Today in Chess History: May 2


May 2, 1857: Alfred de Musset died in Paris , France.

May 2, 1877: Zdenek Mach was born in Loucen, Czech Rep.

May 2, 1896: Arpad Vajda was born in Rimavska Sobota, Czech

May 2, 1930: Isidor Gunsberg died in London, England.

May 2, 1949: Vladimir Rajcevic was born in Travnik, Yugoslavia.

May 2, 1957: Jaime Sunye Neto was born in Curitiba, Brazil.


Isidor Arthur Gunsberg (November 2, 1854, in Budapest, Hungary – May 2, 1930, in London) began his career as the player inside the chess automaton Mephisto, but later became a chess professional.

He moved to Great Britain in 1876, later becoming a naturalized British citizen on May 12, 1908.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s Gunsberg was one of the top players in the world. In match play, he defeated Joseph Henry Blackburne in 1887 and Henry Bird in 1889. In 1890 he drew a match with Mikhail Chigorin, a former and future challenger for the world chess championship. Later that year, Gunsberg himself challenged Wilhelm Steinitz for the world title. The match took place in New York City and Gunsberg lost with four wins, six losses, and nine draws.

In 1916 he sued the Evening News for libel when they said that his chess column contained "blunders". He won the suit after the British High Courtaccepted a submission that in chess matters, eight oversights did not make a "blunder.


Arpad Elo calculates that Gunsberg's best 5-year average Elo rating was 2560. According to another assessment system, Chessmetrics, at his peak in July 1889 Gunsberg's play was equivalent to a rating of 2744, and he was ranked number 2 in the world, behind only Steinitz. He was ranked number 1 in the world, albeit with a slightly lower rating, on the February 1889 rating list. His best single performance was his 1887 match against Joseph Henry Blackburne, where he scored 8 of 13 possible points (62%) against a 2744-rated opponent, for a performance rating of 2784.





Árpád Vajda (2 May 1896, Rimaszombat (Rimavská Sobota) – 25 October1967, Budapest) was a Hungarian chess master.

Vajda was Hungarian Champion in 1928.

He tied for 4-7th at Vienna 1921 (Friedrich Saemisch won); tied for 5-7th at Budapest 1922 (6th HUN-ch, Kornel Havasi won); won at London 1922; took 2nd at Portsmouth 1923; tied for 4-5th at Györ 1924 (7th HUN-ch, Geza Nagy won); tied for 11-12th at Debrecen 1925 (Hans Kmoch won); took 5th at Budapest 1926 (Endre Steiner won); took 11th at Budapest 1926 (1st FIDE Masters, Ernst Gruenfeld and Mario Monticelli won); tied for 5-7th at Kecskemét 1927 (Alexander Alekhine won); shared 5th at Budapest 1928 (Jose Capablanca won); tied for 4-5th at Budapest 1929 (Capablanca won); shared 1st with Adolf Seitz at Ramsgate 1929 (B tournament); tied for 4-7th at Sopron 1934 (Rudolf Spielmann won).

He represented Hungary in Chess Olympiads:

  • In 1924 in 1st unofficial Olympiad in Paris (+5 –2 =6) team silver medal and individual 4-6th place (Championship Final, Hermanis Matisons won);
  • In 1926 in 2nd unofficial Olympiad in Budapest – team gold medal and individual 11th place (1st FIDE Masters);
  • In 1927 at third board in 1st Chess Olympiad  in London (+5 –3 =5) team gold medal;
  • In 1928 at third board in 2nd Chess Olympiad in The Hague (+6 –1 =9) team gold medal;
  • In 1930 at third board in 3rd Chess Olympiad in Hamburg (+7 –3 =4) team silver medal;
  • In 1931 at third board in 4th Chess Olympiad in Prague (+4 –4 =7) team 10th place;
  • In 1933 at third board in 5th Chess Olympiad in Folkestone (+4 –3 =4) team 5th place;
  • In 1936 at seventh board in 3rd unofficial Olympiad in Munich (+5 –0 =10) team gold medal;
  • In 1937 at reserve board in 7th Chess Olympiad in Stockholm (+0 –2 =2) team silver medal. 

Vajda was awarded the International Master (IM) title in 1950.


Interesting article about Arpad Vajda: