Chess Notes

Edward Winter

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1 March 2016: C.N. 9773
2 March 2016: C.N.s 9774-9777
4 March 2016: C.N.s 9778-9779
5 March 2016: C.N.s 9780-9782
6 March 2016: C.N.s 9783-9786
7 March 2016: C.N. 9787
8 March 2016: C.N.s 9788-9789
9 March 2016: C.N.s 9790-9791
12 March 2016: C.N.s 9792-9794
13 March 2016: C.N. 9795
14 March 2016: C.N. 9796
15 March 2016: C.N.s 9797-9798
18 March 2016: C.N.s 9799-9800
19 March 2016: C.N.s 9801-9804
20 March 2016: C.N.s 9805-9806
21 March 2016: C.N.s 9807-9809
22 March 2016: C.N.s 9810-9812
24 March 2016: C.N.s 9813-9814
25 March 2016: C.N. 9815
26 March 2016: C.N.s 9816-9818
28 March 2016: C.N.s 9819-9823
30 March 2016: C.N.s 9824-9826
31 March 2016: C.N.s 9827-9828
All feature articles and C.N. archives
C.N. Factfinder

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9773. Ballard v Fagan

(Remove White’s queen’s knight.) 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 Be7 4 Bc4 Bh4+ 5 g3 fxg3 6 O-O Nh6 7 d4 O-O 8 hxg3 Bxg3 9 Kg2 Bd6 10 Rh1 Qf6 11 e5 Qg6+ 12 Kf1 Nf5 13 Rg1 Ng3+ 14 Kf2 Ne4+ 15 Ke1 Bb4+ 16 c3 Nxc3 17 bxc3 Bxc3+ 18 Kf2 Qc6 19 Bd3 Bxa1 20 d5 Qb6+ 21 Be3 Qb2+ 22 Kf1 f5 23 Bd4 Qxa2 24 Bxa1 Qxd5 25 e6 g6 26 e7 Re8 27 Qe2 Qc5 28 Qb2 Rxe7 29 Qh8+ Kf7 30 Ng5 mate.


This game may be considered famous, having been published by Irving Chernev many times:

  • Pages 79-80 of The Fireside Book of Chess (New York, 1949), co-authored with Fred Reinfeld;
  • Page 10 of Chess Review, January 1955;
  • Pages 206-207 of The Chess Companion (New York, 1968);
  • Pages 45-46 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess (New York, 1974);
  • Page 68 of CHESS, December 1974.

The Fireside Book of Chess stated:

‘... to Dr Ballard belongs the unique distinction of giving away all eight of his pawns in the course of an odds game.’

The same wording was in Wonders and Curiosities of Chess, except that ‘unique’ became ‘rare’. The item was entitled ‘Sacrifices all eight pawns’.

In Chess Review Chernev wrote:

‘Immortal games feature all manner of sacrifices, but none so strange as in this game. ... White has established a world’s record which cannot be broken – by giving away all eight of his pawns.’

A similar text appeared in The Chess Companion.

The introduction in CHESS:

‘... a once-in-a-lifetime feat. Dr Ballard in an odds-game sacrificed all eight of his pawns.’

The terms ‘giving away’ and, especially, ‘sacrificed’ may be queried, but when Chernev effervesced, nuances could be lost.

In none of the publications did Chernev state his source for the game-score, or identify either player beyond ‘Dr Ballard’ and ‘Fagan’. This left the field open for others to assume that Black was Mrs J.G. Fagan (née Louisa Matilda Ballard), the sister of Dr William Robert Ballard.

From the unpublished 1994 edition of Chess Personalia by Jeremy Gaige:


Only in the two 1974 publications did Chernev put forward a venue and date for the game: London, 1872. His grounds for that information are unknown to us, but we can point out that the game was published on page 149 of the Chess Monthly, January 1885 with the words ‘recently played’ in the heading:

ballard fagan

It will be noted, above all, that Black was identified as ‘Major Fagan’.

9774. Superior skill at chess

‘Superior skill at chess does not indicate superior intelligence; it only indicates superior skill at chess.’

Source: an article entitled ‘A Page of Hints’ by C.J.S. Purdy, Chess World, November 1957, pages 242-243.

9775. 1972 world championship match books

Arthur Barlas (Chelmsford, MA, USA) asks which book on the 1972 Spassky v Fischer match may be regarded as the best (in terms of quality of writing, accurate background information, interesting descriptive material and, in particular, thorough, reliable game annotations).

Two frontrunners suggest themselves: Fischer gegn Spassky by Freysteinn Jóhannsson and Friðrik Ólafsson (Reykjavik, 1973) and Fischer World Champion! by Max Euwe and Jan Timman (Alkmaar, 2002).

spassky fischer

spassky fischer

9776. Steinitz’s daughter (C.N.s 3189 & 6545)

Hans Renette (Bierbeek, Belgium) notes that the feature on Flora Steinitz in the Cuban publication El Sport, 1 March 1888 can be viewed online courtesy of the University of Miami Libraries. Page one gave a large portrait, and Andrés Clemente Vázquez published a eulogy to her on page 2.

9777. An unexpected move (C.N. 9771)


White played 23 Nc4.

A complication is pointed out by David McAlister (Hillsborough, Northern Ireland). A game involving the same three players and with the same moves until 23 Nc4 (but then 23...bxc4 24 Bxc7 Rf7 25 Bxb6 axb6 26 Ng3 g6 27 Nxe4 h5 28 Qf4 Nb3 29 Rae1 Rf8 30 Qg5 Kg7 31 Ng3 Nxg3 32 Qe7+ Qxe7 33 Rxe7+ Kg8 34 hxg3 Ra8 35 Rf6 g5 36 Rxb6 and wins) was published on page 347 of the Chess Monthly, July 1888:


It is uncertain which of the two games occurred first, and in what circumstances a second game was played out with a different capture by Black at move 23. Below, à toutes fins utiles, is the game as published in the source specified in C.N. 9771 (pages 125-127 of the Irish Chess Chronicle, 1 December 1887):



9778. Alekhine and cats (C.N.s 4794, 5575 & 8301)

From page 283 of the May-June 1936 issue of Les Cahiers de l’Echiquier Français:


9779. Mrs Fagan

Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) submits this photograph from the same source (the Copyright Office of the Stationers’ Company) mentioned in C.N. 9296:


Larger version


This is a fine copy of a familiar shot which was published, for instance, on page 72 of the American Chess Magazine, July 1897, with this key on page 269 of the October 1897 issue:



A detail of Mrs Fagan:


Mr Urcan also asks about an oft-seen claim concerning Mrs Fagan in India. Below, for example, is an extract from her entry on pages 129-130 of Indian Chess History 570 AD-2010 AD by Manuel Aaron and Vijay D. Pandit (Chennai, 2014):

‘In the spring of 1882 she was the only female in a 12-player knockout chess tournament in Bombay. Best of three, knockout matches were held. When the last three were reached, they played three-game matches against each other. Fagan won all her games, but was disqualified because she was a woman playing in a club whose membership was confined to men. She appealed this decision in court and won. The names of the other players are not known.’

The Fagan entry merely credits ‘Anthony Gillam and Wikipedia’. For the Bombay story, Wikipedia, in turn, merely credits a sourceless item by Bill Wall.

None of that is any more satisfactory than the asseverations of John Graham on page 8 of Women in Chess (Jefferson, 1987):

‘L. Mathilda Fagan (1850-1931) was also active in the emancipation movement. In 1882 she won a chess tournament in the Bombay Sports Club, surviving an early appeal for disqualification on the grounds that she was a woman! That appeal must have been quite enough to make her an active emancipator.’

We do not know, and are not interested in guessing, what happened in Bombay in 1882, but two old references can be added:

‘In 1882 she won the chess tournament of the Bombay Gymkhana (Sports Club); this was an even tournament, open to all, and Mrs Fagan was the only lady competitor. ... Mrs Fagan is well known outside of chess circles, for she is an active worker in the cause of woman’s emancipation, and is a prominent worker of the Women’s Emancipation Union.’

