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From pages 54-55 of My Seven Chess Prodigies by John W. Collins (New York, 1974):
The photograph of Collins below is reproduced from the front cover of a catalogue (numbered 1294) of Maddak Inc., published in 1995:
This photograph shows Max Blau and comes from page 27 of the booklet Max-Blau-Memorial Volksbank-Open (Berne, 1987). The next page had another shot:
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 Bxf6 Bxf6 6 e5 Be7 7 Qg4 O-O 8 Bd3 f5 9 Qh3 c5 10 dxc5 Nd7 11 f4 Nxc5 12 O-O-O b5 13 Bxb5 Rb8 14 Nf3 a6 15 Bd3 Qb6 16 b3 Qb4 17 Kb2
17...Qa3+ 18 Kxa3 Nxd3+ 19 b4 Rxb4 20 Rxd3 Rb1+ 21 Ka4 Bd7+ 22 Ka5 Bd8+ 23 Kxa6 Bc8+ 24 Ka7 Bb6+ 25 Ka8
Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) points out
two newspaper appearances of this famous miniature, with
a discrepancy over the winner and loser, and over
whether or not it was a formal game.
New York Recorder,
3 March 1895
Evening Post (New
York), 9 March 1895, page 12
The game is commonly given in chess literature as
‘Sobernheim v Langleben, Montreal, 1895’, e.g. on page
525 of 1000 Best Short Games of Chess by Irving
Chernev (New York, 1955). On the other hand, page 126 of
Learn Chess from the Greats by Peter J. Tamburro
(Mineola, 2000) referred to ‘Langleben-Sobenheim [sic]
from a New York tournament from the thirties’. On page 4
of the April 1933 Chess Review Chernev had
presented the game (‘Langleben-Sobenheim’) without a
date, merely stating that it was ‘played in a New York
tournament’. It was also given as Langleben v
Sobenheim/New York/undated when Chernev published it
again on page 256 of the December 1942 Chess Review,
but a few years later, on page 64 of The Bright Side
of Chess (Philadelphia, 1948), he reversed the
names, corrected Sobenheim to Sobernheim and changed New
York to Montreal, 1895.
Those alterations in the 1948 book brought the details into line with what had appeared on pages 169-170 of the June 1895 Deutsches Schachzeitung, which reported that the game had been played recently at the Montreal Chess Club.
Both Sobernheim and Langleben were New York players.
Regarding Eugene Sobernheim, see, for instance, page 285
of the September-October 1893 American Chess Monthly,
well as pages 89-90 of the July 1897 American Chess
Magazine, where he contributed an article:
Harry Nelson Pillsbury American Chess Champion
by Jacques N. Pope (Ann Arbor, 1996) published two games
in which Salomon Langleben was an opponent. They were
played at the Buffalo Chess Club, New York and in
The following news report, concerning chess in New York, appeared on page 164 of the April 1895 BCM:
Regarding the nature (i.e. off-hand or
otherwise) of the royal walkabout game, see page 9 of Napier
The Forgotten Chessmaster by John S. Hilbert
(Yorklyn, 1997), as well as the details provided in the
full New York Recorder column of 3 March 1895,
which is available at the Chess
How did Montreal, rather than New York, become so widely associated with the game?
Harold Kjallberg (Sussex, WI, USA) observes that the above photograph (Capablanca v Riumin, Moscow, 1936) casts doubt on the move order (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 d6 3 Nc3 Nbd7 4 e4 e5 5 d5 Nc5 6 f3 Be7 7 Be3 O-O 8 b4 Ncd7 9 Bd3 Ne8 10 Nge2 g6 11 O-O a5 12 a3 Ng7 13 Bh6 f6) given in various sources, including the Russian-language tournament book (of which an English translation was published in 1988 by Caissa Editions) and our 1989 monograph on Capablanca. He comments:
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) points out that a clearer
version of the photograph is available on-line. From
that copy we give the detail below:
There follow Capablanca’s annotations to the game, as published in the Russian Bulletin of the tournament (special issue of 64), 18 May 1936:
As mentioned by our correspondent, the same move order appeared in the Moscow, 1936 tournament book, where the annotations were by Riumin (who gave 11...a5 a question mark).
However, we note that a different version of the score (11 O-O Ng7 12 Bh6 a5 13 a3 f6) was given on page 179 of the June 1936 Deutsche Schachzeitung ...
... and on page 393 of CHESS, 14 June 1936:
Below, furthermore, is an extract from page 6 of the tournament book edited by E.G.R. Cordingley (London, 1936):
Cordingley wrote in his Foreword:
Can a reader trace Cordingley’s version of the moves in an issue of 64, and perhaps even an explanation in the Soviet magazine of the discrepancy in the game-score?
