1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chess
CHESS, once known as “checker,” a game played with certain “pieces” on a special “board” described below. It takes its name from the Persian word shah, a king, the name of one of the pieces or men used in the game. Chess is the most cosmopolitan of all games, invented in the East (see History, below), introduced into the West and now domiciled in every part of the world. As a mere pastime chess is easily learnt, and a very moderate amount of study enables a man to become a fair player, but the higher ranges of chess-skill are only attained by persistent labour. The real proficient or “master” not merely must know the subtle variations in which the game abounds, but must be able to apply his knowledge in the face of the enemy and to call to his aid, as occasion demands, all that he has of foresight, brilliancy and resource, both in attack and in defence. Two chess players fighting over the board may fitly be compared to two famous generals encountering each other on the battlefield, the strategy and the tactics being not dissimilar in spirit.
The Board, Pieces and Moves.—The chessboard is divided (see accompanying diagrams) into sixty-four chequered squares. In diagram 1, the pieces, or chess-men, are arranged for the beginning of a game, while diagram 2 shows the denomination of the squares according to the English and German systems of notation. Under diagram 1 are the names of the various “pieces”—each side, White or Black, having a King, a Queen, two Rooks (or Castles), two Knights, and two Bishops. The eight men in front are called Pawns. At the beginning of the game the queen always stands upon a square of her own colour. The board is so set that each player has a white square at the right hand end of the row nearest to him. The rook, knight and bishop on the right of the king are known as King’s rook, King’s knight, and King’s bishop; the other three as Queen’s rook, Queen’s knight, and Queen’s bishop.
|Diagram 1.—Showing the arrangement of the pieces at the commencement of a game.|
Briefly described, the powers of the various pieces and of the pawns are as follows.
The king may move in any direction, only one square at a time, except in castling. Two kings can never be on adjacent squares.
The queen moves in any direction square or diagonal, whether forward or backward. There is no limit to her range over vacant squares; an opponent she may take; a piece of her own colour stops her. She is the most powerful piece on the board, for her action is a union of those of the rook and bishop. The rooks (from the Indian rukh and Persian rokh, meaning a soldier or warrior) move in straight lines—forward or backward—but they cannot move diagonally. Their range is like the queen’s, unlimited, with the same exceptions.
The bishops move diagonally in any direction whether backward or forward. They have an unlimited range, with the same exceptions.
The knights’ moves are of an absolutely different kind. They move from one corner of any rectangle of three squares by two to the opposite corner; thus, in diagram 3, the white knight can move to the square occupied by the black one, and vice versa, or a knight could move from C to D, or D to C. The move may be made in any direction. It is no obstacle to the knight’s move if squares A and B are occupied. It will be perceived that the knight always moves to a square of a different colour.
The king, queen, rooks and bishops may capture any foeman which stands anywhere within their respective ranges; and the knights can capture the adverse men which stand upon the squares to which they can leap. The piece which takes occupies the square of the piece which is taken, the latter being removed from the board. The king cannot capture any man which is protected by another man.
The moves and capturing powers of the pawns are as follows:—Each pawn for his first move may advance either one or two squares straight forward, but afterwards one square only, and this whether upon starting he exercised his privilege of moving two squares or not. A pawn can never move backwards. He can capture only diagonally—one square to his right or left front. A pawn moves like a rook, captures like a bishop, but only one square at a time. When a pawn arrives at an eighth square, viz. at the extreme limit of the board, he may, at the option of his owner, be exchanged for any other piece, so that a player may, e.g., have two or more queens on the board at once.
“Check and Checkmate.” The king can never be captured, but when any piece or pawn attacks him, he is said to be “in check,” and the fact of his being so attacked should be announced by the adverse player saying “check,” whereupon the king must move from the square he occupies, or be screened from check by the interposition of one of his own men, or the attacking piece must be captured. If, however, when the king is in check, none of these things can be done, it is “checkmate” (Persian, shah mat, the king is dead), known generally as “mate,” whereupon the game terminates, the player whose king has been thus checkmated being the loser. When the adversary has only his king left, it is very easy to checkmate him with only a queen and king, or only a rook and king. The problem is less easy with king and two bishops, and still less easy with king, knight and bishop, in which case the opposing king has to be driven into a corner square whose colour corresponds with the bishop’s, mate being given with the bishop. A king and two knights cannot mate. To mate with king and rook the opposing king must be driven on to one of the four side files and kept there with the rook on the next file, till it is held by the other king, when the rook mates.
The pawn gives check in the same way as he captures, viz. diagonally. One king cannot give check to another, nor may a king be moved into check.
“Check by discovery” is given when a player, by moving one of his pieces, checks with another of them. “Double check” means attacking the king at once with two pieces—one of the pieces in this case giving check by discovery.
“Perpetual check” occurs when one player, seeing that he cannot win the game, finds the men so placed that he can give check ad infinitum, while his adversary cannot possibly avoid it. The game is then drawn. A game is also drawn “if, before touching a man, the player whose turn it is to play, claims that the game be treated as drawn, and proves that the existing position existed, in the game and at the commencement of his turn of play, twice at least before the present turn.”
“Stalemate.” When a king is not in check, but his owner has no move left save such as would place the king in check, it is “stalemate,” and the game is drawn.
“Castling.” This is a special move permitted to the king once only in the game. It is performed in combination with either rook, the king being moved two squares laterally, while the rook towards which he is moved (which must not have previously moved from its square) is placed next him on the other side; the king must be touched first. The king cannot castle after having been once moved, nor when any piece stands between him and the rook, nor if he is in check, nor when he has to cross a square commanded by an adverse piece or pawn, nor into check. It will be perceived that after castling with the king’s rook the latter will occupy the KB square, while the king stands on the KKt square, and if with the queen’s rook, the latter will occupy the queen’s square while the king stands on the QB square.
“Taking en passant.” This is a privilege possessed by any of the pawns under the following circumstances:—If a pawn, say of the white colour, stands upon a fifth square, say upon K5 counting from the white side, and a black pawn moves from Q2 or KB2 to Q4 or KB4 counting from the black side, the white pawn can take the black pawn en passant. For the purposes of such capture the latter is dealt with as though he had only moved to Q3 or KB3, and the white pawn taking him diagonally then occupies the square the captured pawn would have reached had he moved but one square. The capture can be made only on the move immediately succeeding that of the pawn to be captured.
“Drawn Game.” This arises from a stalemate (noticed above), or from either player not having sufficient force wherewith to effect checkmate, as when there are only two kings left on the board, or king and bishop against king, or king with one knight, or two knights against king, or from perpetual check. One of the players can call upon the other to give checkmate in fifty moves, the result of failure being that the game is drawn. But, if a pawn is moved, or a piece is captured, the counting must begin again.
A “minor piece” means either a knight or a bishop. “Winning the exchange” signifies capturing a rook in exchange for a minor piece. A “passed pawn” is one that has no adverse pawn either in front or on either of the adjoining files. A “file” is simply a line of squares extending vertically from one end of the board to the other. An “open file” is one on which no piece or pawn of either colour is standing. A pawn or piece is en prise when one of the enemy’s men can capture it. “Gambit” is a word derived from the Ital. gambetto, a tripping up of the heels; it is a term used to signify an opening in which a pawn or piece is sacrificed at the opening of a game to obtain an attack. An “opening,” or début, is a certain set method of commencing the game. When a player can only make one legal move, that move is called a “forced move.”
Value of the Pieces.—The relative worth of the chess-men cannot be definitely stated on account of the increase or decrease of their powers according to the position of the game and the pieces, but taking the pawn as the unit the following will be an estimate near enough for practical purposes:—pawn 1, bishop 3.25, knight 3.25, rook 5, queen 9.50. Three minor pieces may more often than not be advantageously exchanged for the queen. The knight is generally stronger than the bishop in the end game, but two bishops are usually stronger than two knights, more especially in open positions.
Laws.—The laws of chess differ, although not very materially, in different countries. Various steps have been taken, but as yet without success, to secure the adoption of a universal code. In competitions among English players the particular laws to be observed are specially agreed upon,—the regulations most generally adopted being those laid down at length in Staunton’s Chess Praxis, or the modification of the Praxis laws issued in the name of the British Chess Association in 1862.
First Move and Odds.—To decide who moves first, one player conceals a white pawn in one hand and a black pawn in the other, his adversary not seeing in which hand the different pawns are put. The other holds out his hands with the pawns concealed, and his adversary touches one. If that contains the white pawn, he takes the white men and moves first. If he draws the black pawn his adversary has the first move, since white, by convention, always plays first. Subsequently the first move is taken alternately. If one player, by way of odds, “gives” his adversary a pawn or piece, that piece is removed before play begins. If the odds are “pawn and move,” or “pawn and two,” a black pawn, namely, the king’s bishop’s pawn, is removed and white plays one move, or any two moves in succession. “Pawn and two” is generally considered to be slightly less in point of odds than to give a knight or a bishop; to give a knight and a bishop is to give rather more than a rook; a rook and bishop less than a queen; two rooks rather more than a queen. The odds of “the marked pawn” can only be given to a much weaker player. A pawn, generally KB’s pawn, is marked with a cap of paper. If the pawn is captured its owner loses the game; he can also lose by being checkmated in the usual way, but he cannot give mate to his adversary with any man except the marked pawn, which may not be moved to an eighth square and exchanged for a piece.
Rules.—If a player touch one of his men he must move it, unless he says j’adoube (I adjust), or words of a similar meaning, to the effect that he was only setting it straight on its square. If he cannot legally move a touched piece, he must move his king, if he can, but may not castle; if not, there is no penalty. He must say j’adoube before touching his piece. If a player touch an opponent’s piece, he must take it, if he can: if not, move his king. If he can do neither, no penalty. A move is completed and cannot be taken back, as soon as a player, having moved a piece, has taken his hand off it. If a player is called upon to mate under the fifty-move rule, “fifty moves” means fifty moves and the forty-nine replies to them. A pawn that reaches an eighth square must be exchanged for some other piece, the move not being complete until this is done; a second king cannot be selected.