Source: BCM, August 1897, pages 289-290.

‘One of her early achievements was to play and win a tournament in India in which 12 men took part. There was much opposition to the suggestion that Mrs Fagan should play in that tournament because the membership of the club was confined to men. However, eventually she was admitted to the tournament on condition that the games were played elsewhere than at the club. She won all her games, and her opponents realizing what an excellent player she was, each gave her a signed photograph of himself and subscribed for an album to contain them, as a souvenir of her victory.’

Source: BCM, October 1931, pages 456-457.


Mrs Fagan, BCM, October 1931, page 456.

9780. The decline of English chess

‘Years ago, when the game in this country [England] was of a thoroughly national type, we could boast of an independent school of players, represented by Lewis, McDonnell, Staunton, Cochrane and Buckle, second to none in originality, in brilliance, and in power. Chess, both in theory and practice, was here in its zenith; the game enjoyed a vitality unprecedented in the history of any other country; individual players of eminence sprang up in all directions throughout the provinces; and no fewer than 140 chess clubs were at one time in active operation. But from the time when the wholesome national feeling first degenerated into a spurious universalism, we may date the gradual decline of English chess. Player after player seceded from the arena; no new generation arose to supply their place; club after club was closed, until at the present day scarcely 40 British chess societies remain alive, and unhappily many of these exist only in name.

Let us, then, on behalf of the great and once-famous chess school of England, appeal to our countrymen to aid in arresting the progress of this lamentable decay. Let not the decline of our Empire degenerate further into a fall. We are satisfied there is in this country no lack of chess enthusiasm or intelligence, and that numerous amateurs who have hitherto stood aloof, owing to the present abnormal condition of the game in England, would gladly come to the rescue of the cause could they but find a centre for common exertion. Such a rallying point an organ exclusively devoted to the game, and edited by Englishmen, we feel assured will prove; and such a rallying point it is our ambition to provide by the establishment of the Chess World.’

The above comes from an editorial (‘London, March 1865’) on pages 1-3 of the first issue of Staunton’s magazine the Chess World, March 1865.

9781. A characteristic of chess

From page 52 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1853:

‘It is one of the characteristics of chess that it takes firm root in every soil where it is once established. It found its keen and zealous votaries not only in the splendid palaces of Chosroes, of Harun, and of Timur, but in the rude and primitive tents of the pastoral Calmuc, the roving Tartar, and the Bedouin Arab. We are not aware of a single instance of any people, worthy of the name and designation of human beings, that once got a knowledge of this mimic warfare and afterwards either forgot or neglected so attractive an acquisition. From the luxurious Court of Byzantium, to the sterile rocks of the Hebrides, and the ice-bound region of the Ultima Thule, the game appears to have spread with the rapidity of light, and to have flourished with vigour, without ever losing ground, for nearly the space of a millennium.’

When the paragraph was quoted on page 9 of The Australian Chess Annual edited by H.B. Bignold (Sydney, 1896) this comment was added:

‘Staunton wrote these eloquent words many a year ago, and they are as true now as when they were first penned.’

A less complimentary adjective than ‘eloquent’ may be apposite, but in any case the writer of the Chronicle’s article, an unsigned review of Persian Chess by N. Bland (London, 1850), was not Staunton but Duncan Forbes. The full review can also be found on pages i-xiii of Forbes’ The History of Chess (London, 1860).

9782. Perpetual check

A game on page 92 of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, 15 March 1885:

F. Macín and J. Fernández – M. Eguiluz and F. Escontiza
Mexico City (date?)
Evans’ Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Bc5 6 O-O d6 7 d4 exd4 8 cxd4 Bb6 9 Bb2 Bg4 10 Qb3 Na5 11 Qa4+ c6 12 Nbd2 Nxc4 13 Qxc4 Nf6 14 e5 d5 15 Qd3 Nd7 16 Ba3 Bc7 17 h3 Bh5 18 Rae1 Bg6 19 Qe3 Bf5 20 g4 Be6 21 Ng5 h6 22 Nxe6 fxe6 23 f4 Nf8 24 f5 Qd7 25 f6 Qf7 26 Be7 g5 27 Qb3 Bb6 28 Qb4 Ng6 29 Bd6 Nf4 30 Rf3 h5 31 gxh5 Rxh5 32 Ree3 O-O-O 33 a4 Rdh8 34 a5 Bd8 35 Rb3 Nxh3+ 36 Kg2 Nf4+ 37 Kf2 Rh2+ 38 Ke1 Re2+ 39 Kd1 Rh1+ 40 Nf1 Ra2 41 Be7 Ra1+ 42 Kc2 Qh7+ 43 Rfd3 Rc1+ 44 Kd2 b6 45 axb6 Bxb6 46 Qa3 Rhxf1 47 Qa6+ Kd7 48 Qb7+ Bc7


49 Qxc7+ Kxc7 50 Bd6+ Kc8 51 Rb8+ Kd7 52 Rb7+ Ke8


53 f7+ Qxf7 54 Rb8+ ‘and draws by perpetual check’.

9783. The direct cause of failure

‘There is perhaps nothing which has been the direct cause of failure of so many chess monthlies as the want of proper literary talent to conduct them ...’

Source: the Columbia Chess Chronicle, 12 May 1888, page 142.

9784. Mating finish

Further to Capablanca v Steiner (Living Chess), a fourth such position is added, from page 36 of Complete Book of Chess Stratagems by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1958):


See too page 37 of Reinfeld’s revised edition, The Complete Book of Chess Tactics (New York, 1961).

9785. Down v Stevens

From pages 23-24 of the Irish Chess Chronicle, 1 June 1887:

H.F. Down – S.J. Stevens
London (exact venue and date?)
Centre Game

1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 Qxd4 Nc6 4 Qe3 Nf6 5 Bd3 b6 6 Bd2 Bc5 7 Qg5 h6 8 Qxg7 Rg8 9 Qxh6 Bxf2+ 10 Kf1 Ng4 11 Qf4 Bd4 12 Bc3 Ne3+ 13 Ke2 Rxg2+ 14 Kf3


‘Black announced mate in five moves.’

Solution (Black’s 14th move).

9786. Hanham v Pollock, Nottingham, 1886 (C.N. 8901)

C.N. 8901 showed an extract from page 33 of London Feb/Mar 1886 and Nottingham 1886 by A.J. Gillam (Nottingham, 2007):

hanham pollock

We commented that, in addition to the inadequate sourcing, no mention was made of a straightforward mate in four (22...Qxf2+).

The reason can now be given: the queens’ colours were inverted. The full score was published on page 53 of the Irish Chess Chronicle, 1 August 1887:

hanham pollock

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 d3 d6 6 Ne2 Na5 7 Bb3 Nxb3 8 axb3 O-O 9 Ng3 Ne8 10 O-O f5 11 Bg5 Nf6 12 exf5 Qe8 13 d4 exd4 14 Re1 Qb5 15 Nxd4 Bxd4 16 Qxd4 Bxf5 17 Re7 Bxc2 18 Bxf6 Rxf6 19 Rxc7 Bxb3 20 Rxa7 Rxa7 21 Qxa7


21...Bd5 22 Nh5 Rf8 23 Rxg7+ Kh8 24 Qd4 Resigns.

9787. Photographic archives (16)

A further selection of photographs from our collection:

bhend hresc

Edwin Bhend, Vladimir Hresc (Bad Ragaz, 1988)


Roland Ekström (1988)

short gulko

Nigel Short, Boris Gulko (Hastings, 1988-89)


Boris Spassky, Garry Kasparov, Páll Magnússon, Victor Korchnoi (Reykjavik, 1988).

9788. 1 O-O (C.N. 9738)

The final paragraph of a letter from W.H. Russ to Professor George Allen (New York, 25 December 1859):

‘I have just been introducing a new kind of odds. I gave everything but my queen and pawns, and won three games in five. Only think how my antagonist must have played! I have seen Hazeltine give his king’s Kt and bishop and castle for his first move.’

