadcaster of Miami, Fla., an inscribed copy of his new book, War of Confusion. In it this chessplaying husband of a famous chess expert (Mary Bain) reveals a broad grasp of world conditions.

It is fitting to mention also in this connection that William E. Napier, now engaged in a tournament at the Washington Chess Divan, has written much on insurance and, of course, fluently and with erudition.’

Another instance comes from the obituary of T.R. Dawson on pages 107-108 of the April 1952 BCM:

‘Author and co-author of several books on rubber, he served the industry in many other capacities with distinction, and his death removes an outstanding figure in the world of rubber.’


Raking bishops

As noted by W.H. Cozens on page 402 of the September 1978 BCM (in connection with The Encyclopedia of Chess by H. Golombek), chess reference books do not agree on whether raking bishops should be named after Harrwitz or Horwitz. A detailed article on the subject, by Peter Gütler, is on pages 42-43 of Kaissiber, April-June 1999.

To add a further complication, we would point out that another nineteenth-century figure whose name has been connected with the bishop pair is Louis Paulsen. The passage hereunder comes from page 73 of the November 1882 Chess Monthly, in the annotations to the game Blackburne v L. Paulsen, Vienna, 1882:

‘Herr Paulsen conducts the endgame with great vigour and rare accuracy. “Paulsen’s bishops” tell once more!’

At one stage in the game Paulsen’s bishops were indeed ‘raking’ (i.e. on b7 and b6, as well as b6 and a6), but it is unclear whether the term ‘Paulsen’s bishops’ was, in this case, being used merely as a general reference to the pair of prelates.

We wonder too when exactly Janowsky’s dexterity gave rise to the term ‘the two Jans’.


‘There is no finer combination recorded than the one by which, in his last game with Kolisch, he won the exchange. The conception is magnificent.’

This remark, referring to Louis Paulsen, comes from the Bristol Daily Post, and was quoted on page 318 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1861. The game in question is evidently the Kolisch v Paulsen brilliancy played in Bristol on 14 September 1861 and given on pages 314-315 of the same issue of the Chronicle. Readers will have little difficulty in finding the game (in which Black exploits his bishop pair with, in particular, a very unusual type of move for the nineteenth century: 19…c3). It may, however, be noted that page 177 of Faszinierendes Schach by I. Linder (East Berlin, 1986) wrongly stated a) that the venue was London, and b) that, rather than resigning, White played on to the bitter end with 29 Qb2 Qxb2 30 Bxb2 Nxf4 31 Nxf4 Nf2 mate.


A footnote on page 363 of A Chess Omnibus pointed out that on page 156 of his Encyclopedia Golombek asserted that ‘the Americans, during his stay in the USA, referred to them as “the two Jans”.’

See too our feature article Janowsky Jottings.


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


Chess Review, August 1962, page 227


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)


Non-chess games

From page 210 of the November 1915 American Chess Bulletin:

‘At Marshall’s Chess Divan, Hudson Maxim’s new “War Game” is one of the attractions and frequently players can be seen trying their skill on the enlarged board and with the increased army of pieces made necessary by the addition of the flying machines. Kriegspiel, the German for war game, which had considerable vogue of late years in London, also serves to pass away many a pleasant hour.’

A photograph of Marshall and Maxim playing War Game is on page 22 of Marshall’s My Fifty Years of Chess. See also page 146 of Chess Explorations.

Another board game to which Marshall gave attention was Trench, invented by Abb Landis (1856-1927) of Nashville, Tennessee. It was described on page 119 of the May-June 1918 American Chess Bulletin:

‘The board (in our national colors) represents a battlefield with (red) “dug-outs” connected by “trenches” and protected by (white) “parapets”, which look out upon “No Man’s Land” (blue).

The 40 pieces represent officers and men of two infantry divisions. The insignia indicate rank; the numerals give values for scoring points by capture or exchange.

… Mr Landis claims that soldiers and those who want the excitement of military tactics and field operations can obtain perfect satisfaction in playing Trench as a war game …’

The same issue (page 136) contained a full-page advertisement for the game, with an illustration of the ‘men arranged in battle array’, while the June-August Bulletin gave information (on page 139) about Marshall’s interest in Trench, as well as (on page 172) the score of a game between Marshall and A.B. Hodges played at Marshall’s Chess Divan on 9 June 1918 and annotated by Landis.


Bernstein’s writings

We wonder whether any readers have seen the writings of Ossip Bernstein described in this paragraph from page 118 of the April 1950 BCM:

‘During the last year the European edition of the New York Herald has been running a most valuable weekly column written by the famous master, Dr O. Bernstein. It contains annotated games, news, endgame studies, etc. What makes it valuable is the original approach Dr Bernstein shows towards the games and the consequent discoveries he has been able to make of lines overlooked, not only by the players themselves, but by all other annotators.’


Zukertort’s quiet winning move

The Brooklyn Chess Chronicle (15 January 1886, page 56) had this win by Zukertort against an unnamed opponent: 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f4 d6 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Bc4 Bg4 6 O-O Be7 7 d3 Nh5 8 fxe5 Nxe5 9 Nxe5 Bxd1 10 Bxf7+ Kf8 11 Bxh5+ Bf6 12 Rxf6+ gxf6 13 Bh6+ Ke7 14 Nd5+ Ke6 15 Bf7+ Kxe5


16 c3 Resigns.

The occasion is said to have been an 11-board blindfold simultaneous display in Ottawa in 1884. Moves 8-16 were given on page 90 of the November 1885 Chess Monthly (which was co-edited by Hoffer and Zukertort) as being from ‘a game played simultaneously blindfold with 11 others in January 1884, at Ottawa, at the meeting of the Canadian Chess Association’. Even so, many other sources (e.g. page 188 of Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess) give the occasion as ‘Leipzig, 1877’. Can anyone iron out the discrepancy?


Common Sense in Chess

A line given by Emanuel Lasker on pages 17-20 of his book Common Sense in Chess is 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 O-O Nxe4 5 Re1 Nd6 6 Nc3 Nxb5 7 Nxe5 Be7 8 Nd5 O-O.


On page 192 of the July 1953 CHESS Norman Whitaker pointed out that instead of castling Black could remain a piece ahead by playing 8…Nbd4.


Olaf Wolna (Hamburg, Germany) points out that on page 14 of the 1925 German edition (Gesunder Menschenverstand im Schach), Lasker himself remarked that with 8 Nd5 he had committed an oversight, because of 8…Nbd4. He therefore recommended 8 Nxb5 Nxe5 9 Rxe5 d6 ‘with a good game for Black’.

Concerning Whitaker’s observation on page 192 of the July 1953 CHESS, we are surprised by the magazine’s afterword: ‘Reinfeld’s revision of this book (1946) naturally omits this glaring blunder.’ In our copy, the ‘glaring blunder’ is still there (page 11).


Now we have found that this error was already known in the nineteenth century. From page 246 of the December 1899 American Chess Magazine:

‘Attention is called by J. Biggs, of Bonham, Texas, to the following variation of the Ruy López, given both in Lasker’s Book and Freeborough’s Openings: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 O-O Nxe4 5 Re1 Nd6 6 Nxe5 Be7 7 Nc3 Nxb5 8 Nd5 O-O. Mr Biggs played this line recently, but his opponent, instead of castling on the eighth move, played 8…Nbd4, with the result that Mr Biggs found himself with a clear piece down and no compensating attack. In bewilderment he applied for information. The move of 8 Nd5 by White is unsound and merely constitutes an oversight by the authorities named.’


Morphy’s short career

From an article on Morphy by J.A. Galbreath (American Chess Bulletin, October 1909, pages 219-224):

‘It has been truly said that Morphy was at once the Caesar and the Napoleon of chess. He revolutionized chess. He brought life and dash and beauty into the game at a time when an age of dulness was about to set in and he did this at a stroke. Then he quit forever. Only two years from the beginning to the end. The negotiations for some modern matches have taken that long!’


Franz Tendering

C.N. 2543 referred to the premature death notice of Franz Tendering, who in fact died in 1875, at the age of 27. Now we give three light games by this forgotten player:

N.N. – Franz Tendering (blindfold)
Nice, circa 1872
Scotch Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Bc5 5 Be3 Nxd4 6 Bxd4 b6 7 Bxg7 Qh4 8 Qf3 Qg5 9 Bxh8 Qc1+ 10 Ke2 Ba6+ 11 Qd3 Qxc2+ 12 Nd2 Bxd3+ 13 Ke1 Bxf2+ 14 Kxf2 Qxd2+ 15 Kg3 Qe3+ 16 White resigns.

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, March 1872, page 87.

N.N. – Franz Tendering
Nice, 1872
Giuoco Piano

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 d3 d6 5 h3 Nf6 6 O-O O-O 7 Be3 Bb6 8 b4 Be6 9 Bb3 Ne7 10 a4 a6 11 a5 Ba7 12 c4 Ng6 13 Qd2 Nh5 14 Nc3 Nhf4 15 Kh2 Qd7 16 Nd5 Bxh3 17 Nxf4 exf4 18 Bxa7 Bxg2 19 Kxg2 Qg4+ 20 Kh2 Qh5+ 21 Kg2 and ‘Black announced mate in seven moves’ (although White can hold out a little longer: 21…Nh4+ 22 Nxh4 Qg4+ 23 Kh1 Qxh4+ 24 Kg2 Qg4+ 25 Kh2 f3 26 Qg5 etc.).

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, May 1873, pages 136-137.

Franz Tendering – Bothe
King’s Pawn Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nxe5 Nxe5 4 d4 Ng6 5 Bc4 Be7 6 O-O d6 7 f4 f5 8 Nc3 fxe4 9 f5 Nf6 10 fxg6 d5 11 Nxd5 Nxd5 12 Qh5 Nf6


13 Rxf6 Bxf6 14 gxh7+ Kd7 15 Qd5+ Ke7 16 Qf7+ Kd6 17 Bf4+ Kc6 18 d5+ Kc5 19 b4+ Kxc4 20 d6+ Kb5 21 Qd5+ c5 22 a4+ Ka6 23 Qc4+ b5 24 Qxb5 mate.

Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, November 1875, page 334.


Quotation books

Tentative suggestion: the only area of chess literature in which no remotely worthwhile book has ever been published is quotations. The three slim volumes that we have seen (published in the US in 1972, Germany in 1992 and the US in 1998) are, in our view, devoid of value because they provide no sources for the alleged citations.


Keres simultaneous game

In this game from a simultaneous display with clocks, Keres was defeated by a 16-year-old:

Paul Keres – Enrique Velasco
Havana, 9 February 1960
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 g6 4 Bg2 Bg7 5 f4 d6 6 Nf3 Nf6 7 O-O O-O 8 d3 Bd7 9 Kh1 Qc8 10 Ng1 Rb8 11 a4 Nd4 12 Nce2 Nxe2 13 Qxe2 a6 14 a5 b5 15 axb6 Rxb6 16 Ra2 Ne8 17 b3 Be6 18 Nf3 Nc7 19 Bb2 Nb5 20 Bxg7 Kxg7 21 Raa1 Bg4 22 Qe3 Bxf3 23 Bxf3 Nd4 24 Bd1 Qa8 25 Kg1 d5


26 b4 Qc6 27 c3 Ne6 28 bxc5 Nxc5 29 Qd4+ Kg8 30 exd5 Qd6 31 Rf2 Rd8 32 c4 e6 33 Ra5 Rb1 34 Rf1


34…Rxd1 35 Rxd1 Nb3 36 c5 Qc7 37 Qb4 Qxa5 38 Qxb3 Qxc5+ 39 d4 Qxd5 40 Qxd5 Rxd5 41 Kf2 a5 42 Ke3 a4 43 Kd3 Rh5 44 Rd2 a3 45 Ra2 Ra5 46 Kc4 Ra4+ 47 Kb3 Rxd4 48 Kxa3 Rc4 49 Kb3 Rc7 50 Ra5 Kg7 51 Kb2 Kf6 52 Rb5 h6 53 h4 h5 54 Ra5 Re7 55 Re5 Rd7 56 Kc2 Rd5 57 Re4 Kf5 58 Ra4 f6 59 Ra6 e5 60 fxe5 fxe5 61 Ra8 Rd6 62 Ra4 e4 63 Ra5+ Kg4 64 Ra3 Rd3 65 Ra6 Rxg3 66 Rxg6+ Kxh4 67 White resigns.

Source: Ajedrez en Cuba by C. Palacio (Havana, 1960), pages 291-292.



We add to C.N. 1178 (see page 56 of Chess Explorations) a couple of games by the prodigy María Teresa Mora (1907-1980). A very early mention of her, as the first prize-winner in a junior competition, was on page 128 of Capablanca-Magazine, 30 September 1914. A few years later she became Capablanca’s pupil, and in Chapter IX of My Chess Career (1920) he stated that ‘she probably is the strongest lady player in the world, though only 15 or 17 years old’. In fact, astonishingly, she was only 12 when this assessment by Capablanca was published in My Chess Career. [See, however, C.N.s 3464, 3468 and 3477, which discussed the unclear evidence regarding her year of birth.]

María Teresa Mora – Guillermo López Rovirosa
Havana, 1921
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O d6 6 d3 Be7 7 h3 O-O 8 c3 h6 9 Nh2 d5 10 Nd2 Bc5 11 Qf3 Ne7 12 exd5 Nexd5 13 Ne4 Nxe4 14 Qxe4 Qd6 15 Nf3 Nf4 16 Nxe5 Ne6 17 d4 Ba7 18 Be3 f5 19 Qd3 f4 20 Bc2 Ng5 21 Bb3+ Be6 22 Bxe6+ Qxe6 23 Bd2 c5 24 Ng6 c4 25 Nxf8 Rxf8 26 Qc2 Nxh3+ 27 gxh3 f3 28 Rae1 Qxh3 29 Qg6 Bb8 30 Qe6+ Qxe6 31 Rxe6 Kh7 32 Rfe1 Rf5 33 R1e4 Rh5 34 Bf4 Resigns.

Source: American Chess Bulletin, December 1921, page 205.

Guillermo López Rovirosa – María Teresa Mora
Havana, 1921
Four Knights’ Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nc6 4 Bc4 Bb4 5 O-O O-O 6 d3 Bxc3 7 bxc3 d6 8 Bg5 h6 9 Bh4 Bg4 10 Qd2 Bxf3 11 gxf3 g5


12 Kh1 Kh7 13 Bg3 Qd7 14 Rg1 Ne7 15 d4 Ng6 16 Rad1 Rad8 17 Qe3 Qc6 18 Qe2 a6 19 dxe5 dxe5 20 Rxd8 Rxd8 21 Bxf7 Qxc3 22 Bxg6+ Kxg6 23 Rd1 Rd6 24 h4 b5 25 Kg2 Qc5 26 hxg5 hxg5 27 Rxd6 cxd6 28 Qd3 Qc6 29 Qb3 Qc4 30 Qa3 Qc6 31 Qa5 g4 32 Qe1 gxf3+ 33 Kxf3 Qxc2 34 Qe3 Qxa2 35 Bh4 Qe6 36 Bxf6 Qh3+ 37 White resigns.

Source: American Chess Bulletin, January 1922, page 7.


Chess a waste of time

John Hilbert (Kenmore, NY, USA) sends the following text from the Scientific American, 2 July 1859, page 9:

‘Chess-Playing Excitement

The achievements of our young countryman, Paul Morphy, in vanquishing the most distinguished chess-players of Europe, have excited in our people a very pardonable degree of national pride; hence they have exhibited a strong exultant feeling in welcoming him back to his native land as the Chess Champion of the World. He has been received with high demonstrations in several cities, and public testimonials of great value have been presented to him; while at the same time poets have sung, and sages have delivered orations in his praise. At some of these exhibitions there was a considerable display of “Buncombe,” especially at the one held in Boston, where some of our scientific friends rather overdid the thing by their adulations; yet all this might be overlooked if such influences extended no further than the time and place where these effusions were uttered. But we regret to state that this is not the case, for a pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages. Why should we regret this? it may be asked. We answer, chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while at the same time it affords no benefit whatever to the body.

Chess has acquired a high reputation as being a means to discipline the mind, because it requires a strong memory and peculiar powers of combination. It is also generally believed that skill in playing it affords evidence of a superior intellect. These opinions, we believe, are exceedingly erroneous. Napoleon the Great, who had a great passion for playing chess, was often beaten by a rough grocer in St Helena. Neither Shakespeare, Milton, Newton, nor any of the great ones of the earth, acquired proficiency in chess-playing. Those who have become the most renowned players seem to have been endowed with a peculiar intuitive faculty for making the right moves, while at the same time they seem to have possessed very ordinary faculties for other purposes. A game of chess does not add a single new fact to the mind; it does not excite a single beautiful thought; nor does it serve a single purpose for polishing and improving the nobler faculties.

Persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises for recreation - not this sort of mental gladiatorship. Those who are engaged in mental pursuits should avoid a chessboard as they would an adder’s nest, because chess misdirects and exhausts their intellectual energies. Rather let them dance, sing, play ball, perform gymnastics, roam in the woods or by the seashore, than play chess. It is a game which no man who depends on his trade, business or profession can afford to waste time practicing; it is an amusement - and a very unprofitable one - which the independently wealthy alone can afford time to lose in its pursuit. As there can be no great proficiency in this intricate game without long-continued practice, which demands a great deal of time, no young man who designs to be useful in the world can prosecute it without danger to his best interests. A young gentleman of our acquaintance, who had become a somewhat skillful player, recently pushed the chessboard from him at the end of a game, declaring, “I have wasted too much time upon it already; I cannot afford to do this any longer; this is my last game.” We recommend his resolution to all those who have been foolishly led away by the present chess-excitement, as skill in this game is neither a useful nor graceful accomplishment.’

Our correspondent came upon this item by chance when searching for Paul Morphy documents in the remarkable archives of the Cornell University Library.


James Cross

C.N. 2630 gave a loss by James Cross against Charles Kalme, but Cross too was highly regarded in his youth. ‘No one who plays over this game can doubt that 16-year-old James Cross is one of America’s most talented younger players. The game is played with the freshness of a youngster and the poise of a veteran.’ So commented Chess Review, December 1946, page 32 when introducing this win from the US Junior Championship:

James Cross – Paul Dietz
Chicago, July 1946
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 Nf3 O-O 6 e3 Ne4 7 Bxe7 Qxe7 8 Nxe4 dxe4 9 Nd2 f5 10 Qc2 Nd7 11 g4 Nf6 12 gxf5 exf5 13 O-O-O c6 14 Be2 Be6 15 Kb1 a5 16 Rdg1 a4 17 Rg3 Rfc8 18 Rhg1 Ne8 19 f3 exf3 20 Nxf3 a3 21 b3 b5 22 c5 Ra7 23 Ne5 Qd8 24 Bd3 Qa5 25 Bxf5 Bxf5 26 Qxf5 Qc3


27 Rxg7+ Rxg7 28 Qf7+ Kh8 29 Qf8+ Rg8 30 Qxg8 mate.

In the game below, also from a US Junior Championship, we give as a guide the punctuation of Hans Kmoch, who provided full annotations on page 23 of the September 1948 Chess Review:

James Cross – Paul Poschel
Oak Ridge, 1948
Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qb3 Nc6 5 Nf3 a5 6 a3 a4 7 Qc2 Bxc3+ 8 bxc3! d6 9 Bg5 h6 10 Bh4 O-O? 11 e3 e5 12 Be2 Qe7 13 h3 Bd7 14 O-O Na5 15 Nd2 b6 16 Ne4 g5 17 Nxf6+ Qxf6 18 Bg3 Qe6 19 f4! e4 20 f5 Qf6 21 Qxe4 Rae8 22 Qd3 Qe7 23 Rf3 Nb3 24 Re1 Bc6 25 d5 Nc5 26 Qc2 Bb7 27 e4! f6 28 Re3 Qf7? 29 Qd1! Qd7 30 Bh5 Ra8? 31 Bg6 Ba6 32 Qh5 Kg7


33 e5!! dxe5 34 Bxe5! fxe5 35 Rxe5 Kf6 36 Qxh6 Rh8 37 Bh7+ Kf7 38 f6 Resigns.

On page 6 of the September 1947 Chess Review John Rather wrote:

‘Jim Cross of Glendale, California is tall, quiet and unassuming. At 17, he has been playing chess for only two years. Starting with Hoyle’s Games, on which so many have teethed, he learned quickly; soon he topped his school club’s ladder. When he moved to California, he attracted the attention of Herman Steiner, who is always eager to help young players. Under the chess master’s tutelage and by unremitting study of master games, Cross blossomed.’


An unusual problem


Mate in two

The composition is by P.J. Cumpe (Bohemia, 1908),

Source: Page 106 of Šach by Břetislav Soukup-Bardon (Prague, 1944).


Sounds impossible

Which leading player won a tournament despite being the only participant not to win a single game?

The case we have in mind is Los Angeles, 1968 (Interzonal play-off tournament). The three participants, Reshevsky, Stein and Hort, played four games against each other. Reshevsky drew all eight of his games, whereas Hort and Stein’s encounters featured a win apiece and two draws. Thus all three players finished with four points, but, as page 99 of the April 1968 Chess Review reported, ‘Reshevsky won by virtue of a superior tie-break standing at Sousse’ (the previous year’s Interzonal tournament). The Review also commented regarding Los Angeles, 1968: ‘Here must be an all-time record of an important event won without a single full point by the winner.’


Kostić in the Far East

The game below is of interest not for spectacular combinations or limpid technique but for the energy with which Kostić pursued the attack:

Oei Kang Ing and Liem Tjoe Bo – Boris Kostić
Soerabaja, 12 September 1925
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 e6 4 Bg5 h6 5 Bh4 Bb4+ 6 Nc3 c5 7 e3 Qa5 8 Qb3 Ne4 9 Rc1 b5 10 cxd5 c4 11 Qc2 exd5 12 Nd2 Bf5 13 Ndxe4 Bxe4 14 Qd2 Nc6 15 f3 Bg6 16 Be2 O-O 17 a3 Bxc3 18 Qxc3 b4 19 axb4 Qxb4 20 Bg3 Rfe8 21 Kf2 Qb6 22 Ra1


22…Re6 23 Ra3 Rae8 24 Qd2 Nxd4 25 Bd1 Nb5 26 Ba4 d4 27 e4 c3 28 Qd3 Nxa3 29 bxa3 Qb2+ 30 Bc2 f5 31 Qd1 fxe4 32 Kg1 exf3 33 White resigns.

Source: Jubileum Uitgave van de Soerabajasche Schaakclub by W.N. Dinger (Soerabaja, 1936), pages 159-164.


A peculiar move

On page 94 of Schach (Leipzig, 1936) H. Ranneforth offered the opening of a game (players unidentified; White gave the odds of his queen’s rook). It began 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Bc5 6 O-O Nf6 7 d4 exd4 8 cxd4 Bb4 9 e5 Ne4 10 Qe2 Nc3 11 Nxc3 Bxc3 12 Ng5


Black’s 12th move was rare, not to say unique: 12…Ba1. Ranneforth related that Black knew the theory of the opening on level terms, i.e. that 12...Bxa1 could be played, and cautiously decided to rely on his memory rather than his judgment.


Endgame tactic


A. Edelheim-Adolf Albin, Berlin, 1899

White played 1 Rf8 and his opponent resigned.

Source: Der Schachfreund, May 1900, page 30.


Worst move ever?

Here is a nomination for the worst move ever played: White blunders away his queen when he could have used it to give mate in one:


J. Loffroy-E. Anglarès, Marseilles, September 1928

Black tried the desperate 24…Bxd5, and the game continued 25 Bxg7+ Kg8 26 Rf8+ Kxg7


Instead of 27 Qf6 mate White now played 27 Qg8+.

Source: Les Cahiers de l’Echiquier Français, issue 20, page 128.


Krejcik win

From pages 97-100 of Schachjahrbuch für 1915/16 by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1917) comes this incident-crowded game:

H.V. Klein – Josef Emil Krejcik
Vienna, June 1915
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 c4 d6 6 Nc3 O-O 7 Bxc6 bxc6 8 h3 Ne8 9 Be3 Bxe3 10 fxe3 f5 11 d4 fxe4 12 Nxe4 Bf5 13 Nf2 e4 14 Nd2 Qg5 15 Qe2 Qxg2 16 O-O-O Qg6 17 Rdg1 Qe6 18 Rg3 Nf6 19 h4 h5 20 Rhg1 Bg4 21 Qf1 Rab8 22 Qg2 d5 23 c5 Qe7 24 Nh3 g6 25 Nf4 Kh7 26 Nf1 Rg8 27 Nh2 Qf7 28 Rf1 Bf5 29 Rg5 Rbf8 30 Qe2 Ng4


31 Nxg6 Rxg6 32 Rxh5+ Nh6 33 Rfxf5 Rg1+ 34 Kd2 Qxf5 35 Rxf5 Rxf5 36 Kc3 Rf7 37 Kb4 Rfg7 38 Qa6 R1g2 39 b3 Rxh2 40 Qxc6 Rxh4 41 Qxd5 Rf7 42 a4 Rg4 43 a5 Rf3 44 Qb7 Rxe3 45 Qxc7+ Rg7 46 Qf4 Rb7+ 47 Kc4 Rbxb3 48 c6 Rec3+ 49 Kd5 e3 50 c7 Rb2 51 Qe4+ Kg7 52 Qe5+ Kh7 53 Qe7+ Kg6 54 c8(Q) Rxc8 55 Qe6+ Kg5 56 Qxc8 e2


57 Qc1+ Kg4 58 Ke4 Rb7 59 Qg1+ Kh5 60 Qh2+ Kg6 61 Qg3+ Kf7 62 Qf2+ Ke8 63 Kd3 Re7 64 Qxe2 Rxe2 65 Kxe2 Kd7 66 Kd3 Kd6 67 Kc4 a6 68 White resigns.


Epaulette mate?

On the penultimate page of unit three of Napier’s Amenities and Background of Chess-Play, the following position won by Napier was given under the heading ‘Epaulette mate’:


Play went: 1…Rac8 2 Bb2 Rxc3 3 Bxc3 Ne2 4 Qe1 Qxh3+ 5 gxh3 Be4+ 6 Rf3 Bxf3 mate.


No details of the occasion were provided by Napier, but the full score (‘Amateur v Napier, Pittsburgh, 1900’) was given on page 95 of Napier The Forgotten Chessmaster by John Hilbert.

For an illustration of the more widely-acknowledged form of the ‘epaulette mate’ we turn to a game from page 382 of the 15 December 1890 issue of La Stratégie:

Jackson Whipps Showalter – Logan, Correspondence game
Evans Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Bc5 6 d4 exd4 7 O-O d6 8 cxd4 Bb6 9 Nc3 Na5 10 Bg5 f6 11 Bxg8 Rxg8 12 Bh4 Bg4 13 e5 dxe5 14 Re1 Bxf3 15 Qxf3 Qxd4 16 Re4 Qd7 17 Rd1 Qf7 18 Qg4 h5 19 Qf5 Nc4 20 Rxc4 Qxc4 21 Nd5 Qc5 22 Qe6+ Kf8 23 Bxf6 Re8


White announced mate in seven moves: 24 Ne7 Qxf2+ 25 Kh1 Qxf6 26 Ng6+ Qxg6 27 Rf1+ Bf2 28 Rxf2+ Qf6 29 Rxf6+ gxf6 30 Qxf6.



Queen and knight in action

In the position below, from a game played in Berlin, Alfred Sormann (Black, to move) agreed to a draw.


