Chess Notes

Edward Winter

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5 February 2023: C.N.s 11927-11935
7 February 2023: C.N. 11936
18 March 2023: C.N.s 11937-11945
7 May 2023: C.N.s 11946-11950
2 July 2023: C.N.s 11951-11955
9 August 2023: C.N.s 11956-11961
26 September 2023: C.N.s 11962-11965
16 October 2023: C.N.s  11966-11972
All feature articles and C.N. archives
C.N. Factfinder

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11927. Further Fischer material

John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA) draws attention to a website which offers a large number of Fischer-related newspaper articles.

He also writes:

‘I recently listened to a 2022 podcast series on the Worldwide Church of God, where one episode is on Bobby Fischer. One of the people they talk with, a person who interviewed Fischer in late 1976/77, when he was disenchanted with the WWCOG, still has the tape recordings of the interview. Although they play only segments of the five hours, some parts are interesting. Unless anyone in the former Yugoslavia still has the press interviews in which Fischer discussed a possible 1978 match with Gligorić, it is likely to be the last pre-1992 interview that Fischer gave. It is Episode 1.7: ‘Finding Bobby Fischer: The Lost Tapes’.

Incidentally, late last year I had a discussion with Eugenio Torre in St Louis. He was reticent to speak about Fischer but did confirm that he played only one training game with him (a long draw in a 2 c3 Sicilian which is known).’

The Torre v Fischer game was given in C.N. 8638.

11928. Capablanca on Ståhlberg

Peter Holmgren (Stockholm) is seeking substantiation of a claim, readily found on the Internet without any source, that Capablanca described Ståhlberg as ‘el león sueco’ (‘the Swedish lion’).

11929. Castling

‘Castling is the first step towards a well-ordered life’ is a familiar remark by Tartakower, cited, for instance, in Wolfgang Heidenfeld’s entry on (sourceless) chess aphorisms on page 16 of The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek (London, 1977).

The castling observation is one of dozens given by Tartakower on pages 551-553 of the Teplitz-Schönau, 1922 tournament book (shown below courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library):




Thus page 553 has:

‘Rochade ist der erste Schritt zum geordneten Leben.’

A number of other observations above will be familiar. Concerning ‘Die Fehler sind dazu da, um gemacht zu werden’ (customarily translated as ‘The mistakes are all there, waiting to be made’), we have now slightly amended the Tartakower entry in The Most Famous Chess Quotations, given that the Teplitz-Schönau, 1922 tournament book predated our source (Die Hypermoderne Schachpartie).

See too our feature article Castling in Chess.

11930. Lady Edith Margaret Thomas (C.N.s 5690, 9848 & 10680)

C.N. 5690 referred to a record of Sir George Thomas’s chessplaying mother, Lady Edith Margaret Thomas (née Foster), having been born circa 1853 at The Bogue, St Elizabeth, Jamaica.

Jon D’Souza-Eva (Oxford, England) reports that now the FamilySearch webpage states ‘Birth about 1846, Hanover, German Empire’ and adds that she was christened in Hanover on 25 January 1846.

Concerning Lady Thomas, see too the photograph in Chess and Women (C.N. 3281).

11931. N.T. Whitaker

Further to our recent feature article on Norman Tweed Whitaker, John Hilbert (Amherst, NY, USA) has sent us a database of over 40 games which he has traced since the publication in 2000 of his book Shady Side: The Life and Crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chessmaster.

Two specimens:

Morton Eschner – Norman Tweed Whitaker
First match-game, Philadelphia, 1910
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 c3 Nxe4 7 Re1 Nc5 8 Bxc6 dxc6 9 Nxe5 O-O 10 d4 Ne6 11 Nd2 c5 12 Ndf3 cxd4 13 Nxd4 Nxd4 14 cxd4 Be6 15 f4 Qd5 16 Be3 Rad8 17 Rc1 c6 18 a3 Bd6 19 Qc2 f6 20 Nf3 Rfe8 21 Qf2 Bb8 22 Rc5 Qd7 23 Rh5 Ba7 24 Qh4 g6 25 Rh6 Bd5


26 f5 Bxf3 27 fxg6 Bxd4 28 Rxh7 Bxe3+ 29 Rxe3 Qd1+ 30 Kf2 Rd2+ 31 Kg3 Rxg2+ 32 Kf4 Rg4+ 33 Qxg4 Qd4+ 34 White resigns.

Source: Philadelphia Item, 22 May 1910.

P. Driver – Norman Tweed Whitaker
Mercantile Library Chess Association Championship, Philadelphia, 1911
Queen’s Pawn Opening

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 c5 3 e3 e6 4 c4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Nf6 6 Bd2 dxc4 7 Bxc4 a6 8 O-O b5 9 Bb3 c4 10 Bc2 Bb7 11 e4 Be7 12 Bg5 O-O 13 e5 Nd5 14 Bxe7 Qxe7 15 Ne4 Ncb4 16 Nd6 Nxc2 17 Qxc2 Bc6 18 a3 f6 19 Rfe1 fxe5 20 dxe5 Nf4 21 Ne4 Qf7 22 Re3 Qg6 23 Ne1


23...Bxe4 24 White resigns.