Modes of Notation.—The English and German methods of describing the moves made in a game are different. According to the English method each player counts from his own side of the board, and the moves are denoted by the names of the files and the numbers of the squares. Thus when a player for his first move advances the king’s pawn two squares, it is described as follows:—“1. P–K4.” The following moves, with the aid of diagram 2, will enable the reader to understand the principles of the British notation. The symbol × is used to express “takes”; a dash–to express “to.”
|1. P–K4||1. P–K4|
|2. KKt–KB3 (i.e. King’s Knight to the third square of the King’s Bishop’s file)||2. QKt–QB3 (i.e. Queen’s Knight to the third square of the Queen’s Bishop’s file)|
|3. KB–QB4 (King’s Bishop to the fourth square of the Queen’s Bishop’s file)||3. KB–QB4|
|4. P–QB3||4. KKt–KB3|
|5. P–Q4||5. P takes P (or P×P) (King’s pawn takes White’s Queen’s pawn)|
|6. P takes P (or P×P) (Queen’s Bishop’s pawn takes pawn: no other pawn
has a pawn en prise)
|6. KB–QKt5 (ch., i.e. check)|
It is now usual to express the notation as concisely as possible; thus, the third moves of White and Black would be given as 3. B–B4, because it is clear that only the fourth square of the queen’s bishop’s file is intended.
The French names for the pieces are, King, Roi; Queen, Dame; Rook, Tour; Knight, Cavalier; Pawn, Pion; for Bishop the French substitute Fou, a jester. Chess is Les Échecs.
The German notation employs the alphabetical characters a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h, proceeding from left to right, and the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, running upwards, these being always calculated from the white side of the board (see diagram 2). Thus the White Queen’s Rook’s square is a1, the White Queen’s square is d1; the Black Queen’s square, d8; the White King’s square, e1; the Black King’s square, e8, and so with the other pieces and squares. The German names of the pieces are as follows:—King, König; Queen, Dame; Rook, Turm; Bishop, Läufer; Knight, Springer; Pawn, Bauer; Chess, Schach.
The initials only of the pieces are given, the pawns (Bauern) being understood. The Germans use the following signs in their notation, viz.:—for “check” (†); “checkmate” (‡); “takes” (:); “castles on king’s side” (o-o); “castles on queen’s side” (o-o-o); for “best move” a note of admiration (!); for “weak move” a note of interrogation (?). The opening moves just given in the English will now be given in the German notation:—
|1. e2 – e4||1. e7 – e5|
|2. S g1 – f3||2. S b8 – c6|
|3. L f1 – c4||3. L f8 – c5|
|4. c2 – c3||4. S g8 – f6!|
|5. d2 – d4||5. e5 – d4:|
|6. c3 – d4:||6. L c5 – b4†|
In both notations the moves are often given in a tabular form, thus:—
1. P – K4 1. e2 – e4, the moves above the line being White’s and below the line Black’s.
Illustrative Games.—The text-books should be consulted by students who wish to improve their game. The following are some of the leading openings:—
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. KKt – B3||2. QKt – B3|
|3. B – B4||3. B – B4|
|4. P – B3||4. Kt – KB3|
|5. P – Q4||5. P × P|
|6. P × P||6. B – Kt5 (ch)|
|7. B – Q2||7. B × B (ch)|
|8. QKt × B||8. P – Q4|
|9. P × P||9. KKt × P|
|10. Q – Kt3||10. QKt – K2|
|11. Castles (K’s side)||11. Castles|
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. KKt – B3||2. QKt – B3|
|3. B – Kt5||3. P – QR3|
|4. B – R4||4. Kt – B3|
|5. P – Q4||5. P × P|
|6. P – K5||6. Kt – K5|
|7. Castles||7. B – K2|
|8. R – K sq||8. Kt – B4|
|9. B × Kt||9. QP × B|
|10. Kt × P||10. Castles|
|11. Kt – QB3||11. P – KB3|
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. KKt – B3||2. QKt – B3|
|3. P – Q4||3. P × P|
|4. B – QB4||4. B – B4|
|5. P – B3||5. Kt – B3|
|6. P × P|
The position here arrived at is the same as in the Giuoco Piano opening above.
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. KKt – B3||2. QKt – B3|
|3. B – B4||3. B – B4|
|4. P – QKt4||4. B × KtP|
|5. P – B3||5. B – B4|
|6. P – Q4||6. P × P|
|7. Castles||7. P – Q3|
|8. P × P||8. B – Kt3|
White has for its ninth move three approved continuations, viz. B – Kt2, P – Q5, and Kt – B3. To take one of them:—
|9. P – Q5||9. Kt – R4|
|10. B – Kt2||10. Kt – K2|
|11. B – Q3||11. Castles|
|12. Kt – B3||12. Kt – Kt3|
|13. Kt – K2||13. P – QB4|
|14. Q – Q2||14. P – B3|
|15. K – R sq||15. B – B2|
|16. QR – B sq||16. R – Kt sq|
This game may be considered about even.
King’s Knight’s Gambit (Proper).
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. P – KB4||2. P × P|
|3. KKt – B3||3. P – KKt4|
|4. B – B4||4. B – Kt2|
|5. Castles||5. P – Q3|
|6. P – Q4||6. P – KR3|
|7. P – B3||7. Kt – K2|
Black has the advantage.
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. P – KB4||2. P × P|
|3. Kt – KB3||3. P – KKt4|
|4. P – KR4||4. P – Kt5|
|5. Kt – K5||5. KKt – B3|
|6. B – B4||6. P – Q4|
|7. P × P||7. B – Kt2|
|8. P – Q4||8. Castles|
|9. B × P||9. Kt × P|
|10. B × Kt||10. Q × B|
|11. Castles||11. P – QB4|
Black has the better game.
King’s Bishop’s Gambit.
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. P – KB4||2. P × P|
|3. B – B4||3. P – Q4|
|4. B × P||4. Q – R5 (ch)|
|5. K – B sq||5. P – KKt4|
|6. KKt – B3||6. Q – R4|
|7. P – Q4||7. B – Kt2|
|8. P – KR4||8. P – KR3|
|9. Kt – B3||9. Kt – K2|
|10. K – Kt sq||10. P – Kt5|
|11. Kt – K5||11. B × Kt|
|12. P × B||12. Q × KP|
|13. Q – B sq||13. P – B6|
|14. P – P||14. Q – Kt6 (ch)|
|15. Q – Kt2|
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. P – KB4||2. P × P|
|3. KKt – B3||3. P – KKt4|
|4. B – B4||4. P – Kt5|
|5. Kt – K5||5. Q – R5 (ch)|
|6. K – B sq||6. Kt – KR3|
|7. P – Q4||7. P – B6|
|8. Kt – QB3||8. P – Q3|
|9. Kt – Q3||9. P × P (ch)|
|10. K × P||10. B – Kt2|
|11. Kt – KB4||11. Kt – B3|
|12. B – K3||12. Castles|
|13. QKt – Q5||13. Q – Q sq|
|14. P – B3|
White has a slight advantage.
1. P – K4 2. P – KB4 3. KKt – B3 4. B – B4
|5. Castles||5. P × Kt|
|6. Q × P||6. Q – B3|
|7. P – K5||7. Q × P|
|8. P – Q3||8. B – R3|
|9. B – Q2||9. Kt – K2|
|10. Kt – B3||10. QKt – B3|
|11. QR – K sq||11. Q – KB4|
|12. R – K4||12. Castles|
|13. QB × P||13. B – Kt2|
|14. Q – K2||14. P – Q4|
|15. B × BP||15. Q – Kt4|
|16. P – KR4||16. Q – Kt3|
|17. Kt × P||17. Kt × Kt|
|18. B × Kt||18. B – B4|
|19. QR – KB4||19. B – K3|
|20. B × B||20. P × B|
|21. R – K4||21. R × R (ch)|
|22. K × R||22. R – B sq (ch)|
|23. K – Kt sq||23. Kt – Q5|
And Black has the better game.
|1. P – Q4||1. P – Q4|
|2. P – QB4||2. P × P|
|3. P – K3||3. P – K4|
|4. B × P||4. P × P|
|5. P × P||5. B – Q3|
|6. Kt – KB3||6. Kt – KB3|
|7. Castles||7. Castles|
|8. P – KR3||8. P – KR3|
|9. Kt – QB3||9. P – QB3|
The game is about equal, though White has a somewhat freer position.
The following is a selection of noteworthy games played by great masters:—
King’s Bishop’s Gambit.
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. P – KB4||2. P × P|
|3. B – B4||3. Q – R5 (ch)|
|4. K – B sq||4. P – QKt4|
|5. B × KtP||5. Kt – KB3|
|6. Kt – KB3||6. Q – R3|
|7. P – Q3||7. Kt – R4|
|8. Kt – R4||8. Q – Kt4|
|9. Kt – B5||9. P – QB3|
|10. P – KKt4||10. Kt – B3|
|11. R – Kt sq||11. P × B|
|12. P – KR4||12. Q – Kt3|
|13. P – R5||13. Q – Kt4|
|14. Q – B3||14. Kt – Kt sq|
|15. B × P||15. Q – B3|
|16. Kt – B3||16. B – B4|
|17. Kt – Q5||17. Q × KtP|
|18. B – Q6||18. Q × R (ch)|
|19. K – K2||19. B × R|
|20. P – K5||20. Kt – QR3|
White mates in three moves.
|1. P – K4||1. P – K4|
|2. Kt – KB3||2. P – Q3|
|3. P – Q4||3. P – KB4|
|4. P × KP||4. BP × P|
|5. Kt – Kt5||5. P – Q4|
|6. P – K6||6. B – QB4|
|7. Kt – B7||7. Q – B3|
|8. B – K3||8. P – Q5|
|9. B – KKt5||9. Q – B4|
|10. Kt × R||10. Q × B|
|11. B – B4||11. Kt – QB3|
|12. Kt – B7||12. Q × P|
|13. R – B sq||13. Kt – B3|
|14. P – KB3||14. Kt – QKt5|
|15. Kt – QR3||15. B × P|
|16. B × B||16. Kt – Q6 (ch)|
|17. Q × Kt||17. P × Q|
|18. Castles||18. B × Kt|
|19. B – Kt3||19. P – Q7 (ch)|
|20. K – Kt sq||20. B – B4|
|21. Kt – K5||21. K – B sq|
|22. Kt – Q3||22. R – K sq|
|23. Kt × B||23. Q × R|
And White resigns.
|1. P – K4||P – K4||13. Q × P (ch)||K – K2|
|2. P – KB4||P × P||14. Kt × P||Kt × Kt|
|3. B – B4||Kt – QB3||15. B × Kt||P – R3|
|4. P – Q4||Kt – B3||16. Kt – B3||B – B5|
|5. P – K5||P – Q4||17. P – K6||R – B sq|
|6. B – Kt3||B – Kt5||18. B – B7||P × P|
|7. Q – Q3||Kt – KR4||19. B × Q (ch)||R × B|
|8. Kt – KR3||Kt – Kt5||20. Q – Kt7 (ch)||R – Q2|
|9. Q – QB3||Kt – R3||21. R – B7 (ch)||K × R|
|10. Castles||B – K7||22. Q × R (ch)||B – K2|
|11. B – R4 (ch)||P – B3||23. R – K sq||R – K sq|
|12. B × P (ch)||P × B||24. P – QKt3||Resigns.|
This pretty game was played in the tie match for first prize at the Budapest tournament, 1896.
