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Simon Winawer
Number of games in database: 289
Years covered: 1867 to 1901
Overall record: +130 -104 =52 (54.5%)*
   * 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 (39) 
    C67 C61 C80 C77 C65
 French Defense (22) 
    C13 C00 C11 C01 C14
 French (18) 
    C13 C00 C11
 Sicilian (18) 
    B23 B43 B30 B40 B21
 Evans Gambit (13) 
    C51 C52
 Center Game (10) 
    C22 C21
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (35) 
    C77 C67 C65 C70 C80
 Giuoco Piano (12) 
    C50 C53
 Four Knights (10) 
    C49 C48 C47
 French Defense (10) 
    C01 C00 C11 C13 C17
 Vienna Opening (10) 
    C25 C28
 Robatsch (7) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Winawer vs Steinitz, 1896 1-0
   Steinitz vs Winawer, 1882 0-1
   Chigorin vs Winawer, 1883 0-1
   Winawer vs Shumov, 1875 1-0
   Albin vs Winawer, 1896 0-1
   Winawer vs S Rosenthal, 1883 1/2-1/2
   Winawer vs E D'Andre, 1867 1-0
   Winawer vs C F Schmid, 1881 1-0
   M Porges vs Winawer, 1892 0-1
   J Mason vs Winawer, 1883 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Vienna (1882)
   Paris (1878)
   Paris (1867)
   Berlin (1881)
   Leipzig (1877)
   Baden-Baden (1870)
   Budapest (1896)
   London (1883)
   Berlin (1897)
   Monte Carlo (1901)
   Nuremberg (1896)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Paris 1878 by suenteus po 147
   Paris 1867 by suenteus po 147
   99999_1892_Dresden (u.c.) / unfinished by whiteshark
   Berlin 1881 by suenteus po 147
   Budapest 1896 by suenteus po 147
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by Calli

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(born Mar-05-1838, died Nov-29-1919, 81 years old) Poland

[what is this?]

Szymon Abramowicz Winawer was born in Warsaw. He was German champion in 1883.

His first appearance internationally was at Paris 1867 where he finished 2nd= with Wilhelm Steinitz behind Ignatz von Kolisch. For the next fifteen years he was among the world's strongest half dozen players.

At Paris 1878, Winawer finished 1st= (+14, =5, -3) with Johannes Zukertort, ahead of Joseph Henry Blackburne and George Henry Mackenzie, but took 2nd prize after the playoff.

In 1881 at Berlin Winawer came 3rd= with Mikhail Chigorin behind Blackburne and Zukertort. Then in the strongest tournament held up to that time he had his finest moment: 1st= with Steinitz at Vienna 1882. The subsequent play-off was drawn (+1, -1).

Winawer fared badly at London 1883 and decided to give up chess but on his way back to Vienna he stopped off at Nuremberg in need of a dentist and was waylaid by the tournament organisers and was persuaded to play. The result was 1st prize ahead of Blackburne.

After a long absence, Winawer returned to chess in the 1890s but by that stage a younger generation was coming to the fore.

There are several openings named after him, viz the Winawer Attack in the Spanish Opening (Ruy Lopez); the Winawer Counter-Gambit in the Queen's Gambit Declined which Winawer played against Frank James Marshall at Monte Carlo (1901) and the Winawer variation of the French Defence.

Winawer passed away in Warsaw in 1919.