Ehrhardt Post and Berthold Lasker pointed out that he could have won his opponent’s queen or administered an artistic mate in 12 moves: 1…Qg3+ 2 Kf5 Qe5+ 3 Kg6 Qe8+ 4 Kh6 Qh8+ 5 Kg6 Nxh4+ 6 Kg5 Qe5+ 7 Kh6 Nf5+ 8 Kg6 Ne7+ 9 Kh6 Qh8+ 10 Kg5 Qg7+ 11 Kf4 Qg3+ 12 Ke4 Qe3 mate.


Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 2 February 1908, page 45. The June 1908 issue of La Stratégie (page 191) erroneously presented this line as the actual conclusion to the game (also omitting the irrelevant pawn at a2), while the Study Database 2000 gives more or less the same position (with colours reversed) as being by Sormann (from an unknown 1908 source).


‘E.A.M.M. of India’

A problem by ‘E.A.M.M. of India’ was given on page 383 of the 1853 Chess Player’s Chronicle, being described as a ‘quaint but masterly stratagem’:


Mate in six

Solution: 1 h4 hxg4 2 Nf1 Qxb8 3 Rc4 b5 4 Bxf3+ bxc4+ 5 Bb7+ gxf2 6 g3 mate.


Books from India and Hungary

An unfortunate characteristic of chess books published in India is their inability to put many words, names and dates side-by-side without error. Here is the first paragraph of the Preface to One Hundred Chess Endings by Niharendu Sikdar (New Delhi, 1997):

‘The author of this Collection of Chess Studies, Shri Niharendu Sikdar is himself a composer of some standing in the field, as his Studies here will testify. The Collection is the first of its king brought out by an Indian.’

An example of the care, or lack thereof, expended on presenting the ‘kings-and-pawns-only positions’ comes on page 43, where the study is headed:

A.O. Herbstman

The composer’s name is nearly right (Herbstmann), but ‘L’Eshike’ is not immediately recognizable as L’Echiquier. The date ‘1928’ is also wrong, since the study was first published on page 896 of the July 1930 issue of the Belgian magazine.

The reader will have less difficulty than the author in correcting ‘Pontsiani’ to Ponziani (page 85) or ‘Lecock to Locock’ (page 121) and, even, ‘K. Reihelm’ to G. Reichhelm (page 129) or Chekkarini to Ceccarini (page 142 – for some reason the Study Database 2000 has ‘Seccarini’). It may, though, be less obvious that on page 119 ‘D. Bart’ should be J.Burt. The author is a dab hand at mangling not only the composers’ names but also the sources of compositions. Thus on page 127 there is a ‘Blackburn’ study from a ‘K. Tattersoll’ book, and page 141 offers an ‘L. Kizeritsky’ co-production from a 1944 [sic] book whose title includes the word ‘ahedres’ (which is evidently the Indian-English spelling, via a Russian transliteration, of the Spanish word for chess, ajedrez). On another occasion (page 74) the entire caption information on a miniature amounts to a three-letter diminutive: ‘Ted’. (This is the well-known composition, king and two pawns on each side, by F.M. Teed which was published, with the board and colours in reverse, on page 283 of the September 1885 International Chess Magazine.)

Even so, it is in Hungarian chess books that historical facts and the English language are nowadays taking a particular drubbing. An example is Chess World Champions’ Wonderful Ways To Win by László Krizsány (Budapest, 2000), whose first paragraph (page 8) reports that Adolf Anderssen was born in 1918, while page 79 announces that Alekhine died in 1846. The success in getting Steinitz’s death-date correct (page 28) is rather diminished by the accompanying observation: ‘He never had forebear and it is to be hoped that he has have successors until end of the world.’ The entire book is like that, and the sole pleasurable aspect of our copy is that it bears an inscription by Vladislav Tkachiev.

Then there is Ernő Dede’s book Wonder on the Board (undated, but published a year or two ago by Caissa Chess Books, Kecskemét), the Foreword to which starts thus:

‘What does the chess means to the world? What does it means to us, chessplayers? I believe, that a very important part of the world!

The chess teaches many thing.

It shows how to play, fight, win but how to lose. It teaches stand the failure but even the triumph.

It shows how to think quickly and logical, make decisions and accomplish them. It teaches to respect and to get the knowledge.

The chess gives a lot of things.

Pleasure, happiness, success, victories, friends, journeys, experiences and ceratinly fiascos, defeats, what after you have to stand up from the floor …

The chess is the Life, and the Life is the Wonder! And the wonders of Life are lying here on this pages, you just have to taste them!’

The real Wonder is how such tasteless babble, untouched by human brain, came to be sold for £10.99.


From John Roycroft (London):

‘I’m a positive protagonist of the spelling “Herbstman” as given by Sikdar. Spellings such as “L’Eshike” are explained, and largely excused, by faulty transliteration from, especially, Russian Cyrillic, in conjunction with lack of familiarity with other languages and sources. It is unreasonable to castigate lack of (your and my!?) Euro-centric relative linguistic and contextual omniscience in a talented but isolated enthusiast who goes into print under his own steam (brave of him!) with next to no research resources and, probably, very little in his pocket. Sikdar deserves more praise than blame. I shudder to think of the mess I would make of a Hindi or Urdu or Gujerati source.’


A footnote on page 333 of A Chess Omnibus:

In C.N. 2721 John Roycroft described himself as ‘a positive protagonist of the spelling “Herbstman”’. Having now found both spellings in a variety of sources, we withdraw our criticism of ‘Herbstman’.

Chess Weekly

Having (re-)read the little-known magazine the Chess Weekly (edited by W.E. Napier, Magnus Smith and Charles Nugent), we offer here a sequence of gleanings.

The first is an excellent puzzle for solving and comes from page 29 of the 27 June 1908 issue of the Weekly, under the heading ‘Bystanders Vindicated’:


Black to play and win

‘This remarkable position arose in a game played last week at the Rice Chess Club of New York. The experts looking on there and then found a very subtle way for Black to win, but another equally tricky win has since been found by Mr Nugent.’

The solution given on page 72 of the Chess Weekly, 1 August 1908 is as follows:

‘1…Bh2 (a) 2 Rxd2+ Kxd2 3 Kb2 Ke3 4 Kxb3 Kf4 5 Kc2 Kg5 6 Kd2 Kxh5 7 Ke2 Kg4 8 Kf2 Kh3 Black wins.

(a) The win may be forced by 1…Ba1 followed by …Bd4, …Ba7 and then as above.’

The bishop moves to h2 and a1 are most elegant.

(2713 & 2735)

A fascinating conclusion

Below is a position (‘The “Swindle” Triumphant’) from page 44 of the Chess Weekly, 11 July 1908. ‘This pretty stratagem occurred last week in a game at the Brooklyn C.C.’ between Charles Curt (White) and Magnús Smith:


Black to play

The game went: 1…Kg7 2 Bc2 Kg6 3 Bd1 Kg5 4 Rxg3+ Qxg3 5 f4+ Kg6 6 Qh5+ Rxh5 7 Bxh5+ Kxh5 8 Bxg3 Kg4 9 Kg2


9…c5 (‘This loses at once. The ending, however, seems to be lost, play as Black may. For example, 9…Kh5 10 Kh3 Kg6 11 Be1 Kf7 12 Bb4 Kg6 13 Kh4 Kh6 14 Be7 Kg6 15 Bg5 Kh7 16 Kh5 Kg7 17 Be7 Kh7 18 Bf6 Kg8 19 Kg6 Kf8 20 Bh4 Ke8 21 Kf6 Kd7 22 Kf7 c5 23 dxc5 Kc6 24 Ke8 Bd7+ 25 Kd8, etc., which deserves a place in the books of end-play.’) 10 dxc5 d4 11 a6 and wins.


Problem picture

From page 179 of the 7 November 1908 Chess Weekly:

‘In the Manhattan Chess Club there is a picture of an old man apparently trying to solve a chess problem. The position on his board is:


There is a mate in six here by 1 Be4 f5 2 b3 f4 (if 2…fxe4 3 knight mates) 3 c5 f3 4 Bc6 e4 5 Nf7 e3 6 fxe3 mate. Can anyone find a shorter mate? Incidentally, this is one of a very few chess pictures in which there is a sane position on the pictured board. Usually there are two white kings or a king is two or three times in check.’

The Weekly missed the point of the composition, which is a mate in four (1 Be4 f5 2 Ke1, etc.). We invite further details about it and the picture.


Well-known endgame motif

From pages 156-157 of the 10 April 1909 Chess Weekly comes this position in which Charles Curt had the white pieces against Hermann Helms in ‘a rapid transit tournament recently played at the Brooklyn Chess Club’:


Black to play

The game went 1…Kb1 2 Rb7+ Ka1 3 Rc7 Re3+ 4 Ka4 Kb2 5 Rb7+ Ka2 6 Rc7 Re4+ 7 Ka5 Kb3 8 Rb7+ Ka3 9 Rc7 Re5+ 10 Ka6 Kb3 11 Rb7+ Ka4 12 Rc7 Re6+ 13 Ka7 Rxe7 14 Rxe7 c1(Q) 15 Rb7 Qc5+ 16 Ka8 Qc6 17 Kb8 Ka5 (‘Here the queen should have been played away from the c-file, but even then the ending is difficult to win in ten-second chess.’) 18 Ra7+ and draws. (‘Drawn by perpetual check, because if 18…Kb6 19 Ra6+ and stalemate.’)

No mention was made of Emanuel Lasker’s 1890 endgame study featuring the same motif.


Three Capablanca losses

There follow three unknown games lost by Capablanca in a simultaneous display in Yurev. (A few years later, the city changed its name to Tartu; located in Estonia, it is also known by its German name, Dorpat.)

José Raúl Capablanca – Kurt Baron Ungern-Sternberg
Vienna Game
Yurev, 1 January 1914 [19 December 1913 old style]

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 Bc5 4 Nc3 Nc6 5 f4 d6 6 Nf3 a6 7 Qe2 Bg4 8 Be3 Nd4 9 Bxd4 Bxd4 10 Nd1 Nh5 11 c3 Nxf4 12 Qc2 Bxf3 13 gxf3 Qh4+ 14 Kd2


14…Bg1 (An artistic move, particularly since the bishop subsequently returns to g1 to lock out the other white rook on h1.) 15 b4 Qg5 16 Kc1 Nxd3+ 17 Kb1 Nf4 18 Kb2 Bb6 19 Nf2 Qg2 20 Nd3 Nxd3+ 21 Bxd3 Qxc2+ 22 Kxc2 h5 23 a4 Rh6 24 a5 Ba7 25 b5 Bc5 26 bxa6 bxa6 27 Rab1 Rg6 28 Rhd1 Kd7 29 Bc4 Rf6 30 Rd3 Rf4 31 Bd5 Rf8 32 Bb7 Rh4 33 Bxa6 Rxh2+ 34 Rd2 Rxd2+ 35 Kxd2 h4 36 Bb5+ Ke7 37 a6 h3 38 Rh1 Rh8 39 Bf1 h2 40 Ke2


40…Bg1 41 Kd2 Kd7 42 c4 Kc6 43 c5 Bxc5 44 Bc4 Bg1 45 Bxf7 Rf8 46 White resigns.

Source: Nordlivländische Zeitung, 28 February 1914 (new style).

José Raúl Capablanca – A. Jürgenstein
Vienna Game
Yurev, 1 January 1914 [19 December 1913 old style]

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 d3 h6 5 f4 Nc6 6 Nf3 d6 7 Na4 Bb6 8 Nxb6 axb6 9 O-O Na5 10 fxe5 dxe5 11 Qe2 Nxc4 12 dxc4 Bg4 13 b3 Bxf3 14 gxf3 Qd4+ 15 Be3 Qd7 16 a4 O-O 17 Rad1 Qe6 18 Qg2 Nh5 19 Rd5 c6 20 Rd3 f5 21 Qh3 Qg6+ 22 Kh1 fxe4 23 Rg1 Rxf3 24 Qh4 Qf5 25 Rd8+ Rxd8 26 Qxd8+ Kh7 27 Qd2 Qh3 28 Bf2 Nf4 29 Bxb6 e3 30 Qd6 Qxh2+ 31 White resigns.

Source: Nordlivländische Zeitung, 14 March 1914 (new style).

The third game must, we believe, take its place as the shortest known Capablanca defeat, decisively ousting the familiar 1 b4 encounter Capablanca v Kevitz, Brooklyn, 7 March 1924 (a simultaneous game lost by the Cuban in 13 moves).

José Raúl Capablanca – A. Kramer
Vienna Game
Yurev, 1 January 1914 [19 December 1913 old style]

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 d3 d6 5 f4 Ng4 6 fxe5 Nf2 7 Qf3 O-O 8 Qg3 Nxh1 9 Qf3 Qh4+ 10 White resigns.

Source: Nordlivländische Zeitung, 14 March 1914 (new style).

On 14 February 1914 the Zeitung reported that during the display the Cuban had been suffering from a cold.


Old stories

‘A newspaper recently stated that the moving picture machine man had met with a failure. He tried to photograph two men playing chess.’

Source: the Chess Weekly, 26 December 1908, page 37.

The Weekly was lax in quoting precise sources, and we have no further information on the where and when of the above jape.

On page 41 of its 11 July 1908 issue the Weekly stipulated only ‘New York Times’ (without a date) when quoting the following lamentable news item:

‘After living nearly three months with four ounces of his brain removed, Joseph Ritz died yesterday. Ritz, after the operation, learned to play chess, a game he was never able to master before he shot himself.’

We shall be returning to the Weekly shortly for some rather more substantial fare. Although a valuable little magazine, it was short-lived (in contrast to the American Chess Bulletin, founded in 1904, which ran until the early 1930s and limped until 1963).


Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) has provided the following regarding the Joseph Ritz:


New York Times, 15 May 1908, page 1


New York Times, 30 June 1908, page 1


Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 30 June 1908, page 8


‘Mr Blackburne contemplates issuing a collection of about 200 of his blindfold games in a volume. The price will probably be 2s.6d. Mr Wade, Chess Monthly Office, is to be the printer and publisher.’

Source: the Chess Monthly, March 1888, page 195.

The collection never appeared, and the only Blackburne volume published during his lifetime was the P. Anderson Graham collection of 1899.


Knights and bishops

With respect to masters’ preferences regarding the minor pieces, Gerald Abrahams wrote on page 63 of Teach Yourself Chess (London, 1951):

‘The late Alexander Alekhine, a player whose style lent itself to combinations on the crowded board, seemed to prefer the knight.’

Such generalities are easily put forth, and this one seems particularly questionable.


The Heidenfelds

Few masters have had their birth announced in a chess magazine, but here is a case that comes to mind:

‘Mr Heidenfeld, now living in Dublin, has just been presented by his wife with a son, Mark. World champion, 1998?’

Source: CHESS, 13 June 1968, page 292.

Wolfgang Heidenfeld was a fine, incisive chess writer, and below is an excerpt from a letter he wrote us from Dublin on 22 March 1978:

‘Not only am I at present collaborating with Tim Harding on an opening book for the Batsford series (my first ever, since I hate books on the openings!), but after that I may have, literarily speaking, the chance of a lifetime: the possibility of bringing out a greatly improved and enlarged version and translation of Grosse Remispartien (under the far more attractive title “Battle in the Balance”). This I have always regarded as my magnum opus – spoilt to a large extent by the skimpiness of the publishers (it is the ONLY book I have ever seen in which even the dedication is squeezed onto the first page of text!!). The matter is not 100% yet – but if it comes off, every other chess project is automatically out. The new version would require at least six months’ concentrated work.’

The English edition of Grosse Remispartien was eventually published, under the title Draw!, in 1982, the year after Wolfgang Heidenfeld’s death. Edited by John Nunn, it was of outstanding quality.


When the above item was reproduced on page 203 of A Chess Omnibus we added this footnote:

The book on draws was a long-term project of Heidenfeld’s. On page 154 of CHESS, 11 February 1956 he wrote: ‘I am at present working on the MS of a book, “Battle in the balance”, a collection of the finest draws of modern chess, from Hamppe-Meitner, 1872 to Schmid-Castaldi, Venice 1953.’

A trap and a bizarre match

From page 26 of the Chess Weekly, 19 June 1909:

‘Dr Lasker, in the New York Evening Post, makes the first Nugent-Black game the subject of comparison as between the old school and the modern, mildly condemning White’s old school method in playing for a trap that involves some risk.

Unquestionably the champion is again right from the purely theoretical standpoint. On the other hand, it seems to us that the advocates of the modern school too often ignore the fact that under stress of the varying exigencies of actual play, not the least of which is the time-limit, originality and subtlety of combination may count for more over the board than straining for theoretical precision, the value of which is perhaps paramount only in the post mortem.

When a game is laid on the table and the coroner’s inquest held, it is sometimes an easy matter for the jury to decide by just what sudden stroke the untimely end was brought about; and the chess lawyers are ever ready to point out that the blow might have been averted by certain more or less simple measures of precaution. But the autopsy may reveal a complication of diseases that would have proved fatal in a short time at best, and show that the sufferings of the victim must have left him slight chance to formulate the means of deferring the obsequies. Then there are as many instances where the consigned victim has most unreasonably recovered in the face of an adverse diagnosis. In a position that is declared hopeless by the doctors, the patient by some heroic measure not only saves himself from conquest but achieves what, in the circumstances, should be considered a remarkably creditable victory. There is often a resource open to the enterprising that will never be known to the fated plodder in the beaten path.’

Mention of the Nugent v Black game provides an opportunity not only to give the moves but also to highlight an oddity in the annals of match play. From page 180 of the August 1909 American Chess Bulletin:

‘The chess match of five games up between Roy T. Black, champion of the Brooklyn Chess Club, and Charles Nugent is at an end and goes on record as one of the most unusual events of its kind ever held. Only one game was played, which was won by Nugent in rather brilliant fashion, yet Black emerged winner by a score of five points to one. After the first sitting, which gave promise of a highly interesting struggle, Nugent forfeited point after point through non-appearance. Owing to other engagements, the latter was unable to live up to the schedule of dates named in the conditions to which he subscribed. We understand that the stakes, amounting to $100 a side, were duly paid over to Mr Black.’

The sole game of the match was published on the same page of the Bulletin and on pages 28-29 of the 19 June 1909 issue of the magazine that Nugent co-edited, the Chess Weekly:

Charles Nugent – Roy T. Black
First match game, New York, 9 June 1909
Bird’s Opening

(Notes by the Chess Weekly)

1 f4 d5 2 Nf3 c5 3 b3 Nc6 4 Bb2 e6 5 e3 Nf6 6 a3 Be7 7 Nc3 O-O 8 Bd3 a6 9 O-O b5 10 a4 b4 11 Ne2 Ne4 12 Ng3 f5 13 Ne5 Nxe5 14 Bxe5 Bf6 15 Bxf6 Rxf6 16 Bxe4 fxe4 17 d3 exd3 18 Qxd3 a5 19 Rfd1 Ba6 20 Qd2 Rh6


21 c4 (‘White is waiting to spring a trap when Black plays the plausible …Qh4. Unfortunately, however, he makes the wrong waiting move, although his opponent fails to take advantage of the error. 21 Rac1 served every purpose and would have given White the better game.’) 21…Qh4 (‘Black falls into the trap. Of course, he should have played 21…bxc3 22 Qxc3 Qh4 23 Kf2 d4, etc., with the superior game.’) 22 Nf5 Qxh2+ 23 Kf2 Rg6 (‘An oversight. 23…Rf8 giving up the exchange might have been tried.’) 24 Ne7+ Resigns. (‘Because Black cannot spare time to take the knight, as his queen is also threatened by Rh1.’)


Patron, administrator and war victim

When the British Chess Federation was founded in 1904 its first President was Frank Gustavus Naumann, and page 396 of the October 1904 BCM gave some background information on him:

‘He has taken a keen interest in chess for about 30 years, having first learned the game from a pupil of a celebrated Hungarian master. It was not until 1888, however, that he began to take a hand in the constructional work of chess. Since that time he has lived in London, where he founded in 1888 a chess club which afterwards grew to considerable importance. With regard to the 15 years from 1888 to 1903, it is correct to say that during that period there was not in the South of England a chess event of any general interest which was not materially helped forward by Mr Naumann.’

His munificence was not limited to British events. For example, page 28 of the June 1904 American Chess Bulletin listed his name among the patrons of that year’s Cambridge Springs tournament.


The BCM obituary (June 1915, pages 210-211) included the recollection by Burn in The Field that in the 1880s and 1890s Naumann had been ‘a frequent visitor at the historic London chess resort, Simpson’s Divan, in the Strand, one of his favourite opponents being the late Mr H.E. Bird’. In 1915 Naumann was in the United States and visited the New York tournament (held in April and May and won by Capablanca ahead of Marshall). Within days he was to perish at sea. From pages 90-91 of the May-June 1915 American Chess Bulletin:

‘The tournament just ended yielded no end of entertainment for the lovers of good chess in and around New York City, including a fair sprinkling of visitors. Among the latter was F.G. Naumann, who, it is most sad to record, was one of the passengers on the ill-fated steamship Lusitania, which sailed from New York on 1 May and was torpedoed by a German submarine in St George’s Channel on 7 May, and was reported among those who went down with the ship.’

An eerie poetry point arises from what had appeared on page 397 of the October 1904 BCM, in a discussion of Naumann’s playing style:

‘Mr Naumann is a living refutation of the theory that in a busy life there is no time for chess. There are few men who can get through more business in a day, and still fewer who can play more games of chess in an hour, than he can.’

Then came this:

‘His natural predilection is for the forward game. In fact the following lines of Chapman’s very well express his theory in this regard:

“Give me a spirit that on this life’s rough sea
Loves t’have his sail filled with a lusty wind,
Even till his sailyards tremble, his masts crack,
And his rapt ship run on her side so low
That she drinks water, and her keel plows air.”’


Historia del ajedrez


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.


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’.

Same sacrificial attack

On the subject of duplication, Alec McGowan (Waterloo, Canada) writes in with reference to the following game given in C.N. 61:

G. Grohmann – Ludwig Engels
German championship, Aachen, 25 May 1934
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c6 4 e3 Nd7 5 Nf3 f5 6 Bd3 Qf6 7 Qc2 Nh6 8 O-O Bd6 9 cxd5 exd5 10 e4 fxe4 11 Bxe4 dxe4 12 Nxe4 Qf8 13 Re1 Kd8 14 d5 c5 15 b4


15…Ng4 16 Bg5+ Ngf6 17 Rac1 b6 18 Nd4 Ne5 19 Nxd6 Qxd6 20 Rxe5 cxd4 21 Bf4 d3 22 Qd2 Qd7 23 d6 Re8 24 Rc7 Qg4 25 f3 Qg6 26 Rg5 Re2 27 Rxg6 Rxd2 28 Rgxg7 Rc2 29 Rcf7 Ke8 30 Rxf6 d2 31 Re7+ Kd8 32 Rf8 mate.

Sources: Wiener Schachzeitung, July 1934, pages 200-202 and the Australasian Chess Review, 30 August 1934, page 238.

Our correspondent has noticed that many years later Grohmann won the following strikingly similar game, which was published on page 10 of the 1/1951 Deutsche Schachblätter:

G. Grohmann (Eckbauer) – Voelker (Pankow)
Berlin League Match, 1950
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c6 4 e3 Nd7 5 Bd3 f5 6 O-O Bd6 7 Nc3 Qf6 8 Qc2 Nh6 9 cxd5 exd5 10 e4 dxe4 11 Bxe4 fxe4 12 Nxe4 Qf8 13 Re1 Kd8 14 d5 c5 15 b4 (See the diagram above.) 15...b6 16 Nd4 cxd4 17 Qc6 Bxb4 18 Bg5+ Nf6 19 Nxf6 Nf7 20 Ne8+ Be7 21 Qc7+ and mate in two moves.



W.D. Rubinstein (Aberystwyth, Wales) refers us to an autobiography published in 2002, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life by Eric Hobsbawm.

‘Hobsbawm is a central European Jew who was, however, a British citizen at birth as his father had acquired British citizenship. He came to Britain in 1933 not as a refugee but as a result of his parents’ deaths, to live with relatives here. His first stop was a guest-house in Folkestone, which was inhabited chiefly by Jewish refugees. Hobsbawm, who was born in 1917, was 16 or so at the time. On page 79 of his book he states that among the guests staying there was:

“A grey figure from Carpathian Europe, one Salo Flohr, stranded by Alekhine’s refusal to accept his challenge for the world chess title [who] played chess with Uncle Sidney, while waiting to travel to Moscow to confront the Soviets’ Mikhail Botvinnik. Flohr never made it to the top, but was to become a well-known figure in the Soviet chess world, one of the few people for whom emigration to Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s was not a disaster.”

Hobsbawm, whom I know well and who is probably the greatest living historian, is writing about an ephemeral meeting nearly 70 years ago. Are his memories accurate?’

Flohr participated in the Folkestone Olympiad in June 1933. After tournaments in the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia he played a (drawn) match against Botvinnik in Moscow and Leningrad from 28 November to 19 December 1933 (see Reinfeld’s 1935 monograph on the contest). It remains to be established what dealings Flohr may have had with Alekhine at around this time.


Price war

During a literary wrangle with William Lewis, George Walker wrote as follows in a lengthy Letter to the Editor published in Bell’s Life in February 1844:

‘He appears, indeed, I fancy originally to have considered chess writing as a “snug little farm” within a ring fence, exclusively his own property, and not to be invaded by foot of other man. Such delusion is not uncommon. Have my books intrenched on this would-be monopoly? Is this the real offence?

When I printed my Chess Treatise in 1832, at three shillings, and in 1833 at five, the sole competing work being Mr Lewis’s at two pounds, I considered I had opened up new ground, and could in no respect interfere with Mr L.; yet he speedily started in opposition with a five-shilling book, called Chess for Beginners. Not liking to be cut out in my own road, I put on Chess made Easy, in 1837, at three and sixpence, when Mr L. directly answered with an abridged edition of Chess for Beginners, at half-a-crown, under the title of Chess-Board Companion. Here I gave in, for it was clear that if I carried on the war with “Chess for the Masses”, at a single shilling, my competitor would rejoin with a sixpenny “Chess for the Million”. Mr Lewis has just published a first book again, called Lessons, at seven shillings, and the Treatise at 18; in fact, he continues printing the same matter over and over again, in different sizes to suit all customers. I cheerfully admit his books have one advantage over mine, they are larger.’

Walker reproduced the full text of the letter in the fourth (1846) edition of his Treatise (pages 377-380), where he noted that Lewis had not responded.


Chess in Tarragona

Josep Alió Borràs (Tarragona, Spain) has generously sent us a copy of his book Els Escacs a Tarragona, published in 1999 (in Catalan 450 pages and 133 photographs). It is one of the most handsome volumes on local chess history that we have seen.

Mr Alió informs us:

‘On page 113 of Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia A Biobibliography there is a mistake in the entry on José Salvio Fàbregas i Domingo. He was born in Tarragona on 4 December 1838 (and not on 25 May 1837 in Oviedo). My book has a six-page biography of Fàbregas and explains the relationship between him and two other chess figures born in Tarragona, Joan Carbó i Batlle (1837-1902) and Josep Pin i Soler (1842-1927). Mr Gaige does not mention the latter, who wrote the first “modern” book in Catalan: Problemes d’Escachs d’autors catalans (Barcelona, 1899).’

From an illustration on page 63 of our correspondent’s work we take a problem by J. Fàbregas which appeared in Pin i Soler’s collection:


Mate in four


Another Z-word

From a game between Raouf Gadjily and Mel O’Cinneide, European Team Championship, Pula, 1997:


In the exchange sequence 24 d5 cxd5 25 cxd5 Black eschewed the natural line 25…Rxd5 26 Rxd5 exd5 27 Rxd5 Rc8 and blundered with ...