Sources: Philadelphia Public Ledger, 23 April 1911 (courtesy of Neil Brennen) and the Staten Islander, 17 May 1911.

11932. Vladimir Nabokov

Brian Matthews (New York, NY, USA) brings to our attention a webpage on Vladimir Nabokov and chess.

11933. Petra Leeuwerik and Victor Korchnoi

Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) authorizes us to show this photograph that he has acquired:


11934. The Staunton chessmen

From John Townsend (Wokingham, England):

‘Although the pattern of Staunton chessmen was registered officially in the name of Nathaniel Cooke in 1849, it has been questioned whether he was also the designer. He is not otherwise associated with either chess or artistic design, save to say that his daughter, Harriet Ingram Cooke, seems to have been the author of The ABC of Chess, By a Lady, first published by John Jaques in 1860.

A short article in The Spectator, 17 November 1849, page 1087, entitled “The ‘Staunton’ Chess-men”, took the unusual step of naming the designer. These were the concluding words:

“The carton-pierre chest, in which the men are deposited, and which is decorated with mediaeval arches and turrets, embossed with the insignia of the game, does just credit to Mr L.S. Williams, the artist; who has also, we believe, designed the very solid and elegant pieces.”

In fact, “Mr L.S. Williams” was incorrect, and it is clear from a reply to a correspondent, “Florence”, in the Illustrated London News of the same date (page 11) that the artist being referred to was “Mr Joseph L. Williams”:

“The very beautiful and appropriate box of Carton Pierre, in which the new Chess-men are inclosed, is by Mr Joseph L. Williams, the well-known decorative artist.”

Joseph Lionel Williams (1815-77), born in Colchester, Essex, was a wood engraver, draughtsman and watercolourist. He did much illustrative work for the Illustrated London News, as did his brother, Alfred Williams.

Great caution is required before crediting Joseph Lionel Williams with the design of the Staunton chessmen, although, in view of the article in The Spectator, it seems at least possible that he designed the men as well as the box.’

11935. Disarray at the 1939 FIDE General Assembly (C.N.s 11915, 11918 & 11925)

Our earlier items have referred to a current discussion within FIDE concerning Alexander Rueb’s tenure of the presidency, with links to FIDE Chess Congress 1939: An Investigation by Richard Forster and to his briefer account, entitled Coup or Call of Duty? Commotion at the 1939 FIDE Chess Congress.

Pages 40-42 of the February 2023 CHESS feature a further article by Dr Forster, ‘Buenos Aires 1939: The putsch that did not happen’. The three-page article is shown here with the permission of CHESS.


11936. Luc Winants

The death has just been announced of Luc Winants, aged 60.

A grandmaster with a deep knowledge of chess history, he made many contributions to C.N., with unfailing precision and good humour.

Below we reproduce two photographs (SWIFT tournament, 1986), courtesy of Yasser Seirawan (Hilversum, the Netherlands).

winants seirawan

seirawan winants

11937. Alekhine

Bernd Schneider (Solingen, Germany) recently auctioned a book which had, as its frontispiece, a photograph of Alekhine that seemed new to us. Is any information available about the picture (absent from our copy of the Dutch edition)?


11938. A complex study (C.N. 1831)

John Roycroft (London) wrote as follows in C.N. 1831 (about a position which he gave in the GBR Code):

‘No. 156 in Tattersall’s A Thousand Endgames (volume one) is attributed without date or source to Troitzky. The position: a1a3 0005.11 a6f6d3.b3c3 4/3=. The solution: 1 Nb4 Nxb4 2 Ne4 c2 3 Nc3 Nd5 (3...c1(Q)+ 4 Nb1+) 4 Ne2 Kxb3 5 Nd4+. The Russians Evgeny Umnov and Nikolai Kralin wish to trace the original source (assuming that Troitzky was the genuine composer) prior to publishing “the complete Troitzky”. We may note that No. 670 in Tattersall is also given as by Troitzky, but it is in fact by F. Lazard if we are to believe No. 979 in Sutherland and Lommer’s 1234 Modern End-Game Studies.’


White to move and draw (?)

Now, we add that the van der Heijden database shows that the study was by Carl Behting, published in 1903 in Shakhmatnoe Obozrenie and the Deutsche Schachzeitung, and that it is cooked by 3...Kxb3.

Courtesy of Sergey Voronkov and Vladislav Novikov (Moscow), below is the relevant part of page 130 of the Russian magazine (April 1903 issue):


The diagram on the left is the oldest composition by Ossip Bernstein in the van der Heijden database.

