When contacting us by e-mail, correspondents are asked to include their name and full postal address and, when providing information, to quote exact book and magazine sources. The word ‘chess’ needs to appear in the subject-line or in the message itself.
Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) sends this photograph, taken in his garden, of the ‘chess flower’ (Fritillaria meleagris):
Stewart Shirley Blackburne (1857-1934) was the author of Terms and Themes of Chess Problems (London, 1907). His obituary on page 409 of the October 1934 BCM referred to other sporting interests (‘he also wrote rules for the Lawn Tennis Association, 1883; for the New Zealand Chess Association, 1906; and for the Canterbury Croquet Association’), and Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England) draws our attention to a New Zealand webpage which states that Blackburne ‘occasionally represented Doncaster in cricket and football, and frequently in lawn tennis matches’.
As mentioned on pages 232-233 of Chess Explorations and page 101 of Chess Facts and Fables, the late Alistair Cooke drew parallels between chess and American football. For an old discussion of the same topic, see ‘Strategy in the New Football’ by Walter Camp on pages 87-90 of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, December 1907.
This photograph has been submitted by Lawrence Totaro (Las Vegas, NV, USA). Who was Tal’s opponent and what was the event?
From page 22 of Relax with Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1948):
Where did Tartakower make such a remark?
Oliver Beck (Seattle, WA, USA) writes:
From page 23 of My one Contribution to Chess by F.V. Morley (New York, 1945):
Wanted: nineteenth-century corroboration of the Bird remark (which appeared on page 29 of the London, 1947 edition of Morley’s work).
Pablo S. Domínguez (Madrid) notes that a different account of the Simagin-Šajtar episode was given, sin fuente, on pages 115-116 of the light-hearted book La guía del perfecto tramposo … en Ajedrez by Antonio Gude (Madrid, 1992).
From page 239 of Point Count Chess by I.A. Horowitz and Geoffrey Mott-Smith (New York, 1960):
Can any details be found in Spielmann’s writings?
Tal’s opponent was Eugenio Szabados. In late October and early November 1957 the future world champion made a tour of Italy, and in a team match between Riga and Venice on 31 October and 1 November he defeated Szabados twice. See page 366 of Storia degli scacchi in Italia by Adriano Chicco and Antonio Rosino (Venice, 1990) and pages 164-168 of the first ‘Chess Stars’ volume of Tal’s games (1949-1962) edited by Alexander Khalifman. The latter book gave only the game in which Szabados was White.
Below is a photograph from opposite page 56 of the Venice, 1949 tournament book:
Regarding the anti-Semitic articles published in 1941 under Alekhine’s name, Henk Smout (Leiden, the Netherlands) writes:
Below we reproduce from our collection the relevant part of the article as it appeared in the Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden:
The letter below, written by J.H. Sarratt in 1810,
was reproduced in C.N. 1047 courtesy of Michael
Macdonald-Ross, its owner at that time (1985):
The letter from Sarratt to Malcolm was enclosed in another letter from Malcolm to Mrs Malcolm:
C.N. 1047 added that an entry on P. Malcolm (1768-1838) is to be found in the Dictionary of National Biography and that, in his letter above, parentheses indicate parts which are not clear.
Björn Frithiof (Almhult, Sweden) asks about the game R. Fine v C.H.O’D. Alexander, Margate, 1937, which appears as follows in his database (ChessBase) and on pages 154-155 of Reuben Fine by A. Woodger (Jefferson, 2004): 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 Nc6 5 Nf3 d6 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 Qxc3 O-O 8 b4 e5 9 dxe5 Ne4 10 Qe3 f5 11 Bb2 Nxe5 12 Nxe5 dxe5 13 g3 Be6 14 f3 Nd6 15 Qxe5 Qe7 16 e3 Qf7 17 c5 Nc4 18 Bxc4 Bxc4 19 Kf2 Bb3 20 Bd4 Rae8 21 Qf4 Bd5 22 Be5 Bxf3 23 Bxg7 Bxh1 24 Bxf8 Rxf8 25 Rxh1 Qa2+ 26 Kf1 Qxa3 27 Kg2 Qb2+ 28 Kh3 Qe2 29 Rf1 Qg4+ 30 Kg2 Re8
