Chess Notes

Edward Winter

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2 September 2009: C.N.s 6293-6295
5 September 2009: C.N.s 6296-6299
6 September 2009: C.N.s 6300-6301
8 September 2009: C.N. 6302
10 September 2009: C.N. 6303-6306
12 September 2009: C.N. 6307
13 September 2009: C.N. 6308-6310
15 September 2009: C.N. 6311-6313
18 September 2009: C.N. 6314-6315
19 September 2009: C.N. 6316-6318
21 September 2009: C.N. 6319-6320
22 September 2009: C.N. 6321-6323
26 September 2009: C.N. 6324-6327
27 September 2009: C.N. 6328
28 September 2009: C.N. 6329
All feature articles and C.N. archives
C.N. Factfinder

First column << previous Archives [62] next >> Current column


6293. Kaspartov (C.N.s 4150, 4154, 4155 & 4225)

kaspartov

Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) reverts to the 128-page book published in 1999 by Ediciones Altosa, Manual del ajedrecista by ‘Garry Kaspartov’. It is difficult not to conclude that the volume is ‘a piece of mercantile trickery by the publisher to exploit the former world champion’s name’ (C.N. 4154).

The genesis of the Manual del ajedrecista is still unknown, but our correspondent notes a possible further clue: for ‘pieces’ the book often uses ‘fichas’ (a common term in some other board games) rather than the usual chess word ‘piezas’. Mr Asturiano Molina has, though, found ‘fichas’ in the chess writings of Manuel Golmayo de la Torriente.

Can any reader take the investigation forward?



6294. Edward Smedley (1788-1836)

Around 1800, before he had even entered his teens, Edward Smedley wrote this poem:

smedley

smedley

Source: Poems by the Late Rev. Edward Smedley, A.M. (London, 1837), pages 107-108.

smedley1



6295. Coleman v Capablanca

Marc Hébert (Charny, Canada) raises the subject of Capablanca’s game against S. Coleman which was given on pages 83-84 of the April 1911 American Chess Bulletin:

coleman capablanca

coleman capablanca

Sol Coleman – José Raúl Capablanca
Memphis, 12 December 1910
Bishop’s Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 Nc6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 Bd2 Bxc3 6 Bxc3 d5 7 Bb5 dxe4 8 Bxc6+ bxc6 9 Bxe5 Qe7 10 d4 Qb4+ 11 c3 Qxb2 12 Qc1 Qxc1+ 13 Rxc1 Nd5 14 Ne2 f5 15 Bf4 Ba6 16 c4 Nb4 17 O-O Nxa2 18 Rc2 Nb4 19 Rc3 Kd7 20 Rd1 g5 21 Bc1

dia

21...Nd3 22 d5 cxd5 23 cxd5 Nxc1 24 Nxc1 Rab8 25 Nb3 Rb5 26 Nc5+ Rxc5 27 Rxc5 Rb8 28 Rdc1 Rb6 29 Rxc7+ Kd6 30 Rxa7 Kxd5 31 Rxh7 Bd3 32 h3 e3 33 Rd7+ Ke4 34 f3+ Kf4 35 Rxd3 g4 36 Kh2 e2 37 g3+ Resigns.

Mr Hébert notes that the game was discussed by Vlastimil Fiala on pages 72-74 of the Winter 2000 edition of the Quarterly for Chess History, also on the basis of publication of the score in the Commercial Appeal of 18 December 1910. A divergence was noted at move 21, and the rest of the game according to the Commercial Appeal was:

21...Kd6 22 d5 cxd5 23 cxd5 Na2 24 Rc2 Nxc1 25 Nxc1 Rab8 26 Nb3 Rb5 27 Rc6+ Kd7 28 Nc5+ Rxc5 29 Rxc5 Rb8 30 Rdc1 Rb6 31 Rxc7+ Kd6 32 Rxa7 Kxd5 33 Rxh7 Bd3 34 h3 e3 35 Rd7+ Ke4 36 f3+ Kf4 37 Rxd3 Resigns.

The Quarterly gave ‘O-1’ at the end of both versions, but the remainder of the item confirms that Coleman won. The American Chess Bulletin version was included by Rogelio Caparrós in the 1991 and 1994 editions of The Games of José Raúl Capablanca. He too put ‘O-1’ and, also for reasons unknown, gave the venue as New York instead of Memphis and, in the indexes, had a different date (6 November 1910).



