Chess Notes Archives [9]

Edward Winter

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.

1 April 2005: C.N. 3680
2 April 2005: C.N.s 3681-3687
3 April 2005: C.N.s 3688-3692
4 April 2005: C.N.s 3693-3695
9 April 2005: C.N.s 3696-3699
10 April 2005: C.N.s 3700-3703
12 April 2005: C.N.s 3704-3706
16 April 2005: C.N.s 3707-3710
17 April 2005: C.N.s 3711-3713
19 April 2005: C.N.s 3714-3715
21 April 2005: C.N. 3716
23 April 2005: C.N.s 3717-3721
25 April 2005: C.N.s 3722-3725

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3680. Stamp

This postage stamp has recently been issued in Austria:

stamp


3681. Stamp (C.N. 3680)

Although the Alekhine-Capablanca photograph is a fake (see C.N.s 3405, 3513, 3519 and 3610), the postage stamp shown in C.N. 3680 is genuine, being one of a set which includes the following portrayal of Fischer:

fischer stamp



3682. Another Lasker claim

Steve Giddins (Moscow) quotes the following from page 68 of Dve zhizni Grossmeistera Alatortseva (The Two Lives of Grandmaster Alatortsev) by V. and I. Linder (Moscow, 1994):

‘Lasker, for example, used to test his readiness for the next round’s battle by solving several complicated endgame studies on the morning of the game. If he found the solutions quickly and easily, this meant that he was ready for the sharpest of struggles. On the other hand, if the answers only came to him after long thought, he would draw the conclusion that, on that day, he should be more peaceably inclined and not averse to a draw.’

Our correspondent comments: ‘I wonder if there is any reliable support for this claim about Lasker’s methods of preparation. It is not something I have read before.’



3683. Denker discrepancy

Concerning the game Denker v Feit, a brilliancy by Denker at the age of 15 which was given in C.N. 89, Neil Brennen (Spring City, PA, USA) writes:

‘The version of the score in Denker’s books begins: 1 d4 f5 2 Nf3 “Being unfamiliar with this opening, I was unaware of the existence of the Staunton Gambit.” 2...e6 3 g3 b6? 4 Bg2 Bb7 5 O-O Nf6 6 c4 Be7 7 Nc3 d6 – If You Must Play Chess, page 3.

But the opening, as it appears in a contemporary newspaper, is different: 1 Nf3 b6 2 g3 Bb7 3 Bg2 “Keeping step with the times. The youngsters are nothing if not modern.” 3...e6 4 O-O f5 “Turning the opening into a Dutch defense with a fianchetto variation.” 5 d4 Nf6 6 c4 Be7 7 Nc3 d6 – Bethlehem Globe-Times, 7 January 1930.

The endings differ as well, with the Globe-Times concluding the game with 22 Rf1+ and Black’s resignation. The Bethlehem newspaper probably took the game from a New York column. The Globe-Times columnist Robert Goerlich was always quoting Hermann Helms in the New York Sun, and the notes read like Helms’. Have you come across any other examples of the Globe-Times version of the score?’

No, and we shall welcome assistance from readers in ironing out the discrepancy in the moves.



3684. Löwenthal and Morphy

Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) sends a copy of an item entitled ‘A Great Game of Chess’ in Liberator, 27 June 1851. It consists of two quotes, and the first, from the Cincinnati Nonpareil, stated that Löwenthal was about to participate in the London, 1851 tournament. It concluded:

‘The man who comes off victorious in the game receives the purse and is crowned the King Player of the world. Mr Löwenthal has gone to try for the crown and – the purse.’

We are always glad to receive such early references, whether or not a specific term like ‘world championship’ is used.

The second quotation in the Liberator column comes from the New Orleans Bee and concerns the early meetings between Löwenthal and Morphy. It will be noted that asterisks were used to disguise the name of the American:

‘Mr Löwenthal is a very great chessplayer. He was in New Orleans about a year ago, and wrested the laurels from some of the finest masters of the game. But, strange to say, he was beaten by a youth of 12 years who, but a few months previous, had never played a game. The youth in question – Master M***** – is the son of a highly respectable citizen of New Orleans, himself an enthusiastic amateur of the noble game of chess. The boy was accustomed to look over the board while his father was playing. As soon as he comprehended the moves, he began to play. He first beat his father, then his uncle – a player of remarkable force – then, in a contest with Rosseau [sic – Rousseau], the chess champion of the South, he gained a signal advantage; and finally he amazed Löwenthal himself, by winning from him a majority in a given series of games. He has perhaps the most wonderful genius for chess ever witnessed. At his tender age he may be considered a first-rate player. His movements are prompt, astonishingly accurate, and the result of close and vigilant combination. He solves problems with amazing facility. None of the mysterious intricacies of these enigmas, however involved and numerous the moves, baffle his concentrated and patient attention. If he continues advancing in force as he grows older, he will become the wonder of the age ere he attains manhood.’



3685. Frederick D. Rosebault (C.N.s 3559, 3568, 3669 & 3674)

Russell Miller (Chelan, WA, USA) provides a family link between Frederick D. Rosebault and the name Welles. His mother’s maiden name was Sarah W. Parker, and from the webpage http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi Mr Miller has determined that her mother was Sarah Welles, born in New York circa 1824.



3686. Spielmann

We note from Amazon.com that Everyman Chess plans to publish a book entitled Rudolph Spielmann Master of Invention by Neil McDonald in December 2005. There should, therefore, be time for the master’s forename to be corrected to Rudolf.

Rudolf was the spelling used by Jack Spence in his Spielmann trilogy, although confusion arose when the Chess Player became the publisher (i.e. with Rudolph on the front cover and Rudolf on the title page). In contrast, Eric Schiller’s 1996 book on Spielmann had Rudolf on the front cover and Rudolph on the title page (as well as everywhere else). However, in all the books, signatures, etc. of Spielmann himself that we have seen he used Rudolf, and no justification for Rudolph is apparent. Similarly, it is unclear on what grounds A. Soltis often, though not always, writes ‘Karl’ Schlechter.

The January-February 1907 issue of the Wiener Schachzeitung (pages 8 and 10) had photographs of Schlechter and Spielmann with their signatures:

 schlechterspielmann



3687. Menchik v Mieses

This photograph by Erich Auerbach comes from The Quiet Game by J. Montgomerie (London, 1972). Can readers identify when it was taken?

menchik and mieses



3688. Who was Frank Hollings?

The following appeared as C.N. 65, some 23 years ago:

‘Wanted: Information on the life of the writer and publisher Frank Hollings. In particular, where and when did he die?’hollings

