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This particularly early photograph of Reshevsky, from page 11 of Wiener Bilder, 30 September 1917, has been submitted by Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic):
Mr Kalendovský also draws attention to a photograph of Petrosian (signed by the master overleaf) in his collection:
From Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England):
‘C.N. 6678 mentioned that the Alain White Collection was housed in the South Africa National Library. However, this is a collection not of A.C. White’s own chess books but of about 500 volumes compiled by Donald G. McIntyre and named after A.C. White.
Our correspondent asks what became of A.C. White’s own chess book collection, which numbered ‘somewhat less than 2,000 volumes’ in 1907, according to an article by White on page 38 of the Chess Amateur, November 1907.
Wanted: substantiation of this ‘once’ quotation:
‘Alekhine once said, “There must be no reasoning from past moves, only from the present position”.’
Source: The Golden Dozen by Irving Chernev (Oxford, 1976), page 260.
Robert John McCrary (Columbia, SC, USA) writes:
‘My copy of Stamma’s The Noble Game of Chess (London, 1745), which introduced the algebraic notation to the West, has the bookplate of the “Marquis Townshend”. I found that the first Marquis was the brother of the man who authored the “Townshend Acts”, which were among the sparks that helped bring on the American Revolution. The Marquis title was first conferred on the family some years after 1745.
I wonder whether my copy belonged to that first Marquis. His son, who inherited the title, was an avid book collector.’
Among the subscribers to Philidor’s Analyse du jeu des échecs was ‘M. Townshend’.
Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten,
March 1932, page 70
From Peter Anderberg (Harmstorf, Germany):
‘The mate in three was published in Nimzowitsch’s chess column on page 6 of the Baltische Zeitung of 11 December 1918, in an article dealing with smothered mate. (Note that the white king is on c1.)
A number of articles from Nimzowitsch’s column in that publication were reprinted in my article “Aaron Nimzowitsch und die Baltische Zeitung” in Kaissiber, October-December 2007, pages 54-65.’
‘Aron Nimzovich had an ego problem. After Carlsbad, 1929 he added a sign to his apartment door that read: CANDIDATE FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. “So you won’t forget?”, he was asked. “So that the chess world doesn’t forget”, he replied.’
No source was offered.
Patrick Neslias (Esse, France) provides two photographs of Léonardus Nardus from his collection:
Léonardus Nardus (left)
and an unnamed opponent
Left to right: Frank
James Marshall, Léonardus Nardus,
Marie Gendreau (governess) and Pierre Boucherle (painter and friend of Nardus)
Mr Neslias informs us that in October 2010 his book Butin Nazi, dealing with Nardus’ final period in Tunisia, will be published by Geste éditions.
We are grateful to Patrick Neslias (Esse, France) for additional illustrations from his collection, including two Marshall items and the ‘other’ Carlsbad, 1929 group photograph (which was referred to in C.N. 5372):
Concerning Akiba Rubinstein’s Later Years Martin Weissenberg (Savyon, Israel) draws attention to a passage on page 123 of Histoire des maîtres belges by M. Wasnair and M. Jadoul (1988):
‘Après la guerre, O’Kelly et Devos rendaient régulièrement visite à Akiba Rubinstein qui avait élu domicile à Bruxelles. Malade, absent, les yeux éteints, le grand A. Rubinstein reprenait vie devant l’échiquier. Comme le contait Devos, “ses yeux s’allumaient sitôt l’échiquier installé”. Rubinstein et O’Kelly ont joué ensemble des dizaines de parties sur le même thème: 1 é4 é5 2 Cf3 Cc6 3 Fb5 Fç5 (le système Cordel de la partie Espagnole). L’étude approfondie de cette variante où O’Kelly conduisait toujours les noirs, deviendra l’une de ses armes favorites. L’enseignement des parties jouées avec A. Rubinstein, mais surtout son travail personnel, permettront à O’Kelly de passer du niveau de bon maître national à celui de maître international et enfin à celui de grand maître.’
Did either O’Kelly or Devos write any articles about their meetings with Rubinstein?
John Blackstone (Las Vegas, NV, USA) notes that on page 7 of the 16 December 1908 issue of the New York Evening Post Emanuel Lasker gave a version of the seventh match-game between Marshall and Mieses (played in Berlin on 28 November 1908) which deviated from the commonly-published score.
