FEN photo gallery

This series is ongoing, check back for updates….

Three additions, thanks to mifralu…

(Please check back later, as I’m still trying to figure out how to get a direct url for the photos – in order to insert the thumbnails directly)

Amsterdam NED 1950.11.22
Stahlberg, Gideon — O’Kelly de Galway, Alberic 1/2-1/2
r2r4/1p2kppp/p1n2n2/4p3/8/PNB3P1/1P2PPKP/R2R4 w – – 3 17

(Credit: Vogel, Carel L. de / Anefo)



r1bqk2r/pp2ppb1/1np2np1/6Bp/3P3P/1B4N1/PPP1NPP1/R2QK2R b KQkq – 7 10
Utrecht NED 1961.12.07
Bouwmeester, Hans — Donner, Jan-Hein 1/2-1/2


r1bqkb1r/5ppp/p2ppn2/np6/3NP3/1BN1B3/PPP2PPP/R2Q1RK1 w kq – 0 10
IBM Amsterdam NED 1970
Scholl, Eduard C — Polugaevsky, Lev 0-1

Stolberg, Mark — Keres, Paul    (URS-ch R1 Moscow 1940-09 A28 (31) 0-1)
1r4rk1/p1pbqppp/2pb4/3p4/Q1P3n1/2N1PB2/PP3PPP/R1BR2K1 w – – 0 13  (After 12…Nf6-g4)

(MB 142239)
(Unknown photo credit – likely state agency)

A quick word about determining FEN – it’s done via the display board on the wall. The key is to focus on the Black knight on g4 and the bishop on f3. This only occurs after 12…Nf6-g4 since White exchanges the two pieces on the next move. So, even though photo doesn’t capture the entire board, we know 100% when the photo was taken.  Unfortunately, Stolberg was to die less than two years later serving in the Soviet army (see the ruchess.ru link for more).        (Update2019-05-10)

Bobby (the champ ~1972) – studying literature – unknown game
1r3rk1/3b1p2/p4np1/2pPp3/2p4R/2N3N1/PP4P1/2K4R w – – 0 1 (?)

(Unknown credit – likely Harry Benson)

It’s not sure who has the move in the position, neither case could be matched with any game in MillBase. Both cases are quite playable, I gave White the move since its eval is dead even.  Black is two pawns up, but White’s dominance of the h-file, and the coordination of his knights, give total compensation. The position is likely an analysis variable from a game in the book Fischer is studying. It would be nice to know more, I couldn’t even find the photo in the WCHOF site – even though google search images had it.

Antoly Karpov studying at home
rnbq1rk1/pp3pbp/3p1np1/2pP4/4P3/2N2N2/PP2BPPP/R1BQK2R w KQ – 0 9  

Alamy Stock Photo
(Credit: Sputnik 1970-08-16)

It’s not clear what magazine Karpov is reading(*), or what game he may be following – if any specific game at all. But using my version of MillBase, there are 1243 games matching that position from a Benoni opening. Perhaps mention of the earliest – (Boleslavsky, Isaac — Nezhmetdinov, Rashid 1/2-1/2 (33) A77 Gorki 1950) – should be made. Of course, Karpov might be preparing for the match-that-never-was, studying Fischer’s play in Gligoric–Fischer (Palma de Malloric izt April 1970). I’ll also note that SCID’s Opening Report for this Benoni variation shows Tal as being a leading player for Black, with 12 games in the db.

(*) OK, one cover is readable – Шахматы в СССР.  And Karpov isn’t thinking over a chess problem, which is Alamy’s characterization of the photo. He’s either playing over a game, or studying an opening (e.g. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.Nf3 O-O), one where White is ~ 85% certain to continue 9.O-O.

Fine, Reuben — Thomas, George Alan    (Nottingham ENG (1936)  E16i 1/2-1/2 (60))
2rr2k1/1b2qppp/p2pp3/1p1P4/2PQ1P2/1P4P1/P5BP/3RR1K1 w – – 0 23 

Chess Review (Sept. 1936) p201
(MB 1436609)
Reshevsky is also pictured, back to camera.

Euwe, Max — Kan, Ilia A.    (Leningrad Intl Masters (1934) / Leningrad URS / R1 / 1934-08-17)
rn1qk2r/pbp2ppp/1p2pn2/3p2B1/2PP4/P1P1PP2/6PP/R2QKBNR b KQkq – 0 8 
1934-08-24 – De Telegraaf – p4c3
(Photo credit unknown)

The FEN is taken from the display board – so there’s uncertainty as to whether Black has yet played 8…Nbd7 or not.