The above illustration has been provided by Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England), who comments:
David DeLucia (Darien, CT, USA) informs us that he has the third edition (1640) and that in Chapter XXIIII the following mates are mentioned:
Mr DeLucia adds:
We should like to see the relevant text in the second edition (1618), i.e. the first in which the term ‘Fool’s mate’ appeared.
From pages 174-175 of R.D. Blackmore by Waldo Hilary Dunn (London, 1956):
Blackmore’s name was mentioned in a long list of acknowledgements on page x of Meyer’s A Complete Guide to the Game of Chess (London, 1882).
page 192 of W.H. Dunn’s book
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) sends a detailed report about Sultan Khan’s visit to Plymouth, which accompanied the above photograph, on page 5 of the Western Morning News and Daily Gazette, 27 October 1932.
From page v of Further Chess Ideas by John Love and John Hodgkins (London, 1965):
Who is on the book’s dust-jacket?
Information is still sought regarding the position given in C.N. 3127 (see pages 14-15 of Chess Facts and Fables):
The position arose in a game played in 1874 in Dorpat (present-day name: Tartu) between unnamed opponents. The forced mate is 1 Bb3+ Bc4 2 Bxc4+ d5 3 Qxd8+ Bxd8 4 Bxd5. If 1…d5, White plays 2 Qxd8+ Bxd8 3 Bxd5 mate.
However, it is the third possibility which presents the table-turning tableau: 1 Bb3+ d5 2 exd6+ Re6 mate.
Unfortunately the confusing German text in our source (Baltische Schachblätter, Heft 11, 1908, page 54) does not make it sufficiently clear how the game ended. The magazine credited the position to the Düna-Zeitung, but it remains to be discovered whether that publication had been more explicit.
Below, for reference, is the full text from the Baltische Schachblätter:
The only addition currently available is that the position had been published on page 79 of the May 1906 Schweizerische Schachzeitung:
H.E. Bird’s comment on 12...Ne7:
Source: Modern Chess and Chess Masterpieces by H.E. Bird (London, 1887), page 74.
C.N. 3495 referred to the chess term une lunette, in the context of a pawn fork, and quoted a definition on page 140 of Traité d’échecs analytique et progressif by A. Lonchay (Brussels, 1917):
Jean-Pierre Rhéaume (Montreal, Canada) notes that the Dictionnaire Littré provides definitions for lunette concerning both draughts and chess:
Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) has found the ‘tableau’ position on page 63 of the 25 February (old style) 1906 issue of Düna-Zeitung:
This article by G.H. Diggle (Newsflash, July 1980) was reproduced on page 59 of Chess Characters (Geneva, 1984):
Ronald Spurgeon (Sutton, England) draws attention to a feature on page 169 of the November 1923 American Chess Bulletin:
Our correspondent asks whether anything further is known about the rapid transit tournaments and about the Lasker v Sämisch game given by the Bulletin.
We have found the score on page 6A of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 June 1923:
Emanuel Lasker – Friedrich Sämisch
1 e4 e5 2 d3 d5 3 exd5 Qxd5 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Bd2 Qd8 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Be2 f6 8 O-O Nge7 9 Ne4 Bd6 10 d4 Be6 11 Bc3 exd4 12 Nxd6+ Qxd6 13 Nxd4 Nxd4 14 Qxd4 Qxd4 15 Bxd4 Kf7 16 Rfe1 Rhd8 17 Bc5 Ng6 18 Bf3 Bd5 19 Bh5 Rd7 20 Rad1 Re8 21 Bxa7 Rxe1+ 22 Rxe1 Be6 23 Be3 Bf5 24 Bf3 c6 25 Bd1 Ne5 26 f3 Nc4
27 Bc1 b5 28 Kf2 g5 29 b3 Nb6 30 g4 Bg6 31 f4 gxf4 32 Bxf4 Nd5 33 Bd2 Ra7
34 a4 bxa4 35 c4 axb3 36 Bxb3 Ne7 37 Bf4 Rb7 38 Re3 h5 39 c5+ Nd5 40 Bxd5+ cxd5 41 c6 Rb2+ 42 Kg3 Rc2 43 gxh5 Be4 44 c7 f5 45 Rb3 Rg2+ 46 Kh3
46...Rg8 47 h6 Resigns.
Source: Carlsbad, 1923 tournament book
Regarding rapid transit games in Carlsbad, C.N. 1050 (see page 9 of Chess Explorations) gave the conclusion of Tartakower’s win against Alekhine on 8 May 1923.