Lasker’s text was repeated on page 63 of the December 1908-January 1909 issue of Lasker’s Chess Magazine, and for reasons of legibility that is the version reproduced here:
The game-score as regularly presented elsewhere is below (with, in square brackets, observations by Mr Blackstone on the differences from Lasker’s version):
1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Nf3 Nc6 6 g3 Be6 7 Bg2 Nf6 8 Bg5 Be7 9 dxc5 Qa5 10 O-O Qxc5 11 Rc1 O-O 12 e4 Qa5 13 Bxf6 Bxf6 14 exd5 Rad8 15 Qb3 Bxd5 16 Nxd5 Rxd5 17 Qxb7 Nd4 18 Nxd4 Rxd4 19 a3 Rd2 20 b4 Qxa3 21 Bd5 Bc3
22 Bxf7+ [‘22 Rb1 Rb2 23 Rxb2 Qxb2 24 b5 Qe2 25 Bxf7+ Kh8 is the line given by Lasker.’] 22...Kh8 23 Rb1 Rb2 24 Rxb2 Qxb2 25 b5 Qe2 [‘Now the lines come back together.’] 26 Qxa7 Qxb5 27 Qe3 Qb4 28 Bd5 Bd4 29 Qe2 Qb2 30 Qxb2 Bxb2 31 Kg2 Rd8 32 Rb1 Rxd5 33 Rxb2 h5 34 f4 Kh7 35 Kh3 g5 36 Rb7+ Kg6 37 Rb6+ Kf5 [‘37...Kg7 38 Rb7+ Kg6 39 Rb6+ Kf5 40 Rh6 was given by Lasker.’] 38 Rh6 h4 39 Rh5 Kg6 40 Kg4 hxg3 41 hxg3 [‘This is where Lasker states that Black resigned.’] 41…Kf6 42 Rxg5 Rxg5+ 43 fxg5+ Kg6 44 Kh4 Kg7 45 Kh5 Kh7 46 g6+ Kg7 47 Kg5 Kh8 48 Kh6 Resigns.
The 48-move version was given in various magazines of the time, an example being Deutsches Wochenschach, 13 November 1908, pages 449-450. Even so, Lasker was in Berlin at the time of the game. His column in the Evening Post was headed ‘Berlin, 2 December’, and the introductory text too was reproduced in Lasker’s Chess Magazine (on page 40 of the above-mentioned issue).
Leonard Barden (London) informs us that his daily (Monday-Friday) chess column in the London Evening Standard began in early June 1956. Apart from one week in May 2009 when it appeared on-line only, the column continued in the newspaper until 30 July 2010. Since then, it has been published exclusively on-line.
Has there ever been, in any journalistic field, such a run for a daily column by a single individual?
Leonard Barden (Chess Life, August 1962, page 169)
Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) sends the third game in the Judd v Showalter match, as published on page 5 of the New York Sun, 13 December 1891, and asks whether the score is correct. In particular, do other sources explain Black’s resignation or mention 38...Qxd6 and 40...Rd3 as possibilities?
Max Judd – Jackson Whipps Showalter
Third match-game, St Louis, 10 December 1891
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Bd3 c5 5 Bb5+ Nc6 6 exd5 Qxd5 7 Nf3 Nf6 8 O-O Bxc3 9 bxc3 cxd4 10 Bxc6+ bxc6 11 cxd4 O-O 12 Re1 Nd7 13 Qd3 Rd8 14 Ng5 Nf8 15 Nf3 Ng6 16 c4 Qh5 17 Qe4 Rb8 18 Bf4 Nxf4 19 Qxf4 Ba6 20 Re5 Qg6 21 Rc1 Rb1 22 Ree1 Rxc1 23 Rxc1 Qd3 24 Qc7 Rf8 25 Qxc6 Qa3 26 Re1 Qxa2 27 Ne5 Bc8 28 d5 Qa5 29 Nf3 exd5 30 cxd5 Bg4 31 Rc1 h6 32 Rd1 Rc8 33 Qb7 Qa4 34 Rf1 Qf4 35 h3 Rb8 36 Qxa7 Bxf3 37 gxf3 Rb3 38 d6 Rxf3 39 d7 Qg5+ 40 Kh2 Resigns.
From page 1 of Lessons in Chess, Lessons in Life by Jose A. Fadul (Morrisville and London, 2008):
‘Somebody complained that life is too short to be wasted in trivial games such as chess. But William Napier did retort that such is the fault of life, and not of chess.’
The retort is indeed sometimes attributed to Napier (for example, in a piece which appeared under Frank Elley’s name on page 30 of Chess Life, March 1986), but we do not recall seeing it in Napier’s writings.
As noted in The Most Famous Chess Quotations, ‘Life’s too short for chess’ was a line of dialogue in the play Our Boys by H.J. Byron. Our feature article on Sir John Simon quoted from page 116 of CHESS, 14 December 1937:
‘Deputizing for Sir John at the Sheffield Cutlers’ Feast recently, Dr Burgin, Minister of Transport, referred to the Chancellor’s partiality to chess and added, “Of chess it has been said that life is not long enough for it – but that is the fault of life, not of chess”.’
