Berlin (1890) – a first look, and a little Lasker controversy

Berlin (1890) –  1st Vereinigung Deutscher Schachmeister


9-player RR⁽¹⁾     July 20th –  26th, 1892    at Schillergarten, 20 Bellevue-strasse⁽²⁾, Dresden GER.

Time Control⁽³⁾:    20 moves/hour, sealed envelope adjournment.  

Playing sessions⁽⁴⁾:   2 games/day + 1 game/day,  10am- 2pm and 6-10pm sessions. 
                                  Adjournments resumed during free afternoon sessions of 2nd day.

Entrance Fee⁽⁴⁾:   12 ℳ for non-members of German Chess Master’s Association (Vereinigung Deut. Scach.).  

Prizes⁽⁵⁾:   300, 200, 100 ℳ.

Prize Winners⁽⁶⁾:    ( E. Lasker,  B. Lasker ),   ( Caro,  von Scheve )

Links:   PGN,  Wikipedia,   EDO chess,  O’Keefe,  Berlin GM tournaments history


   (1)  There were ten players to start, and only six to finish. Riemann dropped out immediately after R1 due to illness, with his
          game nullified. Minkowitz managed to lose two games, and then stopped playing after his R3 bye. For some reason he
         didn’t announce his resignation from the tournament until after R6, and so his games were kept in the official score. The
         last two withdrawals were by Bardeleben, and Harmonist after R7. A full explanation is involved, and given in the post. 
   (2)  Drawing of lots was at 4pm Sunday, July 20th at Café Kaiserhof. The tournament was originally announced to be held
          at the Räumen des Architectenhauses in Berlin, but it was unavailable (DSZ v45 N7 (Jul 1870) p220).

   (3)  DW v6 N29 (Jul 20, 1890) p244.  There was no TB, but the fullest account is given in various issues of Deutsches 
          Wochenschach (DW). The full program, in particular is given in the cited ref. The time controls are discussed in §6.
   (4)  Ibid (§2).
   (5)  Ibid (§4).
   (6)  DW v6 N31 (Aug 10, 1890) p267. A drawn tiebreak game between the Lasker brothers was played on Sat., the 26th.


From the DSZ v45 N8 (Aug 1890) p251 comes this RR xtab, sorted alphabetically:

DSZ RR xtab - v45 N8 (Aug 1890) p251 - w caption

Using ChessBase as the primary source of the games provided 19 tournament games, plus the playoff game. That leaves 17 missing game stubs – which could be fully specified (i.e. color/round/date/opening/result) using the DW provided information.

The usual Z-base xtabs:

CB - Berlin (1890) - RR xtab

Berlin (1890)
Berlin GER, 1890.07.21 - 1890.07.26
                             Ti Age Nat    Score     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 1: Bardeleben, Curt von         29 GER   3.0 /  8   X = 1 0 = 0 0 1 0  (+2 -4 =2)
 2: Caro, Horatio                28 ENG   5.5 /  8   = X = 1 0 1 1 1 =  (+4 -1 =3)
 3: Gottschall, Hermann von      27 GER   3.0 /  8   0 = X 1 0 = 0 1 0  (+2 -4 =2)
 4: Harmonist, Max               26 GER   3.0 /  8   1 0 0 X 0 0 1 1 0  (+3 -5 =0)
 5: Lasker, Berthold             29 GER   6.5 /  8   = 1 1 1 X 0 1 1 1  (+6 -1 =1)
 6: Lasker, Emanuel              21 GER   6.5 /  8   1 0 = 1 1 X 1 1 1  (+6 -1 =1)
 7: Mieses, Jacques          gm  25 GER   3.0 /  8   1 0 1 0 0 0 X 1 0  (+3 -5 =0)
 8: Minckwitz, Johannes          46 GER   0.0 /  8   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0  (+0 -8 =0)
 9: Scheve, Theodor von          39 GER   5.5 /  8   1 = 1 1 0 0 1 1 X  (+5 -2 =1)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
36 games: +15 =5 -16

(It’s clear that the Germans have youth on their side, with strong prospects for the immediate future. A nice feature of SCID’s table.)