Queen’s Gambit Declined.
Dr E. Lasker.
Dr E. Lasker.
|1. P – Q4||P – Q4||21. Kt – B3||Kt – Q5|
|2. P – QB4||P – K3||22. Q × P||Kt × B (ch)|
|3. Kt – QB3||Kt – KB3||23. P × Kt||R – Kt sq|
|4. B – B4||B – K2||24. Q × P||R – Kt3|
|5. P – K3||Castles||25. Q – B4||R × P|
|6. R – B sq||P – B4||26. P – KR4||B – R2|
|7. QP × P||B × P||27. B – K4||Q – Q3|
|8. P × P||P × P||28. P – B4||Q – Q2|
|9. Kt – B3||Kt – B3||29. B – Kt2||Q – Kt5|
|10. B – Q3||P – Q5||30. Q – Q3||Kt – B4|
|11. P × P||Kt × P||31. Kt – K4||B – K6|
|12. Castles||B – KKt5||32. R – B3||R × B|
|13. Kt – QKt5||B × Kt||33. K × R||Kt × P (ch)|
|14. P – B||Kt – K3||34. K – R2||Kt × R (ch)|
|15. B – K5||Kt – R4||35. K – Kt2||Kt – R5 (ch)|
|16. K – R sq||Q – Kt4||36. K – R2||Kt – B4|
|17. B – Kt3||QR – Q sq||37. R – QKt sq||P – R4|
|18. Q – B2||Q – R3||38. R – Kt5||R – R sq|
|19. QR – Q sq||R – B sq||39. P – R3||R × P|
|20. Q – Kt3||P – R3||Resigns.|
This game was played in the St Petersburg tournament, 1895, a fine specimen of Lasker’s style. The final attack, beginning with 21. with Kt – Q5, furnishes a gem of an ending.
|1. P – K4||P – K4||15. Q – R3||Kt – B7|
|2. P – KB4||P × P||16. R × B (ch)||B – K3|
|3. Kt – KB3||P – KKt4||17. K – B sq||Q – R8 (ch)|
|4. P – KR4||P – Kt5||18. Kt – Kt sq||Kt – R6|
|5. Kt – K5||Kt – KB3||19. P × Kt||P – B6|
|6. B – B4||P – Q4||20. B – Kt5||Q – Kt7 (ch)|
|7. P × P||B – Q3||21. K – K sq||P – B7 (ch)|
|8. Castles||B × Kt||22. K – Q2||P – B8=Kt (ch)|
|9. R – K sq||Q – K2||23. K – Q3||K – Q2|
|10. P – B3||P – Kt6||24. P × B (ch)||K – B2|
|11. P – Q4||Kt – Kt5||25. Q – K7 (ch)||K – Kt3|
|12. Kt – Q2||Q × P||26. Q – Q8 (ch)||R × Q|
|13. Kt – B3||Q – R3||27. B × Q and mates|
|14. Q – R4 (ch)||P – B3|
The Rice Gambit (so called after its inventor, Prof. Isaac L. Rice of New York), whether right or not, is only possible if Black plays 7. B – Q3. Paulsen’s 7. B – Kt2 is better, and avoids unnecessary complications. 8. P – Q4 is the usual move. Leaving the knight en prise, followed by 9. R – K sq, constitutes the Rice Gambit. The interesting points in the game are that White subjects himself to a most violent attack with impunity, for in the end Black could not save the game by 22. P – B8 claiming a second queen with a discovered check, nor by claiming a knight with double check, as it is equally harmless to White.
|1. P – K4||P – K4||14. R – K sq||P – KB3|
|2. Kt – KB3||Kt – QB3||15. Q – K2||Q – Q2|
|3. B – B4||B – B4||16. QR – B sq||P – B3|
|4. P – B3||Kt – B3||17. P – Q5||P × P|
|5. P – Q4||P × P||18. Kt – Q4||K – B2|
|6. P × P||B – Kt5 (ch)||19. Kt – K6||KR – QB sq|
|7. Kt – B3||P – Q4||20. Q – Kt4||P – KKt3|
|8. P × P||KKt × P||21. Kt – Kt5 (ch)||K – K sq|
|9. Castles||B – K3||22. R × Kt (ch)||K – B sq|
|10. B – KKt5||B – K2||23. R – B7 (ch)||K – Kt sq|
|11. B × Kt||QB × B||24. R – Kt7 (ch)||K – R sq|
|12. Kt × B||Q × Kt||25. R × P (ch)||Resigns.|
|13. B × B||Kt × B|
As a matter of fact, Bardeleben left the board here, and lost the game by letting his clock run out the time-limit; but Steinitz, who remained at the board, demonstrated afterwards the following variation leading to a forced win:—
|25. . . . . . .||K – Kt sq||31. Q – Kt8 (ch)||K – K2|
|26. R – Kt7 (ch)||K – R sq||32. Q – B7 (ch)||K – Q sq|
|27. Q – R4 (ch)||K × R||33. Q – B8 (ch)||Q – K sq|
|28. Q – R7 (ch)||K – B sq||34. Kt – B7 (ch)||K – Q2|
|29. Q – R8 (ch)||K – K2||35. Q – Q6 mate.|
|30. Q – Kt7 (ch)||K – K sq|
|1. P – K4||P – K4||14. P – Kt6||BP × P|
|2. Kt – KB3||Kt – QB3||15. Kt – Q5||P × Kt|
|3. B – Kt5||Kt – B3||16. KR – K sq (ch)||K – B sq|
|4. Castles||Kt × P||17. R – R3||Kt – K4|
|5. P – Q4||Kt – Q3||18. R × Kt||P × R|
|6. P × P||Kt × B||19. R – B3 (ch)||K – Kt sq|
|7. P – QR4||P – Q3||20. B – R6||Q – K2|
|8. P – K6||P × P||21. B × P||K × B|
|9. P × Kt||Kt – K2||22. R – Kt3 (ch)||K – B sq|
|10. Kt – B3||Kt – Kt3||23. R – B3 (ch)||K – Kt2|
|11. Kt – Kt5||B – K2||24. R – Kt3 (ch)||K – B sq|
|12. Q – R5||B × Kt||25. R – B3 (ch)||K – Kt sq|
|13. B × B||Q – Q2||Draw.|
This brilliant game, played at the Munich tournament, 1900, would be unique had the combinations occurred spontaneously in the game. As a matter of fact, however, the whole variation had been elaborated by Maroczy and Halprin previously, on the chance of Pillsbury adopting the defence in the text. The real merit belongs to Pillsbury, who had to find the correct defence to an attack which Halprin had committed to memory and simply had to be careful to make the moves in regular order.
|1. P – K4||P – QB4||16. P × P||Kt – Q5|
|2. Kt – KB3||P – K3||17. B × R||K × B|
|3. P – Q4||P × P||18. R – R2||B – K3|
|4. Kt × P||Kt – KB3||19. R – Q2||R – K sq|
|5. Kt – QB3||Kt – B3||20. Castles||B – Kt6|
|6. KKt – Kt5||B – Kt5||21. Q – Kt sq||B – Q4|
|7. P – QR3||B × Kt (ch)||22. B – Q sq||B × P|
|8. Kt × B||P – Q4||23. K × B||Q – Kt4 (ch)|
|9. P × P||P × P||24. K – R sq||Q × R|
|10. B – KKt5||Castles||25. B – Kt4||Q – B5|
|11. B – K2||P – Q5||26. R – Kt sq||P – B4|
|12. Kt – K4||Q – R4 (ch)||27. B – R5||Kt – B6|
|13. P – Kt4||Q – K4||28. B × Kt||Q × B (ch)|
|14. Kt × Kt (ch)||P × Kt||29. R – Kt2||R – K7|
|15. B – R6||P – Q6||30. Q – QB sq||Q × QP|
This brilliant game occurred at the Paris tournament, 1900.
|1. P – K4||P – K4||13. Q – R4||B – Kt3|
|2. Kt – KB3||Kt – QB3||14. QKt – Q2||B – Kt2|
|3. B – B4||B – B4||15. Kt – K4||Q – B4|
|4. P – QKt4||B × P||16. B × P||Q – R4|
|5. P – B3||B – R4||17. Kt – B6 (ch)||P × Kt|
|6. P – Q4||P × P||18. P × P||R – Kt sq|
|7. Castles||P – Q6||19. QR – Q sq||Q × Kt|
|8. Q – Kt3||Q – B3||20. R × Kt (ch)||Kt × R|
|9. P – K5||Q – Kt3||21. Q × P (ch)||K × Q|
|10. R – K sq||KKt – K2||22. B – B5 (ch)||K – K sq|
|11. B – R3||P – Kt4||23. B – Q7 (ch)||K moves|
|12. Q × P||R – QKt sq||24. B × Kt mate.|
This game is most remarkable and brilliant. The coup de repos of 19. QR – Q sq is the key – move to the brilliant final combination, the depth and subtlety of which have never been equalled, except perhaps in the following game between Zukertort and Blackburne:—
|1. P – QB4||P – K3||18. P – K4||QR – QB sq|
|2. P – K3||Kt – KB3||19. P – K5||Kt – K sq|
|3. Kt – KB3||P – QKt3||20. P – B4||P – Kt3|
|4. B – K2||B – Kt2||21. R – K3||P – B4|
|5. Castles||P – Q4||22. P × P e.p.||Kt × P|
|6. P – Q4||B – Q3||23. P – B5||Kt – K5|
|7. Kt – B3||Castles||24. B × Kt||P × B|
|8. P – QKt3||QKt – Q2||25. P × KtP||R – B7|
|9. B – Kt2||Q – K2||26. P × P (ch)||K – R sq|
|10. Kt – QKt5||Kt – K5||27. P – Q5 dis. (ch)||P – K4.|
|11. Kt × B||P × Kt||28. Q – Kt4||QR – B4|
|12. Kt – Q2||QKt – B3||29. R – B8 (ch)||K × P|
|13. P – B3||Kt × Kt||30. Q × P (ch)||K – Kt2|
|14. Q × Kt||P × P||31. B × P (ch)||K × R|
|15. B × P||P – Q4||32. B – Kt7 (ch)||K – Kt sq|
|16. B – Q3||KR – B sq||33. Q × Q||Resigns.|
|17. QR – K sq||R – B2|
This game, played in the London tournament, 1883, is one of the most remarkable productions of modern times, neither surpassed nor indeed equalled hitherto.
