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The above comes from page 6 of Schackhistoriens snabbaste partier by Jostein Westberg (Avesta, 1969). However, the ‘1924’ cannot be correct, because the game had been published (without any date or venue) on page 108 of Schnell Matt! by Claudius Hüther (Munich, 1913).
Relatively little has been written about Sir George Thomas’ chessplaying mother, Lady Edith Margaret Thomas (née Foster). With the Family Search webpage it takes only a few moments to find out that she was born circa 1853 at The Bogue, St Elizabeth, Jamaica. See also The Family of Col. John Foster, 1681-1731, from Elim, Jamaica.
When Lady Thomas died in 1920 the BCM (April issue, page 99) published this photograph of her:
Below are some excerpts from a fulsome article about her (‘A Chat with the Lady Chess Champion’) on pages 255-256 of Woman’s Life, 18 January 1896:
‘No doubt my readers will remember that she won the first prize at the International Tourney at Hastings. [Sic. See page 16 of the Chess Monthly, September 1895.] Lady Thomas comes of a chessplaying family; her brother, Mr William Erskine Foster, was a brilliant player and was, at one time, a pupil of Mr Steinitz; her son, a particularly bright clever lad of 14, is also a proficient player.
“George beats me”, says Lady Thomas, “indeed I am now learning from him; we play every evening when at home; we are always playing – even when sitting on the beach we make a table of our laps and play; after, and before luncheon – in fact, we play nearly all day long.”
... Lady Thomas is a skilful player in several games. The second drawing-room is marked out for badminton and, when wet, the Turkey carpet is rolled up and they indulge in the fun of having exercise and amusement indoors. She is also a brilliant billiard player and cyclist.
... While in Constantinople, Lady Thomas was the only lady who rode about unattended into the country, and she never met with any molestation, though, as a precaution, she had a pocket made to her saddle to carry a revolver.
... Lady Thomas is Lady of the Manor of Marston, in Bedfordshire, and a daughter of the late Morgan Hugh Foster, Esq, C.B., who was for many years Governor of the Imperial Ottoman Bank.’
There follows a specimen of her tournament play, from pages 236-237 of La Stratégie, 15 August 1897:
Lady Edith Margaret Thomas – Miss Watson
London, 23 June 1897
Nimzo-Indian Defence (by transposition)
1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bd3 Nc6 6 Nf3 Bd7 7 Bd2 Bxc3 8 Bxc3 dxc4 9 Bxc4 Ne4 10 Qb3 Nxc3 11 Qxc3 Qf6 12 Rc1 O-O 13 O-O Ne7 14 Bd3 Nd5 15 Qd2 c6 16 Ne5 Qe7 17 f4 f5 18 Rf3 Be8 19 Rh3 Nf6 20 Qe2 g6 21 Qf2 Ne4 22 Qf3 Nf6 23 Rf1 Rc8 24 Qg3 Ne4 25 Bxe4 fxe4
26 Ng4 Kh8 27 Nh6 Rc7 28 Rh4 Qd7 29 Qg5 Qd6 30 Ng4 Rf5 31 Qh6 and Black lost on time.
From Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England):
‘I have a typescript of a book on the second world championship match between Lasker and Steinitz, although no book was ever published on this match. The title page states that the games were taken from Deutsches Wochenschach with annotations by Siegbert Tarrasch. I do not know who compiled the typescript, but there are the occasional “Translator’s Notes” which may provide some clues.’
Our correspondent has provided sample pages.
Below is a game from the 1912 British championship, published on page 411 of The Field, 24 August 1912. Hoffer’s concluding comment was ‘An endgame of rare beauty’.Francis Edward Hamond – Reginald Pryce Michell
1 d4 d5 2 e3 Nf6 3 Bd3 c5 4 c3 e6 5 Nd2 Nc6 6 f4 Bd6 7 Qf3 Bd7 8 Nh3 Qb6 9 Qg3 Rg8 10 Qf3 h6 11 Nf2 O-O-O 12 Bc2 Kb8 13 Nd3 Be8 14 a4 cxd4 15 exd4 Nd7 16 b4 Qc7 17 Ra2 f6 18 Nb3 Ne7 19 Ndc5 Bxc5 20 bxc5 e5 21 O-O e4 22 Qe2 f5 23 Bd2 Nc6 24 Rb2 Ka8 25 Bb1 Nf6 26 Ba2 Bh5 27 Qe1 Rge8
28 c4 e3 29 Ba5 b6 30 cxb6 axb6 31 cxd5 Nxd5 32 Qh4 e2 33 Re1 g6 34 Bd2 Ndb4 35 Bb1 Qd6 36 Qf2 Re6 37 h3 Rde8 38 g4 fxg4 39 hxg4 Bxg4 40 Qg2 h5 41 a5 bxa5 42 Kh2 Nd5 43 Nxa5 Nxd4 44 Nc4 Qc5
45 Qxd5+ Qxd5 46 Be4 Ka7 47 Bxd5 Nf3+ 48 Bxf3 Bxf3 49 Be3+ Resigns.
Charles Sullivan (Davis, CA, USA) asks about the game E. Znosko-Borovsky v A. Alekhine, St Petersburg, 27 January 1914, as given on pages 92-93 of the Skinner/Verhoeven volume on Alekhine.
After 34 Rh2 Ne7 35 Ng2 Rg5, instead of 36 Be4 White could have won a piece with 36 Qxe7, and our correspondent therefore wonders whether the game-score is correct, and whether the move-order was perhaps 34...Rg5 35 Be4 Ne7 36 Ng2 c6.
Unable to trace the game-score in any 1914 source, we
contacted Leonard Skinner (Cowbridge, Wales), who has
kindly forwarded the earliest publication of the game
known to him (as included in his book): Alekhine’s
notes on pages 209-212 of Shakhmatny Vestnik,
July 1915. The relevant phase is reproduced below:
Given that the Skinner/Verhoeven book reproduced the game-score accurately, the question is whether an oversight occurred at the board at move 36 or whether Alekhine erred in the move-order which he submitted to the Russian periodical.
Gábor Gyuricza (Budapest) asks for details about a game widely given as ‘P. Damiano v T. Halász, 1512’: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 Nxe4 4 Qe2 Qe7 5 Qxe4 d6 6 d4 f6 7 f4 Nd7 8 Nc3 dxe5 9 Nd5 Qd6 10 fxe5 fxe5 11 dxe5 Qc6 12 Bb5 Qc5 13 Be3 Qxb5 14 Nxc7+ and wins.
Our correspondent comments:
‘Here in Hungary no-one has ever heard of it, and Halász is a Hungarian surname (meaning “fisherman”).’
We note that the moves appeared (with no mention of Damiano or anybody named Halász) on pages 36-37 of Das Schach des Herrn Gioachino Greco Calabrois und die Schachspiel-Geheimnisse des Arabers Philipp Stamma by Moses Hirschel (Breslau, 1784) and on pages 46-48 of The Games of Greco by Professor Hoffmann (London, 1900).
Graham Clayton (South Windsor, NSW, Australia) quotes from page 8 of the New York Times, 24 November 1888, regarding preparations for the following year’s tournament:
‘The rules adopted for the tournament are the American code as laid down in the book of the fifth American Chess Congress, with the addition that if the same moves or series of moves be repeated six times on each side either player can claim a draw.’
Our correspondent asks for more information about this reference to six-fold repetition.
The New York, 1889 tournament book (page xviii) merely stated, as Rule XV:
‘The Chess rules adopted for the Tournament are the American Code as laid down in the Book of the Fifth American Chess Congress.’
The fifth congress had been held at New York, 1880, and the Code was given on pages 164-171 of that event’s tournament book.
We note pen-portraits of some of the participants in New York, 1889 on page 5 of the New York Times, 26 March 1889 (the day after the first round):
‘Most of the players have very well developed craniums, and most of them smoke, but they seem to differ in temperament and in the quality of liquids which they imbibe. Blackburne is about 50 years old, of a rather florid complexion, and deliberate in his movements. He is fond of smoking a short briarwood pipe, crossing his legs, and quietly waiting for his antagonist to rack his brains over the next move. His opponent was Mr Hanham, a nervous little gentleman of about the same age, who hardly ever takes his eyes from the chess board. As the game progresses color mounts to his face and fire in his eye.
Both Gunsberg and Burn are Englishmen, and are said to be well matched. Gunsberg is a blonde, with very deliberate movements and a habit of looking out of the corner of his eye at his opponent when he moves a piece, as though he expected to trip him up. Burn pulls his hat over his eyes with a “you-can’t-catch-me” expression as he deliberates, and not unfrequently changes an attack into a defense. Gunsberg sips seltzer, and Burn puffs away at a cigar.
Chigorin is a rather slender Russian, with black hair and dark complexion. His face is lighted up by thoughtful and large light-blue eyes. He is nervous in his manner, and, as the play proceeds, becomes more nervous, perhaps from drinking a large cup of strong coffee and smoking a cigar. He watches the game intently and deliberates long before making a move, when he sometimes gets up, stretches himself, and goes to another table, where he watches the game for a couple of minutes. His opponent, Delmar, is very well known to chessplayers in New York. He, also, is a coffee drinker and smoker, and is just as deliberate as Chigorin in his calculations and movements.
Weiss, the Vienna player, does not, at first sight, look like a chessplayer, but rather like a good-natured German who can enjoy his lager and pipe and listen to the band. He does not seem to pay very much attention to the game either, but he has the faculty of making rapid calculations and seeing many moves ahead. He has a great deal of confidence in himself. Burille, his opponent is a clean-shaven young man, with a prominent nose, and carefully studies the game.
Taubenhaus, the French champion, is a small man with a closely-clipped beard and brown eyes. His antagonist, MacLeod, is a beardless bashful young man from Canada, who has defeated many good players in that part of the world. But he is an intuitive player and has not studied the games of the world’s champions from the books, and for that reason, it is said, is hardly a match for the other fighters. He began exchanging pieces early in the game and played very rapidly and, although he made a gallant fight, he could not resist the veteran Frenchman, nor did he see several neat traps that were laid for him. He gave up the game at about the 30th move. [Sic. The game was considerably longer.]
Lipschütz has a good forehead and a prominent nose. While he carefully studies the game when it [is] his turn to move, he gives his mind time for relaxation as soon as he has done so and appears indifferent to the game until his opponent moves. Then he begins studying again. His opponent, Pollock, has a red mustache. He might be taken for a Boston swell any day. He is a very deep student and hardly ever takes his eyes off the board.’
Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) identifies the man standing on the right as Ehrhardt Post (1881-1947). We add below a photograph of Post from page 12 of the 1 January 1942 issue of Deutsche Schachblätter:
Wanted: information about James Ferguson, who died in Lockport, NY, USA on 7 December 1888 at the age of 84. His obituary on page 5 of the New York Times, 9 December 1888 described him as ‘a noted Scotch chessplayer and scholar’ born in Aberdeen and educated at Edinburgh University:
‘As a chessplayer Mr Ferguson had few equals in this country. Every Fall he went to New York, where he passed several weeks, meeting all the noted players in the country. He was in a number of tournaments and won a large number of them.’
The above appeared between pages 80 and 81 of An Authenticated Contemporary Portrait of Shakespeare by Tracy Kingman (New York, 1932). This illustration was the frontispiece:
Jackson Whipps Showalter
We now note the following reference in Showalter’s obituary on page 63 of the March 1935 Chess Review:
‘Mr Showalter was famous as a baseball player and was an ardent fan up until the latter part of his life, when bad health kept him at home. He was the first man in Kentucky to pitch a curve ball and one of the seven men who discovered the curve.’
Which chess master wrote a book with these illustrations?
It is proving difficult to find out more about Henry Edward St John Mildmay, but Luca D’Ambrosio (Bolzano, Italy) points out that he was President of the Milan Chess Club and played a role in the Italian Chess Association, as mentioned in a report about the Meran, 1926 tournament on page 158 of Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten, January-March 1927:
‘Dr Mildmay-Mailand, der Präsident des Schachklubs Mailand, übermittelte die Grüße der Federazione Scacchistica Italiana ...’
