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Teichmann - Lee Match

Richard Teichmann5.5/8(+5 -2 =1)[games]
Francis Joseph Lee2.5/8(+2 -5 =1)[games] Chess Event Description
Teichmann - Lee (1901)

King's Tea Rooms, London, England; 8 July 1901—26 July 1901

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Wins ———————————————————————————————— Teichmann 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 0 1 5 Lee 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 1 0 2 ———————————————————————————————— Format: The winner of the first five games, draws not counting, is the victor. Time Control: 20 moves per hour.

This match was held in London between Richard Teichmann and Francis Joseph Lee at the King's Tea Rooms, 37 King Street, Covent Garden, London. (1) The match began on July 8th and was finished on July 26th. The final score was: Teichmann 5½, Lee 2½. (2)


"The match Lee v. Teichmann commences on Monday at 3.30, at the King's Tea Rooms, 37, King's-street, Covent Garden. Conditions: Five games up, draws not counting; twenty moves per hour; play days Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 3.30 till 7.30." (3) The match attracted an appreciative audience, as the public could view the match free of charge (4), and "several of the games were much appreciated by the spectators." (5)


Teichmann's indisposition disrupted the scheduling which became congested in the latter stages of the match, the last three games being played over three successive days (24th-26th July). "… only one game was played during the week ... and, not being concluded on Monday (15th - e.d.), it occupied the whole of Wednesday's séance (17th - e.d.). ... Yesterday (19th - e.d.) Teichmann was indisposed; the next game will therefore be played on Monday (22nd - e.d.). ... Teichmann, of course, is the favourite; but Lee's passive resistance is difficult to overcome, and Teichmann will have to do his best." (6) "There was no play on Friday at the King's Tea Rooms. Mr Teichmann was not well. Monday's game (22nd - e.d.) was adjourned till Wednesday, when Teichmann won it and commenced another, which was adjourned." (7)


Teichmann had settled in England in 1892. "Richard Teichmann is a player who combines the qualities of both Lasker and Tarrasch. Like Lasker, Teichmann has Bohemian tendencies. He is an accomplished linguist; cannot extend himself to his best effort unless his whiskey and soda are at close call, and is clever at all games of cards and billiards. Work is no virtue with him, despite his massive bulk. As soon as his money is gone, he sets about to play chess." (8)


The apogee of Lee's career was the 1890's when he was in the top thirty of players. His best tournament result was in 1893 (Game Collection: New York 1893, The Impromtu Tournament), where he finished third equal, and he went on to win two matches against Henry Bird in 1897 in London. He also played a match with Teichmann in 1898, losing 3½ - 5½.

"Mr Lee was scarcely the front rank of the leading Chess masters of the world, but he held a prominent position in Chess, and his name was familiar everywhere where Chess is played. He was an adversary whom it was exceedingly dangerous to take lightly, as witness games standing to his record, won from Steinitz, Tchigorin, Mason, Pillsbury, and other players of International fame. He took part with distinction in four International masters' tournaments, as well as in a number of national tourneys of the British Chess Association, the British Chess Federation, and at Simpson's Divan. He was a successful competitor in an impromptu International contest in New York, 1893, where he divided third and fourth prizes with Showalter, and won his game from Pillsbury, Lasker winning the first prize and Albin the second. He prided himself considerably upon winning the first prize, without the loss of a game, in a tourney at "Simpson's," with Bird, Mason, Van Vliet, Loman, Muller, Mortimer, Gossip, and eight other players, and upon winning the Chess Championship of South Africa. He was generally counted as a stodgy player, and yet he won a brilliancy prize for a game against Bird, and at Ostend for a game won from the young Russian master Znosko-Borowsky. He took part in several of the cable matches between Great Britain and America, and edited the chess column of the Hereford Times from August, 1890, until July, 1893. Mr Lee was well known throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland, and his sudden and unexpected death will be keenly be regretted among British Chess players." (9)

Progressive score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Teichmann 1 2 2½ 2½ 3½ 4½ 4½ 5½ Lee 0 0 ½ 1½ 1½ 1½ 2½ 2½

Teichmann had White in the odd-numbered games.