Hollings was by no means a negligible figure in chess literature, and his 1921 volume The Beginner’s Book of Chess was described by the BCM (July 1921, page 258) as ‘a very good sixpennyworth, under present day expensive conditions for printing and paper’. Over the decades it went through at least a dozen editions, in the United Kingdom and the United States. The British publisher was Hollings’ own company, whose address, at that time, was 7 Great Turnstile, Lincoln Inn Fields, London WC2. An advertisement on the cover pages of the June 1921 BCM referred to the ‘The House of Hollings’, which was billed as ‘the Mecca of the Chess World’ and ‘The Chief House in Europe for Chess Literature, Ancient and Modern, and for every Chess Requisite’. Exactly how well the Beginner’s Book sold is not known, but the advertisement stated that it was obtainable ‘at any book shop or at any railway book stall in the English-speaking world’; an advertising feature at the back of Znosko-Borovsky’s book Traps on the Chessboard (London, 1938) indicated that 50,000 copies of the Beginner’s Book had been sold. The 11th edition had ‘eightieth thousand’ on the front cover. Among other works published by the Hollings company were Alekhine’s volume on London, 1932.

alekhine znosko-borovsky book

A difficulty facing the researcher is that ‘Frank Hollings’ was often the publishing house/bookshop and not the man himself. In C.N. 763 B.H. Wood informed us:

‘It was no longer Frank Hollings as early as 1935. I went down to chat in my first few weeks with CHESS to find a fellow named, I think, Redman or Redway in charge. I was an even more innocent businessman then than now. Re-emerging after half an hour I suddenly realized I had not learnt a thing but had been pumped dry of information about my own ventures.’

In C.N. 1890 we quoted the following from pages 393-394 of the December 1940 BCM:

‘The sympathy of all chessplayers will go out to Mr Redway, of Frank Hollings, the famous bookshop in Great Turnstile where lovers of chess used to congregate.

As announced in our last issue, the premises were destroyed by enemy action. An H.E. bomb fell in the night, causing a fire, and a good half of the valuable stock was destroyed.

On the same day, Mr Redway’s private residence in Richmond was damaged in another air raid. It took a month to repair it and to make it habitable again, when it was bombed a second time. Mr Redway then went to Bath to recuperate, when his house had a third and final visitation, a remarkable and typical example of thoroughness in the attack on really important military objectives.

We wish Mr Redway a speedy recovery and express our appreciation of his dogged pertinacity in continuing business at 69a Great Queen Street, WC2 (off Kingsway) where his stock of chess books has been replenished in a remarkable manner.’

Even in the mid-1960s the Frank Hollings shop still existed (at 45 Cloth Fair, London EC1). An advertisement on the inside front cover of the British Chess Federation’s Year Book of Chess 1964-1965 indicated, moreover, that The Beginner’s Book of Chess remained in print, over four decades after its first appearance. However, Hollings’ name was no longer on the cover.

hollings book

The enterprise was coming to an end. As mentioned in C.N. 726, an advertisement for ‘Frank Hollings The Chess Book Salon’ in the April 1965 BCM stated:

‘Because of staff difficulties we have decided that the Chess department of our bookselling business must be allowed to run down and close ...’

Also in C.N. 726 a reader in Australia, Robert Meadley, drew attention to a biographical article, including a photograph, on pages 480-483 of the December 1901 BCM which announced the imminent departure for New Zealand of ‘Mr Frank Hollins’ of Birmingham.

frank hollins

Frank Hollins

A victory by ‘Frank Hollins’ against Jasnogrodsky was given, as well as one, as Black, against A.J. Mackenzie: 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f4 d5 4 fxe5 Nxe4 5 Nf3 Nc6 3 a3 Bc5 7 d4 Nxd4 8 Nxd4 Qh4+ 9 g3 Nxg3 10 Nf3 Bf2+ 11 Kxf2 and ‘Black mates in three’. This was included by Chernev in his book 1000 Best Short Games of Chess. We noted in C.N. 1917 that when it was published on page 17 of the October 1908 Chess Amateur (with no occasion mentioned) Black was named as ‘Frank Hollings’ and that, in any case, the winning combination had already been seen, with colours reversed, in a game won by Michaelsen and published on page 349 of the November 1884 Deutsche Schachzeitung. (See also pages 42-43 of our book on Capablanca.)

In C.N. 1890 Mr Meadley quoted from page 59 of the June 1905 issue of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, which had an item on ‘Chess in New Zealand’: ‘Seven games were submitted to the adjudication of Mr Frank Hollins, of Taranaki, a fine player, formerly of England.’ There followed a game with notes by Hollins taken from a newspaper. Further annotations by ‘F. Hollins, formerly of England’ were published on page 74 of the final issue (December 1908-January 1909) of Lasker’s Chess Magazine. But still nothing exists to suggest that Hollins and Hollings were the same person. In short, the biographical information currently available about Frank Hollings is more or less zero.



3689. Kasparov and retirement (C.N. 3648)

From Mig Greengard (Brooklyn, NY, USA):

A few words regarding your interesting note about Garry Kasparov and his retirement. While I don’t disagree with the content of your item, Garry has always been demonstrably impetuous and I’m a little surprised you give much credit to an entourage of Iagos and people trying to make a buck off of him. They may exist, to a degree, but he makes his own decisions, often with what I consider too little external input. That, and his mother is still very much the only real member the inner circle, or at least the “inner inner” circle.kasparov

In the brief time I have been close to him, most of his big decisions, dubious and otherwise, were made quickly and on his own. (Obviously the degree of his mother’s influence is unknown to me.) His sudden decision to dive into politics last year with the Committee 2008 Free Choice was against the advice of just about everyone. This was also true with his retirement. In both cases it was more after the fact concern than pre-announcement advice. Certainly in my case, as a selfish chess fan, I would much prefer he played chess until, at least, his best isnt good enough. Ive encouraged him to stay involved in the chess world by writing a column or training young players, and I expect he will eventually return to the board.

You can make a case that his combative, contrarian nature tends to lead him against the advice of friends and public opinion because he enjoys trying to prove people wrong. (I believe this largely explains his interest in the New Chronology.) If you are looking for a tidy reason why Garry has made bad decisions, I’d say it’s simply because he makes them very quickly. He doesn’t like dragging things out (what I would call contemplation) and he is very confident of the correctness of his decisions. This is essential in chess, but often a recipe for disaster in other areas, at least if you’re not as good at them as Kasparov is at chess.

This may be too prosaic, but it’s also Occam’s Razor. Since he has demonstrably improved in this area in the past five or six years (Predecessors Vol. 1 notwithstanding), I can’t imagine he was anything but worse ten or 15 years ago. It was all about action, making something happen, shocking the critics. He’s very sure of himself in just about everything and rarely seeks advice or tells people what he’s going to do.

Regarding his decline in public opinion, I think here too the answers are fairly simple. I concur with your specific examples, but the real basis is that people root for underdogs, not the favorite. When Kasparov was an outsider it was much different from when he became the status quo. Who doesn’t like a young rebel? Having power is very different from shouting at the gates. When you actually try to do something you are going to make enemies. And again he went about many of these things too much on his own, convinced he was 100% right and unwilling to compromise.’



3690. Construction task

C.D. Locock (1862-1946) described the following puzzle as the best he had made:

‘After 28 Ke8 Ke1 White mated on the move. One bystander observed that this was the tenth check in the game; and another that each side had eight undoubled passed pawns.’

Locock offered a prize to anyone who could construct such a game, but no correct solutions were received.



