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.
A game won by Henry Ernest Dudeney (1857-1930) was annotated in original style on page 7 of the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement, 23 October 1886:
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 e5 Ng4 6 Nxd4 Nxd4 7 Qxd4 h5 8 O-O Qe7 9 Re1 Qc5 10 Qf4 f6 11 exf6+ Kd8 12 Bf7 Bd6 13 fxg7 Rg8 14 Qg5+ Be7 15 Qxc5 Bxc5 16 Bg5+ Nf6 17 Bxf6+ Be7 18 Bxe7 mate.
From page 33 of London Feb/Mar 1886 and Nottingham 1886 by A.J. Gillam (Nottingham, 2007):
Since ‘The Field’ and ‘another source’ are the sole information offered, and there is no mention of the straightforward mate in four (22...Qxf2+), further details will be appreciated.
[Two or three weeks later the offending site became inaccessible.]
We have received two translations of Kasparov’s political articles, Poutine: des Jeux et des geôles (Paris, 2014) and Scacco matto a Putin (Milan, 2014). The back cover of the former book gives the flavour:
The overwhelming impression gained, as ever, is that the author’s proper place is at the chess board. Among the masters, Kasparov seems the most politically minded and the least politically adept.
A further contribution from Robert John McCrary (Columbia, SC, USA) on the value of the chess pieces:
Juan Carlos Sanz Menéndez (Madrid) points out that an illustration which is slightly different from numbers seven and twelve in Pictures of Howard Staunton appeared on page 479 of the Madrid publication La Ilustración Española y Americana, 15 August 1874. It is shown below, followed by the other two, which were given in the Illustrated London News in 1874 and 1892 respectively:
From Rod Edwards (Victoria, BC, Canada):
On page 104 of Morphy Gleanings (London, 1932) P.W Sergeant noted, without further comment, that Bell’ s Life in London had called Morphy’s opponent ‘Alfred Jones’. That was also the name given in other newspaper reports on the exhibition, e.g. the London Daily News, 20 April 1859, page 2, and the Times, 21 April 1859, page 12.
The provenance of ‘J.P. Jones’ is unclear, but two pre-Sergeant sightings can be mentioned: page ix of Pau l Morphy Sein Leben und Schaffen by Max Lange (Leipzig, 1894) and page 290 of Paul Morphy by Géza Maróczy (Leipzig, 1909). The former book had ‘Jones, J.P.’ in the index on page ix:
Confusion over players’ initials is not limited to Jones. Two of Morphy’s other opponents in the London display were indexed in Max Lange’s book (page x) as ‘Maude P.’ and ‘Slous, P.’, whereas Lawson’s biography (page 193) and other sources give their initials as G. and F.L. respectively.
From page 11 of the January 1949 Chess Review:
The earliest chess-related photograph of Alastair Sim that we recall comes from page 63 of CHESS, 14 October 1938:
Whereas no reference to a player called J.P. Jones has been found, many appearances of the name Alfred Jones can be cited. For example, John Townsend (Wokingham, England) refers to an account of the ‘Annual Dinner of the London Chess Club’ on page 14 of the Era, 28 May 1865:
Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) notes an obituary of Alfred Jones on page 180 of the Westminster Papers, 1 March 1870:
A further specimen in the category Royal Walkabouts (Manin v Sorkin, Chkalovsky, 1949) is provided by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) from page 112 of the 4/1950 Shakhmaty v SSSR:
11 Bc3 Kf8 12 Bxg7+ Kxg7 13 Qc3+ Kh6 14 Nf6 Qd8 15 h3 g5 16 fxg5+ Kg6
17 Ng8 Nxg8 18 Qxh8 f6 19 Nh4+ Kxg5 20 Qg7+ Kf4 21 g3+ Ke3 22 Rd3+ Kf2 23 Rf3+ Ke1
24 Bd3 mate.
As regards the missing opening moves, our correspondent points out that the position after Black’s tenth move occurred in Chigorin v Mackenzie, Vienna, 1882 with one exception: Mackenzie played 10...O-O-O and did not move his h-pawn. Source: pages 152-154 of Das II. Internationale Schachmeisterturnier Wien 1882 by C.M. Bijl (Zurich, 1984).
C.N. 8908 quoted from page 49 of Not Only Chess (London, 1974) Gerald Abrahams’ observation ‘Good moves win; good positions don’t win’.
