Remembering IM Robert Wade OBE (10-IV-1921, 29-XI-2008)

IM Robert Graham Wade
IM Robert Graham Wade

We remember IM Robert Graham Wade OBE who passed away on November 29th, 2008.

His detailed wikipedia entry may be found here :

Robert Graham Wade[1] OBE (10 April 1921 Dunedin, New Zealand – 29 November 2008, London), was a New Zealand and British chess player, writer, arbiter, coach, and promoter. He was New Zealand champion three times, British champion twice, and played in seven Chess Olympiads and one Interzonal tournament. Wade held the titles of International Master and International Arbiter.

IM Robert Graham Wade OBE
IM Robert Graham Wade OBE

Wade grew up on a farm in Dunedin, New Zealand, far from the world’s chess centres, and lacked strong competition early in his career. He developed his chess skills from materials in his local library, such as the British Chess Magazine and works by Australian champion Cecil Purdy.

IM Robert Graham Wade OBE
IM Robert Graham Wade OBE

After winning the New Zealand Chess Championship in 1944, 1945 and 1948, he travelled to Europe to further his chess career. International chess was starting up again after a six-year hiatus caused by World War II. For most Masters, it was a matter of dusting off their skills, but Wade had little if any high-class experience to draw upon, so he struggled at first with the new standard. Wade was attempting to become the first international-class player from New Zealand. He played in the British Chess Championship at Nottingham 1946, the first post-war championship, placing tied 10–12th with just 3½/11. His first continental European event was Barcelona 1946, won by Miguel Najdorf; Wade was a tailender with just 3/13 for a tied 12–13th place.[2] Wade played in the Australian Chess Championship at Adelaide 1946–47, placing tied 2nd–4th with 10½/15, with Lajos Steiner winning. Wade travelled as far as Canada to compete in the 1947 Canadian Chess Championship at Quebec City, scoring 7/13 to tie 7–8th places, with Daniel Yanofsky winning.[3]

IM Robert Graham Wade OBE
IM Robert Graham Wade OBE

Better things lay ahead on Wade’s next European foray. He scored 5½/9 at Baarn 1948 for a tied 2nd–3rd place, with Harry Golombek winning. Wade made 3½/9 at Hastings 1948–49 for 8th place, with Nicolas Rossolimo winning.[4] He represented New Zealand and Australia at the FIDE Congress at Paris 1949, which marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of FIDE in Paris in 1924.

IM Robert Graham Wade OBE
IM Robert Graham Wade OBE

Wade played many strong events in 1949, raising his standard significantly with competition against top-class Grandmasters. At Beverwijk 1949, he scored 4½/9 for a tied 6–7th place, with Savielly Tartakower winning. Wade placed 2nd at Arbon 1949 with 6/7, trailing only Ludek Pachman. He struggled at Trencianske Teplice 1949, placing last with 4½/19, as Gideon Ståhlberg won. At Heidelberg 1949, Wade scored 4/9 for a tied 6–8th place, as Wolfgang Unzicker won. Then at Oldenburg 1949, Wade made 8½/18 for 10th place, with Efim Bogolyubov and Elmārs Zemgalis on top.[5] At Southsea 1950, Wade scored 6/10 for a shared 7–13th place, as Arthur Bisguier won. The constant practice led to his best result to date, an excellent shared 5–7th place in a powerful field at Venice 1950 with 8½/15, with Alexander Kotov the champion. This earned Wade the International Master title later that year.[6] Wade drew a 1950 match at Bamberg by 5–5 with Lothar Schmid, and settled in England.

IM Robert Graham Wade OBE
IM Robert Graham Wade OBE

Wade was British Champion in 1952 (at Chester, with 8/11), and 1970 (at Coventry, with 8/11).[7] His other high finishes in the British Championship were 3rd at Hastings 1953 on 7½/11 (with Daniel Yanofsky winning), 2nd at Rhyl 1969 on 7½/11 (with Jonathan Penrose winning), and tied 3rd–6th at Blackpool 1971 on 7/11 (with Raymond Keene winning).[8]

Wade qualified for the Saltsjöbaden Interzonal 1952, scored 6/20, and did not advance to the Candidates level. Wade defeated many-time Scottish champion William Fairhurst in a match at Glasgow 1953 by 5½–2½.[9]

Wade went on to represent his adopted country in six Chess Olympiads, and his country of birth on one occasion. In 92 games, his totals at this level are: (+30−26=36), for 52.2 per cent. His detailed results in Olympiads, from olimpbase.org, follow.