Rod Edwards (Victoria, BC, Canada) notes a report on page 73 of the New York, 1857 tournament book that ‘Mr James Ferguson, of Lockport’ was appointed to the committee ‘on the problem tournay’, while page 146 listed him among those who sent letters regretting their inability to attend the congress. Finally, in the article on ‘Chess in New York’ page 414 mentioned ‘Mr J. Ferguson, of Lockport’ as a frequent visitor to the New York Club at its rooms in Twelfth Street after it was established there in 1856.
Further particulars will be welcomed concerning the familiar story below, which is taken from page 22 of the 16 July 1887 issue of the Columbia Chess Chronicle:
‘The brothers L. and W. Paulsen were always known to be remarkably slow players. At an international tournament, before clocks were introduced to regulate the number of moves to be made in an hour, W. Paulsen consumed just 70 minutes in making a move in a game which he was playing with Zukertort. Z., who was conversely known as a remarkably rapid player, to pass the tedious time engaged in conversation with an amiable lady sitting near the table, and who had followed the development of the game with more than common interest. At last Paulsen moved his queen from Kt2-B3.
The lady unable to conceal her surprise exclaimed, “so short a move after so long a deliberation”.’
Readers are invited to contemplate exactly what was meant by this item on page 17 of The Bright Side of Chess by Irving Chernev (Philadelphia, 1948):
‘Harold Morton’s witty sizing up of a game being played between Herman Steiner and George Treysman in Chicago in 1937. ... “I saw that Steiner was a pawn up for the exchange, but I also saw a glassy look in Herman’s eye. I intuitively knew that the glassy look was worth the exchange.”’
The ‘glassy look’ implies wily stoicism on the part of Steiner, despite his being behind on material, but we wonder whether that was the intended meaning in the report which appeared at the time (Chess Review, March 1938, page 71):
‘Morton commented upon the Steiner-Treysman game as follows: “I saw that Steiner was a pawn up for the exchange, but I also saw a glassy look in Herman’s eye (Herman was suffering from hay fever at the time). I intuitively knew that the glassy look was worth the exchange.”’
We do not recall seeing the game-score, but the following appeared in the tournament report on page 224 of the October 1937 Chess Review:
‘Steiner’s bad luck continued. In the seventh round he secured a won game against Treysman by virtue of attacking play, only to blunder in time-pressure and finally lose on the time-limit.’
Kevin Marchese (Canal Winchester, OH, USA) informs us that he is writing a book on Jackson Whipps Showalter, with the assistance of some of the master’s relatives, and that the work will show that Showalter was born on 5 February 1859 (and not 5 February 1860, as previously believed). His exact place of birth is still being investigated.
This sketch (from life) of Showalter by Mrs G.A. Anderson was published on page 67 of the 1922 issue of Chess Pie. It was also reproduced to accompany an article on Showalter by W.H. Watts on pages 44-45 of the Chess Budget, 11 November 1925.
From an interview with Helmut Pfleger on page 98 of the 5/2008 New in Chess:
‘What is the best chess truth you ever heard?
What Siegbert Tarrasch said to Emanuel Lasker before their world championship match in Düsseldorf 1908: “For you, Dr Lasker, I have only three words: ‘Schach und Matt!’” Then he lost horribly, excusing himself partly because of the sea climate there.’
How far back can the ‘Schach und Matt’ story be traced? It appeared on page 118 of Emanuel Lasker Biographie eines Schachweltmeisters by J. Hannak (Berlin-Frohnau, 1952):
Below is the English version, from page 130 of Hannak’s Emanuel Lasker The Life of a Chess Master (London, 1959):
The ‘sea air’ matter was discussed on pages 188-189 of Chess Explorations and in C.N. 5517. We wonder whether Tarrasch gave any further explanation or apology for his claim to have been affected by the sea air in Düsseldorf, which is roughly 180 kilometres from the coast.
Below is a report on page 289 of the September 1908 Deutsche Schachzeitung.
We learn of Mr O’Keefe’s death with the deepest regret. His knowledge of chess and his research skills were outstanding, as were his numerous contributions to Chess Notes. He was one of our finest correspondents.
Jack O’Keefe (photographs contributed by Carla Campbell)
An annotational disagreement occurred between Staunton and Saint-Amant regarding two positions in the 16th game of their match in Paris, played on 11 December 1843.
Here, Staunton played 20 exf5, and Saint-Amant commented on page 66 of the February 1844 issue of Le Palamède:
‘Ceci est un désavantage, car les 2P de la D doublés ne sont plus liés ensemble, et le plus avancé sera peut-être difficile à défendre.’ [‘This is disadvantageous, as the doubled d-pawns are no longer linked together, and the more advanced one will perhaps be difficult to defend.’]
Staunton quoted this in the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1 April 1844, page 99 and responded:
‘Now we, on the contrary, opine that the taking this pawn increased the advantage in position which White had previously obtained.’
After 20 exf5 the game continued 20...gxf5 21 Nh5 Qe8 22 Nxf6+ Rxf6 23 fxe5 Qxe5.
At this point Saint-Amant commented in Le Palamède:
‘Bien préférable à prendre du P. Les Noirs ont maintenant l’attaque, et leur jeu est supérieur à celui de leur adversaire.’ [‘Much better than taking with the pawn. Black now has the attack, and his game is better than his opponent’s.’]
In the Chess Player’s Chronicle, Staunton disagreed:
‘In the Palamède for February, page 66, note (6), we are gravely told at the present point, “Les Noirs ont maintenant l’attaque (!!), et leur jeu est supérieur à celui de leur adversaire” (!!!). We shall have much pleasure in affording the Editor of Le Palamède an opportunity of verifying this, to us, somewhat startling assertion; and for the purpose, we undertake, on his next visit to London, to play White’s game against him from this move, half-a-dozen times, for as many guineas as he may think proper to risk on the result.’
Saint-Amant reverted to these matters on pages 164-168 of the April 1844 issue of Le Palamède. Concerning 20 exf5 he maintained his standpoint, adding that it was a question of theoretical principle on which most experts would agree with him. (‘Nous ne voyons pas dans les paroles de M. Staunton le moindre motif de rien changer à ce que nous avons dit. Ceci est une question de principe théorique, sur laquelle nous ne craignons pas d’avancer que nous aurons certainement la majorité des connaisseurs de notre côté.’)