6296. Blindfold phenomena

Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) mentions that a number of newspapers in November 1858 carried reports, courtesy of Harper’s Weekly, on two young players of blindfold chess in Fayette County, KY. For example, the following appeared on page 2 of the Lancaster Intelligencer of 16 November 1858:

chess

This and other newspaper reports can be consulted at the Penn State Digital Library.



6297. Instructive masterpieces

From Alan O’Brien (Mitcham, England):

‘As a general collection of modern high-standard games with very good annotations I would recommend the second edition of Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces by Igor Stohl (Gambit Publications Ltd., 2009), a 446-page volume which costs only £17.99. It puts an avalanche of books from other publishers at similar prices to shame.’

stohl

The book is an enlarged edition of a much-praised work produced by the same company in 2001.

We note too that Gambit Publications Ltd. has brought out an expanded edition of John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book, which is also a candidate for inclusion in the Very Best Chess Books listing. Readers’ recommendations in any category remain welcome.



6298. Lasker and the FBI

Lawrence Totaro (Las Vegas, NV, USA) notes that at the website www.footnote.com mentioned in C.N. 6267 it is also possible to view the FBI case file on Emanuel Lasker in relation to a visa application in 1920-21 (case number 40-5546).



6299. Havana Olympiad, 1966

From John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA) comes this photograph:

chess

Robert and Donald Byrne stand together in the centre, but which other figures can be identified?



6300. Zukertort game

The game below, lively but by no means error-free, was played in a 13-board simultaneous display:

Johannes Hermann Zukertort – Samuel Bash
Glasgow, August 1875
King’s Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 h4 g4 5 Ne5 Nf6 6 Bc4 d5 7 exd5 Bd6 8 d4 Nh5 9 Nc3 a6 10 O-O Qxh4 11 Qe1 Qxe1 12 Rxe1 O-O 13 Ne2 f3 14 gxf3 gxf3 15 Nxf3 Kh8 16 Ne5 f6 17 Nd3 Bh3 18 Nef4 b5 19 Nxh5 Rg8+ 20 Kf2 bxc4 21 Ndf4 Bxf4 22 Nxf4 Bf5 23 Bd2 Nd7 24 Re7 Rac8 25 Rh1 Rce8 26 d6 cxd6 27 Nd5

dia

27...Be4 28 Rh5 Rg2+ 29 Ke3 Rxe7 30 Nxe7 Bxc2 31 Bc3 Bd1 32 Ra5 Re2+ 33 Kf4 Rxe7 34 Rxa6 d5 35 a4 Re4+ 36 Kg3 h5 37 a5 Rg4+ 38 Kh3 f5 39 Rd6 Nb8 40 Rxd5 f4 41 Rxh5+ Kg8 42 d5 Rg3+ 43 Kh4 Bxh5 44 Kxh5 Rxc3 45 bxc3 f3 46 d6 f2 47 a6 Nxa6 48 d7 f1(Q) 49 d8(Q)+ Qf8 Drawn.

Source: Chess Player’s Chronicle, 15 February 1876, pages 36-37 (with notes by Ranken).



6301. Chess and Marxism/Communism

A quote commonly attributed to Anatoly Karpov is given, to pick a book at random, on page 45 of Kasparov v Deeper Blue by Daniel King (London, 1997):

‘Karpov, the blue-eyed Russian who once stated that the two great loves of his life were “chess and Marxism” ...’

We have seen the original quote ascribed to Der Spiegel of 3 June 1985 and shall be grateful if a reader can provide a copy. In the meantime, two later comments by Karpov come to mind:

‘On dit souvent de lui qu’il a deux passions: “Les échecs et le marxisme”. “C’est une vision simpliste”, rétorque-t-il, “j’ai aussi d’autres intérêts culturels. De plus, je suis président du Fonds soviétique en faveur de la paix.” Une fonction à laquelle il tient particulièrement, ajoute-t-il.’

Source: Le Journal de Genève, 1-2 February 1986, page 25.

‘– You’ve been quoted as saying you have two loves – chess and Communism.’

