Sunday, 5 April 2020

American Chess Magazine 1897-1899. Part 5

Volume II of American Chess Magazine has a frontispiece illustration on page 2 which, unfortunately, has not been included in the Moravian Chess reprint. This illustration, showing the covers of nine American chess periodicals, is listed in the index for volume II and was intended for a forthcoming book on American Chess Literature. Even more unfortunately, that tantalising tome was never published.

An announcement of this book appeared on page 36 of the July 1898 magazine:

The promised illustrations did not appear and there was no further mention of this potentially extremely interesting work.  


Another planned book that never saw the light of day was a second edition of Chess Harmonies by Walter Pulitzer. The following full-page advert appeared on the reverse of the final page of the Index to volume I; again this is absent from the Moravian Chess reprint:

A second edition of Chess Harmonies had been touted in the very first issue of American Chess Magazine in June 1897 on page 15:

... and the July 1898 magazine included the following notice in the Literature section on page 28:


                                     ©  Michael Clapham 2020

Friday, 3 April 2020

Double Diagrams in the Chess Openings by Thomas Long

I wrote about Thomas Long's four 19th century books on the chess openings on 17th March 2016 and included illustrations from Key to the Chess Openings and Positions in the Chess Openings.

I have now acquired Double Diagrams in the Chess Openings, Huddersfield 1894, which is much the scarcest of Long's books.

This book has 92 very thick pages and, naturally, was written to supply a long-felt want; in this case to show the openings from both sides of the board on one page. 

Long ends his Preface by acknowledging the various sources consulted for this book:

The author employs his unique method of highlighting the last move played by turning the piece moved on its side. 

The material is divided into King's pawn and Queen's pawn openings and several very obscure lines are included such as the Fyfe Gambit, Fraser-Ensor Gambit, Prince Ouroussof's Attack and Van't Kruyz Opening.

                                      © Michael Clapham 2020

Thursday, 2 April 2020

American Chess Magazine 1897-1899. Part 4.

The following American chess editors were discussed in Volume II of American Chess Magazine in 1898-1899:

VI. Hermann Helms. August 1898, page 83.

This brief biography of Helms, who was born in 1870 and crowned Dean of American Chess in 1943, was written very early in his editorial career which had commenced in 1893 as editor of the chess department of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. His journalistic activities continued until the 1950s when his column in the Eagle ended in 1955 and his editorship of the American Chess Bulletin ceased in 1956, although he continued to publish that periodical until he died in 1963. 

Emil Kemeny. October 1898, page 166.

Kemeny was born in Budapest where he also ended his days, but during his years in America, he became one of the most respected chess editors. Following on from the Philadelphia Ledger (Public Ledger) mentioned in this notice, Kemeny conducted the chess departments in the Chicago Tribune, New York Sun and North American. He also edited and published the short-lived American Chess Weekly (1902-1903), which produced a special series on the Monte Carlo Tournament of 1903. 

James D. Séguin. April 1899, page 437.

By far the longest of this series of notices on American chess editors, and the only one to include a game, featured James DeBenneville Séguin from New Orleans. Séguin edited the chess column of the New Orleans Times-Democrat (jointly with Morphy's friend Charles Maurian for the first few years), but I can find no other journalistic activities. He amassed one of the finest chess libraries, taking advantage of many magazine exchanges while editing his newspaper column.

A particularly useful feature of Jeremy Gaige's Chess Personalia is the list of sources for each entry. However, Gaige does not list the American Chess Magazine biographies for Hazeltine, Hervey and Reichhelm, but does record the ACM sources for the last five editors in this series on American chess editors.

                                   © Michael Clapham 2020

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

American Chess Magazine 1897-1899. Part 3.

Borsodi's American Chess Magazine published the following series of articles on American Chess Editors :

I. Miron J. Hazeltine. June 1897, page 7, (portrait opposite page 16).

The article notes that Hazeltine was co-editor with D.W.Fiske of volume I of Chess Monthly. This is not recorded in the main bibliographical works but this is confirmed, for example, on page 288 of Chess Monthly for September 1857, and also on the title page of Hazeltine's book Brevity and Brilliance in Chess, New York 1866.  Furthermore, Hazeltine is credited with compiling the practical part of Marache's Manual of Chess, New York 1866, although that work does not mention his contribution. 

Hazeltine had the finest collection of chess books in New England.

II. Daniel E. Hervey. July 1897, page 79. (Portrait on page 75)

III. Gustave Reichhelm. September 1897, page 208.

"As a writer Reichhelm is unique: his line of thought is most original and his style odd yet fascinating. He is the Carlyle among chess writers".

IV. John Galbraith. February 1898, page 525.

Galbraith was a great admirer of Staunton, declaring: "He had his faults, like the rest of weak humanity, but no unprejudiced person will deny that English chess is more indebted to him than to all other authorities put together".

 V. Hartwig Cassel. April-May 1898, page 621.

Three more chess editors were featured in volume II of American Chess Magazine and I will include these next time.

                                       © Michael Clapham 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020

Soviet Chess Chronicle

Before putting the Soviet Chess Chronicle back on the shelf here are a few further items of interest:

January 1945 gave the results of a survey to find the 10 strongest players in the U.S.S.R. 


We don't often see grandmasters in their pyjamas but May 1945 page 13 included this photo:


The U.S.S.R Trade Union Team Championship was held in Moscow in December 1945. Each team of 10 had seven chess players and three checkers players and most of the country's leading chess players took part including Boleslavsky, Flohr, Sokolsky, Veresov, Panov, Smyslov, Lilienthal, Kotov, Bondarevsky, Taimanov, Ragozin, and Duz-Khotimirsky. 

January 1946 included a report on this event, several annotated games and some photographs:


After what sounds like an enthralling 1946 Moscow Championship, the somewhat surprising winner was 21-year-old David Bronstein (not yet a grandmaster),  who had lost his first-round game to Alatortsev but then won his next eight games.


April 1945 reported on the Championship of the Moscow garrison.


April 1946 also included a two-page article: In Memory of Leonid Kubbel, who had died in 1942: 

                                     © Michael Clapham 2020

Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match

The final issue of Soviet Chess Chronicle for June-July 1946 was a special number covering the USSR-Great Britain Radio Match held from 19th to 22nd June 1946. The arrangements were similar to the 1945 USSR v USA match with boards one playing each other twice, boards two the same, etc. However, this time there were 12 players a side resulting in a total of 24 games.

The magazine gave five pages of information and commentary on the match followed by all of the games annotated by Alexander Konstantinopolsky (first round) and Grigory Levenfish (second Round). There are also a number of photographs from the Moscow end, and portraits of all of the players.

The British team was beaten just as comprehensively as the American team had been the year before, winning just 3 of the 24 games. 

The only publication on this match recorded in Chess Competitions, 1824-1970 is Klein and Winter's book; The Anglo-Soviet Radio Chess Match, London 1947.

                                          © Michael Clapham 2020