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London Tournament

Emanuel Lasker22.5/27(+19 -1 =7)[games]
David Janowski18/27(+16 -7 =4)[games]
Harry Nelson Pillsbury18/27(+14 -5 =8)[games]
Geza Maroczy18/27(+13 -4 =10)[games]
Carl Schlechter17/27(+13 -6 =8)[games]
Joseph Henry Blackburne15.5/27(+12 -8 =7)[games]
Mikhail Chigorin15/27(+13 -10 =4)[games]
Jackson Whipps Showalter12.5/27(+8 -10 =9)[games]
James Mason12/27(+9 -12 =6)[games]
Wilhelm Cohn11.5/27(+9 -13 =5)[games]
Wilhelm Steinitz11.5/27(+8 -12 =7)[games]
Francis Joseph Lee9.5/27(+6 -14 =7)[games]
Henry Bird7/27(+5 -18 =4)[games]
Samuel Tinsley6/27(+4 -19 =4)[games]
Richard Teichmann2/4(+1 -1 =2)[games]
* Chess Event Description
London (1899)

London, England; 30 May 1899—10 July 1899

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Score Place/Prize ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— 1 Lasker •• 1½ ½1 ½1 ½1 01 11 11 1½ 1½ ½1 11 11 11 +- 22½ 1st £250 2 Janowski 0½ •• 01 10 11 1½ 11 ½1 00 11 10 11 01 1½ +- 18 2nd-4th £115 3 Maróczy ½0 10 •• ½½ ½½ ½1 01 1½ 10 11 ½1 ½1 1½ 11 +- 18 2nd-4th £115 4 Pillsbury ½0 01 ½½ •• ½1 00 10 ½½ 11 11 11 11 1½ 11 ½- 18 2nd-4th £115 5 Schlechter ½0 00 ½½ ½0 •• 1½ 10 ½1 ½1 0½ 11 11 11 11 +- 17 5th £65 6 Blackburne 10 0½ ½0 11 0½ •• ½0 01 1½ 01 10 1½ 11 11 ½- 15½ 6th £50 7 Chigorin 00 00 10 01 01 ½1 •• 1½ 1½ 01 ½1 10 11 10 1- 15 7th £40 8 Showalter 00 ½0 0½ ½½ ½0 10 0½ •• 0½ 0½ 1½ 11 11 01 +- 12½ 8th £30 9 Mason 0½ 11 01 00 ½0 0½ 0½ 1½ •• 00 01 00 11 ½1 +- 12 9th £20 10 Cohn 0½ 00 00 00 1½ 10 10 1½ 11 •• 0½ 1½ 10 00 +- 11½ 11 Steinitz ½0 01 ½0 00 00 01 ½0 0½ 10 1½ •• ½0 ½1 11 +- 11½ 12 Lee 00 00 ½0 00 00 0½ 01 00 11 0½ ½1 •• ½1 ½½ +- 9½ 13 Bird 00 10 0½ 0½ 00 00 00 00 00 01 ½0 ½0 •• 11 +- 7 14 Tinsley 00 0½ 00 00 00 00 01 10 ½0 11 00 ½½ 00 •• +- 6 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— 15 Teichmann -- -- -- ½- -- ½- 0- -- -- -- -- -- -- 1- •• (Withdrew) ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Unplayed games: + for a win, = for a draw, - for a loss.

In the late spring of 1899, eighteen of the world's best chess masters were invited to participate in a double round robin tournament in London, England. Among those who attended were the World Champion, Emanuel Lasker, and the former world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz. Of the eighteen invited, Siegbert Tarrasch declined his invitation, citing his medical practice as the higher priority. Rezso Charousek wished to attend but an illness (which later proved fatal) prevented him. Amos Burn, who had agreed to come, left on the first day.