31 Qxf5 Qxb4
32 Rf4 Qd2+ 33 Kh3 Qxe3 34 Qd7 Qe7 Drawn.
Our correspondent comments:
We believe that White’s 31st move was mistranscribed as Qxf5 instead of Qxc7, i.e. QxKBP rather than QxQBP. The move was given as 31 QxQBP on page 304 of the June 1937 BCM and on pages 51-52 of The best games of C.H.O’D. Alexander by Harry Golombek and Bill Hartston (Oxford, 1976).
Page 156 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves commented:
A less common tale, on which we have no further information, appeared on page 4 of Relax with Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1948):
This is Frederick Gustavus Hamilton-Russell (1867-1941), in a photograph which appeared in the June 1926 BCM. A portrait of Frank Marshall with the Hamilton-Russell Cup was the frontispiece of Marshall’s Comparative Chess (Philadelphia, 1932):
John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA) writes:
Below is the biographical item in Chess World referred to by Mr Donaldson:
From page v of Chess Brilliants by I.O. Howard Taylor (London, 1869):
Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) quotes from page 7 of part two of the New York Daily Tribune, 3 January 1897 (a letter dated 17 December 1896 just received from Steinitz in Moscow):
We cannot explain why this wording is different from what appears on page 337 of William Steinitz, Chess Champion by Kurt Landsberger, where Steinitz’s letter was quoted as stating, for example, ‘A chess master has the same right to be sick as a general on the battlefield’. It may be recalled from C.N. 6058 that Mr Landsberger said that he was citing Steinitz’s letter as published in the New York Sun, also of 3 January 1897.
Below is an extract from pages xix-xx of the Preface by Benjamin M. Anderson Jr to Capablanca’s A Primer of Chess (New York, 1935):
The passage was discussed in C.N.s 706 and 1177 (see pages 117-118 and 263 of Chess Explorations), and for the game in question we can still offer only one candidate: Marshall v Maróczy, Lake Hopatcong, 1926. As mentioned in C.N. 5991, Anderson was in Lake Hopatcong at the time.
This photograph of the team from Bohemia and Moravia at the 1939 Olympiad is reproduced from Nad šachovnicemi celého světa by K. Opočenský and V. Houška (Prague, 1960):
Our earlier items (see page 268 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, page 289 of A Chess Omnibus and C.N. 4823) recorded such mishaps as David Spanier’s description of Nimzowitsch as ‘one of the great masters of nineteenth-century chess’. Now we add another specimen:
Source: page 189 of The Chess Scene by D. Levy and S. Reuben (London, 1974).
The article below by G.H. Diggle, the ‘Badmaster’, comes from page 74 of our publication Chess Characters (Geneva, 1984). It first appeared in Newsflash, October 1981.
The remark about his writing and annotations (‘he was lucid, putting into a sentence as much as many others put into a paragraph’) appeared in his obituary by ‘J.G.’ (James Gilchrist) on pages 28-29 of the January 1956 BCM.
This inscription and game come from one of our copies of William Winter’s Chess for Match Players (London, 1951):
Page xii of The Treasury of Chess Lore by F. Reinfeld (New York, 1951)
Page 15 of Chess Quotations from the Masters by H. Hunvald (Mount Vernon, 1972)
Above are just two examples of how ‘chess literature’ presents quotes. Not only is the source limited to a single word, ‘Mortimer’, but the texts differ. For instance, there is a choice between ‘cogitative’ and ‘cognitative’, and in this famous quote some websites offer a third option: ‘cognitive’.
