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Georg Rotlewi
Number of games in database: 81
Years covered: 1906 to 1911

Overall record: +45 -23 =13 (63.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Tarrasch Defense (11) 
    D33 D32 D34
 Queen's Pawn Game (6) 
    D02 A40 D05
 Orthodox Defense (5) 
    D61 D52 D51
 Queen's Gambit Declined (4) 
    D37 D30 D39
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (6) 
    C84 C65 C77
 French Defense (5) 
    C11 C10 C01
 Queen's Pawn Game (5) 
    D02 D00
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (4) 
 French (4) 
    C10 C11
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   G Helbach vs Rotlewi, 1909 0-1
   Schlechter vs Rotlewi, 1911 0-1
   Rotlewi vs Spielmann, 1911 1-0
   Rotlewi vs M Elyashiv, 1909 1/2-1/2
   Rotlewi vs Nimzowitsch, 1911 1-0
   O Chajes vs Rotlewi, 1911 0-1
   Rotlewi vs J Perlis, 1911 1-0
   Rotlewi vs B Kostic, 1911 1-0
   Rotlewi vs Bogoljubov, 1910 1-0
   Rotlewi vs H Suechting, 1911 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   All Russian Amateur (1909)
   Karlsbad (1911)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Rotlewi's Memorable Games by Karpova

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Georg Rotlewi
Search Google for Georg Rotlewi

(born Aug-18-1889, died 1920, 30 years old) Poland

[what is this?]

Georg (Hersz/Gersz) A. Rotlewi was born in 1889 in Warsaw (1) or Lodz (2), Poland. He stayed in the USA for a while in 1904 (3) and his uncle B. Laski lived in New York, NY, USA (4).

Teenage Chess Career

Rotlewi received his chess education in Lodz (5) and competed in the Lodz 1906 double-round robin tournament where he shared last place, but had the satisfaction of beating the winner Akiba Rubinstein in one of their individual encounters (6). In the 1907 Lodz double-round robin tournament, he showed marked improvement and finished 3rd, ahead of Georg Salwe (7) and 2nd at the Ostende Hauptturnier I (8). Rotlewi's first major tournament was the 5th All-Russian Championship 1907-1908, in Lodz, and he finished 6th out of 13 with a score of +1, ahead of Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky (9). Rotlewi came close to participating in the Siegergruppe of Prague 1908 (not Prague (1908)), but was eliminated in the Preliminary group placing 4th out of 8, when 3rd place was necessary (10).

A Rising Star

At Lodz 1909, he shared 1st place with Dawid Daniuszewski (11). Furthermore, he finished 2nd behind Alexander Alekhine at the All Russian Amateur (1909) Tournament and 1st at the Hamburg 1910 Hauptturnier A (5). Declining a play-off, Rotlewi came in 2nd behind Akiba Rubinstein (though equal on points) at the 1910 Warsaw Chess Association (WTZGSz) Tournament, ahead of Efim Bogoljubov (12) and won the brilliancy prize for Rotlewi vs Bogoljubov, 1910 (13). He followed up with a shared 2nd place at the Cologne 1911 Hauptturnier A (14) and a 2nd place at Munich 1911 ahead of Rudolf Spielmann (15) and had his greatest result at Karlsbad (1911) with a 4th place ahead of several World Class Chessplayers. Shortly after this success, a severe neuropathy lead to hospitalization in a sanatorium (16) and put an end to his chess career. In 1920, he died in Lodz, Poland, after contracting tuberculosis (17).


He played two matches against Georg Salwe, losing in 1909 (+5, =5, -8) (18) and winning in 1910 (+3, =6, -1) (19). At the end of December 1911, Rotlewi was defeated (+0, =3, -2) by his medical advisor Dr. Johannes Esser in an unfinished match in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (16).


