< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 45 OF 45 ·
|Mar-11-16|| ||zanzibar: <You win combine; let the other fellow combine; it is sure to be rotten, and then you win.> -- Steinitz|
* * * * *
In a letter from D.M. Martinez to Charles Willing's son:
<"... Half a century ago David Thompson, an ingenious, strong player, and myself advanced a sufficient amount to induce the world's champion, W. Steinitz, to visit this country for the first time. Steinits was a magnificently endowed chess player. I learned to know him when I lived with him in New York, assisting him at his request in the latter periods in the cable match with the Russian. Tschlgorin. Steinitz was a great man, perhaps a little eccentric, but straightforward and sincere, and his knowledge of the game was thoroughly scientific. Steinitz loved a joke and was at times bitingly sarcastic."
the article also gives this:
<Referring to the writer's recent comment made by Steinitz, to wit: "You win combine; let the other fellow combine; it is sure to be rotten, and then you win," Steinitz, in the opinion of Mr. Martinez, desired that emphasis should be put on the word "you," his meaning being that bad combinations are worse than no combinations, which is a chess axiom.>
Philadelphia Inquirer (1928.03.11)
|Apr-08-16|| ||zanzibar: I believe the above biography is wrong in its usage of <Ink Wars>, or, at the very least, somewhat misleading.|
Of course Steinitz long battled against the world with his ideas of "modern" play.
E.g. he did so in some of his matches against Chigorin, where his ideas were specifically tested in play (e.g. the cable match). But, it's my understanding, that despite their disagreement in ideas, Steinitz and Chigorin were on friendly terms, even very friendly.
The <Ink Wars> is a very specific episode, circa 1882, involving Steinitz vs Hoffer & Zukertort. It can be viewed as an editorial battle between <The Field> and <Chess-Monthly> which spun out of control from an original disagreement in analysis. It started as being much more specific a disagreement of particulars, and quickly blew up into a major conflict of personalities.
Here is a thumbnail contemporaneous description from <BCM>:
<A serious difference of opinion having arisen between the
editors of the Field and the Chess-Monthly regarding their respective comments on the Zukertort and Blackburne match games,
Mr. Steinitz has astonished the Chess world by issuing a challenge
to Messrs Zukertort and Hoffer offering to play them both in
consultation for a stake of not less than £100 nor more than £250
a side. He will either give them the odds of two games out of the
first winner of eleven, or take similar odds himself, or play even.
Time limit 15 moves an hour ; two games to be played every week.
Whatever may be the merits of the controversy between these
Chess giants, the public will at any rate be the gainer by the
splendid specimens of play which are sure to result if the match
BCM v02 (1882) p61/72
I believe that Ken Whyld coined the phrase <Ink Wars>, but I don't have a ref handy.
|Apr-09-16|| ||Sally Simpson: HI Zanzibar,
Tim Harding, in 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players' (page 192) says that Kurt Landsberger came up with phrase the 'ink wars'.
You are correct the bio does hint the 'ink wars' was over Steinitz's ideas and contribution to chess.
This is wrong. the 'ink wars' was a trading of published personal insults between Steinitz and mainly Hoffer.
The same page (192) of the above book also mentions that Bird writing about Steinitz in his 'Chess History' states that no other player had so many jokes about him.
(Anish Giri's 'played 14 drew 14' may be a new contender here.)
in 1889 one poem aimed at Steinitz called 'Song of a Nit' was published by Hoffer's in his 'Chess Monthly'.
Legal action was threatened and Hoffer had to retract it and (apparently) it is missing in the 1889 bound edition of 'Chess Monthly'.
|Apr-09-16|| ||zanzibar: Thanks <Sally>, that's why I didn't have a good ref, I was mistaken then.|
BTW- Was it really mainly Hoffer. I have the impression Zukertort got his licks in too.
I do know the famous défi of Steinitz was to both.
Is "Song of a Nit" the one with the really ugly caricature of Steinitz in a cartoon?
|Apr-09-16|| ||Sally Simpson: Hi Zanzibar,
I'd trust Tim as he is a pretty meticulous researcher though if pushed I would have said Ken Whyld or David Hooper.