‘– I never said this. That was a provocation invented by the people who prepared the press information. I have many loves – my wife, my family, my son. I play tennis, I collect stamps. I like the theater.’

Source: interview given by Karpov to Anne Underwood, Newsweek, 3 December 1990, page 58.

karpov

The above photograph accompanied an article about Karpov and his stamp collection on pages 42-50 of Das Magazin, 8-14 May 1999. It stated that he owned over a million items.



6302. Line clearance

chess

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

‘On pages 171-172 of Irving Chernev’s The Chess Companion (above) there is an amusing three-move problem by “Wolff”. Chernev writes:

“What was Black’s last move? Obviously it could only have been P-B4. Then 1 PxP e.p. P-K5 2 N-K3 KxP 3 KxQP mate.”

A similar position is on page 65 of A.C. White’s book Tasks and Echoes (Stroud, 1915):

chess

There is a white pawn on a2 and no white pawn on e2. The latter is necessary to prevent a cook by 1 e4 c4 2 Qf2 or g1, although as the only function of the queen is to prevent Black’s last move from being b6xc5 it could be replaced with a white pawn. A.C. White presented the problem as a normal “Mate in three”.’

We add that the following composition was published on page 159 of Deutsches Wochenschach, 23 April 1911:

chess

It was page 208 of the 28 May 1911 issue which had the problem given in the above-mentioned book by A.C. White:

chess1

The solution appeared on page 254 of the 9 July 1911 Deutsches Wochenschach:

chess

Mr McDowell comments:

‘Chernev’s setting makes sense only as a conditional problem, because otherwise 1 Ra1 mates next move, but the pawn on e2 is superfluous. Wolf’s setting 10082v, with the rook free to move, strikes me as more subtle.’



6303. Missing game and Alekhine aloft

The New York Times of 17 August 1932 (sports section, page 20) reported that the first-round encounter between Fine and Reshevsky at Pasadena, 1932 ‘attracted much attention’, but the game-score has yet to be found. See, for instance, pages 26-27 of Reuben Fine by Aidan Woodger (Jefferson, 2004).

The New York Times article added:

‘Before the tournament got under way several of the competitors were taken aloft in the dirigible Volunteer. Kashdan and Dake contested an informal game, with Dr Alekhine acting as referee. The result, which was a draw by repetition of moves, was broadcast from the airship by Dr Alekhine, who expressed the hope that chess might be studied in the schools. He said:

“In several countries, Mexico in particular, and in the United States, at Milwaukee, they already are doing so. It is an intellectual pursuit which affords pleasure and at the same time trains faculties for intelligent activities in everyday life.”’

See also page 429 of the Skinner/Verhoeven book on Alekhine.



6304. P-K4

The concluding lines of a Letter to the Editor from ‘Judex’ on pages 386-389 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1845 (volume five):

‘I honestly believe, and with this I conclude, that if a paper were drawn up, binding its underwriters never to begin a game again for the remainder of their natural lives, but with King’s Pawn two, whether first or second players, such deed, if sent round to the Chess Societies of all Europe, would be signed by an immense majority of the chief players.’



6305. Bogoljubow

Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) submits a photograph of Bogoljubow from page 12 of Wiener Bilder, 2 September 1928:

bogoljubow

A picture from our Collection:

bogoljubow



6306. Havana Olympiad, 1966 (C.N. 6299)

havana olympiad

The photograph is proving a difficult identification task, but Leonard Barden (London) and Guy Brunet (Montreal, Canada) suggest that the player on the extreme right is Wolfgang Uhlmann.



6307. British Chess Bulletin (C.N. 3634)

C.N. 3634 asked for information about the British Chess Bulletin, a scarce monthly publication edited by H.T. Dickinson from October 1910 to January 1911 whose final issue had a short story entitled ‘The Mystery of the Missing Pawn: An Adventure of Herlock Shomes’.

Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England) writes:

‘The full run of the British Chess Bulletin contained 38 pages, and each issue is bound in green covers featuring mainly advertisements. The size is approximately 11 x 8 inches.

british chess bulletin

The content is the usual mixture of editorial notes and news, games (22 in the four issues), problems (24), answers to correspondents (with such familiar names of the period as T.R. Dawson and C.S. Kipping), advertisements, etc.

