< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 33 OF 33 ·
|May-02-14|| ||offramp: <zanzibar: By the way, I've a nice little piece of detective work involving some famous photographs of Pillsbury which I present here:
They are really good pictures. Thanks for that!
An oddity that I have mentioned before is that all other chessplayers of that era look really dated, really <of their time>, but Pillsbury looks surprisingly modern - as if he had time-warped from the 1980s back to the 1900s.
Is it just the lack of facial hair?
I don't think so! - Gustav Richard Neumann has the same out-of-his-time look, and he has a little beard.
Am I right, or am I right?
|May-02-14|| ||RedShield: <Pillsbury looks surprisingly modern>|
Had the same thought. I think it has something to do with hairstyle.
|May-03-14|| ||jnpope: Well, it looks like the number on the door is 701:
|May-03-14|| ||zanzibar: Putting aside the topic of whisky for the moment...
<offramp> (& others) - I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.
<jnpope> thanks for digging out that improved photo, definitely the best resolution I've seen yet.
Yes, I was having a bit of fun with the door number. It was too much to hope a street address matches the number on a door. (I'll have to post a correction - but I think I'll leave the original largely intact.)
It was a "historical experiment" to have a bit of fun, after all.
Still, the cropping and staging aspects were worth discussing. And it was indeed Taubenaus!
And I still think the room is in the Brooklyn Club. Batgirl has a brunch of interior shots of Manhattan CC, and it looks quite different:
A few questions:
1) Are your photographs from the <Harper's Weekly> Oct. 23(?), 1893 issue mentioned in the <New York Report> article of 1893-10-28.
2)Which club is the one in the Lasker-Pillsbury photo?
3) Who's in the smaller framed portrait
to the left of Steinitz?
4) Did the pieces of that era really have so little contrast in color?
|May-04-14|| ||jnpope: 1) To be honest, they all came to me by different sources. I haven't been able to identify the original source.|
2) Lasker-Pillsbury was played at the Manhattan CC according to <New York Sun, 1893.10.11, p4>, however, as you pointed out, Pillsbury-Taubenhaus was played at the Brooklyn CC <New York Sun, 1893.10.14, p8>. I suspect these photographs were staged to show players engaged over the board.
It appears to me that all four pictures are at the same location. From the first picture to the second picture you can tell this is the center table beneath the Morphy photograph. From the second to the third it appears to me that the table and chairs are the same, and the lower molding along the wall seems to be identical. And clearly the third and fourth images are at the same location.
So to me the key item here is the first photograph which shows Bigelow, Higgins and Frankel, all of whom were officers of the Manhattan Chess Club.
3) That should be George H. Mackenzie.
4) I don't know if all sets were of the same make, but if those pictured were ebony (for black) and walnut (for white) then the contrast might be too subtle for a black and white photograph.
|May-05-14|| ||jnpope: <zanzibar: <Batgirl has a brunch of interior shots of Manhattan CC, and it looks quite different>>|
From her online version of the article:
<On May 1, the club made its final move to its present location, No. 105 East 22d Street, occupying five rooms on the seventh floor of the United Charities Building...>
Which would tie-in with room 701 (seventh floor). Also, the there are only four room photographs shown in the article, the Directors Room, the West Room, the East Room and the Library. I wonder if there is a "hall" that might reflect the other set of photographs.
|May-05-14|| ||zanzibar: jnpope> first of all many thanks for your generous and detailed replies.|
You beat me to the punch, I was rereading <batgirl>'s article this morning and noticed the same thing!
Her reference is a little incomplete, Morse's article is actually split over two issues of American Chess Magazine, February and March 1898.
Both issues are included in Vol 1 however - the relevant passage is from p562 for the May 1  move. The photographs are from the February issue.
For completeness, the article notes that the club actually moved shortly after to the 9th floor.
<The Manhattan Chess Club, while located in the same building at 105 East 22nd Street, has changed its rooms from the seventh to the ninth floor of the building. This change enabled the club to have its quarters specially designed for its use, and it has only recently made its entry into its present abiding place, the salient features of which are shown by the illustrations in the last number of the AMERICAN CHESS MAGAZINE.>
As for the photos, you convinced me with your astute observation of the baseboard molding. Also, you pointed out the similarity of table and chairs, and I'll especially point out the woodworking on the legs of the table. The number on the door seals the deal.
The Impromptu Tournament is what got me into this really - and I believe the committee was jointly composed of both BCC and MCC officials (and what about City CC?). Wasn't Gilbert the president of BCC and the head of the Impromptu Committee?