Quite a few players seemed to have crossed Stenitz but it does appear the 'ink war' was primarily him and Hoffer with allies sniping from the side-lines.
Harding says that Kurt Landsberger (A great nephew of Steinitz) gave the poem in full in his bio on Steinitz. Never seen it.
I've read some of the 'Ink Wars' in various sources. Pretty wild stuff.
|Apr-09-16|| ||zanzibar: <Sally> looks like I was right in the first place...|
<Harding> <In consequence of want of agreement between Herr Steinitz and the ... briefly by Sergeant,96 which Landsberger terms the “Ink-war” between Steinitz and Hoffer ..>
<Landsberger> <... of the First World Chess Champion William Steinitz Kurt Landsberger ... the "Ink War" erupted (the phrase of Kenneth Whyld, who with the late David Hooper ...>
both snippnets from a google search.
Proper attribution should be to Whyld from hereon.
|Apr-09-16|| ||Joshka: Do we have any historical record of where the Simul took place in 1883/NewOrleans? Morphy I presume spent the last year of his life there, hard to believe they wouldn't have discussed chess. 2 top players in the world in the same area!|
|Apr-09-16|| ||Sally Simpson: Hi Zanibar,
Harding says it was Landsberger who says it was Whyld and Hooper (who should have said they got it from Harding!)
As I said I have never seen the Landsberger book.
The main thing is the above bio is misleading.
|Apr-09-16|| ||zanzibar: <SallyS> yes, the intro would be better with a rewrite.|
Landsberger looks like a good book, but I don't have it either. Like I said, a google search's snippets yielded the attribution trail.
I'd like to see a ref for the original usage of <Ink War> by Whyld though.
|May-21-16|| ||Ron: Yikes, Steinitz's birthday was a few days ago.
Happy Birthday to one of my chess heroes!
I've been influenced by great theoreticians of the game such as Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch, but I like to think of myself as a Steinitzian.
|Jun-26-16|| ||brankat: Steinitzian? Bobby Fischer felt the same way :-)|
|Jun-26-16|| ||Joshka: I believe if anyone has the authority to talk about the strengths of Morphy versus Steinitz, it has to be Anderssen. Morphy and Steinitz were only a year apart in age. Anderson played around 17 games with Morphy. He also played around 22 games with Steinitz. Don't think there is another top professional who played both of them that many times. Although Anderssen was about 20 years older than both Morphy and Steinitz, his opinion on who would have prevailed in a long match I hold paramount. NOW, did Anderssen ever write or talk about his studies in playing both of them? We argue and debate all the time who would have won Karpov or Fischer, and as far as I'm concerned only Spassky has the authority to have his comments taken most seriously, as he played BOTH! Any thoughts? And what did Anderssen say?|
|Jun-26-16|| ||MissScarlett: I think it was Steinitz himself who said that Anderssen, over the course of time, calmed down in his appreciation of Morphy.|
|Jun-26-16|| ||keypusher: <Joshka>
<In 1862 Anderssen told Steinitz he was no Morphy; in 1866 he put him far above Morphy.>
See p. 7:
An unsourced paraphrase from a book of the 1894 Lasker-Steinitz match. Pretty weak. It would be nice to see a primary source quoting Anderssen's actual words.
|Jun-26-16|| ||Joshka: <keypusher> Hey thanks for the great link!!!|
|Jul-09-16|| ||Ron: I recently read the Wikipedia article on Steinitz, and came across this:
' His second wife and their two young children were still alive at his death.'|
I wonder if there are any living relatives of Steinitz. For example, someone whose great-grandfather was Steinitz.
|Aug-05-16|| ||brankat: Could be Carlsen :-)|
|Jan-29-17|| ||Big Pawn: Does anyone have any recommendations as to which biography of Steinitz is the best?|
Years ago I read David Lawson's biography on Morphy and thought it was excellent and I'm hoping to find something of similar quality on Steinitz. I could read the Amazon reviews but figured this would be a good place to ask first.
|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.
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