(1) Page 271 of the September-October 1911 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek" (
(2) C.N. 5207, quoting pages 101 to 108 of Volume 5 of T Wolsza; Arcymistrzowie, mistrzowie, amatorzy...; 2007; Warsaw, Poland - Edward Winter's
(3) Hamburg, Germany, Passenger List
(4) H Helms, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1911.10.12, page 2
(5) Page 337 of the October-November 1910 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(6) Page 74 of J Donaldson & N Minev, The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 1: Uncrowned King, 2nd edition, 2006, Russell Enterprises, Inc., Milford, CT, USA
(7) Page 77 of J Donaldson & N Minev, The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 1: Uncrowned King, 2nd edition, 2006, Russell Enterprises, Inc., Milford, CT, USA
(8) Rod Edwards,
(9) Page 120 of J Donaldson & N Minev, The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 1: Uncrowned King, 2nd edition, 2006, Russell Enterprises, Inc., Milford, CT, USA
(10) Pages 179-180 of the May-June 1908 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(11) Rod Edwards,
(12) Pages 214-215 of J Donaldson & N Minev, The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 1: Uncrowned King, 2nd edition, 2006, Russell Enterprises, Inc., Milford, CT, USA
(13) C.N. 7284 - Edward Winter's
(14) Page 379 of the November-December 1911 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(15) Pages 237-238 of the July-August 1911 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(16) Page 113 of the April-May 1912 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(17) C.N. 5207, quoting page 106 of Volume 5 of T Wolsza; Arcymistrzowie, mistrzowie, amatorzy...; 2007; Warsaw, Poland - Edward Winter's
(18) Page 316 of the September 1909 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(19) Page 40 of the January 1911 Wiener Schachzeitung. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

Last updated: 2016-12-03 04:21:02

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 81  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Rotlewi vs Rubinstein 1-0391906Double Round RobinD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Rubinstein vs Rotlewi 1-0211906Double Round RobinC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
3. Rubinstein vs Rotlewi 1-0151907Club tournamentD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. Rotlewi vs Rubinstein 0-1271907Club tournamentD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Rotlewi vs Rubinstein 0-1251907LodzD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
6. Rubinstein vs Rotlewi 1-0241908LodzC30 King's Gambit Declined
7. Rotlewi vs F Batik  ½-½361908Prague-BC49 Four Knights
8. Rotlewi vs Salwe  1-0341909MatchD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. V Nikolaev vs Rotlewi  0-1321909All Russian AmateurB01 Scandinavian
10. Rotlewi vs S F Lebedev 0-1141909All Russian AmateurD02 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Viakhirev vs Rotlewi 0-1431909All Russian AmateurD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Rotlewi vs K Rosenkrantz 1-0351909All Russian AmateurD02 Queen's Pawn Game
13. G Helbach vs Rotlewi 0-1151909All Russian AmateurB01 Scandinavian
14. Rotlewi vs D Daniuszewski  ½-½491909All Russian AmateurD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
15. B Maliutin vs Rotlewi 0-1131909All Russian AmateurC50 Giuoco Piano
16. Rotlewi vs S Izbinsky  1-0421909All Russian AmateurD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
17. A Chepurnov vs Rotlewi  0-1351909All Russian AmateurC44 King's Pawn Game
18. Rotlewi vs P A Evtifeev 1-0301909All Russian AmateurA84 Dutch
19. N Tereshchenko vs Rotlewi 1-0201909All Russian AmateurC24 Bishop's Opening
20. Rotlewi vs B Gregory 1-0241909All Russian AmateurD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
21. B Verlinsky vs Rotlewi  0-1391909All Russian AmateurC11 French
22. Rotlewi vs Alekhine 0-1371909All Russian AmateurA40 Queen's Pawn Game
23. P Romanovsky vs Rotlewi 0-1301909All Russian AmateurD02 Queen's Pawn Game
24. Rotlewi vs M Elyashiv ½-½161909All Russian AmateurC49 Four Knights
25. H Gouwentak vs Rotlewi 0-1231910Hauptturnier-AC52 Evans Gambit
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 81  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Rotlewi wins | Rotlewi loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-15-13  Karpova: Which match are those four games from:
Rotlewi vs Salwe, 1910
Salwe vs Rotlewi, 1910
Rotlewi vs Salwe, 1910
Salwe vs Rotlewi, 1910

1909 or 1911?

Jun-17-13  Karpova: Dvoretsky cites 'Selected Memoirs and Games' by Grigory Levenfish:

<A notable performance was given by young Rotlewi, who defeated powerful opposition, including Schlechter, Nimzovich, Marshall and Spielmann, in grand style. After the 17th round, Rotlewi shared the lead with Teichmann and Schlechter, a point and a half ahead of their nearest rival, Rubinstein. Whispers began to be heard among the representatives of the chess press, and an interview appeared with this new rising "star".

