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Ignatz von Kolisch
Number of games in database: 173
Years covered: 1857 to 1885

Overall record: +103 -39 =30 (68.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (25) 
    C51 C52
 Giuoco Piano (9) 
    C50 C53
 King's Gambit Accepted (9) 
    C39 C33 C38 C34 C37
 Two Knights (7) 
    C55 C56 C58
 French Defense (6) 
    C00 C01
 Sicilian (6) 
    B40 B20 B44
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (13) 
    C77 C84 C78 C65 C60
 French Defense (13) 
    C01 C00 C10
 Evans Gambit (9) 
    C51 C52
 King's Gambit Accepted (7) 
    C33 C36 C38 C39 C37
 Giuoco Piano (7) 
    C53 C50
 French (6) 
    C00 C10
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Mandolfo vs Kolisch, 1858 0-1
   Shumov vs Kolisch, 1862 0-1
   Kolisch vs Anderssen, 1861 1-0
   Kolisch vs Loyd, 1867 1-0
   Kolisch vs E Geake, 1860 1-0
   Duke Karl / Count Casabianca vs Kolisch, 1859 0-1
   Kolisch vs R Steel, 1861 1-0
   Kolisch vs Anderssen, 1861 1-0
   F Deacon vs Kolisch, 1860 0-1
   Kolisch vs Rhodes / Walker, 1861 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Kolisch - Rosenthal Match (1864)
   Paris (1867)
   Anderssen - Kolisch (1861)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Staunton & Kolisch best games by Gottschalk
   My Short Notes II (2014) by Knight13
   Paris 1867 by suenteus po 147
   Blunderchecked games II by nimh

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Ignatz von Kolisch
Search Google for Ignatz von Kolisch

(born Apr-06-1837, died Apr-30-1889, 52 years old) Austria

[what is this?]
Ignaz Baron von Kolisch was born in 1837 in Pressburg (now Bratislava in what is now Slovakia). For the period 1859 - 1867 he was one of the top five or six players in the World. He defeated Bernhard Horwitz (+3, =0, -1) and Thomas Wilson Barnes (+10, =0, -1) and drew with Adolf Anderssen (+5, =1, -5) in matches in 1860. The following year he played Anderssen again, narrowly losing (+3, =2, -4) and then Louis Paulsen in a match with the winner being the first player to reach 10 wins. Kolisch trailed (+1, =9, -6) at first but then got into his work and fought back to (+6, =18, -7). The match was then abandoned as drawn at that stage. In 1863 he challenged Paul Morphy but Morphy, now retired, declined to play. The Paris tournament of 1867 was not only the high point of his career it was also his last. He finished clear 1st ahead of Simon Winawer and Wilhelm Steinitz and now retired from active play. He opened a bank in Vienna in 1871 and within ten years became a very wealthy man. He continued to support chess by financing the great tournaments at Baden-Baden 1870, Vienna 1873, Paris 1878, Vienna 1882 and London 1883.