As regards the second position, Saint-Amant maintained that Black had the attack, whilst adding that it was a matter of taste:
The two positions entail general positional considerations, rather than specific analysis, and we should like to know how a modern master assesses the respective views of Saint-Amant and Staunton.
The game, which Saint-Amant won at move 58, lasted nine hours (Le Palamède, February 1844, page 66).
Stephen Davies (Kallista, Australia) reports that further pen-portraits of the participants in New York, 1889 were published on page 8 of the New York Times, 16 June 1889, under the heading ‘The Chessboard Kings’, with the subtitle ‘Ways and looks of 20 great players’. The extracts transcribed below (which often go awry with the players’ ages) focus on physical descriptions:
‘Blackburne is about 50 years of age, and rather tall, with a small, light-colored beard a little mixed with gray. Although his expression is mild and phlegmatic, it is marked with self-esteem, and in his talk he can throw in now and then bits of cutting sarcasm. He has a patient, plodding look while at play, but when he is making up some intricate combination his face becomes slightly suffused, and his eyes assume a far-away look. ... He is fond of smoking and hugely enjoys sitting back in his chair and puffing away cross-legged, but with his eyes always on the board. His pipe often goes out, and he burns up an enormous number of matches. He took a fancy to American cigars and also appreciated good old rye ...
Michael Chigorin of St Petersburg is about 35 years of age, a little below the middle height, but compactly built. He has regular features and rather dark complexion, and his hair and short beard are jet black, but what strikes one is the extreme blueness of his eyes. They are large and have a thoughtful expression, although when he is telling a story they beam with merriment. He does not smoke at all, but drinks a good deal of coffee and tea and, occasionally, a glass of whisky.
... Chigorin is attentive to the game and does a great deal of thinking. Sometimes he closely watches the expression in his antagonist’s countenance as though to see what tactics he can best employ against him. Then he looks like a Tartar tiger about to spring upon his prey, a slight twitch of the shoulder or arm being the only movement visible ...
Max Weiss is one of the most careful and conservative chessplayers. In appearance he is a small-built man of fair complexion, very light brown mustache, mild, thoughtful eyes, and a well-developed, polished brow. With his hat on his head, and it is often there, hiding his forehead, he looks like a mild, easy-going German who takes life easily and knows how to enjoy both lager beer and a good cigar ...
Amos Burn, the champion of Liverpool, and his hat and pipe are inseparable. It was whispered that all three slept together at night. However, the charge was not believed, because his hat, which was a derby, never showed any breaks or other marks of ill usage, and was always carefully brushed. Mr Burn might be taken for a studious labor agitator, not of the professional class, though, but of those who are in earnest and study the problem, for his face has a thoughtful look. He is nearsighted, and his spectacles give him a scholarly appearance.
... Isidor Gunsberg was brought up in London, and has the appearance of an Englishman. His hair is very light, and he is slightly bald on the top of his head. A little below the medium height, he is not slender. His eyes are weak and trouble him a little. In his movements and conversation he is deliberate, his chess training having probably disciplined him to be guarded in everything he undertakes. Unlike the other players, he neither smokes nor drinks, because both vices disagree with him. The only beverages he indulges in besides water are vichy and tea. ... If he refuses the offer of a draw he does so without any bluster, for he is modest and gentlemanly. When he wins, he nods, and smiles at his defeated antagonist.
Bird is past his 60th year. He is tall, very well built, and in his younger days must have been a handsome, muscular man of presentable appearance. His skin is fair, and his light blue eyes, under a well-shaped brow, beam with intelligent good humor except when they are clouded by twinges of pain from rheumatism. It has already bent his form, and he walks with difficulty. Toward the end of the tournament he frequently appeared with his right hand swollen and bandaged up. When playing, Mr Bird’s face becomes grave and thoughtfully intent upon the game before him. He does not scan the face of his adversary, and seldom takes his eyes off the board. Every now and then he painfully shifts from side to side, as though seeking relief from pain, and smokes a great deal. He prefers a Cuban cigar, but when he cannot get one he fills his pipe and puffs away at that.
... When not at work he likes to sit down to a glass of beer and a pipe, and to engage in a running conversation. He speaks with a broad London accent, although he studiously avoids the vulgar cockney mutilation of the letter h; nor does he aspirate the a. Neither does he pronounce his r like a w, which so many dudes imagine is English. When in London he is a great frequenter of the Criterion.
Mr Bird soon took a liking to American rye, and when he drank a glass of the genuine old Kentucky stuff he fell in love with it at once. But he missed one London attraction, and that was the pretty barmaids, and he expressed his regret at their absence. “I’m an old fellow now”, he used to say, “and the girls won’t flirt any more with me, but still I like a pretty barmaid to hand me my glass of beer, you know.”
Eugene Delmar ... is compactly built, has a frank, affable countenance and sports a luxuriant mustache. He is a thorough New Yorker, and could easily be picked out for one among ten thousand. ... He is an inveterate smoker and always puffs the strongest cigars he can find. Personally Mr Delmar is an affable, genial gentleman who both enjoys and knows how to make a good joke.
Gossip, with his long, flowing beard, looks like one of the old-time monks. He has a good-shaped cranium, bald at the top, and is a little above the medium height. ... He is a deliberate player, but every now and then he takes a nip from a flask of brandy that generally stands on his table ...
Mason ... is a small man with dark hair and bright blue eyes. He comes from London, where he was left an orphan at a very tender age, and whatever prominence he has attained he owes directly to his own inherent genius. He has quick and clear perception at chess, and has the ability to circumvent an enemy. His only faults are boon companionship and a weakness for strong drink, of much of which he is physically unable to partake. ... He is a great smoker.
Lipschütz is generally regarded as the champion chessplayer of New York. He is about 35 years of age, rather tall and spare, and has a prominent nose. ... He is sociable and well liked by his acquaintances.
Max Judd is a clothing merchant of St Louis, and was one of the wealthiest contestants in the tournament. He is a well-built man of pleasing appearance, and has much confidence in himself as a chessplayer ...
The distinguishing traits of Showalter are a tremendously big pair of blonde mustaches and a frank, open countenance. He is tall and dignified in his bearing, and gentlemanly in his behavior. Like many other players he is fond of a good smoke, and likes to have a general good time after his work is over ...
