That Krazy Kieseritzky

batgirl
Feb 5, 2008, 8:03 PM 4,604 Reads 9 Comments

   Everyone remembers Lionel Kieseritzky as the Immortal Loser who had the misfortune of being on the wrong side on one of the best known combinational games in history.  We tend to forget the Kieseritzky was one of France's strongest players in his day, right behind Saint-Amant himself. Besides being an established house player at the Café de la Régence, Kieseritzky also founded and edited (for three years) the chess periodical La Régence.

La Régence was a very straightforward chess magazine that was light on talk and heavy on games. But it had one striking and unusual feature - one that might have contributed to it's early demise. Kieseritzky, for some reason, used an exclusive and somewhat bizarre notation to present the games in the periodical.

He gave the "key" to his notation in the frontpiece -

Note that the ranks are numbered 10-80 and the files 1-10. Each square has it's own number, much like the coordinates used in algebraic notation. The number is arrived at by adding the rank and the file. So, a1= 10+1=11a2=20+1=21b1=10+2=12, etc. This absolute notation was a far cry from the relative descriptive notation in vogue at the time.

 

The pawns are denoted by lower case letters a-h, while the pieces correspond to the upper-case letters that occupy their square in the "key."

 

Here is a game between Kieseritzky and John Schulten who was visiting Paris that year. 

[X denoted "check;"  XX denotes "mate;"  hyphen (-) denotes capture]

 

The game looks like this -

 


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