Chess Notes by Edward Winter

Chess Notes

Edward Winter

The curtailment of Chess Notes, with effect from the end of March 2020, was announced in C.N. 11763.

If contacting us by e-mail, correspondents need to include their name and full postal address.

8 April 2020: C.N.s 11799-11800
16 April 2020: C.N. 11801
24 April 2020: C.N.s 11802-11805
3 May 2020: C.N.s 11806-11810
10 May 2020: C.N.s 11811-11813
21 May 2020: C.N. 11814
15 July 2020: C.N. 11815
11 September 2020: C.N. 11816
21 October 2020: C.N.s 11817-11818
24 October 2020: C.N. 11819
28 October 2020: C.N. 11820

José Raúl Capablanca

A selection of feature articles:

Chess: Prodigies, Philosophy and Mathematics
The World Chess Championship by Paul Keres
Timothy D. Harding (Chess Writer and Historian)
Patriotism, Nationalism, Jingoism and Racism in Chess
Brad Darrach and the Dark Side of Bobby Fischer
Chess Cunning, Gamesmanship and Skulduggery

Archives (including all feature articles)


11799. A scarce monograph on Nigel Short


Nigel Short (Athens) informs us:

‘This poor-quality image is the only one that I have. It appears that the book was a games collection, Nigel Short by R.A. Ziatdinov (Tashkent, 1993), and that most of the copies were destroyed in a flood, although about 100 were sent to Turkey.’

We shall be glad to hear from any reader who has the volume.

Addition on 9 April 2020:

Reporting that he has a signed copy of the Ziatdinov book, Rudy Bloemhard (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands) has sent us a selection of images, including the following:



Mr Bloemhard adds:

‘There is no reference to a publisher or an ISBN number. The book, published in 1993, is 96 pages long and contains about 350 unannotated games.’

11800. Magazine references

Readers may appreciate the opportunity to follow up on some of the references in Chess Articles in Periodical Literature by Horace E. McFarland (St Louis, 1928):





11801. Letters from Frank Skoff

A paragraph from our feature article Edge, Morphy and Staunton:

The Staunton-Morphy-Edge debate in Chess Notes continued until the magazine closed down in December 1989, and summarizing here the multiplicity of points discussed would be an impossible task. The contributions – often of outstanding quality – did not always make for easy reading, but there can be little doubt of the material’s importance for all future writers on the nineteenth-century trio. For ease of reference, the numbers of the C.N. items in the debate are: 840, 943, 957, 1012, 1031, 1124, 1149, 1172, 1228, 1269, 1270, 1358, 1416, 1417, 1439, 1440, 1480, 1499, 1569, 1570, 1633, 1642, 1643, 1669, 1700, 1722, 1757, 1758, 1818 and 1932. Moreover, Skoff submitted a 16-page letter dated 17 November 1989 which arrived too late to be included in the final issue of the magazine; copies were made available upon request to interested readers.

Frank Skoff fully accepted that procedure.

Now, we give his 16-page letter as a PDF file, together with a one-page follow-up letter which he wrote on 20 November 1989 after seeing a preview of a comment by us in C.N. 1932.

Not all the C.N. items listed above are on-line, which means that parts of Frank Skoff’s letters will be unclear. However, there is no lack of clarity in his overall stance: strong criticism of certain British chess writers for inaccuracy and bias over the Edge-Morphy-Staunton controversy, with Kenneth Whyld singled out for excoriation.

11802. The Duke of Wellington

From John Townsend (Wokingham, England):

‘In an article entitled “Celebrated Chess-Players”, reproduced from the Chess Record, page 30 of the January 1880 American Chess Journal had the following:

“The Duke of Wellington was a chessplayer of more than the moderate skill of his great rival, Napoleon.”

Howard Staunton had replied to a correspondent as follows in the Illustrated London News, 29 March 1845, page 208:


The Iron Duke had been a subscriber to William Greenwood Walker’s A selection of games of chess, actually played in London, by the late Alexander McDonnell ... (London, 1836), his name being listed as such on page 279.’

Can anything be added regarding the Duke of Wellington’s chess activities?’

11803. The Club Capablanca, Havana

Below are two photographs of the Club Capablanca (calle Infanta 54, Havana) taken by Bernardo Alonso García, the copyright owner, and sent to us in 1994 by Armando Alonso Lorenzo (Prov. Ciego de Avila, Cuba):



11804. H.J.R. Murray’s books

We have a copy of a 19-page typescript by H.J.R. Murray dated 1940, ‘My Chess Books, etc.’:


11805. A projected book on the Polgar sisters

A two-page letter to us from Rogelio Caparrós (Elizabeth, NJ, USA) dated 2 January 1992 was chiefly about his planned book on Alekhine but included one paragraph on another project:

‘I have already finished a collection of 432 games of the Polgar sisters, with a diagram per game. Some diagrams have been inserted at the crucial points, replacing to a certain point an annotation.’