Rotlewi's family was very poor; his clothes were clear testimony to this unfortunate fact. City Councilman Tietz was upset. Imagine - a prizewinner of the Carlsbad tournament, appearing in pants which were quite evidently those of a younger brother! Tietz gave Rotlewi an advance against his prize, and suggested he buy some new clothes. The next day, Rotlewi arrived in a new suit and patent-leather shoes. With the jingle of kroner in his pocket, he was unrecognizable.

But Tietz had done Rotlewi no favor. Having become a dandy, the latter now partook of the pleasures of spa life, and grew unfit for serious chess. In the latter part of the tournament, Rotlewi suffered several losses, ending up in fourth place. Soon after the tournament ended, Rotlewi fell prey to depression. Thus ended the chess career of a most talented master>


After round 17, Rotlewi scored +3 =1 -4 - see Karlsbad (1911)/Georg Rotlewi. To me, Levenfish's description appears greatly exaggerated and maybe he was trying to find in his Karlsbad performance what was to come later.

Jun-27-13  Karpova: <Rotlewi ist kurz nach seinem großartigen Erfolg in Karlsbad an einem schweren Nervenleiden erkrankt, welches seinen Eintritt in ein Sanatorium notwendig machte.>

Dr. Johannes Esser was his medical advisor.

Source: Page 113 of the 1912 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Aug-28-13  Karpova: From Georg Rotlewi

<A.J.G. Soltis continues: "And he would have tied for First Place ... had he won his final game. (!!)>

This is wrong as Rotlewi finished 1 point behind Rubinstein and Schlechter and 2 points behind the winner Teichmann, after losing to Leonhardt (shared 8th place) in the last round: Karlsbad (1911)

Aug-28-13  Karpova: More on the 2nd Match between Salwe and Rotlewi from page 40 of the 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung':

The 10-games match took place in Lodz

............ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Rotlewi... = = 1 = = = 1 = 1 0 .. 6.0
Salwe..... = = 0 = = = 0 = 0 1 .. 4.0

The date is not given but as this was page 40 (i. e. the January issue), the match may have taken place at the end of 1910 also.

On the same page, it is reported that the Lodz Chess Club had planned an interesting tournament for November 1910 which was postponed and never took place. The players were to be Rotlewi, Alekhine, Salwe, Spielmann and Teichmann.

In December 1910, an enlarged and even more beautiful project appeared but it was postponed due to San Sebastian 1911 and San Remo 1911 (both tournaments took place in spring) but no further details are offered.

Aug-29-13  Karpova: 4-masters double-round robin tournament in Munich, 1911 (started at the beginning of May and ended on May 18).

1. Alapin 4.5
2. Rotlewi 4.0
3. Spielmann 2.0
4. Fahrni 1.5

Rotlewi scored +2 =4 -0 (winning games against Fahrni and Spielmann).

Source: Pages 237-238 of the 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Aug-29-13  Karpova: In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, December 1911, Rotlewi contested a match with Dr. Johannes Esser but the match was interrupted after 5 games (+0 =3 -2) as Rotlewi moved away from his domicile (<Amsterdam. Rotlevi spielte Ende Dezember mit Dr. Esser einen Wettkampf, der nicht beendet werden konnte, da Rotlevi sein Domizil wechselte.>).

The result was kept secret at first, in deference to Rotlewi's participation at San Sebastian (1912). But he didn't participate and it was revealed that he started to suffer from a severe neuropathy shortly after Karlsbad (1911). He had to be hospitalized in a sanatorium (see my post Georg Rotlewi ) and as his medical advisor, Dr. Johannes Esser wanted to avoid everything that could have had a negative impact on Rotlewi's frame of mind (<Unter diesen Umständen sah sich Dr. Esser als Rotlewis ärztlicher Berater verpflichtet, alles zu vermeiden, was den Gemütszustand seines Patienten hätte ungünstig beeinflussen können.>).

Source: Page 113 of the 1912 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

This leads to the following conjecture: Karlsbad (1911) ended on September 24 and three months later, Rotlewi stayed in Amsterdam but then <moved away> interrupting a match which was not going well for him. Possibly, Rotlewi suffered some kind of breakdown afer his greatest success and, as a result, may have become a patient of Dr. Esser in Amsterdam. At the end of the year, his condition became so critical that he had to be hospitalized in a sanatorium (i. e. the move from his domicile). This seems to have ended his chess career and the match was his (so far) last known serious contest. Still, his condition improved a bit as they finally decided to publish the result in the April-May issue of the 1912 'Wiener Schachzeitung'.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Karpova> The New York Sun, 22 October 1911 has a picture of Rotlewi sitting at the chess board. According to the newspaper it was forwarded by his uncle B. Laski in New York:

"In view of the short arrival of the Russian youth, G. A. Rotlewi, who, by the way, is engaged in a series of five games with Marshall at the Cafe Kerhau[?], Berlin, it will not be out of place to give his latest photo, as kindly forwarded by his uncle, B. Laski, of this city."