3691. Einstein game (C.N.s 3533 & 3667)

A. Soltis gave the alleged Einstein game on page 372 of the July 1979 Chess Life & Review, with the following introductory note:

‘I’ve tried to find a good game by top-flight scientists without success. The following, which can boast of two of the greatest names in physics, will have to do. It was apparently played in the late 1940s when Hans Albert Einstein, son of the Einstein, and Robert Oppenheimer were both on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. Hans Albert was, by the way, an internationally known hydraulic engineer – an expert on control of rivers.’

As usual, Soltis offered nothing whatsoever to back up his assertions about the circumstances in which the game was ‘apparently’ played.



3692. Early hypermodernism

It may seem paradoxical to describe as ‘little known’ a game published in a book by Reinfeld and Chernev, but the encounter between Flamberg and Levitzky, St Petersburg, 1914 is seldom seen nowadays. Yet when they published it on pages 43-44 of their book Chess Strategy and Tactics (New York, 1933), the Americans wrote by way of introduction:

‘The Polish master Alexander Flamberg was a highly gifted player with profound and original ideas. Chronic ill-health prevented him from ever asserting his full powers.

Concerning one of his notable games – one of the most significant in the history of chess – his countryman Przepiórka has commented as follows: “When one examines the opening moves and the subsequent course of the game, it is almost incredible that it was played in 1914 ... The double fianchetto of the bishops, the operations on both wings, and later on the manoeuvers with the black knights and the posting of the queens on the long diagonal – all these ideas are, as we know, considered the very latest achievements of the Hypermoderns.”’

For the record we add that these comments by Przepiórka appeared on page 34 of the February 1926 Wiener Schachzeitung. He used the term ‘A Prophetic Game’ to describe this victory by Alexander Flamberg (1880-1926).

flamberg

Alexander Flamberg

Alexander Flamberg – Stepan Mikhailovich Levitzky
All-Russian Masters’ Tournament, St Petersburg, 16 January 1914
Queen’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b6 3 g3 Bb7 4 Bg2 e6 5 O-O Be7 6 b3 O-O 7 Bb2 d6 8 c4 Nbd7 9 Nbd2 c5

dia01

10 Ne1 Qc7 11 Rc1 Bxg2 12 Nxg2 Qb7 13 Ne3 cxd4 14 Bxd4 Nc5 15 Qc2 Nce4 16 Nxe4 Nxe4 17 Qb2 e5 18 Bc3 Bg5 19 f4 exf4 20 gxf4 Bf6 21 Bxf6 Nxf6 22 Rcd1 Qe4 23 Rf3 Nh5 24 Nd5 Rae8 25 Kf2 Qf5 26 Rg1 f6 27 Qb1 Qc8 28 Qd3 f5 29 Qc3 Kh8 30 Rh3 Nf6

dia02

31 Rxg7 Kxg7 32 Rg3+ Kh6 33 Nxf6 Re6 34 Rg5 Qc5+ 35 Kf1 and wins.

Przepiórka (as well as Reinfeld and Chernev) stated that the game ended 35 Kf1 Re3 36 Ng4+ fxg4 37 Qg7 mate, whereas Black resigned at move 35 according to pages 34-35 of Schachjahrbuch 1914 I Teil by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1914).

It may be felt that calling the game ‘one of the most significant in the history of chess’ is an exaggeration, but the play is certainly an early illustration of hypermodern tenets.



3693. Reinfeld inscriptions

The book mentioned in C.N. 3692, Chess Strategy and Tactics, is one of only two in our collection which are inscribed by Fred Reinfeld, the other being The Secret of Tactical Chess (London, 1958).

reinfeld

reinfeld

Dealers’ catalogues occasionally mention the unexpected fact that books signed by Reinfeld are rare.



3694. British royalty (C.N.s 2510, 2594 & 3544)

No reader has yet replied to the question asked in C.N. 3544, i.e. whether any research discoveries have been made about British royalty and chess since H.J.R. Murray’s heyday.

In the meantime, we wish to rectify a mistake on page 262 of A Chess Omnibus, where the caption to a sketch of a crowned figure reads ‘King George V’. However, as has been pointed out on page 223 of the April 2005 BCM, the picture in question had appeared in the BCM in (September) 1905 and was not of George V (who did not ascend to the throne until five years later). To correct the record, we add that in the 1905 BCM the sketch had the caption ‘The (B.C.F.) King, 1905’ and that it depicted H.E. Atkins in regal attire, following his victory at the congress in Southport.

Our item on British monarchs on pages 261-262 of A Chess Omnibus contained no magazine citations regarding George V’s father, Edward VII (who reigned from 1901 to 1910), but we can add a brief, gossipy one here, from page 131 of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, January 1906, page 131:

‘King Edward, we are told, is developing an enthusiasm for chess. In that case, says a writer in Tid-Bits, he is only following in the steps of many of his predecessors on the throne ...’



3695. A Bernstein composition

The following composition is by Ossip Bernstein and was published on page 120 of Deutsches Wochenschach, 1 April 1906:

dia1

Mate in four.

Solution: White plays 1 Nf3, 2 g4, 3 Nd5, etc.



3696. Popes

C.N. 3118 referred to the old claims regarding Pope John Paul II and chess, pointing out that they had frequently been exposed as a hoax. An early case of exposure was on pages 192-193 of the May 1984 BCM, and two decades later even Larry Evans caught on. From page 6 of the Winter 2004 Chess Life:

‘Although widely quoted in many other sources, apparently the problem and game attributed to Pope John Paul II in my column last January is [sic] a hoax.’

Here we add that on page 157 of the 15 March 1986 issue of Jaque Najdorf published an article entitled ‘Juan Pablo II y sus finales de ajedrez’. He asserted that during his most recent visit to Poland he had, through W. Litmanowicz, enjoyed access to the archives of the Polish Federation, that he had been given certain compositions of Pope John Paul II as a scoop, that they had later appeared in a French newspaper, ... etc., etc., etc.

Pages 790-791 of A History of Chess by H.J.R. Murray (Oxford, 1913) stated that Leo X (1475-1521) was ‘a keen chessplayer’, and we also note a feature ‘Popes as Chessplayers’ on page 272 of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, October 1906, taken from the Johannesburg Sunday Times. This mentioned not only Leo X but also Leo XIII (1810-1903), described as ‘a constant player for over 30 years’ whose ‘skill at the game was by no means mediocre’. Wanted: some facts.



3697. Alekhine’s vase

Page 282 of A Chess Omnibus quoted remarks by Alekhine (from an interview in Informaciones, 3 September 1941) about ‘a most beautiful Sèvres vase’ which he won in St Petersburg at the age of 16 and to which he was deeply attached. Below are photographs of him from page 225 of the Russian edition of the St Petersburg, 1909 tournament book and from page 175 of El Ajedrez Americano, November 1935:

alekhine1alekhine2



3698. Chesschamps.com

A number of C.N. items have mentioned that Kasparov’s chesschamps.com website continues to include, in the Capablanca ‘gallery’, the fake photograph of the Cuban sitting opposite Alekhine. It also needs to be mentioned that the same ‘gallery’ has obvious misdatings of the portraits of Capablanca with a) Marshall, b) Lasker and c) his second wife, while his first wife’s name is misspelt.