End Games.—A game of chess consists of three branches—the opening, the middle and the end game. The openings have been analysed and are to be acquired by the study of the books on the subject. The middle game can only be acquired practically. The combinations being inexhaustible in their variety, individual ingenuity has its full scope. Those endowed with a fertile imagination will evolve plans and combinations leading to favourable issues. The less endowed player, however, is not left quite defenceless; he has necessarily to adopt a different system, namely, to try to find a weak point in the arrangement of his opponent’s forces and concentrate his attack on that weak spot. As a matter of fact, in a contest between players of equal strength, finding the weak point in the opponent’s armour is the only possible plan, and this may be said to be the fundamental principle of the modern school. In the good old days the battles were mostly fought in the neighbourhood of the king, each side striving for a checkmate. Nowadays the battle may be fought anywhere. It is quite immaterial where the advantage is gained be it ever so slight. Correct continuation will necessarily increase it, and the opponent may be compelled to surrender in the end game without being checkmated, or a position may be reached when the enemies, in consequence of the continual fight, are so reduced that the kings themselves have to take the field—the end game. The end game, therefore, requires a special study. It has its special laws and the value of the pieces undergoes a considerable change. The kings leave their passive rôle and become attacking forces. The pawns increase in value, whilst that of the pieces may diminish in certain cases. Two knights, for instance, without pawns, become valueless, as no checkmate can be effected with them. In the majority of cases the players must be guided by general principles, as the standard examples do not meet all-cases.
The handbooks as a rule give a sprinkling of elementary endings, such as to checkmate with queen, rook, bishop and knight, two bishops, and pawn endings pure and simple, as well as pawns in connexion with pieces in various forms. Towards the end of the 19th century a valuable work on end games was published in England by the late B. Horwitz; thus for the first time a theoretical classification of the art was given. This was followed by a more comprehensive work by Professor J. Berger of Gratz, which was translated a few years later by the late Mr Freeborough.
A few specimens of the less accessible positions are given below:—
Position from a Game played by the late J. G. Campbell in 1863.
Position by Sarratt, 1808
|White wins as follows:—|
1. P – Kt6, RP × P; 2. P – B6, P(Kt2) × P; 3. P – R6 and wins by queening the pawn. If 1. . . . BP × P then 2. P – R6, KtP × P; 3. P–B6 and queens the pawn.
Problems.—A chess problem has been described as “merely a position supposed to have occurred in a game of chess, being none other than the critical point where your antagonist announces checkmate in a given number of moves, no matter what defence you play,” but the above description conveys no idea of the degree to which problem-composing has become a specialized study. Owing its inception, doubtless, to the practice of recording critical phases from actual play, the art of problem composition has so grown in favour as to earn the title of the “poetry” of the game.
|Position by B. Horwitz.|
As a rule the game should be drawn. Supposing by a series of checks White were to compel Black to abandon the pawn, he would move K – R8; Q × P and Black is stale-mate. Therefore the ingenious way to win is:—
1. K – B4, P – B8 = Q ch; K – Kt3 and wins. Or 1. . . . K – R8 (threatening P – B8 = Kt); then 2. Q – Q2 preliminary to K – Kt3 now wins.
|Position by B. Horwitz.|
Without Black’s pawn White could only draw. The pawn being on the board, White wins as follows:—
1. Kt – B4, K – Kt sq; 2. Kt (B4) – K3, K – R sq; 3. K – Kt4, K – Kt sq; 4. K – R3, K – R sq; 5. Kt – B4, K – Kt sq; 6. Kt (B4) – Q2, K – R sq; 7. Kt – Kt3 ch, K – Kt sq; 8. Kt – B3 mate.
|Position by B. Horwitz.|
White wins with two pieces against one—a rare occurrence.
1. Kt – K6, B – R3; 2. B – Q4 ch, K – R2; 3. B – B3, B moves anywhere not en prise; 4. B – Kt7 and Kt mates.
|Position by O. Schubert.|
White wins as follows:—
1. P – Kt5, Kt – Kt5; 2. K – B3, Kt – K6; 3. B – K6, Kt – B8; 4. B × P, Kt – Q7 ch; 5. K – Kt4, Kt × P; 6. P – Kt6, Kt – B3, ch; 7. K – Kt5, P – K5; 8. K × Kt, P – K6; 9. B – B4, K × B; 10. P – Kt7, P – K7; 11. P – Kt8 = Q ch, and wins by the simple process of a series of checks so timed that the king may approach systematically. The fine points in this instructive ending are the two bishop’s moves, 3. B – K6, and 9. B – B4, the latter move enabling White to queen the pawn with a check.
|Position by F. Amelung.|
White with the inferior position saves the game as follows:—
1. P – R6, P × P; 2. K–B3 dis. ch, K moves; 3. R–R2, or Kt2 ch, K × R; 4. K–Kt2 and draw, as Black has to give up the rook, and the RP cannot be queened, the Black bishop having no power on the White diagonal. Extremely subtle.
|Position by B. Horwitz.|
The main idea being to checkmate with the bishop, this is accomplished thus:—1. B – K4 ch, K – R4; 2. Q × R, Q × Q; 3. K – B7, Q – B sq ch; 4. K × Q, BXP; 5. K – B7, B × P; 6. B – Kt6 mate.
|Position by A. Troitzky.|
White wins as follows:— 1. P – R8=Q, R –ch; 2. K – Kt5, R × Q; 3. Kt – Q7 ch, K – Kt2; 4. P – B6 ch, K – R2; 5. QP × Kt, R – R sq; 6. Kt – ch, R × Kt; 7. P × R=Kt mate.
|Position by Hoffer.|
A position from actual play. White plays 1. R – B5 threatening to win a piece. Black replies with the powerful Kt – Kt5, threatening two mates, and finally White (Mr Hoffer) finds an ingenious sacrifice of the Queen—the saving clause.
The following are the moves:—
1. R – B5, Kt – Kt5; 2. Q – Kt8 ch, K – Kt3; 3. Q – K6 ch, K – R2; 4. Q – Kt8 ch, and drawn by perpetual check, as Black cannot capture the Queen with K or R without losing the game.
In 1870 or thereabouts, the later transition period, a more general tendency was manifest to illustrate two or more finished ideas in a single problem with strict regard to purity and economy, the theory of the art received greater attention than before and the essays of C. Schwede, Kohtz and Kockelkorn, Lehner and Gelbfuss, helped to codify hitherto unwritten rules of taste. The last quarter of the 19th century, and its last decade especially, saw a marked advance in technique, until it became a common thing to find as much deep and quiet play embodied in a single first-class problem as in three or four of the old-time problems, and hence arose the practice of blending several distinct ideas in one elaborate whole.
In the composition of “two-movers” it is customary to allow greater elasticity and a less rigorous application of the principles of purity and economy. By this means a greater superficial complexity is attained; but the Teutonic and Bohemian schools, and even English and American two-move specialists, recognize that complexity, if it involves the sacrifice of first principles, is liable to abuse. The blind master, A. F. Mackenzie of Jamaica, however, with a few others (notably T. Taverner, W. Gleave, H. and E. Bettman and P. F. Blake) have won some of their greatest successes with problems which, under stricter ruling, would not be allowed.
Bohemian (Czech) composers have long stood unrivalled as exponents of that blending of ideas which is the distinguishing trait of the later problem. Such is their skill in construction that it is rare to find in a problem of the Bohemian school fewer than three or four lines of play which, in economy and purity, are unimpeachable. Amongst the earliest composers of this class Anton König, the founder of the school, Makovky, Drtina, Palct and Pilnacek deserve to be honourably mentioned, but it was not until the starting of a chess column in the weekly journal Svetozor that the merits of the new school were fully asserted. It was in 1871 that Jan Dobrusky contributed his first composition to that paper: he was followed by G. Chocholous, C. Kondelik, Pospisil, Dr Mazel, Kviciala, Kesl, Tuzar, Musil and J. Kotrc; and later still, Havel, Traxler and Z. Mach were no unworthy followers of Dobrusky.
The faculty for blending variations is not without “the defects of its qualities,” and consequently among the less able composers a certain tendency to repeat combinations of similar companion ideas is discernible at times, while the danger that facile construction might usurp the place of originality and strategy was already apparent to Chocholous when, in an article on the classification of chess problems (Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1890), he warned the younger practitioners of the Bohemian school against what has been dubbed by H. Von Gottschall Varianten-leierei, or “the grinding out of variations.” When this one reservation is made few will be inclined to dispute the pre-eminence of the Bohemian school. To some tastes, however, a greater appeal is made by the deeper play of the older German school, the quaint fancy of the American composer Samuel Loyd, or the severity and freedom from “duals” which mark the English composers.
The idea of holding a problem competition open to the world was first mooted in connexion with the chess congress of 1851, but it was in 1854 that a tourney (confined to British composers) was first held. Since then a number of important problem tournaments have been held.
History of Chess.