In an interview Mr. Burn said his reasons for withdrawing were that he was dissatisfied with the general arrangement of the tournament, but more so with the supercilious treatment he has met with from certain persons connected with the management since his arrival in London. He averred that he would never again take part in any chess competition under the management of the British Chess Club. (1)

The remaining fifteen players gathered in St. Stephen's Hall, (2) near the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Aquarium, where their play was dwarfed each day by the towering statues of historic statesmen. The time control for the tournament was set at 15 moves every hour. Over the course of the tournament, the players were entertained and treated in a number of ways, including exhibitions by the London Chess Club at the Crystal Palace and gatherings at the Star and Garter Hotel in Richmond (a favorite stop over of Charles Dickens). Among the festivities, a banquet was held for the players at the Cafe Monaco on June 29th. The early rounds of the tournament proved surprising as Janowski took off with an early lead of 4 points after the first four rounds, while Lasker, who had dominated at Nuremberg (1896), held only two points. It was at this point that Richard Teichmann had to withdraw due to an eye infection (the same that later left him blind in one eye). His remaining games in the first half were considered lost by forfeit. The tide turned though, as Lasker's loss to Blackburne in the fourth round proved to be his only defeat. He went on to defeat Janowski in their first head-to-head game in the tenth round, and then never gave up the lead for the rest of the tournament. He finished four and a half points ahead of the shared seconds, asserting his dominance once more against the field of candidates vying for his crown. It was also to be an unfortunate landmark for Steinitz, who finished a tournament for the first time without a prize. It was also to be his last, for he died in poverty a year later.

Additional Prizes Lasker won a Gold Medal valued at £11 for Steinitz vs Lasker, 1899 (Ladies' Chess Club brilliancy prize)
Blackburne won £10 10s for Lasker vs Blackburne, 1899 (Lewis family brilliancy prize)
Lasker won a second Gold Medal valued at £13 (Ladies' Chess Club 1st place prize)
Cohn got £8, Lee £5, Bird £5 and Tinsley £4in consolation prize payouts.(3)

(1) Liverpool Mercury, Wednesday 31st May 1899, p. 8.
(2) Wikipedia article: St Stephen's Chapel. (3) The Book of the London International Chess Congress, 1899, Longmans Green and Co. 1900, p(xxiii)

Original collection: Game Collection: London 1899, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 185  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Bird vs Showalter 0-1451899LondonC11 French
2. Blackburne vs Teichmann ½-½501899LondonC50 Giuoco Piano
3. Tinsley vs Janowski 0-1591899LondonD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. Chigorin vs Pillsbury 0-1471899LondonC52 Evans Gambit
5. W Cohn vs Schlechter 1-0321899LondonC44 King's Pawn Game
6. Lasker vs Steinitz ½-½251899LondonC66 Ruy Lopez
7. J Mason vs Maroczy 0-1521899LondonB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
8. J Mason vs Bird 1-0641899LondonC50 Giuoco Piano
9. Blackburne vs W Cohn 0-1771899LondonA07 King's Indian Attack
10. Steinitz vs Janowski 0-1451899LondonD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. Teichmann vs Pillsbury ½-½661899LondonC49 Four Knights
12. Lasker vs Schlechter ½-½301899LondonC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
13. Maroczy vs F J Lee ½-½441899LondonB12 Caro-Kann Defense
14. Bird vs Pillsbury 0-1271899LondonC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
15. Chigorin vs Teichmann 1-0281899LondonC55 Two Knights Defense
16. W Cohn vs Janowski 0-1221899LondonB23 Sicilian, Closed
17. Schlechter vs Showalter ½-½281899LondonD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Lasker vs F J Lee 1-0391899LondonB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
19. J Mason vs Steinitz 0-1501899LondonC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
20. Tinsley vs Maroczy 0-1621899LondonD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
21. Maroczy vs Bird 1-0351899LondonC49 Four Knights
22. Lasker vs Blackburne 0-1461899LondonC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
23. Steinitz vs Chigorin ½-½461899LondonD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
24. Janowski vs Schlechter 1-0361899LondonC78 Ruy Lopez
25. Pillsbury vs W Cohn 1-0561899LondonC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 185  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-24-17  zanzibar: For those trying to determine the hows and whys of the pairings:

<Order of Play. — Each player must play two games with every other competitor. The order in which the players will meet each other will be decided by the drawing of lots before the commencement of the Tournament, but the pairing for each day will not be made known to the players until the morning of such day.>

tb - pxvi

So they likely drew up a Berger ordering, and then randomly picked the Berger round from those remaining unplayed rounds each morning of play.