11939. Simultaneous exhibitions by Staunton and Morphy

What was the largest number of games that either Staunton or Morphy ever played simultaneously (excluding the latter’s blindfold displays)?

This surprisingly difficult question has been mentioned in, for instance, C.N.s 4492 and 11874 (see Howard Staunton) and C.N. 10423 (see Paul Morphy). Citations for numbers as low as three or four will be welcomed, to start the ball rolling.

11940. Spanish website

Luis Méndez (Gijón, Spain) draws attention to his website ‘Comentarios de Ajedrez’.

Our correspondent is the co-author of a book mentioned in C.N. 11383, The Gijón International Chess Tournaments, 1944–1965 (Jefferson, 2019).

11941. Questions about Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games

Christopher Holmes (Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France) raises a number of points regarding Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games, originally published in 1969 by Simon & Schuster in the United States and by Faber and Faber in the United Kingdom, followed by two Batsford editions (1995 and 2008). Quite apart from the unclear copyright position concerning those English-language editions, our correspondent wonders how a potential translator or publisher of the book in another language could set about clearing the rights, through Fischer’s estate. Is the identity of the appropriate contact person known?


Our above-mentioned feature article described the 1972 French edition by Parviz M. Abolgassemi as ‘flavourless and inaccurate’, but it is hard to imagine how a perfect new edition of Fischer’s book could be produced in any language. Which English-language version should be the basis for any translation? How, if at all, should errata be incorporated? Has anybody ever produced an exhaustive list of corrections (on the basis of what was published in 1969)? What attention, if any, should be given to the multitude of alleged analytical improvements in My 61 Memorable Games?

11942. Mikhail Tal

Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) provides this portrait of Mikhail Tal, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph archive:


11943. Elaine Saunders

Mr Urcan also offers this addition, from the Keystone archive, to our feature article The Chess Prodigy Elaine Saunders:


11944. Blanco and Lasker

C.N.s 3471 and 3475 (see Chess Cartoons and Caricatures) have shown a caricature of Emanuel Lasker by Rafael Blanco. Now, Yandy Rojas Barrios (Cárdenas, Cuba) supplies a better-quality version, from page 125 of El Fígaro, 4 March 1906:

blanco lasker

11945. Charles Thomas Stanley

From John Townsend (Wokingham, England):

‘In the 1840s, Charles Stanley, of the Brighton Chess Club, had problems published in the Illustrated London News, and problems and a game in the Chess Player’s Chronicle. (Details can be found in my book, Historical notes on some chess players, pages 93-94). Some writers have equated him with Charles Henry Stanley, but that is clearly wrong, since references which associate the problemist Charles Stanley with the Brighton Chess Club are after Charles Henry Stanley had emigrated to the United States in 1845.

Who, then, was the problemist? There is strong evidence that he was a close friend of Hugh Alexander Kennedy, a leading light at the Brighton Chess Club. When Kennedy was married on 14 November 1849 to Mary Georgiana Ward, at St. John’s, Hampstead, one of the two witnesses who signed the marriage register was “C.T. Stanley”. I have found only one “C.T. Stanley” who this could reasonably be and that is “C.T. Stanley, Esq., Lindfield” who for a number of years appeared in the list of members printed in Sussex Archaeological Collections, for example, Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol. II, 1849, page xvi, where, incidentally, “Captain Hugh Kennedy, Brighton” appears on the same page.

Lindfield is a Sussex village which lies about 15 miles to the north of Brighton, so it would have given Stanley reasonable access to the chess club. Peter Edmund Stanley, on page 374 of his book The House of Stanley (1998), notes, as part of his chapter on “The Stanleys of Preston”, that Charles Thomas Stanley (1806-83) lived “for a number of years” at Lindfield, and that is undoubtedly who “C.T. Stanley” was.

Charles Thomas Stanley was the youngest son of James Stanley, the vicar of Ormskirk, Lancashire, and his baptism is recorded in the Ormskirk register on 18 September 1812, noting his date of birth, six years earlier, as 28 September 1806.

He was a cousin of the Earl of Derby and used the same arms, crest and motto. His first wife was Elizabeth Rosamond, the eldest daughter of James Ward, of Surrey.

By 1881 he had moved to Charlton, near Dover, Kent, where he is to be found on the census (National Archives, RG11 1000/117). This shows that he was then receiving income from railway debentures and interest on mortgages; he was with his second wife, Catherine S. Stanley, who had been born at Steyning, Sussex, and three children, Edmund (18), Ernest (13) and Rosa (16), all born at Brompton, Middlesex. This indicates that he had lived at Brompton after Lindfield and before Dover. He had no children by his first wife.

He died at 7 Beaumont Terrace, Dover, on 23 September 1883. A death notice in the Evening Mail of 1 October 1883 (page 8) stated that he was a brother of the late Admiral Edward Stanley. The National Probate Calendar records that probate was granted to his relict, Catherine Stepney Stanley, on 30 October 1883, his personal estate amounting to £2,658 12s. 11d.’