We commented that the longer quote is often attributed to Irving Chernev, who gave it (without claiming paternity) on page 108 of The Bright Side of Chess (Philadelphia, 1948). Moreover, the book’s layout created the false impression that Chernev was ascribing the remark to Napier.
Another case of confusion arising from the layout of quotes in that section of The Bright Side of Chess is the ‘conferred sight’ remark attributed to Capablanca (see C.N. 4209).
On page 313 of the October 1969 BCM D.J. Morgan listed ‘Life is too short for chess, but that is the fault of life, not chess’ as an unnamed reader’s entry in a ‘Views on Chess’ competition. It was published on page 30 of the Observer of 31 October 1937.
In the above-mentioned BCM item D.J. Morgan stated that the winning entry in the 1937 Observer competition was from Professor H.J. Rose:
‘Intimate conversation without a word spoken; thrilling activity in quiescence; triumph and defeat, hope and despondency, life and death, all within sixty-four squares; poetry and science reconciled; the ancient East at one with modern Europe – that is Chess.’
This is relevant to the discussion of the quote, and its author, in C.N. 5462.
A famous remark, it was reproduced on page 17 of The Big Book of Chess by Eric Schiller (New York, 2006) with only two mistakes (‘quiescent’ and ‘poetry and signs’).
Tom Wiswell has been mentioned in several C.N. items, and now Gene Gnandt (Houston, TX, USA) draws our attention to the checkers master’s appearance on an edition of the television game-show What’s My Line? broadcast on 21 February 1954 (starting at about 5’30” into the segment).
Robert Sherwood (E. Dummerston, VT, USA) points out this photograph on page 23 of the February 1921 American Chess Bulletin:
Justin Horton (Huesca, Spain) comments that many Internet pages place Nimzowitsch’s alleged lament about losing to ‘this idiot’ (Sämisch) not in Berlin, as stated by Kmoch, but at Baden Baden, 1925.
Half-way through that tournament Nimzowitsch did indeed lose to Sämisch, but what evidence exists that such an incident occurred there?
Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) asks for information about the exact occasion when the famous game Wendel v Nimzowitsch (‘Stockholm, 1921’) was played.
Nimzowitsch described it as ‘one of my best games’, and it has been widely printed and praised. For instance, on pages 6-8 of Irving Chernev’s The Golden Dozen (Oxford, 1976) it appeared with the following introduction:
‘There are deep, dark and mysterious moves in this exotic game that could only have been produced by a strange, original genius.’
The game was published (headed ‘Stockholm, 1921’, but without further details) on pages 8-10 of the January-February 1922 issue of the Swedish magazine Tidskrift för Schack, with Nimzowitsch’s annotations:
Acknowledgement: Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) and Peter Holmgren (Stockholm).
A different set of notes by Nimzowitsch appeared on pages 148-150 of Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten, 1 April 1925:
In the German magazine the heading stated that it was a ‘match game’. There was no such reference in a third set of notes by Nimzowitsch, on pages 128-130 of his book Die Praxis meines Systems (Berlin, 1930):
In none of these publications did Nimzowitsch identify White by more than his surname, but the player is almost certainly Verner Wendel (1893-1940), who has an entry in Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia. He was active in Stockholm chess circles during the period in question and participated in a tournament in that city, with Nimzowitsch, in October-November 1920. From page 203 of the November-December 1920 Tidskrift för Schack:
That same issue had Nimzowitsch’s notes to games by Wendel against Olson and Spielmann, but neither of Nimzowitsch’s victories against Wendel in the tournament was given. Nor has any reference to a Nimzowitsch v Wendel match been found in the Swedish magazine or elsewhere.
It may thus be wondered whether the Wendel v Nimzowitsch game under discussion was, in fact, played in the Stockholm tournament of October-November 1920, and not in 1921 as stated by Nimzowitsch. In that case, though, Nimzowitsch could have been expected to publish ‘one of my best games’ in the Tidskrift för Schack of the time, i.e. together with his wins against Olson, Spielmann and Jacobson from the Stockholm, 1920 tournament (which he did annotate in the November-December 1920 edition of the magazine). However, as shown above, his notes to the Wendel v Nimzowitsch game were not published until the January-February 1922 issue.
If, therefore, the date 1921 for the Wendel v Nimzowitsch game is correct after all, an event in which it could have occurred remains to be identified.
C.N. 6704 asked for substantiation of this quote attributed to Alekhine: ‘There must be no reasoning from past moves, only from the present position.’
Dan Scoones (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) refers to comments by Alekhine in his 1938 radio interview (see C.N. 5838): ‘Look forward all the time is the thing to do.’ ... ‘I never look back on a game or a match but try all the time to see how I may improve my play.’