... the in-between move 25…Rfd8 (which led to 26 dxe6 Rxd3 27 Rxd3 Rxd3 28 e7 Resigns).

For a move such as Black’s 25th we offer the term Zwischenfehler



The problems below, both four-movers, were published on pages 127-128 of An English Bohemian: A Tribute to B.G. Laws by J. Keeble (Stroud, 1933):


Mate in four


Mate in four

The former composition by Laws is captioned ‘Leeds Mercury, 1889 (Version in Chess Monthly, 1894)’. It appeared on page 61 of the October 1894 Monthly, with the solution (1 Qd2, etc.) given on page 379 of the August 1895 issue. A computer check shows that there is a second solution: 1 Qg4+.

In Keeble’s book the second problem had as its source ‘British Chess Magazine, February 1894’ with the intriguing comment (after the solution beginning 1 Nd4): ‘Stated in the British Chess Magazine to be cooked, but later found, we believe, to be quite correct.’ The BCM had presented it in colour as its thousandth problem (February 1894 frontispiece), and the following rather strange wording was used on page 124 of the March 1894 issue:

‘The solution of this very fine composition is as follows: 1 Nd4 [followed by eight lines of variations]. A few solvers have pointed out a second solution by 1 Nb6, etc. This can be easily avoided.’

One of those listed as giving a ‘correct’ solution to Laws’ composition was ‘Geo A. Thomas’, whom we take to be the future Sir George, although he would have been only 12 at the time.

A computer check confirms the existence of an alternative mate in four beginning with 1 Nb6.

Those interested in Zukertort’s self-promotional claims may wish to know that Keeble raised the subject on page 19 of the book, which was part of Alain C. White’s Christmas series.


Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England) writes:

‘The two unsound Laws problems are easily fixed by arranging different keys. In the first one, 1 Q(c3)-d2 is sound. This is a little bizarre, as the new give-and-take key is far superior to the intended 1 Q(d1)-d2, which takes away a flight square. It makes me wonder if the diagram was misprinted. The best key for the second problem in C.N. 2789 is probably 1 N(c6)-d4, although, for instance, 1 Q(b1)-f1 is also sound. An English Bohemian is a particularly unlucky book, with a number of flawed compositions. Another example is the mate-in-four problem on page 120 (with the caption “In a German column, before 1886”):


Mate in four

On page 169 the key is given as 1 Qe1, but there is no solution, as after 1...Rxe1 2 Re2 Bxe2 3 Bd4 Black has 3...Bh5+. This is easily cured by adding a black pawn at h5. In its unsound form the problem appears as No. 229 in The Chess Problem: Text-book with illustrations (1887) and, more embarrassingly for Laws, as No. 118 in his 1923 book Chess problems and how to solve them. Someone might have been expected to inform him of the error in the intervening decades.’


First US correspondence game

Which is the earliest surviving correspondence game played in the United States? According to page 37 of volume one of Carlo Alberto Pagni’s book Correspondence Chess Matches Between Clubs 1823-1899, the distinction belongs to an encounter played from 1840 to 1842 between Norfolk, Virginia and New York. However, we note the following game (‘hitherto unpublished’) on pages 271-272 of Chess for Winter Evenings by H.R. Agnel (New York, 1848):

Washington Chess Club – New York Chess Club
Correspondence, 1839
Scotch Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Qf6 5 O-O d6 6 c3 d3 7 Ng5 Ne5 8 Bb5+ c6 9 f4 Ng4 10 Bc4 N4h6 11 e5 Qd8 12 Bxd3 dxe5 13 fxe5 Be7 14 Ne4 Ng4 15 Bf4 h5 16 Qf3 Qb6+ 17 Kh1 Be6 18 Nbd2 O-O-O 19 Nc4 Bxc4 20 Bxc4 N8h6 21 Bxh6 Nxh6 22 Bxf7 h4 23 b4 g5 24 Be6+ Kb8 25 Nf6 Ka8 26 a4 Rd2 27 a5 Qb5 28 Qe3 Re2 29 Qxg5 Qxe5 30 Qg7


30…Rg8 31 Qxe7 and Black mated in four moves.

An account (though not the moves) of an 1835 game between Washington and New York was given on pages 402-403 of Fiske’s volume on the New York, 1857 tournament (as well as on page 29 of the above-mentioned Pagni book). Were there indeed two games, one in 1835 and the other in 1839, or has the above game simply been misdated in one of the sources?


From John Hilbert (Kenmore, NY, USA):

‘I don’t know about any 1835 game, but there were in fact two games between New York and Washington played in 1838-39. The first part of each was given in the United States Magazine & Democratic Review, Volume 5, Issue 13 (January 1839), page 96. In the case of the first game, the moves played up to that point were:

New York Chess Club – Washington Chess Club
Correspondence, 1838-39
Bishop’s Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Bc5 3 c3 Qe7 4 Nf3 d6 5 d3 Nf6 6 Qe2 Be6 7 Bb3 Nbd7 8 Bg5 h6 9 Bh4 Bxb3 10 axb3 Qe6 11 Nbd2 Nh5 12 Bg3 Nxg3 13 fxg3 a6 14 Nh4 g6 15 b4 Ba7 16 Qf3 c6 17 Rf1 O-O 18 g4 d5 19 h3 Qe7 20 g3 Rad8 21 Kd1 Nb6 22 Kc2 Rd7 23 Nb3 Rfd8 24 Nc5 Rd6 25 b3 dxe4.

The following is the United States Magazine & Democratic Review’s report:

“Match of Chess Between New York and Washington – It is generally known to the votaries of this noble game in this country – if no higher name will be permitted by those unacquainted with its merits, and judging it only by its apparent result – that a public Match by correspondence has for some time been in progress between the rival Chess clubs of New York and Washington, the commercial and political capitals of the Union. As we have been several times requested to makes its progress known to those of our readers interested in the subject, it may find a not inappropriate place on this page. The match was commenced in January 1838 – the challenge proceeding from New York. Two games are played simultaneously, each party having the first move in one game. The stake is a small amount, to be appropriated to the purchase of some suitable trophy of victory. The time allowed for each move is one week. One of the games was at one period interrupted for a few moves, by a claim by the New York club to a default, presumed to have been incurred by the other party by a failure to move within the allotted term. The claim was disputed, and is still in suspense, the game having been resumed and continued as a ‘back game’, in case of the claim being eventually sustained. Of the merits of the respective play, and the probable issue of the match, every reader may judge for himself.”

The publication then gave the second game (i.e. the one presented in C.N. 2792) as far as 22 Bxf7.’


I. Kashdan

Our collection includes the 32-page programme for the 1945 Pan-American Chess Congress in Hollywood, signed by all 13 participants (including W. Adams, R. Fine, A. Horowitz, I. Kashdan, H. Pilnik, S. Reshevsky, H. Rossetto and H. Steiner). A curiosity is that Isaac Kashdan’s forename appears as ‘Irving’ not only in print but also in his signature:



The discrepancy remains to be explained, and now we see that on page 154 of Modern Chess Endings by Barnie F. Winkelman (Philadelphia, 1933) a chapter heading also states ‘Irving Kashdan’.


We now note on page 14 of the January 1934 American Chess Bulletin a reference to ‘Isaac Irving Kashdan’. The February 1934 issue (page 27) referred to ‘Isaac I. Kashdan’.


Marshall v Sharp


The above photograph (American Chess Bulletin, July-August 1920, page 120) was taken during the game F.J. Marshall v S. Sharp, Atlantic City, 19 July 1920.


Position after 38...Kg7-f7

Neil Brennen (Norristown, PA) has pointed out to us that Marshall annotated the game (a) on pages 122-123 of the July-August 1920 American Chess Bulletin (where the conclusion is given as 39 Ra6 Kg7 40 g5 hxg5 41 hxg5 Kf7 42.f5 Resigns) and (b) on pages 164-165 of My Fifty Years of Chess (where the players’ 39th moves are missing). We note, moreover, that on page 247 of his book Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion A. Soltis went further, suggesting that the game finished with White playing f5 at move 41 rather than 42.


Keres in Madrid, 1943

Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) draws our attention to page 10 of the May 2001 issue of Gambito and some bizarre comments attributed to Manuel de Agustín in an interview conducted two years previously by Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno:

‘Manuel de Agustín [1916-2001] was one of Spain’s best chessplayers, and among his staunch friends he counted the Franco-Russian world champion Alekhine (whom he brought to Madrid in 1943 to play in a national tournament and to save him from his Nazi persecutors) and, especially, the Polish Jew GM Ossip Bernstein, whom he got out of a concentration camp in Teruel and saved from certain death.

“I tried to make the imprisoned Republicans’ lives a little less arduous by taking chess into their cells and playing numerous simultaneous games with them, as well as organizing tournaments for them. If during the time I was with them somebody asked me for help, I did not hesitate to offer it. When Keres came to Madrid to play in the great tournament of 1943, he was wearing an SS uniform, and the very day of his arrival I accompanied him to buy a suit, because his uniform was not appropriate in a country which had just emerged from a civil war. He was a Jew, and this was never written; like Alekhine, he enjoyed the protection of the Governor of Poland, but the only thing Alekhine wanted was to remain in Spain and leave, via Casablanca, for America, like so many other refugees. However, he died suddenly in Estoril when he was very close to his objective.”’

We need hardly stress that the above remarks should be treated with considerable circumspection.


Unusual dedications

Page 237 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves discussed chess books with unusual dedications. Here is another case, from The Twentieth Century Retractor, Chess Fantasies, and Letter Problems by Mrs W.J. Baird (London, 1907):

‘Dedicated to
The Sun
The Glorious Orb which Animates and Beautifies
The Earth
By Giving It
Warmth, Light, and Life.’


Dollars then and now

Using the website we have been looking at approximate modern-day equivalents of various notable sums (on the basis of the consumer price index calculation, and with full regard to the financial caveats mentioned at the site).

In May 1859 Morphy agreed to write a weekly chess column for one year in the New York Ledger, having been offered an advance of $3,000 (modern equivalent: $63,500).

Other examples:

First prize at New York, 1889: $1,000 ($19,000)
Purse for the 1907 world championship match between Lasker and Marshall: $1,000 ($18,700)
London Rules (1922): purse below which the world champion would not be compelled to defend his title: $10,000 ($105,000)
First prize at New York, 1924: $1,500 ($15,500)
First prize at New York, 1927: $2,000 ($20,300)
Prize-fund for the Spassky v Fischer match, 1972: $250,000 ($1,050,000).


The figures in the above item, which was written in November 2002, have not been updated. The link to the website is now broken.

Local chess history

Perusing his bookshelves, the bibliophile will sometimes find himself struggling to recall when and where various volumes were procured, and perhaps also why. In the ‘local history’ section of our library, for instance, we have just been re-reading Fifty Years of Chess at Battersea (published by the Battersea Chess Club, London in 1935) in the unavailing hope of finding an item or two to cull. Chess in Bedfordshire by F. Dickens and G.L. White (Leeds, 1933) looked rather more promising, but the games section is brief and we can do no better than quote the following forgotten score, taken from pages 65-66:

Joseph Henry Blackburne – James Gladwell
Simultaneous blindfold exhibition, Luton, 4 November 1880
Scotch Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nxd4 5 Qxd4 c6 6 Nc3 b6 7 Bc4 h6 8 Bf4 Nf6 9 e5 Bc5 10 Qd2 Nh5 11 Ne4 Qe7 12 O-O-O Nxf4 13 Qxf4 O-O 14 Rd6 Bxd6 15 exd6 Qd8 16 Re1 a5 17 Re3 Ba6 18 Rg3 Kh8 19 Bxf7 Bc4


20 Ng5 Bxf7 21 Nxf7+ Rxf7 22 Qxf7 Qf6 23 Qxf6 gxf6 24 Rg6 Re8 25 Rxf6 Kg7 26 Rf3 Re6 27 Rd3 Kf6 28 Kd2 Ke5 29 Ke3 Rxd6 30 Rxd6 Kxd6 31 g4 Ke5 32 f4+ Kf6 33 h4 d6 34 Ke4 Resigns.


Poor simultaneous results

We seek lesser-known instances of masters making unfavourable scores in simultaneous displays. For example, CHESS, 5 February 1955 (page 215) reported that Herman Pilnik had taken on 43 players in Zagreb, scoring +7 –19 =17. ‘Quite a good result, really’, commented CHESS unconvincingly.


Chess and wrestling

Following on from Alekhine’s reference in C.N. 2818 to ‘low-grade fighters’ (see Alekhine on Munich, 1941), we can recall few connections between chess and wrestling. The first is the following photo-feature on page 107 of CHESS, 14 November 1935:


The caption in CHESS read: ‘A curious picture taken in Poland. Right, W. Winter, British Chess Champion; left, Max Krauser, Heavyweight Wrestling Champion of Europe.’

The second case involves the front cover of Chess Review, March 1956:


From left to right, the photograph features Kola Kwariani (‘a 250 pound New York wrestler who speaks eight languages and rates as the only chess-playing professional grappler in the country’), Stanley Kubrick and Sterling Hayden. Chess Review (page 69) called their forthcoming film Bed of Fear, but it was eventually released under the title The Killing (1956).

The obituary of F.O. Egger on page 138 of the May 1941 BCM claimed that ‘he was a celebrated athlete, and in his younger days was wrestling champion of Europe’.


Karpov in the 1930s

Pages 107-108 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves gave two games won, in 1903 and 1906, by a player named Karpov. Here is a third specimen, taken from page 249 of the July 1939 issue of Schackvärlden:

Karpov – Mitin
Irkutsk, 1939
Queen’s Pawn Game

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 g6 4 c4 Bg7 5 Nc3 c6 6 Qb3 O-O 7 Bd2 b6 8 Bd3 Bb7 9 O-O Nbd7 10 cxd5 cxd5 11 Rac1 e5 12 dxe5 Nc5


13 exf6 Nxb3 14 fxg7 Nxc1 15 gxf8(Q)+ Qxf8 16 Rxc1 Rc8 17 Rd1 a6 18 a3 b5 19 Ne2 Qd6 20 Bc3 Qb6 21 Bd4 Qa5 22 Ne5 Qa4 23 Rf1 h5 24 h4 b4 25 axb4 Qxb4 26 f4 Qd2 27 Nc3 Qxb2 28 Rb1 Qd2 29 Rxb7 Rxc3 30 Rb8+ Kh7


31 Nc4 Qe1+ 32 Bf1 g5 33 f5 f6 34 Bxf6 Resigns.


A forgotten gem

Just under a century ago [this was written in 2002] John Leng & Co., Ltd. of Dundee and London published, at one penny, an anonymous work entitled The People’s Chess Book. A model of clarity and precision, it crammed an extraordinary amount of material into a mere 40 pages. Although forgotten today, it was still bringing the author plaudits long after publication. For instance, a lengthy feature in the Chess Amateur, March 1922 (pages 188-189) and April 1922 (page 220) observed that The People’s Chess Book ‘undoubtedly represents the finest value in all chess literature for price asked. … Our children’s children will not see the like.’ (True enough. Instead, they would see multi-pound dreadfuls like Instant Chess by D. Levy and K. O’Connell.)


The Chess Amateur went so far as to comment, ‘Not even Capablanca’s new book [Chess Fundamentals] can say more effectively the following admirable and soundly judged considerations of modern position-play (indeed, for our part, we frankly prefer the anonymous pennyworth)’, after which it quoted extensively from the text. Another of the magazine’s comments was that ‘our author’s treatment of the opposition is extremely good for such a book as this, and is indeed more complete and advanced than we have ever seen the subject discussed outside articles devoted exclusively to the matter’.

The anonymous author of The People’s Chess Book is not unknown, although his is hardly a familiar name nowadays: F.W. Markwick (1863-1948). He was the subject of a brief news item on page 151 of the July 1943 CHESS:

‘Congratulations to F.W. Markwick, of Essex, one of the “Grand Old Men” of British Chess, who attained his 80th birthday on 14 May. Among many other achievements in play, problems and chess journalism, he holds the distinction of having written, in the early years of this century, a remarkably good introductory text-book of chess, published at the even more remarkable price of one penny.’

On page 443 of the December 1948 BCM T.R. Dawson described The People’s Chess Book as ‘easily the best cheap guide to chess that has ever been written’ and ‘far more scholarly, more accurate and more instructive than a dozen so-called “guides” in my library at 30 times the price’.


Alekhine v Sterk

This position arose in the brilliancy prize game between A. Alekhine and K. Sterk, Budapest, 9 September 1921:


In his first volume of Best Games Alekhine now gave 20 Qe2 an exclamation mark and wrote:

‘More energetic than 20 Qb1, suggested by some annotators, which would have yielded the win of only two minor pieces for a rook, after 20…Bb4 21 a3 Qb7, while allowing Black numerous defensive possibilities.’

In the French version, however, Alekhine referred to winning a pawn as well as a rook (‘… n’aurait donné que le gain de deux pièces mineures pour tour et pion …’ – page 135 of volume 1 of Deux cents parties d’échecs).

But was 20 Qe2 a good move? Such recent books as Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games (Batsford, 1996) and the first volume of Alexander Alekhine (Chess Stars, 2002) have mentioned that (after 20…Bb4 21 a3 Qb7) White can play 22 b3, which ‘actually nets a whole piece’ (Nunn).

We would point out that 22 b3 (given two exclamation marks by the Chess Stars book) is not a recent discovery. It was pointed out by Zoltán Vécsey on page 169 of the December 1921 Časopis Československých Šachistů.

As regards the conclusion of the game, all contemporary magazines that we have consulted give 27 Rf1 Rac8 28 Rd4 Qf5 29 Qf4 Qc2 30 Qh6 Resigns. Alekhine’s book contracted this to 27 Rf1 Qf5 28 Qf4 Qc2 29 Qh6 Resigns, as was mentioned by Colin Malcolm on page 177 of CHESS, June 1953.


See also C.N. 6934.

A delightful finish

E. Wosner – A. Distler
London League, November 1948
Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Bd3 Bg6 6 O-O Nd7 7 b3 Rc8 8 Re1 c5 9 Ba3 Nh6 10 Bxg6 hxg6 11 h3 Nf5 12 dxc5 Bxc5 13 Bxc5 Nxc5 14 Nbd2 Qa5 15 a3 Qc3 16 Ra2 Nd7 17 Nf1 Nh4 18 Re3 Nxf3+ 19 Qxf3 Qc7 20 Qe2 Rh5 21 f4 Qb6 22 Kh2 Qd4 23 g3 Ke7 24 Qd2 Qc5 25 Qe2 d4 26 Rd3 Qd5 27 c4 Rxh3+ 28 Kxh3 Rh8+ 29 Kg4 f5+ 30 Kg5


30…Nf8 31 cxd5 Rh6 32 White resigns.

Source: BCM, February 1949, page 66. ‘An excellent game by Distler, with a delightful finish.’ The magazine points out that after 31 Qh2 Qd8 32 Qxh8 Black has a discovered mate by moving the king to either f7 or e8.


Game of Chess

A number of books entitled A (or The) Game of Chess have been published, but one of them had nothing to do with the royal pastime: A Game of Chess by Richard Scott (Philosophical Library, New York, 1954). Subtitled ‘A Study in Atheism’, it was described as a book ‘which examines various arguments for the existence of God, and finds them all wanting and not convincing’.




Brian Harley on composing:

‘It is a curious thing, this business of making problems. The mathematical and the artistic faculties (for want of better adjectives) seem blended together, as they are in scarcely any other pursuit. To the looker-on, this crouching by oneself over a chessboard for hours at a stretch, continually shifting a few units of force, of different functions, along two dimensions, seems an inconceivable waste of time. To the composer, it seems that his brain is working at its highest tension, and producing its finest capabilities. As for the rest of his body, it has hardly a conscious existence, during those hours. When it does wake up and protest, it is time to put away the chessmen.’

Source: Mate in Two Moves by B. Harley (London, 1931), page 170.


Chess Features

Our collection contains a couple of sheets of stationery with Capablanca indicated as the editor of Chess Features, but we lack information about the context:



See too C.N. 7380.

Endgame surprise

From a 1913 correspondence game between Tuffli and Rimathé:


The game continued 1…Rg4 2 Be5 Rxg5 and Black won.

Source: pages 10 and 108 of Schachtaktische Bilder by E. Voellmy (Basle and Leipzig, 1935).


We can inch forward/back by quoting from page 15 of the January 1913 Schweizerische Schachzeitung. The Tuffli-Rimathé correspondence game (played in a tournament which ran from 6 July 1910 to 13 August 1912) was stated to have won the second brilliancy prize, although the Swiss magazine merely picked it up in the following position:


46 g5 Rc4 47 Bg7 Ke7 48 Ke2 Kf7 49 Kd3 Rxb4 50 Kc3 Rg4 51 Be5 Rxg5 and Black won.


A forgotten player

In the early part of the twentieth century a now forgotten player won a tournament jointly with Vidmar (whom he defeated in the play-off), ahead of Důras, Spielmann and Nimzowitsch. Less than two years later he died in hospital, at the age of 26.

The player in question was Augustin Neumann (1879-1906) of Vienna, and the tournament was the Coburg, 1904 Hauptturnier A. His most spectacular win, played on 2 August, was as Black against Gregory:

1 d4 c5 2 e4 cxd4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Nxd4 g6 5 Nc3 Bg7 6 Be3 d6 7 Be2 Nf6 8 O-O Bd7 9 f4 O-O 10 h3 Ne8 11 a3 Kh8 12 Kh2 f5 13 Bf3 e5 14 Nde2 g5 15 g3 exf4 16 gxf4 g4 17 Bg2 gxh3 18 Bf3 fxe4 19 Nxe4 Qe7 20 c3 Be6 21 b4 Bc4 22 Qd2 Rd8 23 Rg1


23...Ne5 24 Ng5 Qxg5 25 fxe5 Qxe5+ 26 Bf4 Bxe2 27 Bxe5 Bxe5+ 28 Kxh3 Rxf3+ 29 Kg2


29...Nc7 30 Qxe2 Rg3+ 31 Kh1 Rh3+ 32 Kg2 Rh2+ 33 Kf1 Rf8+ 34 Ke1 Bxc3+ 35 Kd1 Rxe2 36 Kxe2 Bxa1 37 White resigns.

Source: Coburg, 1904 tournament book, pages 126-127.


Augustin Neumann

From Neumann’s many combinative wins which are not well known, we pick the following:

Augstin Neumann – W.H.B. Meiners
Hilversum, August 1903
Giuoco Piano

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 O-O Nf6 5 c3 d6 6 d4 exd4 7 cxd4 Bb6 8 Nc3 Bg4 9 Be3 Qd7 10 Bb5 d5 11 h3 Bh5 12 g4 O-O-O 13 Ne5 Qe6 14 Nxc6 bxc6 15 Ba6+ Kb8 16 exd5 Nxd5 17 Nxd5 cxd5 18 a4 Bxd4 19 Qb3+ Bb6 20 a5 Bxg4 21 axb6 axb6 22 Bf4 Bxh3 23 Rfc1 Rd7 24 Bg3 d4


25 Bb5 Qxb3 26 Bc6 Resigns.

Source: Schachjahrbuch für 1903 by L. Bachmann, page 142.

A striking surprise occurred in this position, from a game against Nimzowitsch in Vienna in March 1905:


Neumann (who, in fact, had the edge) brought about a ‘fortress draw’: 51 Bxe5 dxe5 52 Nxb6 Bxb6.

Source: Schachjachrbuch für 1905. I. Teil by L. Bachmann, page 25.


Edward Lasker on Alekhine

From pages 30-31 of the March-April 1946 American Chess Bulletin:

‘In 1927 Alekhine played again in New York and he was in a position to make good his challenge, because he had succeeded in interesting the chess circles of Buenos Aires in the match. However, he was fairly hard put to finish second in the tournament.

He explained after the match with Capablanca that in New York he had purposely not played his best in order to mislead the Cuban. However, I am sure this was one of his curious childish attitudes and in reality he played as well as he knew how.’


A well-known miniature

Most readers will know the following game:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Bb4+ 5 c3 dxc3 6 O-O cxb2 7 Bxb2 Bf8 8 e5 d6 9 Re1 dxe5 10 Nxe5 Qxd1 11 Bxf7+ Ke7 12 Ng6+ Kxf7


13 Nxh8 mate.

It was published in, for instance, Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (pages 88-89) and Richter’s 666 Kurzpartien (page 91). Both compilers indicated that it was a queen’s knight’s odds game won by Dorasil (opponent, venue and date unknown). Yet at least some of the gaps are fairly easy to fill in: the game-score (C. Dorasil v F. Keitel, played in Troppau ‘some time ago’) was published on page 114 of the April 1899 Deutsche Schachzeitung.

On page 359 of the August 1978 BCM the same game (although with White lacking his queen’s rook) was presented by David Lawson as an unknown Morphy victory against C. Le Carpentier in New Orleans, 1849. Unfortunately Lawson gave no source.

One curiosity we can add here is that the win has also been attributed to an occasional opponent of Morphy’s, Den[n]is Julien (1806-68), with no mention of odds or any other details, except that Black was ‘one of the strongest players in New York’. We are referring to pages 74-75 of Beadle’s Dime Chess Instructor by Miron J. Hazeltine (New York, 1860).



Before Beadle’s Dime Chess Instructor goes back on the shelf, here, from page 79, are a couple of apparently unknown gamelets:

Eugene Delmar – N.N.
New York (date?)

(Remove White’s queen’s rook.)

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Nxe4 5 Bxf7+ Ke7 6 d3 Nc5 7 Bd5 Qe8 8 Nf7 Rg8 9 Bg5 mate.

Otho E. Michaelis – N.N.
New York (date?)

(Remove White’s queen’s rook.)

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Bc5 3 Nxe5 Qe7 4 d4 Bb6 5 b3 d6 6 Ba3 Qd8 7 Nf3 Bg4 8 Bd3 d5 9 O-O Nf6 10 Re1 dxe4 11 Bxe4 Bxf3 12 Bc6 mate.


Walter Penn Shipley

We have been reading Walter Penn Shipley Philadelphia’s Friend of Chess, noting with admiration that both author (John S. Hilbert) and publisher (McFarland & Company, Inc.) are on top form.

A curiosity, from page 315, is a letter to Shipley dated 6 October 1908 from Emanuel Lasker, who disclosed information about Lasker’s Chess Magazine when inviting Shipley to take over the editorial chair:

‘Its expenses – 32 pages and four pages cover per month, 1,500 copies printing, say $100-$110, bookkeeping, mailing, etc. $40-$50 per month – are paid by 600 subscribers and to cover any possible deficiency I will place into your hands the $600 per annum ($19 a week) [Lasker would in fact seem to have written “$12 a week”] that I get from the Evening Post.’

Hilbert notes that Shipley did not take up the invitation and that early the following year Lasker’s Chess Magazine ceased publication.


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.’


See also C.N.s 7236 and 7531, as well as The Chess Prodigy Samuel Reshevsky and Chess and Hollywood.

Back-rank mate

A neglected game with clever exploitation of the opponent’s back-rank weakness:

William Albert Fairhurst – Alfred Claude Ivimy (?)
Irregular Opening

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 b4 e6 3 a3 d5 4 Bb2 Bd6 5 e3 b6 6 d4 Nbd7 7 Bb5 O-O 8 Bc6 Rb8 9 Nbd2 Bb7 10 b5 Re8 11 Ne5 Re7 12 Bxb7 Rxb7 13 Nc6 Qc8 14 Nxe7+ Bxe7 15 Rc1 Qf8 16 a4 Nb8 17 c4 a6 18 O-O axb5 19 axb5 dxc4 20 Nxc4 c5 21 Qf3 Nd5 22 e4 Nc7 23 d5 Nxb5 24 d6 Bd8 25 e5 Ra7 26 Qb3 Qe8


27 d7 Qxd7 28 Rfd1 Nd4 29 Bxd4 cxd4 30 Nxb6 Bxb6


31 Rxd4 Qxd4 32 Qxb6 Resigns.

We are treading gingerly with the particulars of this game. The Chess Amateur, May 1929 (pages 179-180) stated that it was ‘played in March last year in the Manchester v Leeds match’ and gave Black’s name as ‘A.C. Irving’. Since other sources of the time regularly referred to A.C. Ivimy of Leeds, and never to ‘A.C. Irving’, it seems likely that the Chess Amateur mistranscribed his surname.