There are also various articles of interest. Issue two has a feature by F.R. Gittins on Blackburne’s jubilee, while issues two and three have articles on Notable British Composers, also by Gittins, concerning Mrs W.J. Baird and Carslake Winter-Wood.

Issue four includes the Herlock Shomes story by H.T. Dickinson to which you referred in C.N. 3634:

holmes

holmes

The periodical competed with its contemporaries on cost (“priced at 2d instead of 6d or more”), and the editorial in issue three mentions a large circulation increasing every day, with many subscribers abroad. However, publication ceased with issue four, although there is no reference in that issue to the impending termination.

P.H. Williams  mentioned the Bulletin on page 249 of the May 1911 Chess Amateur:

British Chess Bulletin
Whether or not any more numbers appear, I wish to publicly state that I have severed my connection with this journal. I never had anything to do with the management of its affairs, and merely agreed to judge the problem tourney. Circumstances have come to my knowledge which lead me to make this announcement.”


6308. Draughts and chess

Arie van der Stoep (Hooge Zwaluwe, the Netherlands) is the author of two books in English which may be of particular interest to students of the early history, or pre-history, of both chess and draughts. A History of Draughts (Rockanje, 1984) has the explanatory subtitle ‘with a diachronic study of words for draughts, chess, backgammon and morris’. A summary of Draughts in Relation to Chess and Alquerque (Hooge Zwaluwe, 2007) is provided on the book’s back cover:

van der stoep

Mr van der Stoep’s research is both historical and etymological, and he concludes that until circa 1800 draughts, not chess, was the major board game.

Over de herkomst van het woord damspel (Rockanje, 1997) is a further work by him (in Dutch, with English and French summaries) which argues, on the basic of linguistic evidence, that draughts (the jeu de dames) is not necessarily a ‘daughter’ of chess.

All three volumes can be ordered from Mr van der Stoep’s website A history of checkers/draughts.



6309. Whose inscription?

chess

This inscription appears in our bound volume of the Revista Română de Şah, 1937. The signer will be named shortly.



6310. Youngest chess writers

The topic of the youngest chess authors was discussed in C.N.s 287, 543 and 662 (see page 108 of Chess Explorations), with further references to Arturo Pomar in C.N.s 3988 and 4086. In C.N. 662 a correspondent, Bob Meadley, drew attention to a privately-printed book by Murray Chandler (born on 4 April 1960): A White Pawn in Europe (Wainuiomata, 1975).

Now, John Donaldson (Berkeley, CA, USA) points out that a volume by Daniel Naroditsky is due to be published by New in Chess in 2010. Its title is Mastering Positional Chess: Practical Lessons of a Junior World Champion.

We are also grateful to Mr Donaldson for obtaining from Vladimir Naroditsky his son’s birth-date: 9 November 1995.



6311. R.F. Foster

Oliver Beck (Seattle, WA, USA) mentions the following passage in Foster’s Complete Hoyle, which was originally published in 1897:

‘The amount of study and practice required to make a person proficient in chess brings a serious drain upon the time, and the fascinations of the game are such that once a person has become thoroughly interested in it, everything else is laid aside, and it is notorious that no man distinguished as a chessplayer has ever been good for anything else.’

The page number for these observations (the second paragraph of the section headed ‘Table Games’) varies from one edition to another.

After noting that the above text is followed by an extensive quote from the Blackburne interview given in C.N. 5940, Mr Beck asks whether R.F. Foster’s monograph, Chess A Manual for Beginners, also published in 1897, contains similar sentiments about chessplayers.

It does not, but we should be interested to know whether Foster reiterated his standpoint elsewhere.

foster



6312. Alekhine v Bogoljubow, 1929 (C.N.s 5667 & 5697)

alekhine bogoljubow

alekhine lasker

C.N. 5667 gave the above pair of photographs of Alekhine in play against Bogoljubow. We add now the following from page 24 of Famous Chess Players by Peter Morris Lerner (Minneapolis, 1973):

alekhine lasker



6313. Alekhine’s Best Games

Alekhine’s first volume of Best Games has appeared in various languages, but does a complete Spanish translation exist?