From Dominique Thimognier (Fondettes, France) comes an article ‘Ce que nous disait Alekhine!’ by Louis Betbeder, which was published in a brochure for the 1967 French championship. One piece of advice by Alekhine (in Betbeder’s reported speech and under the heading ‘Objectivité du jugement’) was:
‘Savoir si l’on est mieux que l’adversaire est, par conséquent, essentiel; se poser très souvent la question, en particulier pendant qu’il réfléchit. Juger surtout une position en oubliant complètement l’histoire de la partie et en ne considérant que la géographie, c’est-à-dire le diagramme actuel.’
From page 109 of The Bright Side of Chess by Irving Chernev (Philadelphia, 1948):
‘Nimzowitsch described someone as “An amateur who played a weak enough game to enable him to conduct an important chess column”.’
Chernev gave no further details, but the words appeared on page 261 of Nimzowitsch’s book The Praxis of My System (London, 1936). The translation, by J. du Mont, omitted the name of the columnist in question, but it had been given on page 180 of the original edition, Die Praxis meines Systems (Berlin, 1930):
The name also appeared on page 154 of a recent English translation (by Ian Adams) of Nimzowitsch’s book, published under the title Chess Praxis (Glasgow, 2007):
The report of Wilhelm Therkatz’s death on page 12 of the January 1925 Wiener Schachzeitung stated that he had conducted the chess column in the Krefelder Zeitung for 26 years.
Our Chess in the Courts article quoted the following from page 161 of CHESS, August 1954:
‘Chess Criminal Charge
B.H. Wood was acquitted at Birmingham Assizes on 14 July, without calling upon any evidence, of a charge of criminal libel instituted by W. Ritson Morry. In a letter to a Mr Golding, Mr Wood had indicated that if Mr Morry was in the new Welsh Chess Union, Mr Wood was out; he referred to Mr Morry as “this ex-gaolbird”. It was held that Mr Wood was entitled to give his reasons for withdrawing; that the description was true, as Morry, after misappropriating clients’ money as a Solicitor some years before, had been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
The Commissioner stated that in his opinion the case should never have been brought, and awarded B.H. Wood costs not exceeding £100.’
James Plaskett (Cartagena, Spain) asks whether further details are available on Ritson Morry’s offence.
We note from Google Books (snippets shown by a search for ‘Ritson Morry’ and ‘solicitor’) that 1940s law reports had information on the case. Could a reader with access to the documents supply an account of the proceedings?
‘Every chess master was once a beginner’ is an observation regularly credited to Irving Chernev. Where did he write it?
Rick Kennedy (Columbus, OH, USA) is seeking more
information about a game which we reproduced in C.N.
2860 from page 79 of Beadle’s Dime Chess
Instructor by M.J. Hazeltine (New York, 1860):
Otho E. Michaelis – ‘Mr S.’
New York (date?)
(Remove White’s queen’s rook.)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Bc5 3 Nxe5 Qe7 4 d4 Bb6 5 b3 d6 6 Ba3 Qd8 7 Nf3 Bg4 8 Bd3 d5 9 O-O Nf6 10 Re1 dxe4 11 Bxe4 Bxf3
12 Bc6 mate.
C.N. 2273 (see page 26 of A Chess Omnibus) asked for biographical information about the problemist B. Niemzowitsch and gave this mate-in-three from page 587 of Die Schwalbe, November 1933:
We have received the following from Per Skjoldager (Fredericia, Denmark), who, as mentioned in C.N. 3506, is co-authoring with Jørn Erik Nielsen a book on Aron Nimzowitsch:
‘Aron Nimzowitsch had three younger brothers, and Benno (or Benjamin) was the youngest. He was born on 14 May 1896 (new style) and by the first of his two marriages he had a son, Isay-Erik (born in Berlin on 28 July 1928). Benno lived in Berlin for several years, before moving to Langfuhr, Danzig. He was a strong chessplayer as a boy but put his efforts into problem composition. Because of his Jewish background, he had to flee from the Nazis, and he finally went back to Riga. The Nazis killed the entire family in 1941.
Benno Niemzowitsch (photograph courtesy of Per Skjoldager)
In our collection we have more than 30 problems by Benno Niemzowitsch. For the most part they are self-mate compositions, but there are also a few direct-mate problems. His first composition on record was published in the Baltische Zeitung of 2 October 1918, in Aron Nimzowitsch’s chess column (“Erstabdruck”):
Mate in four
When this problem was given on page 95 of Skakbladet, June 1936 the pawn on g7 was missing, and the composition was ascribed to Aron Nimzowitsch.’