Source: pages 107-108 of volume three of Chess Craze Bad by Harrie Grondijs (Maastricht, 2016).

9789. Une petite combinaison

Richard Jones (Bologna, Italy) asks for information about the widespread attribution to Capablanca of the phrase ‘une petite combinaison’.

We begin with a second-hand citation:

‘Just a little combination (une petite combinaison, as Capa would put it), but if one sees this combination as the final link in White’s strategic plan, the conception cannot fail to enchant.’

Source: a note by Nimzowitsch to 16 Nfg5 in the game Capablanca v Becker on pages 56-58 of Carlsbad International Chess Tournament 1929 (New York, 1981).

Courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library, below is the full game in the original Russian edition (Leningrad, 1930) of Nimzowitsch’s book:




A number of later writers have also given the phrase in a mixture of French and English.

9790. F.M. Edge (C.N. 9133)

From the diaries of Thomas Butler Gunn (referred to in C.N. 9133 and Edge, Morphy and Staunton), Nick Lee (Tumwater, WA, USA) notes this entry dated 7 March 1862 (volume 19, pages 19-21):

‘I think I have recorded Edge’s antecedents heretofore; how he lived in Paris, visiting the theatres as one of the claque; how he starved about the timber yards of New York in company with Watson, in consequence of his receiving no remittance from home; how Levison helped him; how he married a little Alsatian prostitute of whom he has, now, the very highest opinion, to whom he duly remits a portion of his Star salary, and plenty of New York illustrated newspapers. Haney used to visit the pair during the Levison period and reported favorably of Mrs Edge. I saw her portrait at Amity Street the other night, coarsish but not unpleasing features and a profusion of hair. She lives in Alsace, whither Edge escorted her previous to his present American campaign. His parents recognize her, though an objectionable brother of his, whom I have some indistinct recollection of, as appearing in New York, went back home and told them what “Fred” had married! Haney lent Edge money which wasn’t repaid, he wrote to his father about it but the debt remained uncancelled until very recently; perhaps does so still. When Cahill learnt of Edge’s arrival here, from Washington, he in pursuance of an old grudge against him rushes to Haney with the news, with the name of the hotel Edge had put up at! Cahill has been Haney’s debtor himself in the past; of course is still! Edge’s book Slavery Doomed appears to be a good compilation, with common sense deductions from trustworthy premises. He dedicated it to Lord Brougham and considers it prophetic. He aspires to be not only a member of Parliament but future Premier of England! He professes to have had interviews with Lord John Russell, John Bright and half a dozen other notabilities, exhibits notes from them, and got his present commission at Bright’s instance. He talks with equal familiarity of American statesmen and celebrities and really seems to know many of them. Withal he has the agreeable habits of talking overmuch, too loud and getting close up to you in conversation. He would like to “capture” his ex-friend Paul Morphy, the chess-player, now in the Southern army.’

9791. Record numbers of wins

Oded Ross (Kiryat Ono, Israel) asks for documentary evidence about Gustav Neumann’s perfect score of 34/34 in a tournament, as reported by M. Fox and R. James in their Addicts books (London, 1987 and 1993).

From the first edition (page 95):


Neumann had died in 1881. That fact also eluded Raymond Keene when, on page 9 of  The Times, 21 August 1993, the following was one of a number of paragraphs presented as ‘extracted from’ the Addicts work of Fox and James:

‘A 100 per cent score in a tournament is a rather special achievement attained by only a select few at master level. Gustav Neumann won all his 34 games at Berlin in 1885.’

Although Keene asserted that his extracts were from the second Addicts book, that edition (page 129) gave the date correctly as 1865:


In 1865 Neumann was co-editing with Anderssen the Neue Berliner Schachzeitung, which is our prime source for information about the tournament in question:



March 1865, page 85


April 1865, page 117


May 1865, page 155


June 1865, page 179.

The Neue Berliner Schachzeitung gave a few games, all of which are available in databases.

Neumann’s exploit has been widely publicized, e.g. by Irving Chernev on the inside front cover of Chess Review, October 1951 and on page 272 of The Chess Companion (New York, 1968). The correct year, 1865, was specified.

On page 50 of Chernev’s Wonders and Curiosities of Chess (New York, 1974) the record for the number of wins in a tournament was ascribed to Chigorin (27 at New York, 1889), and pages 83-84 of The Fireside Book of Chess (New York, 1949), co-written by Chernev with Fred Reinfeld, had this:



See too pages 61-62 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess.

Marshall’s appearance at Richmond in 1912 was the subject of a report on page 219 of the October 1912 American Chess Bulletin:

‘The strange thing about this competition was that Marshall was placed third after making a clean sweep of 49 wins. This is explained by the novel system of scoring which prevailed. The players were credited with points according to the intrinsic value of the games, which were judged by the merit of scoring against the favorites. It is not at all astonishing that Marshall was unable to comprehend the sort of mathematics which, with his score, would relegate him to third place. Of course, the explanation lies in the fact that he was fearfully handicapped in not being able to play and win against himself. And yet no-one else enjoyed that privilege. Otherwise, all played on even terms. H. Bogdanor won the first prize, and L. Savage the second.’

There was a follow-up item by John Keeble on page 269 of the December 1912 issue:

‘On page 219, October Bulletin, you refer to Mr Marshall’s remarkable score of 49 wins, no losses, in the British Chess Federation handicap tourney. This tourney is the most curious I know of. A description of it might interest your readers.

The entrance fee is 60 cents. It is supposed to consist of players of eight classes, but all games are played on level terms. For a win against one in his own class a player receives 16 points, two points per class are added for wins against those classes above him, and two points deducted for wins against classes below. Thus if Class 8 should beat Class 1, the winner would get 30 points, but if Class 1 beat Class 8, only two points fall to the winner’s share. Three games against each are allowed, but a full total of 20 must be played in order to stand in for a prize. At the end of the fortnight the scores are added up and a figure of merit obtained by dividing the points obtained by the number of games played, and 0.1 is added for each game played.

This tourney always got an entry of 60 or more, but it never attracts the best players. The first-class players have as much as they can do to get through their championship games, but the lower classes finish much earlier and fill up their spare time in this handicap. Mr Marshall is, I think, the only player of any note who has entered it. Of course, he was put in the first class, the second class had only two players, and there were 60 or more in classes three to seven. Mr Marshall played both the second-class men, but two other games, with one exception (a lady), were played against class three men only, and against these, of course, he could not score more than 12 points. Mr Marshall’s figure of merit, obtained by dividing the points obtained by number of games played, worked out exactly 12. To this was added 4.9 for the games played, and it made him a close third, winning, I think, $8.45. The prizes are small, the first three being 45, 40 and 35 shillings respectively. I think there are six prizes altogether.

No doubt Mr Marshall was handicapped by not being able to play more men in the higher classes, but this tourney gave him an opportunity to favorably impress a large number of players. Nobody could have been more popular than he was at Richmond. Everybody who was there speaks well of him.’

9792. My System

The feature article Nimzowitsch’s My System quotes a range of comments on the book, and two recent ones, both negative, are added now, from Chess for Life by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan (London, 2016).

On page 143 Nigel Short described My System as ‘a dreadfully boring book’, and on page 164 Yasser Seirawan observed:

‘Personally I found Nimzowitsch unreadable. His ideas on overprotection were over-the-top. He wasn’t the first person to play prophylactically. For some people, though, this book is the cat’s meow. I’ve been told that Nimzowitsch is much better in the original German but some of the humour and nuances have been unavoidably lost in translation.’

Mein System is a rare case of a chess book also existing in a simplified version, edited by Heinz Brunthaler (Zeil am Main, 2007):


9793. Judy/Stella

From John Townsend (Wokingham, England):

‘The identity of Judy, otherwise known as Stella, the Victorian problemist who corresponded with the Chess Player’s Chronicle, Illustrated London News, and other newspapers and periodicals, has never been satisfactorily resolved. On page 5 of the Era of 3 April 1859, Löwenthal referred to recent speculation …

“ … tending to prove that the lady is no lady at all, none other than the far-famed problemist, the Rev. H. Bolton.”