We have therefore gone back to the original text, in an article by James Mortimer entitled ‘How to Win at Chess’ on page 9 of the Daily Mail, 6 October 1906:
The above photograph of Mortimer was published on page 115 of The Rice Gambit by H. Keidanz (New York, 1905). For portraits of higher quality, see C.N.s 4845 and 4879.
Following publication of the agreement signed by
Lasker and Marshall on 26 October 1906 for a world
championship match (see pages 147-148 of Lasker’s
Chess Magazine, August-September 1906) James
Mortimer quoted a few unhappy passages on page 8 of
the Daily Mail, 5 December 1906 and commented:
Bradley J. Willis (Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada) quotes a composition from page 136 of Amy Lowell: Selected Poems edited by Honor Moore (New York, 2004):
Our correspondent notes that in 1926, the year after her death, Amy Lowell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
She was a cousin of Robert Lowell, two of whose works were given on pages 67-68 of The Poetry of Chess edited by Andrew Waterman (London, 1981).
Jeremy Silman (Los Angeles, CA, USA) asks whether any further details are available regarding Edmond Lancel’s claim on pages 1152-1153 of the April 1946 issue of L’Echiquier Belge that in 1922 Alekhine tried to stab himself to death in the lobby of the Hotel Corneliusbad in Aachen.
As reported in an endnote on page 263 of Chess Explorations, in C.N. 862 C.D. Robinson (Toronto, Canada) commented:
C.N. 1854 offered an excerpt from the reminiscences of Francisco José Pérez in the March 1989 Revista Internacional de Ajedrez (page 14). Regarding Alekhine he said:
Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) notes that although the run of the Swedish magazine Schackvärlden from 1923 to 1945 extended to 22 volumes (the first of which featured November 1923-December 1924), only the last two years were indexed, in the respective December issues. However, page 138 of the October 1946 Sjakkliv, a Norwegian journal, reported that the problemist Alf O. Evang had drawn up an index for Schackvärlden (158 densely typewritten pages in four parts, covering 1923-28, 1929-33, 1934-38 and 1939-43) and was prepared to duplicate his manuscript if enough orders were placed. Our correspondent asks whether any copies of the index can be found.
On the basis of Janowsky’s weekly chess column in Le Monde Illustré (11 February to 18 March 1905), as well as La Stratégie of 20 February and 17 March 1905, we list the total times taken by Marshall and Janowsky in their 17-game match in Paris. Marshall, who won +8 –5 =4, had White in the odd-numbered games:
What is the soul of chess? Among the possibilities are pawns (Philidor), combination (Maróczy), the centre (Alekhine) and tempo (Tarrasch). The corresponding citations can be found in the Factfinder, and we now add the following:
Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) has submitted from his collection two photographs taken at Poděbrady, 1936:
Vasja Pirc (and, on his left, Bedřich Thelen)
Our correspondent has also provided a photograph of Rudolf Spielmann at Magdeburg, 1927, from page 4 of Wiener Bilder, 7 August 1927:
Page 398 of the August 1936 BCM announced receipt of the first issue of Ajedrez Chileno, ‘which has the distinction of being in format the smallest chess magazine, we believe’. Page 39 of the January-February 1937 L’Echiquier stated that the size of the Chilean magazine (which we have not seen) was 13cm x 18cm, but that is substantially larger than two earlier publications that come to mind:
C.N. 4244 showed our smallest chess book (approximately 6cm x 4cm).
Our collection includes copies of many letters addressed to Capablanca, and three are reproduced below:
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) notes that in the Preface to her book Pollock Memories (Dublin, 1899) F.F. Rowland mentioned among her sources ‘interesting MMS. books, belonging to Mr Pollock, which contained about 3,000 games entered by himself, and played by Masters and distinguished amateurs, with critical remarks by Mr Pollock’. Our correspondent asks whether this material is known to have survived.