So, I was really hoping Brooklyn was in the picture - sort of speak. (When it comes to Manhattan vs. Brooklyn, my head says Manhattan, my heart - Brooklyn). But the evidence is fairly clear, even if the chess clocks don't match (and despite the showcased rooms being more ornate - probably why the other room wasn't featured).
I would have written earlier, but I got sidetracked researching the Columbian Chess Congress during lunch - plus I found a couple of pictures to comment on. More later.
|May-05-14|| ||zanzibar: <RE: Piece contrast>|
Here is a picture of Maroczy, presumably playing a simultaneous in England:
Notice how the contrast of the pieces differ radically between the third set and the other two.
<RE: Mackenzie portrait>
Compare his portrait with a young bearded Emanuel Lasker found here
(scroll down to 2nd image)
|May-06-14|| ||jnpope: Here is the same picture of Mackenzie, found in one of Winter's posts at chessbase.com (second portrait):|
|May-06-14|| ||zanzibar: Hi <jnpope>, thanks again.|
I should have added a little more expository in my comment about how remarkable the resemblance is, and how usual it is to see a bearded Lasker (lest it thought I was questioning the identification!).
I have a better resolution version of the Lasker picture (together with Frank Marshall) but like an idiot I didn't put the source when I saved it. I think it was from an early volume of American Chess Magazine. I'll try to dig it up and put in on my blog for display, along side the Mackenzie portrait you kindly referenced in <CN>'s.
(My history is a little weak, so I didn't recognize Mackenzie, and even confused George Mackenzie, the US champion, with Authur Ford Mackenzie, the problemist, at first!)
By the way, E. Winter has an amusing comment about the 1893 Lasker-Pillsbury photo we considered:
<Page 69 of Chess An Illustrated History by Raymond Keene (London, 1990) had a photograph whose caption begins, ‘Under the remote gaze of a picture of Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker faces Harry Nelson Pillsbury in a game in 1896 in St Petersburg’. However, the photograph (which also shows a picture of G.H. Mackenzie on the wall) was taken at the Manhattan Chess Club. For purposes of comparison, see the illustrations in the February 1898 American Chess Magazine, as well as the photograph of Pillsbury at the Club on page 52 of A Picture History of Chess by Fred Wilson (New York, 1981).>
CN 6434. St Petersburg, 1895-96
|May-06-14|| ||zanzibar: RE: Impromptu International Chess Tournament, NY (1893)|
Pillsbury played in this, which led me to become interested in it. But it really was Lasker's tournament, where he scored an amazing 13-0!
1) How dominant a performance is this?
Apparently, Capablanca also scored 13-0 in Rice Chess Club Summer Tournament (see <Phony Benoni>'s comment: L B Zapoleon vs Capablanca, 1913 and
2) Does anybody have any information about Olly -- Pollock (R8) on Tues 1898-10-10?
From the contemporaneous newspaper accounts, the game appears to be missing, and there is no explicit mention of it. I had to deduce the result from leader tables (e.g. New York Sun 1898-10-11).
(This is the round with Lasker -- Pillsbury, where Lasker makes a beautiful bishop sac in the endgame to win.)
|May-06-14|| ||jnpope: 2) "...Olly scored against Pollock, the latter not appearing at all..."|
<New York Times, 1893.10.11, p3>
|May-06-14|| ||zanzibar: <jnpope> Again thanks for the ref.|
I have a few questions about the O'Keefe Project, which I used extensively for my Impromptu notes (and elsewhere!). This seems like a good time to ask a few questions:
(1) Why is the New York Times omitted from the timeline?
(2) Is there any chance to get the articles scanned with OCR and be able to use a search engine like with the Dutch Delpner system?
(3) Some of the scans are, unfortunately, very hard to read. Is this irredeemable?
(In other words, is the original newpaper print faded to such a point, or is the problem due to a bad scan or bad microfilm?)
(4) Is there any description of the O'Keefe Project? Specifically, is it an ongoing project, with additions planned for the future?
Sorry for the deluge of questions, I'm sure you understand - any reply is appreciated. Thanks.
|May-07-14|| ||jnpope: (1) I haven't gotten around to harvesting the chess material from that particular source. I've got a huge backlog of material and the NY Times is on the list.|
(2) Probably not. I would love to offer such a thing, but two problems exist; the first being my time (I never have enough of it to do all the things I want to do) and the second being the entire infrastructure for the task (database, interface, search engine, etc.). The best I could whip up was the timeline tool to give a chronological cross-cut of the material. As the project grows I may need to find a better way to generate the timeline (currently it is a little PHP code that does some tricks with file system sorting, no database is involved).
