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From Hans von Minckwitz's column in Illustrirte Zeitung, 1890.
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Isidor Gunsberg
Number of games in database: 396
Years covered: 1866 to 1914
Overall record: +144 -145 =104 (49.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      3 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C77 C65 C67 C78 C79
 Queen's Pawn Game (23) 
    D00 D05 D02 D04 A40
 Giuoco Piano (23) 
    C50 C53
 French Defense (23) 
    C01 C13 C11 C14 C10
 King's Gambit Accepted (18) 
    C39 C34 C35 C33 C38
 French (13) 
    C13 C11 C10 C12 C00
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (44) 
    C67 C65 C83 C77 C80
 French Defense (19) 
    C11 C10 C01 C02 C12
 Queen's Pawn Game (17) 
    D00 D05 A46 A40 D04
 King's Gambit Accepted (17) 
    C33 C39 C38 C37
 French (12) 
    C11 C10 C12 C00 C13
 Queen's Gambit Declined (10) 
    D31 D06 D30 D35
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Gunsberg vs Steinitz, 1891 1-0
   W Paulsen vs Gunsberg, 1883 0-1
   Gunsberg vs NN, 1879 1-0
   Gunsberg vs Steinitz, 1891 1-0
   Chigorin vs Gunsberg, 1889 0-1
   Gunsberg vs NN, 1907 1-0
   Steinitz vs Gunsberg, 1890 1/2-1/2
   Gunsberg vs Chigorin, 1890 1-0
   Steinitz vs Gunsberg, 1890 0-1
   J Mason vs Gunsberg, 1889 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Steinitz - Gunsberg World Championship Match (1890)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Blackburne - Gunsberg (1887)
   Hamburg (1885)
   London (1900)
   London (Vizayanagaram) (1883)
   Amsterdam (1889)
   Monte Carlo (1901)
   Breslau (1889)
   Monte Carlo (1902)
   13th DSB Kongress (Hanover) (1902)
   Hastings (1895)
   Nuremberg (1883)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   Challengers Zukertort & Gunsberg by Imohthep
   Chigorin-Gunsberg Match by keypusher
   Monte Carlo 1901 by suenteus po 147
   Manchester 1890 by rookhouse
   Blackburne-Gunsberg Match, Bradford-London 1887. by Chessical
   City Club Invitational (London, 1900) by Phony Benoni

   Lasker vs Steinitz, 1895
   Von Bardeleben vs Lasker, 1895
   Tarrasch vs Bird, 1895
   Burn vs Janowski, 1895
   Steinitz vs Burn, 1895

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Isidor Gunsberg
Search Google for Isidor Gunsberg

(born Nov-02-1854, died May-02-1930, 75 years old) Hungary (federation/nationality United Kingdom)
[what is this?]
Isidor Arthur Gunsberg was born in Budapest. He began his chess career as the hidden operator of the chess automaton Mephisto (Automaton). In 1876 he moved to Britain, and was later granted citizenship.

His success in match play leaves no doubt that he was one of the strongest competitors of his era: he defeated Henry Edward Bird (+5 -1 =3), Joseph Henry Blackburne (+5 -2 =6), and drew with Mikhail Chigorin (+9 -9 =5). In 1890, he challenged Wilhelm Steinitz for the world championship, but lost (+4 -6 =9), see Steinitz-Gunsberg World Championship Match (1890).

Wikipedia article: Isidor Gunsberg

 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 396  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. J Mason vs Gunsberg  ½-½68 1866 2nd BCA CongressC50 Giuoco Piano
2. Gunsberg vs NN 1-020 1879 LondonC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
3. Gunsberg vs G Mclennan 0-116 1879 LondonC38 King's Gambit Accepted
4. Gunsberg vs J Ascher 1-019 1879 LondonC30 King's Gambit Declined
5. Blackburne vs Gunsberg  1-056 1881 London m2C11 French
6. Gunsberg vs Blackburne  0-135 1881 London m2B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
7. Blackburne vs Gunsberg 1-058 1881 London m2C45 Scotch Game
8. Gunsberg vs Blackburne 0-113 1881 London m2B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
9. J Mason vs Gunsberg 1-040 1883 NurembergA40 Queen's Pawn Game
10. V Hruby vs Gunsberg  1-038 1883 NurembergD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. Paulsen vs Gunsberg 1-061 1883 NurembergC02 French, Advance
12. G MacDonnell vs Gunsberg 1-066 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)C37 King's Gambit Accepted
13. J Schwarz vs Gunsberg  ½-½39 1883 NurembergC49 Four Knights
14. F S Ensor vs Gunsberg  0-130 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)C44 King's Pawn Game
15. K Leffmann vs Gunsberg  0-139 1883 NurembergC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
16. J S West vs Gunsberg 0-136 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)C49 Four Knights
17. Gunsberg vs A Schottlaender 0-123 1883 NurembergC13 French
18. Gunsberg vs E Schallopp 0-152 1883 NurembergC48 Four Knights
19. Gunsberg vs T H Piper  1-033 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)D05 Queen's Pawn Game
20. Gunsberg vs J N Berger 0-163 1883 NurembergD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Gunsberg vs Bird ½-½50 1883 NurembergB34 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
22. A Fritz vs Gunsberg 0-150 1883 NurembergC67 Ruy Lopez
23. C E Ranken vs Gunsberg  ½-½55 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)C49 Four Knights
24. Gunsberg vs Max Weiss 0-130 1883 NurembergB12 Caro-Kann Defense
25. Gunsberg vs F Hunter  1-027 1883 London (Vizayanagaram)A84 Dutch
 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 396  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gunsberg wins | Gunsberg loses  