3699. Janowsky’s challenge

Page 31 of Chess Strategy and Tactics by F. Reinfeld and I. Chernev (New York, 1933) referred to Janowsky’s ‘inordinate and aggressive self-confidence, which gave rise to many amusing incidents. Thus, after the loss of his match against Marshall in 1905, he sent the American master a telegram offering to play him at knight odds!’

Forty years later Chernev still found the tale amusing enough to include on page 53 of his book Wonders and Curiosities of Chess (New York, 1974), under the heading ‘Offers victor knight odds’, but it is not true.

Marshall and Janowsky played a match at the Cercle Philidor in Paris from 24 January to 7 March 1905, and the final score was +8 –5 =4 in Marshall’s favour. The view that Janowsky suffered many unlucky accidents and that the two masters were of more or less equal strength was expressed by, for example, Alapin on pages 88-89 of La Stratégie, 17 March 1905, and page 89 also featured a letter which Janowsky wrote to Marshall on the same day as the last match game was played:

‘J’estime que le résultat de notre match est loin d’établir nos forces respectives, au contraire, étant donné que dans la majorité des parties j’ai laissé échapper soit le gain, soit la nullité, je suis persuadé que normalement j’aurais dû vaincre facilement.

J’ai donc l’honneur de vous provoquer pour un match de revanche aux conditions suivantes:

Le vainqueur sera le premier gagnant 10 parties les nulles ne comptant pas; je vous offre l’avantage de 4 parties, c’est-à-dire que mes quatre premières parties gagnées ne compteront pas; l’enjeu ne devra pas être supérieur à 5000 francs.’

An English version appeared on page 27 of the American Chess Bulletin, February 1905. The Bulletin commented that ‘such an address to a successful adversary cannot but make an unpleasant impression with the rank and file of lovers of chess and good sportsmanship’. That is hard to dispute, but it should be noted that there was no question of Janowsky offering Marshall knight odds; he was proposing to his victor the advantage of four points.

The sketch of Janowsky given below was on page 251 of the July 1905 issue of the Bulletin:

janowsky

Another (less good) English version of Janowsky’s letter appeared on page 79 of Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion by A. Soltis (Jefferson, 1994), after which Soltis commented: ‘To this Marshall made no formal reply’. That is not true either. As recorded on page 150 of La Stratégie, 19 May 1905, a reply from Marshall, written in London on 22 April 1905, was published by Janowsky in Le Monde Illustré of 29 April 1905:

‘J’accepte le défi de votre lettre du 7 mars dernier à condition que vous pourrez obtenir pour moi les mêmes arrangements que le Cercle Philidor m’a accordés pour notre précédent match.’

Despite Marshall’s acceptance, the arrangements foundered, and it was not until January-February 1908 that the return match took place (five games up, with no odds) at the villa of L. Nardus in Suresnes. Janowsky won +5 –2 =3.

The photograph below, of Marshall, Nardus and Janowsky, is the frontispiece in The Match and The Return Match: Janowsky v. Marshall by L. Hoffer (London, 1908):

marshall, janowsky and nardus



3700. Shortest stalemate games (C.N. 3679)

From Bernd Graefrath (Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany):

‘Today’s problemists set a very high standard for acceptable proof games: the sequence of all moves must be exactly determined. The following two problems fulfil this condition.

Kostas Prentos (StrateGems, 2002)
Proof game in 16.5 moves

dia01

1 e4 Nf6 2 Ba6 bxa6 3 g4 Bb7 4 g5 Qc8 5 g6 hxg6 6 c4 Rxh2 7 c5 Rxf2 8 c6 Rxd2 9 Ne2 dxc6 10 O-O Rd8 11 Nd2 Kd7 12 Rf5 Re8 13 Ra5 Kd8 14 Nf3+ Nfd7 15 Bg5 f5 16 Rc1 f4 17 Rcc5 Stalemate.

Christoph Fieberg (Die Schwalbe, 2004)
Proof game in 22.5 moves

dia01

1 c4 h5 2 c5 Rh6 3 c6 dxc6 4 e4 Qd3 5 e5 Qh7 6 d4 Bf5 7 d5 Bg6 8 d6 f5 9 d7+ Kf7 10 d8R Nd7 11 a3 Nxe5 12 Rd4 Rd8 13 Rh4 Rd6 14 Bf4 Rf6 15 Qd8 Ke6 16 Nd2 Nf7 17 O-O-O Nh8 18 Kb1 Rf7 19 Bc4+ Kf6 20 Nf1 b5 21 Rd5 b4 22 Ra5 b3 23 Ra6 Stalemate.

I believe that the problem by Prentos holds the current record for the shortest exact proof game which ends in stalemate while all 16 black pieces are still on the board. The composer Fieberg set himself a slightly different goal: an exact proof game which ends in stalemate while all 16 black pieces are still on the board, but which also has as many white pieces on the board as possible.’



3701. Popes (C.N. 3696)

A game (Giuoco Piano) purportedly played by Leo XIII while he was still Cardinal Pecci (i.e. in the mid-1870s) has been widely published and was described on page 239 of The Delights of Chess by Assiac ( London, 1960) as ‘another celebrity game of indubitable authenticity’. Is it?



3702. Who was Frank Hollings? (C.N. 3688)

In C.N. 3688 we wrote regarding The Beginner’s Book of Chess that ‘over the decades it went through at least a dozen editions’. Reconstructing the UK and US publication history with exact dates would seem impossible (and, in any case, unimportant), but we now possess a copy (undated) with ‘fifteenth edition’ on the front cover.



3703. Swiss players

A tableau of Swiss players from page 39 of Chess Pie No. 2 (1927):

swiss masters

Clockwise from the top-left corner: Hans Johner, Oskar Naegeli, Otto Zimmermann and Henry Grob



3704. Shortest stalemate games (C.N.s 3679 & 3700)

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

‘I think that Bernd Graefrath’s opening comment in C.N. 3700 is a little misleading. There is a difference between a Shortest Proof Game and a unique Proof Game, in that the former need not be a unique sequence. A classic exploiting the difference is the position by Tibor Orbán, Commended, Die Schwalbe 1976 (from initial position move WPe2 to e4, BPc7 to c6, BPe7 to e6 and remove BPd7) which asks for the proof game ending in Black’s fourth move. The SPG ends on Black’s third move and is easily found (1 e4 c6 2 Bb5 e6 3 Bxc6 dxc6, but Black’s first two moves are interchangeable), but the unique sequence ending on Black’s fourth is trickier, as it involves a hidden switchback (1 e4 e6 2 Bb5 Ke7 3 Bxd7 c6 4 Be8 Kxe8).

The following position shows that both the SPG and a PG can be unique, and that a sizeable gap between the two is possible:

Gerd Wilts, U.S. Problem Bulletin, January 1987

dia01

a) Position after White’s 9th move (Game score?); b) Position after Black’s 13th move (Game score?)

a) 1 d4 Nc6 2 d5 Nd4 3 f4 Nxe2 4 Kf2 Ng3 5 hxg3 Nf6 6 Rh6 Nh5 7 Re6 f6 8 Qg4 Kf7 9 Ne2.

b) 1 d4 Nc6 2 d5 Nd4 3 Kd2 Nxe2 4 Ke3 Ng3 5 hxg3 Nf6 6 Rh6 Nh5 7 Re6 f6 8 Qg4 Kf7 9 Qh3 Kg6 10 Ne2 Kg5 11 f4+ Kh6 12 Kf2 Kg6 13 Qg4+ Kf7.