Wikipedia article: Szymon Winawer

 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 289  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. E Rousseau vs Winawer 0-132 1867 ParisA22 English
2. Winawer vs E Rousseau 0-152 1867 ParisC30 King's Gambit Declined
3. Winawer vs G Neumann 0-148 1867 Paris m2C67 Ruy Lopez
4. M S From vs Winawer  0-141 1867 ParisC21 Center Game
5. Winawer vs M S From 1-040 1867 ParisC30 King's Gambit Declined
6. S Rosenthal vs Winawer  ½-½46 1867 ParisC45 Scotch Game
7. Winawer vs S Rosenthal 1-033 1867 ParisC67 Ruy Lopez
8. De Vere vs Winawer  0-135 1867 ParisA20 English
9. Winawer vs De Vere 1-021 1867 ParisC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
10. G Neumann vs Winawer 1-062 1867 ParisC67 Ruy Lopez
11. Winawer vs G Neumann 1-048 1867 ParisB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
12. E D'Andre vs Winawer  0-159 1867 ParisA03 Bird's Opening
13. Winawer vs E D'Andre 1-013 1867 ParisC51 Evans Gambit
14. Winawer vs Kolisch 0-131 1867 ParisB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
15. Winawer vs G Neumann 0-141 1867 Paris m2C65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
16. Loyd vs Winawer 0-144 1867 ParisC42 Petrov Defense
17. Winawer vs Loyd 1-051 1867 ParisC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
18. H Czarnowski vs Winawer  0-127 1867 ParisC50 Giuoco Piano
19. Winawer vs H Czarnowski  1-034 1867 ParisC51 Evans Gambit
20. Winawer vs Steinitz 1-065 1867 ParisB40 Sicilian
21. Kolisch vs Winawer 0-164 1867 ParisC42 Petrov Defense
22. Steinitz vs Winawer 1-028 1867 ParisC01 French, Exchange
23. G Neumann vs Winawer 1-041 1867 Paris m2C55 Two Knights Defense
24. C Golmayo vs Winawer 0-142 1867 ParisC51 Evans Gambit
25. Winawer vs C Golmayo  1-046 1867 ParisB30 Sicilian
 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 289  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Winawer wins | Winawer loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Very interesting reading on this page for today's Player of the Day. I had always thought of Winawer as the guy who played 3. ... Bb4 in the French Defense variation of which he is the eponym and, as I had heard, not for considerations of pawn structure or central influence, but because he preferred Knights to Bishops. This always struck me as rather quaint, but it did not inspire an exalted assessment of Winawer's play. Thanks to the several very edifying comments other kibitzers have posted on this page, I am now able to understand that Winawer was a much greater talent than I had previously appreciated and that the following post (first on this page) is fully justified:

<Sneaky: One of the great original thinkers of chess.>

Mar-19-07  Plato: I posted the following on the Ziggurat chessforum, where I'm involved in a grudge match against <RookFile> and I'm playing the French Winawer variation as Black. It's more relevant on this thread, so I will post it here as well:

Even though I wouldn't compare his natural talent to Capablanca or Reshevsky, I do understand why you'd call him a "natural." In his very first major tournament (Paris 1867) he tied for second place with Steinitz, behind only Kolisch but ahead of many strong masters of the time! It was a double-round robin tournament, and nobody managed to get a plus score over Winawer! This ranks rather highly on the list of most impressive tournament debuts.

Paris seems to have been a good location for him, because his next success was as co-champion (with Zukertort) of the main tournament in Paris 1878. However, Zukertort beat him in the playoff match for first place, so Winawer's official result was 2nd place once again.

His most stunning success was in the Vienna 1882 super-tournament, where all of the top ten players in the world (except for #9 Rosenthal) were in attendance (! Winawer emerged as co-champion with Steinitz, and the playoff match between them was drawn at one win apiece. This was far and away the shining moment of Winawer's chess career; Vienna 1882 was by far the strongest tournament in history up to that time.

After this his results waned, with the one exception of his win in Nuremberg 1883, which was not nearly as strong as Vienna 1882 but there were still a number of strong players in attendance.

Regarding Winawer's style: I think of Winawer as an original thinker, because he was an important innovator in a number of openings. I think he was primarily a tactician; his main strength was that he was capable of super-sharp caculation. He was also one of the best endgame players of the 19th century, in my opinion.

Mar-02-08  Karpova: Wilhelm Steinitz: <[...] Anderssen once said to me: “To win a tournament, a competitor must in the first place play well, but he should also have a good amount of luck.” I quite agree with that, but it naturally follows that there must be also ill-luck in tournaments, of which many instances could be cited, notably that of Winawer, who, after having tied for first and second prizes in Vienna, and just a few weeks before he came out chief victor in Nuremberg, did not win in London a single prize out of eight (to include the special one for the best score against the prize-holders). All this would tend to show that, at least, a single tournament, especially one consisting of one round only, cannot be regarded as a test.’> "International Chess Magazine", August 1886, page 236

Where he lived:
<Winawer, S.: Twerdaja [Twarda] 6, Warsaw, Poland (Ranneforths Schach-Kalender, 1915, page 55*).>

Winawer's grave:

Mar-02-08  Open Defence: is it Simon or Seymon ?
Mar-02-08  Karpova: <Open Defence>
I'd say "Szymon" since that's the spelling used on his gravestone.