A second enquiry from Ronald Spurgeon arises from the caption to a photograph on page 1029 of Emanuel Lasker: Denker Weltenbürger Schachweltmeister edited by R. Forster, S. Hansen and M. Negele (Berlin, 2009). It states that in summer 1925 Lasker and Nimzowitsch played a match of ten off-hand games, Lasker winning 7-3.
We can do no better at present than reproduce the brief report in the source indicated by the book, i.e. from page 309 of Deutsche Schachblätter, 15 July 1925:
From Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England) comes information about a scarce publication in his collection, a pamphlet produced by the Pillsbury National Correspondence Chess Association in 1905:
Mr Clapham writes:
Further to our feature article Hypermodern Chess, Peter Morris (Kallista, Australia) notes on page 256 of 500 Master Games of Chess by S. Tartakower and J. du Mont (London, 1952) the following annotation in the game Paulsen v Rosenthal, Vienna, 1873, after 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 Bc5 4 Bg2:
The passage is particularly interesting for its reference to Bogoljubow; our article expressed doubts as to whether he should be regarded as a hypermodern player.
Peter Morris also draws attention to two books which
discuss Alexander v Reshevsky, Nottingham, 1936:
Page 80 of Reshevsky
on Chess by S. Reshevsky (New York, 1948)
Page 84 of How to Play the Endgame in Chess by L. Barden (London and Glasgow, 1975)
We have raised the matter with Leonard Barden (London), who responds:
Regarding Reshevsky and ghosting, see pages 321-322 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, pages 188 and 270 of Chess Facts and Fables and C.N. 3768.
C.N.s 7955 and 7970 showed these two positions by George E. Carpenter as published on page 209 of Checkmate, December 1901, but where did the solutions appear? Indeed, does the first composition have any solution at all? Concerning the second position we can add only that it was included in T.R. Dawson’s ‘Endings’ column on page 362 of the September 1915 Chess Amateur, merely captioned ‘G.E. Carpenter’ and ‘White wins’, and that the solution (White has a mate in seven with 1 Nc6) was published on page 25 of the October 1915 issue.
Readers wishing to test their problem-solving skills against Capablanca are invited to time themselves while trying to find the key move in this position:
Mate in two
The problem, by William Reilly, was one of 12 in the International Good Companion Two-Move Solving Tourney held on 22 February 1915. Clubs around the world were invited to organize a solving session and to submit their results to the Good Companion Chess Problem Club in Philadelphia.
The problem by Reilly was published by D.J. Morgan on page 397 of the September 1973 BCM:
We are grateful to Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England) for providing the relevant text on page 4 of Dickins’ An Album of Fairy Chess (London, 1970):
Dickens then gave 22 annotated fairy compositions by Reilly and two orthodox problems, including the mate-in-two under discussion here.
Mr McDowell adds:
Our correspondent has also sent us, courtesy of Brian Stephenson, the extensive coverage of the problem-solving competition which was published in The Good Companion Chess Problem Club in 1914 and 1915. The 12 two-movers appeared on pages 47-49 of the 22 February 1915 issue, and below is the first of those pages:
The full set was also given on pages 153-154 of the April 1915 BCM:
The Good Companion publication reproduced extensive reports on the solving competition which were received from club secretaries in various countries, and on pages 93-94 of the 1 May 1915 issue Frank Janet (the pseudonym of Elias Silberstein) presented the minutes of the session held at the Manhattan Chess Club. Edward Lasker solved 11 of the 12 problems in one hour 27 minutes, and Frank J. Marshall solved eight in 37 minutes. Regarding Capablanca, the following was reported by Janet:
We do not know why Dickins stated that Capablanca took 15, rather than four, minutes on the Reilly composition (key move: 1 Rg2).
For other episodes involving Capablanca and problem-solving, see pages 89-91 of our monograph on him, as well as Steinitz Stuck and Capa Caught.
Steinitz writing on page 267 of the September 1887 International Chess Magazine:
From page 34 of Famous Chess Players by Peter Morris Lerner (Minneapolis, 1973):
With readers’ help we hope to draw up an accurate list of Alekhine’s wives with as many biographical dates as possible. As a starting-point, there follows an extract from the obituary of Alekhine by Erwin Voellmy and Jean-Charles de Watteville on pages 85-86 of the June 1946 Schweizerische Schachzeitung:
Chris Turnbow (Memphis, TN, USA) notes a press release concerning the pianist Nikolai Lugansky, who states:
The unusual term ‘quadruple world champion’ evidently reflects the fact that Alekhine won four world title matches.
