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Hermann Helms
H Helms 
ACM vol. 2, Aug 1898, No. 2, p. 83    
Number of games in database: 36
Years covered: 1893 to 1945
Overall record: +16 -13 =7 (54.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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D00 Queen's Pawn Game (4 games)
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A80 Dutch (2 games)
C62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense (2 games)
D37 Queen's Gambit Declined (2 games)

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(born Jan-05-1870, died Jan-06-1963, 93 years old) United States of America

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Hermann Helms was known as 'The Dean of American Chess.' He was a chess journalist, most prominently as columnist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle between 1893 and 1955, and editor of the American Chess Bulletin from 1904 until his death in 1963. He also edited the tournament book of New York 1924.

Wikipedia article: Hermann Helms

Last updated: 2018-09-22 11:28:49

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. W Kistler vs H Helms  0-1341893Brooklyn CC Minor tC58 Two Knights
2. Lasker vs H Helms 1-0551893Simul, 15bC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
3. W Frere vs H Helms  1-0151893MatchC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
4. H Helms vs W Frere  1-0291893MatchC51 Evans Gambit
5. H Helms vs W Frere  0-1221893MatchC51 Evans Gambit
6. L O Hesse vs H Helms  0-1521894Continental Corr (prelim-4)C39 King's Gambit Accepted
7. H Helms vs H N Stone 1-0401894Continental Corr (prelim-4)C51 Evans Gambit
8. I Ryall vs H Helms 1-0351894Continental Corr (prelim-4)C44 King's Pawn Game
9. Pillsbury vs H Helms  ½-½481894Blindfold simul, 8bC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
10. Lasker vs H Helms 1-0181894Simul, 18bC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
11. E Delmar vs H Helms 0-1321894BuffaloA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
12. L O Hesse vs H Helms ½-½371895Bethlehem CC - Brooklyn CCD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Showalter vs H Helms  1-0411895Brooklyn CC chD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
14. J L McCutcheon vs H Helms  1-0441895Continental Corr (prelim-4)C67 Ruy Lopez
15. WC Cochran vs H Helms  ½-½461895Continental Corr (prelim-4)C44 King's Pawn Game
16. E Delmar vs H Helms  0-1591895Brooklyn CC-chD00 Queen's Pawn Game
17. H Helms vs Marshall 1-0191896Brooklyn CC chA80 Dutch
18. H Helms vs Marshall 1-0341897SimulD00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Marshall vs H Helms 0-1331897Ch CityC44 King's Pawn Game
20. H Helms vs E M Jackson 0-14318972nd Anglo-American Cable MatchC60 Ruy Lopez
21. R B Lloyd vs H Helms  0-13619003rd Pillsbury Chess AssociationD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. H Helms vs A W Overton  1-0331901corrD00 Queen's Pawn Game
23. T B Girdlestone vs H Helms  0-13519027th Anglo-American Cable MatchD00 Queen's Pawn Game
24. H Helms vs G A Hooke  1-06119038th Anglo-American Cable MatchA84 Dutch
25. Capablanca vs H Helms ½-½571906Columbia - Brooklyn CC mC87 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 36  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Helms wins | Helms loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <brankat: ... He certainly had F.Marshall's number (4-0)!>

In their last game Marshall boldly played the Exchange Variation against Helms' Slav - and <still> lost. Marshall vs H Helms, 1925 Of course, I wouldn't be shocked if Marshall had some wins against Helms that aren't in the database.

Mar-04-12  waustad: <Of course, I wouldn't be shocked if Marshall had some wins against Helms that aren't in the database.> Exactly my thought.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <FSR: <brankat: ... He certainly had F.Marshall's number (4-0)!>>

<In their last game Marshall boldly played the Exchange Variation against Helms' Slav - and <still> lost. Marshall vs H Helms, 1925 Of course, I wouldn't be shocked if Marshall had some wins against Helms that aren't in the database.>

ChessBase's Big Database 2012 has two games between them, one being the same game won by Helms linked above, and the other being the following win by Marshall:

[Event "New York Metropolitan tt"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1922.02.04"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Marshall, Frank James"]
[Black "Helms, Hermann"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C21"]
[PlyCount "145"]
[EventDate "1922.03.??"]
[EventType "team-match"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2002.11.25"]