I summarize the four reasons given to support the allegation:

1. Stella or Judy was unknown until after Bolton’s retirement as a problem composer in 1850.

2. From the outset Judy composed well, without the usual steep learning-curve.

3. The problems of Judy and Bolton were “not at all dissimilar in style”.

4. This announcement had appeared in Staunton’s chess column in the 23 October 1858 issue of the Illustrated London News (page 392):

“We have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of several beautiful problems this week from the Rev. H. Bolton, Mr F. Healey, and J.B. (of Bridport), all of which shall have speedy insertion.”

Subsequently, the magazine printed eight problems by Healey, three by J.B. (of Bridport), and two by “Stella”. The inference drawn from the absence of any problems by Bolton was that he was the same person as “Stella”. A reference was then made to Staunton’s “forgetfulness”, which may have been a suggestion that Staunton, a party to a conspiracy, had temporarily forgotten to use Bolton’s soubriquet, Stella, and had inadvertently inserted his real name instead.

Löwenthal alluded to the Evening Bulletin (taken to mean the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin) having carried material on this controversial matter. Surprising as the allegation may seem, Löwenthal believed it or, at least, tended to, since he concluded his column as follows:

“Supposing our contemporary’s assumption to be correct, we must join with them in questioning the propriety of the employment of pseudonyms by first-class strategists.”

The matter was not discussed again in the Era. However, the 14 May 1859 issue of the Illustrated News of the World stated that Rev. Bolton had written a letter to the American newspaper disclaiming any connection with the problems of Judy and Stella. Was any rebuttal or reaction from Rev. H. Bolton reported in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin?

Staunton’s friendship with Rev. Horatio Bolton is known to date back at least to 1840, when they played a correspondence match. They exchanged letters a few months before Bolton’s death on 15 August 1873.

In the “list of subscribers to the chess tournament”, printed on pages lix-lxii of Howard Staunton’s book on the London, 1851 tournament, separate contributions were acknowledged from Rev. Horatio Bolton of Norwich (three guineas) and from Judy (two guineas).

On a lighter note, C.N. 8037 contained a poem by “Judy”. Although it would not be safe to attribute its authorship to the problemist of that name, it is interesting to note that one stanza appears to be written from a male perspective:

“Our heart’s ‘queen’ lost! do not despair,
Nor shrink in heartfelt pain;
By breaking thro’ our manhood’s foes,
We’ll win her back again!”

I acknowledge the assistance of Brian Denman in drawing my attention to the columns in the Era and Illustrated News of the World referred to above and to other material relating to Judy/Stella.’

9794. The Classical Era of Modern Chess (C.N.s 8856 & 9716)

Peter J. Monté (Voorburg, the Netherlands) informs us that the best review of his book The Classical Era of Modern Chess that he has seen is by Harry Schaack, in the 1/2015 issue of KARL.

9795. Zukertort, Halford and the Brown brothers

From pages 182-183 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1 August 1879:



Regarding the reference, in connection with Zukertort’s 12-board blindfold display in Birmingham on 26 June 1879, to ‘the only game in this contest which was at all worth preservation’, pages 227-228 of the 1 October 1879 Chronicle gave the win by Zukertort over John Halford:

1 e4 e6 2 d4 b6 3 Bd3 Bb7 4 Nh3 Nf6 5 f3 c5 6 c3 Nc6 7 Be3 Rc8 8 O-O cxd4 9 cxd4 Be7 10 Nc3 Nb4 11 Be2 h6 12 a3 Nc6 13 Rc1 d5 14 e5 Nh7 15 f4 g6 16 Rc2 Nf8 17 Bd3 Na5 18 Nf2 Nc4 19 Bc1 a6 20 Qe2 b5 21 a4 Qb6 22 axb5 axb5 23 b3 Na5 24 Nxb5 Rxc2 25 Qxc2 Nc6 26 Be3 Kd7


27 Rc1 Ba6 28 Qe2 Nb4 29 Nc7 Nxd3 30 Nxd3 Bxd3 31 Qxd3 Nh7 32 Na6 Ra8 33 Nc5+ Kd8 34 Qc2 h5 35 b4 Qc6 36 Qd3 Qb6 37 b5 Nf8 38 Na6 Rc8 39 Rxc8+ Kxc8 40 Bd2 Nd7 41 h3 Kb7 42 Bb4 Bxb4 43 Nxb4 Nb8 44 Nc2 Qa5 45 Kf2 Qa2 46 Qc3 Qb1 47 Qc5 Qb2 48 Kf3 Qb3+ 49 Ne3 Qd3 50 Qe7+ Kb6 51 Qxf7 Qe4+ 52 Ke2 Kxb5 53 Qxe6 Nc6 54 Qxd5+ ‘and wins’.

A second score, in which White was identified as ‘Master Frank Brown’, was published in The Field, 25 October 1879. Steinitz commented:

‘The game is also remarkable on account of the youth of the performer’s adversary on this occasion, who, we understand, is only 16 years of age.’

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 O-O Nf6 5 d3 d6 6 h3 h6 7 Nc3 g5 8 Nh2 g4 9 hxg4 Rg8 10 Be3 Nxg4 11 Qf3 Rg7 12 Nd5 Nxh2


13 Nf6+ Kf8 14 Kxh2 Nd4 15 Bxd4 Bxd4 16 c3 Bb6 17 Rh1 Bg4 18 Nxg4 Qh4+ 19 Kg1 Qxg4 20 Qxg4 Rxg4 21 Rxh6 Ke7 22 Kf1 Rag8 23 g3 R8g7 24 Ke2 R4g5 25 Rah1 f5 26 Rh7 fxe4 27 Rxg7+ Rxg7 Drawn.

Steinitz’s final note on the Brown v Zukertort encounter:

‘The game was here given up as drawn, owing to lateness of the hour. White has still kept his pawn ahead, but he had hardly any fair prospect of winning; not alone on account of his opponent’s strength, which is scarcely diminished in his blindfold trials, but also by the nature of the position, more especially as the bishops of the two parties are of opposite colour.’

In his Field column on 5 July 1879 Steinitz reported that six of Zukertort’s games in the blindfold display were resumed the following day (27 June), but below is the account on page 8 of the Birmingham Daily Post, 27 June 1879:


Without supplying any information about the date and venue, pages 180-181 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1 August 1879 presented a game between ‘Master F. Brown’ and J. Halford:

1 e4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 exd5 exd5 4 d4 Nf6 5 Bg5 Be7 6 Bd3 O-O 7 h3 Ne4 8 Bxe7 Qxe7 9 O-O Be6 10 Nbd2 f5 11 Ne5 Nc6 12 Nxc6 bxc6 13 Qe2 Qf6 14 c3 Rae8 15 Rae1 Qg6 16 Bxe4 fxe4 17 Qe3 Bc8 18 Qg3 Qh6 19 Re3 Rf4 20 f3 Rh4 21 fxe4 dxe4 22 Qf2 Be6 23 Rxe4 Rxe4 24 Nxe4 Bxa2 25 Nc5 Bc4 26 Re1 Rf8 27 Qe3 Rf1+ 28 Kh2 Qd6+ 29 g3 Rf8 30 b3 Bd5 31 c4


31...Rf3 32 Qe8+ Rf8 33 Qe5 Bf7 34 Qxd6 cxd6 35 Nd3 Rb8 36 Re7 Rxb3 37 Rxa7 Bxc4 38 Nf4 Rb2+ 39 Kg1 g5 40 Nh5 Rb1+ 41 Kh2 h6 42 Rg7+ Kf8 43 Rg6 Bd5 44 g4 Rh1+ 45 Kg3 Rd1 46 Rxd6 Rxd4 47 Rxh6 Rd3+ 48 Kf2 c5 49 Rd6 Ke7 50 Rg6 c4 51 Rxg5 c3 52 Nf4 Rf3+ 53 Ke2 Ba8 54 Nd5+ Bxd5 55 Rxd5 Drawn.