The photograph in C.N. 6125 came from page 195 of CHESS, 17 May 1957:
Paul Dorion (Montreal, Canada) mentions that the Pirc photograph from Poděbrady, 1936 shows the position after Black’s 36th move in the game against Karel Skalička (see page 45 of the tournament book).
The following photographs appeared in Le Monde Illustré on, respectively, 20 September 1902 (page 288) and 27 September 1902 (page 312):
Three games involving the little-known player Soldatenkov were given in 1000 Best Short Games of Chess by I. Chernev (New York, 1955): victories against an anonymous player and F.J. Marshall (in 17 and 21 moves respectively and both published on page 433 of the November 1928 BCM) and The Consultation Game That Never Was. Another brilliancy is on pages 43-44 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves:Vassily Soldatenkov – N.N.
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 d3 d6 5 Be3 Bd7 6 Nbd2 d5 7 exd5 Nxd5 8 Qe2 Bd6 9 Ne4 Bg4 10 O-O-O O-O 11 h3 Bh5 12 g4 Bg6 13 h4 h5 14 Nfg5 hxg4 15 h5 Bxe4 16 Nxe4 f5 17 Bc4 Ne7 18 Bg5 c6
19 h6 g6 20 h7+ Kh8 21 Bh6 fxe4 22 dxe4 Rf7 23 Qxg4 Nf6 24 Qg5 Ned5 25 exd5 cxd5 26 Qxg6 Qc7 27 Bxd5 Nxd5
28 Qg8+ Rxg8 29 hxg8(Q)+ Kxg8 30 Rdg1+ Rg7 31 Rxg7+ Qxg7 32 Bxg7 Kxg7
33 Rd1 and wins.
Source: The Times Literary Supplement, 24 October 1902, page 320.
Below are some further neglected games:Vassily Soldatenkov – Fürst G.
St Petersburg, 24 April 1902
(Remove White’s queen’s knight.)
1 e4 e5 2 d4 Nc6 3 dxe5 Nxe5 4 f4 Ng6 5 Nf3 Bb4+ 6 c3 Ba5 7 Bc4 N8e7 8 f5 Nf8 9 Bxf7+ Kxf7 10 Ne5+ Ke8 11 Qh5+ g6
12 f6 Ne6 13 f7+ Kf8 14 Bh6+ Ng7 15 Qh4 Nc6 16 Bg5 Ne7 17 Rf1 d6 18 Bxe7+ Qxe7 19 Nxg6+ hxg6 20 Qxh8 mate.
Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, July 1902, pages 215-216.Vassily Soldatenkov – A.J. Barasov
St Petersburg (date?)
1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Nf6 3 f4 Bc5 4 Nf3 O-O 5 d4 Bb6 6 e5 Nd5 7 c4 Ba5+ 8 Kf2 Ne7 9 Nc3 c6 10 g4 d6 11 Be3 dxe5 12 dxe5 Bb6 13 Rd1 Bxe3+ 14 Qxe3 Qb6 15 c5 Qxb2+ 16 Rd2 Qb4 17 Bd3 Nd5 18 Nxd5 exd5 19 Rb1 Qa5
20 Bxh7+ Kxh7 21 Ng5+ Kg8 22 Qd3 f5 23 Qh3 Qxd2+ 24 Kg1 Re8 25 Qh7+ Kf8 26 Qh8+ Ke7 27 Qxg7+ Kd8 28 Qf6+ Re7 29 Nf7+ Ke8 30 Nd6+ Kd7 31 Qxf5+ Re6 32 Qf7+ Re7 33 e6+ Kc7 34 Qxe7+ Nd7
