When contacting us by e-mail, correspondents are asked to include their name and full postal address and, when providing information, to quote exact book and magazine sources. The word ‘chess’ needs to appear in the subject-line or in the message itself.
As reported in C.N.s 1827 and 1836, our collection includes five hardbound volumes of Ignazio Calvi’s Cours d’échecs, which was published in Le Palamède in the mid-1840s. The text, entirely handwritten (though not in Calvi’s hand, Adriano Chicco noted in C.N. 1836), amounts to 788 pages.
This is one of a large variety of items listed in our latest feature article, Chess Books and Magazines For Sale.
The FBI Vault contains a 1966-67 file on Fischer’s passport requests for travel to Cuba.
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) draws attention to a cartoon feature on pages 26-27 of the November-December 2018 Playboy: ‘American Chess Masters’ written by Brin-Jonathan Butler and illustrated by Nathan Gelgud.
The left-hand section on Morphy refers to ‘a spooky child prodigy’ who later ‘traveled across Europe and toured royal courts ...’ Then comes this ‘Fun’:
The treatment of Steinitz does not even attain the ‘according to legend’ and ‘reports abound that’ level:
Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England) has been watching the film by Friðrik Guðmundsson Me & Bobby Fischer, which is available on DVD:
This photograph of Piotr Nikolaevich Izmailov (1906-37) comes from page 10 of the 1/1929 issue of Shakhmatny Listok and has been supplied by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA).
A detailed biographical article by Sergei Grodzensky, published on pages 24-26 of 64, December 1990, related Izmailov’s arrest in 1936, execution in 1937 and rehabilitation in 1957:
The 64 article has been forwarded by Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Russian Federation), who adds that there is further information about Izmailov on pages 28-44 of a book on Siberian chess: Сибирь шахматная by R. Kur, V. Neishtadt and K. Sukharev (Novosibirsk, 1995).
Eric Fisher (Hull, England) reports that he has three articles by William Winter in Lilliput (November 1949, June 1950 and November 1950) and asks whether there are any others. He has provided pages from the June 1950 and November 1950 issues.
D.J. Morgan, the ‘expert Chess Shirt researcher’ mentioned in the caption, wrote on page 268:
Edge’s exact words, on pages 151-152 of the New York edition of his book and page 133 of the London edition:
‘It is just possible that he did’, added G.H.Diggle in D.J. Morgan’s column, pointing out these passages:
Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1847, page 68
Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1847, page 140
From page 254 of XIV. Schach-Olympiade Leipzig 1960, published by Sportverlag Berlin:
Under the title ‘Journalistic Chess’ page 157 of the February 1922 Chess Amateur commented:
We have incorporated the relevant passages from the Daily Mail (on, respectively, pages 8 and 6 of the 19 November 1921 edition). The paragraph beginning ‘Auction bridge’ was omitted by the Chess Amateur.
Pages 39 and 183 of the new book Neumann, Hirschfeld and Suhle by Hans Renette and Fabrizio Zavatarelli (C.N. 11090) have two rare portraits of Anderssen, from, respectively, an 1872 issue of the Illustrirte Zeitung and the Lothar Schmid Collection. The former picture is shown here courtesy of the co-authors:
From Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA):
Source: Crítica, 2 September 1939, page 11.
Gerard Killoran (Ilkley, England) sends a cutting from page 15 of the Illustrated London News, 20 February 1847:
Page 3 of The World Chess Championship: 1951 Botvinnik v Bronstein by William Winter and R.G. Wade (London, 1951):
Given that Lasker defeated Tarrasch +8 –3 =5, this account seems generous to Tarrasch. As regards the quality of play, James Mortimer expressed a different view on page 8 of the Daily Mail, 15 September 1908:
Why is it so hard to find photographs of the 1921 world championship match in Havana? There was no Cuban chess magazine at the time, and we have yet to locate pictures in the host country’s mainstream press.
This caricature is often attributed to Fischer himself, but in C.N. 8724 a correspondent reported that the website of Marina Petric showed it as one of many by her late father, Berislav Petric. The link given in C.N. 8724 is no longer valid, and her new webpage does not currently include the Fischer drawing.
This cutting from page 1 of Chess Life, 5 September 1958 has been forwarded by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA):
Which was the first open tournament where all the pairings were made by a computer?
Position after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5
Some initial historical jottings are offered on the Rossolimo Variation of the Sicilian Defence, played in the 2018 world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana.