On page 45 of the same book Abrahams cited a conversation with another player ‘some years ago’:
For the context, the full page is shown:
On page 106 of Not Only Chess Abrahams expressed the same sentiments in yet another wording:
Substantiation is sought of the most common version of the quote attributed to Abrahams, e.g. by Andrew Soltis on page 20 of The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess (London, 2008):
As shown in C.N. 8842, this was the final position in Abrahams v Golombek, Hastings, 1948:
On page 67 of The Handbook of Chess (London, 1965) Abrahams gave a different position and named only Golombek:
It may be imagined that ‘instant books’ on chess matches are a modern development, but the first sentence in the Foreword to Tarrasch’s 62-page work Der Schachwettkampf Marshall-Tarrasch im Herbst 1905 (Nuremberg, 1905) reported that the manuscript was ready for printing one week after the match ended and that the book appeared a fortnight later:
From William D. Rubinstein (Melbourne, Australia):
Wanted: the newspaper article referred to by Edward Lasker on page 159 of Chess for Fun & Chess for Blood (Philadelphia, 1942):
From page 92 of Lasker’s The Adventure of Chess (New York, 1950):
White to move
This famous position (11 Qxh7+) comes from a game extensively discussed in Chaos in a Miniature (Edward Lasker v George Thomas, London, 1912), but a noteworthy addition is that two decades later Lasker played it with the black pieces.
First, an extract from page 109 of the American Chess Bulletin, July-August 1933:
And from page 4 of the September 1933 Chess Review:
Neither US magazine gave the moves of the Alekhine v Lasker game, which in any case was pre-arranged. From pages 160-161 of Lasker’s The Adventure of Chess (New York, 1950):
Below is the photograph mentioned by Lasker, as published opposite page 98 of Liddell’s book (and between pages 132 and 133 of the London, 1976 edition):
A remark by Emanuel Lasker:
Source: Hermann Helms’ chess column on page A3 of the Brookly n Daily Eagle, 12 June 1924:
We first quoted the observation by Lasker in C.N. 1530 (see page 264 of Chess Explorations), from page 318 of the August 1924 BCM.
Petrosian’s Games refers to the master’s reaction to press coverage of his performance at Amsterdam, 1956, and below are his comments in full, from pages 215-216 of the Shekhtman book discussed in our article:
Timothy J. Bogan (Chicago, IL, USA) asks what exactly appeared in Shakhmaty v SSSR, and we are grateful to Dan Scoones (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) for providing page 161 of the 6/1956 issue (Editor: V. Ragozin). The unsigned editorial contained one mention of Petrosian, in the fifth paragraph. Later, it discussed the other four players who shared third place with him (the four being singled out as newcomers to that level of competition):
Mr Scoones has also forwarded an article about the tournament by L. Abramov on pages 193-195 of the 7/1956 magazine. It included a brief discussion of Petrosian’s performance on page 195:
From page 14 of A Book of Chess by C.H.O’D. Alexander (London, 1973):
‘Turgid’ is hardly a word applicable to Boris Spassky, but it is a charitable description of the prose in Winning Record against World Champions by B. Spassky and I. Gelfer (Rosh Ha’ayin, 2014). Below, for instance, is the start of the former world champion’s Preface:
The entire humdrum book (which misappropriates a number of photographs from C.N. – see, for example, pages 15, 190 and 203) should obviously have been revised by a writer of English mother tongue.
That said, in some respects the prose is hardly worse than the offerings of certain chess writers whose first, and perhaps only, language is ostensibly English. The following comes from a report at The Week in Chess on the seventh match-game between Carlsen and Anand, 17 November 2014:
[Shortly after the present item was posted, the above sentence was changed at The Week in Chess, although the improvement was not great: ‘The rest of the game was difficult and complex and Anand played it really rather well.’]
From the first page of an article by Fred Reinfeld, ‘At What Age is a Chess Master at his Best?’, on pages 249-253 of CHESS, 14 March 1936:
An illustration by W.H. Cozens on page 316 of the November 1961 BCM:
Another player who had occasion to wear an eye patch was Emanuel Lasker, during his autumn 1909 contest against Dawid Janowsky; see the photograph in our article Lasker v Janowsky, Paris, 1909.
Lasker had undergone an operation on his right eyelid, as reported on page 407 of La Stratégie, November 1909:
Concerning the 1961 match between Fischer and Reshevsky, aborted in a scheduling dispute when the score was level after 11 games, Frank Brady wrote on page 55 of Profile of a Prodigy (New York, 1965):
At the time, Frank Brady was the Editor of Chess Life.
William D. Rubinstein (Melbourne, Australia) writes:
Gene Gnandt (Houston, TX, USA) wonders whether Alfred Jones was a Justice of the Peace and, if so, whether use of the initials ‘J.P.’ resulted in a mistaken belief that they represented his forenames.