35 Qxd7+ Bxd7 36 Rxb7+ Kd8 37 Rxd7 mate.
Source: Page 171 of Traité du jeu des échecs by
J. Taubenhaus (Paris, 1910). Brief notes by Soldatenkov
Café de la Régence, Paris, 9 January 1912
Queen’s Gambit Declined
1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 Bg5 Be7 6 e3 Nd5 7 Bxe7 Nxc3 8 bxc3 Qxe7 9 Bxc4 O-O 10 O-O b6 11 Bd3 Nd7 12 Qc2 g6 13 Be4 Rb8 14 Qa4 a5 15 Bc6 Rd8 16 Rfd1 Bb7 17 Bxb7 Rxb7 18 Qc6 Ra7 19 Rab1 Qd6 20 Qe4 Nf6 21 Qh4 Qe7 22 e4 Kg7 23 Rb5 c6 24 Rxb6 Qc5
25 e5 Qxb6 26 exf6+ Kf8 27 Qxh7 Ke8 28 Ne5 Qc5 29 Qg8+ Qf8 30 Qxf8+ Kxf8 31 Nxc6 Resigns.
Source: La Stratégie, January 1912, pages 23-25. The game was annotated by ‘A.G.’, who concluded:
From page 224 of the American Chess Bulletin, November 1917 (an item headed ‘Ending between Russian Diplomats’):
A computer check shows that White missed a number of faster wins.
Soldatenkov’s name became associated with 1 e4 e5 2 f4 Bc5 3 Nf3 d6 4 fxe5 (the ‘Soldatenkov Attack’ or ‘Soldatenkov Variation’) after the following appeared on page 124 of the Carlsbad, 1907 tournament book by Marco and Schlechter:
A number of Soldatenkov’s early games in Russia, together with much other material, were given in a small monograph on him, Tajemný Námořník by V. Čarušin (Brno, 1998). The New York Times (15 October 1917, page 16) reported that a Marshall/Soldatenkov v Janowsky/Jaffe consultation game had just begun (‘The contest will probably extend over the greater part of the week. Marshall and Soldatenkov, playing the white pieces, elected a queen’s pawn opening, to which the rival pair replied with knight to king’s bishop third.’). Further information would be welcome. Page 210 of the December 1921 American Chess Bulletin gave the score of an 18-move draw by Soldatenkov against Perkins which was played in a Metropolitan League match between the Marshall Chess Club and the Brooklyn Chess Club. A loss by Soldatenkov to Zirn in the Metropolitan Chess League was published on page 25 of the February 1922 American Chess Bulletin. More details are sought about the game ending ‘Soldatenkov-Wolf, Berlin, 1925’ given on pages 119-120 of The Joys of Chess by F. Reinfeld (New York, 1961). Soldatenkov’s 21-move victory over Marshall referred to at the beginning of the present item was published by H. Wolf on pages 300-301 of the September-October 1928 issue of Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten. Clarification of the circumstances of the game, together with notes by Soldatenkov himself, appeared on pages 197-200 of the June 1929 issue. A lengthy article by Soldatenkov was published on pages 221-226 of the July 1929 Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten. It discussed a recent victory over A. Zimine in the light of a Bogoljubow v Euwe game (the seventh contest in their second match, played in Amsterdam on 2 January 1929 – see pages 53-54 of the February 1929 Wiener Schachzeitung).
Below is page 109 of the revised edition of Mitchell’s Guide to the Game of Chess by David A. Mitchell (Philadelphia, 1920):
Soldatenkov also has a bearing on the origins of the Marshall Gambit in the Ruy López. At New York, 1918 Marshall played 8...d5 twice, against Capablanca and Morrison. Regarding the latter game it was pointed out on page 276 of the December 1918 American Chess Bulletin (under the heading ‘Duplication of Game after 17 Years’) and on page 21 of the tournament book that a game Sittenfeld v Soldatenkov, Paris, 1901 had followed Morrison v Marshall as far as move 18 (when Soldatenkov played ...Bd6 instead of ...gxf6). Whereas Marshall’s victory took 84 moves, Soldatenkov won in 25.
