The Most Uncompromising Player Of All Time!?

The Most Uncompromising Player Of All Time!?


Afternoon Everyone!

Those who read my last offering will recall that originally I had planned at least two articles on this particular subject. However, real life stuff has caught up with me. This was originally slated as 'Part One'.

Time permitting, I may come back with some more uncompromising players.

So, the subject of today's posting has a set of numbers that are truly incredible! Emil Schallopp.

( Must rescan that picture at some point!!)

He was one of the group of  Master's who emerged from the fertile chess grounds of German and Austrian chess during the second half of the 1860's.

The indefatigable Tony Gillam produced a small booklet on him some years ago. He gives the following numbers for Schallopp's serious competitive games. + 163. - 170 =38!! Go do the maths!

That's a drawing percentage of a touch over 10%!! Of course, draws were less common back in the time, so let's make a sensible comparison. Another of that group - and a good comparison - is the tragic figure of Johannes Minkwitz. Like Schallop he was also a chess writer/editor, and played in many of the same events, although, sadly, his career was some 15 years shorter.

His figures - taken from, so not everything will be included - are + 65 - 71 =44. So his drawing percentage in the same enviroment was around 24%. i.e. nearly two and a half times Schallop's.

Schallopp grew up in the gambit school of the 'off-hand' games of the time when having fun was the object of the excercise. ( Serious chess, as we would understand it today, was quite a rarity at that point.) He never grew out of it!! His serious games are great fun!

One of his early sparring partners was the almost forgotten Richard Hein. He would perhaps be pretty much totally forgotten, were it not for his participation at the Barmen 1869 Tournament, and his inclusion in one of the great historical chess photographs which was taken on the occasion. 

Barmen 1869. Schallopp, W.Paulsen, Anderssen, Hein, Minkwitz and Zukertort.

So, firstly, the 'bit of fun' that I usually include in these posts. As usual with them, it is an off-hand game that has been preserved - in the relevant Deutsche Schachzeitung.

O.K. Let's show some of his 'serious' games. Chosen just because when I went back through Gillam's book I recognised them at once.  Buckle up for a ride through the blunder and brilliance, madness and mayhem that was the chess world of Emil Schallop.

When it is over, you can go study some computer generated Petroff Defence theory to calm down a bit!!! ( Apart from one game which I went over briefly with the engine, the notes are based on contemporary analysis.)

One of the many enigmas and contradictions in the style of the great Blackburne

Blackburne - mid 1880's from the composite below.

was his frequent adoption of the French Defence. It didn't seem to suit him, and he lost a lot of nice games playing it! ( those of you who have read my articles on the 'beautiful but unfortunate' 'Cecil De Vere' will have seen a particularly beautiful such game there) He adopted it against Schallopp twice in the space of a few weeks, and fascinating games they are too. Perhaps he was hoping to neutralise Schallopp's love of the gambit style. It didn't work

(Indeed, He had played the French against Schallopp in the Nuremburg Tournament of 1883. He lost that one as well!)

Shortly afterwards the two met again at the Hereford Congress, from which we have a real gem of a group photograph. Not being tech minded, I don't know how to give a bigger version, so I would suggest going through the 'right click - save as, etc' process. Yes, I am old, but i do love my chess group photographs. If I could have back all the time that I have spent poring over them perhaps I could have done something more useful with that time!!

At the London Tournament of 1886 Schallop picked up the Brilliancy Prize for his win over this man:-

Isidor Gunsberg.

The whole game is beautiful, insane, and probably unsound, but it show the difference between those - like Schallopp - who were natural gambit players, and those - like Gunsberg - who were not.

An image of Schallopp as he was at the time can be found in a nice composite picture. I have mislaid my original - it will turn up- so quickly downloaded this poorer version from the Cleveland Public Library archives - rights free version. 'The sixteen greatest players in the World'.  Schallopp 4th from right at the back, between the wonderful William Norwood Potter, and the not so bad Louis Paulsen!

One thing that is often overlooked when criticising the quality of some of the chess from the time is the utterly insane scheduling that the players were subjected to! Having travelled to a foreign country with the transport of the time,( at his own expense, may I add) Schallopp then had to play two games a day against strong opponents under fast time limits, on many of the playing days. Plus adjourned games had to be finished during 'free' playing sessions.. Here are two games played on the same day in the Manchester Tournament of 1890.

August 29th, 1890. In the morning he was up against a player I featured in a recent article - George Hatfeild Dingley Gossip.

Columbia Chess Chronicle - sourced by Hans Renette.
It is probably the first game of Schallopp's that i ever played over.

Then, in the afternoon, he picked up another brilliancy prize - the considerable sum of 5 guineas, donated by Mrs F.H. Lewis. 

Pillsbury and Taubenhaus. New York 1893. via

Even in his mid-60's Schallopp was still playing in exactly the same way - even against acknowledged masters. His opponent features in another nice group photograph - from the London Tournament of 1899, where Lasker went from merely being the best in the world to living legend.

Via W.Cohn far right rear.

One image of him that is easily found demonstrates that in the era of chess facial hair, Cohn was World Class!!

Cohn. Barmen 1905.Tournament Book.

Best post the game then!! We are all taught that King safety is important. In this game both players have their King's over on the King's-side, and then throw up their Pawns on that side of the board. Utter madness, and typical Schallopp chess. enjoy the game!

Well, that's it for now. I hope you had some fun.
Take care of yourselves in these insane times, and remember that we can all love and enjoy our beautiful game, regardless of ratings, religion, ethnicity and all the other things of minor to zero importance that we might feel pressured, by those less wise than us, to prioritize. 

In chess, all those of us who love the game are equal and will hopefully respect each other as such.