Emanuel Lasker (?? maybe 30-40 years old??)
r1b1r1k1/pp4pp/5R2/4p3/q3P2Q/P1BP4/1PP3PP/1KR5 b – – 0 1   
(?? – a bit uncertain)
https://obudaianziksz.hu/kemeny-vagyim-amerika-magyar-sakkbajnokai/ (American Chess Champions of America)
(Photo credit unknown)

I know neither the source of the photograph, nor the game position. Of course, I’d like to know either or both! If you can help, please leave a comment, thanks.

Oh, and the FEN I quote actually is fairly playable despite the material imbalance (unlike that of Lane’s photo shoot). Stockfish gives Lasker’s game slightly in favor of his opponent, with an eval of -0.75/26.

Lisa Lane – photo shoot (March 1961)
r1bk1b1r/2p1nppp/p2p4/1p2p1N1/4P3/1nP4K/PP1PQPPP/R1B4R w – – 0 1   
(?? – a bit uncertain)
(Photo by Wil Blanche /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

(Click img to enlarge) Alekhine, Alexander — Lasker, Emanuel    (Zurich Jubilee (1934) / Zurich SUI / R12 / 1934-07-25 )
3r1rnk/pp1n3p/1qp2pQ1/5N2/4P3/1B1R4/PP3PPP/2R3K1 b – – 0 26
La Tunisie Revue Mensuelle Illustrée, Feb. 1938, p29

Note: This photograph was submiited to Winter by Mr Thimognier, with Winter noting the following:

Our correspondent adds that according to the article which followed, the photograph was taken during the world champion’s tour of Tunisia in December 1934.

We note that the position is the conclusion of Alekhine’s victory over Lasker in Zurich earlier that year.

(Click img to enlarge) Euwe, Max — Lasker, Emanuel    (Zurich Jubilee (1934) / Zurich SUI / R1 / 1934-07-14 )
r1bq1rk1/pp1nbppp/2p1pn2/3p2B1/2PP4/P1N1PN2/1PQ2PPP/R3KB1R b KQ – 0 8
Stadtarchiv Zürich, Königliche Bibliothek Den Haag

Note: As far as I know, this is the only photograph of a game from the 1934 tournament, at least online. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have access to Alekhine’s TB – which I’d love to utilize, if only to source all the tournament games for my upcoming treatment of this tournament. (Can anybody help me? Please let me know…!)

(Click img to enlarge) Bogoljubov, Efim — Alekhine, Alexander  (WWC rematch (1934) / (Various) GER 1934)
rn1qkb1r/1pp2ppp/p3pn2/7b/2BP4/2N1PN1P/PP3PP1/R1BQK2R w KQkq – 0 8

Note: I believe the photo is from R3, the April 6th game in Baden-Baden, at White’s 8th move. It comes from a Zuricher Illustriete issue, where Adolf Stietz uses this unattributed photo to illustrate his column of the R9 game(!). I played through all the games with Bogo as White, and I’m fairly sure of my identification. Of course, the comment section is open for those with a good case to the contrary…!

(2019-04-20 – just realized this is an on-going post, so new additions will henceforth go on top)

Ivakov, Borislav — Gereben, Erno  (Hoogovens 35e / Beverwijk NED 1963-01)
r4rk1/2q1bppp/3p1n2/n1pPp3/Pp2P3/1P1BB2P/3N1PP1/R2QR1K1 b – – 0 21
Hoogovenschaaktoernooi, Gereben
photo – Koch, Eric / Anefo

9 januari 1963
(Millbase 1084194)

Steiner, Herman — Capablanca, Jose (casual / Los Angeles USA 1933)
3r1r2/1p5k/p1p2qn1/3ppPp1/4P1Rb/1P1Q4/1PP2P1P/1K1N2R1 w – – 0 1   
(?? – a bit uncertain)
http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/pics/cn4092_capablanca2.jpg (CN 4092)
Famous Chess Players by Peter Morris Lerner (Minneapolis, 1973) p31

Fischer, Robert — Tal, Mikhael  (olm / Leipzig GER 1960.10)
rnbqk1nr/pp3ppp/4p3/b2pP3/1P1p2Q1/P1N5/2P2PPP/R1B1KBNR b KQkq – 0 7
See also: http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/cross-search/search/_1554517419/?search[view]=detail&search[focus]=1
XIV. Schacholympiade 1960 in Leipzig
Kohls, Ulrich – Bundesarchiv

Karpov, Antoly — Kavalek, Lubomir (3e Clarin / Buenos Aires BRA 1980)
r1bqkb1r/1p1npppp/p2p1n2/8/3NP3/2N5/PPP1BPPP/R1BQK2R w KQkq – 0 7

Attributions: ?
(MillBase 815566)

Keres, Paul — Petrovs, Vladimir  (Estonia–Latvia m / Tallinn EST 03-1938)
rn1q1rk1/pp3ppp/2p1p3/3n4/P2P4/3QPN2/1P3PPP/R1B2RK1 w – – 0 14

Attributions: ?

