< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 45 OF 45 ·
|Jan-29-17|| ||TheFocus: <Big Pawn: Does anyone have any recommendations as to which biography of Steinitz is the best?>|
The one I'm publishing in two years. I have to finish my research first.
|Jan-29-17|| ||Big Pawn: <Focus: The one I'm publishing in two years. I have to finish my research first>|
Fantastic! Put me down for a first edition copy right away.
I just got done search Amazon and other places and, surprisingly, there is very little in the way of a Steinitz biography. There is that one A Bohemian Caesar, or something like that, written by a great, grand nephew but he writes somewhat poorly according to some of the reviews I read. Worse still is that he isn't a chess player so the commentary in the regard is wanting.
|Jan-29-17|| ||Paarhufer: <Big Pawn: but he writes somewhat poorly according to some of the reviews I read.> The book is quite confusing. Landsberger did detailed research, but was not capable of presenting it without adding many errors. Moreover, he mixed everything with everything: facts, anecdotes, chess lore and Steinitz's self-portrayal, and it seems that he believed all this to be true. A documented flop, but somehow still interesting. His book "The Steinitz papers" is quite different and shows lots of rare documents.|
|Feb-11-17|| ||Big Pawn: I've recently purchased William Steinitz 1st World Chamption by Isaak and Vladimir Linger. |
It's a pretty good book with quality annotations and good anecdotes sprinkled here and there.
One of my favorites relates to Steinitz quirky personality and tendency to speak boldly.
<In his student days, Steinitz became a constant visitor of the popular chess cafe in Vienna, Romer. A prominent banker, Gustav Epstein, was one of his opponents.
Once, Steinitz, while thinking for a while about his move, heard impatient muttering:"Come on, come on!" Wilhelm's pride was hurt. Soon after, his opponent sank into deep thought,
"Come on, come on!" Steinitz said with a smile.
"Do not forget, young man, who you are and who I am!"
"Yes, I know, in life you are Epstein, a banker, and I am Steinitz, a student! But at the chessboard, I am Epstein!">
|Feb-25-17|| ||zanzibar: <
I [Hoffer] had the pleasure of making Steinitz's acquaintance then, and had to interpret his numerous protests. His second interpreter was Loyd, but he soon tired of the position, and told him on one occasion,
“Look here, Steinitz, if a man wants to quarrel he must either be strong here,” pointing to his fist, “or here,” pointing to his pocket.
“Or here,” replied Steinitz, pointing to his head.
Fortunately Steinitz could only protest in two languages.
FN v46 p756 (1886)
|Feb-28-17|| ||zanzibar: <A TALK ABOUT CHESS.
Herr Steinitz, who is now contesting the chess championship in the States, has been interviewed.
<“How far, he was asked, does an expert generally go into the game?” asked the reporter.>
“One can’t give a specific answer to that question. Sometimes two-move problems will puzzle an expert; at another time he may see the solution of a six-move problem at a glance. In some ‘endings’ one can see almost twenty moves ahead. Problems have been evolved looking one hundred moves ahead. But in such cases the moves are forced. The same process is repeated and there are no variations possible. Ordinarily I should say that a first-class player sees five or six moves ahead. The possible combinations in a game of chess are practically infinite. At the outset you have the choice of twenty moves, and to each one of these moves your opponent in reply has twenty moves to choose front. It is like the old problem of starting with a penny and doubling it for each succeeding nail in a horse’s shoes.”
<“What are the qualities requisite to make a good chess player?”>
“First, I should say, judgment. That judgment may be intuitive or acquired by long practice. Intuitive judgment is the highest gift. That implies originality—capacity to depart from the beaten track. Then come the qualities of accuracy and what might be called farseeing. One may be good at mapping out a general plan, but weak in carrying out the details. Another may be accurate in his play but not good at planning. The good chess player must have both qualities. Memory and imagination—the power to see with the mind’s eye the men in various combinations— are important elements.”
<“What temperament do you think the best?”>
“The nervous temperament. A racehorse has more nerves that: a donkey. It requires a delicate organization to produce the fine combinations necessary to rank as an expert. Good chess players generally suffer much from their nerves.”
<“What do you think of chess as a mental exercise?”>
“I think it does for the brain what athletics do for the body. It both stimulates and conserves the mental powers. Chess players as a class live long. A statistician has computed that the average duration of life for a professional chess player is Sixty-five years. Like every mental and physical exercise, it may of course be overdone. A man should not go in for more than he can stand, and he soon finds out what his limit is. It is opposed to the drinking habit and the gambling spirit; therefore it is a good game for the working man. It ought to be generally encouraged.”