McIntyre problem

From page 32-33 of Some Problems For My Friends by D.G. McIntyre (Cape Town, 1957) we select this composition of his, which was originally published in the Natal Mercury, August 1918:


Mate in three

The book quotes Alain White’s comment: ‘I have seldom seen a problem with a solution more amusing or less apparently likely to succeed than this.’


Once in a lifetime

‘Chess booklet for sale. My once in a lifetime published chess brilliancy by Gerald Castleberry. Get three published games for 49 cents – my game as a free gift along with Anderson’s “Immortal Game” and a Morphy brilliancy. Send SASE and 49 cents to Gerald Castleberry [followed by a postal address in Bell, CA, USA].’

Respondents to this alluring advertisement (Chess Life, October 1983, page 50) received a small-format, eight-page volume by ‘USCF member G. Castleberry’, who also billed himself on the front page as:

‘author of the published statement: “In chess the sacrifice of material for positional advantage is considered brilliant strategy, if it works”.’

In reality, this is little more than a variant of the old Koltanowski quip (see CHESS, 14 January 1936, page 181), ‘If I win, then it was a sacrifice; if I lose, then it was a mistake.’

The first inside page of the Castleberry opus has ‘A Chess Player’s Poem’, 16 lines, two of which are the following deathless, and quite typical, couplet:

‘The tournament players I know I must subdue
And when I fail, it sure will be a dismal view.’

Then comes the once in a lifetime free gift brilliancy:

Gerald Castleberry – C. Fotias
California Open, 1962
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bc4 e6 7 O-O Be7 8 Be3 O-O 9 f4 b5 10 Bd3 Bb7 11 e5 dxe5 12 fxe5 Nfd7 13 Rxf7 Rxf7 14 Nxe6 Qc8 15 Qh5 Nf6 16 exf6 Qxe6 17 Qxh7+ Kf8 18 Qh8 mate.

That takes the reader through to the end of page 4, after which Mr Castleberry strives to place his victory in its proper historical context:

‘Some of the world’s other
Great published Chess Games
Have been Adolf Andersen’s
“Immortal Game” …’

The bare score thereof then appears, together with a misdated Morphy win, both courtesy of a Reuben Fine book whose title is twice rendered incorrectly. And with that the oeuvre draws to an upbeat conclusion (page 7):

‘Make your comment on the three published chess games in this booklet. Do you think G. Castleberry’s style is similar to the style of Anderssen [yes, a correct spelling in this instance] and Morphy? …’

Page 8 is blank, apart from the heading ‘Notes’. It is hard to imagine a ‘chess booklet’ of less importance or more self-importance.


Staunton’s ‘devilish bad games’

The young Morphy’s well-known ‘devilish bad games’ disparagement of Staunton did untold harm to the Englishman’s reputation in the twentieth century. As G.H. Diggle pointed out in C.N. 1932, P.W. Sergeant gave currency to the gibe in three of his books (Morphy’s Games of Chess, Morphy Gleanings and A Century of British Chess).

The remark was subsequently seized upon by various anti-Staunton writers. Here, for example, is a paragraph from page 3 of Al Horowitz’s book from the early 1970s, The World Chess Championship A History:

‘About Staunton as a player it is perhaps impossible to be strictly objective: it is just too incredible that anyone seemingly so weak as he could have achieved such success and exerted such influence for so long. When the book of the tournament at London in 1851 came into the hands of the then 15-year-old Morphy, the lad felt moved to scribble on the title page, under the legend declaring it to be “By H. Staunton, Esq., author of the ‘Handbook of Chess’, ‘Chess-player’s Companion’, etc.” the irreverent parenthesis “(and some devilish bad games)”. Devilish bad they certainly are, and share with their author’s prose style a turgidity that is truly exasperating. The real secret of Staunton’s success was that he picked his opponents carefully – how carefully will soon become apparent. Only once in his life did he fail to be careful enough.’

In Morphy’s Games of Chess (page 5) Sergeant quoted C.A. Buck as the source of the ‘devilish bad games’ story. For the record, we cite below what appeared on pages 7-9 of Buck’s book, Paul Morphy. His Later Life (published in Newport, Kentucky in 1902):

‘As a matter of fact, Morphy did not at any time have the benefit of chess books in the sense of keeping a number of them at hand for study and reference. What few books he made use of he went through quickly [sic] as possible, and after having mastered the contents he gave them away. James McConnel [sic], the elder, of New Orleans, has a book of the tournrment [sic] of 1851 which Morphy gave him when 15 years old. The book had been issued but a short time when Morphy secured this copy. He soon played over all the games and then gave it to his friend. The volume is especially interesting on account of numerous marginal notes in Moprhy’s [sic] own handwriting by which he expressed his opinion of the games and certain moves. As is well known, this book was edited by Staunton, and young Morphy, like a child of genius, made a captious comment on Staunton’s chess play by writing on the title page to make the authorship read like this: “By H. Staunton, Esq., author of the Hand-book of Chess, Chess-Player’s Companion, etc. (and some devilish bad games)”.’

The Buck booklet (30 small pages) was brought out by Will H. Lyons, who wrote in the ‘Publishers Prface’ [sic]:

‘C.A. Buck of Toronto, Kansas is the author of this interesting and comprehensive biography of Paul Morphy. Mr Buck has gathered from authentic sources facts and data in the later life of Morphy that have never been published. Several years were devoted to securing information; a month was then spent in New Orleans verifying and adding to his store of facts; Morphy’s relatives and friends giving him great assistance. The matter first appeared in a prominent Western newspaper. With Mr Buck’s consent, I now offer it in its present form …’

Paul Morphy The Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson (pages 213-215) gave further particulars of the genesis of Buck’s work and commented that it ‘appears to be responsible for a number of erroneous statements that have been widely accepted’. Lawson listed many examples, but had not mentioned Buck earlier (i.e. on page 42) when (unquestioningly) relating the ‘devilish bad games’ matter.

On page 54 of The Human Side of Chess Fred Reinfeld asserted that Buck was ‘a subsequent owner of Morphy’s copy’ of the Staunton tournament book, but we recall no other claim that the volume owned by James McConnell (1829-1914) passed into Buck’s possession. Nor do we know what happened to McConnell’s books when he died (in New Orleans on 21 November 1914). Perhaps C.N. has a reader in New Orleans who could investigate further.


See too C.N.s 10293 and 10353.

Morphy and pawn odds

Louis Blair (Keyser, WV, USA) asks whether any pre-Buck references exist for the following statement from Buck’s Paul Morphy. His Later Life (page 20) which was quoted on page 24 of Morphy’s Games of Chess by P.W. Sergeant:

‘Shortly after reaching New Orleans Morphy issued a final challenge, offering to give the odds of pawn and move to any player in the world …’

The Buck passage (which referred to late 1859) continued by claiming: ‘… and receiving no response thereto he declared his career as a chessplayer finally and definitely closed, a declaration to which he held with unbroken resolution during the whole remainder of his life.’


Morphy quotes

Louis Blair submits two further texts regarding Morphy. The first is from the column entitled ‘The Chess Board’ in the Philadelphia Sunday Times of 1 June 1890, where E.L. Townsend was quoted as follows: ‘In November 1858 ... I asked Mr Morphy how he regarded Harrwitz as a chess expert. He replied: “Mr Harrwitz plays chess as well as myself, but I think my advantage lies in the fact that I can see eight moves ahead when he only sees seven moves”.’

The second quotation is from page 59 of the Chess World, 1866 (a magazine edited by Staunton):

‘This contest [between G.H. Mackenzie and G. Reichhelm] promises to be of itself the most interesting that has taken place in this country for years, and will derive additional importance from the fact that it may be looked upon as a trial of arms for the championship of the United States; for, as Mr Morphy no longer considers himself a chessplayer, there is no reason why others should do so. He has withdrawn himself from the chess world as something too good for contact with it. Chessplayers, in self-respect, are returning the compliment by leaving the pseudo-champion severely alone.’

It is worth recalling here the words of G.H. Diggle on pages 635-636 of the December 1980 BCM:

‘… [in 1865] Staunton (over a decade after his retirement from the Chess Player’s Chronicle and a quarter of a century after launching the magazine) suddenly reappeared as Editor of a new periodical – the Chess World. But both the actual “Chess World” and Staunton himself had aged since he brought out his first number of the Chronicle. Then he was a young and adventurous pioneer, the hero of adventurous followers – now, a long deposed and ailing monarch. Though actually only 55 years old, his heart trouble frequently forced him to lay aside his pen; and the frustration caused by his physical state being no longer able to cope with the demands of his vigorous intellect had turned him into something very like Henry VIII in his last phase. While he could still comment on occasion with shrewdness and penetration on the chess affairs of the day (in particular the Steinitz-Anderssen match of 1866) he became more and more caustic and unfair to the younger generation, both in the Chess World and his weekly Illustrated London News column.’


Morphy’s uncle

Below is a miniature won by Paul Morphy’s uncle which has been disregarded by various writers on the Evans Gambit:

Ernest Morphy – E.A. Dudley
Evans Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 exd4 7 O-O Bb6 8 cxd4 d6 9 Nc3 Na5


10 Bxf7+ (‘This move – invented by me – is no doubt risky but it prevents Black from castling and brings all White’s pieces into play. I am often successful with it, and the defence is very critical.’ – E. Morphy) 10…Kxf7 11 Ng5+ Ke8 12 e5 d5 13 e6 Qf6 14 Nxd5 Qxd4 15 Nxc7+ Kf8 16 Ba3+ Ne7 17 Qf3+ Qf6 18 Bxe7+ Resigns.

Source: La Stratégie, 15 May 1867, pages 112-113.


‘I never saw that’

From an article by V. Halberstadt entitled ‘Reminiscences of Alekhine’ on pages 69-70 of the March 1956 BCM:

‘One day at the Régence I asked him, “Alexander Alexandrovich, may I show you a correspondence game I played (in 1925-26) in the France-Italy match?” and I commenced the demonstration.

1 d4 d5 2 c4 Nf6 3 cxd5 Nxd5 4 e4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Nf3 exd4 7 Nxd4; here Alekhine stopped me with “Your move is a bad one, since Black can play 7…Bc5 and if you play 8 Be3 Black replies 8…Ng4, as I said in the notes to my game against Marshall at Baden-Baden”.


I looked up at him and asked innocently “and if then I should play 9 Ne6?” Surprise on Alekhine’s part, and, with a laugh, “Well, I never saw that”.’

The Alekhine note was published on page 66 of his 1932 book Auf dem Wege zur Weltmeisterschaft and, as it happens, also on page 66 of the English translation. See too page 26 of the second ‘Chess Stars’ monograph on Alekhine (Sofia, 2002). Alekhine presented a different set of annotations to the Marshall game in his second volume of Best Games.

The diagrammed position above occurred in the simultaneous game Alekhine v Mooyman and Citroen, Soerabaja, 6 March 1933 (see page 452 of the Skinner/Verhoeven book on Alekhine). The then world champion’s ninth move was not Ne6 but Bc4 (‘!’).

Halberstadt did not indicate the year of his conversation with Alekhine, but he referred to 9 Ne6 when annotating the above-mentioned correspondence game on pages 60-61 of the March 1926 La Stratégie:

Vitaly Halberstadt – Alberto Rastrelli
Correspondence match (France-Italy), 1925-26
Queen’s Pawn Opening

1 d4 d5 2 c4 Nf6 3 cxd5 Nxd5 4 e4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Nf3 exd4 7 Nxd4 c5 (‘If 8…Bc5 9 Be3 Ng4? 9 Ne6 Qxd1+ 10 Rxd1 Bxe6! 11 Bxc5, etc., best.’ – Halberstadt.) 8 Bb5+ Bd7 9 Nf5 Bxb5 10 Qxd8+ Kxd8 11 Nxb5 Nxe4 12 Bf4 a6 13 Nc7 Ra7 14 Nd5 Nd7 15 O-O-O b5 16 Rhe1 g6


17 Rxe4 gxf5 18 Bg5+ Kc8 19 Re8+ Kb7 20 Ne7 Nb6 21 Nxf5 f6 22 Bf4 Ra8 23 Re6 h5 24 Nd6+ Resigns.


Reshevsky photograph


This photograph appeared in Euwe’s book Meet the Masters. On page 33 of the November 1948 CHESS a reader, Stanley Lewin, pointed out that both black bishops are on white squares.

A decade earlier the photograph had appeared in CHESS itself (14 May 1938 issue, page 305), with the caption ‘Samuel Reshevsky. A picture taken during the just concluded New York Tournament, in which he retained his US title’. We have been unable to match the position to any game.


Popular chess writing

Below is an extract from a letter dated 16 May 1859 to George Allen from the Comte de Basterot (the author of the Traité élémentaire du jeu des échecs):

‘… who can deny that le bon public is very lazy – and even amongst chessplayers how very few there are who will really study. My little Traité was written under this impression; I love chess and my ambition was to strip the nymph Caissa of her sable robes, of her garland of poppies and shew her to the French public in the flimsy but more popular dress of a French Milliner …’

Source: ‘George Allen’s “Life of Philidor”’ by R.B. Haselden (an article on pages 107-115 of the Huntington Library Quarterly, October 1939).



Another master more skilled at blindfold chess than orthography was Koltanowski. On page 59 of With the Chess Masters (San Francisco, 1972) he referred to ‘Duncan Philidor’. A sample of other lapses in the book was listed in C.N. 1234 (see pages 159-160 of Chess Explorations), and these included the point that on page 92 he gave E. Sapira’s name as ‘Sapiro’ (five times). For example:

‘Sapiro was a witty hunchback with great chess talent (He was killed by the Nazis in the 1940 invasion of Belgium.)’

However, on page 102 of their 1988 book Histoire des maîtres belges M. Wasnair and M. Jadoul stated (without, unfortunately, specifying any source) that Sapira died two or three years later:

‘En 1942-43, afin d’échapper à l’holocauste nazi, il traverse la France et c’est là, au pied des Pyrennées qu’il disparaît, victime d’un “Thénardier” qui le détrousse et le vend aux Nazis.’

Some of Sapira’s best games are readily accessible in databases. Here we give an interesting loss which was annotated by Alekhine on page 163 of L’Echiquier, August 1925:

A. Tackels – Emmanuel Sapira
Antwerp, 25 July 1925
Queen’s Gambit Declined

(Notes by Alekhine)

1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 Nf6 3 c4 c6 4 Nc3 e6 (‘In my opinion 4…dxc4 5 e3 b5 6 a4 b4, etc. is preferable.’) 5 Bg5 dxc4 (‘If Black intended to take the c-pawn he would have done better to play first 5…h6 {6 Bh4 dxc4 7 e4 g5, etc.}.’) 6 e4 Bb4 7 e5 (7 Bxf6 Qxf6 8 Bxc4 would be simpler, with clear positional superiority.’) 7…h6 8 exf6 (‘And not 8 Bh4 g5 9 Nxg5 because of 9…Qa5!’) 8…hxg5 9 fxg7 Rg8 10 h4 g4 11 Ne5 Rxg7 12 Nxg4 c5! (‘The start of an ingenious offensive, and the only way of offsetting White’s chances on the king’s side.’) 13 a3 Bxc3+ 14 bxc3 Qa5 (‘But this is too subtle. With 14…cxd4 15 Bxc4 dxc3 {and not 15…Nc6 16 h5!} he would have had good drawing chances.’) 15 Rh3 cxd4 16 Qxd4 e5 17 Re3? (‘With the simple manoeuvre 17 Nxe5 Bxh3 18 Nxc4, followed by 19 Qxg7 he could have refuted the combination started by Black’s 14th move; the text move, in contrast, should cause him to lose.’) 17…Nc6 18 Nf6+ Ke7 19 Nd5+ Kd6!


20 Qe4 f5 (‘Or 20…Rg4 21 f4 {if 21 Qf3 Qxd5 22 Rd1 Nd4} 21…Qxd5! 22 Rd1 Qxd1+ 23 Kxd1 Rxf4, followed by 24…Rxf1+ wins. However, the text move is also sufficient.’) 21 Qxc4 Be6 22 Rd1 Nd4? (‘The decisive mistake. By playing 22…Bxd5 23 Rxd5+ {if 23 Red3 Ne7, etc.} 23…Qxd5 24 Rd3 Nd4, etc. he would have won easily.’) 23 Qb4+ Qxb4 24 Nxb4 a5 25 Nc2 Bb3 26 cxd4 (‘The simplest, since the endgame two pawns ahead is easily won.’) 26…Bxc2 27 dxe5+ Ke7 28 Rc1 Be4 29 Rc7+ Kf8 30 Rxg7 Kxg7 31 Bd3 Bxd3 32 Rxd3 Rc8 33 Rd7+ Resigns. (‘An eventful game played with great vigour by both sides.’)


New York, 1924

From Dan Scoones (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada):

‘I have always been curious about several photographs that appear in the introduction to the New York, 1924 tournament book (as reprinted by Dover Publications). In the first place, few were actually taken at New York. Several of them are mislabelled, and one is famously reversed. The photograph of Réti was taken at Moscow, 1925, as was the one of Lasker playing Capablanca. The photograph of Tartakower was obviously taken many years after 1924. Why is the photograph of Alekhine playing Bogoljubow labelled Alekhine and Bogoljubow playing in Russia when it is well known that Alekhine never set foot in Russia after 1921, and when it is equally obvious (if only from the spelling “Aljechin” ) that the photograph was taken in Germany during their 1934 match? Are we really expected to believe that the photograph of Edward Lasker playing Emanuel Lasker was taken during their sixth-round marathon? Where is the clock? And the scoresheets, for that matter? Why has the photograph of Emanuel Lasker solving a study been reversed? Any light you can shed on the true provenance of these photographs would be most welcome.’

As a starting-point it may be noted that the original edition of the book (published in 1925) had a different set of photographs (apart from the portraits of Yates, Edward Lasker and Janowsky, as well as the group shots of the players and the tournament committee).


Earliest publication

From Dale Brandreth (Yorklyn, DE, USA):

‘What is the earliest publication of a Capablanca game, excluding any games played in Cuba (which would not have been widely noticed at the time)? The American Chess Bulletin (May 1905, page 204) gave a game from the 1901 match in Havana against Juan Corzo, but the second volume of Bachmann’s Schachjahrbuch für 1905 (page 223) has the game Capa played at the Manhattan Chess Club on 5 January 1905 against J.D. Redding, together with a little item about him entitled “Ein neues Schachgenie”. This 29-move win for Capa is game 167 in The Unknown Capablanca, which took the score from the New York Tribune of 8 January 1905.’

It may also be noted from page 125 of a Rice Gambit Souvenir Supplement in the American Chess Bulletin (1905) that Capablanca (Black) played several offhand games against I. Rice and H. Keidanz which began as follows: 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 h4 g4 5 Ne5 Nf6 6 Bc4 d5 7 exd5 Bd6 8 O-O Bxe5 9 Re1 Qe7 10 c3 Nh5 11 d4 Nd7 12 Bb5 Kd8 13 Bxd7 Bxd7 14 Rxe5 Qxh4 15 Rxh5 Qxh5 16 Bxf4 Re8 17 Be5 Qf5.


Economy of effort

Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) writes:

‘Looking at the games from the 2003 Capablanca Memorial, Premier I group, I noted that 48-year-old Péter Székely of Hungary seems to have made a new drawing record. He made the long trip to Cuba to play a total of 130 moves (his opponents played 133) in the 13 rounds. Székely made a “perfect” score of +0 –0 =13, with an average of ten moves per round. His smallest number of moves in a game was six, and his toughest (?) game lasted 13 moves. He won fourth prize since he had the highest Sonneborn-Berger score of the four players on 50%.’

This is a substantial ‘improvement’ on the performance of Bilek at Słupsk, 1979, about which a correspondent, Paul Timson, wrote in C.N. 104.


Match victory

As reported on pages 42-43 of the February 1923 La Stratégie, Eugene Znosko-Borovsky visited Belgium early that year. On 28 January he was first ahead of Alekhine in a lightning tournament in Brussels, winning all his games, but the truly striking result came in a match in Brussels and Ghent against Edgard Colle, the Belgian champion, which Znosko-Borovsky won +6 –0 =0. It is odd that this walk-over has been forgotten.


Valentín Marín

A game from pages 309-310 of El Ajedrez Español, June 1935:

Valentín Marín – Pedro Cherta
Training game, Barcelona, 26 January 1935
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bg5 Nbd7 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 c6 7 a3 O-O 8 Qc2 Re8 9 Bd3 dxc4 10 Bxc4 b5 11 Bd3 h6 12 Bf4 a6 13 O-O Bb7 14 Rfd1 Qb6 15 a4 b4 16 a5 b3 17 Qe2 Qa7 18 Bc4 c5 19 Bxb3 cxd4 20 exd4 Rac8 21 Ne5 Ba8 22 Nxf7 Qb7 23 Nxh6+ Kf8


24 Bd5 exd5 25 Qe6 Ne5 26 dxe5 Bb4 27 Qh3 Bxc3 28 bxc3 gxh6 29 Qxh6+ Kg8 30 exf6 Rxc3 31 Qg6+ Resigns.


Camil Seneca


Above is the Frenchman Camil Seneca (1903-77). The year of his death saw the appearance of a coffee-table book Le grand livre des échecs co-authored by him with Adolivio Capece and published by Editions De Vecchi, Paris. In 2001, the same company brought out Le grand livre de l’histoire des échecs. Much of the content was similar (often identical) to the earlier volume, yet authorship was ascribed solely to A. Capece. Why?


We note that in 1973, four years before the appearance of Le grand livre des échecs, the same publisher, De Vecchi, brought out Storia degli scacchi; authorship of that original Italian edition was ascribed to Adolivio Capece alone. The above-mentioned (adapted and updated) French version singled out the section on Karpov as having been written by Seneca. Adolivio Capece (Milan, Italy) informs us that he is the sole author of the book. Our collection also contains the 2001 Italian edition, which appeared as Gli scacchi nella storia e nell’arte by A. Capece.


Famous game

From page 312 of the July 1961 CHESS:

‘Paul H. Little, San Francisco, asks can any reader supply him with the score of the 1914 St Petersburg Tourney game in which Capablanca beat Bernstein, obtaining a brilliancy prize.’

Little was an experienced chess writer, and it is strange indeed to see him appealing for the moves of one of the most famous games ever played.


Blackburne on problemists

From an article by J.H. Blackburne on pages 200-201 of the City of London Chess Magazine, August 1875:

‘Problem composers are frightful bores, and are fast becoming an intolerable nuisance. You cannot nowadays enter a chess room or club without some young and aspiring problemist persisting in showing you a position which he is pleased to call a problem. Though somewhat eccentric they are quite harmless and, moreover, exhibit an unusual amount of forbearance. After, for instance, solving their stupid position in fewer minutes than it has taken weeks to construct, saying that it is weak and obvious – mere rubbish, or words to that effect, telling them that it is a feeble imitation of J.B., a facsimile of Healey or some other well-known composer, strange to say, instead of knocking you down as any ordinary mortal would do, they, with a benevolent smile upon their face, offer you a cigar; and, still more remarkable, will take the first opportunity of setting up for your critical examination their latest and, as they usually fancy, the finest and most difficult problem extant. Such, at any rate, is our experience.’


L.S. Penrose

In the obituary section of the July 1972 BCM (pages 245-246) it was remarked concerning Professor L.S. Penrose that he ‘was first mentioned anonymously in the BCM in 1919, as the grandson of Lord Peckover, a schoolboy who could play five games simultaneously blindfold’. (We note, however, that page 367 of the November 1919 BCM incorrectly called the anonymous player a nephew of the deceased Lord, that by 1919 Penrose, who was born in 1898, was already at Cambridge University, and that his name had appeared, for instance, on page 129 of the April 1919 BCM.)

An early victory of his was published on pages 275-276 of the July 1919 Chess Amateur, with notes by his Cambridge team-mate William Winter (who described it as ‘a finely played game by Mr Penrose’):

Roland Henry Vaughan Scott (simultaneous) – Lionel Sharples Penrose
From Gambit
Cambridge, May 1919

1 f4 e5 2 e3 e4 3 b3 d5 4 Bb2 Nf6 5 c4 Nc6 6 Ne2 Nb4 7 Ng3 Bg4 8 Qc1 dxc4 9 Bxc4 Nd3+ 10 Bxd3 Qxd3 11 Na3 Nh5 12 Kf2 Nxg3 13 Kxg3 h5 14 Qxc7 Bd6 15 Qxb7 Bxf4+ 16 Kxf4 g5+ 17 Kxg5 Rg8+ 18 Kf4 Qd6+ 19 Be5 Qh6+ 20 Kxe4 Rd8 21 Qb5+ Bd7 22 Qc5


‘Black announced mate in five moves.’

The intended finish was not specified. It may well have been 22...Bf5+ 23 Kf3 Be4+ 24 Kxe4 Qg6+ 25 Kf3 Qxg2+ 26 Kf4 Qg4 mate, but White has 24 Ke2. A forced mate offered by Fritz is 22...Bc6+ 23 Qd5 Rxd5 24 Kf3 Rxg2 25 Kxg2 Rxd2+ 26 Kf1 Bg2+ 27 Ke1 Qxe3 mate, but that is still one move too long.

L.S. Penrose went on to become a distinguished academic in a number of fields, including human genetics, and was the father of one of the finest British players, Jonathan Penrose.


For further information about L.S. Penrose and a photograph, see C.N. 3632.

Consecutive sacrifices

C.N. 2180 (see page 242 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves) raised the question of the largest number of sacrifices on consecutive moves. A case with four was quoted (Lund v Nimzowitsch, Kristiania, 1921), but now we note five in this position on page 9 of Combination in Chess by G. Négyesy and J. Hegyi (Budapest, 1965):


The caption states only ‘Cohn – Cisar 1944’, and the finish is given as follows: 1 Nb6 Qxh1+ 2 Kd2 Qxa1 3 Nxf7+ Bxf7 4 Bc7+ Kxc7 5 Qe5+ Kxb6 6 Qc5+ Ka5 7 b4 mate.

Can any reader supply further details about the game and occasion?


Jack O’Keefe (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) writes:

‘This game was submitted to the “Readers’ Games” department of the April 1944 Chess Review (page 24). Al Horowitz’s introduction is:

“The game begins with a picayune omission and culminates with a double rook sacrifice, a double knight sacrifice and a bishop thrown in for good measure. The game was submitted by W.F. Streeter, eminent Ohio chess missionary, who writes: ‘I am getting very tired of the dull junk I am compelled to watch most of the time.’”

J. Cohn – C. Chiszar
Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Qb6 5 Nf3 Bg4 6 Bc4 Qb4+ 7 Ned2 e6 8 c3 Qb6 9 h3 Bh5 10 g4 Bg6 11 Qe2 c5 12 h4 h5 13 Ne5 Ne7 14 Bb5+ Kd8 15 a4 cxd4 16 Ndc4 Qc5 17 Bf4 a6 18 cxd4 Qd5 (Reaching the diagrammed position from C.N. 2973.) 19 Nb6 Qxh1+ 20 Kd2 Qxa1 21 Nxf7+ Bxf7 22 Bc7+ Kxc7 23 Qe5+ Kxb6 24 Qc5+ Ka5 25 Bd3+ Kxa4 26 Bc2 mate.