The note to White’s fifth move shows how condescending the annotations to young players’ games could be in olden times:

‘When Master Brown has a little more experience, he will know that this move is here premature.’

From page 183 of the same issue of the Chronicle:

‘We consider Master F. Brown of Dudley (aged 15) an exceedingly promising young player. He has recently won a match with Mr Halford of Birmingham, scoring six games to Mr Halford’s four, and two being drawn.’

In any discussion of ‘F. Brown’, the question of identity demands caution. From pages 118-119 of the March 1933 BCM:

‘By the death of Fred Brown at Dudley in mid-February, the Midlands loses one of its strongest players. When in his best form, few of his countrymen could beat him, and on several occasions he played a masterly game against foreign experts. He was a solicitor by profession, but managed to play a good deal before the War. His brother Frank will be remembered as a strong player, but he was never quite so good as Fred.’

Fred Brown acquired some fame for playing 1 g4. A well-known game is his 27-move win against Louis van Vliet, London, 1904. From page 8 of the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 13 August 1904:


1 g4 had also been played by Fred Brown against Amos Burn in the Midland Counties Congress in Birmingham in 1899. The game, which Brown lost, is on pages 533-534 of Richard Forster’s monograph on Burn, with notes from the Birmingham Daily Post, 11 April 1899.

Another score from the same tournament:

Fred Brown – George Edward H. Bellingham
Birmingham, April 1899
Irregular Opening

1 g4 e5 2 Bg2 d5 3 h3 c6 4 d3 Bc5 5 Nc3 f5 6 gxf5 Bxf5 7 Nf3 d4 8 Ne4 Bxe4 9 dxe4 Nd7 10 Bg5 Ngf6 11 Nd2 Qb6 12 Rb1 Nf8 13 Bh4 Ng6 14 Bg3 Nh5 15 O-O Ngf4


16 b4 Be7 17 Kh2 O-O 18 Bf3 Rad8 19 Rb3 Nxg3 20 fxg3 Ng6 21 a3 Qc7 22 Bg4 Rf6 23 Rbf3 a5 24 Qb1 axb4 25 axb4 Nf8 26 Nc4 b5 27 Nd2 Ra8 28 Rxf6 gxf6 29 Qb3+ Kg7 30 Nf3 Bd8 31 Nh4 Ra7 32 Nf5+ Kh8 33 Bh5 Ng6 34 c3 c5 35 bxc5 Qxc5 36 cxd4 exd4 37 Qe6 Qe5 38 Qc6 b4 39 Rd1 Be7 40 Rxd4 Nf8 41 Qc4 Rc7 42 Qa2 Bc5 43 Rd5 Qe6 44 Bg4 Qb6 45 Rd1 b3 46 Qb2 Nd7 47 Kg2 Rb7 48 Nh6 Ne5 49 Rc1 Rb8 50 Nf5 Qb4 51 Bf3 Qa5 52 Ra1 Qb6 53 Rc1 Qa7 54 Ra1 Qf7 55 Rb1


55...Nc4 56 Qc3 b2 57 Bh5 Qe6 58 Bf3 Rb3 59 Qc2 Rb4 60 g4 Qxf5 61 exf5 Ne3+ 62 Kg3 Nxc2 63 White resigns.

Sources: La Stratégie, 15 May 1899, pages 141-142, and the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 24 May 1899, pages 127-128. Both magazines gave the notes by L. Hoffer in The Field.

The game H.E. Atkins v Fred Brown in the Birmingham tournament began 1 d4 b5 2 e4 a6 (Chess Player’s Chronicle, 19 April 1899, pages 70-72).

For Zukertort’s reaction when 1 g4 was played against him in an exhibition (Louisville, 1883), see C.N. 7112.

9796. Chigorin v Pillsbury, Paris, 1900


White to move

According to page 450 of the Literary Digest, 13 October 1900, 27 Rxd4 Qxd4 28 f7 was played.

chigorin pillsbury

A paragraph on page 638 of the 24 November 1900 edition of the Literary Digest commented that White could have won at once with 27 fxg7+ and 28 Rf8+:

chigorin pillsbury

‘Masters make oversights as well as common mortals’ is certainly  true, but common mortals often find fault precipitately, perhaps ignoring the masters’ Zeitnot or, even, discussing a position which may not have arisen. In this context, see too the note (d) above.

The Chigorin v Pillsbury game, played on 18 May 1900, began 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 Nxe4 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5 Bd6 6 O-O O-O 7 c4 c6 8 Nc3 Nxc3 9 bxc3 Nd7 10 f4 Nf6 11 Qc2 dxc4 12 Nxc4 Be6 13 Nxd6 Qxd6 14 f5 Bd5 15 Bf4 Qd7 16 c4 Be4 17 Be5 Bxd3 18 Qxd3 Ng4 19 Qg3 Nxe5 20 dxe5 Qd4+ 21 Kh1 Kh8 22 Rad1 Qxc4.


The offerings at this point:

  • Literary Digest: 23 Rf4 Rad8 24 Re1 Rd4 25 f6 Rg8 26 e6 fxe6 27 Rxd4 Qxd4 28 f7 Rf8 29 Rf1 Qd8 30 Qe3 e5 31 Qxa7 Qe7 32 h3 g6 33 Qa5 Kg7 34 Re1 Rxf7 35 Rxe5 Rf1+ 36 Kh2 Qd6 37 g3 Rf2+ 38 Kh1 Qd1+ 39 Re1 Qf3+ 40 White resigns. Also, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 17 June 1900, page 9; the New York Daily Tribune, 17 June 1900, page 7; the Chicago Daily Tribune, 24 June 1900, page 20; The Times (London), 10 July 1900, page 6. Since the Literary Digest stated that it took the notes from the New York Evening Post, we wanted to check the score in that source but, strange to say, it has not been possible to find it in the newspaper’s (Saturday) chess column.

  • Books, including the monographs on Pillsbury by Henrici, by Sergeant and Watts and by Bachmann: 23 Rde1 Rad8 24 Rf4 Rd4 25 f6 Rg8 26 Rxd4 Qxd4 27 e6 fxe6 28 f7 Rf8 29 Rf1 Qd8 30 Qe3 e5 31 Qxa7 Qe7 32 h3 g6 33 Qa5 Kg7 34 Re1 Rxf7 35 Rxe5 Rf1+ 36 Kh2 Qd6 37 g3 Rf2+ 38 White resigns.

  • The tournament book by Rosenthal: 23 Rf4 Rad8 24 Re1 Rd4 25 f6 Rg8 26 Rxd4 Qxd4 27 e6 fxe6 28 f7 Rf8 29 Rf1 Qd8 30 Qe3 e5 31 Qxa7 Qe7 32 h3 g6 33 Qa5 Kg7 34 Re1 Rxf7 35 Rxe5 Rf1+ 36 Kh2 Qd6 37 White resigns.

9797. ‘Was This Game Rigged?’

From page 30 of the January 1957 Chess World:


The question in the headline was answered on page 60 of the March 1957 issue:


The full score of Flohr v Alekhine, AVRO, 12 November 1938: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb4+ 5 Nbd2 Bb7 6 Bg2 O-O 7 O-O d5 8 Qc2 Nbd7 9 a3 Be7 10 b4 c5 11 cxd5 exd5 12 dxc5 bxc5 13 bxc5 Nxc5 14 Nb3 Nfe4 15 Be3 Rc8 16 Nxc5 Bxc5 17 Bxc5 Rxc5 18 Qb2 Ba6 19 Rfc1 Qc7 20 Rxc5 Qxc5


21 Nd4 Rc8 22 Bh3 Qc3 23 Qxc3 Rxc3 Drawn.

Apart from the two mentioned by Purdy, the sources that we have consulted state that White’s 21st move was Nd4, and not Qd4, with one notable exception: page 632 of the Skinner/Verhoeven volume on Alekhine.

