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  jnpope: <Paint My Dragon: <jnpope> I've just finished checking a number of 1930s books, including the Sergeant book that you mention. I hadn't expect to find anything in any of them, but surprisingly ... Masters Of The Chessboard by Reti (originally 1933) does indeed use the term 'first official' in the Steinitz biography section. The only slight doubt then would be that the original text may have been altered in one of the many subsequent reprints (mine is 1974). Seems very unlikely though.>

Again, great work! I was able to check the 1958 edition with the following being the relevant section you mentioned (from page 22): <In 1886 they met in the first official match for the world's championship.>

Also worth noting is this interesting tidbit (same page): <He remained in London until 1882 and in 1866 played a match against Anderssen, again the leading chess master after Morphy's retirement. Steinitz won the match, winning 8 : 6 without a draw. Although the title did not exist at the time, Steinitz had actually become world champion.>

I am definitely curious as to what Reti actually wrote in the original 1933 edition of <Die Meister Des Schachbretts>. Did he use "official" or was this something introduced by Schwendemann in his translation for the English version.

Reti may end up being the originator of both the "first official" phrase and "the title did not exist" prior to 1886 statements. The popularity of <Masters of the Chess Board> would also appear to explain why these beliefs became so widespread.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: From the "British Chess Magazine", v57, 1937, p130, in a review of Hannak's "Michelangelo of Chess" is the following: <In 1886 in New York the first official match for the world championship was arranged and W. Steinitz beat Zukertort.>

Reti could still be the original culprit, but the new (temporary?) front-runner is the 1937 BCM. Clearly this idea of the 1886 match being the first official event pre-dates my 1970s theory from last night.

It might be worthwhile to track down a copy of Hannak's book to see what he wrote. Sadly I do not have access to a copy at the moment.

Feb-20-17  crawfb5: There is a partial version of Reti's book in German available via Google Books:

My reading of the first page of chapter 3 on Steinitz is the English translation is accurate, although you may want to check with someone with a better reading knowledge of German than mine.

In any event, he does write of the 1886 match <...der offiziell um die Weltmiesterschaft...> and earlier of the Andersson match, <...wenn auch dieser Titel damals offiziell noch nicht bestand, in der Tat Weltmeister geworden>

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: The 2010 reprint is a good indicator that the phrase was probably used in Reti's original text.
Feb-20-17  zanzibar: <crawfb5> RE: Hannak's book.

That's one of the rare books I do own. I'll have a look when I get home tonight.

I'll try to look at newspaper coverage in Proquest for the phrase as well, sometime in the next few days.

Feb-20-17  Paarhufer: <jnpope: The 2010 reprint is a good indicator that the phrase was probably used in Reti's original text.>

The text in the reprint is identical to the original edition (Reti, Meister des Schachbretts, 1930, p 48): "Steinitz und Zukertort waren damals unbestritten die beiden führenden Schachmeister. Im Jahre 1886 kam es zum Wettkampf zwischen ihnen, der erste Wettkampf, der offiziell um die Weltmeisterschaft ging."

<jnpope: It might be worthwhile to track down a copy of Hannak's book to see what he wrote.>

Hannak's original quote is this (Hannak, Michelangelo des Schachs, 1936, p 44): "Zum ersten Mal ging es ganz offiziell um die Weltmeisterschaft!"

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: If <paarhufer> has Hannak's original edition then that is the best source.

My version(*) is a translation by Heinrich Fraenkel.

(*) Dover ed, 1991 from English 1959 ed by Andre Deutsch Ltd. London and Simon & Schuster, NY.

The copyright page also contains this:

<The work was first published in German by Siegfried Engelhardt Verlag, Berlin-Frohnau, in 1952 under the title <Emmanuel Lasker, Biographie eines Schachweltmeisters><<>>>.

So I'm wondering a little about the ref <Paarhufer> gives from 1936.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <<Paarhufer:> The text in the reprint is identical to the original edition (Reti, Meister des Schachbretts, 1930, p 48): "Steinitz und Zukertort waren damals unbestritten die beiden führenden Schachmeister. Im Jahre 1886 kam es zum Wettkampf zwischen ihnen, der erste Wettkampf, der offiziell um die Weltmeisterschaft ging.">

Thank you very much for checking both sources. So 1930 is now the earliest verified year for calling the 1886 World Championship "official".

However, to throw a new wrinkle into this investigation, I found the following in "Weiner Schachzeitung", v10 n3/4, 1907, p95, which reprints an article from "Lasker's Chess Magazine" written by Lasker:

The portion that intrigues me is <28 Jahre später hatte ich die Ehre, oder vielleicht das Glück, als erster den damals 58 jährigen Altmeister zu besiegen. Die Weltmeisterschaft bestand damals formell und offiziell seit ungefähr 20 Jahren ...>

Which, if I'm reading correctly, says something to the effect that when he (Lasker) played Steinitz 28 years later, the title had been formal and official for 20 years, which would mean since 1873/1874 which seems to correlate to Steinitz's Vienna tournament victory where he tied with Blackburne and subsequently won the playoff.