He gave a sample page of the intended work, which was entitled Las Maravillosas hermanitas Polgar:


11806. 1 Nf3 d5 2 b4 f6

On the subject of chess punctuation, three exclamation marks at move two were awarded by Reuben Fine on page 58 of Chess Marches On! (New York, 1945):

santasiere levy

When Fine’s annotations had appeared on pages 8-10 of the January 1942 Chess Review, 2...f6 received only two exclamation marks.

The date ‘1942’ is an error. Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) notes this report on page 17 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 15 December 1941:

santasiere levy

Fine was also incorrect to state that nobody seemed to have thought of 2...f6 before Levy played it in that game. Databases have a loss by Santasiere to Harry Fajans, which, Mr Bauzá Mercére points out, was annotated by Santasiere on page 14 of the January-February 1941 American Chess Bulletin:

santasiere fajans

Our correspondent adds that a report on the tournament, the Marshall Chess Club Championship, on page 21 of the New York Times, 13 January 1941 recorded that the Santasiere v Fajans game had been adjourned. He refers too to page 195 of the October 1942 Chess Review, where Edward Lasker annotated a win over Santasiere with 2...f6 in the New York State Championship in Cazenovia, August 1942. The first note mentioned Fine’s January 1942 article.

11807. Capablanca’s US education (C.N. 6378)

An advertisement on page 16 of the South Orange Record, 22 April 1903:

capablanca woodycliff

11808. Drawings of Capablanca and Alekhine

Page 3 of Crítica, 17 September 1927:

capablanca alekhine

Larger version

11809. The Duke of Wellington (C.N. 11802)

Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) forwards this cutting from page 2 of Bell’s Life in London, 19 March 1837:


The final, general sentence is notable:

‘Chess is peculiarly the poor man’s recreation, since it furnishes more relaxation, at less cost, than any other game whatever.’

11810. Staunton Street

Mr Spinrad also sends, on the topic of Street Names with Chess Connections, a lengthy report on page 5 of Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper, 21 December 1856 which suggested, ten lines from the bottom of the second column, that a London street be named after Howard Staunton.

London does indeed have a Staunton Street, but since when?

11811. Vienna, 1922 poster

C.N. 6369 mentioned that many chess-related images are available at the website of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna.

Further to C.N. 11725, which referred to Hans Kmoch’s brother Ladislaus, James Bell Cooper (Vienna) notes that the Library has a poster by L. Kmoch on the Vienna, 1922 tournament:

vienna 1922

11812. Rafael Blanco (C.N.s 3471 & 3475)

It will be appreciated if a reader can provide a good-quality version of an article by Bernardo G. Barros about the chessplayer and artist Rafael Blanco on pages 445-446 of the Cuban magazine El Fígaro, 1911. We have only a faint photostat:




11813. Capablanca film (C.N.s 1484, 3986 & 4303)

The carelessly-produced video-cassette case:



Below is a photograph reproduced from a full-page article about the film on page 9 of the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde, 6 March 1988:


11814. Emanuel Lasker

Just received: volume two of Emanuel Lasker edited by Richard Forster, Michael Negele and Raj Tischbierek (Berlin, 2020):


The publisher’s webpage presents an extract from this superb volume, as well as ordering details; the book will also be obtainable from McFarland & Company, Inc. Information about volume one (2018) and the 2009 German-language tome is given in our feature article.

From the private archive of Christian Wohlfarth (Berlin) we reproduce with the Editors’ permission a photograph of Lasker playing Go which is on page 164 of volume two:

lasker dueball

The caption states that Lasker’s opponent was Felix Dueball, at whose residence the picture was taken on 7 March 1930. His eldest son Fritz is standing, and the man seated in the centre is Kurt Rosenwald.

11815. The Daily Mirror

daily mirror

A new feature article has just been posted: Chess Photographs in the Daily Mirror.

11816. Samuel Reshevsky


The early years of Samuel Reshevsky are the subject of our latest feature article.