Burille ... has the appearance of a good-natured New Englander, of medium height, thin and nervous, and given to joking and growling alternately. He is an excellent judge of the quality of whisky, however disguised it may be by the ingenious manipulation of an artist in mixed drinks, and is also a great smoker ...
Taubenhaus is rather below the medium stature, has mild brown eyes and a black beard. He almost always wears his hat, and is always puffing away at a cigar or pipe.
MacLeod is a Canadian of Scotch descent. He is only 18 years of age and does not look any older ...
Pollock is a young man of about 30 years, blond, and sports a good-sized, reddish-golden mustache. While playing he crosses his legs and with one hand holds a cigar to his lips and supports the other with the other hand. Although of a good-natured disposition he is very earnest in whatever he undertakes and, unlike most Irishmen, for he was born in Dublin [sic], where his family belongs, he is not very quick to perceive the point of a dry joke ...
Dion Martinez of Philadelphia is rather an elderly gentleman, tall and dignified. He was regarded as one of the strongest chessplayers in Philadelphia, but has not practiced much for two years past, and financial adversities have tended to detract his mind from the game.
Of the Baird brothers, David G. is the better player by far. He plays with characteristic Scotch carefulness, for he is of Scotch descent. Of medium height, he is inclined to stoutness, and is of light complexion. His brother John W. is very thin, although he looks like his brother in the face. He was one of the slowest players in the tournament.
Major Hanham is a little, nervous man, who hates to sit still. He won his title during the war of the rebellion. He was one of the dudes of the tournament, and was always dressed in the latest style, with a carefully polished silk hat and neatly trimmed beard.’
Can any reader cite an authoritative source for the date and place of death of John Washington Baird?
Andy Ansel (Laurel Hollow, NY, USA) notes that in a section of games played at Chicago, 1937 the following score was given on page 75 of the July-August 1937 American Chess Bulletin, headed ‘Steiner Treysman’:
1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Nbd7 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 c6 7 Qc2 O-O 8 Rd1 Re8 9 a3 Nf8 10 Bd3 dxc4 11 Bxc4 Nd5 12 Bxe7 Qxe7 13 Ne4 b6 14 Ne5 Bb7 15 O-O f6 16 Nd3 Rad8 17 Ng3 Kh8 18 Ba2 Ng6 19 Rfe1 Qd6 20 Bb1 Ba6 21 h4 f5 22 h5 Bxd3 23 Qxd3 Nf8 24 e4 fxe4 25 Rxe4 Nf6 26 Re3 Qd5 27 Rf3 Qg5 28 Qc2 e5 29 h6 Qxh6 30 Nf5 Qh5 31 Rh3 Qf7 32 Qxc6 exd4 33 Qc1 Ne4 34 Qf4 Ng6 35 Qg4 Nf6 36 Qg3 Ne4
37 Bxe4 Rxe4 38 Nd6 Qe6 39 Nxe4 Qxe4 40 Qd3 Qe6 41 Re3 Qg4 42 Re4 Nf4 43 Qf3 Qxf3 44 gxf3 g5 45 Kh2 d3 46 Re5 h6 47 Re7 Rc8 48 Rd2 a5 49 Rb7 Rc6 50 b4 a4 51 b5 Rd6 52 Rd1 Ne2 53 Rc7 Rd4 54 Kg2 Nf4+ 55 Kg3 Nd5 56 Rd7 d2 57 Kh2 Kg8 58 f4 gxf4 59 Kg2 Rd3 60 Rd6
The conclusion reported by the magazine (A. Edward Santasiere) was:
‘White resigns ... The position is now won for Black. It was a hard-fought game; Steiner, having worked out a win, let it slip away ... with Treysman’s help.’
In contrast, as quoted in C.N. 5705 Chess Review reported that Steiner lost on time. However, the major discrepancy relates to the entire basis of the Morton quip about the glassy look. It will be recalled that he supposedly commented:
‘I saw that Steiner was a pawn up for the exchange ...’
We note that in the above game it is Steiner who was
the exchange ahead.
Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) submits three sketches featuring Lasker, Chigorin, Pillsbury and Steinitz (the participants at St Petersburg, 1895-96). The illustrations are taken from the New York Tribune chess column of, respectively, 8 December 1895, 5 January 1896 and 12 January 1896.
For an item in preparation it will be much appreciated if a reader can send us a high-resolution scan of the Carlsbad, 1907 group photograph as it appeared a) opposite page 257 of the September 1907 Deutsche Schachzeitung and b) on page ix of Das Internationale Schachmeisterturnier in Karlsbad 1907.
Regarding the annotational disagreement between Staunton and Saint-Amant arising from the 16th game of their match in Paris in 1843, the first diagram below shows the position after 19...Na7-b5. Play continued 20 exf5 gxf5 21 Nh5 Qe8 22 Nxf6+ Rxf6 23 fxe5 Qxe5, reaching the second diagram.
Yasser Seirawan (Amsterdam) writes:
‘After 19...Nb5 I much prefer Black’s position. I consider Staunton’s move 20 exf5 to be dubious because, as Saint-Amant correctly points out, the d5-pawn becomes weak. After 21 Nh5 I would have played 21...Bh8, retaining the two bishops and raising the question of what the white knight is actually doing on h5.
Regarding the second position, I am not sure that Black stands better any more, and he may have frittered away his advantage at this point by failing to keep his two bishops. So is Saint-Amant’s claim that Black has the attack true? After 24 Bb2 Nd4 (if 24...Qe3+ 25 Kh1 Rf7 26 Rf3 and 27 Nf4, I do not see Black’s “attack” at all) 25 Bxd4 cxd4 26 Nf4, and White’s problems are over.’
In C.N. 5620 a correspondent requested information about Angelo Lewis, who brought out The Games of Greco (London, 1900) under the pseudonym Professor Louis Hoffmann.
Thomas A. Sawyer (Irvine, CA, USA) informs us that from 1974 to 1986 he published 17 issues of a journal entitled The Hoffmann Collector which included an occasional ‘Chess Corner’. For example, page 179 of the August 1979 issue quoted a reference to a consultation game involving Lewis (the other players being J.H. Blackburne, R. Teichmann and W. Shadforth Boger) from page 238 of the June 1901 BCM, as well as mentioning Lewis’s Introduction to Chess Novelties by H.E. Bird (London, 1895).