Amsterdam 1954, England board 4, 6/12 (+4−4=4);
Moscow 1956, England board 3, 6½/14 (+2−3=9);
Munich 1958, England 1st reserve, 7/14 (+5−5=4);
Leipzig 1960, England 2nd reserve, 6/11 (+4−3=4);
Varna 1962, England 2nd reserve, 6/12 (+4−4=4);
Siegen 1970, New Zealand board 2, 9/15 (+7−4=4);
Skopje 1972, England board 3, 7½/14 (+4−3=7).
Wade won several middle-strength Master events in the British Isles: Ilford 1957 and 1968, Paignton 1959, Dublin 1962, and Southend-on-Sea 1965.

Wade was generally no more than a middle-ranking player in strong international tournaments. His other highlights against high-standard international-level competition include:

tied 4–5th at Haifa/Tel Aviv 1958 on 7½/13 (winner Samuel Reshevsky);
3rd at Bognor Regis 1959 on 7/10 (winner Erno Gereben);
5th at Reykjavík 1964 on 7½/13 (winner Mikhail Tal);
tied 4–5th at Málaga 1966 on 7/11; (winners Alberic O’Kelly de Galway and Eleazar Jiménez);
6th at Briseck 1971 on 7/13 (winner Gideon Barcza);
5th at Cienfuegos ‘B’ 1975 on 10/17; (winners Julio Boudy and Amador Rodriguez);
tied 7–12th in the World Senior Championship, Bad Woerishofen 1992, on 7½/11 (winner Efim Geller).
Wade was the only British player to have faced Bobby Fischer in tournament play (outside of Olympiads). They met three times, with Wade drawing one game and losing the other two.

IM Robert Graham Wade OBE
IM Robert Graham Wade OBE

Wade earned the title of International Arbiter in 1958, and made much of his living from directing events. He defeated tournament winner Viktor Korchnoi at Buenos Aires 1960 in a tough game that went through a Queen and Rook middle game to a queen endgame to a final king and pawn endgame. In addition to staying active on the international circuit, Wade served as chess editor with the respected Batsford publishers in the 1960s and 1970s. He eventually retired to make way for Raymond Keene. He managed the Batsford Chess Library after this. Well respected as a chess coach and author, Wade helped Bobby Fischer prepare for his 1972 World Championship match with Boris Spassky by collating a special file of Spassky’s games. He was awarded an OBE for services to chess in 1979. He was made an ‘Honorary Member’ of FIDE, the World Chess Federation. He declined to “trade in” his International Master title for that of honorary Grandmaster, considering his title, awarded in the days before title inflation, far more valuable.

Continuing to be an active player into his 80s, Wade was still able to play at a high level. This is shown by his performance at the 2006 Queenstown Chess International, where he scored 6/10 with only one loss, and drew his game against Grandmaster Murray Chandler. Wade played in the European Senior Teams chess championship six times between 2002 and 2006.[10][11] His last major event was the Staunton Memorial in London in July 2008, where he was badly outrated (a single draw would have increased his Elo rating), and he fought gamely but scored 0/11. A few weeks before his death, he played his final serious game, for the Athenaeum Chess Club.

Wade built up an enormous chess library at his house in South London, which included books, magazines and many original bulletins from tournaments: these latter were the primary sources for many types of chess literature. The growth of this library was supported by B.T. Batsford. Eventually the library was given to the nation, though its eventual destination is not certain at present. In the days before computer databases the Wade library was often used by British and foreign players in preparation for matches.[12]

Wade was hospitalized on 26 November 2008, with severe pneumonia and died on 29 November 2008.[13][14]

IM Robert Wade OBE
IM Robert Wade OBE

Remembering Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins (01-XI-1914, 25-XI-1987)

Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins
Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins

We remember Anthony Stewart Mackay Dickins who passed away this day (Wednesday, November 25th) in 1987.

From http://chesscomposers.blogspot.com/2012/10/november-1st.html

we have

Anthony Dickins wrote “A Guide to Fairy Chess” (1967, read it here) and other books about fairy chess. He edited the column of non-original fairy problems for “The Problemist”.
He was specialized in constructional problems and was also an International Judge.

