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Von Bardeleben 
Curt von Bardeleben
Number of games in database: 256
Years covered: 1883 to 1921
Overall record: +81 -87 =87 (48.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      1 exhibition game, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C77 C79 C67 C88 C61
 Four Knights (13) 
    C49 C47 C48
 Orthodox Defense (12) 
    D55 D50 D63 D53 D61
 Queen's Pawn Game (11) 
    D05 D02 D04 D00
 French Defense (11) 
    C11 C01 C14 C00 C13
 Queen's Gambit Declined (7) 
    D35 D37 D31
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (28) 
    C77 C78 C82 C87 C66
 Giuoco Piano (14) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (9) 
    D02 D00 A40 D05
 Four Knights (8) 
    C49 C47 C48
 Petrov (8) 
 French Defense (8) 
    C01 C14 C13 C10
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Von Bardeleben vs Harmonist, 1887 1-0
   J Mason vs Von Bardeleben, 1895 0-1
   Von Bardeleben vs Mieses, 1895 1-0
   Albin vs Von Bardeleben, 1895 1/2-1/2
   Von Bardeleben vs J Schwarz, 1883 1-0
   Lipke vs Von Bardeleben, 1893 1/2-1/2
   Tarrasch vs Von Bardeleben, 1887 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   8th DSB Kongress (1893)
   London (Vizayanagaram) (1883)
   Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Breslau (1889)
   Hastings (1895)
   Barmen Meisterturnier A (1905)
   16th DSB Kongress, Duesseldorf (1908)
   Munich (1900)
   13th DSB Kongress (Hanover) (1902)
   Vienna (1908)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Kiel 1893 by suenteus po 147
   1893 Kiel Komplett by Calli

   Tarrasch vs Blackburne, 1895
   Mieses vs Pillsbury, 1895
   W Pollock vs Mieses, 1895
   Schiffers vs Blackburne, 1895
   Teichmann vs G Marco, 1895

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(born Mar-04-1861, died Jan-31-1924, 62 years old) Germany

[what is this?]
<Private Life>

Curt von Bardeleben was born in 1861 in Berlin. In between 1883 and 1887, he took 4 years off to finish his law studies (1). In 1924, he died after falling from a window either intentionally to commit suicide (1) or due to a misfortune (2). Together with Jacques Mieses, he published the Lehrbuch des Schachspiels (Leipzig, 1894). Furthermore, he wrote many important theoretical articles on chess (1).


At the age of 20, von Bardeleben won the Hauptturnier of the German Chess Congress in Berlin (3) and two years later London (Vizayanagaram) (1883). After another good result at Nuremberg (1883), he made his comeback at Frankfurt 1887 with a good result (4). Other notable successes include Bradford (1888) (5), a shared 1st place at Leipzig (1888) (6) and a 3rd place at Breslau (1889). He shared 1st place at Kiel (1893) (7). Von Bardeleben started the Hastings (1895) tournament with 7.5 points out of nine games, but his play seemed to collapse in the second half of the event following a famous loss to Wilhelm Steinitz. He won Berlin (1896) (8) and Berlin (1897) (9) and came in 2nd at Berlin (1902) (10). He shared 1st place at Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904). He retired from competitive play prior to World War I.


Curt von Bardeleben won a match against Richard Teichmann in 1895 (11) and played matches against Rudolf Spielmann, drawing in 1905 (12) and winning in 1907 (13). He lost matches against future world champions Emanuel Lasker (1889) (14) and Alexander Alekhine (1908) (15).


(1) "Neue Wiener Schachzeitung", January 1924, pp. 21-22. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(2) Jacques Mieses in "Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten", Sonderheft Nr. 2, 1924, pp. 55 f.