11946. The first Spanish chess champion

Luis Méndez Castedo and Pedro Méndez Castedo (Gijón, Spain) draw our attention to a biography of Manuel Golmayo de la Torriente which they have just published. Sample pages are shown here with the co-authors’ permission:




11947. Lasker and Capablanca in their final years

Johannes Wiegand (Washington DC, USA) asks about possible contact between Lasker and Capablanca in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and the nature of their relationship towards the end of their lives, when both were living in New York.

Currently, we can quote only one account of their having met. On page 120 of the third volume (Berlin, 2022) of the Lasker trilogy Richard Forster wrote:

‘Back in bustling New York, the Laskers had an unusual guest in late summer [1940]: Capablanca turned up. He was, Martha noted, so much more likable than earlier, he was entertaining, and all former jealousy and arrogance had gone. At long last the two old champions were reconciled.’

The source of this information is a Lasker diary (see pages 114-115 of the book, which Richard Forster co-edited with Michael Negele and Raj Tischbierek).

Richard Forster has shown us the full entry by Martha Lasker concerning her husband’s meeting with Capablanca in 1940. About 260 words long, it includes this remark about the Cuban:

‘Früher als er in Havana Em die Weltmeisterwürde im Schach abgenommen hatte (unter Einwirkung der Tropenhitze auf Em) war er mir unausstehlich.’

11948. Early 1920s photograph

alekhine rubinstein

This picture was given by us in a Chess Mysteries article at on 20 November 2007 with this brief information:

The photograph above shows Alekhine at the board with Rubinstein (watched by Tartakower, Bogoljubow and Maróczy). It is taken from Tartakower’s book Die Hypermoderne Schachpartie, published in the mid-1920s, and the credit reads ‘Friedmann, Wien’. Can a better copy of the picture be found?

Now, Philip Jurgens (Ottawa, Canada) asks whether anything further has come to light. Unfortunately not, to our knowledge.

11949. An Alekhine page

Florin Dănănău (Bucharest) supplies the following, page 4 of Ilustrațiunea Română, January 1936:


11950. Tony Miles

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph archive, Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) provides this shot of Tony Miles:


A stamp on the reverse gives the date 26 February 1976, and it is stated that the picture was taken at Heathrow Airport, as Miles arrived from Dubna.

11951. The Manhattan Chess Club

David Lyalin (Dunwoody, GA, USA) is writing a novel, in Russian, which includes a scene at the Manhattan Chess Club. He asks whether photographs and descriptions of the interior of the Club are available, his particular interest being in the period 1941-56, when the Club was located at 100 Central Park South. He enquires about such matters as how many rooms the Club occupied, their size, and whether chess and card games were played in different rooms.

We take the opportunity to invite similar information about the Club throughout its existence.

11952. Players named Smyslov

This topic (concerning the father of Vassily Smyslov and another player, from Kiev, also named Smyslov) has been discussed in C.N.s 5606 and 10098. Now, further information has been received from Dmitriy Komendenko (St Petersburg, Russia):

‘Looking at the rusbase website I have found that a player named Smyslov played in the championship of Kiev at least three times: 1929, 1930 and 1936. Only his surname is given, with no forename or patronymic, but I did find a reference to a Victor Victorovich Smyslov on a Russian website. Before it went offline I took this screen-shot:


The text states that he was born in 1909 and worked at the КИСИ (Киевский инженерно-строительный институт), and his interest in chess is mentioned.

In 1936 the Ukrainian chess newspaper Шахіст had further information about the little-known Smyslov from Kiev, including a photograph and the fact that he was a second-category player:


Шахіст issue 3, 25 October 1936, page 1


Шахіст issue 6, 25 November 1936, page 2

The website of the Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture has another photograph of Smyslov, clearly the same person as shown in Шахiст. It is also noted that he studied in Kiev from 1927 to 1931, moved to Moscow and returned to Kiev in 1936.’

11953. Maurice Benyovszky

Dmitriy Komendenko also notes that the Russian Wikipedia page for Maurice Benyovszky (1746-86) refers to his interest in chess and connection with Benjamin Franklin:

‘Во время пребывания в Париже Бенёвский увлёкся шахматами и на этой почве сблизился с американским посланником Бенджамином Франклином, который впоследствии принимал деятельное участие в воспитании его детей.’

Is further chess information available?

11954. Horatio Bolton


Mate in seven

Concerning this problem by Horatio Bolton, given in C.N. 134, Guy Meissonnier (Maisons-Alfort, France) draws attention to the article ‘Un célèbre problème d’Horatio Bolton’ by François Fargette on page 2238 of Thèmes-64 issue 113 (January-March 1984).

