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Janowski - Mieses
Compiled by Chessical


David Janowski - Jacques Mieses, Paris, 8th January to 4th February 1895.

Mieses was approaching his 30th birthday and Janowski was 26 year's old. This was a match of uncompromising chess only two of the fourteen games played were drawn, and one of those was a stalemate.

Paris had hosted little master chess since Paris (1878). The Polish emigre Stanislaus Sittenfeld had played matches against Jean Taubenhaus and David Janowski in 1891-3, but apart from that there had only been national competitions hosted by the Café de la Régence.

Mieses had drawn a match against Karl Walbrodt (+5 =3 -5) in May-June 1894 (1) and then went onto a lengthy tour of Russia.

Janowski had not played competitively since September 1894 at 9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894), where he had come sixth (+10 -6 =1) ahead of Mieses (+7 -7 =3) who was tenth.

"The match between Messrs. Janowski and Mieses began at the Café de la Régence, Paris, on January 2nd, and at first was all in favour of the former player, who began by winning 3 games to 1, and drawing 1. In the sixth game, however, Herr Misses began to improve, and won it in good style. The games are, so far, disappointing on the whole, there being a good many mistakes. At the time of our going to press the scores were Misses 5, Janowski 3, drawn 1." (2)

But in the same issue ("British Chess Magazine", February 1885, p.88.) it is stated that it commenced on January 8th. The "Deutsche Schachzeitung" explained that there had been a postponement:

The terms:

"Paris. The Mieses — Janowski match, which was postponed a week, started at the 8th of the Café de la Régence. The match rules are as follows:

1). The winner is who first to win seven games. The first four draws do not count, thereafter each additional draw counts as a half point.

2). The time limit is 18 moves per hour.

3). (Play will be from)...noon to 6:15 o'clock. There will be play in the evening with the exception of Tuesdays and Sundays, (except Tuesday January 8th).

4). The stake is 800 FRCS." (3)

"Paris. The Mieses-Janowski match ended on Monday, February 4th. Both players had won six games whilst two games were drawn. The match was therefore drawn." (4)

The progress of the match:

Using dates given in the reports of the "British Chess Magazine" and the "Deutsche Schachzeitung" most of the games can be dated. Some, as indicated, need to be corroborated:

Game 1 - Tuesday, 8th January 1895
Game 2 - Wednesday, 9th January 1895
Game 3 - Thursday, 10th January 1895
Game 4 - Friday, 11th January 1895
Game 5 - Saturday, 12th January 1895
Game 6 - Monday, 14th January 1895
Game 7 - Thursday, 17th January 1895
Game 8 - Friday, 18th January 1895 (?)
Game 9 - Monday, 21st January 1895
Game 10 - Wednesday, 23rd January 1895 (?)
Game 11 - Saturday, 26th January 1895
Game 12 - Friday, 1st February 1895
Game 13 - Saturday, 2nd February 1895 (?)
Game 14 - Monday, 4th February 1895

Game 8 with its 91 moves was most probably adjourned and finished on Saturday, 19th.

Game 10, following the match rules, should have begun on Wednesday, 23rd January. The game was 137 moves long according to James Mason in "British Chess Magazine". This seems to account for why the next game did not start until the next Saturday (26th). Game 10 most probably was adjourned twice, on the Thursday and completed on Friday.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Mieses 0 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 0 0 1 7 Janowski 1 1 0 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 0 7

Mieses had White in the even numbered games.

Progressive score:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Mieses 0 0 1 1 1½ 2½ 3½ 4½ 5½ 6 6 6 6 7 Janowski 1 2 2 3 3½ 3½ 3½ 3½ 3½ 4 5 6 7 7

After the first five games, Janowski was three games up. He then suffered a collapse losing four games in succession.

After a draw in game 10, the score was 5 wins to 3 in Mieses' favour. Mieses now needed only two games to reach the seven required to take the match (the first four draws did not count according to the match rules) , but he then lost three games in succession. The 14th game could have won the match for Janowski but he lost and both players then agreed to terminate the match as a draw. The last four games had been decisive.

Contemporary reaction:

"On January 8, the match between J.Mieses and J.Janowski began in Paris and it ended on February 4th, this match has brought together two players who have an unmistakable similarity of playing style. Both have a naturalistic trait, caring little about the principles established by the theory, but instead they love to follow their own path. Consequently, Janowski has with tough persistence stuck with the Vienna Opening in a manner manifestly contradictory to theory - we mean by using the defence, or more-precisely the the counter-attack by means of <6. g7-g5> and then <7. h6-h5>.