Apparently he was expected to play in New York in "the international tourney, scheduled to begin in the last week of February" (1912).

Aug-30-13  Karpova: <Tabanus>

Thanks for the hint!

The Sun (New York N.Y.]), Sunday, 1911.10.22, 3rd section, page 9:

Dr. Lasker also mentioned Rotlewi's intention to go to the USA. As he was still in Berlin at the end of October and in Amsterdam at the end of December, it is probably rather unlikely that he made it, as his neuropathy must also have developed / shown symptoms around that time.

Perhaps, some information on the 5-games contest between Rotlewi and Marshall was preserved somewhere.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Karpova> I just found something else which will interest you, if you have not seen it.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 12 October 1911:

"The ranks of metropolitan chess players are to receive an important addition in the person of G. A. Rotlewi of Lodz, Russia, who distinguished himself by carrying off the fourth prize at Carlsbad, where he made his debut in an international tournament. The young Russian will come to this country shortly, and would have been here sooner but for an engagement to play chess in Berlin. It appears that it will not be the first time that Rotlewi has visited America. He has an uncle, who is B. Laski of 235 Mercer street, Manhattan. According to the latter, Rotlewi lived here for a while at the age of 14 years. He is now 21. Mr. Laski is under the impression that his nephew proposes to make America his home."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 26 October 1911 (again by Hermann Helms):

"It is now reported, on the authority of Wochenschach of Berlin, that the series of five games between F. J. Marshall and G. A. Rotlewi will not take place. On October 1, Marshall played against 25 opponents of the Augustea in Leipsic, making a score of 20 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw."

Perhaps this match was not played!? Also I'm not sure if the international event in New York Feb. 1912 ever took place.

Aug-30-13  Karpova: <Tabanus>

Regarding New York 1912, the 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung' reports on pages 174-175 that an International Tournament in New York of the highest order was planned for January 8 (double-round robin, 9 Europeans, 3 Americans) and refer to the 'Brookly Daily Eagle' of May 11, 1911. Hartwig Cassel and Hermann Helms were in charge of it and H. F. Ridder also involved.

Then, on pages 260-261 of the 1912 'Wiener Schachzeitung', the New - York Havana International Tournament, which had been reported in the press during the last 2 years and never taken too seriously was announced to not take place. Cassel, Helms and Ridder had retreated and less well-known people had assumed control. The last try was to organize it to begin on November 30, 1912.

This was now expanded to a WC tournament (the first 4 players would have played a quadruple-round robin to determine the new WC) including Dr. Lasker, Spielmann, Tarrasch, Teichmann, Duras, Maroczy, Schlechter, Dr. Vidmar, Dr. Bernstein, Niemzowitsch, Rubinstein, Burn, Janowski, Capablanca and Marshall (double-round robin, 1st leg in New York, 2nd in Havana). So no chance for Rotlewi.

Apparently, Dr. Lasker (in the 'Pester Lloyd') was not satisfied and wouldn't have played, had Capablanca been invited. Furthermor, he considered the participation of Maroczy, Rubinstein, Tarrasch and Dr. Vidmar doubtful (it's not clear why. Maybe he thought they wouldn't have travelled so far?). But all of this ended as soon as the news appeared that the tournament wouldn't take place anyway.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Karpova> Great, thanks. I see you deleted the Lasker match from the bio, I think rightly so.

I found him in the Hamburg passenger lists:

Name: George Rotlewi
Departure Date: 2 Apr 1904
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1889
Age: 15. Gender: männlich (Male)
Marital Status: ledig (Single)
Residence: Lodz
Ethnicity/Nationality: Russland (Russian)
Ship Name: Pretoria
Emigration: nein
Ship Flag: Deutschland
Port of Departure: Hamburg
Port of Arrival: Boulogne; Plymouth; New York

Aug-30-13  Karpova: <Tabanus>

Thanks for the additional info - I added it to the bio.

Helms' column from October 12, 1911:

Nov-25-13  Karpova: The recently added game Juenger vs Rotlewi, 1911 gives rise to some interesting speculations.

