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Compiled by WCC Editing Project

ORIGINAL: History of the World Chess Championship


Information about <6th American Chess Cognress>

Game Collection: New York 1889

The 6th American Chess Congress was to end with a match. The committee decided on the stipulation, that the 2nd or 3rd prize winners only had the right to challenge the 1st place winner to a world championship match (<Wettkampf um die Meisterschaft der Welt>). Chessplayers who hadn't participated, or other prize and non-prize winners could challenge the tournament winner, but this would not be a world championship match then.

Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 19 May 1889, issue 20, pp. 171-172,

I do not know what became of those plans. According to Rod Edwards,, Chigorin seems to have drawn a short match versus Weiss. This seems to have been a short play-off match to decide on the 1st prize winner, rather. This is confirmed on p. 179 of the Deutsches Wochenschach, 26 May 1889, issue 21: Three play-off games were planned, four were played and Weiss and Chigorin shared 1st and 2nd place ($1,000 + $750).

With a shared 1st place, the match plans appear hard to realize, except for when Chigorin and Weiss would have played. Furthermore, I wonder if it would have been taken seriously. Steinitz was missing (and he had just beaten Chigorin in a match), and some other already strong players had also been missing.


It's claimed to be well-known now that a match between the 1st prize winner of the 6th American Chess Congress and <"Champion"> (quotation marks in the original) Steinitz for the Championship of the World shall be played. Since Weiss and Chigorin shared 1st place, the question arises, which one of the two shall play. In addition, Gunsberg shall have been empowered by his friends in England to challenge Chigorin to a match. Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 16 June 1889, issue 24, p. 208,



I really don't know what to make of this information, but since the world championship was mentioned, I thought I should post it. It doesn't seem to have had an influence on the world chess championship (Steinitz-Chigorin 1889 had already been played, next was Steinitz-Gunsberg 1890 and then Steinitz would play Chigorin in 1892 again. Chigorin played Gunsberg in 1890, though.). In addition, I just remember too well the other tries by New York tournament organizers, e. g. closely prior to WWI (but also later), to unsuccessfully get involved with the world championship.

The whole matter becomes even more puzzling with every new find:

The all-important tie game in the international chess tournament between Weiss and Mason will be played to-day. If Mason beats Weiss, Tchigorin wins first prize, in which case he will be at once challenged by Gunsberg for the championship. If, however, Weiss beats Mason, then Weiss wins first prize by half a point, and he will then be possibly challenged by Tchigorin.

Source: New York Daily Tribune, 21 May 1889,


See also the New York Sun, 21 May 1889, for more on this.


Another interesting tidbit: <Mr. Tchigorin is one of the handsomest men in the tournament, and is a gentleman of culture and refinement. He is of medium height and weight. His complexion is clear and rather dark. His black hair, always brushed back from his forehead, makes his features prominent.>

Source: New York Sun, 22 May 1889,


The Boston Herald of 23 May 1889 calls the play off games <world championship games>. Same with the New York Daily Tribune,

One day later, the Boston Herald calls them <candidates for the world's championship.>, And the New York Daily Tribune alike,

Baron Kolisch, the eminent Austrian player and at one time the world's champion, died recently. Atlanta Sunny South, 25 May 1889,

After the conclusion of the play-off (drawn), suddenly the Boston Herald of 28 May 1889, announces that the <championship of the sixth American Chess Congress> was left <undecided>. The New York Daily Tribune maintains that the <the question of the world's chess championship is left undecided, in an unsatisfactory manner.>

There is something on Steinitz and the championship here (Galveston Daily News, 2 June 1889), but I can hardly decipher it.

Interesting: <The challenge match part of the tournament has evidently fallen through, as Tchigorin was announced to have sailed for Europe yesterday.> Newark Sunday Call, 2 June 1889,

The St. Paul Daily Globe still speaks of the world chess championship:

The Atlanta Sunny South of 15 June 1889 is a bit critical:



This whole matter seems to me to be hardly connected to the world championship. A fairly strong tournament was organized, although not even all of the world's best participated, and the organizers decided to link it to the world chess championship. This neither seems to have been accepted by the chess world, nor did it produce a notable result (they not even had a sole winner). So I doubt that it is relevant for the WCC Editing Project. If someone ever wants to write an introduction for New York (1889), he/she will find a lot of material in the Jack O'Keefe Project timeline, at least until 16 June 1889.


For the sake of completeness: After the play-off between Weiss and Chigorin, only in the first game did Chigorin and Weiss fight for the win. The last game was only a repetition of the two preceding games. Both, Weiss and Chigorin rather lost several hundred $ than to win the last game. The winner would have been forced to wait 30 days for a challenger, and that match then may have lasted another 2 months. This seems to be based on 'The Times Democrat.' Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 30 June 1889, issue 26, p. 223,


G Walker vs Saint-Amant, 1836 
(C20) King's Pawn Game, 32 moves, 0-1

Saint-Amant vs W Fraser, 1836 
(A02) Bird's Opening, 26 moves, 1-0

Saint-Amant vs G Walker, 1836 
(A03) Bird's Opening, 36 moves, 1-0

3 games

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