Wikipedia article: Ignatz Kolisch

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 173  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Jenay vs Kolisch  ½-½341857ViennaC44 King's Pawn Game
2. Kolisch vs E Jenay  1-0461857ViennaC00 French Defense
3. Kolisch vs Leopold Epstein 1-0291857ViennaC00 French Defense
4. E Jenay vs Kolisch 0-1481857ViennaC26 Vienna
5. Kolisch vs C Bayer  0-1241857ViennaC45 Scotch Game
6. Kolisch vs K Mayerhofer 1-0251857ViennaC44 King's Pawn Game
7. Kolisch vs NN 1-0291857ViennaC51 Evans Gambit
8. E Jenay vs Kolisch  ½-½531857ViennaC45 Scotch Game
9. Kolisch vs H P Schlemm  0-1241857ViennaC44 King's Pawn Game
10. Mandolfo vs Kolisch 0-1191858Trieste000 Chess variants
11. Kolisch vs C W Vitzthum von Eckstaedt 1-0431859GenoaC00 French Defense
12. Duke Karl / Count Casabianca vs Kolisch 0-1361859?D30 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Kolisch vs Hamppe 1-0281859ViennaC44 King's Pawn Game
14. Harrwitz vs Kolisch 0-15218594 Game SetA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
15. Kolisch vs C W Vitzthum von Eckstaedt 1-0371859GenoaB44 Sicilian
16. Kolisch vs Gastein 1-0191859ViennaC52 Evans Gambit
17. Kolisch vs Centurini / Saint Bon 1-0371859GenoaC52 Evans Gambit
18. Kolisch vs Von Carstanjen 1-0341859ParisC30 King's Gambit Declined
19. Anderssen vs Kolisch 1-0361859It LondonC51 Evans Gambit
20. de Riviere vs Kolisch 0-1611859Paris m/1C36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
21. Kolisch vs H P Schlemm 1-0221859ViennaC52 Evans Gambit
22. F Deacon vs Kolisch 0-1241860LondonC58 Two Knights
23. de Riviere vs Kolisch 0-1231860ParisC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
24. Kolisch vs Harrwitz 1-0391860?C45 Scotch Game
25. Kolisch vs George Maude 1-0311860London mC51 Evans Gambit
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 173  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kolisch wins | Kolisch loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-18-14  thomastonk: <zanzibar: Do you have professional library tools - or do you use your own indexing system?> I'm very much old-fashioned with my archive: folders, subfolders, lists etc.

<Whichever it is, it seems to work well> The sources I quoted have no relation to my archive. When I read your quote from the NY Herald, I remembered that there is something in "The Chess Monthly" and I found it. Thereafter I did an online research and found the "Birmingham Daily Post". That's all. Done in my break after dinner.

The story about this non-match is still very much incomplete, and one starting point to tell it or to begin research could be the time after Morphy's return from Europe, when he rejected to play Paulsen in a match on equal terms. I have some fragments in my memory, but it would be serious work to fill them with substance. There is a (response) letter from Morphy to Kolisch, I'm sure, where he agrees to a match to be played in Europe sometime in the future, but without any stake. Most probably, you will find the details already in some Morphy biography.

Apr-18-14  zanzibar: <thomastonk> Just to compare notes for a second.

I think the old-fashioned way is useful - especially since it maps well into the creator's organizational bents (ie tendencies).

I did try to find the Birmingham Daily Post online, but arrived here instead:

The url part "blcsGoAway" telling me to go away is rather humorous.

* * * *

RE: Morphy -- Kolisch Match

The articles you quote aren't in contradiction with the one I quoted really. The editor of LIN is reporting hearsay, otherwise it wouldn't need qualifying ("We believe"). CM then just entertains the speculation.

Having Morphy as co-editor doesn't mean much in such speculation. It's likely he never saw it, but it would be nice to know the exact date of publication. There was much political unrest at the time, and Morphy was practicing law or traveling largely.

The BDP article is believable as well, as Kolisch was emerging as one of the best, if not, the best, player of the time. The article never says a letter was delivered to Morphy with the challenge. In fact, Kolisch seemed more interested in using this challenge to engage and introduce himself to the club, as the last paragraph shows. More investigation is needed (as always).

What is also in need of investigation is this reference in the NYH article I cited:

<Kolisch never challenged Morphy, nor even proposed to play a match with him, and the story regarding the challenge, as explained by Kolisch himself [...]>

Now, does the "explained by Kolisch himself" apply to the entire content of the sentence, or just to the end of the sentence (the [...] describing the letters exchanged)?

Since it is from Kolisch himself, it would be nice to know if there is a definitive source.

