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Johann Nepomuk Berger
J N Berger 
Number of games in database: 233
Years covered: 1866 to 1908

Overall record: +67 -58 =108 (51.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (37) 
    D00 D05 A46 D02 D04
 Ruy Lopez (31) 
    C77 C65 C67 C63 C83
 French Defense (12) 
    C11 C01 C00
 Sicilian (10) 
    B25 B58 B43 B23 B30
 French (9) 
    C11 C00
 Tarrasch Defense (5) 
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (38) 
    C65 C67 C77 C68 C79
 Giuoco Piano (14) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Vienna Opening (7) 
    C26 C28 C25
 Queen's Pawn Game (7) 
    D05 D02
 French Defense (6) 
    C11 C01
 Queen's Gambit Declined (6) 
    D37 D30 D35
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J N Berger vs Frohlich, 1888 1-0
   Maroczy vs J N Berger, 1908 0-1
   J N Berger vs Tarrasch, 1885 1/2-1/2
   J N Berger vs Wimmer, 1894 1-0
   P Gaspary vs J N Berger, 1890 0-1
   J N Berger vs Reti, 1908 1-0
   J N Berger vs Tarrasch, 1887 1/2-1/2
   J N Berger vs J Plachutta, 1866 1-0
   J N Berger vs P Gaspary, 1889 1-0
   J N Berger vs P S Leonhardt, 1908 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   11th DSB Kongress, Cologne (1898)
   Barmen Meisterturnier A (1905)
   Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904)
   Trebitsch Memorial (1907)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Berlin (1881)
   Breslau (1889)
   Munich (1900)
   Vienna (1908)
   Karlsbad (1907)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Berlin 1881 by suenteus po 147
   Barmen Meisterturnier A 1905 by Phony Benoni
   Munich 1900 by Phony Benoni
   Vienna 1907 by suenteus po 147

   J N Berger vs J Plachutta, 1866

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Johann Nepomuk Berger
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(born Apr-11-1845, died Oct-17-1933, 88 years old) Austria

[what is this?]
Johann Nepomuk Berger was born in Graz. He won 1st prize at Graz in 1870.

Berger invented (and Tarrasch popularized) the ubiquitous "rule of the square" in endgames by which one can easily determine if a pawn can promote by imagining a square traced from the pawn to the back rank and whether the opposing king can enter that square in order to catch the pawn.

He was also a problemist, endgame composer, writer and polemicist. His major works were, Das Schachproblem und dessen kunstgerechte Darstellung 1884, Theorie und Praxis der Endspiele 1890 and revised in 1922 and Katechismus des Schachspiels 1891. From 1898 to 1907 he was co-editor of Deutsche Schachzeitung and then sole editor until 1911.

Wikipedia article: Johann Berger

 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 233  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J N Berger vs J Plachutta 1-0311866GrazC67 Ruy Lopez
2. J N Berger vs C T Goering 1-0401870GrazC45 Scotch Game
3. C T Goering vs J N Berger  0-1551870GrazA80 Dutch
4. K Koss vs J N Berger  1-0221870GrazC50 Giuoco Piano
5. J N Berger vs H Posener 1-0371870GrazC67 Ruy Lopez
6. J N Berger vs O Gelbfuhs 0-1261871ViennaC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
7. J N Berger vs Wittek 0-1481875Graz mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
8. J N Berger vs Wittek 1-0481875Graz mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
9. J N Berger vs Wittek 1-0331875Graz mC33 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Wittek vs J N Berger  0-1311875Graz mA00 Uncommon Opening
11. Wittek vs J N Berger  0-1311875Graz mA84 Dutch
12. J N Berger vs F Riemann  1-0481877Correspondence gameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
13. J Noa vs J N Berger 1-0691880GrazC67 Ruy Lopez
14. J N Berger vs Wittek ½-½541880GrazC01 French, Exchange
15. J N Berger vs A Schwarz  ½-½231880GrazC01 French, Exchange
16. E Schallopp vs J N Berger 0-1391880GrazC11 French
17. J N Berger vs J Schwarz 1-0231880GrazC11 French
18. M Weiss vs J N Berger  1-0401880GrazA91 Dutch Defense
19. J N Berger vs J Minckwitz  0-1471880GrazC67 Ruy Lopez
20. J N Berger vs K Pitschel 1-0261881BerlinC77 Ruy Lopez
21. J N Berger vs Blackburne ½-½271881BerlinC11 French
22. J N Berger vs Wemmers ½-½371881BerlinC77 Ruy Lopez
23. J Mason vs J N Berger  ½-½391881BerlinA03 Bird's Opening
24. J Minckwitz vs J N Berger  ½-½511881BerlinD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. J N Berger vs C F Schmid  1-0281881BerlinC67 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 233  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Berger wins | Berger loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-11-08  brankat: A strong master, no doubt, although better known as a writer and editor. Wrote some fine books on chess theory, most notably, on endgames.
Apr-11-08  BIDMONFA: Johann Nepomuk Berger