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: Chessmetrics Player Profile: Isidor Gunsberg

Born: 1854-Nov

Died: 1930-May

Best World Rank: #1 (on the February 1889 rating list)

Highest Rating: 2744 on the July 1889 rating list, #2 in world, age 34y8m

Best Individual Performance: 2784 in Blackburne-Gunsberg II (Bradford), 1887, scoring 8/13 (62%) vs 2744-rated opposition

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

" Carl Schlechter also showed us the generous side of his nature by declining to compete for any of the brilliancy prizes, for which he undoubtedly would have had the best chance. <I have won enough>, he said. <Let others get something too.> "

-- Gunsberg

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <vonKrolock < - A little curiosity: Gunsberg composed himself some Chess Problems or Studies?! - Currently I cannot find any example...>>

Here you are:

<The Westminster Papers, 1876>

click for larger view

White to move mates in three

. . .

<The Westminster Papers, 1877>

click for larger view

White to move mates in three

. . .

For solutions:

A very fine database, neatly arranged, easy to handle!

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Gunsberg is the only world championship challenger who has not yet been the subject of a games collection.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Source: CN 2082 Edward Winter, "Kings, Commoners and Knaves", Russell Enterprises, 1999
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: In 1915 Gunsberg successfully sued the "Evening News" newspaper in the High Court, which accused Gunsberg of "making blunders", after 15 of the 104 problems that were printed in Gunsberg's column in the "Daily Telegraph" were found to be unsound.

Source: David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, "Oxford Companion to Chess", 2nd edition, OUP, 1992

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Phony Benoni: Possibly Gunsber's best game: J Mason vs Gunsberg, 1889>

Here is another nice game against the same opponent.

Gunsberg vs J Mason, 1895

Feb-20-09  FHBradley: Isidor, stick to your guns!
Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: Here is Gunsberg best international tournament win: Game Collection: Hamburg 1885
Jul-15-09  corwin2: Instead of a picture of Gunsberg I see a picture of Maria Carrie... Special reason?
Nov-02-10  drnooo: Not sure how chessmetrics goes about its ratings or that it matters: however this guys record is so damned good he might even be better that its 2744
Nov-02-10  rapidcitychess: Vote for Gunsberg!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Quote of the Day:

< "Schlechter also showed us the generous side of his nature by declining to compete for any of the brilliancy prizes, for which he undoubtedly would have had the best chance. "I have won enough", he said. "Let others get something too." >

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Same quote as Mar-29-11. :-\
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <AlexanderMorphy: well this guy should at least be as famous as chigorin! wow looking at his games he is a very good player, and i especially like his win against chigorin when he was operating the mephisto!>

Looking for one of Gunsberg's game a minute ago, I discovered (not really to much, if any, surprise) that his name is <not> included in the drop-down menu in the Advanced Search window on the CG home page. I wonder how many other players who played a World Chess Championship match are similarly omitted?

Gunsberg definitely doesn't get the respect he deserves.

Jul-15-12  Karpova: A bit of information on the gigantic Ostende 1906 tournament which Isidor Gunsberg organized.

All of this comes from the (Neue) Wiener Schachzeitung, June 1906 (and supplementary material. The final standings from Uncrowned King)

36 players started and during five stages, the winner was determined.

It began with 4 groups (A, B, C and D) with A facing B and C facing D.

Group A: Von Balla, Bernstein, Blackburne, Burn, Duras, Gattie, Janowski, Leonhardt and Oskam (he replaced Sherrard who deceased prior to tournament begin).

Group B: Cohn, Fahrni, Forgacs, John, Johner, Marco, Maroczy, Rubinstein and Saburov (replacing Von Bardeleben).

Group C: Dr. Lewitt, Maljutin, Marshall, Mieses, Dr. Perlis, Post, Spielmann, Suechting and Teichmann (replacing Caro).