11817. An interview with Lim Kok Ann

There follows an interview by Giam Choo Kwee with Lim Kok Ann which the latter sent us in September 1986:

giam lim

giam lim

giam lim

This 1968 photograph of Giam Choo Kwee and Lim Kok Ann comes from the private archives of Choong Liong On and is reproduced courtesy of Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore):

giam lim

Regarding the picture, see too page 99 of the book Singapore Chess (C.N. 10567).

11818. R.N. Coles

C.N. 10455 included an autobiographical summary which R.N. Coles sent us on 4 April 1979, and here we add a biographical note by his brother Jack which was forwarded by Graham Smith (Guildford, England) on 28 September 1983:



11819. A quiz question

Name the person who has written all the following:

  • on his website, a brief review of Kings, Commoners and Knaves which said little about our book but suggested, with no particulars, that we were ‘starting to draw up a hit-list’, that we might be sued for libel by Raymond Keene, and that our reputation was for ‘objectivity (bordering on pedantry)’;

(In his magazine he published a different version of the review, but still with only one specific reference to our book’s contents: ‘The “Knaves” of his title would seem to include Ray Keene and Eric Schiller but I had to smile at his exposure of the latter’s cheap and unfounded remark about one of my books in the item on page 271.’)

  • on a dedicated webpage, an attempt at personal mockery of us through pictorial ‘Austin Winters’ items (a spoof of the first Austin Powers film). They were soon withdrawn;

  • on his website, a review of an issue of the magazine Kingpin, with about one-third of the entire review consisting of muddled comments about our having a Forum in Kingpin while also writing the C.N. column. The Forum ...

‘... looks very like Chess Notes, especially the (I won’t say undeserved) attacks on Ray Keene and Eric Schiller without which no article by Edward Winter would these days be complete. I am far from defending the hack-work of these guys but it is making Winter sound like a vinyl LP stuck in a groove. I also see that he is at the same lark on the Inside Chess website’;

(The above ignored, inter alia, the fact that in a personal message we had already told him regarding Raymond Keene: ‘I invite you to note how often his name has even been mentioned in C.N. since my column began in New in Chess about a year and a half ago. Answer: not once.’ Further details will be provided in due course on this point, and all the others in the present C.N. item.)

  • on a correspondence chess website, the untrue pronouncement that we had been sacked as a Chess Café columnist;

  • in an on-line column, this assessment of C.N.:

‘The kind of historical-biographical chess writing which essentially consists of snippets (even if they are arranged into “threads”) cannot in the end make any great contribution to chess history, consisting as it largely does of minor corrections to the record, a bit of debunking, a lot of hobby-horse-riding, some settling of scores and the occasional answer to readers’ questions’;

  • in a publication, a claim that ‘the piecemeal work of Edward Winter, whose column “Chess Notes” has transferred to web publication, is chiefly reliant on editing readers’ input’;

  • in correspondence with another chess historian, these statements: ‘I am unwilling to use Edward Winter’s column as a conduit of information because he never gives me any credit for data that I have occasionally supplied in response to his queries, nor does he mention my books if he can help it.’ The correspondence contained no corroboration of these statements about us, which are untrue;

  • on a discussion forum, two posts about Eric Schiller, again referring to page 271 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves. The posts included the following: ‘the Winter article (and usually I don’t agree with Winter) is right on the money about Schiller’s carelessness when it came to his so-called literary efforts which are mostly of little merit’ and ‘I knew immediately that what Schiller wrote was a disgraceful and intellectually dishonest lie. Nothing since ever caused me to change my mind about him.’ Our own ‘page 271 criticism’ of Eric Schiller was written in 1993; the two posts on the discussion forum (obituary section) were written just a few days after Eric Schiller’s death;

  • in one of his books, a declaration that C.N. ‘benefits from a network of contributors worldwide, happy to do so in exchange for having their books promoted or just “seeing their name up in lights”’;

  • on the same page of that book, an observation that C.N. ‘does not engage in systematic research of the kind this author believes should be the main aim of a chess historian’, and that ‘the world of the chess historian would be well served if Mr Winter decided to return to the production of major contributions to chess literature’, as opposed to C.N.;

  • on a discussion forum, this assertion (on 15 September 2020): ‘I haven’t for many years contributed to Chess Notes because of Winter’s many and unfair attacks on my work.’ Persistently challenged on the forum to substantiate those words, he remained silent.

Addition on 30 October 2020: Answer.

11820. C.N.

One or two new feature articles are in the pipeline, and further batches of C.N. items will also be posted shortly. Over the past four months, material has been added direct to about 250 feature articles.

We no longer sell books or magazines, but items from our collection can be acquired from two respected international dealers: SchachSchneider and Antiquariat A. Klittich.

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Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.