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Nf6 5. Bb5+ c6 6. dxc6 bxc6 7. Bc4 Bc5 8. Qe2+ Qe7 9. Qxe7+ Kxe7 10. Nf3 dxc3 11. Nxc3 Re8 12. O-O h6 13. Bf4 Kf8 14. Rac1 Nbd7 15. Na4 Bb6 16. Nxb6 axb6 17. Nd4 Ba6 18. Bxa6 Rxa6 19. Nxc6 Rxa2 20. Bd6+ Kg8 21. Ba3 Nd5 22. Rfd1 N7f6 23. Nd4 Ra8 24. Rc6 Kh7 25. h3 Ra5 26. Nb3 Rb5 27. Nd4 Ra5 28. Nb3 Rb5 29. Nd4 Ra5 30. Rc8 Ra4 31. Rf8 Kg6 32. Nb5 Ra5 33. Nd4 b5 34. Nc6 Ra6 35. Ne5+ Kf5 36. Nd3 Ra7 37. Rb8 Ra5 38. Rb7 Kg6 39. Ne5+ Kh7 40. Nc6 Ra6 41. Nb8 Ra5 42. Nd7 b4 43. Nxf6+ gxf6 44. Bxb4 Nxb4 45. Rxb4 Ra1 46. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 47. Kh2 f5 48. Kg3 Kg6 49. Kf3 Re1 50. Rc4 h5 51. g3 Re6 52. h4 Re1 53. Rc2 Re4 54. Rc3 Kf6 55. b3 Kg6 56. Re3 Rb4 57. Ke2 f4 58. Rf3 fxg3 59. fxg3 f5 60. Kd2 Kf6 61. Kc3 Rg4 62. b4 Ke5 63. b5 Ke6 64. Kc2 Ke5 65. Rb3 f4 66. b6 Rg8 67. Rb5+ Ke4 68. Rb4+ Ke5 69. gxf4+ Kf5 70. b7 Rb8 71. Kb3 Kg4 72. f5+ Kxf5 73. Ka4 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <RookFile: Helms loved to play blitz chess.... or rapid transit chess, as it was called in those days.>

Such as H Helms vs O Tenner, 1942, featured as today's GotD.

Jan-05-14  brankat: R.I.P. Mr.Helms.
May-17-14  ljfyffe: I. Ryall-H. Helms(Correspondence 1895): 1e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3c3 Nf6 4d4 Nxe4 5d5 Bc5 6dxc6 Bxf2+ 7Ke2 d5 8cxb7 Bxb7 9Qa4+ c6 10Nbd2 f5 11Nxe4 fxe4 12Kxf2 0-0 13Be3 exf3 14g3 Qd6 15b4 d4 16cxd4 exd4 17Qb3+ Kh8 18Bd2 a5 19bxa5 Rab8 20Rb1 Ba8 21Qc2 Rbe8 22Re1 c5 23Rxe8 Rxe8 24Qf5 Be4 25Qf7 Qc6 26Qb3 Bd5 27Qb5 Qxb5 28Bxb5 Rc8 29Re1 Kg8 30Re8+ Rxe8 31Bxe8 g6 32Bd7 h5 33a6 c4 34Bc8 c3 35Be1 1-0
Jan-23-15  zanzibar: Another article with some biographical data:

<Helms’ greatest skill, however, was as a chess writer and organizer.

<From 1893 to 1955—an incredible span of 62 years—Helms was chess editor of the Brooklyn Eagle.>

<He also founded the American Chess Bulletin in 1904, which he published until his death in 1963.>

<As an organizer, he helped to coordinate the tournaments of New York 1924 and 1927, both of which were major grandmaster events, and edited the tournament books for both.>

The USCF proclaimed him “Dean of American Chess” in 1943, and is considered one of the greatest—if not the greatest—chess journalists in history.>

(slightly edited)

