Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Year-Books of Chess, 1907 to 1916 Part 2

The Year-Book of Chess, 1910 edited by E. A. Michell, London 1910.

The Preface begins with the annual apology for the late appearance of the book (August 1910), this time blaming illness, but "I can safely promise publication for February or March" for the 1911 edition.

The General Review of the Year  relates that the only big international tournament held in 1909 was the very strong Tschigorin Memorial Tournament in St. Petersburg, which was jointly won by Emanuel Lasker and Akiba Rubinstein. This receives extensive coverage on pages 75 to 132 of the book. 

There were several important and/or interesting matches during 1909 including the three game blindfold match between Schlechter (½) and Mieses (2½), Marshall's matches against Jaffe, Capablanca and Showalter, Rubinstein v Mieses, and the two matches between Em. Lasker and Janowsky. 

Details and annotated games from all of these matches are included in the main part of the work, along with results from several lesser events including the National Russian Tournament, held alongside the St. Petersburg Congress, and which was won by the "promising young player" A. A. Alechin.

Em. Lasker and Rubinstein topped the Master's Averages for 1909 with 80.55%, while a new table this year lists the averages in B.C.F. Championship Tournaments,  1904 to 1909, headed by W. E. Napier with 77.27%, although he is one of many in the table who had competed in only one of these events.

The rest of the contents are similar to previous years with the Scores in the Chief International Tournaments updated to 1908, and the Chess Club Directory now includes chess clubs in New Zealand. 

Some interesting adverts for chess books at the back include one for all seventeen volumes of The Chess Monthly for sale at £5.5s, although originally published at £9.15s.6p, and one for back numbers of the Year-Book of Chess where the price had increased considerably from the original cost of 3/6.

The Year-Book of Chess, 1911, edited by E. A. Michell, London 1911.

There is no Preface this year, so no excuses for the late publication of this volume which was issued in June 1911.

In his General Review of the Year the editor laments the fact that no English player has made any impression in an International Tournament since Amos Burn at Ostend 1906; he also points out that no master tournament has been held in England since 1899. The editor also nominated Em. Lasker, Schlechter, Duras, Niemzovitsch, and Spielmann as the leading players of 1910.

The major tournament of the year was the Hamburg Congress in which seventeen year old Alekhin made his debut in a major international event. 38 pages are devoted to this tournament, and the two world championship matches held in 1910 between Lasker and Schlechter and Lasker and Janowsky also receive extensive coverage.

P. H. Williams' Problem Section, the Chess Club Directory and Scores in the Chief International Tournaments appear as usual, and an addition this year is the list of Winners of the German Chess Association Haupt Tournaments from 1877 to 1908. However, there are no Master's Averages this year.

The Year-Book of Chess, 1912, edited by E. A. Michell, London 1912.

Published in July 1912, with apologies, the format was again very similar to previous editions with broad coverage of the major tournaments of 1911 at San Sebastian, won by Capablanca on his international tournament debut, and Carlsbad, won by Richard Teichmann. Reports and games from several lesser events and matches are also included. The General Review of the Year gives brief details of the chess achievements of Capablanca, Teichmann, Vidmar and Yates. 

An interesting addition to the Year-Book this year was the Chess Lover's Kalendar compiled by Miss Clara Millar. This lists the birth and death dates, where known, of around 650 chess personalities from the sixteenth century onwards, and it was envisaged that in future issues brief summaries of the careers of the more famous names would be added. This does, however, have many discrepancies compared with Gaige's Chess Personalia. A previous edition of The Chess Lover's Calendar had been published by Clara Millar in 1910, see Betts 8-23, but this did not reappear in later editions of the Year-Book.

In the next article I will look at the final three volumes in this series, which incorporated several alterations in format and content following the change of ownership to Frank Hollings, and the change of editor to M. W. Stevens for 1914, and W. H. Watts and A. W. Foster for the 1915-16 edition.

                                        © Michael Clapham 2017

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