Apr-18-14  zanzibar: <From the 1889-09-29 NYH (New York Herald):>

Another Kolisch favorite problem, an M2, from S. Loyd:

<It was an impromptu affair, composed at a dinner given just prior to the Paris tournament and a wager made no one could master it in under an hour>

(White to move)

click for larger view

(Hint for previous problem: "self-immobilization")

Apr-18-14  thomastonk: <zanzibar> Just now only a few remarks.

The arcticle in the NYH of 1889 isn't worthless, but its value concerns other questions, say, did Kolisch in his later life deny that he challenged Morphy, and, if so, why? So, I'm not going to discuss this article in detail, when I talk about what happened in the 1860s (primary/secondary source - a principle I always respect).

The 1860s are very well documented and easily accessible. Links to online journals can be found for example here: You can extent your search to newspapers at chessarch or somewhere else. Of course, a good Morphy biography can be of great help, too.

Morphy's response to Kolisch's challenge can be found in the "Chess Player's Chronicle" of 1861, p 196.

Apr-18-14  zanzibar: To change the subject for a moment...

Kolisch achieved his early success at chess, but later went on to fame and true fortune as a banker. His chess playing may have been responsible for that as well -

In <Habitues of the Cafe de la Regence> (Winter - "Chess Facts and Fables", p220 pbk):

<The late Baron Kolisch may be said to have risen to rank and fortune over the chessboards of the Cafe de la Regence, where he made his first appearance in the '60s and for a long time was content to delve among the <mazettes> at half a franc a game. He was a jovial and amusing companion, and had the good luck to make a friend of a stockbroker fond of chess who gave Kolisch an opening as a <coulissier>, or commission agent at the Paris Bourse. Here his business talents attracted the attention of the Rothschilds, and his futrue career was assured.">

(CN 3368 - an extract of James Moritimer's reminiscences on p173-178 of May 1905 BCM).

Apr-19-14  thomastonk: <zanzibar: To change the subject for a moment... >

Feels like the same subject to me. You found a source and drew already a conclusion, but I cannot see any verification.

Academical historians use many categories of sources to avoid mistakes. Here is an example from chess history that illustrates the dangers of family sources:

The NYH article belongs to those sources, which German historians call 'ex post' (I don't know, if this term is used in English, too), like many obituaries. James Mortimer's reminiscences are written decades later, too, and they seem to be quite anecdotical.

You are an energetic and well motivated person. Please use some time to learn the basics of historial work. Otherwise you are in danger to become a successful <source plunderer>.

Apr-19-14  zanzibar: <thomastonk> As Winter would write "We have read your comment with interest..."

I'm a little confused about your cautions. Not the last one so much, as I haven't researched it, but your first advisement.

I've read it before, but any excuse for a re-reading is a good excuse. However, consider the imperative at the end:

"The conclusion I would like to present to chess biographers is this: <Do not limit the range of research to old chess columns and chess periodicals>. We have to look for confirmation of the “facts” in non-chess related literature and in the record offices, or archives, of schools, universities, churches, cemeteries and hospitals."

An obituary in a general circulation newpaper, such as the New York Herald, is not a chess periodical, nor exactly a chess column. As a non-professional, I certainly will never have access to the other records referred to.

<Feels like the same subject to me. You found a source and drew already a conclusion, but I cannot see any verification.>

What exactly you are referring to here isn't exactly clear to me. I posted two quotes, one from Winter the other from the NY Herald, so some further specification would be helpful. And it's inconclusive which conclusion is being called into question.

I'm a little on a defensive footing without knowing what exactly is in need of defending.

But I know that you were observing Lent, let's rejoin the discussion next week. I have an hypothesis of events which seems to fit all the known record (ie known to me). It would be interesting to have you critique it.

Let me close by wishing you a Joyeuses Pâques (as we used to say in Genève)

Apr-21-14  zanzibar: <thomastonk> you provided me with a reference article, and I'll do the same for you.

The essence is contained here:

It's Winter's treatment of the infamous Steinitz-Blackburne "dust-up".