The unique PG is certainly prevalent these days (the solving program Natch, available from the Internet, is a great help to composers), but SPGs do still appear. One of Reichhelm’s challenges from Brentano, January 1882 asked for the shortest game to stalemate the eight pieces of one side. An article by George Jelliss in The Problemist, January 1982 entitled “Ultimate Themes and a Centenary” gave two originals solving the task on White’s 14th move.

Jexon J. Secker

1 h4 g5 2 hxg5 e5 3 Rxh7 Qxg5 4 Rxf7 Nc6 5 Rxd7 N8e7 6 Rxc7 Qg8 7 Rxb7 Bf5 8 Rxa7 Rxa7 9 e3 Bh7 10 Be2 Ng6 11 Bh5 Rg7 12 d4 Kf7 13 dxe5 Nce7 14 Qd7.

Michel Caillaud

1 a4 b5 2 axb5 e5 3 Rxa7 Qg5 4 Rxc7 Ra7 5 Rxd7 Nc6 6 Rxf7 Bf5 7 Rxg7 Nge7 8 Rxh7 Bxh7 9 e3 Qg8 10 Be2 Ng6 11 Bh5 Rg7 12 d4 Nce7 13 dxe5 Kf7 14 Qd7.

Secker offered a prize to anyone who could better the achievement (or Wheeler’s 12-move game leading to stalemate with no captures). No-one succeeded with either.

Incidentally, he stated that “In assessing the value of similar positions, it should be noted that the order of moves is not unique, nor the final position, but TRD’s principle of ‘minimal disturbance of the initial game array’ should be adhered to where possible”.’



3705. Popes (C.N.s 3696 & 3701)

Peter Anderberg (Harmstorf, Germany) reports that the game allegedly played by the future Pope Leo XIII in the mid-1870s was in fact published in the Deutsche Schachzeitung, May 1850, page 175, as having occurred between Shumov and von Jaenisch: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d4 exd4 6 e5 d5 7 exf6 dxc4 8 Qe2+ Be6 9 fxg7 Rg8 10 cxd4 Nxd4 11 Nxd4 Bxd4 12 Qh5 Qf6 13 O-O Rxg7 14 Qb5+ c6 15 Qxb7 Rxg2+ 16 Kxg2 Qg6+ 17 Kh1 Bd5+ 18 f3 Bxf3+ 19 Rxf3 Qg1 mate.

When was the game first associated with the name of Pope Leo XIII?



3706. Who was Frank Hollings? (C.N.s 3688 & 3702)

W.D. Rubinstein (Aberystwyth, Wales) writes:

‘I looked up “Frank Hollings” in the on-line edition of the recently-published Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which allows one to find every occurrence of any word or name. In the entry for Richard Herne Shepherd (1840-1895), bibliographer, it is stated that some of his works were published by his brother who “under the name Frank Hollings ran a bookshop in Holborn”, and was also a publisher. The brother’s name is not given but I have noted the following webpage: http://www.howes.co.uk/303-2.htm

This lists a book by Richard Herne Shepherd which is described as follows:

“… the definitive version of Shepherd’s Tennyson bibliography (an earlier attempt appeared in his Tennysoniana, 1879). It was his last publication in an ill-remunerated life of literary hackwork, varied by the occasional piracy, including two editions of The Lover’s Tale. With an inserted advert leaf for Shepherd’s other bibliographies, and for a facsimile of “Mr Thackeray, Mr Yates and the Garrick Club”, which was itself to be forged in due course. The publisher of these was Frank Hollings; he was born James Francis Hollingshead Shepherd, younger brother of R.H.S. and it is just possible that he may have been involved with the forgers …”

Professor Rubinstein’s discovery of this reference to Frank Hollings’ real name being James Francis Hollingshead Shepherd is of much interest. Now the hunt must start for information about him in chess literature of the late nineteenth century and the first few decades of the twentieth, as well as, of course, in general reference sources.



3707. William Heirens (C.N. 3670)

William George Heirens was a 17-year-old student at the University of Chicago when, in 1946, he confessed to three murders. He became known as the ‘Lipstick Killer’ because on a wall in one of the victims’ homes a message was found written in lipstick: ‘For heavens sake catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself.’ Although the evidence against Heirens has been fiercely disputed, he is, nearly six decades on, still in prison.

heirens

William Heirens

Page 102 of “Before I Kill More...” by Lucy Freeman (New York, 1955) relates that at university Heirens had taken up chess, and on page 128 he is quoting as telling her:

‘Later I learned the psychiatrists that examined me were of the type which only consider abnormalities that had a physical relationship, like tumors on the brain, epilepsy and related diseases. They probably couldn’t tell a person was possessed with a dual personality unless they examined a Siamese twin.

There wasn’t a thing I could do about it. My counsel were running the show. I was just a pawn to be pushed around the chess board and sacrificed when it suited their whims.’



3708. Construction task (C.N. 3690)

C.D. Locock’s solution to his problem was as follows: 1 b4 f5 2 e4 Kf7 3 Ke2 Kf6 4 e5+ Kg5 5 h4+ Kg4 6 f4 Nf6 7 a4 d5 8 Kd3+ Kg3 9 exf6 e5 10 Na3 e4+ 11 Kd4 c5+ 12 Ke5 b5 13 d4 c4 14 Bd3 Nd7+ 15 Ke6 Qb6+ 16 Kf7 g5 17 a5 g4 18 Rh3+ Kf2 19 axb6 cxd3 20 c4 a5 21 c5 a4 22 Nc4 gxh3 23 g4 h5 24 g5 Ra5 25 Qg4 Ne5+ 26 fxe5 dxc4 27 bxa5 hxg4 28 Ke8 Ke1 29 Be3 mate.

dia01

Source: BCM, April 1913, page 138 and May 1913, page 206.



3709. Who was Frank Hollings? (C.N.s 3688, 3702 & 3706)

Brad Dassat (Oldham, England) draws attention to two websites:

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/browse-sb?id=sibv018&images=bsuva/sb/images&data=/texts/english/bibliog/SB&tag=public

and

http://www.bertramrota.co.uk/catalogues.htm [link no longer working]

The first states, inter alia:

‘R.H. Shepherd, Bibliography of Tennyson (1896), page 9; hereafter cited as Shepherd. There is a peculiar difficulty connected with the book. In his preface the editor wrote, “Four or five years ago ... declining health necessitated his [Shepherd’s] retirement from active life, and in a retreat at Camberwell his last days were spent in compiling for Notes and Queries a bibliography of Coleridge, and in preparing for the press a bibliography of Tennyson.” He had retired to the residence of his brother, James Francis Hollings Shepherd, at “Fern Bank”, 35 Broomhouse Road, Fulham, but he died on 15 July 1895, of cancer of the testis and liver, in the Camberwell House Lunatic Asylum. His brother, who had set up in 1892 as a bookdealer under the name of Frank Hollings, published and no doubt edited the posthumous bibliography of Tennyson.’