Mr Skjoldager informs us that the Nimzowitsch book mentioned in the previous item is due to be published in 2011 and he adds:
‘An early game between Benjamin Blumenfeld and Aron Nimzowitsch, Berlin, 1903 (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nxc6 bxc6 6 Bd3 d5 7 e5 Ng4 8 O-O Qh4 9 h3 h5 10 Bf4 Bc5 11 Qd2 Rb8 12 Nc3 Rb4 13 Bg5 Qg3 14 hxg4 hxg4 15 Rfe1 Rh2 16 Bf1 Rh8 17 Bd3 Rh2 18 Bf1 Bxf2+ 19 Qxf2 Rh1+ 20 Kxh1 Qxf2 21 Re2 Qg3 22 Rd1 Bf5 23 Nxd5 cxd5 24 Rxd5 Rb8 25 e6 fxe6 26 Rxf5 Kd7 27 Rf7+ Kc6 28 Rxe6+ Kb7 29 Kg1 Resigns) can be found on the Internet, but we have not been able to trace a source for it.
We believe that it is probably a “real game”, partly because Nimzowitsch played this particular variation of the Scotch Game in his youth and partly because he was acquainted with Blumenfeld during his early years in Berlin. We have looked through all possible chess columns and all contemporary German periodicals, as well as Blumenfeld’s books, without success, but the game may have been published by him in a Russian/Soviet chess magazine. Can anyone find it?’
Patrick Neslias (Esse, France) provides from his
collection a letter sent by Caroline Marshall to
Léonardus Nardus announcing her husband’s death:
Below is the photograph referred to by Mrs Marshall, reproduced from page 2 of the December 1944 Chess Review:
Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) sends a straightforward problem (mate in three) composed by Emanuel Lasker for young solvers which was published on page 32 of the Neue Freie Presse, 22 December 1935:
A serious disservice is done to chess history by some ‘modern’ editions of old tournament books. The latest example is London 1922 by G. Maróczy (Milford, 2010), which not only discards the original book’s introductory material but brushes out the editor and publisher, W.H. Watts, and a master, Amos Burn, who annotated at least 18 of the games.
In the original edition, games featuring Burn’s annotations (games 41-44, for example) ended with the specific reference ‘Notes from The Field’:
On page 5 of the original edition Watts gave an
explanation indicating that the total number of games
annotated by Burn, as opposed to Maróczy, might well
be even higher than 18:
David McAlister (Hillsborough, Northern Ireland) inform us:
‘There are a number of Law Reports on the criminal proceedings brought against Ritson Morry. However, they all report not the trial itself but his unsuccessful appeal against conviction heard by the Court of Criminal Appeal on 29 October 1945. His grounds of appeal were essentially concerned with legal technicalities, and the judgment of the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal (delivered by Mr Justice Hilbery) does not go into details about the criminal charges which Morry faced. It merely states:This passage appears on page 633 of Volume 2 of the All England Reports for 1945. The complete report is on pages 632-636 and was cited by lawyers as R. v Morry  2 All ER 632.’
“At the summer assizes at Birmingham, on 26 July 1945, the appellant was tried on an indictment containing four counts charging him with fraudulent conversion of four sums of money totalling £3,136. He was convicted on all counts, and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.”
From page 168 of the July-August 1931 Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten:
Dominique Thimognier (Fondettes, France) has found an article by Louis Mandy on pages 51-52 of the May-June 1955 issue of L’Echiquier de Paris. Entitled ‘La Rennaissance Echiquéenne’, it discussed the chess magazine of that name, which was edited by Gesztesi/Gestesi during its brief run (March-July 1912).
Mandy’s article included some biographical information about him and this picture, a detail from a photograph taken during a simultaneous exhibition in Sceaux on 24 November 1911:
Paul Timson (Whalley, England) provides further details:
‘As mentioned by David McAlister in C.N. 6733, the only references to Ritson Morry in the Law Reports relate to a decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal on 29 October 1945, before Hilbery, Wrottesley and Stable, the appeal being based on technical legal grounds. I offer a summary below.
At the summer assizes at Birmingham on 25-26 July 1945 the appellant, William Ritson Morry, a solicitor, was tried on an indictment containing four counts charging him with fraudulent conversion of four sums of money totalling £3,136. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
He appealed against his conviction on a number of technical legal grounds and represented himself at the Court of Criminal Appeal.
One of the grounds of appeal was that when he was committed for trial by the magistrates’ court the magistrates, as they were obliged to do, asked him the question laid down by statute: “Do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so, but whatever you say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence upon your trial.”
In response to that question he took the opportunity to make a speech, lasting some three hours, as an advocate on his own behalf. He now appealed on the grounds that because every word of his speech was not taken down and certified, the committal was irregular and the whole indictment should have been quashed.