We note that the index on page 313 of Paul Morphy. Skizze aus der Schachwelt by Max Lange (Leipzig, 1881) had ‘P. Jones’.
From page 219 of The Handbook of Chess by Gerald Abrahams (London, 1965):
A report on page 92 of the April 1936 Chess Review:
Information about sketches, cartoons and other artwork by prominent chess figures is always welcome. From the front cover of Chess Life, 20 April 1961:
Page 80 of “Among These Mates” by “Chielamangus” (Sydney, 1939) comprised an advertisement for a forthcoming book by C.J.S. Purdy (whose pseudonym was “Chielamangus”) which never came forth:
Joose Norri (Helsinki) recalls that pages 1 and 2 of the tenth bulletin of the 1992 Olympiad in Manila had photographs of Victor Korchnoi, who had recently undergone an eye operation in Switzerland. Below is page 1:
The first paragraph of an article by the Badmaster, G.H. Diggle, on pages 15-16 of volume two of Chess Characters (Geneva, 1987), reproduced from the February 1985 Newsflash:
On page 13 of the January 1970 Chess Life &
Review, in an article entitled
The Bronstein game was published by J.S. Battell on page 225 of the August 1961 Chess Review:
Wanted: more details about the game, which was given as Bronstein v Bronstein, Moscow, 1961 on page 142 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess by Irving Chernev (New York, 1974).
Our latest feature article is Chess and Sleep.
A footnote on page 206 of America’s Chess Heritage by Walter Korn (New York, 1978):
Not everyone will share Korn’s view as to what engenders hilarity.
He may have been following pages iii-iv of American Chess-Nuts by E.B. Cook, W.R. Henry and C.A. Gilberg (New York, 1868). Page iv stated:
No pseudonymous use of ‘Chess nut’ by a correspondent in the Illustrated London News has yet been found, but one early occurrence of the term in a heading can be shown, from page 610 of the 19 December 1857 issue:
Concerning the above-quoted reference to the Chess Player’s Chronicle, it should be borne in mind that Staunton’s editorship ended in 1854.
Charles Dickens was not mentioned in American Chess-Nuts, but our feature article on him includes this passage from the Dallas Morning News of 21 June 1891, part two, page 16:
What grounds did Walter Korn have for referring to letters and biographies?
From pages 110-111 of The Chess Mind by Gerald Abrahams (London, 1951):
By definition, broad sweeps are liable to be wide of the mark. Perfectly worded bons mots are not necessarily perfectly true, but whatever the infusion of comic exaggeration, more than a mere kernel of truth is needed.
These intangibilities may be relevant to a remark by Gerald Abrahams on page 178 of Teach Yourself Chess (London, 1948). It is the first sentence of Part III (‘Chess Learning’), Chapter V (‘The Ground Work of the Openings’):
Some may feel that this is a clever thought, cleverly phrased; others that the kernel of truth is all but undetectable. For our part, we continue to cite such snippets neutrally, leaving readers to make of them what they will.
In case it helps, below is the full page:
From page 16 of Wonderboy by Simen Agdestein (Alkmaar, 2004):
In the 2013 edition, this passage (stylistically unimproved) is on page 20.
Page 19 of the Italian translation (Rome, 2006) of Agdestein’s original book suggested clearly that the Larsen book was in English (‘L’autunno precedente insiema [insieme] a suo padre aveva letto il libro di Bent Larsen Find the Plan ...’), but no such book exists. Larsen’s work was published in Danish as volume two in his series of four booklets, Bent Larsens Skak Skole, the title being Find planen (Samlerens Forlag, Copenhagen, 1975):
We also have the Swedish translation, Du måste ha en plan (Stockholm, 1977). The four parts of the Skak Skole series were brought together in an English edition entitled Bent Larsen’s Good Move Guide (Oxford, 1982).
The English book, in turn, was translated into French as Les coups de maître aux échecs (Paris, 1989).
Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) notes that the term ‘chess-nuts’ is on page 22 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1850:
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) has forwarded a chess column by Alex Page in Russia Today, July 1948, page 18:
Page 3 of the January 1949 issue of Russia Today, a publication of the British-Soviet Society, had a photograph of Alexander W. Page with Reginald Bishop:
The article about Page in the same issue:
Mr Urcan has also submitted a photograph published on page 95 of the Illustrated London News, 21 January 1961:
Per Skjoldager (Fredericia, Denmark) notes that although only volumes 1-4 of Skak Skole were included in the English and French compilations of Bent Larsen’s booklets, there were further Danish volumes. The series (1975-85) was:
The back cover of the first booklet (Copenhagen, 1975):
Mr Skjoldager adds that volumes 1-6 have been translated into Norwegian.