Mieses diverged in the Spanish Game with <4...d7-d6> and later <Ng8-e7> instead of <Ng8-f6>, and thus encountered difficulties. In the second game, the opening chosen by Mieses proved very unfavorable from the outset and gave any advantage away immediately. We cannot understand why in the second game Mieses played <Ng1-e2>, especially after he had lost the first game. Semion Alapin a few years ago recommended the move which is nothing but a product of an addiction to constant novelty and it is not suitable for high-level competitions...

Likewise, both players prefer lively combinational and attacking play, in which respect they are completely old school. Janowski and Mieses play a great deal but they do not feel comfortable in defending, and seek habitually salvation through a bold counter-attack. In the latter respect, the performance of the German champion in eleventh game is quite characteristic, in the former the fourteenth and last game Mieses attacked in his characteristic masterly and elegant style. Unfortunately, Mieses is not free from making gross errors, as the first, second and twelfth games show, whilst Janowski tends to avoid blatant errors." (5)

"It should be said that the quality of the play in this match is not such as to exalt the reputation of the players. The number of misjudgements of one sort or another is unduly great; and the prevalence of these seriously detracts from the record - considered as one of first-class chess." (6)


Game 2: Mieses played carelessly and lost a piece with <8.f3??> after <8...d5!>

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Unforced errors such as this marked his play and rather discredited the match.

Game 5: Janowski missed a clear win:

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43.Rf8+! Ke5 44. Rf4 Rxf4 45.gxf4+ Kxf4 46.Kd4 and wins.

This seems to have affected Janowski badly as he now lost four games in a row.

Game 8: In the ending, Janowski with R+2 pawns could not hold out against Mieses' R+B.

Game 9: Both players made multiple errors in a B+P ending

Game 10: This was a 'make or break' game for Janowski who was seeing the match rapidly sliding away from him. The tension was heightened by a possible loss on time by Janowski and then a dispute over the 50 move rule (or was it the 60 move rule in France?)

In an unusual ending, Janowski had two Knights against Mieses' two pawns.

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Mieses with some help from his opponent managed to draw the game.

"In the tenth game of this match, there occurred a position of great interest as bearing upon the difficult and improperly defined subject of the fifty-move rule. At the sixty-fifth move, M.Janowski had nothing left but two Knights, and his opponent only two isolated pawns; whereupon, according to the rule, Herr Misses claimed that M. Janowski must mate him in fifty more moves. The latter at once protested, the rule in France being to allow 60 instead of 50 moves under such circumstances. The referees decided that the moves should be counted, and the question reserved for the umpire's judgment. The game then proceeded, and at the 78th move, M.Janowski having taken a Palm, the counting, according to the rule, began afresh from that point. At the 37th move, that is to say 59 moves from the re-commencement of counting, the game was adjourned, and as from the position it could only be a draw, there was no difficulty." (7)

Game 12: Mieses badly miscalculated in the opening <12.Nxe5?> and lost material when he could not maintain a pin.

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Game 14: Mieses' King-side attack crashed through and he forced a mate in 7 with <29.f6!>:

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Mieses continued on his busy European travel schedule with two further matches in short sequence: Mieses - Teichmann (1895) and then Mieses - Taubenhaus (1895) before playing in Hastings (1895)

Janowski too played in Hastings (1895) and from there on he was a regular participant in the pre-war grandmaster tournaments.


(1). "London Evening Standard", Monday 4th June, 1894, p. 7.

(2). "British Chess Magazine", February 1885, p.66.

(3). "Deutsche Schachzeitung", No.1, January 1895, p.27.

In 1895, 800 Francs = approximately £32 pounds. In 2017 values this would be about £4,000/$5,120.

(4). "Deutsche Schachzeitung", No.2, February 1895, p.59.

(5). "Deutsche Schachzeitung", No.3, March 1895, p.91.

(6). "British Chess Magazine", March 1895, p.144.

(7). "British Chess Magazine", March 1895, p.132.

See also:

Original collection and text by User: Chessical.

Game 1
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895
(C78) Ruy Lopez, 46 moves, 1-0

Game 2
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895 
(C20) King's Pawn Game, 21 moves, 0-1

Game 3
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 27 moves, 0-1

Game 4
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 41 moves, 0-1

Game 5
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895 
(C71) Ruy Lopez, 56 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 6
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895
(C28) Vienna Game, 28 moves, 1-0

Game 7
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895
(C71) Ruy Lopez, 54 moves, 0-1

Game 8
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895
(C28) Vienna Game, 91 moves, 1-0

Game 9
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895 
(C71) Ruy Lopez, 65 moves, 0-1

Game 10
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895 
(C28) Vienna Game, 78 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 11
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895
(C72) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 5.O-O, 51 moves, 1-0

Game 12
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895
(C28) Vienna Game, 35 moves, 0-1

Game 13
Janowski vs J Mieses, 1895 
(C46) Three Knights, 33 moves, 1-0

Game 14
J Mieses vs Janowski, 1895 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 33 moves, 1-0

14 games

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