A Century of Chess

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A Century of Chess: Georg Marco (1900-1909)

A Century of Chess: Georg Marco (1900-1909)

kahns
| 6 days ago

The backbone of classical chess.  Marco was born in Bukovina - at the outer extremity of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a young man, he came to Vienna to study medicine and then was badly bitten by the chess bug - in a reminiscence of his ...

A Century of Chess: Frank Marshall (1900-1909)

A Century of Chess: Frank Marshall (1900-1909)

kahns
| 13 days ago

A quirk of chess history is the recurring figure of the lone American genius who travels to Europe and takes the continent by storm. This has happened more times, and had a more profound impact on chess, than one might expect. There's Morphy in 18...

A Century of Chess: Rudolf Swiderski (1900-1909)

A Century of Chess: Rudolf Swiderski (1900-1909)

kahns
| 20 days ago

"Of all the chess masters I ever met Rudolf Swiderski was the most weird," wrote Frank Marshall. Which - just think of all the chess masters you know - is probably really saying something. "He made very few friends, had a gentle but mela...

A Century of Chess: Dawid Janowski (1900-1909)

A Century of Chess: Dawid Janowski (1900-1909)

kahns
| 27 days ago

Dawid Janowski occupies something of a dubious position in chess history - he's the poor sport with the gambling problem who hated endgames, fixated on the two bishops, and somehow convinced his art swindler friend to stake him not once but twice ...

A Century of Chess: Georg Salwe (1900-1909)

A Century of Chess: Georg Salwe (1900-1909)

kahns
| Apr 22, 2022

As Mozart is to Salieri and Shakespeare is to Jonson, so Rubinstein is to Georg Salwe. It's hard to think of another player who, without ever having been a trainer or second, is encompassed so completely in somebody else's shadow. I'll save the ...

A Century of Chess: Jacques Mieses (1900-1909)

A Century of Chess: Jacques Mieses (1900-1909)

kahns
| Apr 16, 2022

After Chigorin and before Spielmann there was Mieses - keeper of the flame of the Romantic School.  Mieses was born in Leipzig in 1865. According to Gabriel Velasco, he switched his name in his mid-20s from Jakob to his middle name Jacques ...

A Century of Chess: Chess in the 1900s

A Century of Chess: Chess in the 1900s

kahns
| Mar 30, 2022

“The style of the period showed little initiative, the idea being merely to wait for an opponent to blunder into an incorrect position because of his ignorance of the Steinitz theories,” wrote Richard Réti of the chess era aroun...

A Century of Chess: Rubinstein-Mieses 1909

A Century of Chess: Rubinstein-Mieses 1909

kahns
| Mar 13, 2022

By late 1909, Rubinstein seemed invincible. He had won at Ostend-B and then at Carlsbad 1907, the first major international tournament he played in. He won a match and a match-tournament over the great Frank Marshall and a short match against Rich...

A Century of Chess: Marshall-Showalter 1909

A Century of Chess: Marshall-Showalter 1909

kahns
| Mar 6, 2022

There’s an odd background to this match. Marshall was clearly the strongest U.S. player after the death of Harry Pillsbury, but there had never been an opportunity to reify his status as U.S. champion. In early 1909, the New York State Chess...

A Century of Chess: Lasker-Janowski 1909

A Century of Chess: Lasker-Janowski 1909

kahns
| Feb 27, 2022

By 1909, it was apparent that Janowski had lost a step. He had finished far from the leaders both at Carlsbad and at Prague. He was losing his sense of proportion in positions and taking increasingly unwarranted risks. But, as he had been for over...

A Century of Chess: Capablanca-Marshall 1909

A Century of Chess: Capablanca-Marshall 1909

kahns
| Feb 22, 2022

What is the greatest début in chess history? Easy. Capablanca’s thrashing of Frank Marshall in their 1909 match (+8-1=14). The others that come to mind are Morphy in 1857, Spassky in 1955, Fischer in 1958, but they had all had some se...

A Century of Chess: St Petersburg 1909

A Century of Chess: St Petersburg 1909

kahns
| Feb 13, 2022

The last tournament of the decade and the most famous. The vast majority of international tournaments of the era were in the German-speaking world and had a distinctly bourgeois flavor. Tournaments in Russia were rare and a treat – they were...

