Fireside Chess

| 1 | Fun & Trivia

    In 1949 Fred Reinfeld and Irving Chernev published a book called The Fireside Book of Chess. Here are some interesting items from the book.

    On page 69 is the claim of the shortest master game. It is between Gibauld and Lazard and played in Paris in 1924. The game went 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nd2 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.h3 Ne3 and White resigned. The threat is the loss of the Queen. If 5.fxe3 Qh4+ 6.g3 Qxg3 mate. First, this was not a master game. It is a fake game. Amedee Gibauld, born in 1885, had been the champion of France four times. There are two Lazard chess players from Paris. There is Frederic Lazard (1883-1948) and Gustave Lazard (1876-1924). Gibauld did not play this game. It was not played in 1924. The game lasted 5 moves, not 4 moves. Frederic Lazard, better known as a composer of chess endgames studies and problems, wrote that this was a friendly game between an amateur and himself, played in 1922. He wrote that the game went, 1.d4 d5 2.b3 Nf6 3.Nd2 e5 4.dxe5 Ng4 5.h3 Ne3 and White resigned. The game was first published in Chess in 1937 as the shortest tournament game ever played, from a Paris Championship. When Gibauld saw this, he wrote a letter to Chess, saying he never lost any tournament game in 4 moves.

    The shortest decisive game ever played in a serious tournament may be Djordjevic - Kovacevic, Bela Crkva 1984. The game went 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c6 3.e3 Qa5+ 0-1.

    Other short games include:

    Sperber - Bender, Baden 1992 1.f4 e5 2.g4?? Qh4 mate 0-1

    Darling - Wood, USA 1983 1.g4 e6 2.f4?? Qh4 mate 0-1

    Jorgensen - Thorn, Denmark 1978 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Ke7?? 3.Qxe5 mate 1-0

    Klip - Bottema, Dieren 1990 1.e4 f6 2.d4 g5?? 3.Qh5 mate 1-0

    Masefield - Trinka, Omaha (US Open) 1959 1.e4 g5 2.d4 f6?? 3.Qh5 mate 1-0

    Wall - Guest9672, Internet (Game Zone) 2001 1.e3 b6 2.Bc4 g6?? 3.Qf3 1-0

    Norlin - Guraj, Sweden 1974 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.f5? Qh4+ 0-1

    On page 69-70 is the claim of the record for the longest number of moves in a master game. It was between Makogonov and Chekover, who fought for 4 days and over 21 hours of playing time at Baku in 1945. The result was a draw in 171 moves. There are at least a dozen games longer than this one.

    The longest game appears to be I. Nikolic - Arsovic, Belgrade 1989. The game was a draw in 269 moves after 20 hours of play. The ending was a Rook and a Bishop vs Rook, which drew. The longest decisive game appears to be Stepak - Mashian, Israel 1980. It was won by White in 193 moves after over 24 hours of play. The ending was a Queen and a Pawn vs Queen.

    On page 71 is the claim for the shortest correspondence game.

    Warren (Dublin) - Selman (Amsterdam), Correspondence 1930 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.a3 d6 5.exd6 Bxd6 6.g3?? (6.e3) Nxf2 (7.Kxf2 Bxg3+ and 8...Qxd1) and White resigns (0-1).

    Here are some shorter correspondence chess games.

    Marsh - Glatz, Correspondence 1944 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5? 3.Nxe5 Qh4 4.Qf3 d6?? 5.Qxf7+ 1-0

    Ellinger - Durrant, Correspondence 1944 1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.c4 Nb4 5.Nbc3?? (5.Nec3) Nd3 mate 0-1

    Van Geet - Sande, Correspondence 1982 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nxe4 e5 4.Bc4 Be7? (4...Nc6) 5.Qh5 Nh6 6.d3 1-0

    On page 72, the authors mention that Colonel Moreau lost all 26 games at Monte Carlo in 1903. Colonel Moreau was a chess patron and an amateur chess player who arranged the Monte Carlo event. He lost two games each against Tarrasch, Maroczy, Pillsbury, Schlecter, Teicmann, Marco, Wolf, Mieses, Marshall, Tabuenhaus, Mason, Albin, and Reggio.