Does anyone have access to "Lasker's Chess Magazine" for 1906 to check the original article?

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: By 1894 the phrase <Weltmeisterschaft> was being used in contemporaneous literature:

<Zwiſchen W. Steinitz, dem „Schach-Champion der Welt und Emanuel Lasker begann am 15. März zu Neu vork, ein Match um die Weltmeiſterschaft um einen Einſatz von je 2000 Doll.. der theils in Neuvork, theils in Philadelphia, theils in Montreal zum Austrage gebracht werden ſoll. Sieger iſt, wer zuerſt zehn Partien gewinnt; remis zählt nicht. Die erſte Partie, ein Ruy Lopez von 60 Zügen, gewann Lasker.>

<Between W. Steinitz, the "chess champion of the world and Emanuel Lasker, began a match for the world championship on the occasion of a betting of two thousand Dollars, partly in New York, partly in Philadelphia, and partly in Montreal Is to be carried out. The winner is who first wins ten games; Remis does not count. The first game, a Ruy Lopez of 60 moves, won Lasker.>

Ill. Zeit. v102 (1894) p339

There is also explicit 1887 mention of an earlier <Weltmeisterschaft>, in connection with the 6th American Chess Congress. As is known, this attempt at setting up a Candidates Match was abortive. But implicit in the discussion is the fact that there was already an acknowledged WCC.


Feb-20-17  zanzibar: On the English side of the aisle, the earliest use of the term

<"World Chess Champion">

that I could find in google books is the 1850 letter H.A. Kennedy wrote to the <Chess Player's Chronicle> concerning the plans to arrange the first international Chess Congress:

<There can be little doubt, I fancy, that all the finest Chess players of the day, who can possibly find opportunity to attend, will be attracted by this tourney! The first-rates will gird up their loins, and march with stalwart tread into the lists, to combat a Vontrance for the baton of the <World's Chess Champion>, which would be the victor's meed, whilst the dii minorvm gentium, albeit incompetent to contend successfully for the topmost prize of all, will, nevertheless, flock in, animated by the honourable ambition of gaining new distinction, and adding fresh leaves to laurels they may previously have acquired. This collision and encounter of the acutest and most potent Chess intelligences of which the age can boast, cannot fail to be of unique and absorbing interest, and may reasonably be expected to yield a store of games of such excellence, as to entitle them to rank side by side with the admirable models of Chess play which the La Bourdonnais-Macdonnell, and Staunton-St. Amant matches afford us. In good sooth, I can conceive no banquet that could impart a racier or more stimulating flavour to the intellectual palate of the veritable Chess amateur than the spectacle of a struggle in which Staunton, Der Laza, St. Amant, Jaeniseh, Petroff, Szen, Kieseritzski, Lowenthal, Buckle, Slous, Harrwitz, Horwitz, Anderssen, Newham, and Hanstein should take part. He may picture to himself the room crowded with anxious and attentive spectators—the breathless silence, broken occasionally by low and eager whispers, with which a move, on which the fortune of an important game is supposed to turn, is watched,—the aspect of the principal combatants themselves, whose knitted and corrugated brows, stern countenances, with sometimes a scarce perceptible nervous twitch of the lips, and a slight swaying to and fro of the body, all plainly indicate the severity and weight of the mental toil with which the working brain strives and wrestles, and the almost painful excitement that is manifested as The deciding partie of all "begins to appropinque an end." Lastly, calling in the aid of a slight degree of imagination, he may people the background with the shades of departed Chess worthies, looking approval on the scene. The fiery and robustious La Bourdonnais; Macdonnell, with his pale face of calm impassive calculation; the quick and sensitive features which the pencil of Zoffany has handed down to us, as those of Andrr5 Danican Philidor; Ruy Lopez, the mitred favourite of the Spanish king, and the chivalrous and noble-minded Leonardo, with his adventurous compeer, Paolo Boi, the erratic Syracusan Chess Paladin.<<>>>

(p347, emphasis added)

CPC v11 (1850) p346-8

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: The first occurrence of the term in the US literature seems to be this:

<I propose the health of Paul Morphy, the <world's chess champion>.— His peaceful battles have helped to achieve a new revolution; his youthful triumphs have added a new clause to the Declaration of American Independence."<<>>>

(Emph. added)

(Littel's) The Living Age v63 (1859) p71

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: Also this:

<Morphy, the Chess-Player.

1858. Wonderful performances of Paul Morphy, the young American chess-player. He was considered a "prodigy " at chess when a lad, and at the age of 22 he was voted the " World's Chess Champion.">

The Two Americas: Their Complete History, from the Earliest Discoveries to the Present Day
J. Andrews, Decker & Company, 1881 - America

There is no mention of who participated in the vote, nor who organized it.