11955. Folke Rogard and Fedor Bohatirchuk

From Henrik Malm Lindberg (Uppsala, Sweden):

‘I am writing a book on the second FIDE President, Folke Rogard, in his capacity as organizer of modern chess during the Cold War period. His presidency ran from 1949 to 1970 and was replete with events which can and should be seen in the light of the battle between East and West.

A particular question concerns the Ukrainian/Soviet master, Fedor Bohatirchuk, who was later a Canadian champion. He settled in Canada in 1949 and then fought to receive a GM, or at least an IM, title from FIDE for his accomplishments during, in particular, the 1930s. The matter was settled at the 1954 FIDE Congress, when he received the IM title. Twice it had been discussed by the FIDE Qualifications Commission, but the Soviets (Ragozin) had objected. Prior to 1954, Rogard was criticized by Canadians (especially Bernard Freedman), and it appears that agreement was reached in 1954 after a Soviet visit (Kotov and Bondarevsky) to Canada.

From the FIDE archives in Leeuwarden I have a letter dated 6 August 1954 from Freedman to Rogard which reported on an agreement for Bohatirchuk to be an IM “by Right and by Strength”. Are any other sources known which either confirm or contradict this account?’


11956. Projected Botvinnik book

In C.N. 979 we wrote:

The September 1977 Chess Life & Review (pages 491-492) has an article by Frank Brady on the Capablanca-Botvinnik simul game of 1925 (‘an extract from Frank Brady’s Soviet Master, a biography of Dr Mikhail Botvinnik, to be published in 1978’ – what has happened?).

Frank Brady (New York, NY, USA) informs us:

‘I had been in correspondence with Yakov Estrin in the early 1970s about penning a biography of Botvinnik and had received a positive response of interest. While in Iceland during the 1972 match I wrote to Botvinnik requesting a meeting in Macedonia during the Olympiad. He granted the request, and we met with Albéric O’Kelly de Galway as an interpreter. It was a fascinating meeting, but we could not come to terms about my becoming Botvinnik’s biographer.

Several years later, Burt Hochberg, who was the chess consultant for David McKay Co., asked if I would be interested in writing about Botvinnik, and although it looked like it would happen I never received a contract, for reasons unknown. I assume that is the book “Soviet Master” referred to.’

11957. Simultaneous displays by Emanuel Lasker

Olimpiu G. Urcan points out two photographs of Emanuel Lasker giving a simultaneous display.

For a list of Lasker’s exhibitions, see the Emanuel Lasker Online website.

11958. Rafael Blanco (C.N.s  11812 & 11944)


Yandy Rojas Barrios (Cárdenas, Cuba) provides a much better copy of the two-page article about Blanco (C.N. 11812), pointing out that the exact date of publication in El Fígaro was 23 July 1911:


Larger version


Larger version

11959. Abrahams v Thynne


White to move

The Abrahams v Thynne brilliancy was discussed in C.N.s 3158 and 3167 (see pages 278-279 of Chess Facts and Fables), but we have not yet quoted C.J.S. Purdy on the game. He annotated it on pages 315-316 of the Australasian Chess Review, 12 November 1936 with this introduction:

‘We all enjoy bombshell moves. The 20th move in this game makes a loud enough explosion for anybody. Abrahams specializes in bombing.’

Purdy gave 20 Qg8+ three exclamation marks.

11960. Fedor Bohatirchuk (C.N. 11955)

From Stephen Wright (Vancouver, Canada):

‘Below are a few sources on Bernard Freedman and the IM title for Bohatirchuk. It should be noted that Freedman organized (at short notice) the tour for the visiting Bondarevsky and Kotov in June/July 1954; he was also the Secretary of the Canadian Correspondence Chess Association and he used its Bulletin as a vehicle to disseminate news, including FIDE-related subjects. Business pressures meant that he could not attend the 1954 FIDE meetings in Amsterdam.

From a report on the Bondarevsky and Kotov tour:

“It had been planned they play two match-games with two new Canadians now in our capital city: Dr F. Bohatirchuk, who fled his Russian homeland in 1943, and Yugoslav-born George Berner, who came to this country two-and-a-half years ago. Bohatirchuk can boast a plus score against the world champion, while Berner’s credentials indicate a mastership in his own land. In a last-minute back-track, however, the touring Russians side-stepped these face-to-face matches. Instead, they elected simultaneous exhibitions against all-comers.” (Source: Daniel MacAdam (?), Canadian Chess Chat, June-July 1954, page 14.)

Freedman’s comments on the same incident:

“Kotov did not want to play G. Berner an individual match, stating that being an International Grand Master he had come to Canada desirous of meeting Canadian Champions or Chess Masters and that there would be no merit in playing a non-Canadian with no International Master Title. He was, however, prepared to play him in a match with clocks simultaneously with other Ottawa top-ranking players. As to Dr Bohatirchuk, whom they acknowledged was of International Master calibre, he was not asked to play and had himself no desire whatsoever of playing.” (Source: Bernard Freedman, Canadian Correspondence Chess Association Bulletin #215, July 1954, page 2.)

