Vienna (1898)


This is primarily a transcription of the final tournament report published in <ACM v2 Aug 1898 No 2 p53-56>. I’m publishing the extract for convenience and accessibility purposes (plus the fact it was a significant tournament doesn’t hurt):

Vienna (1898) - headpiece - ACM v2 Aug 1898 No 2 p53

Vienna (1898) - Pillsbury - ACM v2 Aug 1898 No 2 p53 The Vienna Tournament (1898) The tournament in honor of the jubilee year in the reign of the Emperor Franz Joseph, of Austria, was brought to a most successful conclusion, on July 25, with a tie for first and second prizes between Harry N. Pillsbury, Brooklyn, and Dr. Sigismund Tarrasch, Nuremberg. The tournament has been remarkable for the steadiness of the play, and particularly for the interesting alternation in the lead by the tieing masters, and while it was known for several rounds before the finish that the two great prizes were out of reach of all but Pillsbury and Tarrasch,the ups and downs and final lie was one of the most exciting incidents that has occurred in a chess tournament in many years.The tournament was commenced on June 1 with twenty entries, among whom were nearly all the leaders in the master class of the chess world: Emanuel Lasker, James Mason, R. Charousek, Isidor Gunzberg, Samuel Tinsley and a few others were not there, but the tournament, even without them, ranks among the greatest ever played.

The prize list aggregated nearly $5,000, divided into ten principal prizes and six special prizes : three for the best games—$100, $75 and $50 -— and three for the best scores made by non-prize winners against prize winners -—$75, $50 and $25.

After eight rounds had been played, Adolph Schwarz retired, and, according to the rules, all of his games should have been cancelled; at the request of the players. all the games of the first round were scored against him -— even the drawn game which he made with Blackburne. The total number of games for each player on this account is thirty_seven.

The strain of two months chess was felt by all the players, and the final scores were influenced thereby. Harry N. Pillsbury and Dr. S. Tarrasch tied for first and second prizes, and, according to the rules played a match of tour games, the best score to decide. Dr. Tarrasch won the first and third games, Mr. Pillsbury won the second, and the fourth game was drawn; Dr. Tarrasch taking first prize, $1,5oo, with 2 1/2; wins, Pillsbury receiving second prize, $1,000, 1 1/2 wins.