A new book about the world champion is Magnus Carlsen Nappulasta kuninkaaksi by H. Torkkola (Helsinki, 2014):
The front cover has prompted us to produce a feature article, Chess and Silhouettes.
Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Canada) notes a wide-ranging
article by Tartakower on pages 209-215 of the August 1931
‘Tells of’ is a formulation favoured by writers unconcerned with specifics. From page 133 of The Complete Chess Addict by M. Fox and R. James (London, 1987):
Where Wood told of this is not mentioned. We recall, though, that on page 279 of the June 1961 CHESS he reported that another magazine had told of a king’s-side version:
However, what Chess Review (April 1961, page 102) had told of contained no ‘Whatever you play ...’ remark and was merely a gleaning from an unspecified issue of another magazine:
Can a reader trace the relevant issue of the Ohio Chess Bulletin or quote other early versions of the story? Some later writers recounted it with details which may or may not have been invented; see, for example, page 66 of Playing Chess by Robert G. Wade (London, 1974).
Further to the above cartoon by Lisa Lane on the front cover of Chess Life, 20 April 1961, we add one from page 119 of A History of Chess by Jerzy Giżycki (London, 1972):
When was the cartoon by Zbigniew Lengren first published?
An addition to Books
Fischer and Kasparov has been received from Juan
Carlos Sanz Menéndez (Madrid): Fischer sus 200 mejores
by Luis Matos. It comprises 101 pages and has 200 games,
the last being the 21st game in the 1972 match against
Spassky (the book’s only coverage of that contest). A
brief biography is included, and some notes are taken from
Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games. It has a mixture
of the Spanish descriptive notation and the algebraic
notation. There are no publication details, but our
correspondent believes that the book appeared in
Venezuela, where Matos was active (writing chess columns
for the newspaper Universal in Caracas, as well as
articles under the pseudonym ‘Jaque Matos’). The
front-cover photograph of Fischer is a reverse shot.
White can mate in three with 1 Qe6.
From Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England):
It is a tangled affair, and we begin by showing pages 56-57 of Sam Loyd and His Chess Problems by Alain C. White (Leeds, 1913):
As regards Wenman, the following comes from his book One Hundred and Seventy Five Chess Brilliancies (London, 1947), the pages being unnumbered:
Wenman’s date for the game, 1806, was 35 years before Loyd was born.
Another author who discussed the game, though naming White as ‘Lloyd’, was Walter Korn, on page 3 of The Brilliant Touch (London, 1950):
Korn published the full score (‘Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1876’), with White named as Loyd, on pages 44-45 of America’s Chess Heritage (New York, 1978):
The game is also in databases, with various years from 1853 to 1906. In the May 1942 BCM, page 100, T.R. Dawson gave the finish with a diagram labelled ‘c. 1868’.
On page 10 of Sam Loyd His Story and Best Problems (Dallas, 1995) Andrew Soltis steered clear of specifics, except for the name of a nineteenth-century magazine, which he nearly spelt correctly:
Below is the full game’s appearance on pages 194-193 [sic
– the numbering of the two pages was inverted] of the
November 1878 American Chess Journal:
The game was subsequently published (headed with the American Chess Journal’s description ‘The most brilliant termination extant’) on pages 157-158 of the March 1879 Huddersfield College Magazine:
The opinions solicited by the magazine were presented on pages 221-222 of the May 1879 issue:
Loyd himself gave only the conclusion on page 249 of his book Chess Strategy (Elizabeth, 1878). The scan below has been provided by the Cleveland Public Library:
Loyd presented the full game on pages 45-46 of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, November 1905, and left readers to assume that he did indeed play 24 Qe6:
For the pawn and queen ending referred to in Loyd’s first paragraph, see C.N. 8692.
As regards Moore, a brief article and illustration by Loyd were published on page 1342 of the Scientific American Supplement, 11 August 1877:
Moore’s entry in Chess Personalia by Jeremy Gaige (Jefferson, 1987) was slightly augmented in the unpublished 1994 edition:
The earliest publication of the Loyd v Moore game or position found so far dates from 1878. Is it possible to trace earlier appearances and, in particular, to corroborate Loyd’s claim that he played the game by correspondence when he was a boy and that it was published in the Winona Republican around 1853-54?
Roland Kensdale (Aberdeen, Scotland) quotes from page 109 of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by D. Bronstein and T. Fürstenberg (London, 1995) and page 117 of the revised edition (Alkmaar, 2009). A game between Bronstein and Boleslavsky, Moscow, 1950 began 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 d6 5 Qb3, and at this point Bronstein wrote:
Who wrote that about Alekhine?
Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.