(3) For a lot of the material I am limited by the quality of the source. I would love to obtain better versions of many things including the entire run of the New York Clipper. As better copies become available I will do my best to update the online archives.
(4) No formal mission statement exists but I plan on adding more material as I find the time. I have three filing cabinets of photocopies that need to be scanned and there is an untold amount of material spread throughout the online world that could be gathered together. Not to mention submitted material like the Turf, Field and Farm from Joost van Winsen that I still need to get cropped and uploaded.
|May-07-14|| ||zanzibar: <jnpope> thank you so much on many levels.|
The O'Keefe Project is truly a treasure for anyone wanting to dig into chess history, and is incredibly useful.
(Though we would all love it to be text-searchable, it seems to me that really is a task requiring full institutional support from gov't and educational agencies.
If the Dutch can do it why not the US?
California has begun:
The East coast academics needs to pool resources similarly.)
Again, thanks for such an informative reply. Regards.
|May-14-14|| ||zanzibar: In the following tournament book:
<The Games in the St. Petersburg Tournament
--* 1895-1896 *--
Copious Notes and Critical Remarks
Messrs. JAMES MASON and W. H. K. POLLOCK,
AND ILLUSTRATED BY
Numerous Diagrams of Interesting Positions
Portraits and Biographical Sketches
OF THE PLAYERS,
HERR LASKER, MR. STEINITZ, MR. PILLSBURY, and M. TCHIGORIN>
can be found interesting take on regional characteristics intrinsic in chess player's style in the introduction to H. N. Pillsbury:
<The men of the New England States are proverbially cool and calculating, and generally may be classed as long-headed, and it is from this stock that Pillsbury has sprung. In Morphy there was not a little of the fervent temperament of the Sunny South, and his play displayed many of the qualities that belong to natives of warm climates. Vivid imagination brillancy of style, were characteristics of the Southern player. Mr. Pillsbury comes from a colder climate, and his play is more severe and cautious than that of his great predecessor, but he too is not without fire and imagination when opportunity affords.>
|May-14-14|| ||zanzibar: Despite being from the region, I was unfamiliar with the term "long-headed":|
/ˈlɔŋˈhɛdɪd, ˈlɒŋ-/ adjective
1. Anthropology, dolichocephalic.
2. of great discernment or foresight; farseeing or shrewd.
(Meaning (2) is assuredly intended in the previous quote.)
Perhaps the term has become archanic and fallen into disuse? Or am I being fat-headed?
It does have a nice quaint feel to it, in keeping with the rest of the book the quote comes from.
|May-14-14|| ||zanzibar: archaic - not archanic
(Where's the spellchecker when you need it? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technolog...)
|May-19-14|| ||zanzibar: <jnpope> I'm writing here since I don't have any other contact information.|
The Wed 1893.08.31 issue of NY Daily Tribune:
Seems to be a bunch of wedding notices.
Is this a mistake, or am I missing the significance? (E.g. some famous historical chess player being married?).
Actually, when you scan the newspapers, I assume you look for travel clips of the players. Do you also look at the "people" section, for things like marriages/births as well?
Also, while looking at your site it seems that you're starting to digitalize the Boston Herald from 1890. This should be a productive mining vein for Pillsbury I would think.
What contemporaneous paper (from 1890) had the strongest chess coverage in the Boston area?
Oh, I found this site with some biographical info about Jack O'Keefe, including a photograph:
|May-19-14|| ||zanzibar: <RE: Pillsbury's cigar smoking>|
From <La Stratégie> 1902-07-20 (p209-211) (via Winter's <Chess Facts and Fables> (pbk p328)) comes this (translated in English by Zanoogle):
<The face of the master, entirely clean shaven, is one of expressionless delicacy; his eyes charmingly penetrating, enveloping all within his view with a soft caress. And one senses immediately the stamp of genius upon his calm pale face.
His frame is slight, almost so frail in appearance that one is left with the impression that the entire life force of this prodigy is contained within his brain.
There is nothing of the "show-off" in Pillsbury. Not in his speech, or the way he carries himself; there is no indication of the warrior within, from his manner alone.
Dressed quite properly in a simple and modest black attire, Pillbury climbed up onto the stage reserved for him, seating himself upon the chair, and waited for the moves to begin.
Then, without any haste whatsoever, his legs crossed, he lit his first cigar in a procession that only ended when this emotionally moving battle of many against the solitary master comes to a close at the end of the evening. >
The French writer's observations of Pillsbury while he gave a 16-game blindfold simultaneous exhibit at the Cercle Philidor in Paris, France, on June 21, 1902.
Pillsbury's score was +10-1=5.
