Saturday, July 19, 2014

A couple of early Herman Steiner games.

In the run-up to the 27th Western Chess Association Tournament, the Chicago Daily News published the following two games, in it's August 18, 1926 issue.

  "The following games[s] should prove of exceptional interest to chess players at this time, as the winner, Herman Steiner, is one of the favorites entered in the western championship tournament, which starts Saturday at the LaSalle hotel."
(Chicago Daily News: August 18, 1926)

The first game took place during the previous year Western Chess Association Tournament, at Cedar Point, Ohio. Herman Steiner tied for 6th-7th, the tournament was won by Abraham Kupchik.

The second game was played at the Hungarian Chess club in New York City, no dates were given for either game.

How Herman Steiner fared at the 27th Western Chess Association Tournament, we leave for another post.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Szachy wojenne 1939 - 1945. War Chess - Pawel Dudzinski


It has been quite some time since I posted a book review but this is not so much a book review as much as it is a plea for a translation, this book deserves a much wider audience, than its limited edition of 600 copies and Polish language will afford it. Perhaps McFarland or some other publisher will consider the undertaking the task of translating and publishing Szachy wojenne. I don't read Polish, so what I gleaned of the books contents is from the five page English summary that is at the end of Szachy wojenne.

This very handsome book seems to have an illustration or chess diagram on every page, and numerous games many played in harrowing circumstances,but the importance of Szachy wojenne lies in its narration and the English summary gives us who don't read Polish, an idea of the book's value.

   ' The theme of the present book covers all the official and unofficial chess activities of ,,the Poles", ,,the Germans", and ,,the Ukrainians" in the years 1939- 1945 on the occupied territories of the Second Republic, and in the case of ,,Chess by the Germans" - also the German part of Silesia and Pomerania, which were incorporated in the Polish state after 1945.'

But also the chess activities of Polish players who were living outside the country fighting withe Free Polish forces, or as the case of the Polish Olympiad team who were stranded in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the war ; or the Poles who were deported to the Gulag, following the partition of Poland by Germany and Soviet Union; which closely followed the German invasion.

The Nazis sponsored tournaments in occupied Poland  in which Alexander Alekhine  and other European masters participated; Paul Keres, and Efim Bogoljubow to name just two. How does affect our view of them?

But it is above all the story of the Polish chess players who truly had to "endure the unendurable" , who played chess when they could, clandestinely under yoke of the Third Reich;  in the ghettos, in concentration camps; but mainly they had to survive and many perished in the Nazi death machine.

So I hope someone will consider translating and publishing this book so that it may reach a wider audience.  In the meantime til we have a translation of Szachy wojenne, that I may give it proper review; til then I am working on a couple of reviews which shall post soon.

Szachy wojenne 1939 - 1945. War Chess 
Pawel Dudzinski
Ostrow Wielkopolski, Biblioteka publiczna Ostrow.Towarzystwo Szachowe. (2013)
300 pages

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"When found, make a note of ." Captain Cuttle

Charles Dickens' Captain Cuttle - Dombey and Son

"When found, make a note of ," is a most admirable rule; and if the excellent Captain had never uttered another word, he might have passed for a profound philosopher. It is a rule which should shine in gilt letters on the gingerbread of youth and the spectacle-case of age. Every man who reads with any view beyond mere pastime, knows the value of it. Every one, more or less acts upon it. Every one regrets or suffers who neglects it. There is some trouble in it, to be sure; but in what good thing is there not? and what trouble does it save!

...“cannot be denied that reading and writing men, of moderate industry, who act on this rule for any considerable length of time, will accumulate a good deal of matter in various forms, shapes, and sizes—some more, some less legible and intelligible—some unposted in old pocket books—some on whole or half sheets, or mere scraps of paper, and backs of letters—some lost sight of and forgotten, stuffing out old portfolios, or getting smoky edges in bundles tied up with faded tape. There are, we are quite sure, countless boxes and drawers, and pigeon-holes of such things, which want looking over, and would well repay the trouble.”

 “Notes and Queries, Number 01, November 3, 1849.”

 I also, can think of no better advice; than that offered Dickens' Captain, in my research into Chicago chess history I had failed to make a note on numerous occasions, only to fail to remember where some interesting  item of information appeared.  I have copied numerous chess columns from the Chicago Daily News they sit in a heap, in large part unorganized, now is the time to bring some order to them before they get totally out control. I find now, I may have repeat some research I had already done, but such are the wages of sin.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vera Menchik biography forthcoming from McFarland.

Vera Menchik: A Biography of the First Women’s World Chess Champion, with 350 Complete Games by Robert B. Tanner is scheduled for release this fall/ winter from McFarland.

"Not only was Vera Menchik the first woman in the history of chess to compete on an equal basis with the top male players, she absolutely dominated women’s chess during the last 17 years of her life. Hers was a fascinating career as an independent professional in an era where this was rare for women in any endeavor."

More information on the Menchik biography can be found on the McFarland website, link here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"For the Love of Three Oranges"

The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev having been commissioned by Chicago Opera Association's musical director Cleofonte Campanini; Prokofiev's  new opera "For the Love of Three Oranges" had it's premiere 30 December 1921, under the baton of the composer at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre.

(Chicago Daily Tribune; December 30, 1921)

 While in Chicago Prokofiev was feted by the city's social elite,  musical community and by Chicago's chess community.

"Sergei Prokoffieff, [sic] the composer of 'The Love of Three Oranges', the world premiere at the Chicago opera was given last week, is probably the strongest chess player among the many musical geniuses who excel at the royal game."
(Chicago Daily News: January 9, 1922)

At a reception given in honor of the composer,attended by "a crowd musical chess friends"  hosted by Edward Lasker the following game took place between Prokofiev and Lasker.

The Daily News published the game up to White's 28th move, but it seems newspaper gremlins intervened and the game does not work after Black's 20th move.Here is the game as it appeared in the Daily News.