We have the very rare edition Mis mejores partidas de ajedrez 1908-1923 (Montevideo, 1929), translated from the English by ‘Passer By’, but it is only 100 pages long and stops after Game 50 (Alekhine v Rabinovich, Moscow, 1918). The front cover states ‘primera serie’ and ‘50 partidas’, and it seems that no volume with the remaining 50 games was published.

alekhine



6314. Missing game (C.N. 6303)

Regarding Fine v Reshevsky, Pasadena, 1932, C.N. 2429 (see page 170 of A Chess Omnibus) referred to a footnote on page 30 of Fine’s book Bobby Fischer’s Conquest of the World’s Chess Championship (New York, 1973):

fine

Ed Tassinari (Scarsdale, NY, USA) adds:

‘Page 4 of the August 1949 issue of California Chess News contains a brief comment from Harry Borochow, a competitor at Pasadena, 1932, stating that Fine had been playing bridge with Alekhine and others until three o’clock in the morning after adjourning his game with Reshevsky. When it was time to resume the game no-one woke up Fine, who did not appear for the resumption and accordingly lost the game which, Borochow contends, was “easily won”.’



6315. Time consumed

‘In the 11th game of their match in 1927 for the world’s championship, Capablanca took two hours on one move, and Alekhine took an hour and three-quarters for his reply.’

C.N. 2344 (see page 345 of A Chess Omnibus) noted that the above claim appeared, in more or less identical wording, on page 39 of Irving Chernev’s Curious Chess Facts (New York, 1937), page 101 of the same author’s Wonders and Curiosities of Chess (New York, 1974) and page 100 of Chess by Kenneth M. Grover and Thomas Wiswell (London, 1952).

Now, Alan O’Brien (Mitcham, England) notes that in another match-game, the 28th, this position arose:

dia

Alekhine played 41 Nef4 and wrote:

‘The text move was sealed and it took me an hour and 50 minutes to consider it, the record length of time for this match.’

The above is the English translation on page 199 of On the Road to the World Championship 1923-1927 (Oxford, 1984). See too pages 205 and 469 respectively of the original German and French editions of Alekhine’s book (Auf dem Wege zur Weltmeisterschaft and volume two of Deux cents parties d’échecs).

After 41...Rb3 42 Ra7 Kd8 43 g3 Alekhine reported that Capablanca thought for 40 minutes before offering a draw, which was accepted.

According to page 2 of Crítica, 30 November 1927 Alekhine took four hours and two minutes for the entire game, Capablanca’s total being two hours 30 minutes. The London Rules, under which the match was played, specified that on each play-day the session would last five hours and that the time-limit was 40 moves per two and a half hours.

Making all these ‘facts’ compatible with each other is far from easy.



6316. Euwe line in the Winawer Variation (C.N.s 5607 & 5613)

dia

From Thomas Niessen (Aachen, Germany):

‘I asked in C.N. 5607 why the line 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 cxd4 8 Qxg7 Rg8 9 Qxh7 Qc7 10 Kd1 is often attributed to Euwe (and Gligorić). C.N. 5613 contained some further information, from you and your readers, and the conclusion seems to be that the theoreticians confused two variations.

I have now found two remarks by Enrico Paoli, one dating from 1953 and the other from 1981, which point in another direction.

On pages 29-30 of his book on Venice, 1953 Paoli annotated his game against Lothar Schmid. No comment was appended to 10 Kd1, but Schmid’s reply 10...Nd7 received an exclamation mark and was described as an excellent novelty. Previously, Paoli added, 10...Nbc6 11 f4 Bd7 12 Nf3 had been played.

In fact, only two earlier games with 10 Kd1 seem to be known (Willborg v Nyman, Stockholm, 1952 and Karaklajić v Cala, Bled, 4 June 1953), and neither featured the line 10...Nbc6 11 f4 Bd7 12 Nf3.

In the tournament book Paoli also mentioned that Euwe had analysed the 8 Qxg7 line.

On pages 84-85 of the March 1981 Deutsche Schachzeitung Paoli annotated Taruffi v Renman, Reggio Emilia 1980-81, commenting after 10 Kd1 dxc3 (in my translation):

“I remember my game with Lothar Schmid at Venice, 1953 (won by Canal), where he continued 10...Nd7. This produced a new problem (I knew only Euwe’s 10...Nbc6, which he had analysed in Schach-Archiv) ...”