The Court of Criminal Appeal held that the procedure of calling upon the accused to make a statement if he chooses at that stage in the proceedings, where the magistrates are considering whether or not a case is made out for committal, was never intended to apply to a man making an oration as an advocate on his own behalf. They therefore dismissed this ground of appeal.
Another ground of appeal was that the magistrates had refused to commit him for trial on the charges which were the subject of counts one and two in the indictment. The trial judge had, however, decided that these counts should be included in the trial, as well as counts three and four (on which the magistrates had committed him), and the appellant was duly convicted on all four counts.
The Court of Criminal Appeal held that this was a matter for the trial judge to decide, and his decision could not be questioned.
The appeal was therefore dismissed, and the Court held that the sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment would run from the date of conviction, namely from the first day of the assizes (25 July 1945).
The Wood v Ritson Morry case was reported in the Times newspaper on 7 April 1954, when B.H. Wood was committed for trial, and on 15 July 1954, when he was acquitted on the charge of criminal libel.
The offending paragraph of Wood’s letter to Henry Golding, dated 23 February 1954, was quoted by the Times:
“Your whole attitude makes it clear that you are a Morry stooge. When you have become in due time disillusioned about this ex-gaolbird and have returned to sanity please contact me again unless you are so fed up that you drop out of chess altogether as some have done.”
The 7 April 1954 report in the Times stated:
“Mr Morry said that at one time he practised at Sutton as a solicitor. ‘I fell on evil times, however, and was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for fraudulent conversion, which I served and returned to public life’, he said. He had put himself at right with the world and was entitled to live at peace with it. The use of the expression ‘ex-gaolbird’ with its highly defamatory meaning was in itself sufficient to maintain a conviction for criminal libel, submitted Mr Morry.”
That report also quoted two officials of the British Chess Federation, Sir Leonard Swinnerton Dyer and George Wheatcroft, as stating that they were aware of Morry’s past conviction but had had no objection to his holding office in the Federation.
From personal knowledge I can give a fuller answer to James Plaskett’s question in C.N. 6724. I studied law at Birmingham University from 1965 to 1968 and whilst there I played in the Birmingham chess league at a time when B.H. Wood and W. Ritson Morry (both also graduates of Birmingham University) were still playing in the league. I had several long conversations with Wood, who was President of the University Chess Club and, as I recall, it was he who told me the story of Ritson Morry’s downfall. In the late 1930s Ritson Morry, who was a solicitor, invested clients’ money without their knowledge or consent in a speculative property development. He was convinced that the development would make a large profit and he would be able to replace the clients’ money and take the profit for himself. Unfortunately for Ritson Morry, with the outbreak of the Second World War the development collapsed and he lost all the money which had been invested. As he was unable to replace his clients’ money from his own resources, they reported the matter to the police as soon as they became aware of the situation, and this resulted in his eventual conviction and imprisonment, and also in his being struck off the roll of solicitors.
He did eventually repay the money.’
The photograph below (showing the English players who went to Holland to play a Dutch team) comes from page 296 of the June 1937 BCM:
C.N. 6719 asked whether the Wendel v Nimzowitsch game under discussion (which began 1 e4 Nc6 2 d4 d5) was perhaps played in the double-round tournament in Stockholm, October-November 1920.
Maurice Carter (Fairborn, OH, USA), who has a book on Nimzowitsch in progress, informs us that that possibility can be discounted, given that he owns Nimzowitsch’s score-sheet of the game against Wendel in which Nimzowitsch was Black. The heading provided by our correspondent is shown below:
From pages 222-223 of ‘Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors Part I with the participation of Dmitry Plisetsky’ (London, 2003):
‘To the super-tournament in New York (1927), arranged to “accommodate” Capablanca, Lasker was no longer invited.’
Zenón Franco Ocampos (Ponteareas, Spain) asks whether this is true. The answer is no, because Lasker was invited to New York, 1927.
We discussed the matter on pages 195-197 of our book on Capablanca, referring to the bitter public dispute which had arisen at New York, 1924 between Lasker and Norbert Lederer (the latter being a key figure on the organizing committees of New York, 1924 and New York, 1927).
Much additional information was presented in the article ‘New York 1927 Documentary Evidence Answers Lingering Questions’ by Hanon Russell on pages 88-104 of the first issue of the American Chess Journal (1992). A section of the article (pages 99-101) was headed ‘Why Didn’t Lasker Play?’, and it showed that although the New York, 1927 organizing committee did not believe that Lasker would participate, Lederer ...
