v.d. Lasa


Leaders of European Chess.

American Chess Magazine 1898

One of the most imposing figures of modern chess is the great German bibliophile and author, Baron Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa, who has just completed eighty years of a most useful and fruitful life. There have been few men whose work for chess has been so constant and whose results have been so effective, and all during the active career of a diplomatist in the service of his country. What greater tribute to our game could be found than the voluntary sacrificing of years of busy life to research, collaboration, compilation and composition which Baron und der Lasa has devoted to his chosen field of study?
     Baron und der Lasa was born on the family estates near Warmbrumm, Silesia. Prussia, October 17, 1818. His early years were spent in study, and his entry into a diplomatic career was at an early age. At twenty-seven he was Imperial Privy Councillor; in 1845 was attache at the Embassy in Vienna; in 1858 he accepted the post of Minister resident at Rio de Janeiro; in 1960 he was transferred to the post of Ambassador at the Court of Weimar; in 1864 he was Ambassador at the Elbe Duchies, and in 1865 took the post of Ambassador at Copenhagen. His diplomatic career was a most successful one, and honors crowned his labors in that field.
     As a player und der Lasa ranked with the best men of his time. In a match played with Howard Staunton, when the British champion was in the height of his fame, Und der Lasa won by the good score of five games to four, with four drawn games. We give below two games won by und der Lasa. one from Staunton and one from Prof. Anderssen. for which we are indebted for score and notes to L. Hoffer's Chess Monthly.
     As a writer on the game of chess, its history, theory, aud in original research, und der Lasa occupies one of the foremost places. His first great compilation, the "Handbuch des Schaehspiels." was published in 1843. It was the first complete review of the openings published in any language and was intended to contain all that was known of the openings up to that time. Und der Lasa superintended the publication of the editions of 1852, 1858. 1804 and 1874. Two editions have since appeared, one In 1880 by Dr. Constantin Scheede, aud in 1891 by Kanzeleirath E. Schallop. The German "Handbuch" was justly considered one of the greatest publications on the game of chess, and at this date is standard as an authority. Another important work of uud der Lasa is the "Zur Geschichte und Literntur des Schachspiels," a history of the game of chess, which is one of the most erudite contributions to the literature of the game. It was published in 1897. A list of the publications on the game from the pen of Baron und der Lasa is given in the "Schachfreund" of October, 1898. The list includes no less than ninety-seven separate articles and books, commencing with his first work, the "Handbuch'.' published in 1843, to the history above mentioned published in 1897. No other writer has been so prolific, and all of his work has been done with such extreme care that his conclusions are accepted by nearly all of the modern authorities as final.
     As a collector of chess literature Baron und der Lasa leads the world. His private library contains the largest number of books, manuscripts, periodicals, etc., on the game of chess that is possessed by any one collector. His latest catalogue, published for private distribution in 1896, contains a list of 3,358 separate works on the game of chess.
     At his eightieth birthday in October last the Berlin Chess Association, the oldest chess organization in the German Empire, presented Baron und der Lasa with a set of resolutions expressing their esteem and congratulations.
     The Berlin "Schachfreund" dedicates to the birthday of the hero of four-score years a congratulatory poem from the pen of Oscar Blumenthal. which we now give in conclusion in English garb.


Who e'er lovingly dedicate
Himself to chess, the deepest play;
Who thoughtfully e'er tried the goal—
The road Is rough—to reach some day;

Who e'er had tried to understand
What theory artfully weaved;
And who the knotty meshes all
To straighten out, at last, achieved;

In whom thou ever didst arouse
Keen Interest, the secret thread
Of chess to find, which leads one from
The labyrinth of brainy head ....

He will thy name pronounce and praise
With grateful and admiring heart;
Who teacher of the masters all,
And master of the teacher's art!