Our correspondent adds:
‘In 1977 I published a book authored by J.B. Findlay and me, entitled Professor Hoffmann: A Study. Hoffmann is known mainly as an author and translator of books on magic, although he wrote, edited or translated books on a wide variety of subjects.’
We have been reading the book with much interest. It describes Professor Hoffmann as ‘the great Victorian father of modern magic literature’. Page 2 states that he died (almost certainly in Bexhill-on-Sea) on 23 December 1919, and this corrects a source quoted in C.N. 5620, which gave 1918. Page 7 quotes from the Windsor Magazine, October 1896 Lewis’ explanation of his choice of pseudonym when preparing publication of a book on magic:
‘I hit upon “Hoffmann” as a name of uncertain nationality and left the public to imagine, if they chose, that some distinguished German or American wizard was giving away the secrets of his craft.’
Mr Sawyer informs us that the Windsor Magazine feature was also the source of the frontispiece photograph:
The other picture of him given in the book, on page 66, appeared in the July 1900 issue of Mahatma, which is described as ‘the first important magic magazine’:
The illustrations in the present item are reproduced with the kind permission of Mr Sawyer.
John Hill (Berwick, PA, USA) seeks assistance with identifying signatures on an envelope from the 1962 Lasker Memorial tournament in Berlin.
Our correspondent has put together this key so far:
The participants were Vasiukov, Stein, Udovčić, O’Kelly, Fichtl, Minev, Uhlmann, Doda, Fuchs, Malich, Drimer, Liebert, Barcza, Beni, Enevoldsen and Rätsch.
We are grateful to Ed Hamelrath (Memphis, TN, USA) for raising the subject of the 1940 game between Bogoljubow and Rellstab, as given on pages 199-200 of 107 Great Chess Battles by A. Alekhine (Oxford, 1980):
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b5 3 Bg5 Bb7 4 e3 a6 5 Nbd2 e6 6 a4 b4 7 Bd3 c5 8 O-O Be7 9 dxc5 Bxc5 10 e4
10...Be7 (Alekhine appended a question mark to this move and wrote, in our translation in the above-mentioned book: ‘It was absolutely essential to play 10…d6 although White would have obtained the advantage in any case by 11 e5 dxe5 12 Nxe5 Qd4 13 Nef3 Qd7 14 Re1 O-O 15 c4 bxc3 16 bxc3, followed by 17 Qc2 and 18 Rad1.’) 11 e5 Nd5 12 Bxe7 Nxe7 13 Nc4 Nc8 14 Re1 d5 15 exd6 Nxd6 16 Bg6 hxg6 17 Nxd6+ Ke7 18 Nxb7 Qc7 19 Qd5 Rh5 20 Qe4 Nc6 21 g4 Resigns.
Mr Hamelrath comments that, in the note cited, 15 c4 allows Black the simple win of a piece with 15…Qxd3.
The game was taken from pages 249-251 of Alekhine’s posthumous book Gran Ajedrez (Madrid, 1947), where White’s 13th move in Alekhine’s variation appeared merely as ‘13 C3A’, with no mention of whether it was the knight on e5 or on d2 that went to f3. In the light of our correspondent’s remark it seems evident that we should have given the move as 13 Ndf3, and not 13 Nef3. Alekhine’s note contained ‘13 Ndf3’ on page 231 of Bogoljubow – The Fate of a Chess Player by Sergei Soloviov (Sofia, 2004), although here too there is a complication: Black’s reply was specified as 13...Qd5, and not 13...Qd7 as in Gran Ajedrez.
We now see a further discrepancy in Gran Ajedrez (whose title page, incidentally, even misspelled Alekhine’s name, as ‘Alehkine’). The Spanish book stated that the Bogoljubow v Rellstab game was played in Cracow (‘Torneo del gobierno general de Polonia, octubre 1940. Celebrado en Cracovia’), and 107 Great Chess Battles also gave ‘Cracow’, as did the second volume of Bogoljubow’s games by Jack Spence published by the Chess Player (page 106) and page 68 of S. Petrović’s monograph on Bogoljubow (Zagreb, 1977). However, the above-mentioned Bogoljubow book by Soloviov had ‘Warsaw 1940’ and, on the basis of the reports in Deutsche Schachzeitung and Deutsche Schachblätter, it now seems to us that Warsaw, and not Cracow, is correct.
According to page 193 of Deutsche Schachblätter, 1 December 1940, which gave the crosstable, the tournament took place on 3-17 November 1940 (‘October’ was thus another mistake in Gran Ajedrez) as follows: in Cracow (rounds 1-4), in Krynica (rounds 5-7) and in Warsaw (rounds 8-11). Pages 169-170 of the November 1940 Deutsche Schachzeitung listed Bogoljubow’s opponents in the first four rounds (i.e. those played in Cracow) as Ahues, Richter, Müller and Gilg.
Rellstab himself was the annotator of his game against Bogoljubow on page 198 of the 1 December 1940 issue of Deutsche Schachblätter. No venue or round number was indicated in the game heading, but round nine/Warsaw was specified when Max Blümich briefly annotated the game on pages 9-10 of the January 1941 Deutsche Schachzeitung.
Even so, as regards the opening both German magazines
had the game heading ‘Krakauer Verteidigung’
(Cracow Defence). The order of the initial moves in
each periodical was 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 d4 b5, whereas Gran
Ajedrez had 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b5.
Finally, at the end of the game the Spence and Petrović books added moves which were absent from both Deutsche Schachzeitung and Deutsche Schachblätter: 21...Rh6 22 Nc5.