Our correspondent asks whether light can be shed on the following statements about Alekhine (not by Lugansky) in the press release:
A remark by Nat (Nathan) Halper (1907-83) on page 136 of the April 1943 Chess Review:
Martin Sims (Upper Hutt, New Zealand) asks whether firm information is available on the circumstances of Arvid Kubbel’s death in the Soviet Union in the late 1930s, e.g. whether reports that he was executed can be substantiated.
John Blackstone (Las Vegas, NV, USA) has forwarded an article about Frank Marshall by Harvey T. Woodruff on page B3 of the Chicago Daily Tribune, 31 January 1915. It discusses the US champion’s departure from Mannheim, 1914 but also has some information on his family and early life, such as the following:
Clarification is sought regarding the discrepancy over Marshall’s birth-date, which was 10 August 1877 according to page 7 of his book Chess Openings (Leeds, 1904) and page 3 of My Fifty Years of Chess (New York, 1942). On the other hand, 21 August 1877 was the date given on, for instance, page 574 of the March 1898 American Chess Magazine, on page 283 of the December 1910 American Chess Bulletin and, even, on page 16 of Marshall’s book Chess Masterpieces (New York, 1928), in a biographical section by J.C.H. Macbeth.
An enquiry from Rick Kennedy (Columbus, OH, USA) concerning J.H. Blackburne’s nickname ‘The Black Death’ is prompted by the suggestion in a recent ChessBase article that the term relates to the master’s skill as Black.
To begin with the second part of Mr Kennedy’s question, we note that such a claim is occasionally seen in chess literature, an example being the entry on Blackburne on page 41 of Lexikon für Schachfreunde by Manfred van Fondern (Lucerne and Frankfurt am Main, 1980):
In that entry Blackburne’s first name was twice given as James, instead of Joseph. We are aware of no primary sources making a connection between ‘The Black Death’ and Blackburne’s handling of the black pieces.
As regards the origin of the sobriquet, below is a passage from pages 8-9 of Mr Blackburne’s Games at Chess by P. Anderson Graham (London, 1899):
The Blackburne entry in the Oxford Companion to Chess
affirmed, ‘The tournament book of Vienna 1873 called him
“der schwarze Tod” (Black Death), a nickname that became
popular’, but it would be more precise to say that Der
erste Wiener internationale Schachcongress im Jahre 1873
edited by H. Lehner and C. Schwede (Leipzig, 1874) merely
quoted, on page 50, from an external source:
Page 48 stated that the writer of the material cited was Dr J. Pollach, in an account first published in a shorter form in the Deutsche Zeitung and later reprinted in full in chess publications.
Peter Anderberg (Harmstorf, Germany) informs us that the abridged text appeared in the Viennese daily Deutsche Zeitung on 2 August 1873, morning edition, page 4. It included the ‘Black Death’ reference:
Mr Anderberg notes furthermore that although the Deutsche Zeitung named the writer only as ‘-ch’, later sources specified ‘Dr J. Pollach’, and that the text in the tournament book was reproduced from the Oesterreichische Schachzeitung, October 1873, pages 293-295.
Mark N. Taylor (Mt Berry, GA, USA) writes:
We take this opportunity, more generally, to recall that Chess Journalism and Ethics quotes a line, spoken by Jacob Milne, from page 61 of Tom Stoppard’s brilliant play Night and Day (London, 1979):
A comment by the character Dick Wagner on page 27 is also memorable and of obvious relevance to the chess world:
Later in the same passage there is a comment to which we referred in Instant Fischer:
Page 45 has a remark which was quoted on page 289 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves:
The same character, Ruth Carson, has this line on page 60:
C.N. 7984 asked whether any case at all could be made for the spelling ‘Kieseritsky’.
Dominique Thimognier (Fondettes, France) reports that he has found no instances of that spelling during the player’s years in France. In La Régence and his book Cinquante parties jouées au Cercle des Echecs et au Café de la Régence (Paris, 1846) he invariably used ‘Kieseritzky’.
Our correspondent has also found a copy of Kieseritzky’s death certificate and points out that although it has ‘Kieseritzki’ and ‘19 mai 1853’, pre-1860 registrations in Paris are often unreliable because the records had to be reconstituted following a fire in 1871.
Mr Thimognier asks for information about Hyp[p]olite du Bourblanc, who was praised on page 29 of volume one of A New Treatise on the Game of Chess by J.H. Sarratt (London, 1821):
A number of references to du Bourblanc in chess literature are readily traced through Google Books, but can additional information about him be found?
Whether Paul Keres ever wrote down this familiar observation is not known to us, but it was ascribed to him by I.A. Horowitz in an article on page 369 of the December 1955 Chess Review. Horowitz stated that Keres had made the remark ‘to a member of the US team only last summer’ (i.e. when Keres was aged 38).
Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.