Group D: Reggio, Salwe, Schlechter, Znosko-Borowski, Sournin, Swiderski, Taubenhaus, Chigorin and Wolf.

They play 9 rounds first and then the last three players of every group are eliminated.

Then Group A faces C and B faces D. Another 6 rounds are played and the last 2 players of every group are eliminated.

This is followed by A facing D and B facing C and takes 4 days. Afterwards, every group plays a tournament of its own which lasts 3 days.

Now, 16 players are left and the 7 lowest placed ones are eliminated with the rest playing for the prize money (4000, 2500, 1500, 1000, 800, 700, 600, 500 and 450 Francs). Consolation prizes are 800 Francs for the 12 competitors eliminated after 9 days, 1400 Francs for the 8 players eliminated after 9+6 days, and finally 3000 Francs for the 10 players surviving 9+6+7 days.

Preliminary results after 5 rounds (i think that '+H' refers to an adjourned game):

Group A:
Janowski 4.5
Burn 4.0
Leonhardt 4.0
Bernstein 3.5
Von Balla 3.0
Duras 3.0
Blackburne 2.0+H
Oskam 1.5
Gattie 0.0

Group B:
Fahrni 3.0
Johner 3.0
Maroczy 3.0
John 2.5
Marco 2.5
Rubinstein 2.0+H
Forgacs 1.5
Cohn 1.0
Saburov 0.0

Group C:
Marshall 4.0
Dr. Perlis 4.0
Mieses 3.5
Spielmann 3.5
Suechting 3.5
Teichmann 3.0
Dr. Lewitt 2.0
Maljutin 2.0
Post 2.0

Group D:
Znosko-Borowski 3.5
Schlechter 3.0
Wolf 3.0
Salwe 2.5
Swiderski 2.0
Taubenhaus 2.0
Sournin 1.5
Reggio 0.5
Chigorin 0.5

Standings after the first stage (9 rounds):

Group A:
Janowski 7.0
Burn 7.0
Leonhardt 6.0
Bernstein 5.5
Blackburne 5.5
Von Balla 5.0
Duras 5.0
Oskam 2.0
Gattie 1.0

Overall: 44.0 points

Group B:
Johner 6.0
Maroczy 6.0
Fahrni 5.5
Rubinstein 5.5
John 4.5
Marco 3.5
Forgacs 3.0
Cohn 3.0
Saburov 0.0

Overall: 37.0 points

Group C:
Dr. Perlis 6.5
Marshall 6.0
Teichmann 6.0
Mieses 5.5
Suechting 5.0
Spielmann 4.5
Post 4.0
Dr. Lewitt 3.0
Maljutin 3.0

Overall: 43.5 points

Group D:
Znosko-Borowski 6.0
Schlechter 6.0
Salwe 5.5
Swiderski 4.5
Chigorin 4.0
Wolf 3.5
Taubenhaus 3.5
Sournin 2.5
Reggio 2.0

Overall: 37.5 points

Janowski's performance is being hailed but it is also mentioned that he had losing positions in five of his games. Burn is also praised (especially his games against Forgacs and Johner and the save against Maroczy). Notable is also Chigorin's comeback after a disastrous start.

Eliminated were Von Balla (despite scoring 5.0 points!), Oskam, Gattie, Cohn, Forgacs, Saburov, Post, Dr. Lewitt, Maljutin, Sournin and Reggio.

Jul-15-12  Karpova: The 2nd stage (always the accumulated scores of all rounds played up to that point of time):

Group A:
Burn 10.5
Leonhardt: 10.0
Janowski 9.5
Bernstein 9.0
Blackburne 9.0
Duras 8.0

Group B:
Maroczy 10.0
Rubinstein 9.5
Johner 8.0
Fahrni 7.0
John 7.0
Marco 5.5

Group C
Marshall 10.0
Teichmann 9.0
Dr. Perlis 8.5
Mieses 8.0
Spielmann 8.0
Suechting 6.0

Group D:
Schlechter 10.5
Salwe 9.5
Znosko-Borowski 9.0
Swiderski 7.5
Chigorin 6.5
Wolf 6.5

Eliminated were: Blackburne (despite accumulating 9.0 points!), Duras, John, Marco, Suechting, Chigorin and Wolf. Spielmann would have been eliminated but Mieses left due to health issues.