Our correspondent points out that at the end of the combination White’s play has been improved by the Hungarian book.


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.


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.

Bird on Bird’s Defence

From page 126 of Modern Chess and Chess Masterpieces by H.E. Bird (London, 1887) comes a remark about 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4:

‘I sometimes play this, but not always; it depends upon the state of mind I am in, and whether I want a lively and critical game or a steady contest – one, in fact, in which my adversary considers that I treat him with becoming respect. A well-known and esteemed reverend gentleman once objected that I would not make so silly a move against one of the greatest players.’


Bird four-mover

This problem is taken from page 96 of Modern Chess and Chess Masterpieces by H.E. Bird (London, 1887):


Mate in four


Trouble with names

Black and White Evergreen by A. Matanović and J. Prokopljević (Belgrade, 2001), well-produced with many colour illustrations of high quality, is another book which has (on page 70) a position headed ‘Parr – Waitkroft, Holland 1968’ (see C.N. 2965). Page 82 offers the conclusion of what is allegedly ‘Deshapel – Laburdone, Paris 1837’.

Why are such books lavishly illustrated but not lavishly checked?


Rubinstein game

The following game from a simultaneous exhibition has been submitted by Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic):

Henryk Podplomyk – Akiba Rubinstein
Częstochowa, 1931
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Nbd7 5 e3 Be7 6 Nc3 O-O 7 Bd3 a6 8 a3 h6 9 Bh4 dxc4 10 Bxc4 b5 11 Bd3 c5 12 O-O Bb7 13 Ne5 Rc8 14 Bb1 cxd4 15 exd4 Re8 16 Qc2 Be4 17 Qe2 Bxb1 18 Raxb1 Nb6 19 Rfd1 Nfd5 20 Nxd5 Qxd5 21 Qh5 Bxh4 22 Qxf7+ Kh7 23 Qg6+ Drawn.

Source: Gazeta Częstochowska, 24 September 1974. (No earlier source is currently available.) We note that page 276 of Akiba Rubinstein: The Later Years by J. Donaldson and N. Minev (Seattle, 1995) gave a list, courtesy of Świat Szachowy, 1931, of Rubinstein’s simultaneous displays in Poland that year. In Częstochowa his result was recorded as +18 –2 =5.


Důras with an accent?

The name Důras is sometimes spelt with a krouzek (ringlet or small circle) on the u, though often not (even in Czech sources). At our request Karel Mokrý (Prostějov, Czech Republic) has kindly provided the following information:

‘According to F.J. Prokop on page 111 of Československo ve světovém šachu (Prague, 1935), Důras ceased signing his name with the ringlet around 1914. The main Czech magazine used the ringlet until 1923.’



From page 268 of the City of London Chess Magazine, December 1874:

‘The spirited rivalry now going on between the Metropolitan chess clubs is a most encouraging proof of a remarkable development and unexampled progress now being made in the practice and cultivation of the game in London. We feel called upon to say that what is now being done in the cause of chess, often under unfavourable circumstances, and with small means, brings into glaring contrast the apathy and brain-corroding sloth which is now the prevailing characteristic of wealthy and influential circles. Therefore chess has deserted those mansions where once it wore plush, has shaken the dust off its shoes, and the powder off its head, at the doors of those whose condescending patronage it formerly submitted to; has come as a welcome guest, not only to the middle, but to the lower classes, and can produce from the latter many a champion who can squeeze between his fingers like so much pulp the inert brains of the wealthy flâneurs who, pushing wooden dolls about on a wooden board, think they can play at chess. The ancient pastime is not intended as a means whereby persons whose misfortune it is that they are able to be indolent may waste time that is useless to themselves or to anyone else. They do nothing for chess, and chess will have nothing to do with them. Its mission henceforth is to solace and cheer the worker and the thinker.’

The writer (W.N. Potter) gave some further thoughts on class in chess on page 289 of the January 1875 issue.



Dale Brandreth has published a scrapbook entitled Chess Columns 1924 & 1925. Most of the items come from the Washington Post (column conducted by W.H. Mutchler) and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (H. Helms). Not all of the reportage is of choice quality, and one of Mutchler’s columns (on page 6 of the scrapbook) even records:

‘When Philidor conducted three games sans voir, the populace of the fifteenth century entered it in the encyclopedias as miraculous.’

A number of unknown Torre scores are given, but we have picked, from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of 25 December 1924 (page 63 of the scrapbook), two games from a thematic tournament in New York won by Marshall. (The outcome of the event was reported on page 52 of the March 1925 American Chess Bulletin.) Although by no means masterpieces, the games deserve a better fate than oblivion.

G. Gustafson – Frank James Marshall
New York, December 1924
Vienna Gambit

(Notes – unabridged … – by Marshall.)

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f4 d5 4 fxe5 Nxe4 5 Nf3 Bc5 (‘Old, I believe, but apparently good.’) 6 d4 Bb4 7 Bd2 Bg4 8 Qe2 (‘Not good. Probably 8 Be2 was better.’) 8…Bxf3 9 gxf3 (‘Also, 8 Qxf3 Qh4+ 10 g3 Nxd2, with advantage.’) 9…Qh4+ 10 Kd1 Nf2+ 11 Kc1 Bxc3 12 bxc3 Nxh1 13 Qb5+ Nd7 14 Qxd5 Nb6 15 Bb5+ c6 16 Bxc6+ bxc6 17 Qxc6+ Kf8 18 c4 Qxd4 19 Bb4+ Kg8 20 Qd6 Qxa1+ 21 Kd2 Nxc4+ 22 White resigns.

C.E. Norwood – Erling Tholfsen
New York, December 1924
Vienna Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f4 d5 4 fxe5 Nxe4 5 Nf3 Bg4 6 Be2 Be7 7 O-O O-O 8 Qe1 Nc6 9 Bd1 f5 10 Ne2 Nc5 11 d4 Ne6 12 Be3 f4 13 Bf2 Bf5 14 Kh1 Kh8 15 Qd2 g5 16 h3 Be4 17 c3 Qe8 18 Nh2 Qg6 19 Ng1 Rf7 20 Bf3 h5 21 Rfe1


21…g4 22 hxg4 hxg4 23 Bxg4 Rh7 24 Qd1 Rg8 25 Rxe4 dxe4 26 Nh3 Bh4 27 Qe2 Bxf2 28 Qxf2 Ne7 29 Bxe6 Qxe6 30 Nxf4 Qh6 31 Nh3 Rf8 32 Qe1 Qg6 33 Qd2 Rg7 34 Rf1 Nf5 35 Kg1 Qg3 36 Kh1 Qg6 (Here and at move 38 Black had an immediate win with …Qxh3.) 37 Kg1 Qg3 38 Kh1 Qg6 39 Kg1 Rfg8 40 g4 Qh7 41 Rxf5 Qxf5 42 Qh6+ Rh7 43 Qf4 Qxf4 44 Nxf4 e3 45 Nd5 Rxh2 46 Nxe3 Re2 47 Nd5 Rxb2 48 Nf6 Rg6 49 d5 Rxf6 50 exf6 Rxa2 51 g5 Ra4 52 White resigns.



Some time ago we were struck by the similarity between the signatures of Emanuel and Edward Lasker in our inscribed copies of The Community of the Future (1940) and The Game of Chess (1972):

        lasker signature

        lasker signature

Now we see that Edward Lasker made the same point on page 131 of Chess Life, May 1961:

‘Looking at the signatures of the players with whom I was honored to compete in 1924 [i.e. in the New York tournament] I was astonished to note for the first time the extraordinary similarity between Emanuel Lasker’s signature and my own, and – also for the first time – the perhaps not altogether silly question occurred to me whether, lacking other evidence, this might have served as an acceptable argument for his often expressed opinion that our families were probably related, although we never could find out how. It was not until a few weeks before his death that he told me he had seen a definite proof. A young man from Australia had visited him and shown him a Lasker “family tree”, and there I was, dangling from one of the branches.’

As recorded in C.N. 2106 (see pages 232-233 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves), Edward Lasker used the same arboreal metaphor on page 184 of Chess Life & Review, March 1974.


Yanofsky’s prize

From page 39 of Chess the Hard Way! by D.A. Yanofsky (London, 1953) comes this passage regarding the 1939 Olympiad in Buenos Aires:

‘By winning the next two games I scored 9½ points out of a possible 10 and was awarded a silver cigarette holder inscribed: “Mejor Jugador del Torneo” [best player of the tournament].’

Times have certainly changed, as it is hard to imagine that organizers today would offer a 14-year-old boy anything smacking of smoking.


Pawns on the seventh rank

The following game, from pages 68-69 of Akademische Schachblätter, July 1903, has also been supplied by Richard Forster (Winterthur, Switzerland):

H. Kuhn (Lübben) – E. Post (Cottbus)
Sagan, 20 April 1903
Evans Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Bc5 6 O-O d6 7 d4 exd4 8 cxd4 Bb6 9 Bb2 Nge7 10 Ng5 d5 11 exd5 Na5 12 d6 Nxc4 13 Qa4+ Nc6 14 Re1+ Kf8 15 Qxc4 Qxg5 16 Ba3 Be6 17 d5 Ne5 18 Qc3 Bd4 19 d7+ Kg8 20 dxe6 Bxc3 21 e7


21…Qxe7 22 Bxe7 Bxe1 23 d8Q+ Rxd8 24 Bxd8 Ba5 25 Na3 Bb6 26 Nb5 c6 27 Rd1 Bxf2+ 28 Kxf2 cxb5 29 Bb6 Nc6 30 Bxa7 g6 31 Bc5 Kg7 32 Rd7 Rb8 33 Ba3 Ra8 34 Bb2+ Kf8 35 Rxb7 b4 36 Bf6 Rxa2+ 37 Kf1 Ke8 38 h3 Ra8 39 Rc7 Ra6 40 Rb7 Na5 41 Rb8+ Kd7 42 Bb2 b3 43 Bc3 Kc7 44 Rf8 f5 45 Rf7+ Kc6 46 Rxh7 Nc4 47 Rg7 Kd5 48 h4 b2 49 Bxb2 Nxb2 50 h5 gxh5 51 Rg5 Ke4 52 Rxh5 Nd3 53 Rh4+ f4 54 Rh3 Rg6 55 Rh8 Rg3 56 Re8+ Kd4 57 Rf8 Re3 58 Kg1 Re1+ 59 Kh2 Ke3 60 Rh8 Kf2 61 Rh3 Re3 62 Rh4 Rg3 63 Kh1 Kf1 ‘and mate in five moves’.


Loman and the Dutch championship

Some remarks by D.J. Morgan on page 43 of the February 1956 BCM:

‘We don’t know the record for consecutive appearances as a competitor in a national championship. R.J. Loman (1861-1932) played, we believe, in 50 successive Dutch championships, from 1881 till 1930. Can this be beaten? Loman became prominent in chess circles here [i.e. in the United Kingdom], and was organist of the Dutch Church in London for 31 years.’

Can any readers corroborate this information about Loman?


John Kuipers (Rijswijk, the Netherlands) writes:

‘Loman cannot have participated in 50 consecutive Dutch championships. Before the championships had an official status, i.e. when the Dutch Chess Federation established them from 1909 onwards, they were held 36 times. The first was in 1873 and the last in 1908. Before Loman’s year of death there were seven official championships. All in all 43 tournaments were held. Furthermore, it is not likely that Loman entered the championship already in 1873, when he was 12 years old.

In the unofficial contests Loman became national champion four times (1888, 1891, 1894 and 1897). After the Federation took over, he became champion once more, in 1912, in the ancient city of Delft, where he also lived for a while. The last time he participated was in 1929 in Amsterdam. (Sources: Vijfde Friesche Vlag Schaaktoernooi - Kamioenschap van Nederland 1973 by H. Kramer, pages 15-21, and Nederland schaakt! KNSB 100 jaar, Baarn 1974, pages 139-140.)

On page 169 of Het loopt ongenadiglijk mat, Het Schaakleven in Nederland in de negentiende eeuw [It leads to mate mercilessly, Chess life in The Netherlands in the nineteenth century”] by H.J.G.M. Scholten (Bilthoven, 1999) it is stated:

“Rud Loman, die regelmatig tussen Londen (waar hij zich kampioen van Nederland noemde) en Amsterdam (waar hij de sterkste amateur van Londen zou zijn) heen en weer reisde, mag waarschijnlijk met het meeste recht als zodanig genoemd worden, maar international speelde hij toch niet ècht mee.” English translation: “Rud Loman, who regularly travelled between London (where he called himself champion of The Netherlands) and Amsterdam (where he would be the strongest amateur from London), probably had the most rights to be considered as such [a semi-professional chess player], but internationally he did not really play a role.”

Scholten gives Loman’s forename as Rud, but that is wrong and should read Rudolf. The writer may have meant to use the abbreviation Rud., forgetting that a full stop is required.’


From Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina):

‘The reference in C.N. 3033 and 3040 to records in national championships reminds me of the case of Franz/Francisco Benkö. He participated in his first Argentine championship in 1938, coming 20th. At the age of 92, he took part in the 2002 national championship (finishing 38th). He thus played over a span of 64 years, a likely record.’


See too C.N. 3445.


Below is a game which the chess writer and publisher W.H. Watts won despite having a material deficit of one rook and four pawns. Computer analysis indicates a number of errors on both sides, and Watts’ own notes (the Chess Budget, 23 January 1926, pages 114-115) acknowledged that he had been lucky.

William Henry Watts – H.L. Crawford
Sussex v Middlesex match, Brighton, January 1926
Vienna Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Qg4 Qf6 5 Nd5 Qxf2+ 6 Kd1 d6 7 Qxg7 Nce7 8 Nh3 Bxh3 9 Rf1 Qxg2 10 Qxf7+ Kd7 11 d4 Bxd4 12 Bh6 c6 13 Nf6+ Nxf6 14 Rxf6 Qg1+ 15 Kd2 Qg2+ 16 Kd3 d5 17 exd5 Bxb2 18 dxc6+ bxc6 19 Be6+ Kd8 20 Rd1 Bxe6 21 Rxe6 Re8


22 Kc4+ Bd4 23 c3 Qd5+ 24 Kd3 Bxc3+ 25 Ke2 Bd4 26 Bf8 Qxa2+ 27 Rd2 Qa6+ 28 Ke1 Qa1+ 29 Rd1 Qc3+ 30 Kf1 Qh3+ 31 Ke2 Qxh2+ 32 Kf1 Kc7 33 Rxe7+ Rxe7 34 Qxe7+ Kc8 35 Qe6+ Kb7 36 Qd7+ Kb6 37 Rb1+ Bb2 38 Bd6 Qh1+ 39 Ke2 Qxb1


40 Qc7+ Kb5 41 Qb7+ Kc4 42 Qxc6+ Kb3 43 Qd5+ Ka4 44 Qc4+ Ka5 45 Bc7 mate.

‘A game to make one’s match captain’s hair stand on end – and it did’ (Watts).


Post position

We are seeking the full score of a game discussed by Assiac on pages 7-8 of his book The Delights of Chess, where he gave the following position and commentary (without specifying the identity of Black or the source of the story):


‘Take this position achieved by E. Post when playing White at the Coburg Tournament of 1904. Usually, Post was a very sound and careful player, but here the potency of that open rook-file and those squinting bishops evidently went to his head, and he began to fling his pieces away with utter abandon: 1 Rxh7+ Kxh7 2 Qh1+ Bh6 3 Qxh6+ Kxh6 4 Rh1+ Bh5 5 Rxh5+ Kxh5. Here, with the heady prospect of imperishable glory beckoning, Post reached triumphantly for the S.W. corner of his realm to fetch his queen’s rook for yet another check, prior to the knight giving the coup de grâce, but he was horrified to discover that he just hadn’t got another rook. Out of sheer spite he played 6 Ne7, determined to resign (and to hide in some dark corner) if Black countered, say, 6…Rg8+. But Black was too stingy to part with even a fraction of his material wealth; and after 6…Qb7?? White had the glorious chance of 7 Bg7!! Once again fortune seemed to smile, for even a queen sacrifice such as 7…Qxg2+ 8 Kxg2 Kh4 9 Bd1 would leave the mating net unbroken. Black did find a loophole, though, by 7…Ne5 8 Bd1+ Nf3 9 Bxf8 Rxf8 10 Bxf3+ Qxf3+ 11 Kxf3, and after a lot of woodshifting the game fizzled out to a very pedestrian draw. Truly a case of much ado about nothing, but then, is it not that very ado that, win or loss or draw, gives us chessists the everlasting joy we get out of our game?’


Which fingers?

From Per Skjoldager (Fredericia, Denmark):

‘On page 47 of his book Af en skakstympers skriftemål Harald Enevoldsen relates the following story from a simultaneous display by Aron Nimzowitsch in 1923, in which Harald and his older brother Jens took part (they were aged 16 and 13 respectively):

“The way he handled the pieces was somewhat peculiar. He did not use the first, second and third fingers as we did, but the second, third and fourth. This – as it seemed – very sophisticated manner of moving the pieces we copied immediately, and I use it even today.”

On page 65 of Alt om skak (Odense, 1943) there is a picture of Alekhine giving a simultaneous display in Copenhagen in 1935. It is clear that he is moving the pieces in a similar way:


The question is whether both Nimzowitsch and Alekhine had this peculiar habit or whether Enevoldsen was mixing up the two. Any other evidence?’


Lasker on the Ruy López

‘If you have Black, and your opponent plays 3 Bb5, your best move is to offer him a draw.’

This remark by Emanuel Lasker appeared in the Boston Transcript of 31 January 1903, an item quoted on page 130 of the March 1903 Checkmate. The Boston newspaper commented:

‘And although this was a bit of pleasantry, Dr Lasker did say in all seriousness that where the second player in almost any other opening might hope for a win, it was good judgment in the Ruy to hope for a draw. The suggestion that the chess world was waiting for some man who should begin an exhaustive analysis of the Ruy early enough in life to complete it, he dismissed with a deprecatory shrug. “I’m afraid he would have to continue it in the hereafter”, he said.’


Krogius position

From page 129 of Chernev and Reinfeld’s The Fireside Book of Chess:


The co-authors specified no opponent or occasion, merely stating that Krogius won by 1...Rxc3 2 g8(Q) Nd2+ 3 Ka1 Rc1+ 4 Rxc1 b2+ 5 Ka2 bxc1(N)+ 6 Kxa3 Nc4 mate. They call this ‘one of the loveliest mates produced in actual play’, but what more is known about it?


Vesa Määttä (Oulu, Finland) informs us that Eero E. Böök gave the Krogius position on page 72 of the 2/1978 issue of Suomen Shakki, describing it as from a casual game in Helsinki in January 1932 between Yrjö Verho (‘an artist, later professor’) and A.R. Krogius (1903-80). The latter was well known in Finnish chess circles during the 1920s and 1930s and won the national championship in 1932.

Our correspondent adds a game presented by Böök in the same article:

Ali Ragnar Krogius – I. Niemelä
Loviisa, July 1934
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Bg5 d5 4 e3 Nbd7 5 Nf3 Be7 6 Nbd2 O-O 7 Bd3 b6 8 Qc2 Bb7 9 cxd5 exd5 10 Ne5 Nxe5 11 dxe5 Ne4 12 h4 Nxg5 13 hxg5 g6 14 f4 c5 15 Qd1 c4


16 Rxh7 cxd3 17 Kf2 f6 18 Qh1 Resigns.

We have seen this miniature on page 339 of Schackvärlden, September 1934 and should like to locate a 1930s source for the Verho v Krogius game too.


Perpetual check missed

The following brief feature by Ossip Bernstein was published on page 726 of the September 1927 issue of L’Echiquier:

‘Some time ago I was at the Gambit Café in London. Watching the games being played before me, I saw among others the following position, which occurred in a game between two strong players:


The game is obviously lost for White, but in desperation he continued to play automatically: 1 Nd7. Black replied 1…e2?, and White resigned, as he played 2 Bxe2, at the point when he could draw the game with the following combination which I showed him: 2 Nxe5! (instead of 2 Bxe2) 2…e1(Q) 3 Rf8+!! Rxf8 (If 3…Kh7? White mates in two moves.) 4 Ng6+, followed by perpetual check.’


Bird on Bird

From page 5 of Modern Chess and Chess Masterpieces by H.E. Bird (London, 1887):

‘… Zukertort has good-naturedly and not unkindly expressed the opinion that if I had been less experimental and less hazardous in my play I might have secured higher positions in tournaments; and Mr Minchin in his great and very successful work [the London, 1883 tournament book] did me more than justice; if, however, I have had less success than some other players, I have derived more amusement and real pleasure from the combinations of the game, besides which if I am not original in chess I am nothing.’


Steiner’s observations

Some gleanings from Kings of the Chess Board by L. Steiner (Roseville, 1948):

‘If there is any possibility of not recapturing a pawn, Ragozin would always try to avoid the recapture. He would sit at the board, brooding over more artistic plans.’ (Page 26)

‘Tartakower is truly the grand (not old, as he is fresh, virile and very active) man of chess. He was always a symbol to me. I never knew an intrinsically stronger chessmaster. There were better players, as Tartakower deliberately chose inferior openings – for pure devilment at first and later as a habit. But, when he got into the inevitable jam, Tartakower played with the strength of steel, often extricating himself.’ (Page 30)

‘Although his opening repertoire is not extensive [Barcza] has analysed those openings he does favour more thoroughly than any other master I know. He analyses these openings right through to the middlegame and, incredible as it may seem, to the very endgame itself. Barcza knows exactly what types of middlegames arise from his chosen openings and what types of endgames can be expected.’ (Page 44)


The reference to Barcza has reminded Steve Giddins of what Wolfgang Heidenfeld wrote on pages 106-107 of the April 1962 BCM regarding the start of Barcza’s game against Ólafsson at that year’s Interzonal tournament in Stockholm:

‘1 Nf3 g6 2 d4 (Unusual – for Barcza.) 2…Nf6 3 g3 (Normal – for Barcza, who still relates with pride Golombek’s remark on his opening repertoire. “Barcza”, Golombek is reputed to have said, “is the most versatile player in the opening. He sometimes plays P-KKt3 on the first, sometimes on the second, sometimes on the third, and sometimes only on the fourth move.”)’

Mr Giddins asks if any corroboration exists for Golombek’s alleged observation.


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. [Attention is also drawn to A Fictitious Chess Book.]

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.


Fischer, psychoanalysis and President Kennedy


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.’



From page 88 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess by Irving Chernev:

‘P.F. Blake received first prize for a problem published in the Kent Mercury in 1892. The problem was later found to have a dual solution!

Stranger was the case of the problem by L. Knotek which won second prize in a composing tourney. The problem was found to have seven first moves which would solve it, in addition to the one intended by the author!’

Chernev had written similarly on pages 29-30 of his 1937 book Curious Chess Facts, the only substantive difference being the provision of a year (1925) for the Knotek composition. Regarding the Blake ‘wonder and curiosity’, the exclamation mark from Chernev was, to be sure, cheaply earned, but we decided to look for both compositions. It was easy to find that Blake won first prize in a contest organized by the Kentish (not ‘Kent’) Mercury at that time (the composition was published on page 113 of the February 1893 BCM), but there was no question of unsoundness. Concerning Ladislav Knotek, we found that in 1925 he won second prize in a Wiener Schachzeitung competition, but here too the composition had only one key move.

Consequently, we enlisted the help of two correspondents. With respect to the Blake problem, Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England) writes as follows:

‘P.F. Blake won first prize in a tourney for two-movers run by the Kentish Mercury, the entries being published between September and December 1892. The problem (i.e. the same as the one published in the February 1893 BCM) was given in the Kentish Mercury of 16 September 1892:


Mate in two

The key, 1 Ne6, sets up a block, and there is one dual, after 1...Ra3.

Blake published three other two-movers in the Kentish Mercury between December 1891 and May 1892. All are sound, and have waiting keys and completely accurate play.

Chernev's comment is inexplicable. Of course, there is nothing strange about older problems, even prize-winners, having cooks. The composers did not have the benefit of computer testing.’

As regards Chernev’s claim about the Knotek problem, we have received the following from Karel Mokrý (Prostějov, Czech Republic):

‘I have a book (copies of the chess column in Národní Listy) which features a selection of 150 of Knotek’s problems from 1910 to 1928. From 1925 ten problems are given, three of which won second prize. One of these was the composition in the Wiener Schachzeitung tournament mentioned by you, and the second, also sound, competed in the Slovenský národ tourney. The third was from the Lidové Noviny problem tournament. It was described as the corrected version of the problem, so it is possible that the original was the composition referred to by Chernev. The “corrected” version was:


Selfmate in five moves

The solution was given as 1 Qa7, one line being 1…exd5 2 Ke1 3 Qg7 4 Rf1 5 Bd1.’

We have subjected this ‘corrected version’ of the Lidové Noviny problem to a computer check, which indicates that in addition to 1 Qa7 there are five key moves (Bg7, Bh8, Bd3, f6 and Bf6). Mr McDowell points out that a sound (computer-tested) version appeared on page 30 of Jiří Jelínek’s 1996 book The Dynamic Echo in the Bohemian Selfmate:


Selfmate in five moves

Solution: 1 Rg1 exd5 2 Ke1 d4 3 Qc4 Ke3 4 Rf1 d3 5 Bd1 d2; 1…e5 2 Bf3 e4/Kxf3 3 Rh4(+) Kxf3/e4 4 Bc3 e3 5 Be1 e2; 1…exf5 2 Rgh1 Kg3 3 Qc4 f4 4 Kg1 f3 5 Bf1 f2.


The Vienna Gambit

‘Of all the openings, perhaps the Vienna is the most prolific in beautiful variations, and in throwing off strong branches quite close to the root of the main stem.’

Source: Pierce Gambit, Chess Papers and Problems by J. Pierce and W.T. Pierce (London, 1888), page 3.

It would seem that few nowadays are familiar with the Pierce Gambit (1 e4 e5 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 exf4 4 Nf3 g5 5 d4) and the games of the Pierce brothers.


A tribute to Capablanca

From page 109 of Lessons in Chess Strategy by Valeri Beim (London, 2003):

‘… throughout history Capablanca, as no other player has managed to do, played the greatest number of important games that help us understand the very essence of the game of chess.’


A spectacular key move

The problem below (by Alain C. White, Good Companions, 1920) is certainly well known to composition specialists, yet we sought it in vain in innumerable periodicals of the time, as well as in many ‘standard’ problem books published down the years:


Mate in two

On page 94 of The Joys of Chess (New York, 1961) Fred Reinfeld wrote:

‘Though the key is a waiting move, it is anything but inactive. In fact, it has substantial claims to being the most astonishing key in the whole realm of problems.’

Unfortunately, Reinfeld’s book placed the white queen at g7, which allows 1 Qg1 mate. Peter J. Tamburro, Jr. copied the error on page 151 of his book Learn Chess from the Greats (Mineola, NY, 2000) and, on the same page, misspelt A.C. White’s first name three times.


V.F. Ostrogsky

From page 154 of Checkmate, May 1904:

‘Moscow possesses a young chessplayer, Ostrogsky by name, who is making a reputation as a blindfold expert. In a recent performance he contested 23 games simultaneously, beating Pillsbury’s record by one. Of course, in strength and rapidity of play he is inferior to the American master, but his chess future is most promising.’