(3) Rod Edwards,

(4) Rod Edwards,

(5) Rod Edwards,

(6) Rod Edwards,

(7) Rod Edwards,

(8) Rod Edwards,

(9) Rod Edwards,

(10) Rod Edwards,

(11) Rod Edwards,

(12) Rod Edwards,

(13) Rod Edwards,

(14) Rod Edwards,

(15) Rod Edwards,

 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 256  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Von Bardeleben vs J Minchin  1-026 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Von Bardeleben vs Paulsen  ½-½57 1883 NurembergB32 Sicilian
3. Von Bardeleben vs J N Berger 1-041 1883 NurembergD05 Queen's Pawn Game
4. Von Bardeleben vs M Lange 1-027 1883 NurembergD02 Queen's Pawn Game
5. F S Ensor vs Von Bardeleben  0-146 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)C33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Von Bardeleben vs E Schallopp  0-142 1883 NurembergC77 Ruy Lopez
7. Von Bardeleben vs L Benima  1-057 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)A20 English
8. M Bier vs Von Bardeleben  0-153 1883 NurembergC77 Ruy Lopez
9. Von Bardeleben vs Bird 0-154 1883 NurembergA81 Dutch
10. Von Bardeleben vs Max Weiss  ½-½35 1883 NurembergD05 Queen's Pawn Game
11. G MacDonnell vs Von Bardeleben  0-138 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)B40 Sicilian
12. K Leffmann vs Von Bardeleben  0-166 1883 NurembergB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
13. V Hruby vs Von Bardeleben  1-056 1883 NurembergA13 English
14. Von Bardeleben vs J Schwarz  1-070 1883 NurembergD05 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Von Bardeleben vs F Riemann  ½-½57 1883 NurembergE72 King's Indian
16. Von Bardeleben vs C E Ranken ½-½38 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)C28 Vienna Game
17. W Paulsen vs Von Bardeleben 0-112 1883 NurembergC22 Center Game
18. W Gattie vs Von Bardeleben 1-057 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
19. Blackburne vs Von Bardeleben ½-½34 1883 NurembergC53 Giuoco Piano
20. A Schottlaender vs Von Bardeleben ½-½24 1883 NurembergC77 Ruy Lopez
21. A Fritz vs Von Bardeleben 0-139 1883 NurembergC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. Gunsberg vs Von Bardeleben  0-155 1883 NurembergC53 Giuoco Piano
23. J Mason vs Von Bardeleben  ½-½17 1883 NurembergC29 Vienna Gambit
24. B W Fisher vs Von Bardeleben 0-132 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
25. Von Bardeleben vs Winawer 0-158 1883 NurembergD04 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 256  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Von Bardeleben wins | Von Bardeleben loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: It seems to me that, were you to have a child with a strong interest in chess, then you would have not only a right but an obligation to do so. Chess history has seen quite a few von Bardelebens.
Mar-04-07  waddayaplay: <Biography>

He didn't die in 1934, but in 1924. This happened through suicide in Berlin. The reason was that he had lost all his wealth because in the German economical inflation. Prior to that, von Bardleben had lived well off a substantial inheritance.

"His life and death were the basis for that of the main character in the novel The Defense by Vladimir Nabokov", says Wikipedia. At least the death was an inspiration for Nabokov, he was living in Berlin at the time of Bardeleben's suicide.

Feb-23-08  MichAdams: <He was originally a student of law, but gave it up in order to become a professional chess player.>

Gave up law as a profession, but not his studies. He actually gave up competitive chess for four years to complete his law degree.

<He played matches against future world champions Emanuel Lasker (1890)...>

My information says 1889.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: Chessmetrics Player Profile: Curt von Bardeleben
Born: 1861-Mar
Died: 1924-Jan

Best World Rank: #4 (2 different months between the December 1888 rating list and the January 1889 rating list )

Highest Rating: 2710 on the March 1897 rating list, #7 in world, age 36y0m

Best Individual Performance: 2722 in Teichmann-von Bardeleben Match (Berlin), 1895, scoring 6/10 (60%) vs 2700-rated opposition

May-16-08  brankat: I think You should see a doctor.
Aug-01-08  myschkin: <>

Der Selbstmordversion widersprachen allerdings Mieses und Kagan in Nachrufen in Sonderheft No. 2 von Kagans Neuesten Schachnachrichten 1924. „Höchstwahrscheinlich hat er, der an hochgradiger Arterienverkalkung litt, einen leichten Schwindelanfall oder Blutandrang nach dem Kopf bekommen und ist, um frische Luft zu schöpfen an das mit einer niedrigen Brüstung versehene offene Fenster getreten, wobei er das Uebergewicht [sic!] verlor und hinunterstürzte.“ (Mieses, a.a.O., S. 55 f.)