The origin of chess is lost in obscurity. Its invention has been variously ascribed to the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Scythians, Egyptians, Jews, Persians, Chinese, Hindus, Arabians, Araucanians, Castilians, Irish and Welsh. Some have endeavoured to fix upon particular individuals as the originators of the game; amongst others upon Japheth, Shem, King Solomon, the wife of Ravan, king of Ceylon, the philosopher Xerxes, the Greek chieftain Palamedes, Hermes, Aristotle, the brothers Lydo and Tyrrhene, Semiramis, Zenobia, Attalus (d. c. 200 B.C.), the mandarin Hansing, the Brahman Sissa and Shatrenscha, stated to be a celebrated Persian astronomer. Many of these ascriptions are fabulous, others rest upon little authority, and some of them proceed from easily traceable errors, as where the Roman games of Ludus Latrunculorum and Ludus Calculorum, the Welsh recreation of Tawlbwrdd (throw-board) and the ancient Irish pastime of Fithcheall are assumed to be identical with chess; so far as the Romans and Welsh are concerned, the contrary can be proved, while from what little is known of the Irish game it appears not to have been a sedentary game at all. The claims of the Chinese were advocated in a letter addressed by Mr Eyles Irwin in 1793 to the earl Charlemont. This paper was published in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, and its purport was that chess, called in the Chinese tongue chong-ki (the “royal game”) was invented in the reign of Kao-Tsu, otherwise Lin-Pang, then king, but afterwards emperor of Kiang-Nang, by a mandarin named Han-sing, who was in command of an army invading the Shen-Si country, and who wanted to amuse his soldiers when in winter quarters. This invasion of the Shen-Si country by Han-Sing took place about 174 B.C. Capt. Hiram Cox states that the game is called by the Chinese choke-choo-hong ki, “the play of the science of war.” (See also a paper published by the Hon. Daines Barrington in the 9th vol. of the Archaeologia.) Mr N. Bland, M.R.A.S., in his Persian Chess (London, 1850), endeavours to prove that the Persians were the inventors of chess, and maintains that the game, born in Persia, found a home in India, whence after a series of ages it was brought back to its birthplace. The view, however, which has obtained the most credence, is that which attributes the origin of chess to the Hindus. Dr Thomas Hyde of Oxford, writing in 1694 (De Ludis Orientalibus), seems to have been the first to propound this theory, but he appears to have been ignorant of the game itself, and the Sanskrit records were not accessible in his time. About 1783–1789 Sir William Jones, in an essay published in the 2nd vol. of Asiatic Researches, argued that Hindustan was the cradle of chess, the game having been known there from time immemorial by the name of chaturanga, that is, the four angas, or members of an army, which are said in the Amarakosha to be elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers. As applicable to real armies, the term chaturanga is frequently used by the epic poets of India. Sir William Jones’s essay is substantially a translation of the Bhawishya Purana, in which is given a description of a four-handed game of chess played with dice. A pundit named Rhadhakant informed him that this was mentioned in the oldest law books, and also that it was invented by the wife of Ravan, king of Lanka (Ceylon), in the second age of the world in order to amuse that monarch while Rama was besieging his metropolis. This account claims for chess an existence of 4000 or 5000 years. Sir William, however, grounds his opinions as to the Hindu origin of chess upon the testimony of the Persians and not upon the above manuscript, while he considers the game described therein to be more modern than the Persian game. Though sure that the latter came from India and was invented there, he admits that he could not find any account of it in the classical writings of the Brahmans. He lays it down that chess, under the Sanskrit name chaturanga, was exported from India into Persia in the 6th century of our era; that by a natural corruption the old Persians changed the name into chatrang, but when their country was soon afterwards taken possession of by the Arabs, who had neither the initial nor final letter of the word in their alphabet, they altered it further into shatranj, which name found its way presently into modern Persian and ultimately into the dialects of India.
Capt. Hiram Cox, in a letter upon Burmese chess, written in 1799 and published in the 7th vol. of Asiatic Researches, refers to the above essay, and considers the four-handed game described in the Sanskrit manuscript to be the most ancient form of chess, the Burmese and Persian games being second and third in order of precedence. Later, in the 11th and 24th vols. of the Archaeologia, Mr Francis Douce and Sir Frederick Madden expressed themselves in favour of the views held by Hyde and his followers.
In Professor Duncan Forbes’s History of Chess (1860) Capt. Cox’s views, as founded upon Sir William Jones’s Sanskrit manuscript, are upheld and are developed into an elaborate theory. Professor Forbes holds that the four-handed game of chaturanga described in the Bhawishya Purana was the primeval form of chess; that it was invented by a people whose language was Sanskrit (the Hindus); and that it was known and practised in India from a time lost in the depths of a remote antiquity, but for a period the duration of which may have been from 3000 to 4000 years before the 6th century of the Christian era. He endeavours to show, but adduces no proof, how the four armies commanded by four kings in Sir William Jones’s manuscript became converted into two opposing armies, and how two of the kings were reduced to a subordinate position, and became “monitors” or “counsellors,” one standing by the side of the White and the other of the Black king, these counsellors being the farzins from which we derive our “queens.” Among other points he argues, apparently with justice, that chaturanga was evidently the root of shatranj, the latter word being a mere exotic in the language of the inhabitants of Persia.
Van der Linde, in his exhaustive work, Geschichte und Litteratur des Schachspiels (Berlin, 1874), has much to say of the origin-theories, nearly all of which he treats as so many myths. He agrees with those who consider that the Persians received the game from the Hindus; but the elaborate chaturanga theories of Forbes receive but scant mercy. Van der Linde argues that chaturanga is always used by the old Indian poets of an army and never of a game, that all Sanskrit scholars are agreed that chess is not mentioned in really ancient Hindu records; that the Puranas generally, though formerly considered to be extremely old, are held in the light of modern research to reach no farther back than the 10th century—while the copies of the Bhawishya Purana in the British Museum and the Berlin Library do not contain the extract relied upon by Forbes, though it is to be found in the Raghunandana, which was translated by Weber in 1872, and is stated by Bühler to date from the 16th century. The outcome of van der Linde’s studies appears to be that chess certainly existed in Hindustan in the 8th century, and that probably that country is the land of its birth. He inclines to the idea that the game originated among the Buddhists, whose religion was prevalent in India from the 3rd to the 9th century. According to their ideas, war and the slaying of one’s fellow-men, for any purposes whatever, is criminal, and the punishment of the warrior in the next world will be much worse than that of the simple murderer; hence chess was invented as a substitute for war. In opposition to Forbes, therefore, and in agreement with Sir William Jones, van der Linde takes the view that the four-handed game of the original manuscript is a comparatively modern adaptation of the Hindu chess, and he altogether denies that there is any proof that any form of the game has the antiquity attributed to it. Internal evidence certainly seems to contradict the theory that Sir William Jones’s manuscript is very ancient testimony; for it mentions two great sages, Vyasa and Gotama, the former as teaching chaturanga to Prince Yudhishthira, and the other as giving an opinion upon certain principles of the game; but this could not well be, seeing that it was played with dice, and that all games of hazard were positively forbidden by Manu. It would appear also that Indian manuscripts are not absolutely trustworthy as evidence of the antiquity of their contents; for the climate has the effect of destroying such writings in a period of 300 or 400 years. They must, therefore, be recopied from time to time and in this way later interpolations may easily creep in.
Von der Lasa, who had, in an article prefixed to the Handbuch in 1864, accepted Forbes’s views, withdrew his support in a review of the work just noticed, published in the September and November numbers of the Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1874, and expressed his adherence to the opinions of van der Linde.
Altogether, therefore, we find the best authorities agreeing that chess existed in India before it is known to have been played anywhere else. In this supposition they are strengthened by the names of the game and of some of the pieces. Shatranj, as Forbes has pointed out, is a foreign word among the Persians and Arabians, whereas its natural derivation from the term chaturanga is obvious. Again al-fil, the Arabic name of the bishop, means the elephant, otherwise alephhind, the Indian ox. Our earliest authority on chess is Masudi, an Arabic author who wrote about A.D. 950. According to him, shatranj had existed long before his time; and though he may speak not only for his own generation but for a couple of centuries before, that will give to chess an existence of over a thousand years.
Early and Medieval Times.—The dimness which shrouds the origin of chess naturally obscures also its early history. We have seen that chess crossed over from India into Persia, and became known in the latter country by the name of shatranj. Some have understood that word to mean “the play of the king”; but undoubtedly Sir William Jones’s derivation carries with it the most plausibility. How and when the game was introduced into Persia we have no means of knowing. The Persian poet Firdusi, in his historical poem, the Shahnama, gives an account of the introduction of shatranj into Persia in the reign of Chosroes I. Anushirwan, to whom came ambassadors from the sovereign of Hind (India), with a chessboard and men asking him to solve the secrets of the game, if he could, or pay tribute. Chosroes I. was the contemporary of Justinian, and reigned in the 6th century A.D. Professor Forbes seems to think that this poem may be looked upon as an authentic history. This appears, however, to be somewhat dangerous, especially as Firdusi lived some 450 years after the supposed event took place; but since other Persian and Arabian writers state that shatranj came into Persia from India, there appears to be a consensus of opinion that may be considered to settle the question. Thus we have the game passing from the Hindus to the Persians and thence to the Arabians, after the capture of Persia by the Caliphs in the 7th century, and from them, directly or indirectly, to various parts of Europe, at a time which cannot be definitely fixed, but either in or before the 11th century. That the source of the European game is Arabic is clear enough, not merely from the words “check” and “mate,” which are evidently from Shah mat (“the king is dead”), but also from the names of some of the pieces. There are various chess legends having reference to the 7th and 8th centuries, but these may be neglected as historically useless; and equally useless appear the many oriental and occidental romances which revolve around those two great central figures, Harun al-Rashid and Charlemagne. There is no proof that either of them knew anything of chess or, so far as the latter is concerned, that it had been introduced into Europe in his time. True, there is an account given in Gustavus Selenus, taken from various old chronicles, as to the son of Prince Okar or Otkar of Bavaria having been killed by a blow on the temple, struck by a son of Pippin after a game of chess; and there is another well-known tradition as to the magnificent chess-board and set of men said to have been sent over as a present by the empress Irene to Charlemagne. But both tales are not less mythical than the romance which relates how the great Frankish monarch lost his kingdom over a game of chess to Guérin de Montglave; for van der Linde shows that there was no Bavarian prince of the name of Okar or Otkar at the period alluded to, and as ruthlessly shatters the tradition about Irene’s chessmen. With respect to Harun al-Rashid, among the various stories told which connect him with chess, there is one that at first sight may seem entitled to some degree of credit. In the annals of the Moslems by Abulfeda (Abu’l Fida), there is given a copy of a letter stated to be “From Nicephorus, emperor of the Romans, to Harun, sovereign of the Arabs,” which (using Professor Forbes’s translation) after the usual compliments runs thus:—“The empress (Irene) into whose place I have succeeded, looked upon you as a Rukh and herself as a mere Pawn; therefore she submitted to pay you a tribute more than the double of which she ought to have exacted from you. All this has been owing to female weakness and timidity. Now, however, I insist that you, immediately on reading this letter, repay to me all the sums of money you ever received from her. If you hesitate, the sword shall settle our accounts.” Harun’s reply, written on the back of the Byzantine emperor’s letter, was terse and to the point. “In the name of God the merciful and gracious. From Harun, the commander of the faithful, to the Roman dog Nicephorus. I have read thine epistle, thou son of an infidel mother; my answer to it thou shalt see, not hear.” Harun was as good as his word, for he marched immediately as far as Heraclea, devastating the Roman territories with fire and sword, and soon compelled Nicephorus to sue for peace. Now the points which give authority to this narrative and the alleged correspondence are that the relations which they assume between Irene and Nicephorus on the one hand and the warlike caliph on the other are confirmed by the history of those times, while, also, the straightforward brevity of Harun’s reply commends itself as what one might expect from his soldier-like character. Still, the fact must be remembered that Abulfeda lived about five centuries after the time to which he refers. Perhaps we may assume that it is not improbable that the correspondence is genuine; but that the words rukh and pawn may have been substituted for other terms of comparison originally used.