C.N.s 703, 765, 808 and 1467 discussed this little-known player, whose blindfold results were related in various magazines in 1904:

5 (?) November 1903: +5 –1 =3
12 November 1903: +5 –1 =4
5 December 1903: +3 –6 =8
28 February 1904: +8 –5 =7 and three games unfinished.

The allegedly record-breaking 23-game display lasted 14 hours, with a 90-minute break. There were ten opponents in all, some of whom played two or more games against Ostrogsky at the same time.

Sources: Deutsche Schachzeitung, April 1904, page 122. Deutsches Wochenschach, 6 March 1904, page 86 and 20 March 1904, page 103. La Stratégie, 22 February 1904, page 52 and 20 April 1904, page 116. BCM, April 1904, page 168.

The BCM described Ostrogsky as ‘a young player of phenomenal powers in the direction of simultaneous blindfold play’ and gave his 19-move defeat of Rumsha, which is to be found in various databases.

He appeared in the group photograph of Reval, 1904 on page 17 of Baltische Schachblätter, Heft 10, 1905 (scan courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library):


Larger version

As regards the record which Ostrogsky purportedly beat, it may be recalled that Pillsbury had played 22 games blindfold in Moscow on 14 December 1902, his result being +17 –1 =4. All the game-scores appeared on pages 350-355 of Harry Nelson Pillsbury American Chess Champion by Jacques N. Pope (Ann Arbor, 1996).



Taylor Kingston (Shelburne, VT, USA) draws attention to the Everyman Chess advertisement for Winning Unorthodox Openings by Angus Dunnington on page 16 of the September 2000 CHESS. The book receives this commendatory quote from ‘Teletext’:

‘An essential read for anybody trying to confuse their opponent from the outset!’

In reality, the confusion from the outset originates within the advertisement itself, which reads:

‘This objective guide covers all 16 of White’s alternatives to 1 e4, Nf3. Some of these lines have a cult following, while others are starting the game, with their own subtleties and pitfalls for the are truly off-beat. Dunnington provides the “essential to catch people with them as White, or need, as must all players, Black.’

(Kingpin, 2000)

Modern Chess Openings

‘Well begun is half done’, says the back-cover blurb of MCO-14, and it is worth recalling how the series started (in 1911). In his reminiscences on pages 145-151 of the April 1932 BCM, the magazine’s then editor, R.C. Griffith (1872-1955) wrote:

‘It might interest readers to know how Modern Chess Openings came into being. I got a notebook and put down in it variations of certain openings which pleased me and my dear old friend, J.H. White, hon. secretary of the Hampstead Chess Club, whose death as the result of an accident everyone deplored, said to me “You have got so much there, why do you not complete a book on openings? I will help you.” With his help we brought the book out.’

(Kingpin, 2000)

J.H. White died in a cycling accident on 18 November 1920, at the age of 40 (BCM, December 1920, page 369). Page 133 of the February 1921 Chess Amateur paid a fulsome tribute to him (‘A small collection of Mr White’s best games would be a very acceptable publication. No player risked more, or was more fertile in new ideas.’) when publishing the following forgotten miniature:

N.N. – J.H. White
Hampstead (date?)
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Nxe4 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 d5 8 dxe5 Be6 9 c3 Bc5 10 Nbd2 O-O 11 Bc2 f5 12 exf6 Nxf6 13 Nb3 Bd6 14 Nbd4 Nxd4 15 Nxd4 Ng4 16 h3


16…Qh4 17 Nxe6 Nxf2 18 Qxd5 Bh2+ 19 Kxh2 Ng4+ 20 Kg1 Rxf1+ 21 Kxf1 Qf2 mate.



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.’


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.’


An old hoax

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 ‘Żartobliwy’ 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 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.


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

Rubinstein’s first recorded game

From page 6 of Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King by J. Donaldson and N. Minev (Seattle, 1994):

‘Judging from the available evidence, Rubinstein probably began his chess career a few years before the turn of the century. The following game is the earliest example that has been preserved and it shows that Rubinstein already possessed good combinative skills. The exact date when it was played is unclear but we would guess sometime during 1900-1902.’

The book then gives (on page 7) ‘Rubinstein v Bartoszkiewicz, Bialystok, 1901 (?)’, a 17-move win for Rubinstein which is too familiar to be repeated here.

Further information would be welcomed. We note that page 38 of Jeugdpartijen van Beroemde Meesters by S. Postma (Venlo, 1984) stated that the game was played by correspondence in 1897.


Kasparov books

Which was the first monograph on Kasparov? Our chronological list in C.N. 2751 began with Garri Kasparov – the Chess Prodigy from Baku by E. Brondum (Copenhagen, 1980), but Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) now informs us that when he had the opportunity, during Kasparov’s visit to Lund on 13 December 2003, to have some items signed by the master one of them was 60 partier 1978-80, a duplicated 42-page Swedish booklet (A4 size) issued by the Strömstad Chess Club. Since that booklet’s Foreword was dated ‘November 1980’, it may well be that Brondum’s work had indeed come first, but can anyone put the matter beyond doubt?


C.N. 3128 referred to a scarce monograph, published in Sweden in 1980, on Kasparov’s games, and we can think of only one volume of text by Kasparov himself which is difficult to obtain: Politik, Schach und die Grenzen menschlicher Leistungsfähigkeit (Zurich, undated). Fifty pages long, it was published by Bank Hofmann and comprises, in German translation, abridgments of three lectures given by Kasparov in 1999. They were entitled ‘Russia – Stuck with its Past’, ‘Chess, Politics & Computers’ and ‘Limits of Human Performance’.


See Books about Fischer and Kasparov.

‘The Save to End Saves’

Under the heading ‘The Save to End Saves’ pages 2-3 of Chess World, 1 January 1950 gave the conclusion of a game between C.G. Watson and G. Koshnitsky from the Australian Championship in Sydney on 3 September 1945, in which Watson ‘produced the most spectacular recovery of his whole career’. Below we quote the magazine’s punctuation and some extracts from its annotations:


31…Qg1! (‘The obvious move was 31…Rh2, and we leave students to see how White would then at least draw.’) 32 Rxb4! Rxb4 33 Nf4 Rhb5! 34 Qe8+ Kg7 (‘Now 35 Nd3 would give a very good fight, but Watson was in acute clock trouble and therefore chose aggression at all costs.’) 35 Ne6+!? Kf6! 36 Qh8+ Kxe6 (‘Now Watson sealed a move. As he was a rook down, one heard the usual mutterings on all sides – why doesn’t he resign? – what on earth does he think he’s playing on for? – and so on. But for one thing the black king is in mid-board. For another, the official opening had caused delay, and there was only an hour for tea, so Koshnitsky was not likely to do much analyzing – in any case it looked hardly worthwhile.’) 37 d5+! Kxd5? (‘The first and chief error. He thinks anything goes. After 37…Rxd5 White had nothing.’) 38 Qf6! Qh1 (‘Quite a deep idea. His king seeks sanctuary at a8 ultimately, and he therefore protects c6 against a diagonal check when that stage arrives. But it is too subtle. Better 38…Qb1, threatening things.’) 39 b3! (‘Black had missed this. Now he seeks desperately for a means of evading the draw by perpetual check. At last he finds one.”) 39…Kc5? 40 Qe5+ Qd5??


(‘White mates in four. Somehow it had not entered Black’s head that there might be a fate worse than drawing.’)


A question of size

The description of Pillsbury in C.N. 3141 as a short man prompts us to quote a brief item entitled ‘The Height of Players’ from Sunday States, as given on page 500 of the American Chess Magazine, June 1899:

‘Are chessplayers tall men? Generally speaking, we should say not. If the average height of masters were to be ascertained it would be below five feet seven inches. Considering the stature of the past and present masters, we think the average would be about five feet six inches. Paul Morphy was a small man, and we are told that as he sat before Meek in their game of the American tournament they were referred to as David and Goliath. Meek remarked that if Morphy didn’t give him a chance he would put the little fellow in his pocket. Harrwitz was a little man; Paulsen was not large; Zukertort was small; Steinitz is very short; Pillsbury, Lasker, Weiss, Tarrasch, Walbrodt, Charousek are all little men; Gunsberg, Mason, Schlechter are far from large. Of the tall players Blackburne, Chigorin, Showalter, Mackenzie, Pollock, Burn, Marco, Schiffers, Maróczy are of the minority.’

C.N. 1106 quoted W.H. Watts’ description of Chigorin as ‘a small jerky man’. See pages 192-193 of Chess Explorations. In an article on Hastings, 1895 in Saturday Review, 31 August 1895 (see pages 359-362 of Jacques N. Pope’s monograph) Pillsbury called Walbrodt ‘a very small man also, the smallest of all the competitors’.

Pillsbury’s remark is confirmed by other descriptions and photographs, with one exception: in the Dresden, 1892 photograph on page 56 of A Picture History of Chess by F. Wilson the player identified as Walbrodt appears taller even than Blackburne.

Below, courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library, is a photograph of B. Hönlinger and W. Schönmann taken at the Congress of the German Chess Union in Vienna in 1926, from page 227 of the August 1926 Deutsche Schachzeitung:

hoenlinger schoenmann


One of the tallest of the older masters was Paul Lipke. From page 34 of the October 1894 Chess Monthly:

‘Socially, Herr Lipke is of pleasing, gentlemanly manners; good-looking …; head and shoulders above the average amateur at chess, and also in height, he measures 195 centimetres in his stockings.’

The magazine stated, moreover, that Lipke was ‘one of the best living blindfold players’ and had given exhibitions on eight and ten boards.


An addition to our list of tall chessplayers is Willem Jan Muhring. Stefan Muellenbruck (Trier, Germany) quotes from page 98 of Meesterlijk geschut by W.J. Muhring and J. Roelfs (Amsterdam, 1955):

‘Muhring is precies 1.98 m lang en derhalve een indrukwekkende figuur.’


The following quote comes from an article by Hans Kmoch and Fred Reinfeld on pages 9-11 of the January 1951 Chess Review:

‘… Tarrasch was given short shrift by Mijnheer te Kolsté of Holland in the Baden-Baden tournament held in 1925. Te Kolsté had turned up as a rather inadequate substitute for Dr Max Euwe. Approximately seven feet tall, weighing 250 pounds and with hands the size of a chessboard, te Kolsté presented a formidable appearance. His accomplishments were by no means so formidable, and te Kolsté represented little more than a bye in the tournament. For example, during his game with te Kolsté, Tartakower spent most of the time chatting with Alekhine, and, at one point, seeing that te Kolsté had made a move, Tartakower interrupted the conversation with the remark: “Excuse me, I have to see whether my opponent has left his queen en prise.” And, sure enough, he had done just that.’

Whether Jan Willem te Kolsté (1874-1936) was really about 2.13 metres tall we are unable to say, but the well-known group photograph taken at Baden-Baden, 1925 does not give that impression. As regards the Tartakower game, it may be thought that a more likely, and less derisive, comment would be (after 16…Qe7), ‘Excuse me, I have to see whether my opponent has left his queen to be trapped’.


See too our feature articles on Max Euwe and William Winter, as well as the Factfinder references to Carl Walbrodt.

Quiz question

Who wrote the following?

‘You must be prepared to lose hundreds of games before you qualify yourself as a first-class player.’


The writer was not Capablanca but H. Peachey, on page 61 of Everybody’s Guide to Chess and Draughts (London, 1896).

The Cuban did, of course, express similar sentiments several decades later, and they have been widely quoted, ‘sourcelessly’. See, for instance, page 277 of The Chess Companion by Irving Chernev.

We recall two places where Capablanca made such a remark. Firstly, in the ‘Chess Maxims’ section of A Primer of Chess (page 73 of the London, 1935 edition):

‘You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.’

Secondly, Capablanca declared in his Last Lectures (page 65 of the New York, 1966 edition and page 69 of the London, 1969 edition):

‘Remember that it is necessary to lose hundreds of games in order to become a good player.’



The one and only Wilhelm Steinitz is not the one and only chess Steinitz. Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia listed another W. Steinitz (born circa 1904), and others too bore that surname. The best known was the problemist and journalist Steinitz of Breslau, whose 70th birthday was announced on page 271 of the 26 July 1914 Deutsches Wochenschach. Pages 269-270 of the same issue had this miniature:

Julius Steinitz – Arnold Schottänder
Breslau, 1903
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 f5 4 Nc3 fxe4 5 Nxe4 Nf6 6 Ng3 d6 7 O-O Bd7 8 d4 e4 9 Re1 d5 10 c4 Be7 11 cxd5 exf3 12 dxc6 bxc6 13 Bc4 fxg2 14 Bg5 Kf8 15 Nh5 Bg4 16 Bxf6 Bxd1 17 Bxg7+ Ke8 18 Nf6 mate.

Then there was this notice on page 149 of the September-October 1922 American Chess Bulletin:

‘Y. Steinitz, 939 North Orianna street, (rear No. 8), Philadelphia, Pa., wishes to play by correspondence with any readers of the Bulletin.’

Finally, we have the 212-page book Der praktische Schachspieler by K.G. Steinitz, published in Reutlingen. It is undated, but chess library catalogues give 1888 as the year of first publication.


For more information on this topic, including pictures, see Chess Camouflage Publications.

Quantitative output

From page 44 of The Complete Book of Chess by I.A. Horowitz and P.L. Rothenberg (New York, 1969):

‘Do not be impressed by publisher’s blurbs stressing the quantitative output of the author. It is fundamental that the greater the output by the author, the more likely is his chess product to be a crude pastiche or a rehash or an actual perversion of what already exists in much superior form.’

From the book’s back cover:

‘I.A. Horowitz … is … the author of some 30 books on chess.’


Most beautiful chess books

In any short-list of the most beautiful chess books ever produced there is a guaranteed place for The Twentieth Century Retractor, Chess Fantasies, and Letter Problems by Mrs W.J. Baird (Henry Sotheran & Co., London, 1907). Its design (navy blue print) is as remarkable as the material is esoteric.

But now we have received a new book so stunning in terms of both production and content that we can only marvel at it: David DeLucia’s Chess Library. A Few Old Friends (Darien, 2003). Mr DeLucia presents items from his collection, with innumerable photographs (many in colour) and informative commentary. His possessions include a bamboo cane of Morphy’s, a gold pocket watch of Capablanca’s and a childhood accordion of Fischer’s. Books, manuscripts, letters and score-sheets are all set out with matchless elegance. The book is a 236-page hardback in a limited edition of 150 copies. Readers who find a way of procuring one of them will be fortunate indeed.


Pawn ending

Louis Blair (Carlinville, IL, USA) writes to us about this position from pages 88-89 of The New York Times Guide to Good Chess by I.A. Horowitz (New York, 1969):


White to move

Incredibly, Horowitz asserted: ‘it is a drawn game, provided Black defends correctly’. He gave 1 Kd6 Kd8 2 c6 Kc8 3 Kc5 Kc7, disregarding the ultra-obvious 3 c7.


Whose book?

A book co-edited by a well-known chess figure contained the two photographs reproduced below. Who was he?



The answer is T.R. Dawson. The two photographs appeared in a book which he co-edited with P. Schidrowitz: History of the Rubber Industry (Cambridge, 1952). The illustrations are a) ‘photomicrograph (x 6) showing cross-section of foamed rubber, 1908’ and b) ‘photomicrograph (x 20) showing expanded structure’.

Page iii of the book, which appeared shortly after Dawson’s death, described him as follows:

‘Intelligence Officer of the Research Association of British Rubber Manufacturers, a man of international repute in the world of rubber, and, amongst other things, well known for his fine work in organizing and developing at Croydon the world’s greatest rubber library.’


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:



See too our subsequent feature article The Chess Writer W.H. Cozens.


From Alain Pallier (Avignon, France):

‘I would like to ask for further biographical data about L. Monosson, who lived in France in the 1920s and 1930s. He was in St Petersburg in 1912 (see pages 91-92 of Complete Games of Alekhine, volume 1 by J. Kalendovský and V. Fiala). On page 6 of issue 65 of the Bulletin of the Fédération Française des Echecs (15 October 1934-15 January 1935), there is a short report on the Paris Championship of 1934:

“Le tournoi principal a vu la victoire de l’excellent joueur M. Monosson, de nationalité russe, qui n’ayant perdu aucune partie, gagne ainsi brillamment le titre de champion de Paris 1935 avec 20 points sur 24 possibles. Suivent ensuite: MM. Golbérine et Halberstadt, 18 points; MM. Anglarès et Rabinovitch, 17 points; MM. Vernay et Voisin: 14 points; Efron, 12 points et Perelmans 10 points.”

Note that a win was rewarded with three points (a draw with two and a loss with one). Monosson scored + 4 –0 =4.

Kalendovský and Fiala mention the 1931 consultation tournament in Nice (Monosson was supposed to have settled in Nice); I note that in 1932 Monosson was elected President of the Cercle de Lutèce, in Paris. (V. Halberstadt was the treasurer and C. Seneca and M. Duchamp are given as “technical advisers” in the club.) Source: Bulletin No. 57 of the Fédération Française des Echecs, December 1932, page 7.’

Here is a game which Tartakower annotated on pages 834-835 of L’Echiquier, December 1934:

L. Monosson – Golbérine
Paris Championship, 18 November 1934
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O b5 6 Bb3 Be7 7 a4 Rb8 8 axb5 axb5 9 Bd5 Nb4 10 Bb3 Nxe4 11 Nxe5 O-O 12 c3 Nc6 13 Nxf7 Rxf7 14 Bxf7+ Kxf7 15 Qh5+ Kf8 16 Qxh7 Nf6 17 Qh8+ Kf7 18 Qh4 d5 19 d4 Qd7 20 Bf4 Bd6 21 Nd2 Ne7 22 Bxd6 Ng6 23 Qg5 cxd6 24 Rfe1 Qf5 25 Ra7+ Kf8 26 Qg3 Rb6 27 Ra8 Kf7 28 Qe3 Rb7 29 Qg3 Rb6 30 h3 Ne4 31 Qe3 Kf6


32 g4 (Tartakower gave two exclamation marks to this ‘deeply calculated’ move.) 32…Qf4 33 Qxf4+ Nxf4 34 Nxe4+ dxe4 35 Rxc8 Nxh3+ 36 Kg2 Ng5 37 d5 b4 38 Rc6 Rb5 39 Rxd6+ Ke5 40 Rg6 bxc3 41 Rxg5+ Kf4 42 Rxg7 Rxb2 43 Rc7 Resigns.


Decided by correspondence

Roald Berthelsen (Täby, Sweden) writes:

‘As reported on page 54 of the book Dansk korrespondanceskak by Villads Junker (published in Aabybro in the mid-1940s), in the Danish over-the-board championship in Svendborg in 1930 A. Desler and N. Lie finished equal second. The organizers decided to break the tie with two games of correspondence chess (a contest which N. Lie won 1½-½). Has any similar arrangement occurred in other over-the-board tournaments, past or present?’


Shories and addresses

After George Shories (or Georg Schories) died in 1934, his obituaries in the Deutsche Schachzeitung (February 1935, pages 41-42) and the Deutsche Schachblätter (1 March 1935, page 74) stated that he had been born in Berlin on 9 January 1873, whereas other sources (e.g. ‘The Chess Lovers’ Kalendar’ on page 313 of The Year-Book of Chess, 1912) gave 9 January 1874.

The BCM ignored Shories’ death but the following paragraph had appeared on page 123 of the March 1934 issue:

‘In his column, the Augsburger Schachblatt, Dr A. Seitz lately devoted a long article to Georg Schories, formerly known in England for many years as G. Shories, who on 9 January reached his 60th birthday. He mentions that after his success at the amateur tournament at Ostend [in 1907] a business postcard was addressed to him from Germany “G. Schories Chess Champion England”.’

This reminds us of a brief item on page 265 of the May 1965 CHESS under the heading ‘It had to happen’:

‘We have just received an envelope addressed:

Sutton Coldfield,
Sufficient address.”’


Which great chessmaster?

Which great chessmaster published a book containing this cryptic-looking chart?



The cryptic-looking chart came from page 165 of a book by Emanuel Lasker, Encyclopedia of Games, Volume one, Card Strategy (New York, 1929). It illustrated how a hand of whist was played, with ‘h8 cA’, for instance, meaning ‘eight of hearts, ace of clubs’.

The book had much mathematical content related to probability and risk. Lasker did, though, begin his explanations of poker and whist by devising simplified versions of these games, and he christened these inventions ‘pokerette’ and ‘whistette’.


Icelandic chess magazine

Page 414 of the posthumous collection of Fiske’s writings, Chess Tales & Chess Miscellanies (New York, 1912) quoted a remark on him from page 397 of The Nation, 16 May 1901. It included the following:

‘He has further conceived the idea of starting a chess magazine printed in Icelandic, and the first two numbers of his journal have actually been issued. It bears the title Í Uppnámi (En prise).’

On page 6 of his book The Sporting Scene (London, 1973) – or see pages 4-5 of the US edition, Fields of Force (New York, 1974) – George Steiner wrote:

‘Printed in Leipzig and written in Icelandic, the chess magazine I Uppnami which Fiske published in 1900 and 1901 was among the better chess periodicals in the world at the time.’

Not having seen the magazine, we should welcome an overview of its contents.


See C.N. 3563.

‘Won by Rubinstein’

John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA) informs us that he and Nikolay Minev are preparing a second edition of their work on Akiba Rubinstein (published in two volumes in 1994 and 1995). He asks for information about the position below, which appeared under the heading ‘Won by Rubinstein’ on page 32 of Chess Combinations and Traps by V. Ssosin (Middletown, NY, 1936):


White is said to have won with 1 Rh3+ gxh3 2 Kf3 g4+ 3 Kf4 g3 4 hxg3 mate.


Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, United Kingdom) draws attention to the following position by J. Márquez in Ruy López, March 1897:


Mate in four

1 Ra4+, etc.

Our correspondent comments that the problem is number 75B in A.C. White’s book The White Rooks (Stroud, 1910).





The photograph was in the June 1897 issue of the American Chess Magazine (on the unnumbered page opposite page 30). The caption read:

‘Mr Chas. A. Gilberg, the distinguished amateur, is playing with Mr Chas. A. Gilberg, the President of the Manhattan Chess Club, while Mr Chas. A. Gilberg, the eminent problem composer, is an interested onlooker.’


See too a photograph of P.H. Williams, first given in C.N. 2942:


This photograph of Philip Peterson appeared in C.N. 6040:


Book request

‘What I should like to see is a single volume compilation on the lines of, say, the Oxford Companion [to] Music, to do for chess what the latter does for music.’

Source: a letter by W. Unterberg on page 174 of CHESS, May 1946.


Gilbert Highet

On page viii of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess (New York, 1974) Irving Chernev wrote that his various columns had ‘created a great deal of interest in the happenings in “the small flat world of chess”, as Gilbert Highet phrased it’.

‘The small, flat world of the chessboard’ was Highet’s phrase in an article, ‘Chess Men’, on pages 18-22 of The Joys of Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1961). A footnote on page 18 stated ‘Copyright 1957 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission’, but despite owning nearly all of Highet’s books, including about a dozen inscribed copies, we have been unable to trace that article in any of them.

Nor have we yet found the source of a Highet quote reproduced by Chernev in two of his books (i.e. on page 227 of Combinations The Heart of Chess and page 278 of The Chess Companion):

‘Some of Capablanca’s finest games remind me of the compositions of de Falla in their blend of intricacy, elusiveness, dignity and basic simplicity.’

Gilbert Highet’s obituary in the New York Times of 21 January 1978 described him as a ‘classicist, scholar, critic, poet, author and educator’.


Mark N. Taylor (Mount Berry, GA, USA) reports that Gilbert Highet’s remark about Capablanca and de Falla appeared in an article entitled ‘The Small Flat World’ on pages 235-242 of Highet’s book A Clerk of Oxenford (New York, 1954). It is a different essay from the ‘Chess Men’ one which Reinfeld reproduced in The Joys of Chess and whose source we are still seeking.



On 16 October 1897 Steinitz was the beneficiary of a testimonial concert in New York and had to endure an adulatory address by Edward Hymes. One sentence will be enough here:

‘Steinitz is to chess the man of all men, not of this generation nor of the past, but of all time.’

Source: American Chess Magazine, October 1897, page 265.


Subaqua chess championship

From CHESS, September 1958, page 370:

‘John E. Almond of San Francisco announces the “very first world under-water chess championship”. In a local swimming pool, one of those with a plate-glass side-window which enables people to sip coffee whilst watching the bathers’ antics broadside-on, a metal chess board is to be sunk in a vertical position. The contestants will be timed, and dive down alternately to make moves with metal pieces.

To date, entrants consist of John Almond and a friend.’

It has yet to be ascertained whether the event went ahead.



‘Chess as a curative for seasickness’ was the title of a brief article on page 227 of the December 1899 American Chess Magazine by Oviedo Mesick Bostwick (who was featured in play against Janowsky in C.N. 3174):

‘Several years ago I had occasion to cross the ocean to Havre on that ill-fated steamer La Bourgogne, now resting at the bottom of the sea. In the smoking cabin there were chess tables provided with Staunton men having little wooden pegs, which prevented the pieces from slipping off the boards.

… We played morning, afternoon and evening. In fact, we did nothing else during the entire voyage as, unfortunately, the weather continued stormy all the way over, and nearly all the passengers were seasick but, strange to relate, we chessplayers were not affected at all, so engrossed were we in combinations, problems, etc. from morning until night that we actually had no time for that dreaded illness.

I certainly do attribute my non-seasickness on this voyage to mental concentration upon the ancient game …’

Bostwick related that during his return journey on a different line there were no chess facilities and ‘I fell seasick and remained so for three awful days’.


New York, 1893

We are grateful to HarpWeek LLC for permission to reproduce a group photograph which appeared in Harper’s Weekly at the time of the New York, 1893 tournament:

new york

From left to right in the back row: W.H.K. Pollock, H. Cassel, G.H.D. Gossip, F.J. Lee, A. Albin, H.N. Pillsbury, M. Frankel, A.F. Higgins, W.Bigelow, E.W. Dahl, F.G. Janish, S. Lipschütz and L. Goldmark.

Front row: J.M. Hanham, J. Ryan, E. Delmar, N. Jasnogrodsky, J.W. Showalter, L. Schmidt, Em. Lasker, J. Taubenhaus and E.N. Olly.

Larger version


Beginners’ book from India


‘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.



On page 7 of his book Farewell to Germany (London, 1959) Heinrich Fraenkel (who wrote on chess under the pseudonym ‘Assiac’) described his enforced departure from the fatherland:

‘Some time in 1932 I had accepted the position of Berlin correspondent for Variety, the New York show-business journal. It was a mere side job for me, even though I had to file quite a few thousand words every week. Now it so happened that a week or two after Hitler’s accession, Variety printed a Berlin news item which the new regime promptly branded as “atrocity propaganda”. It certainly wasn’t, but whatever the truth of that paragraph – it dealt with the undeniable fact that an American film executive had been beaten up by power-drunk storm-troopers combing the Kurfürstendamm for persons who appeared to them to “look Jewish” – I had not filed the story; it came from an American News Agency. However, since I was listed as the paper’s Berlin correspondent the wrath of the Gestapo descended on my head (or, more precisely, on my flat, which was completely ransacked).

Fortunately I had been warned by friends and I wasn’t at home that night. It happened to be the night after the Reichstag fire, when thousands of people were arrested for alleged conspiracy in that crime. In point of fact they were a motley assortment of persons disfavoured by the new authorities for one reason or another. Well-connected friends told me that it would be wise for me to get across the frontier almost at once. I did so and without very much trouble.

I first went to Paris for a few months and then to London.’

Heinrich Fraenkel (1897-1986) had, however, first gone to England as a schoolboy, and in 1921 he won the Major Open tournament at the British Chess Federation Congress in Malvern. His victory over the runner-up, G.M. Norman, was given on page 329 of the September 1921 BCM.