The games

The games are presented with a précis of Teichmann's brief notes as published in the British Chess Magazine.

Game 1, Monday 8th July.

Teichmann as White gained a space advantage against the Caro-Kann. Teichmann's laconic summation was "Black has a very cramped game and apparently temporises" (10), but Lee built a solid position. Teichmann had pressure against his opponent's King-side and in particular <g6> and he kept pressing until Lee blundered.

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With 33. f5 Teichmann broke through and won in short order.

Game 2, Tuesday 9th July.

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22. "My opponent intended here to play <Qf2>, but inadvertently touched his King instead, and had to make this unfortunate move (22. Ke2), which at once gave me an overwhelming attack." (11) Teichmann finished off his opponent with a Queen sacrifice, and the <c> pawn queened with insuperable mating threats.

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Game 3, Friday 12th July.

Lee defended with a Scandinavian Defence. He obtained a solid position and would later repeat his play in Games 5 and 7, and to move 12 again in H Fahrni vs F J Lee, 1905 (via transposition from a Caro-Kann).

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15...N7xb6. "White's last two moves (seeking to exchange the Queen - e.d.) were not good, as Black could here have obtained the better position for the endgame by playing <axb6>. White would have to play <a3>, and sooner or later also play <c3>, which would have given him a bad pawn formation on the Queen-side, with holes at <b3>, <a4> and <c4> for the Black Knights. After Black has retaken with the Knight, White is enabled to draw without difficulty." (12)

Game 4, Monday 15th July.

The game commenced on the 15th and concluded on Wednesday 17th July. Lee played poorly in the opening and allowed Teichmann to establish a cramp in his position with a protected pawn on <d4>. Lee defended well and Teichmann's initiative ebbed,

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31...Bxe4. "Owing to White's bad opening, Black ... obtained what should be a winning game ... (but) after the exchange of Queens the game should have been drawn with careful pay on my part ... 31...Bxe4 (was) ... a miscalculation. I intended 32...Rc1 on my next move but saw too late after 32...Rc8 33. Rxe5 Rxc4 34. Rd5! (this move I had overlooked), 34...Rc2 35.R(5)xd4 would win for White." (13) Lee won a pawn and converted it in a Rook ending.

Game 5, Monday 22nd July.

Once again, Lee played a Scandinavian Defence with 3...Qd8. This was his main defence in the match and with which he scored +1 -1 =1. Teichmann's tactical perspicuity exploited a casual move in the opening by Lee (10...Qc7?!), and from there Teichmann built a victorious attack.

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Teichmann wrote in his notes to this game: "Of course 14...Nxe5 would have at least lost a Pawn. But 14...0-0, though also dangerous on account of 15. Bxf6, at least promised more possibilities of a successful resistance. The position of Black's King on the Queen-side must be one of extreme danger, with the pawn position broken up and two White Bishops commanding the two important diagonals." (14)

Game 6, Wednesday 24th July.

Teichmann played in aggressive fashion in the opening with 4... g5!?, but quickly regretted it according to his notes. The resulting position being not to his taste.

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"Black has a very cramped game with, with no prospect of any attack, and moreover the isolated <h> pawn is a source of trouble. It is, therefore, safe to say that White should have won the game if he had taken advantage of his opportunities ... (but) he makes some indifferent and some very weak moves, which allows Black to obtain a winning attack on the Queen's side." (15) Lee blundered by tripling on the <h> file but in so doing underestimated the dire danger of allowing Teichmann to infiltrate his Queen-side.

Game 7, commenced 24th July and finished on 25th July.

Once again Lee deployed the Scandinavian defence.