The publications cited by Purdy are shown below, beginning with page 131 of the 14 December 1938 issue of CHESS (the sole source indicated by the Skinner/Verhoeven book):


In the relevant part (pages 46-47) of König’s book The Queen’s Indian Defence (London, 1947) our copy has a handwritten correction at move 21:



9798. Judy/Stella (C.N. 9793)

Gene Gnandt (Houston, TX, USA) and Jerry Spinrad (Nashville, TN, USA) note a slightly earlier discussion of the Judy/Stella matter, in the New York Saturday Press of 1859. The material, some of it very difficult to read in electronic form, is available at the Chess Archaeology website, and we give too links to the full pages: 5 February 1859, page 3; 19 March 1859, page 3; 2 April 1859, page 3.

Mr Spinrad adds two specific references by Staunton in the Illustrated London News, in replies to readers:

‘Our correspondent “Judy” is a lady.’ (14 September 1850, page 231);

‘Judy is a lady.’ (17 July 1852, page 43).

9799. ‘Wonderfully ingenious’

N. Clissold – R.F.B. Jones
Llandudno, January 1898
Queen’s Fianchetto Opening

1 b3 d5 2 Bb2 e6 3 e3 Nf6 4 Nf3 c5 5 d3 Nc6 6 Be2 Be7 7 O-O (a) b6 8 Nbd2 Bb7 9 Rc1 O-O 10 Re1 (b) Rc8 11 Nf1 Bd6 12 d4 (c) Ne4 13 Bd3 f5 14 c4 cxd4 15 exd4 g5 (d) 16 Qe2 g4 17 N3d2 (e) Qh4 18 g3 (f) Qh3 19 cxd5 exd5 20 Nxe4 fxe4 21 Bb5 Rc7 22 Ne3 h5 (g) 23 Qd2 h4 24 Bf1


24...hxg3 25 Bxh3 gxf2+ 26 Kh1


26...Rh7 27 Nxg4 (h) Rxh3 28 Rf1 e3 29 Qd3 (i) Ne5 30 Nxe5 Bxe5 31 Qg6+ Kh8 32 dxe5


32...d4+ (j) 33 Rc6 Bxc6+ 34 Qxc6 e2 ‘and wins’.

Source: Nottinghamshire Guardian, 12 March 1898, page 2. The letters within the score relate to the notes by G.E.H. Bellingham when the newspaper repeated the game (as far as 32...d4+ ‘and wins’) on page 7 of its 12 November 1898 edition:

clissold jones bellingham

The game was played in the Second Class Tournament of the Craigside (Llandudno) tournament. The crosstable was published on page 51 of the February 1898 BCM, and page 52 reported that Clissold, who won the tournament, ‘is a promising young player of the Liverpool and New Brighton clubs’. (A brief notice of the death of Newman Clissold, aged 76, appeared on page 192 of the June 1954 BCM.)

The frontispiece of the February 1898 BCM was a group photograph taken in Llandudno. The players were not identified, but John Owen is recognizable seated in the centre with, behind him, Amos Burn:


Larger version

9800. A.S.M. Hutchinson

From page 2 of issue one of Chess Pie (1922):


The passage was reproduced on page 141 of Chess Review, June 1935 and quoted in abridged form by Edward Lasker on page xxii of The Adventure of Chess (New York, 1950).

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson (1879-1971) was a very popular writer, as indicated by the imprint page of our copy of If Winter Comes, published by Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1921:


The novel has a few references to chess, as on pages 66 and 67:


9801. Anderssen v Dufresne

An addition to the Evergreen Game is the heading on page 139 of Chess and the Art of War by Al Lawrence and Elshan Moradiabadi (London, 2016):


9802. Fischer’s greatest pleasure

An extract from page 15 of Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin (New York, 1988):

fischer waitzkin

How far back can the remarks attributed to Fischer (sometimes with ‘ego’ instead of ‘mind’) be traced?

In a 1971 television interview with Dick Cavett (beginning at about 3’20”) Fischer stated that his greatest pleasure in chess was breaking the opponent’s ego. See too the Cavett link in C.N. 5460.

9803. Clock management

From page 288 of the Australasian Chess Review, 8 October 1936:

‘Among the masters, it seems that clock management is the hardest part of the game. Only Lasker and Capablanca have mastered it, the former by his super-normal endowment of common sense, the latter by heaven-born genius.’

9804. Fred Brown and 1 g4 (C.N. 9795)

Alan Smith (Stockport, England) submits a game from page 780 of The Field, 12 November 1898:

Fred Brown – Arthur John Mackenzie
Birmingham, 1898
Irregular Opening

1 g4 d5 2 h3 e5 3 Bg2 c6 4 d3 Bc5 5 Nf3 Qc7 6 Nc3 Be6 7 e4 Nd7 8 O-O O-O-O 9 Bg5 f6 10 Bh4 g5 11 Bg3 Ne7


12 d4 Bd6 13 Qe2 h5 14 exd5 Nxd5 15 Nxd5 cxd5 16 dxe5 Nxe5 17 Nd4 Bd7 18 Nf5 hxg4 19 hxg4 Bxf5 20 gxf5 Qh7 21 Rfd1 Qxf5 22 Rxd5 Bc7 23 Rad1 Rxd5 24 Rxd5 Rd8 25 Rb5 b6 26 Rb3 Rd4 27 Rc3 Kd8 28 Qh5 Bd6 29 Qh8+ Ke7 30 Qg7+ Nf7 31 Bxd6+ Rxd6 32 Re3+ Re6 33 Bh3 g4 34 Bxg4 Rxe3 35 Bxf5 Re5 36 Bg6 Resigns.

9805. Fischer’s 29...Bxh2


Black played 23...Bxa2

This position is from a game between Capablanca (Black) and Juan Corzo in Havana on 21 July 1909. It was published on page 197 of the American Chess Bulletin, September 1909 and was included on pages 37-38 of The Unknown Capablanca by David Hooper and Dale Brandreth (London, 1975). Page 199 gave as the source the Cuban newspaper Diario de la Marina, 22 July 1909.

From page 38 of The Unknown Capablanca:

corzo capablanca

The Fischer game (played almost exactly 63 years after Corzo v Capablanca) did not need to be identified. The notoriety of 29...Bxh2 in the first Spassky v Fischer match-game is such that, as shown in C.N. 9762, it even inspired a cartoon:

danielsson fischer spassky

The possible play after 29...Bxh2 has been investigated in exceptional detail; see, for example, pages 75-94 of Analysing the Endgame by Jon Speelman (London, 1988). In the early comments after the match, P.H. Clarke’s on page 303 of the September 1972 BCM were among the most surprising:

spassky fischer

Although page 431 of the second edition of The Games of Robert J. Fischer by Robert G. Wade and Kevin J. O’Connell (London, 1972) stated that ‘29...BxRKP?!’ [sic] ‘is no gross blunder’, that was not the commonest view. For instance, the move received two question marks on page 114 of Reuben Fine’s book on the match, where he remarked:

‘Every beginner knows that this is a blunder, and it does lose ...’

Strange to say, it is a struggle to find pre-1972 books for beginners that warned of the specific type of poisoned-pawn trap which occurred in the Reykjavik game.

9806. Covering moves

Many chess books suggest covering the moves in a game-score with a card and revealing them progressively. Not many chess books seem suitably typeset for such a learning method.

From page 72 of Brentano’s Chess Monthly, June 1881:


See too page 73 of the Recreationist, July 1873 (viewable via Google Books):


9807. L.S. Penrose v T.H. Tylor

Further to the items on L.S. Penrose – C.N.s 2970 (see page 45 of Chess Facts and Fables) and 3632 – below is a game from page 102 of the April 1920 BCM and page 212 of the April 1920 Chess Amateur:

Lionel Sharples Penrose (Cambridge University) – Theodore Henry Tylor (Oxford University)
London, 19 March 1920
Ponziani Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c3 Nf6 4 d4 Nxe4 5 d5 Ne7 6 Nxe5 Ng6 7 Qd4 Nf6 8 Be3 Be7 9 Nxg6 hxg6 10 Nd2 d6 11 O-O-O Bf5 12 Bd3 Bxd3 13 Qxd3 Qd7 14 h3 Qa4 15 Rhe1 Rh5


16 Bd4 Rxd5 17 Rxe7+ Kxe7 18 Bxf6+ gxf6 19 Qxd5 Resigns.

9808. The Giuoco Pianissimo

It is sometimes stated (see, for instance, the entries in the 1984 and 1992 editions of The Oxford Companion to Chess) that the term ‘Giuoco Pianissimo’ was coined by Adolf Anderssen to describe 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 d3, but what facts are available?