We are no longer at all sure that our observation about Assiac and the 1921 tournament is correct.

The BCM referred to ‘Dr H.L. Fraenkel’, and it now seems to us far more likely that this was the player whose death was briefly mentioned on page 203 of the June 1948 BCM:

‘Frequenters of the Gambit, and many Western chessplayers, will be sorry to hear Dr H.L. Frankel died, after a stroke, recently. He was a first-class player and would rather succumb to a well-played attack than draw or win by an opponent’s blunder. He was never more delighted than when he had brought a subtle sacrifice to fruition. A charming opponent at any time.’


Blackburne the problemist

Steve Giddins recalls a paragraph concerning J.H. Blackburne in W.H. Cozens’ ‘Half a Century Back’ article on pages 387-393 of the November 1974 BCM:

‘Had he not preferred to give his whole time to play he might have been a considerable problemist. He did compose a number of three- and four-movers. He had no use for two-movers, except to demonstrate that he could solve them not merely at sight but blindfold. “Call the men out to me one at a time”, he used to say, “and don’t bother to give the black king.” When will England breed such another?’

Our correspondent asks whether contemporary accounts exist of Blackburne’s skill in the field of chess problems.

P. Anderson Graham’s 1899 book on Blackburne gave (on pages 317-326) 28 problems composed by the master between 1861 and 1894, and all but one of these were reproduced by John Keeble in an article about Blackburne as a problemist on pages 113-116 of the April 1910 issue of La Stratégie. Keeble provided more facts in a letter published on page 402 of the October 1924 BCM:

‘In common with all British chessplayers it was with great regret that I heard of the death of Mr J.H. Blackburne. Many able pens will no doubt write favourable biographical notices, but I am wondering if any will speak of his skill as a problemist. I have discussed this subject with him many times. Mr Blackburne composed many fine problems, 28 are to be found in his book, but he told me he must have composed at least 100, and only about 30 of these have been traced. Mr Blackburne said in his early days, 1861-2, he used to make about one problem a week. Many of these were published in the Manchester Express, under the initials R.S., but at that time he did not want to be a great chessplayer, or to be known as a composer of problems, so that when people began to inquire who R.S. was he altered the initials to anything that might occur to him at the time, but never to anything that would give a clue to his real name.

Mr Blackburne’s problems are all in three or more moves. He never published a two-mover, but once said he generally composed them as two-movers and afterwards added a move. Most of his problems do really appear to have been built up in that way.

Mr Blackburne held one peculiar view on chess. I showed him a problem in which PxP en passant occurred. He at once said he thought that when an International Chess Federation is formed, one of their first acts will be to abolish PxP en passant from the game of chess, and I think he meant it, for in later years he adhered to that view.’

The same issue of the BCM (page 435) had the following tribute to Blackburne in the problem section conducted by B.G. Laws and G.W. Chandler:

‘Many to whom the name of Blackburne is almost a spell are not aware that he was in his early career the composer of some excellent problems judged by the standard of construction then prevailing. We do not remember having seen a specimen by him of a two-mover, but we know he regarded them with more or less disdain. Only on one occasion we believe did he compete in a problem tourney and that was in the congress of the British Chess Association, 1862. A singular thing happened with a four-mover of his set which was passed as sound by the committee of judges. It was not until 1895 that we discovered it had a second solution, much to Blackburne’s surprise. As a solver he was very quick. He often amused a mixed company by solving two-movers with lightning speed, stipulating that the position be set up without the black king. This is of course not a great feat in the case of experienced solvers and composers, but it was made more surprising when he did this sans voir, having the position called out to him man by man in any chance order.’

A feature entitled ‘J.H. Blackburne as a composer’ appeared on page 267 of the June 1899 BCM. Below is an extract:

‘We are not in a position to say how many specimens have been manipulated by his imaginative brain, but this we can say – that such positions as we have seen all illustrate something worth the trouble of unravelling. As a rule, difficulty has proved to be an important element in his compositions, and we believe Mr Blackburne is strongly in favour of this feature in chess problems so long, of course, as it does not obliterate a pronounced chess conceit or “a bit of Morphy”. The eminent player’s efforts are not of recent date, and must not be criticized too severely, and too harsh a comparison made with models of the modern art …

As a solver it may be well to state that very few expert solvers excel Mr Blackburne’s ability to “touch bottom” of the most abstruse stratagem. His perception is keen and his quickness almost phenomenal, regard being had to the fact that problem-solving is not treated by him as a serious matter.’

In an article on chess problems which Blackburne contributed to the Strand Magazine, March 1908, pages 174-178, the beauty and practical relevance of problems were stressed:

‘There are among the votaries of the royal game many who believe that problems contain the very highest form of chess, and look upon them as works of art – as much a creation as a painting, poem or musical composition.

The mere player who has never experienced the magnetic attraction of problems cannot fully realize the feeling of joy and satisfaction from solving some masterpiece, the work of a famous composer.

There can be no doubt that solving problems, especially from diagrams, is an intellectual amusement, and that the study of problems tends to accuracy of analysis, quickens the perception and strengthens the chess faculties generally, and may occasionally impart some of those sparkling ideas which are so sadly needed in ordinary play.’

An example of Blackburne’s output (a three-mover composed in 1876) is given below:



Petroff Defence

C.N. 744 referred to L. Pachman’s remark on page 56 of his book The Opening Game in Chess (London, 1982) that after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 the reply 3…Nxe4, long considered a blunder, can be turned into ‘a gambit which is not without chances’. Below is a miniature in which the line was unsuccessful:

Alexander Steinkühler – Bernhard Horwitz
Manchester (date?)
Petroff Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 Nxe4 4 Qe2 Qe7 5 Qxe4 d6 6 d4 Nd7 7 f4 f6 8 Be2 fxe5 9 fxe5 dxe5 10 O-O exd4 11 Bh5+ Kd8 12 Bg5 Nf6 13 Rxf6 Qxe4 14 Rd6 mate.


Source: the Chess Player’s Magazine, 1863, page 125.

A very similar game (won by Ossip Bernstein at queen’s rook odds in Paris, 1931 against an unnamed opponent) was published on, for instance, pages 111-112 of Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 Nxe4 4 Qe2 Qe7 5 Qxe4 d6 6 d4 f6 7 f4 Nd7 8 Bc4 fxe5 9 fxe5 dxe5 10 O-O exd4 11 Bf7+ Kd8 12 Bg5 Nf6 13 Rxf6 Qxe4 14 Rd6 mate.


Appearance fees

From Steve Giddins:

‘In the 18 March 2004 chess column of Tverskaya 13, a newspaper published by the Moscow city government, Anatoly Matsukevich raised a question concerning the origins of the tradition of paying appearance fees to players:

“I do not know for sure, but it appears that it all started at the London tournament of 1922. Having invited Capablanca, the organizers concluded a special agreement with him, under which he would receive a certain sum of money, regardless of his result, and in return for which he undertook ‘to play every game at full strength’.”

I am sceptical about this for several reasons.

1. There is nothing in the tournament book about such an agreement.

2. It seems implausible that English gentlemen of the day would have felt the need to bribe the world champion to give of his best in every game.

3. At London, 1922 Capablanca had short draws with Alekhine and Rubinstein. The report in the BCM commented on the disappointment of the spectators.

4. Even if such an agreement did exist at London, 1922, a fee was paid to Lasker at St Petersburg, 1914, as recorded in Tarrasch’s tournament book.

5. In short, is there any truth in Matsukevich’s story regarding London, 1922, and when was the first case of a player receiving an appearance fee for participating in a tournament?’

We recall no report of Capablanca obtaining an appearance fee for London, 1922. Concerning his draw against Rubinstein, the BCM commented (September 1922 issue, page 337):

‘Naturally the fact that Capablanca and Rubinstein were drawn against one another brought many visitors to the hall, and one can naturally understand their indignation when after 13 moves Capablanca proposed and Rubinstein accepted a draw. This playing to the score, as it is called, is frequently done in international tournaments, but if, as we understand, the wish of the leading masters is that the remuneration should be more in accord with the time devoted and comparative to that obtained in other forms of sport, then such tactics will most certainly not tend to their realization.’

On page 9 of The Times, 18 August 1922 (see page 149 of our book on the Cuban) Capablanca, noting that ‘some of the spectators were evidently displeased’, set out his defence.

As regards St Petersburg, 1914, the financial conditions granted to Lasker were reported by B.E. Maliutin on pages x-xi of Tarrasch’s tournament book. Moreover, on pages 154-155 Tarrasch made his well-known remark that Lasker had received the colossal sum of more than 4,000 roubles for his participation but that this was not too high in view of the quality of his play:

‘Lasker hat für seine Mitwirkung auf dem Turnier vom Komitee eine Riesensumme erhalten, über 4000 Rubel. Ich finde das nicht zu hoch. Wenn man solche Partien spielt!’

Page 221 of the English edition (Yorklyn, 1993) incorrectly called the money ‘a travelling sum’, the translator having confused Riesen (colossal) with Reise (journey). By a circuitous, tentative journey of our own we have calculated that 4,000 roubles then would be roughly $41,500 now.

Having so far found no pre-1914 instances of appearance fees in tournament play, we conclude here with a characteristically dire nineteenth-century space-filler (published in the Kentucky State Journal and reproduced on page 104 of the Columbia Chess Chronicle, 15 November 1889):

‘While most of the professionals advocate the “modern school” they all believe in the more-fee system.’


Alan Truscott

Alan Truscott, who has written a large number of books on bridge (as well as the Foreword to Abrahams’ Brains in Bridge – see Chess and Bridge), was not a chess author but he gained some prominence as a player in the 1940s and early 1950s. The game below comes from page 274 of the December 1943 BCM; Truscott (born in 1925) was ‘the youngest member of the Croydon team’.

Alan Fraser Truscott – C.J.A. Wade
Croydon v Brighton match, Croydon, November 1943
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 Bd7 6 Nxc6 Bxc6 7 Bxc6+ bxc6 8 c4 Nf6 9 Nc3 Be7 10 O-O O-O 11 b3 Nd7 12 Qc2 Bf6 13 Be3 Re8 14 Bd2 Nc5 15 f3 Bd4+ 16 Kh1 Qh4 17 Rae1 Be5 18 f4 Bf6 19 Rf3 g6 20 Nd1 Qg4 21 b4 Ne6 22 Ne3 Qh4 23 Rh3 Nd4 24 Qd1 Qxf4 25 Ng4 Resigns.


The following game was chosen by Tartakower as the runner-up in the tournament’s ‘best game’ competition:

H.G. Rhodes – Alan Fraser Truscott
Harrogate Premier tournament, August 1947
King’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 d6 3 Nc3 Nbd7 4 g3 g6 5 Bg2 Bg7 6 e4 e5 7 d5 O-O 8 Nge2 a5 9 O-O Nc5 10 h3 Ne8 11 Be3 b6 12 a3 f5 13 exf5 gxf5 14 f4 e4 15 Rb1 Bd7 16 b4 axb4 17 axb4 Nd3 18 Bd4 Bxd4+ 19 Nxd4 Qf6 20 Nde2 Qg6 21 Kh2 Nf6 22 Nc1 Nh5 23 N3e2 Ra3 24 Qd2


(Now comes what the BCM described as ‘the 14-move combination which won him the game’.) 24…Nxg3 25 Nxg3 Nxc1 26 Nh1 Ra2 27 Rb2 Rxb2 28 Qxb2 Nd3 29 Qd2 Kf7 30 Nf2 Nxb4 31 Nxe4 fxe4 32 f5 Qg7 33 f6 Qg6 34 Bxe4 Qxe4 35 Re1 Qc2 36 Qxc2 Nxc2 37 Re7+ Kxf6 38 Rxd7 Rf7 39 White resigns.

Sources: BCM, September 1947, page 281 and January 1948, pages 25-26.

The final game here features some intricate knight play:

Alan Fraser Truscott – Denis Victor Mardle
Oxford v Cambridge match, London, 24 March 1951
Dutch Defence

1 d4 f5 2 g3 e6 3 Bg2 Nf6 4 Nf3 d5 5 O-O Be7 6 c4 O-O 7 Nc3 c6 8 Qc2 Qe8 9 Bf4 Qh5 10 a3 Nbd7 11 b4 dxc4 12 e4 Nb6 13 Rfe1 fxe4 14 Nxe4 Nfd5 15 Bg5 Bxg5 16 Nexg5 Rf5 17 Ne4 Bd7 18 Ne5 Rff8 19 Nc5 Bc8 20 Nxc4 Rf6 21 Nd6 Rh6 22 h3 Bd7 23 Re5 g5 24 Qd2 Rg6 25 a4 Rf8 26 a5 Nc8 27 Ndxb7 Rf7


28 Nd8 Re7 29 Nxd7 Rxd7 30 Nxe6 Re7 31 Bxd5 cxd5 32 Nf4 Resigns.

Source: BCM, May 1951, page 152.

Although a number of Alan Truscott’s games from the 1940s appear in databases, he has generally been confused with a later player with the same surname.



Although the exercise may be glib space-filling, chess authors often write portentously about the alleged influence of a given master on a leading figure from a later generation, and over the years such ‘connections’ have been constructed (or fabricated) between all kinds of players. Two passages concerning Botvinnik in relation to a) Nimzowitsch and b) Staunton are presented here, without further comment. The first comes from page 229 of The Great Chess Masters and Their Games by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1960). Having approvingly quoted some remarks on Botvinnik by Harry Golombek (who did not mention Nimzowitsch), Reinfeld observed:

‘What we learn from this authoritative estimate is that Botvinnik’s style is modeled on the games of Nimzowitsch rather than those of Chigorin. The specialized opening repertoire, the “new and baffling moves”, the hidden dynamism of seemingly harmless ideas, the “delayed vehemence”, the “subtle and deeply refined endgame play” – all these point to Nimzowitsch’s influence.

This impression is strengthened when we recall that Botvinnik’s formative years – 1925-1931 – coincided with the period of Nimzowitsch’s most impressive victories and the publication of his two famous works, My System and Chess Praxis.

One characteristic Nimzowitsch element is missing in Botvinnik’s play to be sure: the older master’s love for bizarre, mysterious, provocative moves. But this is understandable, for such eccentricities are wholly foreign to Botvinnik’s sobriety and self-critical temperament. And we may see here also the counter-influence of Alekhine, who always insisted that his finest flights of imagination had a logical, common-sense basis. Alekhine was often at pains to demonstrate that his occasionally paradoxical or otherwise highly original moves were in no way grotesque – that they evolved naturally out of the needs of a given position. But after all, Botvinnik is Botvinnik, and whatever he absorbed from Nimzowitsch and Alekhine he transformed into his own personal approach to the game.’

The second case creates a connection between Botvinnik and Staunton and was, at the time, a rare example of the Englishman being lauded beyond his homeland. The text comes from page 137 of Les échecs dans le monde by Victor Kahn and Georges Renaud (Monaco, 1952):

‘Howard Staunton a été non seulement le précurseur de Steinitz et de son époque, mais encore il laisse pressentir le style actuel d’un Botvinnik. Il est regrettable que la gloire factice d’un Anderssen, porté au pinacle par ses compatriotes, ait fait oublier – tout au moins hors de la Grande-Bretagne où son traité se lisait encore avant la première [sic] guerre mondiale – la profondeur des conceptions du champion anglais, conceptions tout à fait surprenantes pour ce temps-là.

Mais Staunton, à son époque, était unique et il n’y avait pas, pour apprécier son style, un climat et un public.’


‘Blackburne was a stone worker’

The above was the heading of an item on page 209 of the October-November 1899 American Chess Magazine:

‘Few people know, says M.A.P. in the Glasgow Herald, “that Mr Blackburne, who has once more vindicated his title as the first of English chessplayers, was in earlier life a worker in stone, and that the premises of the Law Life Assurance Society, adjoining the Church of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West, Fleet Street [London] show practical evidences of his skill in that craft”.’

Wanted, as ever, in such cases: corroboration and complementary information.


The pin

Sub-standard definitions of the term ‘pin’ are to be found in many chess books. For instance, the glossary on page 180 of Chess The Easy Way by Reuben Fine (Philadelphia, 1942) offered a one-sentence explanation:

‘A pin occurs when a man screens a unit of higher value.’

From page 200 of The Everything Chess Basics Book ‘by the US Chess Federation and Peter Kurzdorfer’ (Avon, 2003) comes a description which is also everything but helpful:

‘Pin. This is a weapon that requires two enemy pieces on the same line with a friendly long-range piece. Instead of two good guys and one bad guy on the line, as in a discovered attack, we have one good guy holding two bad guys hostage. Well, only one of them is actually held hostage, but they both have to be there.

The pin is more akin to a wrestling pin than to a sewing pin. In it, one friendly long-range piece looks at a powerful enemy piece with a less powerful enemy piece shielding it.’

Reference books shun the question of when ‘pin’ became part of chess terminology. On page xii of his Introduction to Chess Studies (London, 1844) George Walker wrote:

‘Of course I consider that all players for whom I have made up these Chess Studies are acquainted with the ordinary chess terms, as bishop “pins” knight, and similar conventional phrases.’

How much further back can ‘pin’ be traced in chess literature?


Dake v Alexander

A game from page 451 of the October 1935 BCM:

Arthur William Dake – Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander
Warsaw Olympiad, 31 August 1935
Grünfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 (The BCM called the opening ‘Queen’s Gambit Declined’.) 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 e3 c6 6 h3 O-O 7 Nf3 e6 8 Qb3 Qe7 9 Bd3 Nbd7 10 cxd5 exd5 11 O-O Kh8 12 Rad1 Nh5 13 Bh2 f5 14 Qc2 Nhf6 15 Ne5 Nxe5 16 Bxe5 Nd7 17 Bh2 Nb6 18 Nb1 Be6 19 Nd2 Rae8 20 Nf3 Bc8 21 Ne5 Nd7 22 f4 Nxe5 23 fxe5 a6 24 Rc1 Bh6 25 Qe2 Qe6 26 h4 Rf7 27 Bf4 Bf8 28 Qe1 h6 29 Rc2 Kg7 30 h5 Kh8 31 hxg6 Qxg6 32 Qh4 Rh7 33 Rcf2 Be7 34 Qh3 Rf8 35 Bg3 Bg5 36 Bh4 Rhf7 37 Bxg5 Qxg5 38 Rf4 Qg6 39 Rh4 Kg7 40 Rf3 Qe6 41 Rg3+ Kh7


Here the BCM concluded as follows: ‘42 R-Kt4! [sic] Resigns. The threat is RxPch, followed by R-R4, a clever finish to a good game by Dake against a stiff opposition.’

All other sources found so far state that the finish was 42 Qg4 Resigns. 42 Rgg4 is weaker, as it would allow Black to hold on with 42…Rg7.


Book on Dake

The illustration below shows the last paragraph of Grandmaster from Oregon by Casey Bush (Portland, 1991). This copy of ours is extensively inscribed and annotated by Dake (who sometimes referred to himself in the third person).



Krejcik Gambit

Pages 47-48 of Artige und unartige Kinder der Schachmuse (Leipzig, 1925) provides an addition to the ‘Krejcik Gambit’ item in C.N. 696 (see page 93 of Chess Explorations). Entitled ‘Kürzestes Lehrbuch der Eröffnungslehre’ (‘Shortest Textbook of Opening Theory’), Krejcik’s offering comprised just the following:


1 e2-e4 Sg8-f6 2 f2-f3 e7-e5 3 Lf1-c4 Lf8-c5 4 Sg1-e2 Sb8-c6 5 b2-b4 und gewinnt.

Diese Kombination Aljechin-Damiano-Evans ist meine Erfindung und macht jedes weitere Studium überflüssig.’

Translation: ‘This Alekhine-Damiano-Evans combination is my discovery and makes all further study superfluous.’


G. Wiel

C.N. 2428 quoted from page 373 of the 1846 Chess Player’s Chronicle a description of the mysteriously unfamiliar G. Wiel as ‘a German amateur, long celebrated for his remarkable facility of playing without seeing the chessboard’. From the same source we gave one of Wiel’s games and asked for further information about him. (See page 354 of A Chess Omnibus.) No biographical details have yet been found, but here is another game:

G. Wiel (blindfold) – James Washington Hannah
King’s Pawn Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bb4 4 c3 Ba5 5 O-O f5 6 d4 exd4 7 Ng5 Ne5 8 Bxg8 h6 9 Qxd4 hxg5 10 Qxe5+ Qe7 11 Bf7+ Kxf7 12 Qxf5+ Ke8 13 Qxa5 Qd6 14 f4 b5 15 Qb4 c5 16 Qb3 Qh6 17 h3 g4 18 f5 Qb6 19 Qd5 c4+ 20 Kh2 Qc7+ 21 Bf4 Qb7 22 Qe5+ Kf7 23 f6 d6


24 fxg7 (‘It requires no ordinary powers of memory and abstraction to see the way clearly through the variations from this point without the aid of men and board.’) 24…Rxh3+ 25 gxh3 dxe5 26 Bxe5+ Bf5 27 Rxf5+ Kg8 28 Nd2 Re8 29 Bd4 Qc7+ 30 Kg2 gxh3+ 31 Kxh3 Qd6 32 Raf1 Qh6+ 33 Kg3 Qg6+ 34 Kh4 Qh7+ 35 Kg5 Qxf5+ 36 Rxf5 and wins. (‘The latter part of this game is conducted with remarkable ability by the blindfold player.’)

Source: the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 13 February 1847, page 51.

That same year the Chronicle gave several games from a match in Brighton in which H.A. Kennedy defeated G. Wiel, the latter being described on page 107 of the 3 April 1847 issue as ‘a German Amateur, long known in this country as a player of considerable skill’.

Staunton published a number of his own wins (giving the odds of the queen’s knight) against ‘a skilful German Amateur’ (to quote the phrase used on page 405 of the 1842 Chess Player’s Chronicle – see also pages 35, 36, 116 and 117 from the 1843 issues). His opponent was never named, but when one of the games appeared on page 31 of Staunton’s book The Chess Player’s Companion (London, 1849), the loser was identified as ‘Mr Wiel, a German Amateur’.

So far we have found nothing about Wiel in German sources.


For other references to this player, see the Factfinder.

Quiz questions

Two quiz questions:

i) How many times did Euwe play against Tal?

ii) Which chess book had the photograph of a US President on its front cover?


The answers are:

i) Euwe played Tal once only, as he stated when, in an interview shortly before his death, he was asked by Hans Bouwmeester whether he had played against all the world champions apart from Steinitz:

‘I have played them all except Spassky and Karpov. Fischer three times; Tal just once, by radio.’

Source: CHESS, September 1981, page 197.

The game-score and a few details (we should like more) are given at Tim Krabbé’s website:

ii) The book we had in mind whose front cover features a US President (George Bush) is Tactics 77 Chess Combinations by Zsuzsa, Zsófia and Judit Polgar (Budapest, 1991):

polgar bush


Blindfold chess

Eliot Hearst (Tucson, AZ, USA) informs us that the extensive volume on blindfold chess (including historical and psychological aspects) that he is writing jointly with John Knott is nearing completion, and here he raises two questions:

‘Firstly, we know that J.O. Hansen broke Enevoldsen’s 1939 Nordic record of 24 simultaneous blindfold games by playing 25 on 24 May 1986. Moreover, John Knott was informed by a Danish chess contact in October 2002 that O.B. Larsen of Denmark had surpassed Hansen’s record by playing 28 games. Can anyone validate this new record and indicate when and where it occurred? We should also like to find out more about the tournament and blindfold career of O.B. Larsen.

Secondly, a few years before his death in 1983, Janos Flesch claimed in a written statement to John Knott that his 52-board blindfold display in Budapest in 1960 had been “duly ratified by FIDE as the new world record”? Can a FIDE official or other chess authority/historian tell us whether this claim is true and, if so, what other simultaneous blindfold records have been “ratified by FIDE”?’


Lasker and 1 e4

An unattributed quote on page 108 of The Bright Side of Chess by Irving Chernev (Philadelphia, 1948):

‘Lasker played 1 P-K4 with a view to the endgame.’

From page 62 of Modern Chess by Barnie F. Winkelman (Philadelphia, 1931):

‘But of Lasker it was said that he played P-K4 with a view to the endgame …’

Who first made this remark, and in what context?


Early Capa letter

The earliest Capablanca document in our collection is a copy of a three-page letter to his mother written when he was 17. It is given below in our translation from the Spanish. Pages 10-11 of our book on Capablanca quoted a report that his education in the United States was paid for by a Cuban businessman, Ramón San Pelayo, who became concerned that the youngster needed to apply himself to academic study rather than play chess.


‘Groff School 228 W 72 St.
22 April 1906

My dear mother,

Three or four days ago I received your letter of 13th of this month.

Now I can see what has been published in the Diario de la Marina. You or, rather, father can tell D. Ramón that three-quarters of the article is lies, and that while it is true that I played a simultaneous display and that the result was as the newspaper says, that was during the December vacation when I had nothing to do and no studying; as regards having had myself selected to play various simultaneous displays, none of that is true; it is correct that various club presidents have asked me to give simultaneous displays, even being willing to pay me for them, but I have always said that I could not do so because I had to study, and especially because I was prohibited from doing so. This is the pure truth, and if you wish you may show D. Ramón this letter.

Concerning the reports about me to D. Ramón, you can be sure that they are favorable, because the other day here the Director read out the fortnightly [or possibly two-monthly – Capablanca’s word bimensuales may mean either] results of the best pupils and said that I was the best, and by a long way, that although I had nine subjects, six of which were very difficult, I scored 85¾%, while the next one after me scored only 81% and did not have as many subjects, or such difficult ones, as I did. So you can see that you have nothing to worry about on that front.

Tell Nene that if possible he should be sure to send me a couple of cocos (pesos), as that would be very helpful when I am broke.

Goodbye; regards to everyone, my love to the children, and to you and to father an affectionate hug from your son, who thinks of you.

J. Raúl.’

At the time our book on Capablanca was written, we had no information about Groff School, and even today the only contemporary reference in our possession is the following entry in the New York City Directory, 1906-07: ‘Groff – Jos[eph] C. school 228 West 72nd’.


For further information see C.N. 6378.

Unusual play

In the position below, should White play 1 Qb7+ Kh6 2 Qxb6, etc.?


 ‘Thornley v Griffith, London, 1903’ is the caption on page 151 of The Basis of Combination in Chess by J. du Mont (London, 1938), and we are seeking the full game in a primary source.


The game continued 1 Qb7+ Kh6 2 Qxb6, whereupon Black unleashed 2…Na4, described by J. du Mont as ‘a problem move … which is of unusual beauty’ and ‘a startling and imaginative surprise’. The game ended 3 Ka2 Nxb6 4 Kxb1 Nd5 5 White resigns.


World championship history

Regarding Alpha Teach Yourself Chess in 24 Hours by Zsuzsa Polgar (who, the back cover says, ‘has even defeated, at different events, world champs Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi’), Hoainhan ‘Paul’ Truong and Leslie Alan Horvitz (Indianapolis, 2002/03), Louis Blair (Carlinville, IL, USA) writes:

‘From page 232 of the book:

“An undisputed genius, Capablanca was known for his intuitive grasp of the game, especially his astonishing capacity to play endgame positions that seemed next to impossible. He reigned as world champion, after defeating Lasker, until 1927. Bobby Fischer, who wrested the championship from him after a long period of Russian domination of the game, called Capablanca ‘possibly the greatest player in the entire history of the game’.”

On page 230 the comments about Morphy and Staunton appear to be written by someone who learned about the subject by talking to Steiner and Highet (C.N. 3256).’