There is thus now another suggestion (in addition to the one in C.N. 5613) that Euwe published analysis of the line in or before 1953. Can it be traced?’



6317. Chess Charts

chess charts

Russell Miller (Camas, WA, USA) has sent us a copy of the second and final issue (April 1941) of Chess Charts, produced by Olaf I. Ulvestad and Kenneth Harkness.

Information about Chess Charts is to be found on pages 10-12 of Olaf Ulvestad: An American Original by John Donaldson (Davenport, 2002). Page 11 has a nomination for ‘the rarest book ever published’: Neo Chess, co-authored by Ulvestad with R.P. Allen in 1947. Donaldson states that the only copy of which he is aware is in the Seattle Public Library.



6318. Whitaker and correspondence chess

Knud Lysdal (Grindsted, Denmark) asks whether further details are available about an episode reported by James E. Gates in his obituary of Norman T. Whitaker on page 521 of the August 1975 Chess Life & Review:

‘One of the stories about him concerned a US correspondence championship before World War II. A friend of his, who was competing in the tournament, suddenly died. His widow needed money, and this gave Norman the idea of finishing his friend’s games without letting anyone know. Whitaker wound up winning the tournament – the first, as far as I know, won by a dead man.’

Gates’ story was quoted on page 145 of Shady Side: The Life and Crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chessmaster by John S. Hilbert (Yorklyn, 2000).

whitaker

We mentioned Dr Hilbert’s deeply-researched book in C.N. 2443, describing it as ‘an enthralling romp through tournament halls, court rooms and prison cells’.



6319. Quiz question

flohr

The front cover of the 11/1935 issue of Moravský ilustrovaný zpravodaj has been submitted by Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) and prompts us to set a little quiz question: which game is featured on the demonstration board?



6320. Greco

Jeremy Silman (Los Angeles, CA, USA) informs us that he has been studying the games of Gioacchino Greco (1600-circa 1634) with increasing admiration:

‘There are many games which show Greco toying with his hopelessly over-matched opponents, and one gains the impression that he was a master of tactics and of open games, and that he was so far beyond other players of his time that it was, in effect, a case of a grandmaster versus players rated between 1000 and 1800. Once in a while, Greco would face someone who could fight back, which allows us to see Greco’s positional skills. It is possible that some, or even all, of the games were fabricated, but even if they were inventions they still show a chess understanding centuries ahead of his time.

Here are two great examples (both of which will be used in my forthcoming new edition of How to Reassess Your Chess):

N.N. – Gioacchino Greco

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bd7 6 Be3 c4 7 b3 b5 8 a4 a6 9 axb5 axb5 10 Rxa8 Qxa8 11 bxc4

dia

(Black has to recapture the pawn on c4. Either choice is playable, but one stands out above the other.) 11…dxc4 (Breaking the old “always capture towards the center” rule. This gives Black far more to work with than the pedestrian 11...bxc4. With 11...dxc4, Black creates a home on d5 for a knight, opens up the a8-h1 diagonal for his queen (and potentially for his light-squared bishop too) and, most importantly, creates a queen’s-side majority of pawns. This means that Black, whenever he chooses to do so, can make a passed pawn by ...b4.) 12 Be2 (12 d5 exd5 13 Qxd5 Qb8 is also fine for Black.) 12…Nge7 13 O-O Nd5

dia

(Black, with his knight on d5 and his pawn majority ready to make a passed pawn (by ...b4) any time he wants, has an excellent position.)

Source: The Games of Greco by Professor Hoffmann (London, 1900), pages 79-81.

greco

N.N. – Gioacchino Greco

1 e4 c5 2 f4 Nc6 3 Nf3 d6 4 Bc4 Nh6 5 O-O Bg4 6 c3 e6 7 h3 Bxf3 8 Qxf3 Qd7 9 d3 O-O-O 10 f5 Ne5 11 Qe2 Nxc4 12 Bxh6 Na5 13 b4 Nc6 14 Bd2 exf5 15 exf5 f6 16 b5 Ne7 17 Qe6

dia

(The queen has just leapt to e6, where it flexes its muscles and also dares Black to capture and give White a passed pawn on e6. But Greco sees beyond the hype and realizes that it is actually a severe weakness.) 17…Qxe6 18 fxe6 (The pawn is imposing here, but it turns out to be extremely vulnerable.) 18…Ng6 (Another way is 18...Re8 19 a4 Nd5 20 c4 Nc7.) 19 d4 d5 20 Be3 c4 21 Bc1 Re8 22 Re1 Bd6 23 a4 Nf8

dia

(The pawn falls, leaving Black with an extra pawn and a winning position.)