Rotlewi's opponent is most likely Dr. Ernst Georg Jünger, the father of Ernst Jünger. The game appears to be an offhand game.

Rehburg is a very small town (pop. 4,000) and today not independent (largest borough of Rehburg-Loccum; pop. 10,000). Rehburg-Loccum, Lower Saxony, is located near Hanover. So it is rather far away from all of Rotlewi's playing locations (1911: Munich, Cologne and Carlsbad) and it seems too small for a chess event like a Simul.

According to there was a health resort. If it was still in use in 1911, I could imagine that Rotlewi spend some time in the health resort and on this occasion played the (or several) friendly game(s) against Dr. Jünger.

Feb-14-14  Karpova: According to Eduard Miksch, Rotlewi was not allowed to participate in Karlsbad (1911), because he had already played in the Cologne Main tournament A.* However, Janowski didn't come,** and so Rotlewi was admitted to play. (<Von Rechts wegen hätte er gar nicht zugelassen werden sollen, weil er in Köln mitspielte. Da aber Janowski nicht kam, durfte er einspringen.>)

Source: Page 373 of the November-December 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung' (originally in 'Bohemia' of October 1 and 8, 1911)

* For another such case see Sergey Nikolaevich Von Freymann

** Janowski is included in the preliminary list of participants on page 200 of the June 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Mar-02-14  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, September 14, 1911:

<Zu ihnen hat sich ein ganz Junger gesellt, der den Mut hat, seinem eigenen Urteile zu folgen. Und dazu des Vorrechts der Jugend sich bedient, die Dinge in rosigem Lichte zu sehen. Daher streitet er ohne Bedenken und in naivem Glauben an seinen Stern so tapfer wie ein schwäbischer Kreuzritter, wenn schon die Feinde ihn ringsum bedrängen. Er bringt einen frischen Zug in die Arena des Schachwettstreits, und solche neuen Impulse sind wohltätig, weil das Schach, wo es stagniert, die Neigung hat, an des "Gedankens Blässe" zu kranken.>

(A very young man has joined them [Teichmann, Schlechter and Rubinstein, leading at Karlsbad (1911)], who has the courage to follow his own opinion. And therefore he makes use of the privilege of the youth, to view the things in rosy light. So he fights without concerns and in naive belief in his star, as brave as a Swabian crusader, when he is already surrounded by his enemies. He brings a fresh breeze into the arena of chess contest, and such new impulses are beneficial, because chess, where it stagnates, is disposed to suffer from the "pale cast of thought".)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1911.09.17, page 10

May-13-14  Karpova: Very interesting C.N. 8658, wherein pages 44-45 of 'Ernst Jünger' by Julien Hervier (Paris, 2014) are cited. Rotlewi is mentioned:

<Ernst Jünger, qui l’accompagne dans de longues promenades à travers la lande, est frappé par sa personnalité douloureuse.>

and, when asked why he was so sorrowful, quoted Schiller's 'Wallensteins Tod':

<Qu’est-ce qu’une vie que l’amour n’éclaire pas?>


I once found this game of Rotlewi against a member of the Jünger family, played in Rehburg: Juenger vs Rotlewi, 1911

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: According to Calle Erlandsson (cited in C.N. 1392; Vol. 6/1987) Rotlewi's first name was <Gedali Abram>, not Georg or Gersz.

Bachmann's yearbooks initially wrote his surname as <Rothlewy>.

Source: Schach-Report/Dt.Schachblätter 2/1996 p. 71

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Georg Rotlewi, probably whose most famous game was in a losing effort: Rotlewi vs Rubinstein, 1907.
Aug-18-14  Howard: That's probably quite correct. There are a few other players, too, whose best-known game was one that they LOST.

Treybal's losses to Alekhine and to Capablanca, would be another such example. Those two games were undoubtedly two of his most "famous" games---but for the wrong reason.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I'll add another one: Donald Byrne (I think you get the point).
Sep-29-14  Karpova: Rotlewi played a 13-board Simul in the <Bremer Schachgesellschaft von 1877> (Bremen, Germany) on 22 April 1911. He scored +11 -0 =2 (Schwarte and Spieß drew).


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Is there an obituary notice which gives a date of death, or, at least, clarifies whether Rotlewi was aged 30 or 31?
Apr-04-19  Caissanist: Among players whose best-known game is one they lost, there's one quite familiar name: Deep Fritz vs Kramnik, 2006 .
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