The Pall Mall Budget, v34 (Feb 4, 1886) p23
|Feb-28-17|| ||zanzibar: Rod Edwards has recently updated his background page on his EDOchess rating site. Looking there I found the following mention of Steinitz:|
<(Updated Jan. 2017) The results speak largely for themselves, but here are a few general observations.
By far the strongest four players of the period 1821-1921, according to the Edo ratings, are Morphy, Steinitz, Lasker, and Capablanca, in historical order. These are the only four whose Edo ratings exceed 2750, with the next highest peak being 2721 for von der Lasa. This puts a significant gap between them and any other player of the period.
That these players should appear at the top is perhaps no surprise, but it is interesting that Morphy comes out so high, while some previous historical rating attempts have put him in a somewhat less favourable light. Even considering only results up to 1900, Chessmetrics puts Morphy's one-year peak below Lasker, Pillsbury, Janowski, Tarrasch, Steinitz, Chigorin and Kolisch, and about equal to those of Maroczy, Neumann and Blackburne. The Edo ratings are more in agreement with Elo, who put Morphy's peak second only to Lasker's in the nineteenth century (but at 2690, still considerably lower than my peak of 2811). The discrepancy may partly be that Chessmetrics uses only official matches, of which Morphy had few (62 game results are used), whereas I have used all available information on his many less formal matches against ratable opponents (820 games).
It is also interesting that Capablanca comes out as the strongest of the four, with Morphy and Steinitz close behind, and with Lasker trailing slightly. Steinitz's fantastically high peak came as a bit of a surprise to me initially, and despite the Edo system's adjustment to avoid overly optimistic rating estimates based on insufficient evidence, Steinitz's peak remains very high. I wonder if Steinitz's developing theory, which he claims to have been working on from the time between his 1872 and 1873 tournaments, combined with his obviously great ability, was simply too much for other players to handle for a while until they started to absorb his ideas. Steinitz himself certainly held this view. Edward Winter, in Kings, Commoners and Knaves (pp.228-229), cites a remark of Steinitz, originally published in the Glasgow Weekly Herald and quoted in the Sept. 1899 American Chess Magazine:
<"I was champion of the world for twenty-eight years because I was twenty years ahead of my time. I played on certain principles, which neither Zukertort nor anyone else of his time understood. The players of today, such as Lasker, Tarrasch, Pillsbury, Schlechter and others have adopted my principles, and as is only natural, they have improved upon what I began, and that is the whole secret of the matter.">
It fills out a little Steinitz's well-known quote. But it also is an interesting reassessment of Morphy's quality of play.
|Mar-08-17|| ||Chessical: A short time ago ' Mars ' (the Rev. G. A. Macdonnell) remarked that in his circle of acquaintances there was no man more energetic and industrious than Mr. Steinitz.' But,' he continued, ' Mr. Steinitz is not quick in intellect, or, if quick, is so deliberate and painstaking that he impresses people with the idea that he is a slow coach. He spent eight months in writing his review of Wormald's book on chess openings. His work may be, and often is,
very poor, but the labour he expends upon it is immense.
He always does his best, no matter what he is doing' |
Four week later 'Mars' discovered that some 'small-minded persons ' had construed what he had said as a disparagement of Mr. Steinitz's intellectual powers. He therefore considered himself bound to supplement his remarks as follows :
'Mr. Steinitz's great fault in chess is that he sees too much — takes
too many points into consideration, a very different thing from being slow in perception, which he certainly is not. But in important contests he is slow in making up his mind. In them he examines unimportant details; and over them he is apt to waste time and to fatigue his brains. He requires en hour for 15 moves where many another master would not require 30 minutes. In complicated positions he may see the best move as quickly as any man, but he does not make it as quickly as some do. He sees the best move probably at a glance. But it is a long time before he recognises it as tho best. He is too hesitating, too fond of looking for a better move than that which strikes him as the best For it he labours with flashing eye and corrugated brow.
Of course, when he fails to find a better, he contents himself with the best move ; in short, he looks at a position much in the same way as an artist unendowed with a quick eye for salient features regards a person whom he is called upon to portray. He considers and ponders over points which it is quite unnecessary to notice even for a moment. In justice, however, it must be added that he invariably exercises a sound judgment, and arrives at a right issue in all, even the most complicated positions.
Give him his own time, and he is unbeatable in battle. But, for want of the time he sometimes lets victory slip from his hands. The fact is he lacks genius of the highest order for chess. The genius that consists in an infinite capacity for taking trouble he undoubtedly possesses, and perhaps to a larger extent than was ever possessed by any other player. But the intuitive faculty of always discerning at a glance the best move which so distinguished Paul Morphy is wanting to Mr. Steinitz; nor does he possess the gift that was Anderssen's, and is Blackburne's and Bird's — the gift of painting beautiful pictures on the chessboard when there is little or nothing there to suggest them.