After the 3rd stage (actually, 3rd stage (i. e. A vs D and B vs C) and the 4th stage (i. e. members of the same group playing each other) have been taken together - that's why it looks like a 4-stage tournament here though it was a 5-stage tournament):

Group A:
Bernstein 14.5
Burn 14.0
Janowski 13.0
Leonhardt 11.5

Group B:
Maroczy 15.5
Rubinstein 14.0
Fahrni 10.5
Johner 9.0

Group C:
Marshall 13.0
Teichmann 13.0
Dr. Perlis 12.5
Spielmann 10.5

Group D:
Schlechter 15.0
Znosko-Borowski 12.0
Swiderski 12.0
Salwe 11.5

The final Standings were:
1. Schlechter 21.0
2. Maroczy 20.0
3. Rubinstein 19.0
4-6. Bernstein 18.0
4-6. Burn 18.0
4-6. Teichmann 18.0
7. Marshall 16.5
8. Janowski 16.0
9. Dr. Perlis 14.0

Premium Chessgames Member
  thomastonk: Who is afraid of Captain Hawksworth?!

[Event "Unknown"]
[Site "Purssell's Rooms, Cornhill"]
[Date "1881.02.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Captain Hawksworth"]
[Black "Gunsberg"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C52"]
[PlyCount "39"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. O-O Nf6 7. d4 O-O 8. Nxe5 Nxe4 9. Nxf7 Rxf7 10. Bxf7+ Kxf7 11. d5 Ne7 12. Qa4 Bxc3 13. Nxc3 Nxc3 14. Qc4 Ncxd5 15. Bg5 c6 16. Rfe1 Kf8 17. Rxe7 Nxe7 18. Re1 d5 19. Qh4 Ng6 20. Qb4+ 1-0

Source: CPC 1881, p 111. According to the comments, both players followed at least until 15. Bg5 an analysis of James Mason from the Dubuque Chess Journal and the New York Spirit, 1873-74. Moreover, 15.. Kg6 is suggested in the CPC with some advantage.

I think, 16.. Kf8 is a serious error, but 17.Bxe7+ would have been the right way to secure the advantage. The final is weird. The position after 18.. d5 is about equal, and 19.Qf4+, 19.Qc5, 19.Qb4 and 19.Qc3 look all fine. But after the text 19.Qh4? Black has a nice response (mentioned already in the CPC): 19.. Nf5! :

click for larger view

The difference compared to 19.. Ng6? is the control of d6 in the line 20.Qb4+ Qd6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <"Mr. Gunsberg's play throughout, though not without flaws, has been marked by that coolness and patience so characteristic of his style.

"At all times he is a dangerous opponent, but never more so than when his game seems to have gotten into some little confusion. Then he will sit with half-closed eyes and a dreamy, far-away look in his face, as if thinking of anything rather than the game before him, and with just the ghost of a smile flitting across his lips.

"Then he will make some move which, to the bystander, seems to be half mechanical, barely touching, it may be a pawn which he pushes up a square; or his hand slightly laid upon his queen, as he moves her majesty with an almost imperceptible motion a little to the right or the left.

"But then let his opponent beware! From beneath these drooping eyelids a lightning glance has shot forth that has pieced the game through and through, and the dreamy-looking face is but the mask that conceals intense concentration of thought. That little pawn's advance or that queen's move is the beginning of mischief and the harbinger of woe.">

-- W. N. Potter, "Land and Water" quoted in the "Baltimore American", July 26, 1885. Gunsberg had just won the British Chess Association Congress.

Nov-02-13  Kikoman: <Player of the Day>

Rest In Peace Sir Isidor Gunsberg.

Nov-02-13  Llawdogg: The beginning of mischief and the harbinger of woe!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. <POTD>: World championship challenger Isidor Gunsberg.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: ♔ Quote of the Day ♔

< "Schlechter also showed us the generous side of his nature by declining to compete for any of the brilliancy prizes, for which he undoubtedly would have had the best chance. 'I have won enough', he said. 'Let others get something too.'" >


I guess that's why they call Schlechter "the draw master".

Feb-10-15  poorthylacine: TO KNIGNT 13:

I agree absolutely about Gunsberg, only about Blackburne, we must consider that this guy played very good games from 1862 until 1914!!!!!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Here is a beautiful game by Gunsberg, where he just destroyed Mackenzie in the opening:


[Event "Bradford (1888)"]
[Site "Bradford ENG"]
[Date "1888.08.??"]
[Round "12"]
[White "Gunsberg, Isidor"]
[Black "Mackenzie, George Henry"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C50"]
[EventDate "1888.08.06"]
[Source "TB G-34 p52/59"]
[PlyCount "49"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 Be6 7.Nd5 Bxd5 8. Bxd5 Ne7 9.Bb3 c6 10.Qe2 Qd7 11.O-O-O Bb6 12.d4 Qc7 13.dxe5 dxe5 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15.Nh4 Ng6 16.Nf5 Bc5 17.Nh6 Rf8 18.Qf3 Be7 19.Qh5 Bc5 20. Ng4 Qe7 21.Qf5 Bd4 22.Nxf6+ Kd8 23.c3 c5 24.cxd4 cxd4 25.Kb1 1-0


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