What cannot be given for now is a comprehensive explanation as to when Rossolimo’s name was attached to – or, indeed, detached from – the opening. Databases have relevant Rossolimo games from the late 1940s onwards, and the reference to ‘around 1940’ in The Oxford Companion to Chess by D. Hooper and K. Whyld (1984 and 1992 editions) has yet to be substantiated:
1984 edition, page 286
1992 edition, page 345
Annotating Rossolimo v Romanenko, Salzburg, 1948 on pages 647-648 of the October 1975 Chess Life & Review, Pal Benko wrote after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5:
Page 181 of the Dictionnaire des échecs by F. Le Lionnais and E. Maget (Paris, 1967 and 1974) called 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 ‘L’attaque hispano-sicilienne’, and had the following on page 340:
C.N. 1230 drew attention to the obvious inaccuracy of this text on page 1 of The Anti-Sicilian: 3 Bb5(+) by Y. Razuvayez and A. Matsukevitch (London, 1984):
Although the Companion also mentioned Winawer v Steinitz, Paris, 1867, that game began 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 Nc3 Nc6 4 Bb5, as shown on pages 182-183 of the tournament book.
When were the moves 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 first played? The earliest game that we have found is on pages 327-328 of the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1845 (volume six), a win by Elijah Williams against John Withers, played (according to page 325) ‘very recently at Bristol’:
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4 4 Nxd4 cxd4 5 O-O e5 6 d3 Qb6 7 Bc4 d6 8 f4 Be6 9 Bxe6 fxe6 10 fxe5 O-O-O 11 Rf7 dxe5 12 Bg5 Nf6 13 Nd2 h6 14 Nc4 Qb5 15 Bxf6 gxf6 16 Qg4 f5 17 exf5 h5 18 Qg6 Rh6 19 Rxf8 Rxg6 20 Nd6+ Kd7 21 Rxd8+ Kxd8 22 Nxb5 and wins.
Source: XIV. Schach-Olympiade Leipzig 1960, page 192.
Cătălin Duminecioiu (Bucharest) reports that he has photographed the graves of Capablanca (November 2014) and Alekhine (summer 2016):
Marina Petric (Austin, TX, USA) informs us that her father, Berislav Petric, drew a set of chess caricatures in Belgrade and asked the players concerned, including Fischer, to sign them. She has provided the two pictures below:
At our request, Marina Petric has added that her father was born in Sarajevo on 3 May 1929. After graduating in architecture, he emigrated to Brazil in 1964, and died in Rio de Janeiro on 8 May 1998.
From Rod Edwards (Victoria, BC, Canada):
The name ‘Selma Cotton’ appeared in connection with San Remo, 1911 in the Deutsches Wochenschach (5 March 1911, page 86 and 26 March 1911, page 119) and, as shown below, on page 109 of La Stratégie, March 1911:
John Townsend (Wokingham, England) writes:
From the plate section of International Championship Chess by B. Kažić (London, 1974):
The caption might have added the identity of Fischer’s chewee: William G. Addison. The position shows the end of their game in round seven of the 1963-64 US Championship, New York.
Gerard Killoran (Ilkley, England) submits a game from O.C. Müller’s column on page 8 of The Globe, 12 October 1912:
1 e4 e5 2 f4 d6 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Bc4 Be7 5 O-O Bg4 6 c3 Bxf3 7 Rxf3 exf4 8 d4 Nf6 9 Rxf4 d5 10 Bd3 dxe4 11 Bxe4 Nxe4 12 Rxe4 Qd7 13 Bf4 O-O-O 14 a4 g5 15 Bg3 f5 16 Re1 f4 17 Bf2 g4 18 Nd2 h5 19 Ne4 h4
20 g3 hxg3 21 hxg3 Qf5 22 Kf1 f3 23 Qc2 Rh1+ 24 Bg1 Qh5 25 Nf2 Qh2 26 White resigns.
Annotators and chroniclers often have difficulty deciding to what extent players who miss faster or easier wins should have such lapses pointed out. To illustrate the theme, we present a range of observations in books by Irving Chernev.
Combinations The Heart of Chess (New York, 1960), page 37
Denker won quickly with 34 Qd5 Kf8 35 Rxg7. The artist/butcher remark is reminiscent of an observation by Emanuel Lasker on page 68 of the Chess Player’s Scrap Book, May 1907 in connection with the game Morphy v the Duke and Count.
Combinations The Heart of Chess (New York, 1960), page 74
Logical Chess Move by Move, various editions, Game 27 (Chekhover v Rudakovsky, Moscow, 1945)
The almost identical text was on pages 193-194 of The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played (New York, 1965).
Another example is Paulsen v Morphy, New York, 1857:
Combinations The Heart of Chess (New York, 1960)
The Chess Companion
(New York, 1968), pages 232-233
The next position comes from a famous brilliancy by Capablanca (White) against Juan Corzo, Havana, 1901:
The Golden Dozen (Oxford, 1976), page 284
Virtually the identical text had appeared on pages 175-176 of The Chess Companion.
The ‘commentator’ in question was Fred Reinfeld, in The Immortal Games of Capablanca (New York, 1942). In My Chess Career (London, 1920) Capablanca wrote:
From later in the same game, where Capablanca played 46 Kf2:
Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings (Oxford, 1978), page 7
Neither Capablanca nor Reinfeld mentioned 46 Kg3. On pages 228-230 of Combinations The Heart of Chess Chernev made no adverse comment on either 29 Qxb5 or 46 Kf2.