And the SCID Swiss xtab:

Berlin (1890)
Berlin GER, 1890.07.21 - 1890.07.26
                             Ti Age Nat    Score       1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1: Lasker, Berthold             29 GER   6.5 /  8    4w+  5b+  6w+  2w-  3b+  8w=  9b+  7b+ ....  (+6 -1 =1)
 2: Lasker, Emanuel              21 GER   6.5 /  8   ....  4b-  5w=  1b+  6w+  3w+  8b+  9w+  7b+  (+6 -1 =1)
 3: Scheve, Theodor von          39 GER   5.5 /  8    7w+ ....  4w=  5b+  1w-  2b-  6w+  8b+  9b+  (+5 -2 =1)
 4: Caro, Horatio                28 ENG   5.5 /  8    1b-  2w+  3b=  8w=  9b+  7w+ ....  6b+  5w=  (+4 -1 =3)
 5: Gottschall, Hermann von      27 GER   3.0 /  8    6w-  1w-  2b=  3w-  8b-  9w+  7b+ ....  4b=  (+2 -4 =2)
 6: Mieses, Jacques          gm  25 GER   3.0 /  8    5b+  9w+  1b-  7w-  2b- ....  3b-  4w-  8w+  (+3 -5 =0)
 7: Harmonist, Max               26 GER   3.0 /  8    3b-  8w+  9b+  6b+ ....  4b-  5w-  1w-  2w-  (+3 -5 =0)
 8: Bardeleben, Curt von         29 GER   3.0 /  8    9w+  7b- ....  4b=  5w+  1b=  2w-  3w-  6b-  (+2 -4 =2)
 9: Minckwitz, Johannes          46 GER   0.0 /  8    8b-  6b-  7w- ....  4w-  5b-  1w-  2b-  3w-  (+0 -8 =0)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
36 games: +15 =5 -16

I found contemporaneous sources for all of the games, with the exception of these four:

 1890.07.21   C25  40     (R2)  1-0   Mieses -- Minckwitz
 1890.07.22   C42  46     (R3)   =    Scheve -- Caro
 1890.07.23   D02  19     (R4)   =    Caro -- Bardeleben
 1890.07.23   D45  19     (R4)  0-1   Lasker_B -- Lasker_E

It’s possible they were missed by me when searching through the master source collection kindly supplied by J.N. Pope here: http://www.chessarch.com/library/library.shtml. But it’s also possible <ChessBase> found these games in local newspapers or some other contemporaneous source which I lack access to.

If any reader has knowledge of the original source for any of these games and is kind enough to leave a comment I would be appreciative.

Now, just a quick word about the withdrawal of Bardeleben and Harmonist, when in actuality an entire post is needed… (stay tuned)…

The short version is that Lasker, having an abundance of time, left the playing hall for some 37 minutes during his game with Bardeleben. Upon returning, he took his seat, and in less than a minute played his final move in what is described as a “difficult” position. Bardeleben took great exception to this, and immediately raised a protest. Now, I don’t read German, so my interpretation may be slightly wrong. Regardless, I believe that a discussion arose where it was suggested that the entire game be replayed, a suggestion which Lasker refused. In point of fact, Lasker’s behavior was found formally correct, even if a breech of normal etiquette, and play was to continue. Instead, Bardeleben thought himself forced to withdraw from the tournament.

Much of this discussion was taking place in the tournament hall,  within earshot of Harmonist in the next table. In fact, Harmonist make a gross blunder which he felt was responsible due to the distractions. He tried to appeal his loss (I believe) without success, and in turn withdrew in a pique. I suppose I view both Bardeleben and Harmonist as justified, although I would strongly doubt Lasker did other than take a walk to refresh his feelings as he claimed.

With all the dropouts, the tournament was essentially won at the end of R7 by the two Lasker brothers. This is why they played their playoff game the same day that others played the last round of the main tournament.

An unfortunate end to the first Chess Master Association tournament in Berlin.

(The above incident is also extensively discussed in the <CG> forum for the game, starting with <whiteshark>’s comment: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/kibitzing?kid=G1468364&reply=1)

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2 thoughts on “Berlin (1890) – a first look, and a little Lasker controversy

  1. Pingback: First Look – look here first | Zan Chess

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