A Guide to Fairy Chess
A Guide to Fairy Chess
100 Classics of the Chessboard
100 Classics of the Chessboard

Remembering Reverend John Owen (08-IV-1827, 24-XI-1901)

Reverend John Owen
Reverend John Owen

We remember Reverend John Owen (08-IV-1827, 24-XI-1901)

From Wikipedia :

John Owen (8 April 1827 – 24 November 1901) was an English vicar and strong amateur chess master. He ranked among the world’s top ten chess players for certain periods of the 1860s.[1]. He was a major figure in English chess from the mid 1850s to the 1890s.

Owen was born in Marchington, and obtained his early schooling at Repton School, Derbyshire. In 1850 he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, and received his M.A. from Cambridge three years later.[2] He was ordained by the Church of England in 1851, and served as Vicar of Hooton, Cheshire from 1862 to his retirement in 1900.[3]

In 1858 he won a chess game against the young American master Paul Morphy, the world’s best player, who was then touring Europe.

This led to a match between the two. Despite being given odds of pawn and the move (meaning he started the game with an extra pawn and always moved first), Owen lost the match 6–1, never winning a game.

His performance in the very strong 1862 London tournament, the first international round-robin event (in which each participant plays every other) was more impressive. He finished third, ahead of future world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, and was the only player to win against the eventual tournament winner, Adolf Anderssen. Louis Paulsen placed second. This result was arguably Owen’s top lifetime chess achievement.

Owen continued to play frequently and often successfully in British tournaments into the 1890s, and performed strongly in several matches against top British players, who were essentially chess professionals. He never competed outside the British Isles. He died in Twickenham.

Owen is the eponym of Owen’s Defence, a chess opening characterised by the moves 1.e4 b6. Owen was the first strong player to play this frequently, including in his victory over Morphy.

A much fuller biography may be found at the excellent Yorkshire Chess History web site

Amos Burn (left) and Rev. John Owen circa 1885.
Amos Burn (left) and Rev. John Owen circa 1885.

The Gijon International Chess Tournaments, 1944-1965

The Gijon International Chess Tournaments, 1944-1965
The Gijon International Chess Tournaments, 1944-1965

The Gijon International Chess Tournaments, 1944-1965 : Pedro Méndez Castedo & Luis Méndez Castedo

Pedro Méndez Castedo & Luis Méndez Castedo

Pedro Mendez Castedo is an amateur chess player, an elementary educational guidance counselor a member of the Asturias Chess History Commission, a bibliophile and a researcher of the history of Spanish and Asturian chess. He lives in San Martin del Rey Aurelio, Spain. Luis Mendez Castedo is an amateur chess player, a full teacher at a state school, a member of the Asturias Chess History Commission, a bibliophile and an investigator of the history of Spanish chess. He lives in Gijon, Spain.

 

When I mention Gijón, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Mustard? No, that’s Dijon. Dijon’s in France, but Gijón’s on the north coast of Spain, on the Bay of Biscay.

Small international chess tournaments were held there between 1944 and 1951, then between 1954 and 1956, and, finally, in 1965. These were all play all events, with between 8 and 12 players: a mixture of visiting masters and local stars. A bit like Hastings, you might think, but these tournaments usually took place in July, not in the middle of winter.

The strength of the tournaments varied, but some famous names took part. Alekhine played in the first two events and Euwe in 1951. A young Larsen played in 1956, while other prominent masters such as Rossolimo, Darga, Donner, Prins, Pomar and O’Kelly also took part. The local player Antonio Rico played in every event, with fluctuating fortunes: winning in 1945 ahead of Alekhine and 1948, but also finishing last on several occasions. English interests were represented on three occasions by Mr CHESS, BH Wood.

A nice touch is the Foreword, written by Gene Salomon, a Gijón native who played in the 1947 event before emigrating first to Cuba and then to the United States.

The main part of the book comprises a chapter on each tournament. We get a crosstable and round by round individual scores (it would have been better if these didn’t spill over the page: you might also think that progressive scores would be more useful). We then have, another nice touch, a summary of what was happening in the world at large, and in the chess world, that year. Then we have a games selection, some with light annotations: words rather than variations, giving the impression that little if any use was made of engines.

The book concludes with a chapter on ‘Special Personages’: Félix Heras, the tournament organizer, and, perhaps to entice British readers, BH Wood. Appendices provide a table of tournament participation and biographical summaries of the players.

Returning to the main body of the book, let’s take the 1950 tournament as a not entirely random example. A year in which I have a particular interest.