Further to the Tarrasch-Lasker story, we note the
following variation on a theme: a passage by
Saint-Amant in the course of his bitter public dispute
with Staunton. It comes from page 40 of Le
Palamède, January 1845:
Mark Thornton (Cambridge, England) notes contradictory
versions of Legall’s famous mate, in a rook-odds game
generally reported as won against Saint Brie in Paris in
1750. 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 d6 3 Nf3 Bg4 4 Nc3 g6 (or 1 e4 e5 2
Nf3 d6 3 Bc4 Bg4 4 Nc3 g6)
5 Nxe5 Bxd1 6 Bxf7+ Ke7 7 Nd5 mate.
Our correspondent draws particular attention to the following on page 91 of A Selection of Games at Chess by George Walker (London, 1835):
1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 d6 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Nc3 Bg4
5 Nxe5 (Mr Thornton comments: ‘In this version, Black could refute the combination by 5...Nxe5, winning knight for pawn.’) 5...Bxd1 6 Bxf7+ Ke7 7 Nd5 mate.
What is the earliest known publication of each of these versions (and any others)?
As regards the spelling Legall, most modern authorities follow the usage popularized by the original (1984) edition of The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld. In C.N. 910 the latter explained why the book had ‘Legall de Kermeur’:
‘... I have from the French Ministère de la Défense the military record of Legall’s father, Lt. General René François Legall (1652-1724). I spent some time in the Breton “captial” Rennes, examining, in the Bibliothèque Municipale, details of the Legall family. The general’s wife was born c. 1675 and lived to be about 90. She had two sons, the elder was our man, Legall de Kermeur, who seems to have been born when his father was on duty on the Rhine. The second was Le Chevalier Legall. Useful references are Dictionnaire de la Noblesse 1757-1765, and Nobiliaire et Armorial de Bretagne by Pol Potier de Courcy. Despite all this, I failed to find his forename(s).’
C.N. 5701 asked which master wrote a book with these illustrations. The answer is Lajos Steiner, in a work mentioned to us by Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada): Die Rotary-Bohrmaschinen und ihre Antriebe (Berlin, 1936).
In the same field we also have Steiner’s longer, earlier volume, published when he was in his early 20s: Tiefbohrwesen, Förderverfahren und Elektrotechnik in der Erdölindustrie (Berlin, 1926). A further non-chess book by him which is of more general interest is Unter Palmen, Bohrtürmen, Wolkenkratzern ... (Stuttgart, 1931). Illustrated with 60 photographs, it described his travels in North and Latin America in February-June 1930.
The book refrained from discussion of chess (e.g. his match against Kashdan in New York), but Steiner provided an account of chess in the United States on pages 75-76 of the March 1931 Magyar Sakkvilág.
The feature below was published on page 55 of the March 1930 American Chess Bulletin:
In reverting to a matter raised by Philippe Kesmaecker (Maintenon, France) in C.N. 5685, we include two good-quality scans kindly supplied by Per Skjoldager (Fredericia, Denmark).
The three photographs below appeared respectively a) on page ix of Das Internationale Schachmeisterturnier in Karlsbad 1907, b) opposite page 445 of the October 1907 BCM and c) opposite page 257 of the September 1907 Deutsche Schachzeitung:
As Mr Kesmaecker remarked to us, the figures in the background progressively disappear.
Our correspondent furthermore mentioned the existence on the Internet of a slightly different shot of the group (with, for example, Janowsky in profile), and we have found a copy (also with much airbrushing) in the plates section of Maróczy Géza élete és pályafutása by József Szily (Budapest, 1957):
From Rod Edwards (Victoria, BC, Canada):
‘Page 3 of Gino Di Felice’s Chess Results, 1747-1900 (Jefferson, 2004) lists a tournament at the “Cigar Divan” in London in 1840, suggesting by the numbering of the players that the (first?) four places were taken by Buckle, Bird, Williams and Tuckett, in that order. It is clear that there is an error here, at least in the date, since Bird was born in 1830. On page xii of his Chess History and Reminiscences (London, 1893) Bird wrote that he first visited Simpson’s Divan in 1846, and on page 23 of The Bristol Chess Club (Bristol, 1883) John Burt stated that Williams left Bristol for London in 1844.
The four players listed in Di Felice’s book all took part in the tournament at the Divan in London in 1849 (Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1849, pages 65-66 and 113) but did not finish in the order given in his book. However, page xii of Bird’s volume stated: “The earliest perfectly open tournaments were two on a small scale at Simpson’s in 1848 and 1849 ...”. While Bird’s memory was not always perfect, could the “London, 1840” tournament be the 1848 event referred to by Bird?’
Mr Di Felice’s book gave no source regarding the ‘London, 1840’ tournament. Indeed, it was not until the sixth volume of the series, covering 1941-46, that the need to state specific sources was recognized.
Tony French (Worthing, England) quotes from page 10 of Why You Lose at Chess by Fred Reinfeld (London, 1957):
‘The immortal Tarrasch glibly explained that his disappointing play at the Hastings Tournament in 1895 was caused by the sea air.’
In C.N. 1688 (see page 189 of Chess Explorations) we wrote, after mentioning the ‘sea air’ claim regarding Düsseldorf:
‘Tarrasch was doubtless on terra that was more firma when he “complained of lassitude from the effects of the sea air at Hastings in 1895” (American Chess Bulletin, July 1905, page 250).’
The following page of the Bulletin had a
sketch of Tarrasch by Julius Hess from the New
Yorker Staats Zeitung, the context being the
Ostend, 1905 tournament:
‘Page 81 reports that Steinitz used the term hanging pawns, but page 144 states that Nimzowitsch introduced it.’
If the page references are replaced by 135 and 213, the comment of ours also applies to The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek (London, 1977). That is no great surprise, given that so much of Golombek’s book was repeated by Divinsky, without acknowledgement or care.
On the substantive matter of when, and by whom, the term ‘hanging pawns’ was first used, the earliest citation that we can currently offer (‘die zwei “hängenden” Bauern’) is on page 56 of Das Grossmeisterturnier zu St Petersburg by Siegbert Tarrasch (Nuremberg, 1914) after 14...bxc5 in Tarrasch’s notes to his game (as Black) against Nimzowitsch:
Information is still being sought on who (e.g. Tarrasch or Tartakower) coined the phrase ‘All rook endgames are drawn’. Mark Donlan (Harwich, MA, USA) quotes from page 166 of Profile of a Prodigy by Frank Brady (New York, 1973) concerning the tournament in Rovinj-Zagreb, 1970:
‘When Fischer played against Petrosian in the final round, the Armenian secured an opening advantage, but Fischer dominated the rook ending. Petrosian said later that he remembered Tartakower’s statement that “all rook endgames are drawn”, and the thought comforted him.’