BERGER, Johann N.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: The 'obligatory' links:
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Berger was also a keen correspondence player, winning the tournament organised by the "Monde Illustre" newspaper in the late 1880's and early 1890's with a final score of +45, =3, -0.

Source: David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld "Oxford Companion to Chess", 2nd edition, OUP, 1992.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday to Player of the Day.Without going through the games,I think this is his best game,J N Berger vs Marshall, 1905.
Apr-11-12  brankat: A prolific and important author.
Dec-20-12  thomastonk: Berger published two times a "Schach-Jahrbuch", one for 1892/93 and one for 1898/99. The later one can be found and read at Google books. Does anybody know whether the first one can be read online anywhere?
Dec-21-12  Calli: <Thomas> 1893

Not sure that it works in every country.

Dec-21-12  TheFocus: Bachmann did "Schach-Jahrbuch" 1891.

Can also be found at Google Books.

Dec-22-12  thomastonk: <Calli> Thank you for the link. I am in Germany, and so books after 1870 are not readable there without tricks. Now I will try again, since I know that it has to work somehow.

<TheFocus> Thank you. I know Bachmann's book, which has not much more in common with Berger's books than the title. The largest chapter of Berger's book from 1898/99 provides addresses, biographies and other information on chess players, problemist etc.

Dec-24-12  TheFocus: <thomastonk> Yes. I took a look at Bachmann's. Not good in comparison to Berger's.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <"It was humorously said of Berger that he had conscientious principles against playing for a win, even when he had one, because of his strong conviction that every good game ought to be a draw."> -- Minneapolis Journal, February 3, 1900.
Oct-24-14  ljfyffe: ...the first Austrian to win an important international correspondence tournament, the "Monde Illustre 1889-1892"...ICCF Gold 2002.
Apr-11-15  redwhitechess: he share the same first and middle name with another Austrian composer Johann Nepomuk HUmmel

Jul-22-15  thomastonk: Interesting battle.

[Event "Correspondence game"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1877.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Johann Nepomuk Berger"]
[Black "Fritz Riemann"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C33"]
[PlyCount "95"]

(2 August 1877 - 18 January 1878, DSZ 1878, pages 144-148) 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Bc4 d5 4. Bxd5 Qh4+ 5. Kf1 g5 6. Nf3 Qh5 7. h4 Bg7 8. Kf2 g4 9. Ng5 g3+ 10. Ke1 Qxd1+ 11. Kxd1 Nc6 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Nc3 Nf6 14. d3 Nh5 15. Nf3 Bg4 16. Rf1 f5 17. e5 O-O 18. Ne2 Rfe8 19. Bxf4 Nxf4 20. Nxf4 Bxe5 21. Ne2 Bxb2 22. Rb1 Be5 23. Kd2 Bd6 24. Nfg1 c5 25. Nf4 c4 26. Nd5 Kf7 27. d4 Re4 28. Kc3 Ke6 29. Kxc4 Be5 30. c3 c5 31. Nf3 cxd4 32. Ng5+ Kd6 33. Nf7+ Kc6 34. Nb4+ Kd7 35. Kd5 Bf6 36. Nc6 Rc8 37. Rb7+ Rc7 38. Nb8+ Kc8 39. Nd6+ Kd8 40. Nc6+ Kd7 41. Rxc7+ Kxc7 42. Rb1 Re5+ 43. Nxe5 Bxe5 44. Kxe5 d3 45. Rb2 Bd1 46. Rd2 Bc2 47. Nxf5 Kb6 48. Nd4 1-0

Something went wrong for White in the early middlegame, but when both kings marched into the centre, the game became unclear.