Without reference to these American sources, the Sittenfeld v Soldatenkov game was given by Kevin O’Connell on page 186 of the April 1980 BCM (in K. Whyld’s ‘Quotes & Queries’ column). It was stated that O’Connell had found the game in La Stratégie for 1901, but we do not see it there.
On pages 314-315 of the July 1987 BCM we quoted from, and commented on, the above-mentioned American Chess Bulletin item. Page 612 of the November 1999 BCM (also in the ‘Quotes & Queries’ column) referred to the difficulty in finding biographical information about Soldatenkov (whose birth details were given as 14 July 1879 at Tsarskoye Selo – as mentioned on page 3 of the booklet on Soldatenkov by Čarušin/Charushin).
The lack of information about Soldatenkov (e.g. where and when he died) is particularly strange in view of his prominence as a diplomat on both sides of the Atlantic. A lengthy political article on page 12 of the New York Times, 20 October 1918 included the following:
It will be noted that his forename was given as ‘Basil’, i.e. the anglicized version of Vassily. However, page 63 of the March 1918 American Chess Bulletin referred to ‘Boris Soldatenkoff, the Russian envoy’. Because of German transliteration, the initial of his forename was sometimes recorded as W (‘Wassily’). The index for the 1907 volume of Deutsches Wochenschach (page 483) had ‘Soldatenkow, W.W. (St Petersburg)’.
Below is an extract from the New York Times, 18
March 1920, page 11:
The above two references to Soldatenkov in the New York Times suggest that he was born in or around 1883. It was subsequently reported by the newspaper (21 December 1928, page 13, and 11 October 1933, page 27) that the couple were divorced in Nice in October 1928. On 10 October 1933 the marriage took place in London between Madeleine Soldatenkov and ‘Baron Constantine Nicolai Stackelberg, whose father, Baron Nicolai Stackelberg, was a master of ceremonies at the court of the late Czar Nicholas of Russia’.
Search website produces the information that
‘Vasilij Vassilievich Soldatenkov’ was born circa
1869 in ‘Tachanj, Pltv, Ukraine’ and that he married
‘Elena Konstantinovna, Princess Gorchakov’ on 20 January
1901. However, there is also an entry for ‘Basil
Soldatenkow’, born in Moscow on 14 June 1877.
The search for biographical details about Soldatenkov continues, and for the time being we conclude with a quiz question arising from one of his early games:
White to move. What is the fastest win?
Jake Freeman (Salt Lake City, UT, USA) raises the subject of L. Marini v B. Spassky, Mar del Plata, 1960, which appears in databases as follows: 1 c4 Nc6 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 g3 e5 4 Bg2 Bc5 5 a3 a5 6 e3 O-O 7 Nge2 Re8 8 d3 d6 9 h3 Bd7 10 Bd2 Qc8 11 Qc2 Ne7 12 Ne4 Nxe4 13 dxe4 Be6 14 Nc1 a4 15 Nd3 Nc6 16 Nxc5 dxc5 17 f4 f6 18 f5 Bf7 19 g4 Rd8 20 Bf1 g5 21 h4 h6 22 Bc3 Kg7 23 Qh2 Rh8 24 Be2 Qe8 25 Kf2 Rd8 26 Qg3 Qe7 27 Rh3 Na7 28 Rah1 Nc8 29 Qh2 Rhg8 30 hxg5 hxg5 31 Rh7+ Kf8 32 Bd1 Qd7 33 Bc2 Nd6 34 Kf3 Nxc4 35 Rd1 Nd6 36 Qh6+ Ke7 37 Rd5 Qb5 38 Bd3 Qb3
39 Be2 Drawn.
Regarding the diagrammed position Mr Freeman comments:
Matanović eventually agreed to a draw after Black’s 54th move.