C.N. 5716 referred to the consultation game J.H. Blackburne and W. Shadforth Boger v R. Teichmann and A. Lewis (Hastings, 1901). Shadforth Boger is not a familiar figure, but Paul Buswell (Hastings, England) reports:
‘The Shadforth Boger Cup is still awarded each year to this day within the Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club – an impressive silver cup hallmarked 1905.’
Proposals regarding the signatures on the envelope reproduced in C.N. 5717 have been received from Carsten Møller Larsen (Virum, Denmark), Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), Per Skjoldager (Fredericia, Denmark), Mark N. Taylor (Mt Berry, GA, USA) and Martin Weissenberg (Savyon, Israel). On the basis of our correspondents’ suggestions and his own further study, John Hill (Berwick, PA, USA) has updated the key as follows:
‘... Dagegen ist Janowski einer der hervorragendsten Vertreter der neuen Schule. Sein Spiel regelt sich vor allem nach schachwissenschaftlichen Grundsätzen, es ist System und Methode darin. Er bemüht sich fortwährend, die allgemein anerkannten Prinzipien zur Geltung zu bringen, “die zwei Läufer”, die Bauernmajorität auf dem Damenflügel, rückständige “hängende” Bauern des Gegners zu erreichen, er strebt nach kleinen Teilerfolgen und Akkumulirung derselben. Er spielt wissenschaftlich farblos, objektiv.’
Two photographs of the Keres Museum in Tallinn were presented in C.N. 5230, courtesy of Fabio Molin (Rome). In August 2008 Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) also visited the museum, and below are three of the photographs he has sent us:
Michael Lorenz (Vienna) has submitted a photograph which he took at Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof. Grünfeld was buried there on 9 April 1962.
Mr Lorenz also writes:
‘The Vienna gravesite register gives Grünfeld’s first names as “Ernest Franz”. Is it known whether he ever signed his first name as Ernest, rather than Ernst?’
Prompted by C.N. 5720, Dominique Thimognier (St Cyr sur Loire, France) has been investigating Legall and has succeeded in establishing his exact date of birth: 4 September 1702. For further details, see our correspondent’s article Legall (sire de Kermeur).
The origins of the epithet ‘the Pride and Sorrow of Chess’ for Paul Morphy are still unknown. It may be recalled that the earliest occurrence found so far is on page 113 of the April 1885 International Chess Magazine, where Steinitz wrote:
‘... the fearful misfortune which ultimately befell “the pride and sorrow of chess”, as Sheriff Spens justly calls Morphy, can only evoke the warmest sympathy in every human breast.’
As previously noted, the phrase is absent from the two poems about Morphy which Walter Cook Spens (1842-1900) published in the Glasgow Weekly Herald: 25 November 1882, page 7 (one stanza) and 19 July 1884, page 7 (five stanzas). C.N. 5223 discussed the complexities surrounding the latter work, which, we now add, was also published on pages 225-229 of Spens’ anthology Darroll and Other Poems (Edinburgh, 1881).
The ‘Chess Trifles’ section of the book comprised the following:
‘An’ lo! the bonnie Queen as well,
Worth twa big Rooks – ay, a’ that,
A wee bit chancy pawn may sell
An’ trip her up for a’ that.’
Concerning the phrase ‘the Pride and Sorrow of Chess’, we are thus as far as ever from tracing the original source.
Tim Jake Gluckman (Cologne, Germany) asks whether information is available on any contact between Francisco Franco and Arturo Pomar.
At present we can think of nothing apart from a photograph of them standing together, which was published, in small format, on the front cover of the 1 January 1997 issue of Jaque:
C.N.s 3806 and 3813 quoted an item entitled ‘Hodges in the Movies’ on page 47 of the February 1918 American Chess Bulletin:
‘Albert B. Hodges, ex-United States chess champion, has made a number of appearances on the screen, notably as a member of the Russian Duma in War Brides, the Police Inspector in The Auction Block, the Coroner in Empty Pockets and the Butler in the new Brenon picture False Faces.’
Although many of the key details remain elusive, all available information on this aspect of the master’s life is presented on pages 314-315 of an admirable new book, Albert Beauregard Hodges (subtitle: The Man Chess Made) by John S. Hilbert and Peter P. Lahde (Jefferson, 2008).
A.B. Hodges, front cover of the Chess Review, June-July 1941
From page 182 of The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek (London, 1977):
‘The earliest known living chess display seems to have been given by the Sultan Mohammed in Grenada in 1408 and this custom was followed by many princes and kings.’
Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) asks for further details about the 1408 display.
We note that similar statements had been made (without any details) in the chess reference books of P. Sunnucks and E. Brace. The paperback edition of Golombek’s book (page 265) corrected Grenada to Granada.
‘Of all the chess books I have ever written, this is the one that was the most fun, because it has enabled me to share my chess pleasure with the reader.’
Source: page 19 of How To Get More Out Of Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1957). The book was later reprinted under the title An Expert’s Guide to Chess Strategy.
No occurrence of the term ‘hanging pawns’ has yet been found in the writings of Steinitz, but Harrie Grondijs (Rijswijk, the Netherlands) mentions that Steinitz’s annotations to the game Mason v Zukertort, London, 30 April 1883 on page 339 of the Turf, Field and Farm, 18 May 1883 recognized the concept of hanging pawns and called them ‘not so strong’.
The opening moves were 1 c4 e6 2 e3 Nf6 3 Nf3 d5 4 d4 Be7 5 Nc3 O-O 6 Bd3 b6 7 cxd5 exd5 8 Ne5 Bb7 9 O-O c5
Now Mason played 10 Bd2, and Steinitz wrote:
‘10 dxc5 is, we believe, preferable. The centre pawns are not so strong when isolated.’
After 10 Bd2 Black played 10...Nc6, and Steinitz remarked:
‘He should not have given him another chance of exchanging pawns, and it was better to advance 10...c4 at once.’
Pierre Bourget (Quebec, Canada) supplies a depiction of the London, 1899 tournament, from page 11 of the Montreal Weekly Witness, 18 July 1899:
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