    On page 72, the authors mention that Franz Gutmayer (1857-1937) wrote a book on how to become a chess master, but could never become one himself. He never won a Hauptturnier first prize, a requisite in Germany for the title of master. Gutmayer's book inspired Richard Reti to write a better chess book. Reti then wrote Modern Ideas in Chess.. Gutmayer's book was called Turnierpraxis, published in Leipzig in 1922.

    On page 86, the authors mention that Ilyin-Genevski had to learn the moves twice. Shell shock in World War I took away his memory, and the master player had to be told how the chess pieces move and capture. The player was Alexander Fyodorovich Ilyin-Genevsky (1894-1941). He was a radical and was sent to Geneva to complete his education. He won the championship of Geneva, so he added Genevski to his last name of Ilyin. He returned to Russia and fought in World War I. He was shell-shocked and had to re-learn the game. In 1920 he organized the first USSR chess championship. He played in 9 of the first 10 USSR championships. He was in Leningrad during the seige of Leningrad. Fleeing from Leningrad on a barge on March 9, 1941, an artillery shell hit the barge. He was the only one killed.

    On page 87, the authors state that the record for simultaneous chess is held by Swedish master Gideon Stahlberg (1908-1967). He played 400 games in Buenos Aires on August 29, 1941. He won 364 games, drew 14, and lost 22. The exhibition started at 10 pm on August 29 and ended at 10 am on August 31 (36 hours). It was actually 400 games on 20 boards. Each loser was replaced by a new player.

    In 1996 Swedish Grandmaster Ulf Andersson gave a simul in Alvsjo, Sweden on 310 boards. It took over 15 hours. He won 268, drew 40, and lost only 2 games.

    In 1978 Karl Podziwlny played 575 games simultaneously in over 30 hours. He won 533, drew 27, and lost 15. In 1977 Hort played 550 games, 201 games simultaneously, and only lost 10 games. In 1984, Hort played 663 games in a simul that lasted over 32 hours. The event took place in Porz, Germany.

    On page 89, the authors mention that Lasker had a perfect score at New York in 1893, winning all 13 games (13-0). Also, that Capablanca had a perfect score in New York in 1913, winning all 13 games (13-0). Lasker's tournament took place at the Manhattan Chess Club.

    Capablanca had a perfect score three times: New York 1910 (7-0), New York 1913 (13-0), and New York 1914 (11-0).

    Fischer won the 1963-64 US Championship with a perfect score (11-0). Bill Lombardy won the 1957 World Junior Championship with a perfect score (11-0). In 1865 Gustav Neumann won a Berlin tournament with a perfect 34-0 score. In 1899 Atkins won the Dutch championship with a perfect score (15-0). Vera Menchik won the Women's World Championship twice with a perfect score (14-0).

    On page 89, the authors state that Steinitz and Capablanca had race horses named after them. So has Karpov, Alekhine and Smyslov.

    On page 89, the authors state that Steinitz was once misjudged to be a spy. Authorities thought his correspondence game move notation was part of a code in which war secrets were being transmitted.

    In 1891 Wilhelm (William) Steinitz (1836-1900) had been playing Chigorin in a cable match from New York to Cuba. New York police arrested Steinitz for using chess code over a cable. This was cleared up later on. Steinitz lost the cable match.

    On page 90, the authors mention that organist Sir Walter Parratt was able to play a Beethovan Sonata while playing two games of chess simultaneously blindfolded.

    Sir Walter Parratt (1841-1924) had an amazing memory. He could also perform pieces by Bach, Mozart, Beethovan, Mendelsson and Chopin on the piano, as requested, and still play 2 games of chess against players, without seeing the board. He was Master of the Queen's (or King's) Music to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, and King George V. He was knighted in 1892. He was Chair of Music at Oxford University.

    On page 97, the authors state that the first match to be played by correspondence was begun in April 1824 between the London and Edinburgh Chess Clubs. The match lasted two years, and was won by the Scotsmen. They scored 2 wins, lost 1, and drew 2 games.

    It wasn't the first correspondence match, but was the first well known correspondence challenge match between clubs. The Edinburgh Chess Club challenged the London Chess Club to a match. Earlier, the London Chess Club challenged the Paris Chess Club, but nothing came of this match. The match was scheduled to continue until 3 decisive games were completed. Draws did not count. The stakes were a silver cup and 25 guineas. The match actaully lasted 4 years, from 1824 to 1828. The first game was a draw. The 2nd game was won by Edinburgh. The 3rd game was drawn. The 4th games was won by London. The 5th game was won by Edinburgh.