Jul-05-09  Blunderdome: Those of you who have shared biographical information -- what are your sources? Has anyone written a biography of this fellow? Aside from their similar methods of suicide, is there any connection between CVB and Nabokov's Luzhin -- or is it only Wikipedia that has it in such dogmatic terms?
Dec-26-09  AnalyzeThis: I guess this guy jumped out of a window. Too bad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: If I understand <Myschkin's> post, Kagan believed that it was misfortune rather than suicide that ended von Bardeleben's life.

"In all probability suffering from severe arteriosclerosis, he has had a slight dizzy spell or a rush of blood to the head, and in seeking some fresh air by opening a low silled window he fell out"

Mar-04-10  cannedpawn: Edward Lasker, in his book"Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters" mentions a few incidents about Von Bardeleben.
Jul-02-10  Dredge Rivers: Don't kill yourself, Curt. You're not worth it! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Curt von Bardeleben.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Curt Von Bardeleben beat Oscar Tenner by the score of 5.5-4.5 in Berlin. It's not clear whether it took place in 1909 or 1910 (the latter seems more likely).

From page 212 of the 1910 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Crazy Curt. According to Chessmetrics, he was ranked as high as #4 in the world. But he's famous today for stalking out of his game against Steinitz at Hastings 1895 (Steinitz's last great game) and defenestrating himself to death. He was the inspiration for Nabokov's novel <The Defense>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <defenestrating himself to death>

That sounds rather an awkward way to go, as if he'd been unsuccessful in his first attempt and had to go on repeating it until he died.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Abdel Irada> AFAIK, he succeeded on his first try.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: One would hope so.
Mar-04-13  JimNorCal: <waddayaplay> "Prior to that, von Bardleben had lived well off a substantial inheritance."

Ed Lasker's book "Chess Secrets" gives a conflicting portrait. He says that when von Bardeleben had any money at all, you would see him sipping good wine. But that implies he sometimes was not in funds. Also, Lasker heard rumors (he does not confirm or deny them) that vB would marry then quickly divorce ladies for sums of cash. This was because the ladies wanted to have an aristocratic surname ("von").

Perhaps at a later time, vB came into an inheritance--I'm just posting what's in the Chess Secrets book, not disputing what you say (of which I know nothing).

Mar-04-13  JimNorCal: Winter quotes a section from the Ed Lasker book.
Scroll down to item 5999.
From pages 20-21 of Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters by Edward Lasker (New York, 1951), in the section on Curt von Bardeleben:

‘He always wore a black cut-away suit of dubious vintage. Apparently he could never spare enough money to buy a new suit, although I learned one day that at fairly regular intervals he received comparatively large sums – from one to several thousand marks – through the simple expedient of marrying, and shortly after divorcing, some lady who craved the distinction of his noble name and was willing to pay for it. Unfortunately, when he received his reward, it was usually far exceeded by the amount of the debts he had accumulated since his last divorce. Evil tongues had it that the number of the ladies involved in these brief marital interludes had grown so alarmingly that they could easily have made up a Sultan’s harem.’

Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: Ah yes, "defenestration." As usual in English the high falutin' term is latinate, unlike the Norse "window."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Of course the reason for Winter's posting of the story is because he is looking for "independent corroboration". There are a <lot> of stories in Chess Secrets for which there is no independent corroboration--Winter should do a page just of those.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: So if I trade in my Microsoft operating system for Apple, is that defenestration?
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: <phony>No, but for me it was a good idea. Now that I'm retired Windoze might work, but their interaction with the UNIX environment in which I worked was horrible. I confess that when I use Linux I'm just as irritated as I am using the WinDOS products, when dealing with word processing and such. They seem to be into keeping up with the most irritating features. I'm also often angry with Apple, but nowhere near as much as the other operating systems I've used. That said, they do charge more for hardware and they do orphan one way too quickly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: <PB>BTW, It was a good joke!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <waustad>: Interesting. I'd assumed "window" would be of Saxon origin, but you're right: It's from the Old Norse "vindauga" (/vindr/ [wind] + /auga/ [eye]).

Thank you for the etymology lesson. :-)

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