Apr-07-15  zanzibar: Submitted a photograph of him to <CG>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I've only skimmed the surface, but his pieces in the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle> are consistently excellent. There's nothing perfunctory about his reporting; he actually seems to have more interest in the local chess scene than the major international events, albeit New York wasn't exactly a backwater.
Apr-08-15  zanzibar: In <The Steinitz Papers: Letters and Documents of the First World Chess Champion By William Steinitz - p290, McFarland (2002)> is found a section entry on Hermann Helms which must have been penned by someone other than Steinitz:

<Actually, Helms was the bridge between Steinitz and the next generation. As a youngster he played Steinitz and came to his help later when needed. It was Helm, according to John Collines, with whom he was friendly, who introduced Steinitz to the women who may have been, or lived with him as, his second wife. It was Helms, who, together with Dr. Cohn, helped Steinitz to leave the asymlum, at least temporarily. He died at 93, one day after his birthday.>

It appears that the arithmetic in the bio is "off" for Helms age at the time of his death.

Apr-08-15  TheFocus: The perfect man to steer the ship.
Apr-09-15  zanzibar: Indeed.

I should have included the first preceding paragraph from <The Steinitz Papers> writeup:

<HELMS, HERMAN (1870-1963). Born in Brooklyn and educated in Nova Scotia, he returned to Brooklyn in 1889. He learned chess in school and was often referred to as the dean of American chess. His career as a player and a writer ran for more than 70 years. His column at the Brooklyn Eagle started in 1893 and continued at that paper until it ceased publication. His weekly column appeared in the New York World Telegram and the Sun, and he often wrote for the New York Times. He also edited the American Chess Bulletin.

Actually, Helms was the bridge [...]>

To not mention his long term at the (*cough*, *cough*) helm of the BDE chess column is a grievous omission.

Could some editor please remedy this. The importance of both paper and writer to American chess history is otherwise done a disservice.

Apr-09-15  morfishine: I thought Koltanowski was the "Dean of American Chess"...maybe there's more than 1 Dean
Apr-09-15  zanzibar: Ha, Koltanowski was still in diapers when Helms was first appointed.

BTW- Wiki flatly states, re: Koltanowski: <He was appointed as the "Dean of American Chess".>.

Does anybody know *who* appointed him?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <'The dean of chess in America for several generationa', writes the American Chess Bulletin of Shipley, on the sad occasion of his death in 1942.>
Jan-05-16  TheFocus: Happy Birthday, Dean of Chess!!

thanks for ACB and the BDE.

Jan-06-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Dean!!
Apr-23-17  morfishine: <zanzibar> According to his bio, the USCF gave Koltanowski the title
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 11th 1900, p.14:

<Thomas Frere, known as the dean of American chess, is seriously ill at his home in Bay Ridge.>

May-11-17  zanzibar: <MissS> interesting - he looks the part.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <To not mention his long term at the (*cough*, *cough*) helm of the BDE chess column is a grievous omission.>

Fixed, but the whole thing needs a re-write; his Wikipedia entry, by contrast, is exemplary. C.N. 9688 gives details of the discontinuation of the <BDE> column from 1907 to 1911. C.N. 4781 suggests <Edgar Holladay> succeeded Helms as editor from 1956 onwards.

Sep-22-18  zanzibar: Thanks <MissS>, it raises the old compare/contrast question of <CG> vs <wiki>.

I think the person to credit for the wiki bio is Frank Eldon Dixon fromt Kingston, Canada. He seems to have a knack for contributing good bios over there.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Edgar Holladay>, apparently, was a notable chess problemist. The earliest problem I can find attributed to him is 1945 and he was still going strong into the late 1970s. Reference is made to his being problem editor of the <ACB>, but not to his having assumed full editorship.

Here's a letter from him to the <Indianapolis Star>, March 30th 1997, p.D3:

<Why would cloning of human bodies be any more playing God than are other decisions to have children? A body is a temporary thing. But the unique soul that occupies that body for perhaps a few short decades is immortal, and souls are made by God.>

The letter comes from Carmel, so we can be pretty sure it's our man.

Jan-22-22  Z truth 000000001: I believe a photo of him, as a younger man than the above, and sans mustache, can be found here:


Jan-22-22  Granny O Doul: Helms was called the "Dean of American Chess" in all the old chess books, but it was about 1980, in response to a letter writer who though it such a cool title that it ought not to be allowed to die, that the USCF decided there must always be one.
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