As to how chess was introduced into western and central Europe nothing is really known. The Spaniards very likely received it from their Moslem conquerors, the Italians not improbably from the Byzantines, and in either case it would pass northwards to France, going on thence to Scandinavia and England. Some say that chess was introduced into Europe at the time of the Crusades, the theory being that the Christian warriors learned to play it at Constantinople. This is negatived by a curious epistle of St Peter Damian, cardinal bishop of Ostia, to Pope Alexander II., written about A.D. 1061, which, assuming its authenticity, shows that chess was known in Italy before the date of the first crusade. The cardinal, as it seems, had imposed a penance upon a bishop whom he had found diverting himself at chess; and in his letter to the pope he repeats the language he had held to the erring prelate, viz. “Was it right, I say, and consistent with thy duty, to sport away thy evenings amidst the vanity of chess, and defile the hand which offers up the body of the Lord, and the tongue that mediates between God and man, with the pollution of a sacrilegious game?” Following up the same idea that statutes of the church of Elna, in the 3rd vol. of the Councils of Spain, say, “Clerks playing at dice or chess shall be ipso facto excommunicated.” Eudes de Sully, bishop of Paris under Philip Augustus, is stated in the Ordonn. des Rois de France to have forbidden clerks to play the game, and according to the Hist. Eccles. of Fleury, St Louis, king of France, imposed a fine on all who should play it. Ecclesiastical authorities, however, seemed to have differed among themselves upon the question whether chess was or was not a lawful game according to the canons, and Peirino (De Proelat. chap. 1) holds that it was permissible for ecclesiastics to play thereat. Among those who have taken an unfavourable view of the game may be mentioned John Huss, who, when in prison, deplored his having played at chess, whereby he had lost time and run the risk of being subject to violent passions. Among authentic records of the game may be quoted the Alexiad of the princess Anna Comnena, in which she relates how her father, the emperor Alexius, used to divert his mind from the cares of state by playing at chess with his relatives. This emperor died in 1118.
Concerning chess in England there is the usual confusion between legend and truth. Snorre Sturleson relates that as Canute was playing at chess with Earl Ulf, a quarrel arose, which resulted in the upsetting of the board by the latter, with the further consequence of his being murdered in church a few days afterwards by Canute’s orders. Carlyle, in The Early Kings of Norway, repeats this tale, but van der Linde treats it as a myth. The Ramsey Chronicle relates how bishop Utheric, coming to Canute at night upon urgent business, found the monarch and his courtiers amusing themselves at dice and chess. There is nothing intrinsically improbable in this last narrative; but Canute died about 1035, and the date, therefore, is suspiciously early. Moreover, allowance must be made for the ease with which chroniclers described other games as chess. William the Conqueror, Henry I., John and Edward I. are variously stated to have played at chess. It is generally supposed that the English court of exchequer took its name from the cloth, figured with squares like a chess-board, which covered the table in it (see Exchequer). An old writer says that at the coronation of Richard I. in 1189, six earls and barons carried a chess-board with the royal insignia to represent the exchequer court. According to Edmonson’s Heraldry, twenty-six English families bore chess rooks in their coats of arms.
As regards the individual pieces, the king seems to have had the same move as at present; but it is said he could formerly be captured. His “castling” privilege is a European invention; but he formerly leaped two and even three squares, and also to his Kt 2nd. Castling dates no farther back than the first half of the 16th century. The queen has suffered curious changes in name, sex and power. In shatranj the piece was called farz or firz (also farzan, farzin and farzi), signifying a “counsellor,” “minister” or “general.” This was latinized into farzia or fercia. The French slightly altered the latter form into fierce, fierge, and as some say, vierge, which, if true, might explain its becoming a female. Another and much more probable account has it that whereas formerly a pawn on reaching an eighth square became a farzin, and not any other piece, which promotion was of the same kind as at draughts (in French, dames), so she became a dame or queen as in the latter game, and thence dama, donna, &c. There are old Latin manuscripts in which the terms ferzia and regina are used indifferently. The queen formerly moved only one square diagonally and was consequently the weakest piece on the board. The immense power she now possesses seems to have been conferred upon her so late as about the middle of the 15th century. It will be noticed that under the old system the queens could never meet each other, for they operated on diagonals of different colours. The bishop’s scope of action was also very limited formerly; he could only move two squares diagonally, and had no power over the intermediate square, which he could leap over whether it was occupied or not. This limitation of their powers prevailed in Europe until the 15th century. This piece, according to Forbes, was called among the Persians pil, an elephant, but the Arabs, not having the letter p in their alphabet, wrote it fil, or with their definite article al-fil, whence alphilus, alfinus, alifiere, the latter being the word used by the Italians; while the French perhaps get their fol and fou from the same source. The pawns formerly could move only one square at starting; their powers in this respect were increased about the early part of the 16th century. It was customary for them on arriving at an eighth square to be exchanged only for a farzin (queen), and not any other piece; the rooks (so called from the Indian rukh and Persian rokh, meaning “a soldier”) and the knights appear to have always had the same powers as at present. As to the chessboards, they were formerly uncoloured, and it is not until the 13th century that we hear of checkered boards being used in Europe.
Development in Play.—The change of shatranj into modern chess took place most probably first in France, and thence made its way into Spain early in the 15th century, where the new game was called Axedrez de la dama, being also adopted by the Italians under the name of scacci alla rabiosa. The time of the first important writer on modern chess, the Spaniard Ruy Lopez de Segura (1561), is also the period when the latest improvement, castling, was introduced, for his book (Libra de la invention liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez), though treating of it as already in use, also gives the old mode of play, which allowed the king a leap of two or three squares. Shortly afterwards the old shatranj disappears altogether. Lopez was the first who merits the name of chess analyst. At this time flourished the flower of the Spanish and Italian schools of chess—the former represented by Lopez, Ceron, Santa Maria, Busnardo and Avalos; the latter by Giovanni Leonardo da Cutri (il Puttino) and Paolo Boi (il Syracusano). In the years 1562–1575 both Italian masters visited Spain and defeated their Spanish antagonists. During the whole 17th century we find but one worthy to be mentioned, Giacchino Greco (il Calabrese). The middle of the 18th century inaugurates a new era in chess. The leading man of this time was François André Danican Philidor. He was born in 1726 and was trained by M. de Kermur, Sire de Légal, the star of the Cafe de la Régence in Paris, which has been the centre of French chess ever since the commencement of the 18th century. In 1747 Philidor visited England, and defeated the Arabian player, Phillip Stamma, by 8 games to 1 and 1 draw. In 1749 he published his Analyse des échecs, a book which went through more editions and was more translated than any other work upon the game. During more than half a century Philidor travelled much, but never went to Italy, the only country where he could have found opponents of first-rate skill. Italy was represented in Philidor’s time by Ercole del Rio, Lolli and Ponziani. Their style was less sound than that of Philidor, but certainly a much finer and in principle a better one. As an analyst the Frenchman was in many points refuted by Ercole del Rio (“the anonymous Modenese”). Blindfold chess-play, already exhibited in the 11th century by Arabian and Persian experts, was taken up afresh by Philidor, who played on many occasions three games simultaneously without sight of board or men. These exhibitions were given in London, at the Chess Club in St James’s Street, and Philidor died in that city in 1795. As eminent players of this period must be mentioned Count Ph. J. van Zuylen van Nyevelt (1743–1826), and the German player, J. Allgaier (1763–1823). after whom a well-known brilliant variation of the King’s Gambit is named. Philidor was succeeded by Alexandre Louis Honoré Lebreton Deschapelles (1780–1847), who was also a famous whist player. The only player who is known to have fought Deschapelles not unsuccessfully on even terms is John Cochrane. He also lost a match (1821) to W. Lewis, to whom he conceded the odds of “pawn and move,” the Englishman winning one and drawing the two others. Deschapelles’ greatest pupil, and the strongest player France ever possessed, was Louis Charles Mahé de la Bourdonnais, who was born in 1797 and died in 1840. His most memorable achievement was his contest with the English champion, Alexander Macdonnell, the French player winning in the proportion of three to two.
The English school of chess began about the beginning of the 19th century, and Sarratt was its first leader. He flourished from 1808 to 1821, and was followed by his great pupil, W. Lewis, who will be principally remembered for his writings. His literary career belongs to the period from 1818 to 1848 and he died in 1869. A. Macdonnell (1798–1835) has been already mentioned. To the same period belong also Captain Evans, the inventor of the celebrated “Evans Gambit” (1828), who died at a very advanced age in 1873; Perigal, who participated in the correspondence matches against Edinburgh and Paris; George Walker, for thirty years chess editor of Bell’s Life in London; and John Cochrane, who met every strong player from Deschapelles downwards. In the same period Germany possessed but one good player, J. Mendheim of Berlin. The fifth decade of the 19th century is marked by the fact that the leadership passed from the French school to the English. After the death of la Bourdonnais, Fournié de Saint-Amant became the leading player in France; he visited England in the early part of 1843, and successfully met the best English players, including Howard Staunton (q.v.); but the latter soon took his revenge, for in November and December 1843 a great match between Staunton and Saint-Amant took place in Paris, the English champion winning by 11 games to 6 with 4 draws. During the succeeding eight years Staunton maintained his reputation by defeating Popert, Horwitz and Harrwitz. Staunton was defeated by Anderssen at the London tournament in 1851, and this concluded his match-playing career. Among the contemporaries of Staunton may be mentioned Henry Thomas Buckle, author of the History of Civilization, who defeated Kieseritzki, Anderssen and Löwenthal.