<Biographical information> Wife: Adela née Kerner
Son: Rafał

Mar-02-08  Open Defence: thanks <Karpova> ! that is the name I was looking for .. I incorrectly remembered it as Seymon .. thanks!!
Mar-05-08  brankat: <> According to the inscription on the gravestone in the photo provided by <karpova> S.Winawer died on October, 29. 1919. Not January 12/1920 as stated in the Bio.
Mar-05-08  brankat: Born a hundred and seventy years ago! Winawer, I mean. Not me. Although it is close :-)
Mar-05-08  Karpova: Does anybody have reliable biographical information on Szymon Winawer?

A google search revealed that there are almost all possibilities: Born Mar-06 or Mar-05; died Jan-12-1920, Nov-29-1919 or Oct-29-1919 according to <brankat>. His gravestone is probably the most reliable evidence but it's strange that so many different dates are given (reminds me a bit of the Rubinstein-birthday discussion).

May-04-08  percyblakeney: <Does anybody have reliable biographical information on Szymon Winawer?>

I suppose one of the most reliable sources should be the small book on Winawer by Tomasz Lissowski that was printed eight years ago (I don't have it and it is said to be hard to find). A review in pdf format:

May-04-08  Karpova: <percyblakeney>
Thanks very much! It says that Gaige's wrong with 1920.01.20 being the date of Winawer's death since he died on Nov-29, 1919.
Mar-05-09  laskereshevsky: today, 171 Years ago, born one of my favorite players....

a fantastic natural chess-talent....

Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: The last great tournament victory by Winawer: Game Collection: Nuremberg 1883
Mar-05-10  bengalcat47: What is the exact name of Tomasz Lissowski's book on Winawer?
Mar-05-10  percyblakeney: <What is the exact name of Tomasz Lissowski's book on Winawer?>

Szymon Winawer

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Biography can be found here:

Review of "Syzmon Winawer":

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Winawer's> contribution to Polish chess history is discussed in part one of this documentary video:

<Akiva Rubinstein and Polish Chess>

Now with voice-over narration.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Mar-05-12  brankat: R.I.P. master Winawer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Simon Winawer.
Sep-16-12  Karpova: In 1887 at Warsaw, people were playing in the Cafe Bourse, Krolewskastraße. Among the chessplayers there were Simon, David and Hermann Winawer.

From page 16 of the December 1887 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Sep-13-15  kjr63: Who did Capablanca learned his endgames from? Perhaps Winawer Winawer vs Tarrasch, 1896
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I would have thought Capa had access to Fine's book or something by Chernev.
Nov-12-15  Lissowski: Dear Karpova,

You wrote:

>>> In 1887 at Warsaw, people were
>>> playing in the Cafe Bourse,
>>> Krolewskastraße.

This is not true, I am sorry.

People were playing in the
Cafe Lourse, which was placed in the Saski (Saxon) Garden, not far from ulica (street) Krolewska. The building, erected ca in 1820, was damaged during II WW and never rebuilt. The resort sometimes was called "Kawiarnia Saska", see Horbaczynski's book on cafeterias of Warsaw. Simon often visited Semadeni cafe at Teatralny Sqare, then it's another story...

>>> From page 16 of the December 1887 >>> 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

But the author, who even played a game against Simon, made a mistake. There was a bourse in Warsaw, nota bene at Krolewska street as well, but no "Cafe de la Bourse".

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for your impressive input to the history of chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Simon Winawer.
Apr-22-16  zanzibar: Why does <CG> use <Simon> instead of <Szymon>?

Can we please change it to <Szymon>?

* * * * *

Consider the example of Steinitz. Why is <CG> so inconsistent?

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