Steinitz (Field column dated 30 January 1875) mentioned Anderssen in his notes to a blindfold game Martin v Zukertort, London, 22 January 1875, which began 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Nc3:

‘Herr Anderssen often jocosely remarked that the name of Giuoco pianissimo would be more fitting to this dull and uninteresting form of début.’

On the other hand, two citations can be given from Wormald’s chess column in the Illustrated London News where the term was ascribed to Jaenisch:

  • After 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d3: ‘This is appropriately termed by Jaenisch the “Giuoco Pianissimo”.’ (Page 403 of the 24 October 1874 edition.)

  • After 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d4 exd4 6 e5: ‘We are more than ever convinced of the inherent weakness of this move, which, properly opposed, ought to leave the second player with a very superior position. Even 6 P takes P is not wholly satisfactory – indeed, we much question whether the opening player can obtain a strictly even game in any form of this wearisome début; though, perhaps, we ought to make an exception in favour of Jaenisch’s “Giuoco Pianissimo”.’ (Page 327 of the 30 September 1876 edition.)

Finally, a passage by Max Lange on page 302 of the August 1854 Deutsche Schachzeitung, regarding the position after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6:

max lange

The text was included on page 284 of Max Lange’s book Kritik der Eröffnungen (Berlin, 1855).

9809. Fischer’s 29...Bxh2 (C.N. 9805)

Martin Sims (Upper Hutt, New Zealand) points out a passage on page 69 of Further Chess Ideas by John Love and John Hodgkins (London, 1965), concerning Bronstein v Botvinnik, Moscow, 1951 (eighth match-game for the world championship):

bronstein botvinnik

9810. Lost On Time

C.N.s 5795, 8099, 8674 and 9436 have drawn attention to valuable material posted by the Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog. Earlier this month, the site ceased publication, but on 21 March 2016 one of its contributors, Justin Horton, began his own webpage, Lost On Time. The first article discusses journalistic standards in Internet broadcasts.

9811. Frederick Orrett (C.N.s 9722 & 9751)

A further selection of illustrations by Frederick Orrett, submitted by Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England):


Arthur William Daniel


Antony Guest


Charles Planck

9812. Fischer’s 29...Bxh2 (C.N.s 9805 & 9809)

From Steve Wrinn (Homer, NY, USA):

‘Fischer can be seen playing 29...Bxh2 at the 1’00” mark of a video from the NBC news archives. The moments of play shown are not necessarily sequential; for example, the bishop already stands on h2 at 0’42”. Some of the subsequent play (33 Kg2 hxg3 34 fxg3) can be seen at 1’10” of another video.

From the NBC item it appears that Spassky was away from the board when 29...Bxh2 was played, a circumstance which casts doubt on any descriptions of his supposedly surprised reaction to the move. For example, on page 172 of Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World (New York, 1974) Brad Darrach wrote:

“Spassky jolted like a man hit by a bullet and stared at the board.”

Page 92 of Fischer/Spassky: The New York Times Report on the Chess Match of the Century mentioned the “look of incredulity” on Spassky’s face, said to be noticed by an audience member with binoculars.

That New York Times book (by Richard Roberts, with Harold C. Schonberg, Al Horowitz and Samuel Reshevsky) is perhaps unique in its appraisal of the position after 29...Bxh2, as it claimed – without supporting analysis – that Fischer had winning chances after the loss of the bishop: Page 121 stated:

“But two pawns often defeat a bishop in an endgame, and Fischer’s seizing of the “poisoned” king rook pawn, after the exchanges that followed, left him with five pawns to Spassky’s three. This would have meant obtaining winning chances if he had continued the game properly and precisely.”

Pages 122-123 added:

“In one sense, the first game began with Black’s 29th move. And it is still difficult to say whether Fischer’s judgment was correct. He could have won. He certainly could have drawn. But he did neither. He lost. [*]

What followed that 29th move was inaccurate play on Black’s part that made the capture of the king rook pawn, in retrospect, look like a blunder. It was not. Fischer did, however, blunder away his chances in the play that followed, first missing a win and then a draw. His technique failed.”

I see nothing in the book to indicate which of the four co-authors was responsible for that opinion.’

We note that page 113 of the French translation of the New York Times book, published under the title Fischer Spassky. Le super-match du siècle (Montreal, 1972), added a translator’s note to the passage that we have marked above with [*]:

‘Seule une admiration aveugle pour Fischer peut justifier ce passage. N’importe quel amateur sait qu’il faut généralement non pas deux, mais trois pions pour tenir tête à un fou en fin de partie. Il est vrai que Fischer a commis, à son 40e coup, une erreur qui lui a coûté la nulle, mais l’auteur ne mentionne pas que ses chances d’annuler n’apparurent que grâce à une erreur de Spassky au 36e coup. En effet, si celui-ci avait mis son roi en marche tout de suite par 36 Rg4!, au lieu de perdre un tempo avec 36 a4?, Fischer n’aurait pas pu, malgré la meilleure technique du monde, sauver la partie, et encore moins la gagner!’

The imprint page stated that the book had been translated and adapted by Yves and Camille Coudari. The latter was also named on the title page as a contributor.

Reshevsky’s role in the New York Times volume is unknown, but his own book on the match (New York and Edinburgh, 1972) described ‘29...BxKRP??’ as ‘the worst blunder Fischer ever made’. See pages 5 and 9.

9813. The best book for beginners (C.N. 4017)

C.N. 4017 quoted C.J.S. Purdy’s high praise for Learn Chess by C.H.O’D. Alexander and T.J. Beach on page 157 of Chess World, October 1963.

He reiterated his recommendation (‘the very best book of both theory and practice for raw beginners’) on page 121 of the July-August 1967 Chess World, as well as on the inside front cover of the September-October 1967 issue, where he added:

‘The inexperienced player loses mainly by sheer oversights. He has no “sight of the board”. Nothing is obvious to him. What is wanted is a book to remedy this, and the only way is to concentrate on the “little combinations” that must be seen before you can play at all sensibly. Mere understanding of positional principles helps a bit but not much.

... As we always say, the best books for learners are those that are both theory and practice combined, and we’d add more practice than theory.’

The present-day publisher of Alexander and Beach’s work (two volumes in one) is Everyman Chess.

9814. Fischer and his friends

From page 163 of The Kings of Chess by William Hartston (London, 1985), concerning the 1971 Fischer v Petrosian match:

‘Fischer seemed in a good mood at the start, almost sociable. One journalist found a good description of his manner: “Ordinarily, Fischer is socially evasive rather than hostile, likely to greet even an old friend as if he were expecting a subpoena.”’

And from page 18 of Bobby Fischer Goes to War by David Edmonds and John Eidinow (London, 2004):

‘A journalist wrote that Fischer was likely to greet even an old friend as if he were expecting a subpoena.’

People worth quoting are worth naming. The ‘journalist’ who made the remark, and it is a good one, was Robert Cantwell, on page 31 of Sports Illustrated, 8 November 1971:


Cantwell’s article, entitled ‘Bobby Clears the Board for the Title’, was on pages 30-32 and 35.


9815. The 1972 world championship match

Our latest feature article is Spassky v Fischer, Reykjavik, 1972.

9816. Giving the game a character

From page 135 of Bobby Fischer and his Predecessors in the World Chess Championship by Max Euwe (London, 1976), in a section about Emanuel Lasker:


Page 208 of the Dutch version of Euwe’s book, Fischer en zijn voorgangers (Baarn, 1975), specified that the tournament was Zurich, 1934:


The game appears to be Rosselli del Turco v Euwe in round 13 (26 July 1934), even though the details do not fully match Euwe’s description 40 years later.