In the ten years 1830–1840 a new school arose in Berlin, the seven leaders of which have been called “The Pleiades.” These were Bledow (1795–1846), Bilguer (1815–1840), Hanstein (1810–1850), Mayet (1810–1868), Schorn (1802–1850), B. Horwitz (b. 1809) and von Heydebrandt und der Lasa, once German ambassador at Copenhagen. As belonging to the same period must be mentioned the three Hungarian players, Grimm, Szen and J. Löwenthal.
Among the great masters since the middle of the 19th century Paul Morphy (1837–1884), an American, has seldom been surpassed as a chess player. His career was short but brilliant. Born in New Orleans in 1837, he was taught chess by his father when only ten years of age, and in two years’ time became a strong player. When not quite thirteen he played three games with Löwenthal, and won two of them, the other being drawn. He was twenty years of age when he competed in the New York congress of 1857, where he won the first prize. In 1858 he visited England, and there defeated Boden, Medley, Mongrédien, Owen, Bird and others. He also beat Löwenthal by 9 games to 3 and 2 drawn. In the same year he played a match at Paris with Harrwitz, winning by 5 to 2 and 1 drawn; and later on he obtained a victory over Anderssen. On two or three occasions he played blindfold against eight strong players simultaneously, each time with great success. He returned to America in 1859 and continued to play, but with decreasing interest in the game, until 1866. He died in 1884.
Wilhelm Steinitz (b. 1836) took the sixth prize at the London congress of 1862. He defeated Blackburne in a match by 7 to 1 and 2 drawn. In 1866 he beat Anderssen in a match by 8 games to 6. In 1868 he carried off the first prize in the British Chess Association handicap, and in 1872 in the London grand tourney, also defeating Zukertort in a match by 7 games to 1 and 4 drawn. In 1873 he carried off the first prize at the Vienna congress; and in 1876 he defeated Blackburne, winning 7 games right off. In 1872–1874, in conjunction with W. N. Potter, he conducted and won a telegraphic correspondence match for London against Vienna. In Philidor’s age it was considered almost incredible that he should be able to play three simultaneous games without seeing board or men, but Paulsen, Blackburne and Zukertort often played 10 or 12 such games, while as many as 14 and 15 have been so played.
In 1876 England was in the van of the world’s chess army. English-born players then were Boden, Burn, Macdonnell, Bird, Blackburne and Potter; whilst among naturalized English players were Löwenthal, Steinitz, Zukertort, who died in 1888, and Horwitz. This illustrious contingent was reinforced in 1878 by Mason, an Irish-American, who came over for the Paris tournament; by Gunsberg, a Hungarian; and later by Teichmann, who also made England his home. English chess flourished under the leadership of these masters, the chief prizes in tournaments being consistently carried off by the English representatives.
To gauge the progress made by the game since about 1875 it will suffice to give the following statistics. In London Simpson’s Divan was formerly the chief resort of chess players; the St George’s Chess Club was the principal chess club in the West End, and the City of London Chess Club in the east. About a hundred or more clubs are now scattered all over the city. Formerly only the British Chess Association existed; after its dissolution the now defunct Counties’ Chess Association took its place, and this was superseded by the re-establishment by Mr Hoffer of the British Chess Association, which again fell into abeyance after having organized three international tournaments—London, 1886; Bradford, 1888; and Manchester, 1890—and four national tournaments. There were various reasons why the British Chess Association ceased to exercise its functions, one being that minor associations did not feel inclined to merge their identity in a central association. The London League was established, besides the Northern Chess Union, the Southern Counties’ Chess Union, the Midland Counties’ Union, the Kent County Association; and there are associations in Surrey, Sussex, Essex, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somersetshire, Cambridgeshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Lancashire. All these associations are supported by the affiliated chess clubs of the respective counties. Scotland (which has its own association), Wales and Ireland have also numerous clubs.
Still, England did not produce one new eminent player between 1875 and 1905. First-class chess remained in the hands of the veterans Burn, Blackburne, Mason and Bird. The old amateurs passed away, their place being taken by a new generation of powerful amateurs, so well equipped that Great Britain could hold its own in an amateur contest against the combined forces of Germany, Austria, Holland and Russia. The terms master and amateur are not used in any invidious sense, but simply as designating, in the former case, first-class players, and in the latter, those just on the borderland of highest excellence. The professional element as it existed in the heydey of Simpson’s Divan almost disappeared, the reason being the increased number of chess clubs, where enthusiasts and students might indulge in their favourite pastime to their heart’s content, tournaments with attractive prizes being arranged during the season. The former occupation of the masters vanished in consequence; the few who remained depended upon the passing visitors from the provinces who were eager to test their strength by the standard of the master. Blackburne visited the provinces annually, keeping the interest in first-class chess alive by his simultaneous play and his extraordinary skill as a blindfold player—unsurpassed until the advent of Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1872–1906), the leading American master since Morphy.
Germany has produced great chess players in Tarrasch, E. Lasker, Lipke, Fritz, Bardeleben, Walbrodt and Mieses, besides a goodly number of amateurs. Austria produced Max Weiss, Schlechter, Marco and Hruby, to say nothing of such fine players as the Fleissigs, Dr Mertner, Dr Kaufmann, Fahndrich, Jacques Schwarz and others. Hungary was worthily represented by Maroczy, Makovetz and Brody, Maroczy being the best after Charousek’s death. Russia, having lost Jaenisch, Petroff and Schumoff, discovered Tchigorin, Janowsky, Schiffers, Alapin, Winawer and Taubenhaus. France showed a decline for many years, having only the veteran M. Arnous de Rivière and the naturalized M. Rosenthal left, followed by Goetz and two good amateurs, MM. Didier and Billecard. Italy had only Signer Salvioli, although Signer Reggio came to the fore. Holland had a fair number of players equal to the English amateurs, but no master since the promising young van Lennep died.
The first modern International Chess Tournament held in London in 1851 was the forerunner of various similar contests of which the following is a complete table:—
In the absence of any recognized authority to confer the title of chess champion of the world, it has usually been appropriated by the most successful competitor in tournaments. On this ground Tarrasch claimed the title in 1907, although Lasker, who had twice beaten Steinitz, the previous champion, in championship matches, in addition to such masters as Bird, Blackburne, Mieses and Marshall, was well qualified to assume it. Accordingly in arranging the programme for the tournament at Ostend in 1907 it was agreed that the winner of this contest should receive the title of tournament champion, and should play a match with Lasker for the championship of the world. Tarrasch having proved successful at Ostend, the match between him and Lasker was played at Munich in September 1908, and resulted in the victory of Lasker by 8 games to 3 and 5 draws.
Chess has developed various schools of play from time to time. The theory of the game, however, did not advance in proportion to the enormous strides in its popularity. Formerly the theory of play had been enriched by such enthusiasts as Dr Max Lange, Louis Paulsen, Professor Anderssen, Neumann, Dr Suhle, Falkbeer, Kieseritzki, Howard Staunton, Dr Zukertort, W. N. Potter and Steinitz, foremost amongst them being Louis Paulsen. The openings were thoroughly overhauled, new variations discovered and tested in practical play over the board. These are now things of the past. The masters who find flaws in old variations and discover new ones bring them to light only in matches or tournaments, as new discoveries have now a market value and may gain prizes in matches or tournaments. The old “romantic” school consequently became extinct, and the eliminating process resulted in the retention of a small répertoire only, sufficient for practical purposes in important contests. Gambits and kindred openings containing elements of chance were avoided, and the whole stock which a first-class player requires is a thorough knowledge of the “Ruy Lopez,” the “Queen’s Pawn Openings,” and the “French” and “Sicilian Defences”—openings which contain the least element of chance. The répertoire being restricted it necessarily follows that the scope for grand combinations is also diminished and only strategy or position play remains. The “romantic” school invariably aimed at an attack on the king’s position at any cost; nowadays the struggle is to obtain a minute advantage, and the whole plan consists in finding or creating a weak spot in the opponent’s arrangement of forces; such is the theory of the modern school, conceived and advocated by Steinitz. But it is a curious fact that Steinitz founded the modern school rather late in life. He felt his powers of combination waning, and being the world’s champion and eager to retain that title, he started the new theory. This novel departure revolutionized chess entirely. The attacking and combination style was sacrificed to a sound, sober and dry method; but Steinitz, strange to say, was not even the best exponent of his own theory, this position falling to younger players, Siegbert Tarrasch, Schlechter, Amos Burn and Emanuel Lasker. Pillsbury and Janowsky adhered to both styles, the former in a high degree, and so did Zukertort and Charousek; Tchigorin being a free-lance with a style of his own. The old charm of the game disappeared—in match and tournament play at least—and beauty was sacrificed to exact calculation and to scoring points. This is to be regretted, for the most beautiful games still occur when a player resorts to the gambits. One of the finest games in the Hastings tournament was played by Tchigorin against Pillsbury, and this was a “King’s Gambit Declined.” Charousek won a “Bishop’s Gambit” against Dr Lasker in the Nuremberg tournament; and some brilliant games occur in the “Queen’s Gambit Declined,” if either White or Black sacrifices the KP. Another reason why gambits should be adopted by players in tournaments is that competitors would necessarily be readily prepared for the regulation openings, so that the gambits might take them by surprise. After all, the new school is a natural consequence of the progress of the game. Paulsen, Anderssen and Tchigorin devoted a lifetime to the Evans Gambit, volumes of analyses were written on it, and then Lasker revives an obsolete defence, and the Evans Gambit disappears! Zukertort achieved a great success with “1. Kt to KB3” in the London tournament, 1883, and this, or the kindred “1. P to Q4” opening, has since become the trusty weapon in serious encounters. Lasker wrote Common Sense in Chess, and gave the best defences of the Ruy Lopez (a certain form of it); but the “common sense” was demolished in the Paris and Nuremberg tournaments, and old forms of that remarkable opening have to be refurbished. These instances will suffice to show the reason for the cautious style of modern times. The Moltkes have replaced the Napoleons.