Below from our collection is another inscribed title page of a non-chess book by Augustus Mongredien:
The Suez Canal Question (London, 1883), inscribed to Frederick Perigal
From Rod Edwards (Victoria, BC, Canada):
In this game White played without his queen but made the first two moves: 1 e4 ... 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 Qxd5 4 Nc3 Qxd4 5 Be3 Qe5 6 O-O-O Nc6 7 Nf3 Qa5 8 Rd5 Qb4 9 Nb5 e6 10 Nxc7+ Ke7 11 Bc5+ Kf6 12 Ne8+ Kg6 13 Rg5+ Kh6 14 Be3 Qe7 15 Rxg7+ Kh5 16 g4 mate.
The victor was Adolf Albin, against an unnamed opponent, and the score was given on page 180 of 1000 Best Short Games of Chess by Irving Chernev (New York, 1955). No place or date was specified, but we note that the game was published on pages 366-367 of La Stratégie, 15 December 1901, having been played a few days previously at the Cercle Philidor in Paris.
Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Komi, Russian Federation) reports that page 43 of the Russian edition of the monograph by V. Charushin (Omsk, 2000) reproduced Soldatenkov’s Полный послужной список (complete service record), dated 13 January 1913. It gave his birth-date as 14 July 1879 (old style).
We have found a passage about Soldatenkov on page 99 of Self Portrait by Man Ray (Boston and Toronto, 1963). Elsa Schiaparelli has just been mentioned.
Page 243 reproduced the well-known (indoor) photograph of Man Ray playing chess with Marcel Duchamp (Paris, 1956).
This position (White to move) at the end of C.N. 6138 came from page 52 of the 15 February 1898 issue of La Stratégie, which stated that White (Soldatenkov) gave mate in eight moves. The solution on page 119 of the 15 April 1898 magazine was 1 Qh7+ Kxh7 2 gxf8(N)+ Kh6 3 Rh7+ Kg5 4 h4+ Kf5 5 e4+ Ke5 6 Nc4+ Kd4 7 Ne2+ Kxc4 8 b3 mate.
However, it was also pointed out by La Stratégie that two correspondents (Guinet and Buckley) had offered a quicker finish (4 Nde4+ Kf5 5 Nxd6+ Ke5 6 Nf7+ Kf5 7 e4 mate).
When the initial position was given on page 16 of the Czech edition of V. Charushin’s booklet on Soldatenkov (the source being specified as Shakhmatny Zhurnal, 1897, page 357) Black had two additional pieces: a knight on b7 and a bishop on c4. There is then no mate in seven, and the fastest mate is the above line ending in 8 b3.
Jens Kristiansen (Qaqortoq, Greenland) is trying to ascertain the highest age at which anyone has gained the grandmaster title for over-the-board play in regular fashion (and not, for instance, honoris causa).
Christopher Lenard (Bendigo, Victoria, Australia) writes:
The subject of chess prodigies has received surprisingly little treatment in chess literature. For an historical sweep, only two books come to mind – Great Games by Chess Prodigies by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1967) and Los niños prodigio del ajedrez by Pablo Morán (Barcelona, 1973) – but neither adopted a scientific or academic approach. Can readers quote any articles covering the specific field mentioned by our correspondent or dealing authoritatively with the more general topic of chess Wunderkinder? We hope to build up a bibliography at the end of the Chess Prodigies article.
From Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) comes this sketch on page 438 of the November [sic – it was mistakenly headed ‘October’] 1905 BCM:
Caleb Wright (Ohauiti, Tauranga, New Zealand) asks for solid information about reports that the Soviet computer KAISSA helped David Bronstein in an adjourned game in 1975.
Firstly, we quote a passage from page 128 of How Computers Play Chess by D. Levy and M. Newborn (New York, 1991):
Such an ending, we note, occurred in Bronstein’s game
in Vilnius against Karen Grigorian. More details, from
primary sources, of the computer’s involvement will be
For other information on KAISSA, see chapter six of Chess in the Eighties by D. Bronstein and G. Smolyan (Oxford, 1982).
Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.