<CG>'s games are all dated, and R23 matches Harding's note:

<19. Ken Whyld, "London 1899, in Quarterly for Chess History 7, pages 264-269; in that article, composed in 2002 (notwithstanding the nominal date of that volume) he provided the full round-by-round pairings for both tournaments. His chart contains one mistake, however. He dated Round 23 to 29 June, which was a Thursday and therefore one of those set aside for playing off adjournments. Round 23 was in fact played on Friday 30th. The London Standard, 31 May 1899, said that Caro was absent through illness.>

(Harding-Blackburne p555 ch15n19)


May-24-17  zanzibar: Here's a little from BCM describing some of the tournament (in particular, the other side of Burns' withdrawal, as mentioned by Harding):

<The prize fund of £8oo is divided into nine prizes for the fourteen competitors, and some provision is also made for those players who would otherwise be non-prize winners. It was expected that the liberal prizes and the importance of the contest would attract all the foremost expert players of the day, but this has not been the case, and the tournament in many respects falls far short of that of 1883. The committee of management decided that sixteen contestants would be sufficient for such an important contest; and we agree that this number is sufficiently large to permit of all the very foremost players of the world being brought together. According to our information, the sixteen selected names were: Messrs. Bird, Blackburne, Burn, Lasker, Mason, Tinsley, and Teichmann, of England; Cohn and Caro, Germany; Janowski, France; Tchigorin, Russia; Schlechter, Austria; Maroczy, Hungary; and Pillsbury, Steinitz, and Showalter, America. We regret the absence of Dr. Tarrasch and Herr Charousek. The latter enjoys poor health, and is probably physically unfitted to undergo such a strain as a double-round contest involves, whilst it has long been reported that the famous doctor's professional duties would not permit of his taking part in the tournament. Almost at the last moment Herr Caro retired, in consequence of ill health, and Mr. F. J. Lee, London, was invited to fill the place, and did so; but still the intended 16 contestants was destined to be reduced by the withdrawal of Mr. Amos Burn, Liverpool. It is not necessary for us to enter into the alleged cause of Mr. Burn's resignation, but his action coming so soon after his abstention from the cable match—especially as he must have been fully conversant with the tournament conditions before he entered the lists—suggests that the best interests of the game are secondary to individual consideration. Another withdrawal, this time compulsory and most regrettable, was that of Herr Teichmann, London, who was compelled to retire, after playing four games with great credit, in consequence of serious inflammation in his eye. The number of actual competitors is therefore 14, the same number as was engaged in 1883.

The place of play, St. Stephen's Hall, Royal Aquarium, Westminster, is spacious, and the spectators could watch the various games with ease, but the room is a depressing apartment. With its rounded roof and multiplicity of wire girders, it has a striking resemblance to a garret in one of our big railway stations, and its large half-circular window at each end let in a dim subdued light, which was certainly not religious. The whole surroundings, too, of the room were in marked contrast to the handsome upholstered and carpeted saloon in the Criterion, wherein the 1883 gathering took place; nor does St. Stephen's Hall compare at all favourably with the handsome apartment provided at Hastings in 1895. There was also a further marked contrast in the number of the spectators present, to the disadvantage of the present Congress. In one particular, however, the gathering showed an improvement as compared with the 1883 meeting, and that was the assemblage of lady visitors. In 1883 the presence of a lady was an event to chronicle; but during the present Congress, small groups of ladies might be seen every day eagerly watching the progress of the games.>

BCM v19 (1899) p297

May-24-17  zanzibar: Here's the list of byes (or non-games) vs. round:


Rd N_players Byes

1 14 Lee
2 14 Showalter
3 14 Blackburne
4 14 Mason
5 12 Bird, Chigorin, Teichmann
6 12 Janowski, Schlechter, Teichmann
7 12 Lasker, Steinitz, Teichmann
8 12 Janowski, Maroczy, Teichmann
9 12 Maroczy, Steinitz, Teichmann
10 12 Lee, Pillsbury, Teichmann
11 14 Teichmann
12 12 Bird, Schlechter, Teichmann
13 12 Lasker, Mason, Teichmann
14 12 Cohn, Teichmann, Tinsley
15 12 Cohn, Showalter, Teichmann
16 12 Mason, Teichmann, Tinsley
17 12 Cohn, Teichmann, Tinsley
18 14 Teichmann
19 12 Janowski, Schlechter, Teichmann
20 12 Bird, Schlechter, Teichmann
21 12 Cohn, Showalter, Teichmann
22 12 Bird, Chigorin, Teichmann
23 12 Lasker, Mason, Teichmann
24 12 Maroczy, Steinitz, Teichmann
25 12 Janowski, Maroczy, Teichmann
26 12 Blackburne, Chigorin, Teichmann
27 12 Blackburne, Lee, Teichmann
28 12 Lee, Pillsbury, Teichmann
29 12 Lasker, Steinitz, Teichmann
30 12 Pillsbury, Showalter, Teichmann


You can see the weirdness from the randomization - Teichmann single bye shows up R11 / R18 (and not R11 / R26 ).

That would be the rounds where Tarrasch and Teichmann were matched...

So, after Teichmann dropped out we get the hard-to-follow double bye rounds.

(I'm worrying about this a little, since I'm considering stubifying the tournament)

May-25-17  JimNorCal: In the Tournament Standings section why are Pillsbury, Showalter and Blackburne missing their first names?
May-25-17  zanzibar: A stubified version of the PGN can be found here:

May-25-17  zanzibar: According to Harding (Blackburne p394), if modern rules were applied (wrt Teichmann's withdrawal) Pillsbury would have been alone in second place.


May-25-17  zanzibar: BTW - it's common to attribute editorship of the tb to Hoffer, but this is mistake, even if likely true.

The editor was anonymous, and might be most correctly be attributed to the BCC.

See Harding - Blackburne p393.


May-25-17  zanzibar: Here is Harding's comment on Burn's withdrawal:


As at Hastings 1895, the pairing for each day was not made known to the players until the morning. The first round actually played was nominally round 18 in the draw. Blackburne escaped the worst effects of the randomized system, having almost a perfect alternation except in rounds 9-11, unlike two past German tournaments which used a similar system. Caro withdrew before the start because of illness while Burn withdrew at the last minute due to a disagreement with the committee over the playing conditions, and it is probable that the randomized draw was one of his objections. B.C.M. said it would not go into the alleged cause of Burn's withdrawal, "but his action coming so soon after his abstention from the cable match... suggest that the best interests of the game are secondary to individual consideration." Lee was promoted from the secondary tournament to fill one of the vacancies and was given the first bye.


Harding - Blackburne p393

The scheduling was problematic, imo.

E.g. Lasker started with four Whites in a row, whereas Pillsbury and Janowski both had Black for their first three games.


May-25-17  Retireborn: According to my Lasker database he also had four blacks in a row (rounds 5-9, with a bye in rd 7) and again in the last four rounds (rounds 26-30 with a bye in rd 29) - and he scored incredibly well in those games, with only Pillsbury & Janowski managing to draw!

But this was the tournament of the blacks, as <keypusher> points out below.

May-26-17  zanzibar: There is a posed group photograph, which can be seen in two different versions:

and here:

The first link is from <Chess Archeology>, jnpope's site, and has this to say:

<Not all players are on the picture that was taken that day: Mason, Pillsbury, Showalter and Steinitz are missing. Pillsbury and Showalter had byes on July 10, which possibly explains their absence. Why Mason and Steinitz were absent, is a mystery.