Cf <Pawn and Two> Pillsbury vs Magana, 1902
|May-21-14|| ||jnpope: The reason for the NY Daily Tribune clipping for 1893.08.31 is because Albert Hodges was one of the ushers. |
I usually do a first pass for chess columns, then I do a secondary pass for chess news if I know there is a noteworthy event (I tend to discover leads by reading the columns from the first pass), then if I have time I'll do hard-target searches for certain chess players, usually just World champions and contenders along with US champions and contenders.
The Boston Herald had a good column, and from what I saw when I was in Boston doing research back in the 90s, the Boston Weekly Post and Boston Globe were good sources (I haven't found a free online resource for either of those papers). The Boston Daily Advertiser, Boston Traveler, Boston Journal and Boston Evening Transcript all had news and occasional games and are worth a peek, however the best sources with columns would be the Herald, Globe and Weekly Post.
That is indeed Jack. He was a dear friend. Jack didn't drive so I would swing by and pick him up and we'd head over to the library and spend hours photocopying microfilm.
|May-21-14|| ||zanzibar: <jnpope> Thanks for the reply. A very productive friendship you two had. |
It was funny to see a chess historian so prominently featured on the Chess Programming Pages!
I suppose the idea to put all the article online was yours? Who's ever it was, it was a most excellent idea. Again thanks.
Now that <chessgames> has fixed its search to handle apostrophes in player names, I can put a couple future comments on Jack's page!
(A little foreshadowing - have you seen Olimpiu G. Urcan's chesscafe article on Stolzenberg?)
By the way, when you were in Boston were you doing your research at BPL (Boston Public Library)? Or at one of the local universities?
|May-22-14|| ||jnpope: Originally I had planned on publishing chess columns. I had done a small run of Morphy's chess column and I was working on doing a Steinitz set. Jack was doing the proofreading when he got busy babysitting a new grandchild. So things slowed down considerably on that front and I moved onto other research efforts. So for the last few years of his life we didn't get a chance to interact with each other as much as we had in the past. A few phone calls to share bits and pieces, but he clearly didn't have the time he once had to devote to doing research at the library let alone proofreading something as massive as Steinitz's work. After his passing I decided to shelve the idea of republishing old chess columns in printed form and went with putting the material online.|
I have not seen Urcan's article; I appreciate the heads-up.
I went to the BPL. At the time they didn't have a way to make photocopies from microfilm so I had to use pen and paper. Regrettably I only had time to copy down the games and not the full text of all the articles.
|Jun-12-14|| ||zanzibar: <jnpope> a belated thanks for those nice stories about Jack. I still intend to add a note or two on his bio page.|
* * * * *
<RE: Pillsbury's drinking>
I think this quote, from a Nov 30, 1943 New Yorker article on Ajeeb (Automaton)
<The man who lasted the longest inside Ajeeb was Harry Nelson Pillsbury, of Somerville, Massachusetts, a mental freak of startling capacities who wore wing collars and polka-dot four-in-hands, smoked Havana cigars, and drank a quart of whiskey a day. He worked Ajeeb from 1890 to 1900. He did, however, enjoy generous leaves of absence, to play in international chess competitions. He won twenty, several of them in Europe. His specialty, though one which he did not attempt with Ajeeb, was simultaneously playing ten games of checkers, ten of chess and a hand of wist. A newspaperman who saw him compete in a chess tournament in Vienna in 1898, held as part of Emperor Franz Josef's Jubilee, wrote, "Pillsbury is a beardless young man whose Anglo-American origin in easily read on his face. His profile is cameo-like, nobly cut ; every movement is dignified and gentle eloquence. When Pillsbury sits at a board, he has an absolute stony calmness in his face ; not a single muscle moves, only now and then will he wink a bit faster, when he feels himself slowly and satisfactorily nearing his goal.">
The passage describing Pillsbury's appearance is quite similar to the one I translated above.
Back to the important topic - alcohol. My favorite site on the subject, with a BAC calculator, is <R U Pissed?> (unfortunately - all input must be in metric - no stones/pounds allowed without converting first):
I ran the calculator for a 5'6", 135 lb, 25 year-old male - consuming a quart of 45% whiskey over 24 hours - to determine his equilibrium state:
BAC = 0.352 %
The legal limit for driving in my state is 0.08 % (and I recommend you stay far below that). Which means, according to legend, Pillsbury was constantly "operating" at 4 times the legal limit.
All the while playing grandmaster level chess!
|Jun-12-14|| ||zanzibar: Oh, I almost forgot the pithy summary of that BAC's condition provided by <R U Pissed>:|
<You should be dead by now!>
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