Tarrasch-mini Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch, Nuremberg, 28 1/2, 8 1/2, was born in Breslau, May 3, 1862. His career in chess commenced in 1884, when he won the minor tournament at Hamburg, and gained his title of master. In the Hamburg ‘ tournament, 1885, he tied with several players for second and lower prizes. only being half a point behind the leader; 1887, divided fifth and sixth prizes at Frankfort. His greatest achievements were the winning of first prizes in four tournaments. consecutively, in Breslau, 1889; Man— chester, 1890; Dresden, 1892; Leipsig, 1894. He was fourth at Hastings. Dr. Tarrasch follows the profession of medicine, giving only his vacations to his favorite game. He has been editor of a German chess magazine, and is an able analyst. His only serious match was with Tschigorin, in 1893, which was drawn, though Tarrasch had a commanding lead in the early part of the contest. He played one other match, without time limit, with Walbrodt, the latter losing.
Pillsbury-mini Harry Nelson Pillsbury, Brooklyn, won 28 1/2 games, lost 8 1/2: was born in Somerville, Mass, near Boston, December 5, 1872. He commenced the study of chess at sixteen, and at nineteen was the leading player of Boston. His first public performance was in the impromptu tournament in New York, 1893, where he was unplaced. He won a tournament at the City Chess Club, of New York, in the spring of 1894, without losing a game; was unplaced in a similar tournament in the following year. and in 1895 made the wonderful record of first prize at the Hastings International Tournament. He won third prize at Nuremberg, in 1896; was third in the quadrangle tournament between Pillsbury. Lasker, Steinitz and Tschigorin in St. Petersburg, 1896; has defeated Showalter twice in matches for the United States championship. Mr. Pillsbury is now clearly in line for the world’s championship, and many Americans believe that he will be victorious.
Janowski-mini D. Janowski, Paris, third prize, $625, 26 1/2, 10 1/2, is of Polish extraction, but has been a resident of Paris for so many years that it is now considered his home. He is of the impulsive school, yet conservative when in difficulties. There is a dash and sparkle in his games that is very entertaining, and his opponents never feel safe until the game is ended. He was unplaced at Hastings; sixth prize at Leipsig, 1894; fifth prize at Nuremberg, 1896; fourth prize at Berlin, 1897.
Steinitz-mini William Steinitz, New York, fourth prize, $375, 24 1/2; 12 1/2, was born at Prague. Bohemia, May 17, 1836. To make a record of Mr. Steinitz’s achievements in chess during the years which have elapsed since he was entered in the London tournament of 1862, as the representative of Austria, would occupy more space than we can give. It is a record that stands out like a brilliant star in the firmament of chess. and its brightness will last for all time. His playing in this contest ls remarkable, considering the events which have occurred in his life during the past few years, and no one will refrain from congratulations for the veteran.
Schlechter-mini Carl Schlechter, Vienna, fifth prize, $250, 22 1/2, 14 1/2. He was born in Vienna, March 2, 1874. Mr. Schlechter is of the famous coterie of Vienna drawing masters, an exampic of his powers in this respect being evidenced in a match with Marco, in 1892, when all the games, ten, were drawn. He won the special prize at Hastings for the best score against the prize-winners. He won a portion of the lower prizes at Berlin last fall, and has the reputation for coolness and care. In the first round of this tournament he lost to both Pillsbury and Tarrasch, but in the second round he drew with both.
Chirgorin-mini Michael Ivanovitch Tschigorin, half of sixth and seventh prizes, $187.50, 21, 16, was born in Russia, October 31, 1850. He was educated for a government position in St. Petersburg, but the fascinations of chess drew him from the positive matters of life, and his record as a player shows that he possesses natural talent of a high order, His lack of achievement of the pinnacle of fame is due to an unsteadiness in style, dropping games occasionally to the weaker men and coming up with confidence before the best. His tournament career commenced in 1881, when he shared third prize in the Berlin con_ gress; he won fourth prize in the grand tournament of 1883, London; divided first and second prizes with Weiss in the Sixth American Chess Congress, New York, 1889; second prize at Hastings, 1895. He played two matches with Steinitz, at Havana; he lost both, but the last was the closest escape Steinitz ever had, the final game being lost by a blunder by Tschigorin. His greatest achievement was the winning of the correspondence match of two games by cable with Steinitz, in 1891.
Burn-mini Amos Burn, half of sixth and seventh prizes, $187.50, 21, 16. Burn was born at Hull, England, December 31, 1818. His early years and the start of his chess career commenced at Liverpool, where he became the leading player and champion. His chief characteristic is steadiness and imperturbability, always playing a losing game with the care of a winning one. His tournament career commenced in the British Chess Association event of 1871, where he tied for first and second prizes: in 1886 he tied with Blackhurne in the same event, lossing in the play off; he won first prize at Nottingham in 1886: divided first and second prizes, London, 1887; fifth prize at Bradford, 1888; first prize at Amsterdam, 1889; six wins, no losses, drawing with Lasker and Mason; fifth prize at Berlin, 1897. Burn lived in the United States for several years after the 1889 congress, making Chicago his home. He is a business man and makes chess a diversion.
Lipke-mini Paul Lipke, half of eighth and ninth prizes, 137.50, 2014, 15%, is one of the juniors who has made a very fine record. His entry into tournament play was at the Dresden event of 1892, where he won second prize, Dr. Tarrasch being first. In this tournament he has played very good chess, defeating such good players as Janowski, Marco, Showalter, Schiffers and Tschigorin in the first round, and drew a large majority of the games in the tournament. He is about twenty-seven years of age.
Moroczy-mini Geza Moroczy, half of eighth and ninth prizes, $137.50, 20 1/2, 15 1/2. He was born in Szegedin, Hungary, March, 1870. He won the first prize in the minor tournament of the Hastings Congress, 1895, and was second in the Nuremberg Congress of 1896. Maroczy is a rapidly improving player, and has climbed steadily since he commenced international play. He was second at Nuremberg in 1896, unplaced at Budapest.
Alapin-mini S. Alapin, St. Petersburg, tenth prize, 100, was born in Germany, July 10, 1856. He is said to be a man of independent means, whose hobby is chess, and that it is a pleasant hobby is shown by the great talent he displays. In this event he started with a splendid record, winning or drawing every game until the thirteenth round, when Showalter defeated him. In the second round he felt the strain of the hard play and gradually dropped behind. He has originated an opening (1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. KKt-K2) which he plays with great effect. Alapin won one of the smaller prizes at the Berlin tournament.
Blackburne-mini J. H. Blackburne, England, 18 wins, 18 losses, with one adjourned game with Caro, Should the veteran win he will receive a share of the tenth prize. Blackburne was born December 10, 1842. The remarkable feature of his playing in this tournament is the large number of drawn games, twenty-one of the thirty-seven ending in the remise, a strange result when it is remembered that his sarcasm has always been very biting when referring to the Vienna drawing masters.
Schiffers-mini E. Schiffers, Russia, 18 wins, 19 losses, is one of the veterans. He was born in Russia, of German parents, May 4, 1850. He learned chess at an early age and was for years the champion of Russia, losing to Tschigorin. He is now the second player in that country. He is an enthusiast who prefers to win a good game, and takes no pleasure in the blunders of his opponents. He is satisfied to lose as long as he knows that he has played his best. Schiffers won sixth prize at Hastings, was tied with Tschigorin for a low prize at Nuremberg, 1899.
Marco-mini George Marco, Vienna, won 17 1/2, lost 19 1/2, is one of the characters of the tournament. He has taken charge of a large amount of work in addition to his labor as a contestant, and his capacity, judging by the accurate results, must be almost without limit. As the correspondent of the American press, he has cabled, twice a day, reports of the tournament in cipher without an error during the whole two months, a wonderful record, and one which indicates a perfect mental balance.
Showalter-mini W. Showalter, won 16, lost 21; was born in Kentucky in 1860. His career as a tournament player commenced in the Sixth American Congress, in 1889, where he was about half way up at the finish. He held the American championship for several years until defeated by Pillsbury. His record in this tournament has been very disappointing to his American friends. After a splendid start, it seemed as though he were likely to keep up with the leaders, but as at Nuremberg he gradually dropped behind. In the second round he began to gain, winning six, drawing two, and losing one game (to Tarrasch) in the last nine rounds.
Walbrodt-mini Carl August Walbrodt, Berlin, 15 1/2 wins, 21 1/2 losses, was born November 21, 1871, in Amsterdam, but he has been a resident of Austria since infancy. In the United States we remember Walbrodt as a small, boyish-looking fellow, whose smooth face and modest manners impressed the New York and Brooklyn players very favorably. He is a careless player, and it is remarkable that he should make such a fine record with the methods he adopts. Walbrodt seems to have no fear when he is at the chess table. and plays with a sense of strength that is not to be disturbed by the greatness of his opponent. He has won many prizes, but has never been a first prize winner.
Halprin-mini J. Halprin, Vienna, won 15, lost 22. He is one of the later additions to the ranks of tournament players, this being his entry into international chess. Halprin has made a splendid record in the Vienna Chess Club, ranking with the best. We do not know much about him on this side of the ocean, but his score as a beginner in this tournament indicates that he will be heard from in future to much better advantage.
Caro-mini Horatio Caro, London, 12 1/2 – wins, 24 1/2 losses, has not made the score that his fine playing in the Berlin tournament of last year promised. He is an Englishman by birth, but has been a resident of Germany for several years. He seems to have played in poor form from the start, only winning two games and drawing eight in the first round. Caro is an ingenious player, and with more experience, will, no doubt, make a lasting record.
Baird-mini G. Baird, New York, won 9, lost 27, is a player who seems to have lost the strength of his former years. He played in the minor tournament of the Fifth American Chess Congress of 1880, and was in the Sixth Congress of 1889. In both he made a steady and consistent record and his games promised a fine future. Baird is an extremely slow player, careful and judicious, and as he is still in the prime of life, may yet redeem the breaks of the present tournament.
Trenchard-mini H. W. Trenchard. London, 6 wins, 31 losses, was born September 8, 1857. His playing in this tournament is a cause for surprise. In amateur circles of London he his record for seventeen years being about twenty losses out of more than 150 games played in important contests. There nust be some reason for his poor showing, and the future will probably give him an opportunity to redeem the record.