Three of the men included in the photograph were not competitors in the tournament: Junius L. Cope, J. Walter Russell and Herbert W. Trenchard. The last named was the Honorary Treasurer of the tournament. The other two were the Honorary Secretaries, Cope representing the British Chess Club and Russell the City of London Chess Club. The two London societies played an important role in organizing the gathering.8>

Whereas the second link, from Winter's chesshistory, has this to say:

<hotograph of some of the participants, contributed by Pierre Bourget (Quebec, Canada) in C.N. 5328. Our correspondent has proposed the following key:

Standing (from left to right: D. Janowsky, G. Maróczy, F.J. Lee, L. Hoffer, J.W. Showalter, S. Tinsley, R. Teichmann and W. Cohn. Seated: H.E. Bird, E. Lasker, M. Chigorin, J.H. Blackburne and C. Schlechter.

Absent: J. Mason, H.N. Pillsbury and W. Steinitz.>

One source has Showalter being present, the other has him being absent. Who is correct?

I suspect <jnpope> is right, as logic suggests the two byes would be missing. Also, <jnpope> is more of a specialist on American players.

A rare Winter (uncorrected) mistake?

* * * * *

Harding has something to say about the other missing players, quoting from <The Scotsman 1899.07.11>:

<A curious incident occurred before the final round began. A photograph of the masters was taken, with Blackburne and Lasker seated at the board and the others standing around them, but Mason and Steinitz refused to take their places in the group.>

Harding - Blackburne p402

May-27-17  zanzibar: Here's a list of games submitted to the Committee in competition for the brillancy prizes:


Bird (2)

G060 1899.06.16 C33 24 (R13) 0-1 Janowski -- Bird
G093 1899.07.07 C10 61 (R28) 1-0 Bird -- Tinsley


G035 1899.06.03 C62 46 (R4) 0-1 Lasker -- Blackburne (*)
G111 1899.06.16 D20 31 (R13) 0-1 Steinitz -- Blackburne

Janowski (6!)

G043 1899.06.03 C78 36 (R4) 1-0 Janowski -- Schlechter
G046 1899.07.04 C80 45 (R26) 1-0 Janowski -- Cohn
G050 1899.06.08 C65 33 (R7) 1-0 Janowski -- Chigorin
G065 1899.06.14 C42 47 (R12) 1-0 Janowski -- Pillsbury
G085 1899.06.02 B23 22 (R3) 0-1 Cohn -- Janowski
G126 1899.06.27 D35 24 (R21) 1-0 Janowski -- Maroczy


G042 1899.07.04 C77 46 (R26) 0-1 Lee -- Lasker (**)
G066 1899.07.06 C29 30 (R27) 0-1 Steinitz -- Lasker


G133 1899.06.20 D53 62 (R16) 0-1 Lee -- Showalter


tb - p xxiv/33

* - L10,10s Lewis award for special brilliancy in any game.

** - Ladies' CC Gold Medal winner for most brillant game.

(The game number is matches that in the tb. If <CG> put the gid in a tournament PGN download, I might have been able to put <CG> links in directly.)


May-27-17  zanzibar: Janowski seems to be bucking the "Black wins" label given this tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Does anyone know why Steinitz was denied consolation prize money? The tournament book, p(xxiii), indicates Cohn got £8, Lee £5, Bird £5 and Tinsley £4. This £22 is confirmed as being the total in consolation prize payouts on p(xxxi).

Teichmann withdrew and got nothing, per the rule on p(xvii). Did Steinitz incur a "Penalty for Refusal to Observe Rules of Tournament" and forfeit his right to consolation money?

There is no mention of it in the TB and I find nothing in Landsberger's biographical work on Steinitz.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <jnpope> This is the only I can find in the newspapers.

London Evening Standard, 12 July 1899, p. 4:

<Amongst ths non-prize winners, Lee's stepping in to till the gap caused by an absentee was fully and deservedly recognised. Tne non-prize winners received consolation prizes.>

Manchester Evening News, 12 July 1899, p. 2:

<Certain consolation prizes were also awarded, and of the recipients of these, Lee and the veteran Bird were heartily cheered.>

Nottinghamshire Guardian, 15 July 1899, p. 2:

<The public not only heartily cheered the winners, but also all the other players, each of wbom received a consolation prize, which varied according to tbe measure of success of eacb player.>

I get the impression Steintz did not meet up for the awards ceremony, who knows.

