Adolf Anderssen (part 2)

Jun 16, 2008, 9:35 AM |


Background and early life

Anderssen was born in Breslau (Wroc�aw), in the Prussian Province of Silesia, in 1818. He lived in the city of his birth for most of his life, never married, living with and supporting his widowed mother and his unmarried sister. Anderssen graduated from the public gymnasium in Breslau, then attended university where he studied mathematics and philosophy. He graduated, and took a position at the Friedrichs-Gymnasium as an instructor in 1847 (29 year old) and later Professor of Mathematics. Anderssen lived a quiet, stable, responsible, respectable, middle-class life. His career was teaching math, while his hobby and passion was playing chess.

When Anderssen was nine years old, his father taught him how to play. Anderssen said that as a boy, he learned the strategy of the game from a copy of William Lewis' book Fifty Games between Labourdonnais and McDonnell (1835).


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A problem from Anderssen's 1842 collection. White to mate in 4 moves.



Chess career

Anderssen first came to the attention of the chess world when he published a collection of chess problems in 1842. He continued to publish problems for many years, both in magazines and as a second collection in 1852.

These brought him to the attention of the "Berlin Pleiades" group, which included some of the strongest players of the time, and he played matches against some of them. In 1846, he became the editor of the magazine Schachzeitung der Berliner Schachgesellschaft (later called Deutsche Schachzeitung) when its founder Ludwig Bledow, one of the "Berlin Pleiades", died. Anderssen held this post until 1865.

Anderssen's development as a player was relatively slow, largely because he could spare neither the time nor the money to play many matches against strong players. Nevertheless by 1846 he was able to put up a good fight against another Pleiades member, Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa, who may have been the world's strongest player at the time.

More to come...