We add that the lack of effort and thought is also shown by the section on recommended books (pages 321-328). Instead of offering their own observations, the co-authors have often simply lifted text (up to a dozen lines) from the publishers’ blurb and presented it as their own assessments. Examples occur with volumes by John Nunn and Jonathan Rowson and, indeed, with one of our own books.

Moving on to another of the many historical mishaps, page 236 states that the Kasparov v Kramnik match in 2000 was:

‘… the first occasion in the world championship history that the defending champion has failed to win a single game.’

Curiously, the opposite mistake appears in a 2003 book from Cardoza Publishing, which asserts that Capablanca’s 1921 feat of winning the world championship without losing a game ‘has never since been repeated’. (Readers will no doubt be able to identify for themselves that book, which, incidentally, also contains the following information about Alekhine: ‘b. 1882 in Mocow’.)

Yet even Cardoza Publishing is unlikely to rival the record achieved by Alpha Teach Yourself Chess in 24 Hours on pages 230-231, where Adolf Anderssen’s name is misspelt ‘Andersen’ 13 times.


See too Hype in Chess.

Henrique Mecking

Can a reader provide an authoritative source for Mecking’s birth-date? Various chess reference books give 2 February 1952, but page 1 of Henrique Mecking Latin Chess Genius by Stephen Gordon (Davenport, 1993) affirms that they are wrong and that he ‘was born in the small Brazilian town of Santa Cruz, in the Rio Grande do Sul state, on 23 January 1952’.


About half a dozen readers have quoted secondary sources on whether Mecking’s birth-date was 2 February 1952 or 23 January 1952. Flavio Patricio Doro (Cotia, Brazil) points out that the latter date has been given by Mecking’s nephew, Sandro Tavares, at a Brazilian website.

We still hope to find documentary evidence that puts the matter beyond doubt.


Whistler and Bayliss

From Neil Brennen (Malvern, PA, USA):

‘I found a curious chess reference on pages 212 and 215 of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (London, 1892). In 1888 Whistler was replaced by W. Bayliss as President of the Royal Society of British Artists, and the Pall Mall Gazette (6 July 1888) listed Bayliss as “champion chessplayer of Surrey”, a description Whistler mocked in a letter to the Gazette which was reproduced in his book:

“But also Mr Bayliss takes this rare occasion of attention to assert his various qualifications for his post as head of painters in the street of Suffolk, and so we learn that he is:

‘Chairman of the Board-school in his own district’, ‘Champion chessplayer of Surrey’, ‘A Member of the Diocesan Council of Rochester’, ‘Fellow of the Society of Cyclists’, and ‘Public Orator of Noviomagus’.

As chessplayer he may have intuitively bethought himself of a move – possibly the happy one, – who knows? – which in the provinces obtained him a cup; as Diocesan Councilman he may have supposed Rochester indifferent to the means used for an end; but as Public Cyclist of the Royal Society of Noviomagus his experience must be opposed to any such bluff as going his entire pile on a left bower only.”

Do you have any examples of the chess play of either Bayliss or Whistler?’

We are aware of no chess games by Whistler, but some information can be offered here on Sir Wyke Bayliss (1835-1906), who was President of the Royal Society of British Artists from 1888 until his death. His book Olives The Reminiscences of a President (London, 1906 – published posthumously) contained numerous references to chess. An example comes from pages 15-16:

‘There is one more thing I like to recall, and that is my skill at chess. Chess was always a delight to me, and I greatly wonder that so few players are found among artists. Ruskin, indeed, was a great lover of the game, as have been many of the most distinguished men of letters. Turning, as it does, on such high faculties as imagination, analysis, synthesis, the chess board should be found in every studio. In this also, as in everything else, my father and I were chums, and while still a child I could beat everyone I knew but himself. Staunton, who was a friend, could give me only the smallest odds; he could not give me the odds of playing without smoking his pipe. I could easily play half a dozen games simultaneously without seeing the board.

Now, for the merchant, who has no cares when he leaves his office; for the parson, who has nothing to think about but his next sermon, and doesn’t think much about that; for the lawyer or doctor, who learned all they want to know in the days of their youth; for the Parliament man, who has only to stand in the lobby and feel which way the wind whistles through his brains; it is all very well to take life easily, to sing or dance, or go to the theatre, or play tennis or take a boat up the river. But for the artist – who never can lay the ghosts which haunt his brain – who, day and night and night and day, is seeing what no one else can see – visions that he is striving to crystallize into beautiful and permanent shapes, who wears his life out in honest work that makes the brain sweat; – for the artist, I say, some quiet, simple, easy, unfatiguing, refreshing recreation is needed, and I find this in chess.’

More or less the same passage had already appeared in the American Chess Magazine (October-November 1899, page 176).

From page 204 of Olives:

‘Since I used to play at the old “Westminster” with Staunton, and De Vere, and Blackburne, and Steinitz, and MacDonnell, and Löwenthal, and Wormald, and Boden, and Lyttelton, chess has always been my delight. London has never been without its chess clubs – but the memory of the “Westminster” has a special charm that can never be forgotten. Now our great city has brought chess to the position of a science, as well as an art; and every afternoon or evening men of the finest thought and brain-power gather round the little black and white squares, which represent the battle of life without bloodshed.’

One of his rare incursions into ‘serious’ chess was the 1868-69 Handicap tournament in London, and three of his games (played at odds) were given in The Transactions of the British Chess Association for the Years 1868 and 1869 by J. Löwenthal and G.W. Medley (London, 1869). These included two losses to Wisker, who also defeated him in the following miniature, taken from pages 47-48 of Chess Sparks by J.H. Ellis (London, 1895):

Wyke Bayliss – John Wisker
‘Played about 1868’
Scotch Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Bc5 5 c3 Nf6 6 Bg5 h6 7 Bh4 g5 8 Nxg5 hxg5 9 Bxg5 Ne5 10 Bd5 dxc3 11 Nxc3 Bxf2+ 12 Kxf2 Nfg4+ 13 Kg1 Qxg5 14 Qe2


14…b6 15 Bxa8 Ba6 16 Qe1 Nf3+ 17 gxf3 Qc5+ 18 Kg2 Ne3+ 19 Kg3 Rg8+ 20 Kh3 Qh5+ 21 White resigns.

‘So far back as 1854 he frequented the chess resorts then open in London, meeting and occasionally playing with the English masters of the period from 1855’ reported his obituary on pages 187-188 of the May 1906 BCM, which gave the following game from his final years:

Wyke Bayliss – Leonard Percy Rees
Balham (London), 27 January 1903
Ponziani Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c3 Nf6 4 Qc2 Bc5 5 b4 Bb6 6 b5 Nb8 7 Nxe5 Qe7 8 d4 d6 9 Ba3 c5 10 bxc6 bxc6 11 Bd3 O-O 12 O-O Qc7 13 Nf3 Ba6 14 e5 Bxd3 15 Qxd3 dxe5 16 dxe5 Rd8 17 Bd6 Ne8 18 Ng5 Rxd6 19 Qxh7+ Kf8 20 exd6 Nxd6 21 Qh8+ Ke7 22 Qxg7 Kd8 23 Qf8+ Kd7 24 Nxf7 Resigns.

Below is a painting by Sir Wyke Bayliss of Santa Croce, Florence:



Fischer on the Grünfeld Defence

The fifth game of the 1963 world championship match between Petrosian and Botvinnik began 1 c4 g6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 e3 O-O 6 Be2. For Petrosian’s view of 6 Be2 see pages 395-396 of The Games of Tigran Petrosian Volume I: 1942-1965 compiled by E. Shekhtman (Oxford, 1991).

On pages 237-238 of the October 1963 Chess Life Fischer annotated his game (as Black) against Greenwald at Poughkeepsie, 1963. It began 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5, at which point he wrote:

‘This is White’s only chance of gaining any real advantage against the Grünfeld. Much weaker, for example, is 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 e3 O-O 6 Be2? (A genuine beginner’s move). So far, Petrosian-Botvinnik, Game Five, 1963 World Championship Match. Botvinnik now played 6…dxc4? 7 Bxc4 c5? (Better is 7…Nfd7! and then 8…e5) 8 d5! e6 (Better is 8…Ne8.) 9 dxe6 Qxd1+ 10 Kxd1 Bxe6 11 Bxe6 fxe6 and despite all of Black’s lemons, the game is still only slightly better for White, which only proves again the weakness of White’s first move, 1 d4.

Correct for Black after 6 Be2? is 6…c5! and White must play carefully to equalize, e.g.,

(a) 7 O-O? cxd4 8 Nxd4 Nc6 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Nxd5 Qxd5 11 Bf3 Qc4 12 Nxc6 bxc6 and Black stands better; Aaron-Gligorić, Stockholm, 1962.

(b) 7 cxd5 Nxd5 8 Qb3 Nxc3 9 bxc3 Qc7 10 O-O b6 11 a4 Nc6 again better for Black; Goglidze-Botvinnik, Moscow, 1935.

(c) 7 dxc5 Qa5 8 cxd5 (8 O-O dxc4 9 Bxc4 Qxc5 with advantage) 8…Nxd5 9 Qxd5 Bxc3+ 10 Bd2 (10 Kf1 Bg7 11 Bd2 Qc7 Black regains the pawn at will, with a strong attack to boot) 10…Bxd2+ 11 Qxd2 Qxc5 12 O-O Nc6 13 Rac1 Qb6 and White should draw with correct play.’

Under the heading ‘And Now Fischer as Annotator’ Purdy wrote on page 7 of the January 1964 Chess World:

‘We like especially the opening paragraph of Fischer’s note to 4 cxd5. It is matchless in the whole literature of chess.’


‘A fascinating nightmare’

As John Montgomerie noted when presenting the following battle on pages 11-14 of his book The Quiet Game (London, 1972), Brian Harley’s Observer column described it as ‘a fascinating nightmare’.

A. Mortlock – T.M. Wechsler
Ramsgate (Premier Tournament, Section B), 1929
Queen’s Pawn Game

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b5 3 Bg5 Ne4 4 Bh4 c5 5 dxc5 Qa5+ 6 c3 b4 7 Qd4 bxc3 8 b4 c2


9 Nbd2 Qa3 10 Nb3 f5 11 Ne5 Na6 12 Nd3 Rb8 13 f3 Nf6 14 Bg5 Nxb4 15 Bc1 Qa4 16 e3 g6 17 Ne5 d6 18 cxd6 exd6 19 Nc4 Bg7 20 Nxd6+ Kf8 21 Qc5 Nd7 22 Qc4 Ne5 23 Qc7 Nbc6 24 Nxc8 Nf7 25 Bd3 Bxa1 26 O-O Be5 27 Qd7 Kg7


28 Nc5 Qb4 29 Ne6+ Kf6 30 Qxc6 Rbxc8 31 Nc7+ Kg7 32 Ne6+ Kf6 33 Nc7+ Kg7 34 Ne6+ Kh6 35 e4+ f4 36 Qd7 Qb6+ 37 Kh1 Qd6 38 Qxf7 Qxd3 39 Bxf4+ Kh5 40 g4+ Kh4 41 Bg3+ Bxg3 42 hxg3+ and Black resigned, with his pawn still on c2.


Claims about Morphy

Morten Hansen (Frederiksberg, Denmark) has pointed out to us the following paragraph about Morphy on page 105 of G. Ståhlberg’s book Strövtåg i schackvärlden (Skara, 1965):

‘The first signs of mental illness, which was probably the result of syphilis contracted in Paris, could be observed in the following years. During the Civil War he lived in Havana and Paris. He later returned to New Orleans. His mental illness grew worse, but when his family once tried to have him committed to an institution he gave such sensible and lucid answers to all the questions that he was not accepted as a patient.’

Ståhlberg’s grounds, if any, for the suggestion about syphilis are unknown to us, but some documentary evidence does exist to corroborate his other remarks. Pages 293-294 of Paul Morphy The Pride and Sorrow of Chess by David Lawson (New York, 1976) quoted from Charles Maurian’s letter about Morphy in the Watertown, New York Re-Union of December 1875:

‘Outside of the persecution question, he remains what his friends and acquaintances have always known him to be, the same highly educated and pleasing conversationalist.

An attempt was made to induce him to remain in the “Louisiana Retreat”, an institution for the treatment of insane persons, but he objected and expounded to all concerned the law that governed his case and drew certain conclusions with such irrefutable logic that his mother thought, and in my opinion very properly, that his case did not demand such extreme measures as depriving him of his liberty, and took him home.’

As regards Morphy’s demise, the following account was given on pages 309-310 of Lawson’s book:

‘On Thursday morning, 10 July 1884, Paul Morphy dressed meticulously as always for his noonday walk but, meeting friends, returned a little later than usual. The weather was very warm, and he went immediately to his bath, which he ordinarily took at one o’clock, and lingered over. But this day his mother thought he was a very long time and finally knocked at the door to inquire. When she received no answer, she opened the door to see his head resting on the side of the bathtub, to which his hands were clinging. He was apparently unconscious.

His mother called out for help, and Dr Meux, who happened to be passing by the house at the moment, came in and tried in vain to restore him to consciousness. Paul Morphy was pronounced dead at 2.30 p.m., 10 July 1884, from congestion of the brain brought on by entering the cold water while very warm after his walk.

The funeral took place the following day at 5 p.m. …’

Although extensive quotation from newspapers and other publications was a feature of Lawson’s book, in the case of Morphy’s death he cited no sources at all. If a reader is able to consult the New Orleans press of the time, we shall be most grateful.

Information will also be welcomed on affirmations (by whom, where and why?) that Morphy committed suicide. In this connection we note a remark by P.W. Sergeant on page 33 of Morphy Gleanings (London, 1932):

‘I see no reason for the suggestion of some writers, including G.C. Reichhelm, that it was a case of suicide – by opening a vein, Reichhelm says.’


C.N. 3384 quoted from page 33 of Morphy Gleanings by P.W. Sergeant:

‘I see no reason for the suggestion of some writers, including G.C. Reichhelm, that it was a case of suicide – by opening a vein, Reichhelm says.’

We are still seeking information on where Reichhelm, or any other writers, claimed that Morphy killed himself.


An ending annotated by Nimzowitsch


This position (White to move) occurred in a game between Nimzowitsch and Rosit in a simultaneous exhibition (in Riga, it would seem) against 21 players on 25 July 1918 and was discussed as follows by Nimzowitsch on page 210 of the September 1918 Deutsche Schachzeitung:

‘With his last move (…Rg7-g6) Black gave me the opportunity to bring about a pawn ending; however, despite the extra pawn this could not have been won, and I therefore first played 1 c4! My opponent, who had no forebodings, contentedly replied 1…Kg7 in order, after the further moves 2 Rxg6+ fxg6 3 Rxf8 Kxf8, to feel safe and happy in the resulting pawn ending. But, with the power of fate … 4 c6! bxc6 (forced) 5 b5! and Black resigned, as the passed a-pawn will advance inexorably. After 2…Kxg6 (instead of 2…fxg6) the following interesting play could have occurred: 3 cxd6 cxd6 4 Rd1 Rd8 5 c5 Kf6! 6 Kf2 Ke7 7 Kf3! dxc5 8 Rxd8 Kxd8 9 bxc5 Kc7 10 Kg4 Kc6 11 Kf5! Kb5! 12 Kxe5 Kxa5 13 Kf6 Kb4! (not to b5, because the e-pawn would then queen with check) 14 Kxf7 a5 15 e5 a4 16 e6 a3 17 e7 a2 18 e8(Q) a1(Q) 19 Qe4+ Kxc5 20 Qxb7 and White must win.’


Pawn triangle

Page 107 of Ideas modernas en las aperturas de ajedrez by S. Tartakower (we have the fifth edition, published in Buenos Aires in 1967) affirmed that the pawn formation e3-d4-c3 was known as ‘the Juncosa triangle’ in Spain and as ‘the Brake triangle’ in England. The reference to (José) Juncosa may be related to his advocacy of lines beginning with 1 c3, but what is the explanation for ‘Brake’?


See too C.N. 3516 in Savielly Tartakower.

Suetin and Zvorykina

From Paul Valois (Leeds, England):

‘I have a copy of Kira Zvorykina’s autobiography Vryadakh shakhmatnoi gvardii (Minsk, 1984). She unsuccessfully challenged Bykova for the women’s world title in 1959, and the book contains a full and interesting account of the match, outlining the reasons for her defeat. But it also indicates that Zvorykina was married to Aleksei Suetin for some years. The following are the only passages relating to him in a personal way:

Page 35: “I missed the 14th USSR Women’s Championship, 1952 in Tbilisi for a very good reason: little Sasha Suetin demanded his mother’s presence.”

Page 57: “In 1953 my family and I – Suetins junior and senior – moved to Minsk.”

Page 61 (relating to the 15th USSR Women’s Championship, 1953, where competitors were forbidden to have their trainers with them): “A group of ‘curious’ people gathered outside my hotel room and listened intently to my telephone conversations with Suetin (he was on holiday in Sochi) … It did not occur to me that I had no right to make telephone calls … I had no adjourned games … I only complained to my husband about going wrong in the opening … The chief arbiter criticized me for receiving help over the telephone … warned me that I might be disqualified … I reacted simply, asking the hotel to disconnect my telephone.” [She won the tournament.]

Page 79 (regarding the Candidates’ Tournament, Moscow, 1955): “My trainer was the master M. Bonch-Osmolovsky, a Muscovite. … Suetin, who at this time was doing postgraduate study, playing in USSR Championships, writing a dissertation, was my consultant.”

There is nothing in the book about meeting him, marrying him (or divorcing him), but clearly they were husband and wife. Zvorykina has lived in Minsk ever since, but presumably Suetin moved to Moscow at some stage. According to the 1987 collection of Suetin’s games, he became Petrosian’s trainer in 1963 and in 1968 played in the Moscow Championship. The biographical summary in this book makes no reference to Zvorykina; nor do any of the reference books that I have looked at mention them as a couple. Does anyone have any more information about this relationship between two quite prominent chess persons?’


Nineteenth-century illustrations

C.N. 3294 gave a picture of Staunton and asked about its origins. We can now report that the artist was Samuel Loyd, who reproduced his sketches/woodcuts in the Scientific American Supplement, one per week during the column’s run from 11 August 1877 to 3 August 1878. The Staunton illustration appeared on 6 October 1877 (page 1470), and Loyd wrote:

‘I have placed on the board a little five-move knight problem that I showed to him during my last visit to London. I dare say a microscopic observation would reveal the two-move position on the back of the book.’


We have managed to identify the board position as a composition by Loyd published on page 103 of the Chess Monthly, April 1858 (although the pieces are in the bottom left, and not bottom right, corner):


Mate in five: 1 Nc6 Ka1 2 Kc2 Kxa2 3 Nb4+ Ka1 4 Kc1 a2 5 Nc2. [See too Pictures of Howard Staunton.]

The previous week (Scientific American Supplement, 29 September 1877, page 1454) Loyd had presented:

‘… a portrait of Mr Steinitz as we sketched the little giant half a score of years ago while he was working out a problem to draw with a bishop against knight and pawn.’


‘As we progress … with our proposed record of the important chess events of the past, it will be readily understood why, by common consent, Mr Steinitz has become to be looked upon as the recognized chess champion of Europe.

We have enjoyed the most friendly relations with Mr Steinitz and found him the very pink of honor, and the most jovial little fellow in the world, ready to fight you at chess, or die sooner than give up on some little etiquetical point that he considers correct and proper. His able management of the chess department of the London Field is gaining him a world-wide reputation as the analyst of the day.’

On page 1566 of the Scientific American Supplement, 17 November 1877 Loyd gave a portrait of Harrwitz ‘as we saw him many years ago, during our first visit to Paris’. In fact, the picture is very similar to a well-known photograph of Harrwitz.



It will be noted that the board positions are different, and regarding his sketch Loyd wrote:

‘Problem from the page of history. The position on Mr Harrwitz’s chess board gives the clue to this problem, and shows that although the king is mated in the middle of the board with knight and rooks, yet it could not occur in actual play, which proves that the little curate had been playing points to his friend, who was justly astonished at the critical position of his king, and in asking how it came so could well vow “to tell it to neither king, rook nor knight”.’

A similar position (white knight on b5, white rooks on c5 and e5, black king on d5) was given in the American Chess Journal, December 1876; see pages 52-53 of Sam Loyd and His Chess Problems by Alain C. White (Leeds, 1913).

Finally, on 6 April 1878 (page 1884) Loyd’s column gave his depiction of Labourdonnais:


This is based on the well-known (and only known) picture of the Frenchman, and Loyd wrote, ‘our portrait is taken from an oil painting made in London a short time before his death’.

This brings to mind Staunton’s remark on page 159 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1842 when welcoming the French magazine Le Palamède:

‘We must, however, protest against the insertion of such lugubrious twaddle as “The last moments of Labourdonnais”, from – Bell’s Life in London! and the lithographic enormity, from the same classic source we presume, presented as the portrait of that distinguished chessplayer.’

On the subject of lugubriousness, our present item concludes with the following disclosure by Loyd concerning Labourdonnais:

‘It is not generally known that a plaster cast was taken from his features at the time of his death and was brought to this country, and is at present in the possession of Mr Eugene B. Cook, the distinguished problemist, who prizes it most highly and takes peculiar pride in showing the stray locks of hair and whiskers that still adhere to the plaster.’


Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, UK) writes:

‘The woodcut of Steinitz also features a Loyd composition (number 16 in Sam Loyd and His Chess Problems). The incorrectly turned board is presumably Loyd having a little fun at Steinitz’s expense. The woodcut reminds me of a photograph of Steinitz playing Anderssen on page 104 of The World of Chess by A. Saidy and N. Lessing (New York, 1974).’

Below is the composition in question, which originally appeared on page 41 of the Chess Monthly, February 1860:


White to play and draw

1 Bd7 h2 2 Bc6+ Kg1 3 Bh1 Kxh1 4 Kf2.


Combinational miniature

‘There never was a game so short but so extraordinary in combinational content. Arthur Feuerstein, an exceptionally talented master, gives us this gem.’ So wrote William Lombardy when introducing the following game on pages 273-274 of Modern Chess Opening Traps (New York, 1972):

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c6 3 d5 cxd5 4 cxd5 g6 5 Nc3 Qa5 6 g3 Ne4 7 Qd4 Nxc3 8 Bd2 Qxd5 9 Qxc3 Nc6 10 Qxh8 Nd4 11 Rc1 Qxh1 12 Qxd4 Qxg1 13 Qxa7 Resigns.

No details of the occasion of the game were supplied by Lombardy, but we note that on page 381 of the December 1955 Chess Review John W. Collins’ ‘Postal Games’ column presented it as having been played by A. Feuerstein and J.E. Bennett. It also appeared on page 103 of Modern Chess Miniatures by L. Barden and W. Heidenfeld (London, 1960), as ‘Feuerstein-Bennett, New York, 1955’.

However, a number of databases give it as a 1954 correspondence game in England between Peter James Oakley and W. Nash.

Error or coincidence?


Aben Rudy (Scottsdale, AZ, USA) has brought C.N. 3401 to the attention of Arthur Feuerstein, a lifelong friend. Mr Feuerstein recalls winning the 1955 postal game against Bennett and comments:

‘This was probably my first “brilliancy”. How odd that the identical game was played in 1954. I certainly had no knowledge of it at the time.’


Sonja Graf’s date of birth

As Michael Negele (Wuppertal, Germany) points out, chess reference books offer contradictory information about Sonja Graf’s date of birth. It is possible to find 15 February 1912, 15 May 1912, circa 1914 and 16 December 1914.

We have no solid information and can only report that in the 1994 (privately circulated) edition of Chess Personalia Jeremy Gaige gave ‘16-12-1914 BRD ???’ and mentioned that this was the date indicated on her death certificate.


Marache v Morphy

John Hilbert (Amherst, NY, USA) quotes the following from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 24 October 1857:

‘The Editor (Black) – Paul Morphy (White)

Game XCVIII – (Evans Gambit). A rattling skirmish of 15 minutes’ duration, played at the National Chess Congress while in session. 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 exd4 7 e5 d5 8 exd6 Qxd6 9 O-O Nge7 10 Ng5 O-O 11 Bd3 Bf5 12 Bxf5 Nxf5 13 Ba3 Qg6 14 Bxf8 Qxg5 15 Ba3 dxc3 16 Bc1 Qg6 17 Bf4 Rd8 18 Qc2 Ncd4 19 Qe4. If White had moved 19 Qa4, Mr Morphy suggested the following beautiful variation: 19 Qa4 b5 20 Qxa5 Ne2+ 21 Kh1 Nxf4 22 Rg1 Rd1 23 g3 queen mates in two moves. 19…Ng3. Let the student ponder well upon this most beautiful and decisive coup, forcing mate or the loss of queen instantero. It has seldom been our lot to witness such ingenious chess endings. Reader, Paul Morphy is truly a great master. 20 Qxg6 Nde2 mate.’

This is the famous offhand game given by Lawson on page 349 of Paul Morphy The Pride and Sorrow of Chess (New York, 1976) as won by Morphy against Napoleon Marache in New York on 11 October 1857. It was also published in many contemporary sources, such as the Chess Monthly, February 1858, page 52, the New York, 1857 tournament book, page 509, Morphy’s Games of Chess by T. Frère (New York, 1859), pages 73-74, and Morphy’s Games of Chess by J. Löwenthal (London, 1860), pages 355-357. Of these books, only Lawson’s states that the 20th moves occurred over the board.

Our correspondent throws in a complication by referring to Chess Columns A List by K. Whyld (Olomouc, 2002):

‘Page 149 suggests that it was W.W. Montgomery, not Marache, who was the chess editor of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper as of 10 January 1857, and apparently until W. Frere undertook that position on 6 April 1858. Whyld reports that Marache was editor from 1 November 1856 until 29 August 1857 and hence would not have been editor at the time this game was published. Thus, at least according to the book Chess Columns, W.W. Montgomery would have been “The Editor” in the game heading who had the first move. I doubt that this was the case, but what are the facts?’

Chess Columns A List gave editorship of the chess column in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper as follows:

‘Fuller 55-56; 22/11/56-; Marache 1/11/56-; 29/8/57-; Montgomery, W.W. 10/1/57-; Frere, W. 6/4/58-61.’

In fact, this is merely a repetition, although in confusing form (and with an apparent mistake over the starting-date of Frère’s tenure), of the information given by H.J.R. Murray on page 77 of his (unpublished) ‘List of chess columns’, which specified that the column existed from 15 December 1855 to 14 September 1861 with the following sequence of chess editors:

1855-56: W.J.A. Fuller
From 1 November 1856: N. Marache
From 22 November 1856: W.J.A. Fuller
From 10 January 1857: W.W. Montgomery
From 29 August 1857: N. Marache
From 10 July 1858 until 1861: T. Frère.

Thus Marache was indeed ‘The Editor’ at the time of the game against Morphy.

Chess Columns A List was, furthermore, in error when stating that the last of the columnists was W. Frere. Walter Frere (1874-1943) belonged to a later period. We possess many 1858 columns from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and the chess editor was specified in the heading as being ‘T[homas] Frère’, who lived from 1820 to 1900.


‘The most under-estimated chess writer’

‘He has the lamentable distinction of being – throughout the English-speaking world, anyway – the most under-estimated chess writer in the world.’

These words appeared on page 230 of the April 1965 issue of CHESS and were a reference to Werner Lauterbach (1913-189), who had just published a monograph on Mannheim, 1914.

(3413 & 3416)

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

gavrikov ekstrom

Victor Gavrikov and Roland Ekström (Schlieren, 1990)

Hans Berliner (1929-2017)


Dragoslav Andrić

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


Latest update: 25 May 2022.

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