Concerning Dr F. Bohatirchuk and the title of International Master:

“Correspondence was exchanged with the President of the FIDE concerning the refusal to our request last year. I was pretty harsh, and violently protested on behalf of Canada. The request has once more been made and as a result of letters, also talks with the Russian Delegates and others we trust that we may have our request granted ‘by right’ at the next General Meeting of FIDE being held in Amsterdam, August 1954.” (Source: Bernard Freedman, Canadian Correspondence Chess Association Bulletin #216, August 1954, page 3.)

Despite these positive views, the request was initially declined again. From Divinsky’s report on the FIDE meetings:

“I am extremely happy to be able to report that Dr F. Bohatirchuk is now an International Master. The Qualification Committee had met on Sunday morning, 29 August, and I arrived in the afternoon to discover that Dr Bohatirchuk had been turned down because his strength was considered insufficient. There was no disagreement over his right to be considered on his past record. I re-opened his case under the heading ‘New Business’ and claimed that his record was better than that of either Goglidze or Verlinsky. Flohr denied this. Najdorf, who had previously spoken against Dr Bohatirchuk, admitted than he knew nothing about Moscow, 1925, or about Dr Bohatirchuk’s record prior to 1949. I proposed that Dr Bohatirchuk be admitted now on condition that his record proves to be stronger than that of either Goglidze or Verlinsky. A special meeting of the Qualification Committee was called, in which Dr Bohatirchuk was admitted, unanimously, with Russia abstaining from voting.” (Source: Nathan Divinsky, Canadian Chess Chat, August-September 1954, page 22.)

The subsequent press release:

“TORONTO (CP) – Canada’s three-year fight to have Dr Fedor Bohatirchuk named its third international chess master has ended successfully. Russia withdrew its opposition to recognition of the X-ray research expert who fled from Russia to Canada by way of Germany. Bernard Freedman, President of the Chess Federation of Canada, said today that he had received word from Fédération Internationale des Echecs, the world chess body to which he is the Canadian representative, that the University of Ottawa anatomy professor’s claim had been recognized ‘on merit’.” (Source: Times-Colonist, 9 September 1954, page 21.)

There was an exchange in Canadian Chess Chat which provides background on, and illustrates, some of the feelings at the time. Wade wrote a long report on the 1952 FIDE Congress which was serialized in the October, November and December 1952 issues of the magazine; Ferguson’s remarks were explicitly stated to be his personal opinion “and have no connection with any office I may hold in organized chess”. He was elected President of the CFC in 1953 but did not serve out his term, being replaced by Nathan Divinsky. Wade was also a target because he proposed that Canada lose its zonal status.

“There were distinct hints of trouble over Canada’s nomination of Bohatirchuk for the title of international master. There is no issue on the question of his strength, but his actual international results are not impressive due to his not being a prize-winner in events that were colossally strong like Moscow, 1925, when the top players were Bogoljubow, Lasker and Capablanca. However, there is an underlying political issue as the USSR regard Bohatirchuk as a renegade. It must be realized that a vote on the issue as to whether Bohatirchuk is to be granted the title will resolve itself as follows: – against – all the Stalinist Communist countries plus those of the countries who are (a) unwilling to offend personal friends who are delegates from the above Communist countries, and (b) genuinely uncertain about the merits of the case, either politically or on strength as a chessplayer. It is quite impossible to have an objective discussion on this question. Your Federation must decide whether to split the FIDE, without probable gain of principle. I personally judge him worthy of the title on the grounds of strength and do not wish to consider any political question. I would be in a minority. Is it worth fighting? There was no decision this year.” (Source: Robert G. Wade, Canadian Chess Chat, October 1952, page 22.)

“The so-called ‘report’ of the meandering Mr Wade, which appeared in the October issue of Chess Chat, afforded this reader once again a renewed amusement at the continued antics of this chess mountebank, and at the self-assumed importance of his activities and opinions, his condescending and gratuitous lectures to the Chess Federation of Canada, and thereby to Canadian chessplayers in general, on matters which are important to our continued support of FIDE and our interest in international chess.

The latest instance of this, his chiding of the CFC for nominating Doctor Bohatirchuk for the title of International Master, is another example of that supercilious impertinence he consistently displays toward the CFC – and also of the never failing sycophancy of his attitude par con-contra [sic] towards his friends, those ‘delegates’ who represent the Communist countries – (the words are his own) whom he ‘does not wish to offend’. In the manner of the dear old lady who reproaches the small boy who spoke out of turn, he tells us that ‘there were distinct hints of trouble’ at the FIDE meeting as a result of our temerity in making this nomination, he also tells us that the evasion of a decision this year on this matter by the FIDE, was due apparently to a fear of ‘splitting’ the FIDE by displeasing the gas-house gang boys, the USSR delegates and their more or less amiable stooges. He tells us that to vote for the nomination would have left him in a ‘minority’ – as though there were never any virtues in minorities. Of course it is obvious that there would never be any danger of Wade being in a non-Communist minority in any case, especially in such an instance as this, where the Big Boys decided to make a propaganda issue ‘à la Russe’ out of a simple matter.