Source: The Games of Greco by Professor Hoffmann (London, 1900), pages 92-93.

My impression is that Greco was further ahead of his contemporaries than any player who came after him. He was clearly of grandmaster strength at tactics, his openings were (for his time) cutting-edge, and his play in open positions was world-class. Yes, he took liberties which would not stand up against stronger opponents, but I think that he was well aware of his opponents’ failings and thus had little or nothing to worry about – he swung the bat freely in an effort to create classic mates and attacks that no doubt amused him.

He had solid positional skills too. In the first game above, his capture away from the center (11...dxc4) was very astute, and in the second game he was more than happy to play for the win of a pawn (although, even then, he ended up with a strong king’s-side attack).

Moving forward, I feel that Philidor may have been the best of his time, but other players were close (and Greco would have slaughtered everyone of Philidor’s day, including Philidor). Labourdonnais was extremely strong, but that was 200 years after Greco’s reign. Even so, in my opinion Greco would have given both Labourdonnais and Morphy a stern challenge. In the modern age (starting with Steinitz), Greco would have needed to pick up many new tricks to compete, but I think that talent like his would have blossomed in any period.

Greco was a man in an age of chess children. There never was, and never will be again, a player so far ahead of his time.’



6321. Alekhine in Latvia (C.N.s 2793 & 3450)

A claim that Alekhine scored only 17 wins out of 50 games in a 1930s simultaneous exhibition in Riga was discussed in C.N.s 2793 and 3450 (see page 257 of Chess Facts and Fables).

At the webpage of the National Digital Library of Latvia Dominique Thimognier (Fondettes, France) has found a number of reports for the period 11-18 September 1935 in the Latvian publication Rīts. An example, from page 5 of the 13 September 1935 issue, is reproduced below.

alekhine

We shall be grateful if a reader with knowledge of Latvian can check whether any of the reports refer to a particularly low score by Alekhine in one of his displays.



6322. Paris Opening

A number of C.N. items have discussed the so-called Paris Opening (1 Nh3); see pages 88-89 and 102 of Chess Explorations. A further game is added here:

J. Kornreich – Edgard Colle
Belgian Championship, Antwerp, December 1929
Paris Opening

1 Nh3 e5 2 g3 d5 3 d4 exd4 4 Qxd4 Nc6 5 Qd1 Nf6 6 Bg2 Bb4+ 7 c3 Bxh3 8 Bxh3 Bc5 9 O-O h6 10 b3 O-O 11 Bb2 Ne4 12 Nd2 Qe7 13 Bg2 Rad8 14 Qc2 f5 15 e3 Ne5 16 Rad1 Ng4 17 Nxe4 fxe4 18 Qe2 Ne5 19 c4 Nf3+ 20 Bxf3 exf3 21 Qd3

dia

21...Qe6 22 Rfe1 Bb4 23 cxd5 Qh3 24 Qf1 Qd7 25 e4 Bxe1 26 Qxe1 Qh3 27 Qf1 Qxf1+ 28 Kxf1 Rfe8 29 e5 Rd7 30 Rd3 Red8 31 Rxf3 Rxd5 32 e6 Rf8 33 e7 Re8 34 Re3 Rd7 35 Ba3 b6 36 Rf3 c5 37 Rf8+ Rxf8 38 exf8(Q)+ Kxf8 39 Ke2 Kf7 40 f4 h5 41 h3 Ke6 42 g4 g6 43 Bb2 hxg4 44 hxg4 Rh7 45 White resigns.

Source: Gedenkboek-Colle/Mémorial Colle by M. Euwe (Liège, 1935), pages 115-117. Only the first 28 moves were given on page 585 of L’Echiquier, 16 January 1930.



6323. Chess for younger readers

Which was the first chess book specifically written for children?