A Century of Chess: Rubinstein-Marshall 1908

A Century of Chess: Rubinstein-Marshall 1908

kahns
| Feb 6, 2022

As if the eight games they played against each other in the Lodz match-tournament weren’t enough, Rubinstein and Marshall next met for a match in Warsaw in October. The two players would seem to have little to do with each other – they...

A Century of Chess: Lodz 1908

A Century of Chess: Lodz 1908

kahns
| Jan 30, 2022

Marshall, in his European wanderings, ventured as far east as Lodz for a peculiar triangular match-tournament with Rubinstein and Salwe. (It was meant to be a five-player tournament, but both Schlechter and Marco declined their invitations.) Rubin...

A Century of Chess: Lasker-Tarrasch 1908

A Century of Chess: Lasker-Tarrasch 1908

kahns
| Jan 23, 2022

The long-overdue match between Lasker and Tarrasch finally took place in 1908. They had been the two best players in the world since the early 1890s (with a brief interruption by Pillsbury). Tarrasch had been proposed for a world championship with...

A Century of Chess: Dusseldorf 1908

A Century of Chess: Dusseldorf 1908

kahns
| Jan 16, 2022

By 1908, Frank Marshall’s limitations as a chess player were obvious. He couldn’t compete at the very highest level – as had been demonstrated in his match losses to Tarrasch and Lasker – and there was a certain lack of gro...

A Century of Chess: Prague 1908

A Century of Chess: Prague 1908

kahns
| Jan 9, 2022

The second major tournament of the Austro-Hungarian jubilee – a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph’s accession to the throne. Duras was the hometown boy and he delivered, tying with Schlechter for first place. ...

A Century of Chess: Vienna 1908

A Century of Chess: Vienna 1908

kahns
| Dec 29, 2021

1908 was a jubilee year in the Austro-Hungarian Empire – the 60th anniversary of Franz Joseph’s accession to the throne – and the Empire celebrated, naturally enough, with a series of high-profile chess tournaments. The Vienna to...

A Century of Chess: Janowski-Marshall 1908

A Century of Chess: Janowski-Marshall 1908

kahns
| Dec 17, 2021

Among players of the classical era, it’s somehow easy to underrate Janowski. There was the difficult personality, the really execrable match score against Lasker, an unfortunate tapering off of playing form in the era after World War I...

A Century of Chess: Copenhagen 1907

A Century of Chess: Copenhagen 1907

kahns
| Dec 12, 2021

Really a three-player tournament between Schlechter, Maróczy, and Leonhardt, with the local Danish players providing a useful tune-up between rounds. Leonhardt was a regular participant in the major international tournaments of the classica...

A Century of Chess: Karlsbad 1907

A Century of Chess: Karlsbad 1907

kahns
| Dec 5, 2021

If any ascent in chess history is comparable to Bobby Fischer’s, it’s that of Akiba Rubinstein in the period 1906-1909. What’s important to understand is that chess in the classical period was dominated by the German cultural emp...

A Century of Chess: Ostend B 1907

A Century of Chess: Ostend B 1907

kahns
| Nov 28, 2021

In 1907, the Ostend tournament was split into two - a patrician championship section that doubled as a sort of Candidates Tournament and a more democratic Masters section, featuring a 31 player all-play-all, the largest round-robin ever conducted....

A Century of Chess: Ostend Championship 1907

A Century of Chess: Ostend Championship 1907

kahns
| Nov 19, 2021

After the abstruse and unpopular organizing system at Ostend 1906, the organizers reverted to a more traditional format: a cozy championship section, featuring six players in a round-robin, and a boisterous masters’ section of thirty players...

A Century of Chess: Lasker-Marshall 1907

A Century of Chess: Lasker-Marshall 1907

kahns
| Nov 8, 2021

While playing through the games of the classical period it came as something of a shock to me to realize to what extent Lasker was absent from chess for so much of his championship reign. With the sole exception of Bobby Fischer, no other world ch...

A Century of Chess: Vienna 1907

A Century of Chess: Vienna 1907

kahns
| Oct 29, 2021

One of the great unvarying constants of the classical era was the performance of Jacques Mieses. Mieses established himself as a world-class player in 1889. From then until roughly 1910 he was always in the top fifteen or twenty in the world but n...

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