Capablanca, Jose — Alekhine, Alexander (St. Petersburg / St. Petersburg RUS 1913)

http://www.vivelesechecs.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Vive-les-echecs-tome2-v29.pdf (Vive Les Echecs excerpt)
https://zanchess.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/c9ab8-3110.jpg (Spraggett)
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/31/0b/63/310b639cbece25ce62bf6390ae8255d0.jpg (Hi-res Klimban colorized version)

A quick word or two about this position/game/photo. The position is from the end of the game, with Black about to be mated. The photo is rather famous, often seen, but usually in a cropped version showing only Alekhine and Capablanca. I noticed the extra person on the left mugging in a photo from the PDF link (I thought it was Lasker, but who is it??!). Spraggett’s version is the best, and likely the original uncropped image – showing yet another person, on the right. The colorized version has the best resolution – but the White pieces are shown as gold, though they are very likely wood.

What’s the most interesting, to me at least, is that the photo appears to be staged – though the cropped version used suggests it was taken during at the end of the game, during play. It isn’t – as is clearly seen by the placement of the Black pieces in the hi-res version. The 6th rank should be entirely empty, the 7th rank should just have a White rook, and the 8th just a Black knight. This photograph has extra Black pieces – so the game must have been finished, though the display board still records the final position (as does most of the board!). Since the game is over, the mugging personage fits better in the picture, as well.

A last word – the photo is famously claimed to be the first otb encounter between Alekhine and Capablanca. Spraggett claims it’s from a two game exhibition match, but 365chess seems to suggest a multiplayer exhibition match/tournament.


Clearly, I should pencil this item into my to-do list for future research – it would be nice to suss out the true story of how this game came about…

4 thoughts on “FEN photo gallery

  1. Hello zanzibar,

    3 new games ( just examples, 1294 results in Photo Collection ) for your FEN photo gallery:

    r2r4/1p2kppp/p1n2n2/4p3/8/PNB3P1/1P2PPKP/R2R4 w – – 3 17
    Amsterdam NED 1950.11.22
    Stahlberg, Gideon — O’Kelly de Galway, Alberic 1/2-1/2
    r1bqk2r/pp2ppb1/1np2np1/6Bp/3P3P/1B4N1/PPP1NPP1/R2QK2R b KQkq – 7 10
    Utrecht NED 1961.12.07
    Bouwmeester, Hans — Donner, Jan-Hein 1/2-1/2
    r1bqkb1r/5ppp/p2ppn2/np6/3NP3/1BN1B3/PPP2PPP/R2Q1RK1 w kq – 0 10
    IBM Amsterdam NED 1970
    Scholl, Eduard C — Polugaevsky, Lev 0-1

    • Thanks for the additions – I’ll just pop ’em straight in, knowing your reputation for accuracy.

      I guess the 1294 photos is referring to the entire Dutch collection? That certainly would be a whole lot of FEN’s! (Though, sadly, I bet not every photo’s FEN could be found, even if one had sufficient time/motivation).

  2. St. Petersburg, 12 a 23 de Dezembro de 1913.

    Copa Savorin.

    Mini match entre Alekhine e Capablanca. Primeira vez que ambos enfrentaram-se. Capa venceu por 2 x 0.
    A Copa Savorin teve mais dois participantes: Duz-Chotimirsky (esquerda) e Eugene Znosko-Borovsky.

    A foto é de 14 de Dezembro de 1913, com os jogadores analisando. O tabuleiro mural mostra a posição final da partida.

    Foto: Yakob Steinberg. (Я. Штейнберг)
    Fonte: Arquivo do Estado. Central de Documentos Audiovisuais de St. Petersburg.

    • I’ll come back later with a google translate of the above (given that I really only am competent in English, if even that).

      Pretty sure it’s a submission that should be added to the collection. Thanks!

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