Sep-08-18  WorstPlayerEver: "In an interview Mr. Burn said his reasons for withdrawing were that he was dissatisfied with the general arrangement of the tournament, but more so with the supercilious treatment he has met with from certain persons connected with the management since his arrival in London. He averred that he would never again take part in any chess competition under the management of the British Chess Club."

Burn could easily say that. His first big tournament was New York 1889. Burn was 40 at the time. His only British tournament was Hastings 1895. He was quite a fella. He was 50 years old when London 1899 took place!

In 1889 he participated in NY (5), Breslau (2) and Amsterdam (1) full point ahead of Lasker. Remarkable score for a debutant. His next tournament was Hastings 1895, his first average tournament. He did not play too often.

In Berlin 1897 (7) he beat winner Charousek. Vienna 1898 (6) he beat Pillsbury (2). 11th DSB 1898 (2), Paris (5), beating Pillsbury (2) again. Munich 1900 (4). NB 3 players shared the first spot.

Quite a record.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <London Evening Standard>

This is actually <The Standard>. I mention it only because the matter greatly exercises Harding in his <British Chess Literature to 1914> (McFarland, 2018).

<There are two important facts that the chess historian needs to be clear about. Firstly, the information in connection with the <Evening Standard> on page 137 of Whyld's <Columns> actually relates to <The Standard>. Secondly, a similar confusion between the papers has been made by the British Newspaper Archive, whose digitized pages designated the "London Evening Standard" are actually also <The Standard>. From 1857 the two titles were distinct newspapers (although under the same ownership until 1915) and the British Library online catalog distinguishes between them correctly. If in doubt when reading a digitized chess article found through the search engine, turn to page 1 and look at the title on the masthead.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <In an interview Mr. Burn said his reasons for withdrawing were that he was dissatisfied with the general arrangement of the tournament, but more so with the supercilious treatment he has met with from certain persons connected with the management since his arrival in London.>

Chippy northerner, probably a communist, miffed at being asked to wear a tie!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Cheltenham Examiner, June 7th 1899, p.6:

<In common with nearly the whole of the provincial press, and the bulk of the Metropolitan, we shall not be able to publish any of the games played. The following quotations will explain why. From the <Bradford Observer> -"The prohibitive price which the Executive Committee of the International Congress has put upon the right of publication of the games played has created amusement and indignation in about equal proportions amongst the chess editors of the country. The attempt to reap a harvest at the expense of the Press is both unfair and unjust, and is bound to fail."

From the <Illustrated London News> —"A demand so exorbitant, not to say preposterous, has never been advanced before in any chess competition, and where it might have been thought that the interests of the game would be best served by the utmost publicity as regards the proceedings of the Congress, some influence suggestive of Shylock decrees otherwise. We do not profess to be lawyers, but we have yet to learn that a spectator reproducing a game from memory is guilty of any breach of copyright.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <zanzibar: Here's a list of games submitted to the Committee in competition for the brillancy prizes:


G042 1899.07.04 C77 46 (R26) 0-1 Lee -- Lasker (**)

G066 1899.07.06 C29 30 (R27) 0-1 Steinitz -- Lasker


** - Ladies' CC Gold Medal winner for most brillant game.>

Should be the Steinitz-Lasker game.

Nov-10-18  zanzibar: Hmmm... it does seem I (**)'ed the wrong game, according to the tb.

But also see this reference:


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: What about it?
Nov-10-18  zanzibar: It's not the same as the tb, is it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Yes, it appears the <Budget> has confused awards.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The tournament book accounts reveal that the assertion of copyright did result in £70 paid by newspapers, a tidy sum but only about 5% of revenues.
May-16-19  amadeus: Lasker best tournament?
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