The old versatility of style could be revived if club tournaments were organized differently. The players might be compelled to adopt one single opening only in a two-round contest, each player thus having attack and defence in turn. The next season another opening would form the programme, and so on. Even in international tournaments this condition might be imposed; the theory would be enriched; full scope would be given to power of combination and ingenuity; whilst the game would be more interesting.
There are still amateurs who devote their energies to the theory of the game; but so long as innovations or new discoveries are not tested by masters in serious games, they are of no value. Steinitz used to keep a number of new discoveries ready to be produced in masters’ contests, the result being that his novelties were regularly demolished when it came to a practical test. The mistake was that he did not try his novelties over the board with an opponent of equal strength, instead of trusting to his own judgment alone.
The British Chess Federation was instituted in 1904, its first congress being held at Hastings in that year, when a British championship, a ladies’ championship and a first-class amateur tournament were played. These competitions have been continued annually at the congresses of the federation, with the following results:—
|1904.||Hastings,||1 H. E. Atkins and W. E. Napier, 3 J. H. Blackburne.|
|1905.||Southport.||1 H. E. Atkins, 2 G. E. H. Bellingham and J. H. Blackburne.|
|1906.||Shrewsbury.||1 H. E. Atkins, 2 R. P. Michell, 3 G. E. Wainwright.|
|1907.||Crystal Palace.||1 H. E. Atkins, 2 J. H. Blackburne, R. P. Michell, E. G. Sergeant and G. E. Wainwright.|
|1904.||Hastings.||1 Miss Finn, 2 Mrs Anderson and Mrs Herring.|
|1905.||Southport.||1 Miss Finn. 2 Mrs Anderson and Mrs Houlding.|
|1906.||Shrewsbury.||1 Mrs Herring, 2 Mrs Anderson, 3 Miss Ellis and Mrs Houlding.|
|1907.||Crystal Palace.||1 Mrs Herring and Mrs Houlding, 3 Mrs Anderson.|
First Class Amateur Tournament.
|1904. Hastings||Section A.||1 W. H. Gunston, 2 H. F. Cheshire and F. Brown.|
|Section B.||1 G. E. Wainwright and C. H. Sherrard, 3 W. P. M‘Bean.|
|1905. Southport||Section A.||1 Dr Holmes, 2 J. Mortimer, 3 H. G. Cole and J. E. Purry.|
|Section B.||1 F. E. Hammond, 2 F. Brown. T. J. Kelly and C. H. Wallwork.|
|1906. Shrewsbury.||1 G. Shories, J. F. Allcock, P. W. Fairweather and E. D. Palmer.|
In 1896 and following years matches between representative players of Great Britain and the United States respectively were played by cable, with the following results:—
|1896. America||won by||41||games to||31|
|1897. Great Britain||,,||51||,,||41|
|1898. Great Britain||,,||51||,,||41|
|1907. Great Britain||,,||51||,,||41|
|1909. Great Britain||,,||6||,,||4|
Since 1899 cable matches have also been played annually between representatives of English and American universities; of the first six three were won by England, the remaining three being drawn. In England chess matches have been played annually since 1873 between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, seven players on each side. Up to 1907 Oxford won eleven matches, Cambridge twenty-one, and three were drawn.
Literature of the Game.—The first known writer on chess was Jacobus de Cessolis (Jacopo Dacciesole), whose main object, however, though he gives the moves, &c., was to teach morals rather than chess. He was a Dominican friar, and his treatise, Solatium Ludi Scacchorum, scilicet, Libellus de Moribus Hominum et Officiis Nobilium, was written before the year 1200. It was afterwards translated into French, and in the year 1474 Caxton, under the title of The Game and Playe of Chesse, printed an English translation of the French version.
In 1490 we have the Göttinger Handschrift, a work containing nine different openings and fifty problems. The author of this manuscript is not known. Then comes Vicent, a Spanish writer, whose book bears date 1495. Only the title-page has been preserved, the rest of the work having been lost in the first Carlist war. Of Lucena, another Spanish author who wrote in or about 1497, we are better informed. His treatise, Repeticion des Amores y Arte de Axedres, comprises various practical chess matters, including 150 positions, illustrated by 160 well-executed woodcuts. Various of these positions are identical with those in the Göttinger Handschrift.In the 16th century works upon the game were written by Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Horatio Gianutio della Mantia; in the 17th century by Salvio, Polerio, Gustavus Selenus, Carrera, Greco, Fr. Antonio and the authors of the Traité de Lausanne; in the 18th century by Bertin, Stamma, Ercole del Rio, Lolli, Cozio, Philidor, Ponziani, Stein, van Nyevelt, Allgaier and Peter Pratt; in the 19th century by J. F. W. Koch and C. F. Koch, Sarratt, John Cochrane, Wm. Lewis, Silberschmidt, Ghulam Kassim and James Cochrane, George Walker, A. MacDonnell, Jaenisch, Petroff, von Bilguer, von der Lasa, Staunton, Kling and Horwitz, Bledow, Dubois, Kieseritzki, Max Lange, Löwenthal, Dufresne, Neumann, Suhle, Zukertort, Preti and others.
English chess owes much to W. Lewis and George Walker. But to Howard Staunton must be ascribed the most important share in creating the later popularity which the game achieved in England. Staunton’s first work, The Chess Player’s Handbook, was published in 1847, and again (revised) in 1848. For want of further adequate revision many of its variations are now out of date; but taking the handbook as it was when issued, very high praise must be bestowed upon the author. His other works are: The Chess Player’s Text-Book and The Chess Player’s Companion (1849) (the latter being a collection of his own games), the Chess Praxis (1860), republished in 1903, his posthumous Work, Chess Theory and Practice, edited by R. B. Wormald (1876), and various smaller treatises. The laws of the game as laid down in the Praxis formed the basis of the rules adopted by the British Chess Association in 1862. Besides editing The Chess Player’s Chronicle and The Chess World, he was the chess editor of The Illustrated London News from 1844 till his death in 1874.
Among continental chess authorities von Heydebrandt und der Lasa (more usually known by his second title) stood pre-eminent. The German Handbuch was completed in 1843 by von Bilguer, who died before the first edition was completed. The second, third, fourth and fifth editions (the last published in 1874) were edited and revised by von der Lasa.
Among the more important modern works the following may be mentioned: Vasquez, El Ajedrez de memoria; La Odisea de Pablo Morphy (Havana, 1893); Bauer, Schachlexikon (Leipzig, 1893); Jean Dufresne, Kleines Lehrbuch des Schachspiels (6th ed., Leipzig, 1893); E. Freeborough and Rev. C. E. Ranken, Chess Openings, Ancient and Modern; Arnelung, Baltische Schachblätter, &c. (Berlin, 1893); Bachman, Geistreiche Schachpartien (containing a number of brilliant games) (Ansbach, 1893–1899); E. H. Bird, Chess History and Reminiscences (London, 1893); The Steinitz-Lasker Match (1894); Chess Novelties (1895); Max Lange, Paul Morphy (1894); C. Bardeleben and J. Mieses, Lehrbuch des Schachspiels (very useful); Jas. Mason, The Principles of Chess in Theory and Practice (1894); The Art of Chess (1895); Social Chess (Horace Cox, London); Dr Tarrasch, Dreihundert Schachpartien (Leipzig, 1895); Dr Eugen V. Schmidt, Syslematische Anordung von Schacheröffnungen (Veit & Co., Leipzig, 1895); Numa Preti, A B C des échecs (Paris, 1895); C. Salvioli, Teoria generate del giuoco degli Scacchi (Livorno, 1895): W. Steinitz, Modern Chess Instructor (New York, 1895); L. Hoffer, Chess (Routledge); E. Freeborough, Select Chess End-Games (London, 1895); Euclid, The Chess Ending King and Queen against King and Rook (London, 1895); Tassilo von Heydebrandt und der Laaa, Leitfaden des Schachspiels and Zur Geschichte und Literatur des Schachspiels (Leipzig, 1897); Dr. Lasker, Common Sense in Chess (London, 1896); Oscar Cordel, Neuester Leitfaden des Schachspiels (Berlin, 1896); and a vast number of other publications.
Further, The London Tournament Book (1883); Twelve Tournament Books of the German Chess Association (Veit & Co., Leipzig); The Hastings Tournament Book (London, 1896); The Vienna Tournament Book, by Halprin and Marco (1900); The Nuremberg Tournament Book, by Dr Tarrasch; The Book of the London Congress, by L. Hoffer (Longman, 1899); The Paris Tournament Book (Paris, 1900), by Rosenthal, &c.
The following are some of the best works in English on chess problems:—“J. B.” of Bridport, Chess Strategy (1865); F. Healey, A Collection of 200 Chess Problems (1866); English Chess Problems, edited by James and W. T. Pierce (1876); H. J. C. Andrews, E. N. Frankenstein, B. G. Laws, and C. Planck, The Chess Problem Text-Book (1887); A. F. Mackenzie, Chess: its Poetry and its Prose (Jamaica, 1887); J. A. Miles, Chess Stars (self-mates), (1888); James Rayner, Chess Problems (1890); B. G. Laws, The Two-Move Chess Problem (1890); The Chess Bouquet, compiled by F. R. Gittins (1897); Mr and Mrs T. B. Rowland, The Problem Art (2nd ed., 1898); E. B. Cook, T. Henery and C. A. Gilberg, American Chess-Nuts (1868); Samuel Loyd, Chess Strategy (1878); W. H. Lyons, Chess-Nut Burrs and how to open them (1886); C. A. Gilberg, Crumbs from the Chess Board (1890); Canadian Chess Problems, edited by C. F. Stubbs (1890); W. Pulitzer, Chess Harmonies (1894); G. E. Carpenter (N. Preti of Paris), 200 Chess Problems (1900).
- The earliest known problem is ascribed to an Arabian caliph of the 9th century. The first known collection is in a manuscript (in the British Museum) of King Alphonso of Castile, dated 1250; it contains 103 problems. The collection of Nicolas of Lombardy, dated 1300, comprises 192 problems.