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Here Teichmann played 24.Rab1, by doing so he believed he had missed a winning opportunity. "This is a mistake, which allows Black sufficient defence. I should have played, as, in fact, I had intended <d5>, which move would have given me good prospects of a successful attack. The following curious variation will give an idea of the possibilities of the attack; e.g. 24. d5 exd5 25. Qxa7 Qxc4 26. R(d)c1 Qf4 27. Rxc6+(!) bxc6 28. Rb1 etc. After the move, I had no compensating attack for the loss of two Pawns." (16)

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Unfortunately, after 28...Rdg8 29. Rb7 Nd7!! 30. Rxd7 Qb8 it is Black who wins.

Game 8, Friday 26th July.

Teichmann as Black got a "cramped game" from a "hopelessly bad" opening, but Lee stumbled with

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20. g3. "This move allows Black to obtain a winning game by the subsequent capture of the <e> pawn. <Nh5> did not appear to be good either, on account of simply 20...g6 and if 21. Nf6+ Bxf6 22. exf6 e5! Nor was there anything to be gained by BxP, followed by P-K6, as this continuation would have opened the King's file for an attack on White's weak <e> Pawn. The simplest would have been to play <Qc2>, after which it would have been tricky for Black to open the <h> file by the capture of the <h> pawn". (17)


"A certain English chess editor, during Teichmann's recent match with Mr F. J. Lee, wrote: "There can little doubt that Teichmann is the strongest player now living England. If anyone has doubts on the point, he need only play over any of the games by the master, and these doubts will be removed." This is high praise, - superlative, indeed, - but it is close to the truth, if we eliminate the consideration of Dr E. Lasker. Mr Teichmann has, by the way, many of the characteristics of the great champion, and he has made a name for himself as a deep analyst, and an erudite annotator of games.'" (18)

(1) The Field, Saturday 29th June 1901, p. 62.
(2) British Chess Magazine, 1901, p. 329.
(3) Westminster Gazette, Saturday 6th July 1901, p. 3.
(4) Morning Post, Monday 1st July 1901, p. 2.
(5) Hampstead & Highgate Express, Saturday 3rd August 1901, p. 6.
(6) Westminster Gazette, Saturday 20th July 1901, p. 3.
(7) Hampstead & Highgate Express, Saturday 27th July 1901, p. 6.
(8) Evening Post (New York), 22nd July 1916, p. 9.
(9) Hereford Times, Saturday 18th September 1909, p. 16.
(10) British Chess Magazine, 1901, p. 329.
(11) British Chess Magazine, 1901, p. 331.
(12) British Chess Magazine, 1901, p. 358.
(13) British Chess Magazine, 1901, pp. 358 - 359.
(14) British Chess Magazine, 1901, p. 360.
(15) British Chess Magazine, 1901, p. 361.
(16) British Chess Magazine, 1901, pp. 362 - 363.
(17) British Chess Magazine, 1901, pp. 363 - 364.
(18) Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 22nd November 1901, page 7.

User: MissScarlett - original collection. User: Chessical - text.

 page 1 of 1; 8 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Teichmann vs F J Lee 1-0361901Teichmann - LeeB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
2. F J Lee vs Teichmann 0-1371901Teichmann - LeeD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Teichmann vs F J Lee ½-½291901Teichmann - LeeB01 Scandinavian
4. F J Lee vs Teichmann 1-0661901Teichmann - LeeD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Teichmann vs F J Lee 1-0271901Teichmann - LeeB01 Scandinavian
6. F J Lee vs Teichmann 0-1341901Teichmann - LeeD00 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Teichmann vs F J Lee 0-1281901Teichmann - LeeB01 Scandinavian
8. F J Lee vs Teichmann 0-1401901Teichmann - LeeD00 Queen's Pawn Game
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: These gentlemen played an earlier match in June-July 1898, won by Teichmann +3 -1 =5. Originally, it was intended to be first to five, but was shortened after a run of draws. Found only one game so far (F J Lee vs Teichmann, 1898) - the shadow of Vienna (1898) being the obvious reason - but let's not abandon the chase.

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