* * * * *

There were many incidents in the progress of the tournament which are not met with usually in such important events, yet in the natural run of chance they are probable. Baird, in a game with Pillsbury, sealed a move at an adjournment in which he made the error of writing for. It lost a rook at once and the game, though it was conceded that Pillsbury had the best position at the time. Walbrodt was an hour and a half late when he had to meet Tarrasch in the first round, yet the young player commenced the game with an easy mind, played his moves rapidly and with only glancing study, and at the same time read his letters and perused the newspapers. At the first adjournment he had caught up with his time, and during the second session Walbrodt had time to spare while Tarrasch was worrying over the clock. The game was drawn. Walbrodt was unable to be present at the commencement of the first round, and requested that his opponent, Alapin, play the game on the first off day. Alapin was willing, but objections being made by some of the players, the game was scored by default in Alapin’s favor. Showalter was pursued by more than the average ill-luck. In his first game with Tarrasch he essayed a Ruy Lopez, which followed the lines of one of the parties which was played in the Kemeny-Showalter match of a few years ago and which was won by Showalter in sixteen moves. At a critical stage Showalter tried to improve upon his Philadelphia move, with the result that the doctor scored. It was afterwards pointed out that the same line of play as that adopted against Kemeny would have brought about a win for the Kentuckian. Showalter played a splendid game against Pillsbury in the first round. and reached an end game with three pawns plus. Showalter played carelessly, and while it was difficult to point out a win, yet it seemed that the best play should have scored in the position. It was drawn. Showalter lost at least one game by being late in the morning, an adjourned position which was supposed to be an easy draw.

Just before the completion of the first round Alapin passed around a petition which was signed by nearly all of the players requesting the committee to extend the time of intermission between the first and second rounds so that the players might have a longer rest than a day. Objection was made by a few of the players, and it was not adopted.




One thought on “Vienna (1898)

  1. This was a colossal tournament. I recently read through Sol Schwarz’s idiosyncratic translation of Dreihundert Schachpartien and two major things struck me. The 300 games are almost ALL of the games Tarrasch had played from the start of his career up to the 1893 match v Chigorin; and although Tarrasch’s career went UP after 1893, he didn’t do a sequel to the first book. Too busy, I should think.

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