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Albert Godfrey Johnson vs Emanuel Lasker
Simul, 27b (1926) (exhibition), Portland, OR USA, Mar-20
Queen's Indian Defense: Capablanca Variation (E16)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-11-14  TheFocus: From a simul in Portland, Oregon on March 20, 1926.

Lasker scored +26=0-1.

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  Penguincw: < Lasker scored +26=0-1. >

So this was his only loss.

< A V Johnson >

Say, what was the middle name of Andrew Johnson (can't be the same player, but just wondering)?

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  perfidious: Maybe a descendant of the Tennessee Tailor.
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  Tabanus: Seattle Daily Times, 18 March 1926, p. ?:

<Playing twenty-nine games at once, Dr. Emanuel Lasker ... last evening defeated twenty-four of Seattle's foremost exponents of the game ... The only two local players who were able to win ... were Fred Maltby and Arvid Johnson, the latter a 19-year-old- member of the Seattle Chess Club.>

Oct-10-15  King Radio: It was funny, I was playing through this thinking Lasker was white until I got to the end, and I thought, "but how did he lose?!" It does look like a game Lasker might play as white in a simul if he were in a provocative mood. Nice game by the Portland amateur.
Oct-10-15  King Radio: Err, that should read 'Seattle amateur'.
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  MissScarlett: <: From a simul in Portland, Oregon on March 20, 1926.>

<Whyld (1998)>'s source for this misattribution is the <ACB> 1926, p.76.

Whyld lists the result of the Seattle simul as +25 -2 =3, whose 30 boards tally with the <AP> report carried in many papers that lauded Johnson's win. But Helms in the <BDE> of March 1926, p.4A, has 29 boards - +24 -2 =3 - thereby consonant with the <Seattle Daily Times> report quoted above. Identified as the three who drew are <C . B. Bagley>, <Oliver Hulback> and <J. Storkmarre>.

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  mifralu: This game was played by Albert Godfrey Johnson .

Northwest Chess, August 1987, p.132

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  Telemus: Boston Daily Globe, 18 March 1926 contains a description of the game Lasker lost to Arvid Johnson:

"Youth, 20, Defeats World's Chess Champ

Seattle, March 18 (A. P.) - Arvid Johnson, 20, of Seattle, defeated Dr Emanuel Lasker, for 27 years the world's chess champion, in a tournament here last night, in which the master played 30 men simultaneously.

The youth said that he had been playing chess for only a year and that he does not devote more than a few hours a day to the game. He is employed at manual labor and studies electrical engineeering by mail.

Johnson played rapidly against Lasker, forcing him to make two and even three moves at a time. For three hours the contest continued, differing in no perceptible particular from games that were going on all around. Suddenly Dr Lasker paused when he reached Johnson's table.

His young opponent swept his queen forward, backed by a castle, threatening checkmate. Lasker was compelled to sacrifice his queen for a castle. On the next round Johnson brought a knight into play. For a moment Lasker studied the situation, and then waved his hands in token of defeat.

A few weeks ago Johnson played three older men blindfolded and beat two of them."

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  Phony Benoni: Well. This is a right proper mess. Since ACB seems to be responsible -- and I'm going through it anyway -- let's see what it has to say.

The Seattle simul is mentioned on pages 50 and 52. of the April issue. Held on March 17 with 30 players. Lasker score +25 -2 =3, losing to <Arvid V. Johnson> and Fred Maltby, drawing with C. E. Bagley, Oliver Hulbackand J. Storkmarrs.

The Portland simul is mentioned on page 72 of the May / June issue. 27 boards, Lasker scoring +26 -1 =0, losing only to <A. G. Johnson>.

Confusion arises on p. 76, where the game is printed. Preceding the score are a couple of paragraphs about Arvid V. Johnson. These conclude with:

<"Appended is the score of his game with Dr. Lasker.">

Then follows the score, with the player of the White pieces identified only as "Johnson". At the end is a footnote:

<"From Dr. Lasker's exhibition at Portland, Oregon, March 20.">

Oh, dear. Mr. Helms, you've done it again.

' Looking at the other sources here, tne "Northwest Chess" article by Casey Bush is vague about sources. Bush mentions in his introduction that he had access to several notebooks relating to the history of the Portland Chess Club. This leaves the impression that he found the game scores there, which would be a strong indication the game was played in Portland. But we can't be sure.

The "Boston Globe" article was an Associated Press report which appeared in many newspapers, and was obviously written by (let's be kind) an inexperienced chess player. It's hard to draw conclusions, but does it really describe the game on this page? Where, for instance, does Lasker sacrifice his queen for a castle?

I'm inclined to think this is actually the game from A. G. Johsnon in Portland, but the case remains open.

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  Phony Benoni: I have received confirmation from Casey Bush (author of the article in <Northwest Chess> a copy of the <(Portland) Oregonian> from 1926 which includes the game and definitely attributes it to <A. G. Johnson>.

I am sending in a correction slip to change the player.

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  MissScarlett: Winter will be furious.
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  Stonehenge: BCCF E-MAIL BULLETIN #81:

In the spring of 1926 former world champion Emanuel Lasker visited the Pacific northwest; it was hoped he would present a simultaneous display in Victoria, but these plans fell through. Instead, he gave two displays in Seattle; the second of these was refereed by Thomas Piper of Victoria (see Bulletin #5 for biographical information). The following report appeared in the Victoria Daily Colonist chess column on March 28, 1926 - Piper was the editor: "Dr. Lasker may say with Caesar, Veni Vidi Vici, anant his thirty-board simultaneous display at the Elks, Seattle, on March 18, for, as already reported, he won twenty-four, lost two and drew four.

The game vs Maltby is given (I have uploaded it).

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  MissScarlett: <The following report appeared in the Victoria Daily Colonist chess column on March 28, 1926 - Piper was the editor: "Dr. Lasker may say with Caesar, Veni Vidi Vici, anant his thirty-board simultaneous display at the Elks, Seattle, on March 18, for, as already reported, he won twenty-four, lost two and drew four.>

This source confirms that A.V. Johnson won his game in Seattle - as Black - in 32 moves.

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from American Chess Bulletin 1926 by Phony Benoni
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