(I should look up the German word for "dust-up"... not there, but "fight" is = kampfen, fechten, sich schlagen)

Winter shows how the story can become distorted in contemporary (i.e. modern) retelling.

But even more critical is the fact that the story may be confused from its very inception. The point is that even the contemporaneous sources can be in conflict, and contain truths and almost truths, even if retold by the very participants who are the only people who can recount the story, but who find it next to impossible to recount unbiasedly, even if given time to gain some distance and perspective on the event of interest.

With Kolisch we may have some parallels in both the telling and retelling of his challenge to Morphy.

OK then, here are the auxiliary links to fill out Winter's treatment:

<CN 6437>

<CN 6440>

May-19-14  zanzibar: <thomastonk> (and others)

Maybe batgirl has been following our discussion here? She cites the <Daily Alta> article I ref'ed above:

Aug-24-14  ColeTrane: makew ah shrei kalishei = kolish exists in the hereNow
Nov-04-14  Karpova: Kolisch died in Vienna after a short, but agonizing illness. The illness is called <Wassersucht> (dropsy).

Kolisch had changed his profession some times, before he rose from destitute beginnings to distinguished riches. The highlight of his chess career was the win of the Napoleon prize at Paris (1867). In later years, Kolisch became a banker and estate owner. He acquired the <Freiherrntitel> (Baron) in Sachsen-Meiningen. He bought land on the Kahlenberg and arranged beautiful parties in the gloriously renovated, former Villa Felix. He was an honorary member of the Vienna Chess Society. For a long time its vice-president, then for two years its president, and then committee member. He was also a publisher, first with the fiscal 'Grüne Blätter', which crashed fast. Later, he became the publisher of the 'Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung', ruining his health and after a financial loss of almost half a million, he put it aside (maybe he stopped publishing it) on 21 October 1888. His widow and his brother, the well-known paediatrician Dr. Emanuel Kolisch, mourn his death.

Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 26 May 1889, issue 21, pp. 179-180

Nov-04-14  zanzibar: I wasn't aware that Kolisch encountered such difficulties in his last years.

Curious about the exact nature of the publication that "ruin[ed] his health", I found this:

<The Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) was published from 1 March 1880 to 11 February 1934 to the Vienna daily liberal direction. It was founded by Theodor Hertzka that led to 1886 as editor, as long Editors acted inter alia 1899-1909 Julius Szeps and from 1927 to 1934, the Social Democrat Paul German . For the WAZ wrote inter alia Jakob Julius David , Milan Dubrovic , the screenwriter Paul Frank , Géza Herczeg , Robert Hirschfeld , Max Kalbeck , Ignaz von Kolisch , Carl Lafite , Emil Marriot , Alfred Polgar , Richard Specht , Elizabeth Thury , Berta Zuckerkandl and music critic Gustav Doempke . Hugo von Hofmannsthal published in the daily early poetry, for example, in the issue of December 25, 1896 the love poem "The Two". [1]

As an additional title was initially "Six-clock-sheet", later "Late Evening Journal" out. The publication changed. To 20 December 1888, the Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung appeared as a morning paper, midday leaf and six o'clock evening sheet, then in the evening on weekdays. Throughout its existence, the newspaper changed hands several times the size. Appeared originally in the format 41 x 26.4 cm, so 28 cm was changed from 1915 to 41 x.

In the wake of the uprising in February 1934, the Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung had to cease publication. >

A few later years of the publication (post-Kolisch) may be available here:

also see

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Ignatz von Kolisch

Was Slovakian, not Polish.
Like Sir Jeremy Morse
He made a fortune at the Bourse.