We learn a little about the football World Cup, the Korean War and a Spanish radio programme, the first Candidates Tournament and the Dubrovnik chess olympiad.

The big news from Gijón was the participation of the French player Chantal Chaudé de Silans, the only female to take part in  these events, and rather unfairly deprived of her acute accent here. She scored a respectable 3½ points, beating Prins and Grob (yes, the 1. g4 chap).

Rossolimo won the event with 8½/11, just ahead of Dunkelblum and Pomar on 8. Prins and Torán, playing in his home city, finished on 7 points.

This game, between Arturo Pomar and Henri Grob, won the first brilliancy prize.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 c6 7. e3 h5 8. Nge2 h4 9. Qb3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Nd7 11. a4 Nb6 12. a5

12… Nd7 13. a6 Qc7 14. Qc4 Nb6 15. Qc5 Rh5 16. Qa3 bxa6 17. Nf4 Rh8 18. Qc5 Bb7 19. Ba3 e5 20. Nd3 exd4 21. cxd4 Rh5 22. Ne5 O-O-O 23. g4 Nd7 24. Qc2 Rxe5 25. dxe5 Nxe5 26. Rb1 h3 27. Be4 Nxg4 28. Ke2 a5 29. Rxb7 Kxb7 30. Rb1+ Kc8 31. Bxc6 Ne5 32. Bb7+ Kb8 33. Ba6+ Qb6 34. Bd6+ Ka8 35. Rxb6 1:0

The annotations – by result rather than analysis – neither convince nor stand up to computer scrutiny. We’re told at the start of the game that ‘Pomar takes the initiative from Black’s error in the opening and does not relinquish it until the final victory’, but the annotations refute this claim. After criticizing several of Grob’s moves but none of Pomar’s, we’re told, correctly, that Black could have gained an advantage by playing 25… Qa5+. However, Grob’s choice was second best, not a ‘serious mistake’: Stockfish 10 tells me 26… a5 was still better for Black, and 27… a5 (in both cases with the idea of Ba6) was equal, though I guess those moves might not be easy to find without assistance. It was his 27th move, and perhaps also his 26th, which deserved the question mark.

This game was played in the last round of the tournament, on 26 July 1950.  Two days later a boy would be born who would learn chess, develop an interest in the game’s history and literature, and be asked to review this book. What is his verdict?

An enjoyable read, a nice book, but not a great book. If you collect McFarland books you’ll want it. If you have a particular passion for Spanish chess history, you’ll want it. Otherwise, although the book is not without interest, it’s probably an optional extra.

The tournaments, apart perhaps from Alekhine’s participation in the first two events, are not, in the overall scheme of things, especially significant. The games, by and large, aren’t that exciting. The annotations are, by today’s standards, not really adequate. The translation and presentation could have been improved.

Just another thought: we could do with a similarly structured book about the Hastings tournaments. There was one published some years ago, but a genuine chess historian could do much better.

Richard James, Twickenham 20 November 2019

Richard James
Richard James

Book Details :

  • Softcover : 244 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (30 July 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476676593
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476676593
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.5 x 25.1 cm

Official web site of McFarland

The Gijon International Chess Tournaments, 1944-1965
The Gijon International Chess Tournaments, 1944-1965

Remembering Mary Rudge (06-II-1842, 22-XI-1919)

Mary Rudge
Mary Rudge

We remember Mary Rudge who passed away one hundred years this day on Saturday, 22-XI-1919

From Wikipedia :

Mary Rudge (6 February 1842 in Leominster – 22 November 1919 in London) was an English chess master.

Rudge was born in Leominster, a small town in Herefordshire, England. She began playing chess in a correspondence tournament in 1872. The first mention of over the board competition is in August 1874 when she played in the second class at the Meeting of the Counties’ Chess Association at Birmingham. After the death of her father, Henry Rudge, she moved to Bristol where she started playing chess seriously.