‘... made an extraordinary effort to convince Lasker to play. He enlisted the help of influential people in the United States and Europe, but Lasker was not persuaded. Finally, as the plans which were formulated had to be finalized, Lederer made one last effort. On 10 December 1926 he wrote a five-page typewritten letter in German to Lasker (Russell Collection #584). Lederer, whose first language was German (he was born in Vienna), wanted to make absolutely certain that he would not be misunderstood. Lederer’s formal invitation to Lasker specified all the terms, financial and otherwise, being offered to Lasker as well as a strong plea for Lasker to relent and play in what was recognized even then as one of the world’s great chess tournaments.’
Lasker refused the invitation.
See also pages 74 and 640 of Emanuel Lasker: Denker Weltenbürger Schachweltmeister edited by R. Forster, S. Hansen and M. Negele (Berlin, 2009).
Richard J. Hervert (Aberdeen, MD, USA) and Alan McGowan (Waterloo, Canada) comment that the caption in Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten is faulty, since Pirc is standing second from the right. (A photograph of the young Pirc was given in C.N. 6131.)
On the subject of photographs from Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten, the following appeared on page 56 of the March 1932 edition:
Page 48 of the February 1932 issue stated that the photograph had been given to Kagan by Euwe.
Regarding the game Morphy v the Duke and Count and the correct spelling of the Count’s name, Kevin O’Connell (Mouret, France) informs us:
‘1. Vauvenargues (Vauvenarga or Vauvenargo in the Provençal language, which was still dominant in the area in the 1870s) is a village in Provence. Vauvenargues is the French version, but the village is located in Occitania and so has its Occitan name, but there are six dialects, of which Provençal is one. Within Provençal there are two orthographical norms, one of which gives “Vauvenargo” and the other “Vauvenarga”. The latter would almost certainly be favoured today.
2. The château, bought by Picasso in 1958, belonged to the Isoard family from 1790 to 1943. Information is available under “Histoire et patrimoine” at the website of the Mairie de Vauvenargues.
3. In all variants of Occitan (including Provençal) “o” is invariably pronounced “ou” unless it has a grave accent (ò), in which case it should be pronounced like the “o” in Opéra.
4. In spelling the Count’s name today, there is certainly some latitude, but I suppose that it should officially be Comte Isoard de Vauvenargues, in recognition of the considerable success of the French authorities (during the approximate period 1870-1930) in almost stamping out the language of the people of the southern half of France, even though it is 99% certain that his name was pronounced “Isouard”.’
Pages 14-15 of 100 Classics of the Chessboard by A.S.M. Dickins and H. Ebert (Oxford, 1983) gave Alekhine v Sämisch, Berlin, 1923 under the heading ‘The Classic Blindfold Game’. The co-authors claimed:
‘Happening to meet in Berlin, the two players decided to take the opportunity of playing each other blindfold, creating as a result this astonishing brilliancy.’
The book added that Sämisch called Alekhine’s victory ‘the most brilliant game I have ever seen’. The moves: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Be2 e6 4 O-O d6 5 d4 cxd4 6 Nxd4 Nf6 7 Bf3 Ne5 8 c4 Nxf3+ 9 Qxf3 Be7 10 Nc3 O-O 11 b3 Nd7 12 Bb2 Bf6 13 Rad1 a6 14 Qg3 Qc7 15 Kh1 Rd8 16 f4 b6 17 f5 Be5 18 fxe6 Bxg3 19 exf7+ Kh8 20 Nd5 Resigns.
It is one of Alekhine’s most spectacular miniatures, number 97 in his first collection of Best Games (London, 1927). The heading was ‘Exhibition Game played at Berlin, February 1923’. The book did not suggest that either master was blindfold. Nor did the German translation, Meine besten Partien 1908-1923 (Berlin and Leipzig, 1929), although we have one later edition in German (Berlin, 1983), which states ‘Beiderseits ohne Ansicht des Brettes’. Various editions of the book Meisterspiele by Rudolf Teschner say that both players were without sight of the board, and Sämisch’s praise of Alekhine is quoted:
‘“Die genialste Partie, die ich je gesehen habe”, äußerte Sämisch voll Bewunderung für seinen Gegner.’
As shown below, Tartakower cited Sämisch when he published the game (a ‘Gastkampf’ , which Tartakower dated 1921, instead of 1923, with no intimation of blindfold play but with an additional move at the end) on page 276 of Die hypermoderne Schachpartie (Vienna, 1924):
January, rather than February, 1923 was specified when the game appeared on pages 218-219 of the second volume of Complete Games of Alekhine by V. Fiala and J. Kalendovský (Olomouc, 1996). The co-authors asserted that the game was first published on page 16 of the Observer, 4 March 1923. In neither that volume nor in the Skinner/Verhoeven book on Alekhine (see page 184) was it suggested that Alekhine or Sämisch played the game blindfold. Moreover, the score was not included in Blindfold Chess by E. Hearst and J. Knott (Jefferson, 2009).