Wade somewhat clumsily admits that it would be impossible to get ‘an objective discussion’ on the Bohatirchuk matter, because although there is ‘no issue on the question of his strength’, there IS an underlying political issue, viz., that the Russians regard Bohatirchuk as a ‘renegade’. Well, it may have been underlying, but Wade very maladroitly brought the dirty mess to the surface in as unconscious a manner as a circus buffoon. Wade’s remark that Bohatirchuk’s ‘actual international results are not impressive due to his not-being a prize-winner in events that were colossally strong, like Moscow, 1925’ is as piffling and fatuous a statement as even he could make. Was this the criterion applied to those who were granted the title sought for Bohatirchuk? We know better. Mr Wade turns to us and asks us, ‘Is it worth fighting?’ He talks of OUR ‘having to decide whether to split the FIDE without probable gain of principle’. Well, back in the days when I was the age of Wade, we were taught that principles were above expediency, and especially so in the case of a ruthless and vindictive bully. It is to be noted that nowhere does the ineffable Wade tell his ‘friends’ from Moscow et al, that their actions are in danger of ‘splitting the FIDE’. It is the old story of every international congress in which the Russians have taken part in the past 20 years at least, in any field of international operations whatever, there must be two sets of ethics, two sets of rules, and one almighty veto either in fact or in effect.” (Source: Graham G. Ferguson, Canadian Chess Chat, December 1952, page 11.)’

11961. US chess clubs

Information is still being sought about the infrastructure and amenities of the Manhattan Chess Club (C.N. 11951). In the meantime, Stephen Davies (Carlton North, Australia) has provided an article entitled ‘The Homes of Chess’ in the New York Sun, 8 November 1891, page 22:


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11962. Marshall’s golden move

As shown in Marshall’s ‘Gold Coins’ Game against Levitzky (or Levitsky) at Breslau, 1912, 23...Qg3 was played:


Now, Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-Sea, England) points out that Marshall used a similar theme in a problem which was listed as a non-prizewinner on an unnumbered page of volume one, issue seven of The Good Companion Chess Problem Club (March 1914 tourney):



Mate in two

11963. US chess clubs (C.N.s 11951 & 11961)

The Cleveland Public Library has provided us with the images shown below. Some individuals are easily recognizable, but we invite readers to help identify any who are relatively obscure:



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11964. Grabill v Mugridge

Noting the discrepancies in Confusion over the occasion of the well-known Grabill v Mugridge brilliancy (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 O-O d6 6 Bg5 h6 7 Bh4 g5 8 Bg3 h5 9 Nxg5 h4 10 Nxf7 hxg3 11 Nxd8 Bg4 12 Qe1 Nd4 13 Nc3 Nf3+ 14 gxf3 Bxf3 15 White resigns), Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) has sent us the game’s appearance, with brief notes by the winner, on page 19 of the Los Angeles Evening Express, 27 April 1922, in the chess column of Clif Sherwood:

grabill mugridge

grabill mugridge

11965. Capablanca chess

With regard to C.N. 5622 in the section on ‘Capablanca chess’ in Chess Variants and Rule Changes, Yasser Seirawan (St Louis, MO, USA) writes:

‘Both Bruce Harper and I take pride in “adapting” Capablanca’s pieces to the 8 x 8 board with the creation of “S-Chess”, as opposed to Capa’s suggestion for a 10 x 10 board. Is it possible that others before us also tried to “improve” on Capa’s variant? Did any of the proposals try to make Capa’s new pieces “fit” on an 8 x 8 board?’

Our feature article Yasser Seirawan points out a webpage with further details of his variant, and we gave this photograph:


11966. Herman Melville

Paul Kollar (Oxford, CT, USA) has recently been re-reading Herman Melville’s posthumous work Billy Budd, Sailor, and has come across the following passage (page numbers vary according to the edition):

‘The sailor is frankness, the landsman is finesse. Life is not a game with the sailor, demanding the long head; no intricate game of chess where few moves are made in straightforwardness, and ends are attained by indirection; an oblique, tedious, barren game hardly worth that poor candle burnt out in playing it.’