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: CM v5 (1884) p234 seems to bestow the appellation of WC upon Zukertort in the description of a dinner held in his honor:

< Previous to his departure the President and members of the Montreal Chess Club entertained the <world's Chess champion> to a dinner at the Windsor Hotel on Saturday evening last. <<>>>

(emph. added)

The menu is a hoot, and worth checking out.

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: I suppose the bestowed title for Zukertort was due to his win here:

London (1883)


Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <zanzibar>: Winter has already done a fair job of nailing down the early usages of World Chess Champion, what I'm interested in is when people started using the word "official". Primarily in regard to the 1886 match, but with the Lasker article it would appear I should be looking for any source containing the first usage of "official" when it comes to the title.

As for the title, it clearly predates 1886, and if one takes colloquial phrases such as first player, chess king, the wearing of the chess crown, wielding the chess sceptre, or sitting upon the chess throne, then the earliest English reference I've found is in Walker's article on Deschapelles published in "Fraser's Magazine", March 1839, p310:

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: What's the exact phraseology you're looking for then?

The German sources I cited used the phrase <Weltmeisterschaft> already.

What's the phrase you're looking for then:

<Offiziellen Weltschach-Champion>?

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: OK, so I'm confused. Is this a semantic issue then?

Under whose auspices could it possibly be deemed official in 1886?

Or are you just specifically looking for the term <WCC> (with or without the modifier "official") in connection with the 1886 match as adopted in, say, the 20th century?

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <zanzibar: I suppose the bestowed title for Zukertort was due to his win here: London (1883)>

Correct. Immediately upon winning the event the London Morning Post, n34633, 1883.06.25, p5, stated: "By the result of the International Chess Tournament which was brought to a close on Saturday the title of Chess Champion of the World, which has been connected in times past with such names as Philidor and Labourdonnais, and more recently with those of Staunton, Morphy, Anderssen, Blackburne, and Steinitz, has passed on to Zukertort."

Not only was the title "bestowed" upon Zukertort, he outright claimed the title (see Nashville Daily American, 1884.03.31), quoted in my article on the preliminaries to the 1886 match:

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: I'm trying to nail down when people started to use the word "official" in regard to any event for the title.

I'm basically building the case that calling the 1886 World Championship the "first official" match is total fiction and I'd like to know when it got started. However, with the Lasker article it seems that he was calling events from 1873-1874 as already being formal and official...

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: <jnpope> that link you cited, it's the lineage that's the point, yes?

<The sceptre of chess, in Europe, has been for the last century, at least, wielded by a Gallic dynasty. It has passed from Legalle to La Bourdonnais, through the grasp, successively, of Philidor, Bernard, Carlier, and Deschapelles. It is of the last-named potentate we are about more particularly to speak,— he being in every respect one of the most extraordinary creations of the past or present day.>

It's funny, or perhaps just ignorance on my part, but I can't say I recognize Carlier, and know very little about Bernard.

In fact, I think, despite the acclaim afforded above, the only entry on <CG> for these players is this one:

Bernard / Carlier

Am I mistaken? Why don't I know more about them?

It doesn't seem fitting that <CG> has joined them together as collaborators, however.

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: As for Winter, here's the link to his early history of the term:

I think he could integrate some of the refs I posted here to fill out his timeline a little.

(I'm glad we both have the Kennedy letter though)

And, as I said above, I'm curious about the vote which was mentioned in the "Two Americans" publication. This isn't mentioned by Winter.

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: I see I filled out a lot of what <PmD> wrote:

Biographer Bistro (kibitz #16036)

When exactly did Steinitz first assert himself as WC in print, I wonder?

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <zanzibar: <Am I mistaken? Why don't I know more about them?>>

Very little was written about the French world champions in France at the time, even the exploits of Philidor. The bulk of what we know about Philidor and La Bourdonnais was because they travelled to England. What little we know about Deschapelles is due to English players going to France. We know very little about Legall, Bernard and Carlier as they had almost no interaction with English players.

Also, the French players normally didn't record their games with the same zeal as their English counterparts (namely Lewis, Walker and Cochrane) so there is a void of material.

It wouldn't be until La Bourdonnais started Le Palamède that the French truly started reporting about French chess history (prior to that almost all material was instructional).

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: Maybe the 1886 match was "official" because it said it was:

<The first sentence of the contract between the two players (the Chess Monthly, January 1886, pages 136-137) specified that the match was ‘for the Championship of the World’.>

From the winter link (about 1/2-way down).

Winter also talks a little about Steinitz's assertions, but without specific refs.

Feb-20-17  zanzibar: Thanks for the thumbnail on French history. I hadn't that exact perspective before.

(Ca suffit pour aujourd'hui, a tout a l'heure.)

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