Vienna (1873) – The English View

Here is the tournament report from:

<The Chess Player’s Chronicle v3 N11 (Oct 1873) p343-344 / 386-387>


Though inferior, both in the number of competitors and in the value of
the prizes  offered for  competition, to the  great chess  meetings of
1851 and 1862, in London, and even  to the gathering in Paris of 1867,
the  Vienna  Tourney  of  1873  has proved  a  very  satisfactory  and
interesting event.

The regulations  were good, and  so stringently enforced that  for the
first time,  an "International Chess  Congress" has been brought  to a
close before people had ceased to think of it.

In accordance "with the programme, the players who had intimated their
intention to  enter the lists assembled  at the Vienna Chess  Club, on
July 20th,  for the purpose of  being paired. The champions  from this
country were Mr. Steinitz, an Austrian by birth, but who has lived for
many years,  and acquired  his great  reputation chiefly,  in England;
Mr. Blackburne, renowned  for his amazing faculty of playing  ten or a
dozen games  at a time, without  any chess-board; and  Mr. Bird, long
known  as one  of  the most  intrepid and  formidable  players of  the
day. Professor  Anderssen, the  victor in  a hundred  fights, together
with  Mr.   Paulsen,  almost   as  famous   for  blindfold   chess  as
Mr.   Blackburne  himself,   appeared  for   the  North   of  Germany;
Mr.  Rosenthal stood  up for  France,  Mr. Gelbfuhs  for Hungary;  and
Austria   was  represented   by   Dr.  Meitner,   Dr.  Fleissig,   and
Messrs. Heral, Schwarz, und Pitschel.

The conditions  of the tourney were  that each competitor mast  play a
rubber of three  games with every other. The winner  of a match scored
one  point; if  the match  turned out  a drawn  battle, by  each party
winning one game  and drawing the third, half a  point or match should
be scored to both. Thus every combatant had to fight eleven matches of
three games each.

In the first round Mr. Blackburne was paired against Sir. Paulsen, and
beat  him. In  the  second he  was pitted  against  Mr. Steinitz,  and
defeated him.   From that moment  the main interest of  the tournament
centered in these two champions, whom everybody set down as winners of
the  first and  second prize.   Match after  match, each  defeated the
opponent brought againt him down to  the eleventh and final round. For
this  round, Mr.   Blackburue's  antoganist [sic] was Mr.   Rosenthal,
Mr. Steinitz being paired with Mr. Heral. The excitement at this point
was  naturally  very  great.   The Englishman's  score  was  ten,  the
Austrian's nine. If each beat his adversary, the Englishman would take
the first prize. That Mr. Steinitz would beat Mr. Heral was a foregone
conclusion. That  Mr. Blackburne would  beat Mr. Rosenthal  was highly
probable, but the latter, though  not up to the Englishman's standard,
is capable of  giving tronble to the best. The  round began—in a short
space, as was anticipated, Mr. Steinitz defeated Mr. Heral; as was not
expected, Mr. Rosenthal defeated Mr.  Blackburne, and secured a prize!
Such a result  of course intensified the excitement  tenfold, and from
the friends and countrymen of Mr. Steinitz

                                     came the cry, 
                            "Not vanquish'd yet. A tie! a tie!" 

In  obedience to  the inexorable  decree  of the  directors, the  "tie
match" was played off on the 28th  and 29th nlt., Mr. Steiniz doing to
Mr. Blackburne, in their last duello,  what Mr. Blackburne had done to
him in their first—winning two games without his opponent winning one.

Second only in interest to the play of Messrs. Steinitz and Blackburne
was the  play of Professor Anderssen,  Mr. Bird, and Mr.  Paulsen. The
veteran  Anderssen started  gallantly, beating  successively, Meitner,
Bird, Rosenthal, Heral, Paulsen, and Pitschel. In the seventh round he
had to cope  with Mr. Steinitz, and— "youth will  be served"—lost  the
match; in the next round he was pitted against Mr. Blackburne, and did
the same. After these defeats, however,

                                Bating no jot of heart or hope,

he won two  more matches and drew  another, coming in at  the finish a
good third.   Mr. Bird, from  whom much was expected—he  having beaten
Mr. Wisker, the  winner of the B.C.A. challenge cup—kept  close to the
trio named above  for several matches. After  defeating in succession,
Gelfuhs  [sic],  Heral,  Pitschel,  Meitner,  and  Rosenthal,  he  was
unhappily attacked by gout, and won just one match more.  Mr.  Paulsen
was  evidently   rusty,  and   played  throughout  below   his  former
force. Mr. Rosenthal,  whose lucky victory over  Mr. Blackburne gained
him a prize, was unsuccessful against Messrs. Steinitz, Anderssen, and
Bird; but some  of his games are  equal to any in the  tourney. Of the
other combatants we leave the appended score to speak.

Upon the termination of the match between Mr. Steinitz and Blackburne,
the distribution of the prizes took place as follows :—

               The Emperor's Prize .. .. Mr. Steinitz.
               Second Prize  .. .. .. .. Mr. Blackburne.
               Third Prize   .. .. .. .. Professor Anderssen.
               Fourth Prize  .. .. .. .. Mr. Rosenthal.
We  must not  conclude  this  brief notice  of  the Vienna  Tournament
without an  acknowledgement of  the obligations which  both combatants
and  visitors are  under  to  Mr. Kolisch,  in  the  first place,  for
originating the congress,  and, in the next, for  his untiring efforts
to ensure the comfort of all concerned in it.

                          Synoptical Table,

Showing the  exact score  made by  each competitor  in the  tourney at
Vienna, 1873.                          
CPC v3 N11 p345 Synoptic TableFrom the same paper, we extract the following:—

The success of Mr. Blackburne has exceeded general expectation, and he
may well he proud of  his victories over Anderssen, Steinitz, Paulsen,
and Bird.  We are glad to  hear, however, that the  last-named player,
who it is well known suffered  from illness at Vienna, has arranged to
play a match  with Mr. Blackburne in  October. If the match  is a long
one it  will probabh deteimine who  in the best Knglish  player in the
field  at present.  If moreover,  as is  said, the  victor intends  to
challenge Mr.  Steinitz, it will,  perhaps, determine who is  the best
player of Europe.

(p337, <Rosenthal--Anderssen 50 R3.1 (B23)  1-0> game from Turf, Field
and Farm is declared the best so far received.)

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