    The letters carrying the moves were carried 400 miles by mail coach. It took 3 days to deliver a letter and a move.

    The first game began on April 23, 1824 and ended in a draw on December 14, 1824. Edinburgh had White and they played a Bishop's Opening. The 2nd game began on April 28, 1824 with London having the White pieces. It ended on February 25, 1825 when Edingburgh won after 52 moves. London played what is known today as the Scotch Opening. On the 28th move, the London Chess Club tried to take back their sent move and the 27th move, but the Edinburgh Chess Club did not allow this. The 3rd game began on December 20, 1824. The game ended in a draw after 99 moves on March 18, 1828. The Edinburgh Chess Club adopted the Scotch Opening. The 4th game began on Feb 26, 1825 and ended on September 15, 1826. Edinburgh had White and played a Bishop's Opening. The 5th game began on October 6, 1826 and ended on July 31, 1828. Edinburgh had White and they won after 60 moves. The opening was a Scotch.

    The first authenticated correspondence game occurred in 1804 between The Hague Chess Club and the Breda Chess Club. The Breda Chess Club won.

    On page 104, the authors mention the story that Steinitz and Zukertort were at a dinner where a toast was proposed to the Chess Champion of the World. Both players stood up in response.

    The incident occurred during the final banquet, held at the St George Chess Club, of the London 1883 tournament, held from April 26 to June 23, 1883. The tournament was won by Johannes Zukertort (22/26). Steinitz took 2nd place (19/26). Steinitz lost one game and won one game against Zukertort. What actually happened was that a toast was made to the best player in the world. Zukertort was already standing and the crippled Steinitz tried to stand, but remained seated. It wouldn't be until 1886 that the first official world championship match was held. That was won by Steinitz, defeating Zukertort. (So Zukertort, sit down!)

    The London 1883 event had Zukertort, Steinitz, Blackburne, Chigorin, Englisch, Mackenzie, mason, Rosenthal, Winawer, Bird, Noa, Sellmann, Mortimer, and Skipworth. The chess clock (stop-clock) designed by Thomas Bright Wilson, with advice from Blackburne, was used for the first time. Zukertort started out with 22 wins out of 23 games.

    On pages 106-107, the authors mentioned how good Pillsbury's memory was. He was given the following list to memorize: antiphlogistine, periosteum, takadiastase, plasmon, ambrosia, Threlkeld, streptococcus, staphylococcus, micrococcus, plasmodium, Mississippi, Freiheit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, athletics, no war, Etchenberg, American, Russian, philosophy, Piet Potgelter's Rost, Salamagundi, Oomisillecootsi, Bangmamvate, Schlechter's Nek, Manzinyama, theosophy, catechism, Madjesoomalops. Pillsbury looked at the list for a few minutes, repeated the words in the order given, and then backwards.

    This memory feat occurred just before a simultaneous blindfold exhibition he was about to give in London in 1896. The words were given to him by H. Threlkeld-Edwards, a surgeon, and Mansfield Merriman, a civil engineering professor. Pillsbury was to repeat all the words forwards and backwards the next day. The London papers picked up the story, and it was repeated throughout the chess world.

    Antiphlogistine was a medication for relieving inflammation. Periosteum is the membrane that sheaths a bone. Takadiastase is an artificial food. Plasmon is a genetic type of cytoplasm. Ambrosia is the food of the Greek gods. Threlkeld is the surgeon's name who made the list. Streptococcus, staphylococcus, and micrococcus are bacteria strains. Plasmodium is a fungus. Freiheit is the German for "freedom." Etchenberg may have been made up. Piet Potgelter's Rost is a town. Salamagundi is a dish of chopped chicken. Oomisillecootsi was a Zulu general. Bangmanvate was a settlement in Zimbabwe. Schlechter's Nek was a settlement in Africa where the British put down a rebellion of Boers. Manzinyama is a lake in South Africa. Theosophy was a spiritual movement in the 1890s. Madjesoomalops was a dish consisting of herrings and pickles.

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