Unusual Notation

Jan 23, 2012, 1:22 PM |

I'm an algebraic kind of girl.  I learned to play chess on a computer and that notation comes most natural to me.  In the course of reading old texts, periodicals and books, I've had to transpose descriptive into algebraic notaion, though I have no facility using descriptive.  Oddly, however, when I do describe a particular move, I tend resort to descriptive. Go figure.

I've come across many different types of notations in my meanderings most of which never gained much popularity and usually for good reasons.

In preparing a future article on Alexander Petroff, I've, of course, had to consult the writings of Carl Jaenisch.  Jaenisch was an important 19th century theorist during a time when even the rules of chess hadn't been solidified.

In Jaenisch's "New Analysis of the Openings of the Game of Chess," published at St. Petersburg in 1843, he praises Petroff's treatise, Systematized Chess Play,  published in 1824.  In turn, several sources praise Jaenisch's book.

The 1852 translation of Jaenisch's Analysis used a very peculiar form of notation.  It employs a style similar to many 19th century analyses, but adds a few twists of its own.  At first it all looked like gibberish to me, but since I wanted to look at a particular game of Petroff, I had to learn how to use the notation. To my surprise, the notation was easy to learn and even easier to follow.




About the game itself -
F. Alexander Hoffmann (or Hoffman) along with Petrofsky (who contended successfully against Boncourt and Calvi in Paris and who Labourdonnais considered equal to George Walker) were the two strongest players of the Warsaw Chess Club.  In February of 1836 Petroff played the entire Warsaw Chess Club in consulation. Consultation games were a rarity back then, especially against consulting players of great skill.   Petroff's stake was 200 ducats against 100 for his opponents.  The match lasted through 3 sittings and ended without decision through "circumstances of a delicate nature, but altogether unconnected with Chess," though Petroff was a pawn up in the endgame.  The game was followed in the Gazeta Warszawska.




   The volume concludes with a remarkably fine game, played by M. Petroff against the Warsaw club. Taken as a whole, the work is a specimen of extraordinary accuracy, and cannot fail being well received by all lovers of the game. - Chess Players' Chronicle

   Jaenisch, in his work, presents, as a model of beautiful play, a grand game played by Petroff (the Lion of Russia), single handed, against the whole Warsaw Club in council. The game consisted of three sittings over the board, and was then unfortunately interrupted altogether.
    Petroff being left with a Pawn more, and an end-game which Jaenisch pronounces a secure ultimate win. The game in question is indeed a specimen of classical chess-play. M. Petroff is the author of a large work on Chess, in the Russian language, and is certainly one of the greatest players of the day. His countryman Jaenisch styles him "the Philidor of Russia," and considers him almost unequalled.
- A Popular Introduction to the Study and Practice of Chess by Samuel Standige Boden