Yet, though lacking genius, his talents for chess are of a grand and unexceptionable nature. Perhaps they are even superior to genius. Moreover, no more conscientious chess artist than Mr. Steinitz ever existed. To himself, to his opponent, to chess, he is ever faithful. He always treats his opponent as a possible equal, while chess is to him a temple wherein he worships with the keenest ardour and the most profound reverence. In the open field, and in fair fight, he has won the greatest successes which it was possible for him to achieve, and never were successes more richly deserved."
<Source:> "The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser", Saturday 22nd December 1888, p.1317.>
|Mar-11-17|| ||Joshka: While researching the Steinitz variation of the Caro-Kahn, he played 1 game with it, thus netting a whole variation named after?? In fact he didn't even play it as black!!LOL|
|Mar-17-17|| ||TheFocus: Quote of the Day: <Fame, I have already. Now I need the money> - Steinitz.|
You should have had a better financial adviser.
|Apr-16-17|| ||TheFocus: According to the <Atlana Sunny South>, of 5/5/1888, Steinitz reported that he lost a Knights-odds match versus S. Lopez, a 14 year old from Havana, Cuba. Lopez won 4 of 5.|
|Jun-03-17|| ||zanzibar: From Chicago Tribune - Feb 19, 1900
<Steinitz, formerly chess champion of the world, was declared insane last Monday in New York and sent to an asylum. His family are left in destitute circumstances.>
|Jun-04-17|| ||MissScarlett: It's a precarious life being a chess professional, but it can be worse being part of their family. Let's not pretend this only applied to the 19th century.|
|Jun-04-17|| ||zanzibar: < STEINITZ'S CASE NOT HOPELESS|
According to Dr. Roberts, in charge of the insane ward at Bellevue Hospital, Steinitz, the chess ex-champion, though pronounced insane after yesterday's examination, is not hopelessly deprived of the use of his faculties. While not prepared to furnish a thorough diagnosis, the doctor stated that a couple of months would readily demonstrate to what extent the veteran's mind was really affected. Unless friends provide for his being placed in a private asylum, Steinitz will be sent to Ward's Island within a week>
BDE 1900.02.09 p15
|Jun-04-17|| ||zanzibar: More about his family (wife + 2 young children):|
|Jun-04-17|| ||zanzibar: Steinitz voluntarily sought his hospitalization, his affliction largely due to stress due to poverty, and his lamenting treatment by chess community:|
(He resigned from Manhattan CC just the year before)
|Jun-04-17|| ||zanzibar: Steinitz's last publication:
<My Advertisement to Anti-Semites in Vienn. and Elsewhere by a Schacherjude Mercenary Jew; or, an Essay on Capital, Labor, and Charity>
"The manner in which the introduction is handled is, to say the least, eccentric, and many will undoubtedly attribute it to an unbalanced mind."
|Jun-04-17|| ||zanzibar: Moved to River Crest Sanatorium, Astoria, classified as insane due to paranoia, but able (and anxious) to be released:|
Released to his wife on April 6, 1900:
And yet his obituary reports him dying on Randall's Island, claiming he was confined there since February.
|Jun-04-17|| ||zanzibar: Ah, he was reafflicted a month after his April 7 release, and then taken to Manhattan State Hospital, where he remained till his death.|
|Jul-10-17|| ||WorstPlayerEver: Pic of a younger Steinitz. Other players as well.|
|Sep-16-17|| ||HeMateMe: Steinitz/Chigorin cartoon:
|Nov-09-17|| ||denopac: Steinitz's final resting place in Queens NYC is well worth the visit for anyone living in or visiting NYC. It's a short walk from L train station Bushwick/Aberdeen to Evergreens Cemetery. The marker is humble, giving only his name and dates, with an engraved chessboard only hinting at his extraordinary accomplishments.|
|Nov-09-17|| ||MissScarlett: Is that bird poop on the chess board?
Curious that the inscriptions are in German, but William is used instead of Wilhelm.
|Nov-10-17|| ||Gypsy: <Born in Germany, ...> |
Why, Steinitz was born in Prague.
<Curious that the inscriptions are in German, but William is used instead of Wilhelm.>
Steinitz formally changed his first name to William.
|Nov-10-17|| ||denopac: <Born in Germany, he defeated the reining World Chess Champion Adolf Anderssen in 1866>|
That bio from findagrave can use some fact checking: as pointed out by <Gypsy>, he was born in Prague, and Anderssen was not a World Chess Champion. Plus it misspells "reigning" to boot.
The headstone gives his date of birth as 14 May, but Wikipedia gives 17 May.
<MissScarlett> I can assure you there was no bird poop on the chessboard when I visited two days ago.
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