Rudge was the first woman member of the Bristol Chess Club, which did not allow women to be members of the club until she joined in 1872. She played against Joseph Henry Blackburne, who gave a blindfold simultaneous display against ten opponents. The following year she played in another blindfold simultaneous display given by Johannes Hermann Zukertort. In March 1887 she played and drew on board six for Bristol against Bath at the Imperial Hotel in Bristol. At the beginning of 1888, Rudge played and won on board six for Bristol & Clifton against City Chess & Draughts Club. The following year, she won the Challenge Cup of Bristol & Clifton Chess Club. In 1889, she became the first woman in the world to give simultaneous chess exhibitions. She won the Ladies’ Challenge Cup at Cambridge 1890, and won the second class at the Southern Counties’ tournament at Clifton 1896.[1]

Miss Stevenson  & Mary Rudge
Miss Stevenson & Mary Rudge

First Women’s International Chess Congress
She was a winner of the first Women’s International Chess Congress under the management of the Ladies’ Chess Club of London in conjunction with the Women’s Chess Club of New York. Lady Newnes was president of the Tournament Committee, and Sir George Newnes, Baron Albert Salomon von Rothschild, Mr. Harry Nelson Pillsbury and some others offered prizes. The tournament was played at the Hotel Cecil in the Masonic Hall for six days, but the final rounds were decided at the Ideal Café, the headquarters of the Ladies’ Chess Club, from 22 June to 3 July 1897.[2] Miss Rudge was 55 years old and the oldest of the 20 players,[3] and had substantial experience playing chess at the time. She was a well-known English player, ranking in chess strength with the first class of the leading men’s clubs. She won the event with 18 wins and 1 draw, followed by Signorina Louisa Matilda Fagan (Italy), Miss Eliza Mary Thorold (England), Mrs. Harriet Worrall (USA), Madame Marie Bonnefin (Belgium), Mrs. F.S. Barry (Ireland), Lady Edith Margaret Thomas (England), among others.[4]

Mary Rudge
Mary Rudge

Over the next years, she took part in various competitions, playing in Bristol and Dublin. In 1898, she played against world champion Emanuel Lasker in a simultaneous display at the Imperial Hotel. Lasker was unable to finish all the games in the time available, and Rudge’s was one of those unfinished. He conceded defeat because he would be lost with best play.[5]

Mary Rudge
Mary Rudge

The International Ladies Congress
The International Ladies Congress

Remembering WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks (21-II-1927, 22-XI-2014)

WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks at the Lloyds Bank Masters
WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks at the Lloyds Bank Masters

We remember WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks who passed away this day, November 22nd, 2014, aged 87 years.

From Wikipedia :

Patricia Anne Sunnucks (21 February 1927 – 22 November 2014[1]) was an author and three-times British Women’s Chess Champion (1957, 1958, 1964). During her chess career she was always known as Anne Sunnucks.

She was educated at Wycombe Abbey School[2], Buckinghamshire. Although she learned how to play chess at the age of 8, she did not play seriously until the age of 21, when she joined the same chess club as Imre König, who became her tutor. By finishing tied for second place in the 1953 British Women’s Championship she became one of three British representatives in the 1954 Western European Zonal.

Anne Sunnucks vs Chaudé de Silans (Amsterdam, 1962)
Anne Sunnucks vs Chaudé de Silans (Amsterdam, 1962)

Sunnucks earned the Woman International Master title by placing second in the 1954 Western European Zonal. Although this result qualified her to play in the next event in the Women’s World Championship sequence, she was a major in the Women’s Royal Army Corps and the authorities would not allow her to travel to the USSR where the 1955 Women’s Candidates tournament was being held. Sunnucks represented England several times in Olympiads and team matches, including Great Britain vs. USSR 1954, the Anglo-Dutch match in 1965, and top board for the British Chess Federation (BCF) team at the 1966 Women’s Chess Olympiad at Oberhausen. She participated in the Women’s World Championship cycle two more times, representing the BCF in the Western European Zonal tournaments of 1963 and 1966. Sunnucks won both the Army and the Combined Services Championships in 1968, and was the only woman to compete in either. Sunnucks compiled The Encyclopaedia of Chess (1970, second edition: 1976).

The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks
The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks

Her married name was Anne Mothersill.[1]

Anne created Camberley Chess Club in 1972. She offered to open her spacious home at 28, Brackendale Close, Camberley for weekly club nights and matches.

Anne was a director of BMS Chess Supplies Ltd. which retailed chess books and equipment which the grateful membership purchased !

Anne passed away on November 22nd, 2014 at a retirement village in Meadow Park, Braintree, Essex.

From Brian Towers : It is also worth noting that she was an occasional contributor to the weekly chess ‘Magazine’ programme which was broadcast on the Third Network (the precursor to Radio 3) between Autumn 1958 and Summer 1964.

According to ChessBase, her highest Elo rating was 2045 but we suspect it was in reality, higher.

WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks
WIM Patricia Anne Sunnucks
Full Caption
Full Caption

Birthday Wishes Peter Lee

Peter Nicholas Lee
Peter Nicholas Lee

We wish Peter Nicholas Lee all the best on his birthday, this day (November 21st) in 1943.

From Wikipedia :

Peter Nicholas Lee (born 21 November 1943)[1] is an English chess player who won the British Chess Championship in (Hastings : BCN) 1965 . Born in London and educated at Exeter College, Oxford, he represented Oxford University in the Varsity chess matches of 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1966, and represented England in the Chess Olympiads of 1966, 1968, and 1970.

Peter Nicholas Lee (to the left of RD Keene)
Peter Nicholas Lee (to the left of RD Keene)

Later, he turned to contract bridge, at which he has also been highly successful. He has won the English Bridge Union’s National Pairs title four times, the first time in 2003, and has also been a member of the team that won the Gold Cup, the premier teams event in Britain, in 2003 and 2011. This makes him the only person who has won British championships in both chess and bridge.

As a consultant in medical statistics and epidemiology, he has also published over 200 papers, many on the effects of tobacco on health.[2]

PN Lee playing JH Donner in the 1966 Zonal at The Hague. Peter just played 7.h4
PN Lee playing JH Donner in the 1966 Zonal at The Hague. Peter just played 7.h4

Peter reached a peak Elo rating of 2390 aged 47 in July 1990 according to MegaBase 2020.

According to Paul Littlewood currently Peter “plays Bridge for Surrey and chess for the Athenaeum in London”.

PN Lee (Standing, top left)
PN Lee (Standing, top left)

Emanuel Lasker : A Reader : A Zeal to Understand

Emanuel Lasker: A Reader
Emanuel Lasker: A Reader

Emanuel Lasker: A Reader: A Zeal to Understand : Taylor Kingston

Taylor Kingston

Taylor Kingston has been a chess enthusiast since his teens. He holds a Class A over-the-board USCF rating, and was a correspondence master in the 1980s, but his greatest love is the game’s history. His historical articles have appeared in Chess Life, New In Chess, Inside Chess, Kingpin, and the Chess Café website. He has edited numerous books, including the 21st-century edition of Lasker’s Manual of Chess, and translations from Spanish of The Life and Games of Carlos Torre, Zurich 1953: 15 Contenders for the World Championship, and Najdorf x Najdorf. He considers the Lasker Reader to be the most challenging and interesting project he has undertaken to date.

 

Taylor Kingston
Taylor Kingston

When I’m asked who my favourite chess player is, I always answer ‘Emanuel Lasker’.

Why? Partly because he was a player who didn’t really have a style. Like Magnus Carlsen, with whom he has sometimes been compared, he just played chess. But more because he was such an interesting personality. Unlike most champions (Euwe and Botvinnik were exceptions) he had a life outside chess, on several occasions taking long breaks from the game. And what a life it was: mathematician, philosopher, writer, playwright, bridge player, and, lest we forget, chess player.

Chess historians are finally taking notice of this fascinating man. In 2009 a massive volume about him was published in German, edited by Richard Forster and others. Last year the first of three volumes of a greatly expanded edition of this work appeared in English. If you have any interest at all in chess history you should certainly possess this book, and, like me, you’ll be eagerly looking forward to volumes 2 and 3.

What we have here might best be seen as a companion to this work, and, if you’re a Lasker fan or have any interest in chess history you’ll want this as well.

Taylor Kingston has compiled and edited a collection of Lasker’s own writings, not just on chess but covering every aspect of his multi-faceted personality.

We start with the London Chess Fortnightly, which Lasker published for a year between 1892 and 1893, annotating his own games as he was trying to establish himself as a contender for Steinitz’s world title. Here and throughout the book, the editor adds the occasional contribution from Stockfish 8.

Lasker and Steinitz met in 1894, with our hero becoming the second official world champion as a result of winning the match. Both players annotated some of the games for newspaper columns. In 1906 Lasker published this in his chess magazine, which we’ll come to later, but in this book they appear in the correct chronological place.

The Hastings 1895 tournament book (if you don’t have a copy I’d like to know why) was unusual in that all the games were annotated by one of the other participants. The six games Lasker annotated feature here.

Lasker’s first book, Common Sense in Chess, was published the following year. We have here an extract from Chapter 9, the End Game.