May-24-15  thomastonk:
Oct-15-15  The Kings Domain: Interesting man. As Marlon Brando memorably said, "Coulda been a contenda".
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: ¬¬

< Ignatz von Kolisch
Was Slovakian, not Polish.
Like Sir Jeremy Morse
He made a fortune at the Bourse.>

I was happy to see that that superb clerihew was included in the startling opus titled:

<"Ignaz Kolisch, The Life and Chess Career of that Mental Midget by Fabrizio Zavatarelli Which Has Been Granted the ISB number of 978-0-7864-9690-7, Or, In a Truncated Format, ISBN: 978-1-4766-1801-2, Which Consisteth It of 324 games, 174 Diagrams and 63 Illustrations, (with various appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes and all them ting, amounting to a <rastafari> 376 pages>".

My clerihew is on page mcmlxviii.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Speaking of which: Edward Winter in <Chess Notes> #9623. Kolisch

<The latest McFarland book received is <Ignaz Kolisch The Life and Chess Career> by Fabrizio Zavatarelli (Jefferson, 2015). There have already been articles about it by speed-readers (or, better say, speed-reviewers), and whereas many people review books without reading them, we prefer to do the reverse. Based on an initial browse and spot-check, a single (tentative) comment is offered here: Fabrizio Zavatarelli’s monograph on Kolisch may prove to be one of the most accurate chess books that McFarland & Company, Inc. has ever published.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <zanzibar:

<"... Why Kolisch, or in fact any of the other of the noted European masters, did not see fit to accept Morphy's den (?) is a mere matter of conjecture, scarely pertinent to the case, although it would be impossible to find any one who had ever played with Morphy who was not convinced that he was a class above the players of modern times">>

The mystery word is <défi>.

Feb-18-16  zanzibar: <offramp>, since I'm in the neighborhood again, thanks.

I should have guessed that one... but a den of Morphy was too attractive a concept.

* * * * *

Q- Why does <CG> insist on the seemingly unnecessary "von" in his name?

The esteemed, and perhaps most accurate book ever by Zavatarelli simply gives his name as

<Ignatz Kolisch>.

Us Z's gotta stick together. As do us Ignatz's...

Mar-30-16  zanzibar: Actually, I think his name should be shortened even further, to:

<Ignaz Kolisch>

The "z" remains, but the "t" goes. Why?

1) Zavatarelli's authoritative biography of Kolisch uses that name.

2) The contemporaneous press used <Ignaz> as well, and he even used it in his own signature:

(did he write that in English?)

3) His descendents use that name: (see first comment)

4) There's also this...

Which I think pretty definitely eliminates both the "von" and the "t".

BTW- can anybody make out what I presume is the middle name?


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He wasn't fully kol. Just kolish.
Apr-06-16  The Kings Domain: A renaissance man. A successful banker and Chess master at the same time? What one would call in Hollywood gossip a "double threat". :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915: <Ignaz Kolisch>

London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921: <Ignaz Baron Kolisch>

<London, England, Crisp's Marriage Licence Index, 1713-1892: <Ignaz Baron Kolisch>

Germany & Austria, Directories of Military and Marine Officers, 1600-1918: <Ignaz Kolisch>

JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry: <Dr. Ignaz Kolisch>

He was born in Pressburg, Slovakia. Slovakian website has <Ignaz von Kolisch> and <Ignaz Kolisch> (but also d. 1879).

Deutsche Schach-Zeitung, June 1889 has <Ignaz Kolisch> and <Ignaz von Kolisch>, and says he got the Baron title from the Duke of Sachsen-Meiningen while or after he made a fortune in Paris. I suppose that's also when the "von" was added.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He played very little chess after 1867, but in that year he was probably the strongest active player in the world.
Jan-18-17  zanzibar: Kolisch's arrival in London, 1860, is described in <La (Nouvelle) Regence>, v1, 1860 p252.

He played a series of matches against various British players at the St. Georges Chess Club:

<K -- Sobouroff 6-0-0 (N odds)>

<K -- Worrall 6-2-0 (N odds)>

<K -- Maude 3-3-1 (N odds (but Maude had to win 6/9))>

<K -- Barnes 2-0-1>

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