For its part, the second webpage includes the following:

‘Dusty Miller, who died on 31 January [1977], was 71. He started his bookselling career in 1925 at the age of 20 at Frank Hollings of Great Turnstile, High Holborn. The shop was blitzed during the war and the business moved to Great Queen Street, and subsequently to Cloth Fair near Smithfield.

When Dusty joined Hollings the proprietor was W.E. Redway, and on his death Dusty Miller bought the business on favourable terms from Mrs Redway (who, incidentally, lived to be 102). Dusty worked at Hollings until 1969, when he sold the business to Bertram Rota Ltd., but continued bookselling from Sutton, Surrey, for another five years, and at the same time acted as a consultant to Rota’s.’



3710. Fish

Which chess figure of the 1920s later wrote a book on tropical fish?



3711. Queen sacrifice overlooked

From pages 6-7 of Chess Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles by I.A. Horowitz and F. Reinfeld (New York, 1954):

dia01

‘Teichmann was blind in one eye, but he had a keen sight of the board just the same. Having given up the exchange in return for a pawn, he is somewhat at a material disadvantage. After a careful study of the position he played 1...Rg6.

Tarrasch, at that time (1907) one of the world’s greatest masters, annotated this game for a newspaper column. Ridiculing Teichmann’s move, he pointed out that “of course 1...Qxe5 was the right move. If then 2 Qxc4 Rd6! 3 Rxd6?? e2! and Black wins on the spot!” Tarrasch added a number of sarcastic remarks and some involved variations which we need not go into here. His note was copied in columns and magazines the world over, with no dissenting voice.

Only when the book of the tournament (Carlsbad, 1907) appeared several years later did the chess world find out what Teichmann had seen with his one good eye. The fact is that [the above diagram] is the setting for a particularly devilish pitfall that Vidmar had set for his opponent. Tarrasch quite overlooked that 1...Qxe5?? is a fearful blunder.’

Horowitz and Reinfeld added that the reply would be 2 Qxh7+ Nxh7 3 Rd8+ Nf8 4 Rh8+ Kxh8 5 Rxf8 mate, but their narrative is incorrect, for the queen sacrifice was pointed out shortly after Tarrasch’s note appeared in the Deutsche Schachzeitung, which was three years before the tournament book was published.

The game was played on 7 September 1907, and Tarrasch’s annotations in the Berliner Lokalanzeiger of 15 November 1907 were given on pages 83-84 of the March 1908 Deutsche Schachzeitung.

The next issue of the magazine (i.e. April 1908, page 132) had the following:

‘Graz (F. Poljanec). Sie setzen S. 84 rechts, 26. Zug, nach Dc7xe5 (von Dr. Tarrasch empfohlen und von Schlechter approbiert) in fünf Zügen mat: 27 Dh7+: Sh7: 28 Te6+ [sic] usw. Uns wundert das nicht: Denn: Aliquando dormitat bonus Homerus!’

It may be added that, as shown by announcements in the Deutsche Schachzeitung and Wiener Schachzeitung, the Carlsbad, 1907 tournament book was not published until 1911. A number of catalogues, including those of the Cleveland and Hague libraries, give an incorrect publication year, as does the 1983 Olms reprint. The Vidmar v Teichmann game was on pages 301-303. See also page 73 of Goldene Schachzeiten by Vidmar.

We have found nothing to support Horowitz and Reinfeld’s assertion that Tarrasch’s faulty note ‘was copied in columns and magazines the world over’. In any case, Tarrasch later gave the mating line in his book Die Moderne Schachpartie (page numbers vary according to the edition).



3712. Nimzo-Indian Defence

Gerrit Visser (Voorburg, the Netherlands) asks who invented the term ‘Nimzo-Indian Defence’. Here we offer some jottings upon which readers are invited to improve.

On pages 3-5 of the January 1925 Wiener Schachzeitung and pages 17-18 of the following issue (also January) Nimzowitsch annotated two games. Although they began 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 Bb4 and 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 respectively, both openings were simply identified as ‘Indisch’. By the end of the decade the former opening was being given Nimzowitsch’s name. For instance, on pages 579-581 of L’Echiquier, January 1930 Tartakower contributed an analytical article entitled ‘Une variante à la mode’ which referred to 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 as ‘La “Variante de Nimzowitch”’. On page 132 of the May 1931 Wiener Schachzeitung an Alekhine consultation game was given under the heading ‘Nimzoindisch’. In a footnote to the word Hans Kmoch wrote: ‘Diese Bezeichnung scheint mir für die folgende Variante sehr empfehlenswert.’



3713. 1 e4 Nc6

It may also be wondered when Nimzowitsch’s name was first associated with the defence 1 e4 Nc6. He played it against Důras at Ostend, 1907, and the tournament book (page 153) mysteriously headed the game ‘Königsläufer Eröffnung’, whereas in the index (page 334) it was referred to as ‘Verteidigung Niemzowitsch’. And when was the opening first ascribed to Nimzowitsch in his own writings? We offer pages 181-183 of the November-December 1920 issue of Tidskrift för Schack, in which he annotated a 1 e4 Nc6 game against Olson from the recent Stockholm tournament, the heading being ‘Niemzowitsch’s spelöppning’.

That issue of the Swedish magazine had Nimzowitsch’s annotations to no fewer than 15 games.



3714. Reuben Fine on other writers

From page xi of Reuben Fine’s book Lessons from My Games (New York, 1958):

‘Up to that time [Pasadena, 1932] I had not read any chess books. My knowledge of the game came from intensive over-the-board play. One reason was that there was so little worthwhile literature in English. A few books by Marshall and Capablanca were too elementary. I had picked up a tournament book of St Petersburg, 1914, but the notes contained many errors. When I found these errors, I thought that I must be wrong, and that I was not really good enough to play over such games yet; only later did I discover how sloppy many chess authors can be.’

Fine then explained that he had needed to learn German to be able to read, among other volumes, Nimzowitsch’s Mein System; but was he really unaware that an English edition had been published in 1929?

On page 19 Fine set out his views of various prominent writers:

‘Tartakower I found very amusing but shallow. Capablanca had little to teach the serious student; the same was true of Marshall and Lasker.’

fine

Reuben Fine



3715. Nardus

C.N. 3699 gave a photograph of Léonardus Nardus with Marshall and Janowsky. Nardus, a little-known Dutchman, was not only a player and sponsor but also an accomplished artist. A victory over Marshall appeared on pages 327-328 of La Stratégie, September 1910 with Marshall’s notes:

Léonardus Nardus – Frank James Marshall
Le Touquet Paris-Plage, August 1910
Four Knights’ Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bb5 Bb4 5 O-O O-O 6 d3 d6 7 Nd5 Nxd5 8 exd5 Ne7 9 c3 Bc5 10 c4 h6 11 Ne1 Bb6 12 Be3 c6 13 dxc6 bxc6 14 Ba4 f5 15 Bb3 Kh8 16 c5 Bxc5 17 d4 Bb6

dia01

18 Bg5 Bxd4 19 Qh5 Qe8 20 Qh4 Ng6 21 Qh5 d5 22 Nf3 Kg8 23 Rad1 hxg5 24 Nxg5 Rf6 25 Rfe1 Qd8 26 g4 fxg4 27 Kh1 Nf8 28 Rxd4 exd4 29 Re8 g6 30 Qh7 mate.