The brilliancy is absent from all the chess magazines of 1923 that we have consulted so far.
Throughout the run of the weekly news magazine Now! (September 1979-April 1981) there was a fine chess column by William Hartston. Some quotes are offered below:
Some years ago I was playing in the Hastings tournament with Mikhail Tal. One evening, he picked up an English newspaper, casually glanced at the chess column and started laughing. What had attracted his attention was the position given for readers to solve: it was from his own game against Platonov played at Dubna in 1973.
The amusement, however, was caused by the set of par solving times appended in order to rate one’s achievement in finding the answer. These began at 20 seconds, indicating grandmaster strength, then proceeded via master, county player and club player to stop at “average” – five minutes. “That’s very funny”, said Tal. “I spent 15 minutes looking at the position before I saw it, and my opponent didn’t see it at all.”’ (4-10 January 1980, page 98.)
The position in question was given:
White (Tal) to move
Such a game as this [the famous Steinitz Gambit brilliancy won by Robert Steel from the 1880s] gives the impression that calculating ability and imagination in chess are no better now than they were 100 years ago. The game is far more scientific, of course, but for sheer flair and inventiveness such nineteenth-century brilliancies remain practically unparalleled in modern play.’ (25-31 July 1980, page 88.)
All the more enjoyable therefore to come across the rare example of totally honest annotators of their own games. Of today’s great players I put complete trust in Larsen and Tal.’ (8-14 August 1980, page 82.)
John Hilbert (Amherst, NY, USA) notes that the gamelet was published in the New York Clipper, 8 September 1860, introduced as follows:
‘An exceedingly curious mate given by our contributor Otho E. Michaelis giving QR.’
From Eduardo Bauzá Mercére (New York, NY, USA) comes a report on page A10 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 16 May 1929:
The judiciary committee of the National Chess Federation, of which Judge Jacob E. Dittus of Chicago is chairman, has adjudicated the controversy between Dr Emanuel Lasker of Berlin, former world’s champion and winner of first prize in the international masters’ tournament in New York, 1924, and Dr Norbert L. Lederer, director of that tournament, according to advices received from Chicago.
Dr Lederer had lodged a formal complaint against Dr Lasker with the committee to the effect that Dr Lasker had published statements reflecting upon his character, as well as upon the executive committee of that tournament, and which, he declared, called for an apology. Dr Lasker, it is said, agreed to abide by the findings of the judiciary committee.
The committee decided that Dr Lederer’s complaint was justified and that the facts in the case did not bear out Dr Lasker’s accusation. A report of the findings was sent to Dr Lasker.
Edward Lasker, recently elected secretary of the National Chess Federation, said yesterday that he and other friends of Dr Emanuel Lasker felt certain that the latter will acquit himself gracefully by publicly retracting his charges. Dr Lasker became 60 years of age on 24 December last, an occasion which was fittingly celebrated by the chessplayers of Germany.’
John Blackstone (Las Vegas, NV, USA) refers to a game given in databases as won by Emanuel Lasker (White) in a simultaneous exhibition in the Netherlands in 1908 against C.A. Moller:
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 Nc3 d6 6 Be3 Bb6 7 Qd2 O-O 8 O-O Be6 9 Nd5 Bxd5 10 exd5 Ne7 11 Bg5 Ng6 12 Nh4 Nxh4 13 Bxh4 Ne4 14 dxe4 Qxh4 15 Bd3 g6 16 Kh1 f5 17 g3 Qf6 18 f3 f4 19 g4 Rf7 20 Rae1 Qh4 21 Re2 g5 22 Rg2 Kg7 23 c4
23...Rd8 24 b4 Bd4 25 Qc2 b6 26 a4 Kf6 27 Qe2 h5 28 Rc1 Rh7 29 Rc2 Qh3 30 Ra2 Bc3 31 b5 hxg4 32 Rxg4 Be1 33 Rg2 Bg3 34 Rd2 Bxh2 35 Rxh2 Qg3 ‘1-0’.
Noting that the game was given in Lasker’s column on page 7 of the New York Evening Post, 1 August 1908 as played in Copenhagen at 15 moves an hour, with Lasker as Black against C.A. Möller, our correspondent asks, ‘Do you know the truth?’
This is a further example of the unreliability of
databases. The game as given in the Evening Post
also appeared on pages 99-100 of Lasker’s Chess
Magazine, September 1908. Lasker won as Black,
and the game, played in Copenhagen, did not occur in a
Moreover, both the newspaper and the magazine had Black’s 23rd move as ‘QR-R’, i.e. 23...Rh8 and not 23...Rd8 as given in the databases. With 23...Rh8 the game’s conclusion makes sense.
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Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.