After 31.. cxd4

click for larger view

White begun to chase ...

click for larger view

Here Black went wrong with 35.. ♗f6? (better is 35.. ♗c7 and Black's material should count). Now White had 36. ♘c6 , of course. Hard to believe that Black overlooked this simple move with the threat ♖b7+ in a correspondence game!

Oct-14-15  saturn2: So they dont name places in Vienna after chessplayers.
Oct-14-15  thomastonk: <saturn2: So they dont name places in Vienna after chessplayers.> That's possibly not true. See, or But the Rudolf-Spielmann-Platz is not in Google maps.
Apr-11-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Johann Berger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 29th, 1906, Comic sec. p.2:

<...that master mind J. Berger, of Gratz, Styria.

Professor Berger for many years was instructor in the Higher Public Commerical Institute of his native city. Outside of his native city he has for years been properly recognized as one of the greatest problem solvers and composers of modern times.

In the World's Championship Solving Tournament of 1886, which was the greatest international solving tourney ever held, there were 109 solvers:

J. Berger was first with a score of 204 points out a possible 206.

G. Reichhelm was second with a score of 203 points out of a possible 206.

B. G. Laws, of London, third with a score of 201 points out of a possible 206.

J. A. Kaiser, Philadelphia, fourth with a score of 200 points out of a possible 206.

In this tournament were such great solvers as Sam Lloyd, C. Planck, Joseph Ney Babson, James Raynor and many others who held world records as solvers.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Falkirk Herald and Midland Counties Journal, May 10th 1899, p.8:

<Prof. J. Berger's Annual issued shows Great Britain is the leading chess nation, in regard to number of existing clubs, etc. In Britain, according to this report, there are 2 periodicals, 132 chess columns, 41 associations, and 736 chess clubs. The United States comes second with 1 periodical, 58 chess columns, 18 associations, and 194 clubs. Next are Germany, Austria, and Russia. France comes in eighth. In connection with this, a London chess editor remarks — "It is a curious fact that the upward march of a nation may be gauged by the flourishing condition of its chess. When Spain was great it had its Ruy Lopez (confound him!), Damiano, Lucena, etc. Italy its Lolli, Greco, Polerio, Ponziani, etc. Spain has had no first-class player for centuries, and France none since the time of Philidor and Labourdonnais." France has a bright jewel at present in Mons. de Janowski, of Paris, but he is of Polish extraction.>

Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

1889. White to play and draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <woldsmandriffield> It's lovely little study. Of course, the black a-Pawn is too far away to be catched, and so white's position is seemingly hopeless but there is a stalemate motif, which can save the day for him: 1.f4! [Black's problem now is that he cannot just ignore advance of white Pawns by playing 1...a5?, as then 2.h4! leads to a successful breach and won Pawn race for white after 2...gxh4 (else 3.h5 +-) 3.f5! gxf5 4.g5 +- etc., and 1...gxf4? loses for 2.h4 and white promotes his Pawn as the first. So black is forced to move the King into "the square".] 1...Kc7 [Or 1...Kc8, it makes no difference here. As the black King now is safely within the square of any eventual white passed Pawn, there is no chance for successful Pawn race from white's part but now he can simply to selfstalemate his own King and black cannot do anything with that.] 2.fxg5! a5 3.Kg3 a4 4.Kh4 a3 5.g3 a2 stalemate.
Apr-19-21  login:

Biographical bits [in particular focused around the Grazer Schachgesellschaft, in his hometown] can be found in

'Das Spiel der Könige'

'.. [Berger] war Dreh- und Angelpunkt des schöpferischen Schachgeistes im Süden der k.u.k. Monarchie. ..'

Magazin 100 Jahre ÖSB [Österreichischer Schachbund], p.67

(in German)

Jun-27-22  lonchaney: Chess composer

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Standard, June 28th 1892, p.6:

<PARIS. - The second tournament by correspondence, organised, in December, 1889, by <Le Monde Illustré>, of Paris, is drawing to a close. There are 24 competitors belonging to various countries - nine in Russia, seven in France, two each in England, Austria, and Italy, one each in Sweden and Greece. Herr J. Berger, of Graz, the celebrated problem composer, has carried off the first prize, a bronze statuette by an eminent French sculptor (value 2500 francs), with the remarkable score of 45 won games and three draws out of a possible total of 48.> (edited repost)

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