6324. Chess and Marxism/Communism (C.N. 6301)

Andreas Saremba (Brieselang, Germany) reports that the article containing the alleged Karpov remark can be read on-line (Der Spiegel, 3 June 1985). The passage in question:

‘Karpow hingegen ist Russe. Er ist ZK-Mitglied des Komsomol, Präsident des sowjetischen Friedensfonds und Träger des Leninordens. Seit seine Ehe geschieden wurde, bewohnt er eine Villa 40 Kilometer vor Moskau allein, meist umgeben von Freunden. Er fährt einen Mercedes mit Autotelephon. “Ich habe nur zwei Lieben, Schach und Marxismus”, ist ein für ihn typischer Satz.’



6325. J.C.H. Macbeth (C.N. 4462)

C.N. 4462 asked about J.C.H. Macbeth, who co-authored with Frank J. Marshall Chess Step by Step (New York, 1924) and also wrote on bridge.

Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) notes isolated references to Macbeth in the BCM in the early twentieth century. For example, he lost on board five for Aberdeen against Dundee on 22 March 1902 (BCM, April 1902, pages 183-184). Our correspondent has also found Macbeth’s obituary in The Scotsman, 4 April 1935, page 11:

macbeth

We see that his obituary on page 15 of the books and arts section of the New York Times, 23 March 1935 stated that he died on 21 March at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, aged about 58. ‘He was an old friend of the Marchese Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless telegraphy.’



6326. Birdie Reeve

Information is still being sought on the chess activities of Birdie Reeve, but we can at last present a high-quality photograph of her, recently acquired:

reeve



6327. Quiz question (C.N. 6319)

flohr

To gauge by the number of correct replies received, the little quiz question was, as anticipated, fairly easy. Given that Flohr is pictured in play against Ragozin (Moscow, 1935), it can be established from the tournament book (page 173) or a database that the demonstration-board position which arose in the same round (the third) showed Pirc v Lilienthal.

Some readers commented on the apparent absence of a white knight on b1, but on the basis of a darkened detail of the picture we tentatively suggest that the piece is there:

chess



6328. Alekhine’s Best Games (C.N. 6313)

Regarding C.N. 6313, information has been received from Josep Alió (Tarragona, Spain) and Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain). The latter points out the strange existence of websites claiming that a Spanish translation of the first volume of Alekhine’s Best Games was published by Afrodisio Aguado, Madrid in 1924; such an early date might have been expected to arouse suspicion. Two editions from that publisher have been found; they date from the 1940s, but only one has an exact year of publication (1947). In common with the 1929 Uruguayan volume discussed in C.N. 6313, only the first 50 games were given. No translator’s name appeared. The Spanish text was the same as in the 1929 book, but there were differences in lay-out.

The dust-jacket of one of the editions had a curious description of the work as posthumous.

alekhine

 A photograph was included of Alekhine signing his contract for the book:

alekhine

Our correspondents note furthermore that a full version of Alekhine’s book (100 games) was published by Ricardo Aguilera, Madrid in 1974 and 1986. In 2001, La Casa del Ajedrez (Madrid) also brought out an edition.

alekhine

The 1974 edition from Ricardo Aguilera

Mr Alió, who has provided the illustrations for the present item, comments:

‘The imprint page of the Ricardo Aguilera edition says:

‘Versión de la edición realizada por Editorial Afrodisio Aguado, S.A., Madrid, en 1944, según la traducción del original de M. Golmayo.’

It is interesting to note that Golmayo was the translator of the 1940s edition, but there is no explanation of the difference in the number of games. Even though there are 100, not 50, games, it is stated that the edition is a “version” of the 1940s one.’



6329. Chess for younger readers (C.N. 6323)

As regards the first chess book specifically written for children, Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England) suggests The Royal Game. Chess for Young People by Edith Lucie Weart (New York, 1948):

weart

We add that Edith Lucie Weart (1897-1977) appeared on the front cover of Chess Life, July 1967:

weart

References to earlier children’s books will be welcome. For example, in Spanish there was Pequeño ajedrez. Ajedrez para niños y principiantes by Ricardo Aguilera (Madrid, 1947), and below from our collection is the front cover of an anonymous book published in Barcelona the same year, ¿Juguemos al ajedrez?:

ajedrez





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