A final illustration of the difficulty of avoiding inconsistency comes from page 255 of The Chess Companion, in the conclusion to D. Byrne v Fischer, New York, 1956:
Our feature article on the game shows that the future world champion’s own small book, Bobby Fischer’s Games of Chess, made no reference to the faster mates available at move 36 (...Rf2+) and at move 37 (...Re2+). Those lines would have given mate just one move earlier, and their noteworthiness is a matter of opinion. It is curious, though, that Chernev mentioned only one of the two.
Shortly after John Cochrane’s death, a tribute by I.O. Howard Taylor was published on page 2 of the Hartford Weekly Times, 4 April 1878. It was reproduced on pages 30-32 of the American Chess Journal, April 1878 and, thanks to the Cleveland Public Library, we give below the front cover and the frontispiece portrait of Cochrane in addition to the letter itself:
The obituary on page 92 of the March 1929 BCM which was referred to in C.N. 4838:
From John Townsend (Wokingham, England):
No chess enthusiast should miss Kurt Richter by Alan McGowan. It is brilliant.
Two photographs of Kurt G.W. Lüdecke with Adolf Hitler were shown in C.N.s 3453 and 3761. They were from a set of six in the plate section of Lüdecke’s book I Knew Hitler (London, 1938), between pages 472 and 473:
Page 180 of XIV. Schach-Olympiade Leipzig 1960 has this photograph of the little-known player Anne Marie Renoy-Chevrier of Monaco:
The items below from L’Italia Scacchistica have been forwarded by the Cleveland Public Library:
Portsmouth Evening News, 17 September 1910, page 1
Earlier that year, a more familiar version of the ‘when in doubt ...’ phrase had appeared in note (g) to a game between F.D. Yates and G.A. Thomas on page 15 of the Hereford Times, 16 April 1910:
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Nf3 Ngf6 6 Bd3 Nxe4 7 Bxe4 Nf6 8 Bd3 Be7 9 O-O O-O 10 b3 b6 11 c4 Bb7 12 Bb2 Nd7 13 Re1 Bf6 14 Re3 Re8 15 Qe2 Bxf3 16 Rxf3 e5 17 Qc2 exd4 18 Bxh7+ Kf8 19 Be4 Rb8 20 Bd5 c5 21 Kf1 Ne5 22 Rh3 Qd6 23 Qf5 Ng6 24 Rd1 Qe5 25 Qf3 Kg8 26 Rh5 Qf4 27 Qh3 Re3 28 g3 Bh4
29 Rf5 Resigns.
Some further citations:
Dylan McClain (Richmond, IN, USA) asks how many federations were members of FIDE at the beginning and at the end of each President’s tenure.
Ideally, we wish to go further, with the running total of members throughout the Federation’s history. Do readers know whether such a list already exists?
Ulrich Schimke (Cologne, Germany) provides further newspaper reports on Birdie Reeve:
Rudy Bloemhard (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands) has shown us, from his autograph collection, this card signed during the 1970 USSR v the Rest of the World match in Belgrade:
Our correspondent is intrigued by one signature in particular:
CHESS, 19 March 1955, page 255
Three years later the magazine briefly reported on an announcement by John E. Almond of San Francisco of the ‘very first world under-water chess championship’. See C.N. 3237 on page 125 of Chess Facts and Fables.
Tom Braunlich (Broken Arrow, OK, USA) has found this report on page 3 of the Daily Chieftain, 26 May 1899:
‘Bobby Fischer: The Mozart of Chess’ was the heading of the chapter about him on pages 366-371 of The Jew in American Sports by Harold U. Ribalow (New York, 1959):
The chapter took its title from Harold C. Schonberg’s New York Times article of the previous year which is referred to in our feature article ‘The Mozart of Chess’.
The preceding chapters of the Ribalow book mentioned in C.N. 11118 were on Emanuel Lasker (pages 344-354) and Samuel Reshevsky (pages 357-364). From page 344:
See too C.N. 3736. Who was Lasker’s opponent?
An addition to How Many People Play Chess? comes from page 379 of CHESS, 18 June 1955:
Martin Sims (Upper Hutt, New Zealand) asks when the custom arose of the ceremonial first move for White being played by a ‘celebrity’, and whether any chess regulations are applicable to the practice.
This photograph from page 5 of the Illustrated London News, 5 January 1963 was given in C.N. 9020. Our correspondent remarks that a very similar shot of Sir Arthur Bliss and Vassily Smyslov is on page 183 of The World of Chess by Anthony Saidy and Norman Lessing (New York, 1974).
Drawing attention to his article about Comins Mansfield on the website of the British Chess Problem Society, Michael McDowell (Westcliff-on-sea, England) sends us an extract from pages 13-14 of Comins Mansfield MBE: Chess Problems of a Grandmaster by Barry Barnes (Sutton, 1976):
Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.