Two or three years later Marshall dedicated his book Modern Analysis of the Chess Openings as follows:

‘Friendship.
I dedicate this work
to
My dear Friend
Leo Nardus
The Dutch Artist of Suresnes, S, France,
Whose name is so well known in Chess,
a strong amateur, enthousiast [sic] and real lover of our noble pastime.’

The book featured three photographs of Marshall and Nardus in play:

marshall and nardus

marshall and nardusmarshall and nardus

Another work by Marshall which carried a picture of Nardus was Marshall’s Chess “Swindles” (New York, 1914):

nardus

Page 4 of the January 1929 American Chess Bulletin had a photograph of Nardus’s ‘splendid residence ... located in La Marsa, a suburb of Tunis’, where Marshall had stayed as a guest. The picture was inscribed ‘To dear Frank Marshall; always welcome’.

nardus residence

A win by Nardus against Janowsky in Biarritz (September 1912) was published (position only) on page 364 of the September 1912 La Stratégie:

dia02

The magazine left readers to find the win for themselves, although the moves were given on pages 192-193 of Schachjahrbuch für 1912 by L. Bachmann (Ansbach, 1913), with a position which lacked the white pawn on h4: 1...Qxf1+ 2 Kxf1 Nd2+ 3 Kg1 Re1+ 4 Kh2 Nf1+ 5 Kh1 Ng3+ 6 Kh2 Nxf5 and wins.

The September 1912 issue of the French magazine also had a photograph of Janowsky, Nardus and Marshall in Biarritz:

janowsky, nardus and marshall

Another win by Nardus, played at the Café de la Régence, was published on pages 103-104 of La Stratégie, March 1913:

Vladimir Bienstock – Léonardus Nardus
Paris, January 1913
‘Hunt Opening’

1 b4 d5 2 Bb2 Bf5 3 d4 e6 4 a3 Nf6 5 e3 Bd6 6 c4 c6 7 c5 Bc7 8 Bd3 O-O 9 Bxf5 exf5 10 Qd3 Ne4 11 Ne2 Qg5 12 g3 Nd7 13 Nbc3 Ndf6 14 f3 Nxc3 15 Bxc3 Rae8 16 Bd2 Qh5 17 Kf2

dia03

17…Ne4+ 18 fxe4 fxe4 19 Qc2 Qf3+ 20 Kg1 Qxe2 21 Re1 Qg4 22 Rf1 Bxg3 23 White resigns.

As regards Nardus the artist, we turn to L’oeuvre de Léonardus Nardus, a catalogue of the paintings and drawings he put up for sale in Amsterdam on 23 January 1917 for the benefit of the Red Cross in France and Belgium. An introductory note on page 3 stated that he had been born in Utrecht on 5 May 1868 ‘et fit ses études à l’Académie des Beaux Arts d’Amsterdam (Altmann)’. Having travelled widely (Italy, Tunisia, Algeria and Spain), he was, at the time of the sale, resident in Holland.

The catalogue began with four portraits of chessmasters (all signed and dated 1912), and they are reproduced below:

taubenhaus

Jean Taubenhaus

marshall

Frank James Marshall

lasker

Emanuel Lasker

janowsky

Dawid Janowsky

A footnote on page 5 specified that the painting of Lasker was not for sale, being the property of Lasker himself and included in the catalogue only for the sake of completeness. In addition, page 11 listed (but did not show) a 1913 charcoal drawing of Janowsky.

A few years ago a Dutch correspondent, Adri Plomp mentioned to us that three of the above paintings (i.e. not the Taubenhaus one) were reproduced in Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond in 1919, together with the following self-portrait of Nardus:

nardus

Perhaps a reader can find information about the outcome of the 1917 sale from reports in the local or specialized press.

About Nardus’s later years, very little seems known, although we note that the website http://harissa.com/D_Arts/peintresdetunisie.htm states that he died in 1955.



3716. Fish (C.N. 3710)

tropical fish

The chess figure who wrote a book on tropical fish was Norbert Lederer (1888-1955), a leading organizer of the tournaments at New York, 1924, Lake Hopatcong, 1926, New York, 1927 and Bradley Beach, 1929 who was also closely involved in the first phase of the world championship rematch negotiations between Capablanca and Alekhine. Below, from page 89 of the July-August 1926 American Chess Bulletin, is a shot taken at Lake Hopatcong, 1926 featuring, from left to right, Edward Lasker, José Raúl Capablanca (with his daughter Gloria), Norbert Lederer and Edith Herschenstein:

lake hopatcong

A further group photograph, taken during the New York, 1927 tournament, is gleaned from page 60 of the March 1927 American Chess Bulletin and shows Julius Finn, Norbert Lederer, Aron Nimzowitsch, Alexander Alekhine, Rudolf Spielmann and Milan Vidmar:

new york

In 1934 Lederer’s 229-page book Tropical Fish & their care was published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. It was ‘designed as a handbook to advise the novice how to set up his aquarium’, but a passage from the Introduction (page xviii) may have put off at least as many potential aquarists as it inspired:

‘To observe a quivering Gourami die in the ecstasy of a kiss; to witness the combat of rival Angelfish, or the selective Betta killing three females before finding one fit to be the mother of his children; to watch paternal nest-builders; mothers who dine on their young; the cruel cannibalism of the Piranha; to spy on the digestive processes of the diaphanous Glassfish; and even to note, in time, a variation of intelligence within the same species – these are a few of the fascinations for the amateur of fish.’

For ‘advice and assistance’ on his book Lederer thanked Lillian Day, and our collection also contains two novels co-written by them: Murder in Time (1936) and Death Comes on Friday (1937).

The portrait of Lederer below is from page 59 of the March 1924 American Chess Bulletin, which had a biographical note on him:

tropical fish



3717. Alekhine Nazi articles (C.N.s 3605, 3606, 3617 & 3660)

It may be recalled from page 281 of A Chess Omnibus that in an interview with Informaciones (Madrid) published on 3 September 1941 Alekhine was quoted as saying:alekhine

‘... trips to the United States or England are out of the question; I am not in favour in those countries, as a result of some articles I wrote in the German press and some games I played in Paris during the last winter – against 40 opponents – for the German Army and Winter Relief.’

Page 655 of Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games, 1902-1946 by L. Skinner and R. Verhoeven (Jefferson, 1998) stated: ‘After Alekhine’s return to France and his entry into the French Army, almost nothing is known of his chess activities during the spring and summer of 1940.’ (The same page has an unfortunate error about the treatment of French military personnel by the German High Command: ‘many were interred as prisoners of war.’)