11967. ‘Grandmaster’

On the subject of early usage of the term ‘grandmaster’, or equivalents in other languages, Nick Pope (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) sends the following in relation to Philidor from page 63 of volume three of Lesefrüchte, belehrenden und unterhaltenden Inhalts (Munich, 1828):


11968. Good-quality pictures sought

Photographs of Capablanca shows many interesting pictures from Soviet publications for which no good copy has yet been traced. The same frustration arises in numerous other cases, such as the shot below which Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) found on page 3 of the Liverpool Evening Express, 21 August 1922, i.e. shortly after the conclusion of the London Congress:

price capablanca

11969. Hoffer v N.N.

C.N. 290 reproduced the following game from the ‘Brilliancies’ chapter on page 288 of the Year-Book of Chess 1914 edited by M.W. Stevens (London, 1915), where ‘Hoffer is White’ was the only information given:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5 6 Bb5+ c6 7 dxc6 bxc6 8 Qf3 Qb6 9 Nc3 Be7 10 d3 h6 11 Be3 Qc7


12 Nd5 Nxd5 13 Qxf7+ Kd8 14 Qxd5+ cxd5 15 Nf7 mate.

The Golden Treasury of Chess (various editions) gave the game as ‘played about 1880’, but details are still lacking.

11970. Olson v Altmann

A second game shown in C.N. 290, also courtesy of page 288 of the Year-Book of Chess 1914, was headed ‘Olson v Altmann, Altmünchen C.C., 1913’:

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 Be7 10 Re1 Na5 11 Bc2 O-O 12 Nbd2 Nxd2 13 Bxd2 c5


14 Bh6 gxh6 15 Qd3 f5 16 exf6 Rxf6 17 Qxh7+ Kf8 18 Rxe6 Rxe6 19 Ne5 Rxe5 20 Bg6 and mates next move.

Richard Forster (Winterthur, Switzerland) has found that the game was published on page 11 of the Münchener Neueste Nachrichten, 4 January 1914.

11971. ‘Chess is not for the faint-hearted’

A remark often found attributed, sourcelessly, to Steinitz is:

‘Chess is not for the faint-hearted; it absorbs a person entirely. To get to the bottom of this game, he has to give himself up into slavery. Chess is difficult, it demands work, serious reflection and zealous research.’

Richard Forster points out the following text on page iv of Ludwig Bachmann’s final volume on Steinitz:

‘Zum Schlusse führe ich noch aus dem interessanten Gedankenaustausch, den der Verfasser 1896 mit Steinitz hatte, einige bemerkenswerte Ausführungen zu seiner Charakteristik an: “Das Schach ist nichts für kleine Geister, es beansprucht einen vollen Mann, der sich nicht sklavisch an das Überlieferte hält, sondern selbständig die Tiefen des Spiels zu ergründen sucht. Es ist wahr, ich bin ein schwieriger, kritischer Kopf; aber sollte man da nicht kritisch werden, wenn man so oft oberflächliche Urteile über Stellungen anhören muss, deren wahrer Wert erst durch tiefgründige Forschung klargestellt werden kann. Soll man sich nicht ärgern, wenn man sieht, wie unselbständig an veralteten Methoden festgehalten wird, bloß damit man nicht in seiner Bequemlichkeit gestört wird. Ja das Schach ist schwer, es erfordert Arbeit, ernstes Nachdenken, nur eifrige Forschung kann befriedigen. Nur rückhaltlose Kritik kann zum Ziele führen. Aber der Kritiker gilt leider vielen als Feind statt als Führer zur Wahrheit. Mich aber wird Niemand vom Wege zur Wahrheit abbringen.”’

Our correspondent also draws attention to page 39 of Reuben Fine’s The Psychology of the Chess Player (New York, 1967), where this translation of Steinitz’s 1896 letter to Bachmann is given:

‘Chess is not for timid souls. It demands a whole man, who does not stick slavishly to what has been handed down, but attempts independently to probe the depths of the game. It is true that I am not easily pleased and critical, but shouldn’t one become critical if one so often has to hear superficial opinions about positions which can only be clarified by a thorough investigation. Shouldn’t one worry if one sees how antiquated methods are clung to in a dependent way merely to avoid having one’s comfort disturbed. Yes, chess is difficult, it demands work, serious reflection, only diligent investigation can satisfy. Only ruthless criticism can lead to the goal. But for many unfortunately the critic is seen as an enemy rather than as a guide to the truth. But no-one will ever draw me away from the road to the truth.’

11972. Morphy’s puzzling words

C.N.s 2026 and 2030 (see page 321 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves and Paul Morphy) reported the statement by his niece that Morphy would walk up and down his verandah muttering, ‘Il plantera la bannière de Castille sur les murs de Madrid au cri de Ville gagnée, et le petit Roi s’en ira tout penaud.’

John Townsend (Wokingham, England) writes:

‘Has anyone tried to relate these words to events in Spanish history? Presumably, there are only a limited number of occasions when Madrid could be referred to as ville gagnée, captured by Castilians. One instance is its conquest by Alfonso VI of León and Castile in 1085. The Moorish king at that time, Boabdil, was nicknamed el rey chico, which calls to mind the words attributed to Morphy (“le petit roi”). If Morphy was alluding to this event, then why? He had Castilian ancestry on his father’s side.’

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