We then jump forward to 1904. The longest and, for chess players, perhaps the most interesting section of the book covers Lasker’s Chess Magazine, which was published in New York between November 1904 and January 1909. The games themselves give the reader an overview of chess during those years, with amateurs as well as masters being represented. Lasker’s annotations and, in some cases, game introductions, were often colourful in nature and tell us a lot about the man himself.

Burn-Forgacs (Ostend 1906), for instance, ‘begins like a summer breeze and ends like a winter’s gale’.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 c6 6. Nf3 Qa5 7. Nd2 Ne4 8. Ndxe4 dxe4 9. Bh4 e5 10. Be2 f5 11. O-O g6 12. c5

‘Here the red lantern flashes out; queen and bishop prepare to take the diagonal from b3 to e6 and f7, which are woefully weak, and the black king will be in grave peril.’

12… Bg7 13. Qb3 Nf8 14. Bc4 Qc7 15. d5 h6 16. d6 Qd7 17. Be7 Ne6 18. Nb5 cxb5 19. Bxb5 1-0

Another major chapter concerns the 1908 Lasker-Tarrasch world championship match. After some details of the background to the match (there was little love lost between the two players: Edward Lasker quoted Tarrasch as saying ‘the only words I will address to him are check and mate!). Taylor Kingston presents the games with annotations from Lasker’s Chess Magazine, Tarrasch’s book of the match and other contemporary sources, along with the usual computer interjections.

We then have a chapter on Lasker’s unsuccessful 1921 match against Capablanca, and another on his non-appearance at New York 1927. Lasker’s Manual of Chess was first published in German in 1926: here we have an excerpt in which he discusses the theory of Steinitz.

Lasker’s chess writings are completed by an article on Lasker and the Endgame by guest contributor Karsten Müller, and a short section on Lasker’s problems and endgame studies.

The last 75 pages of the book consider other aspects of Lasker’s life: his philsophy, his contributions to mathematics, and Lasca, a board game he invented.

Perhaps the most interesting section offers extracts from The Philosophy of the Unattainable, his most important philosophical work, published in 1919. As far as Taylor Kingston is aware, it has never been published in English.

Lasker’s last work, The Community of the Future, was published in 1940, five months before his death. Here, Lasker considers the problems faced by the world and proposes a ‘non-competitive community’ as his solution, with ‘self-hope co-operatives’ to deal with unemployment. Again, fascinating reading, and, you might think, his utopian ideas are still of some relevance today.

The book is a well-produced paperback. There are a few notation errors caused by translation from descriptive to algebraic, but this shouldn’t cause you too much bother. I hope I’ve convinced you that this book deserves a place on your shelves.

Richard James, Twickenham 20 November 2019

Richard James
Richard James

Book Details :

  • Softcover : 400 pages
  • Publisher: Russell Enterprises (19 April 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1949859002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1949859003
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm

Official web site of Russell Enterprises

Emanuel Lasker: A Reader: A Zeal to Understand
Emanuel Lasker: A Reader: A Zeal to Understand

Birthday Greetings IM Andrew Kinsman

IM Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman
IM Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman

Best wishes to IM Andrew Peter Harry Kinsman born on this day Friday November 20, 1964. Andrew was born in North East Surrey and grew up in Kingston-Upon-Thames near Kingston Hospital (thanks Richard James!) He was a member of Richmond Junior Chess Club.

IM Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman

Andrew was a member of the University of Sussex chess team in 1983 along with IM Byron Jacobs. Andrew became an editor of chess publisher BT Batsford Ltd. following in the footsteps of Bob Wade, Paul Lamford and others.

He made his first Grandmaster norm with his victory in the 1997 Owens Corning International in Wrexham.

Andrew’s peak rating was 2430 in January 1998. He played for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League and for Wimbledon in other leagues. His last ECF grading was 222D in July 2002 and highest may have been 230B in July 2000.

He left chess and turned to poker becoming a successful player and author.

IM Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman

He has written several books on chess (and poker) as follows :

French Winawer by Andrew Kinsman
French Winawer by Andrew Kinsman
The Benko Gambit by Andrew Kinsman & Byron Jacobs
The Benko Gambit by Andrew Kinsman & Byron Jacobs
Spanish Exchange by Andrew Kinsman
Spanish Exchange by Andrew Kinsman
Modern Benoni by Andrew Kinsman
Modern Benoni by Andrew Kinsman
Improve Your Middlegame Play by Andrew Kinsman
Improve Your Middlegame Play by Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman
IM Andrew Kinsman