The extent to which Alekhine played chess in France on behalf of the German Army and Winter Relief is unknown, but we note that in the early part of 1940 he had proposed to help the war effort of the other side, and was turned down. From page 208 of CHESS, June 1940:

‘World champion’s noble offer. Dr Alekhine offered to play 300 opponents in London simultaneously (in 60 groups of five) in aid of war charities. The BCF declined the offer, stating that it would be “very difficult” to arrange such a display in the near future.’

As indicated on the previous page, that issue of CHESS was published on 20 May 1940, i.e. nearly a month before Paris fell to Nazi Germany. Has the correspondence with Alekhine survived in the British Chess Federation’s archives or elsewhere?



3718. Goebbels

Page 290 of A. Alekhine Agony of a Chess Genius by P. Morán (Jefferson, 1989) quoted from the New York Times of 16 July 1933 a chess-related reference to ‘Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda and Enlightenment, who is a devotee of the game’. Was he?



3719. Correspondence games by world champions

John Blackstone (Las Vegas, NV, USA) mentions that several on-line databases contain correspondence games attributed to Mikhail Tal and asks which world champions have played postal chess.

At this stage we should like to build up a list of authenticated correspondence games played by the world champions of the post-Second World War era. Their predecessors’ exploits in this field are already relatively well documented.



3720. Resignation in winning position

C.N.s 2123 and 2144 (see pages 32-33 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves) discussed little-known examples of players resigning when they had a won game. The following addition (Cukierman v Lazard, Paris, 1929) comes from pages 105-106 of The Quiet Game by J. Montgomerie (London, 1972):

dia02

‘In this position Black played 32...Rxg2+ 33 Nxg2 Qf2+ 34 Kh2 e3 35 d5 Qg3+ 36 Kh1 Rf2, and White resigned. All very forceful play by Black and a just result. But there is a flaw. Instead of resigning White should have continued 37 Rg4 and if 37...Qxh3+ 38 Kg1 Qxg4 39 Qxc7+ Ka8 40 Qd8+ Bc8 41 Rxc8+ Kb7 42 Rc7+ Ka6 43 Qc8+, winning comfortably. Instead of 36...Rf2 Black should have played 36...Bxd5, so that if 37 Rg4 Bxg2+, etc.’

The full game is given below, from page 30 of the 1999 Chess Player booklet which included all available games from the tournament:

Josef Cukierman – Frédéric Lazard
Paris, June 1929
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 f5 4 d4 fxe4 5 Bxc6 dxc6 6 Nxe5 Qh4 7 Be3 Bd6 8 Qd2 Be6 9 Bg5 Qh5 10 Nc3 Nf6 11 Ne2 O-O-O 12 Ng3 Qe8 13 Qa5 Kb8 14 O-O c5 15 c3 Bc8 16 Nc4 b6 17 Nxd6 Rxd6 18 Qa3 cxd4 19 Bf4 Rd8 20 cxd4 Bb7 21 Rac1 Rd7 22 Rc4 Qg6 23 Rfc1 Nd5 24 Be3 h5 25 Qa4 Rf7 26 Qc2 h4 27 Nf1 Rhf8 28 f4 Nxf4 29 Bxf4 Rxf4 30 Ne3 Qf6 31 h3 Rf2 32 Qc3 Rxg2+ 33 Nxg2 Qf2+ 34 Kh2 e3 35 d5 Qg3+ 36 Kh1 Rf2 37 White resigns.

dia02

The booklet quoted the game from L’Action française, which also mentioned that White’s resignation was erroneous and asked, ‘Is it luck if you are able to see more than your opponent?’



3721. Popes (C.N. 3696, 3701 & 3705)

David R. Sands notes in the Washington Times of 23 April 2005 that we have cast some doubt on the authenticity of the game ascribed to Pope Leo XIII, but he also points out that Francis J. Wellmuth gave various specifics when including it in The Golden Treasury of Chess (New York and Philadelphia, 1943). We quote below Wellmuth’s exact words, from page 63 of the book (and page 47 of a subsequent paperback edition):

‘Played in Perugia, about 1875. The following game, played by Joachim Cardinal Pecci (afterwards Pope Leo XIII) was obtained during my visit at Vatican city in 1925-26, from my old colleague Rev. Maurice de la Taille, S.J., Professor of professors at the Gregorian University, Rome Italy, and author of Mysterium Fidie [sicFidei] – F.J.W.’



3722. Wellmuth

Information is still being sought on Francis J. Wellmuth, and on why his book The Golden Treasury of Chess was subsequently presented as a work by ‘Al Horowitz and the Editors of Chess Review’ (see page 129 of A Chess Omnibus). Page 88 of the September-October 1943 American Chess Bulletin stated regarding Wellmuth that ‘practically a lifetime was spent by the editor, now in his 70s, in keeping abreast of the activities of the world’s best players and making careful selection of their games, going back also as far as the time of Ruy López’.

The illustrations below come from one of our copies of the original edition (inscribed by the violinist Louis Persinger):

wellmuthwellmuth



3723. Capablanca in Dublin

Harrie H. Grondijs (Rijswijk, the Netherlands) sends us the following simultaneous game from the Irish Statesman, 27 December 1919, page 658:

José Raúl Capablanca – Sir Horace Plunkett
Dublin, 5 December 1919
Ruy López

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O b5 6 Bb3 d6 7 c3 Be7 8 d4 Bg4 9 Be3 O-O 10 Nbd2 d5 11 exd5 Nxd5 12 h3 Be6 13 Rc1 exd4 14 cxd4 Na5 15 Ne5 f6 16 Nc6 Nxc6 17 Rxc6 Qd7 18 Qc1 Bd6 19 Ne4 Nxe3 20 fxe3 Bxb3 21 axb3 Rfe8 22 Nxd6 cxd6 23 Rf3 Rac8 24 Rxc8 Rxc8 25 Qa1 Qc6 26 Kh2 d5 27 Rf1 Kf7 28 Qa3 Qc7+ 29 Kh1 Qb7 30 Qd6 Rc6 31 Qf4 Qe7 32 Re1 Drawn.

Our correspondent also submits a letter from Capablanca published in the Irish Statesman, 13 December 1919, page 611:

‘Señor Capablanca on Irish Chess
To the Editor:

Sir – Your readers may perhaps be interested to know what I thought of the play during my visit to the Dublin chess clubs. I found much stronger opposition than I had any reason to anticipate. Some of my opponents’ play was very good – particularly once they obtained an advantage which would indicate facility for carrying on an attack, an excellent – and I am told – Irish quality. I have no doubt that some of my opponents would, with the proper kind of practice and a little study, become very strong players, and I hope most earnestly that they will persevere in their playing, as, taken as a whole, the qualities exhibited by my adversaries were of a high order. If I may be allowed to boost a little of my own work, I would advise those who think that they could learn something from my play to obtain a copy of my recent book, My Chess Career, published by Bell and Sons, London, where they will find notes and advice that may be valuable to them.

Dublin, 10 December 1919            J.R. Capablanca.’



3724. Figurines

A very rare form of notation is what might be termed the ‘pure figurine’, i.e. all symbols and no letters. The illustrative extract below comes from a game annotated by Alekhine on pages 339-341 of the August 1929 issue of L’Echiquier:

figurines



3725. Who?

sketch




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