Position after 13 Bd2-c3.

An extract from page 226 of the tournament book by Alekhine:


Euwe eventually won (at move 49).

9817. Prominent Swiss chessplayers

A set of portraits in a supplement to the November 1950 issue of the Schweizerische Schachzeitung:

swiss chess

swiss chess

swiss chess

swiss chess

swiss chess

9818. India

A news item on page 26 of the Chess Amateur, November 1928:

La Nation belge states that the Alekhine-Bogoljubow match will be played next May, starting at Bad Kissingen and continuing in India! The authority for these statements is dubious.’

What was the ‘authority’?

9819. The 1956 Candidates’ tournament


9820. The fianchetto

Bill Margolis (Laguna Woods, CA, USA) raises the subject of the English pronunciation of ‘fianchetto’.

We note that although a number of beginners’ books state that the word should be pronounced all’italiana (a rough guide such as ‘fyan-ketto’ being offered), English dictionaries tend to disagree. For example, the online Oxford English Dictionary has this:


From page 602 of the Collins Dictionary (Glasgow, 2007):


Not all definitions include a bishop’s development to R3. The online Oxford English Dictionary states:

‘The development of a bishop by moving it one square to a long diagonal of the board.’

Another example:


Source: page 218 of the Dizionario enciclopedico degli scacchi by A. Chicco and G. Porreca (Milan, 1971). Chicco is pronounced similarly to ‘kee-ko’ ...

Some information on the origin of the word ‘fianchetto’ was given in C.N. 4556. See too Earliest Occurrences of Chess Terms.

9821. Lasker on genius

The conclusion of an article by Emanuel Lasker on pages 84-86 of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, December 1905:

‘The law of economy is charged with important meanings in respect to chess. The royal game can claim the greatest distinction of being an excellent instrument for the demonstration of the great detriment of waste in any form. Waste of a move, or of an opportunity, or of activity, may be shown to be at the root of every unsound manoeuvre in chess. The capacity for economizing brain power is acquired in chess. Its possession by the chessplayer is a sure mark of superiority and of maturity. The genius, with all the great pains that he takes to solve great problems, must be economical with his energy to achieve the greatest and most lasting results. Hence we may amend the famous definition of genius to a slight extent. Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains where and when they are needed. But a man who does not abhor unnecessary work does not possess genius. A genius will labor hard to arrive at the simplest, shortest, most precise and most intelligible expression of his thought or work, so that he may save unnecessary labor to others. This indeed is the mission, if not the definition, of genius, and marks the goal towards which the cultured man may strive with advantage and pleasure.’

9822. ‘A bad opening’

Staunton’s opening note, after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5, in the first game in his match against Horwitz (London, 2 February 1846), on page 89 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1846:

‘Habituated to the giving odds in every game for the last two or three years, White labours under a temporary disadvantage in playing “even” games with a player thoroughly versed in, and daily practising, the “book” openings; he very prudently, therefore, begins in a way to throw each party on his own resources as much as possible.’

A reaction appeared on pages 125-126 of the March 1846 issue of Le Palamède (edited by Saint-Amant):

‘Ceci est un mauvais début, généralement condamné, et sur lequel nous avons eu déjà occasion de nous prononcer toujours dans le même sens, bien que l’ayant employé nous-même. M. Staunton cherche à expliquer ce vice de tacticien en se rejetant sur ce que contre un joueur aussi expert que M. Horwitz, qui débute d’après les livres, il fallait se jeter dans l’inconnu pour retomber chacun dans ses propres ressources. C’est modestement dire que, dans ce cas, l’avantage serait pour lui. Nous lui ferons fort poliment observer que le début qu’il a adopté n’est rien moins que du nouveau: c’est du vieux, et ce n’est pas du meilleur, voilà tout.’

This description of the Ruy López as ‘a bad opening’ will be an addition to Old Opening Assessments, which already has, inter alia, denunciations of many replies to 1 e4.

9823. Photographic archives (17)


Garry Kasparov

9824. Schloesser v Amateur

Wanted: information about a finish discussed on pages 132-135 of Chess Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles by I.A. Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1954), where it was described as ‘one of the most far-reaching swindles in the history of chess’:


White to move

1 Kf1 Rxa3 2 Bb4 Rxa2 3 Qh6+ Kxh6 4 Bf8+ Kh5 5 g4+ Kh4 6 Be7+ g5 7 Bxg5+ Kh3 8 Nf2+ Kxh2 9 Bf4 mate.

No particulars about the players, date or venue were provided.

9825. ‘In the forefront of the forward march’

Two pages of promotional material at the end of Russians Versus Fischer by Dimitry Plisetsky and Sergey Voronkov (Moscow, 1994):

chess herald

The entry in the catalogue of the Royal Library in The Hague indicates that the Chess Herald was short-lived. Never having acquired copies of the magazine, we should like to know whether it contained any articles of particular interest and merit.

9826. Intuition

C.N. 2583 (see page 407 of A Chess Omnibus) quoted Najdorf on page 256 of Chess Life, November 1962:

‘When I play chess, I hardly ever calculate the play in detail. I rely very much on an intuitive sense which tells me what are the right moves to look for.’

An addition from pages 34-35 of How Not to Play Chess by E.A. Znosko-Borovsky (London, 1931):

‘Janowski, one of the most brilliant of masters, was once asked how he managed to play simultaneous games so well, making his moves, as he had to do, almost without thinking. He answered: “I play them as well as I do serious games. I see at once what move to make in a given position. In a tournament I would verify this by analysis, in a simultaneous display I do not, but I know that it is a good move.”’

In later editions the passage was on pages 41 and 46-47. The French version below is from page 32 of one of the editions of Comment il ne faut pas jouer aux échecs (Lille, 1948):

‘Le maître Janowski avouait un jour qu’il jouait ses parties simultanées aussi bien que ses parties sérieuses. “Je vois immédiatement le bon coup, disait-il. Toutefois, dans les tournois, je le vérifie par des calculs serrés, tandis que dans les simultanées je ne vérifie pas.”’

9827. Found

Page 157 of Pollock Memories by F.F. Rowland (Dublin, 1899):


The conclusion of the game won by Cook and Pollock is the first position in Royal Walkabouts (see too page 118 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves), but only now can the full game-score be shown. Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) has found it on page 7 of the 12 August 1888 edition of the Newark Sunday Call:



The game’s appearance in the Leeds Mercury is now sought (and not least to verify the Muller/Miller discrepancy). The newspaper referred to ‘... Wm. Cook and W.H.K. Pollock playing alternate moves (without consultation) ...’, which indicates that at move 31 Cook did not see the opportunity which his partner’s 30 a3 had set up.

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 Bxf6 Bxf6 6 e5 Be7 7 Bd3 O-O 8 Nf3 f5 9 O-O c5 10 dxc5 Bxc5 11 Ne2 Nc6 12 Qd2 Bd7 13 Rae1 Qb6 14 c3 Rac8 15 Bb1 Nd8 16 Nf4 Bc6 17 Ng5 Bd7 18 b4 Be7 19 Nf3 a6 20 Re3 g5 21 Nd3 h6 22 Nd4 Be8 23 Rh3 Kg7 24 Kh1 Bg6 25 f4 g4 26 Re3 Kf7 27 h3 h5 28 Kg1 Rh8 29 Nf2 Nc6 30 a3 a5 31 hxg4 hxg4 32 Nxe6 Kxe6


33 Qxd5+ Kxd5 34 Ba2 mate.

9828. Swindle (C.N. 9824)

Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) notes that the position was given as ‘A. Schlösser-N.N., Meseritz, 1940’ on page 50 of Jaque Mate by Kurt Richter (Barcelona, 1972). The winner’s explanation of the trap was quoted.

The item was on pages 43-44 of the original German edition, Schachmatt (Berlin, 1950). No source was given, but we have found the original text on the inside back cover of the 1 July 1940 issue of Deutsche Schachblätter, in a feature entitled ‘Schachliche Kurzgeschichten’:


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