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Johannes Esser
J Esser 

Number of games in database: 157
Years covered: 1896 to 1917
Overall record: +65 -68 =21 (49.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 3 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (25) 
    C68 C77 C79 C66 C60
 Tarrasch Defense (10) 
    D32 D33
 French Defense (8) 
    C11 C14 C15 C10 C01
 Queen's Pawn Game (7) 
    D00 D02 D05
 Ruy Lopez Exchange (6) 
    C68 C69
 Orthodox Defense (5) 
    D50 D55 D63 D51 D54
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (32) 
    C14 C01 C00 C11 C13
 Ruy Lopez (16) 
    C67 C65 C78 C84 C68
 French (12) 
    C00 C11 C13 C12
 Classical French (12) 
 Queen's Pawn Game (5) 
    D02 D05 D00
 Slav (4) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J Esser vs J Davidson, 1910 1-0
   Rotlewi vs J Esser, 1912 0-1
   H D B Meijer vs J Esser, 1910 0-1
   J Esser vs J W te Kolste, 1912 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Cologne-A (1911)
   Dutch Championship (1912)
   Dutch Championship (1909)
   DCA Congress 31st (1903)
   Scheveningen (1905)

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(born Oct-13-1877, died Aug-09-1946, 68 years old) Netherlands (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

He was Dutch champion in 1913.

He was a plastic surgeon who pioneered innovative methods of reconstructive surgery on soldiers wounded in the First World War.

Wikipedia article: Jan F. Esser

Last updated: 2022-11-19 17:47:07

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 157  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Steinitz vs J Esser  ½-½351896Simul, 28bC34 King's Gambit Accepted
2. R Loman vs J Esser  1-0321896Blindfold simul, 6bC11 French
3. J Esser vs H Weiss  1-0331898CologneC11 French
4. H Strick van Linschoten vs J Esser  1-0331898Morphy CC anniversaryC11 French
5. Marshall vs J Esser 1-0261899London-BC56 Two Knights
6. G Marco vs J Esser  ½-½231899London-BC67 Ruy Lopez
7. J Mieses vs J Esser  1-0501899London-BC01 French, Exchange
8. J Esser vs O C Mueller  1-0551899London-BC66 Ruy Lopez
9. D Bleijkmans vs J Esser  0-163190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemD05 Queen's Pawn Game
10. J Esser vs W Meiners  1-048190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemD00 Queen's Pawn Game
11. B Leussen vs J Esser 1-0151901UtrechtC26 Vienna
12. J Esser vs G Exner  0-156190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
13. B Leussen vs J Esser 1-020190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC67 Ruy Lopez
14. J Esser vs Olland  0-132190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
15. A van Foreest vs J Esser  ½-½40190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC11 French
16. J Esser vs N Mannheimer  ½-½57190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
17. R Loman vs J Esser  1-033190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC30 King's Gambit Declined
18. Olland vs J Esser 1-038190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC67 Ruy Lopez
19. J Esser vs J W te Kolste  ½-½45190129th DCA Congress, HaarlemC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
20. Olland vs J Esser 0-1321902NEDD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. J Esser vs B Leussen  1-0451902Discendo Discimus JubileeB73 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
22. J Esser vs Olland  0-1321903MatchC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
23. Olland vs J Esser  1-0551903MatchC30 King's Gambit Declined
24. J Esser vs Olland  1-0371903MatchC14 French, Classical
25. Olland vs J Esser  1-0351903MatchC14 French, Classical
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 157  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Esser wins | Esser loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-29-04  nikolaas: Johannes Fredericus Samuel Esser.

Born in 1877 in Leiden. In 1903 he did his exams for doctor and succeeded. In 1910, he defeated Janowsky in a match. Three years later, he became Champion of the Netherlands by defeating Loman. He was a very excentric man. He even wanted a independant country for a certain kind of surgery. What's even more amazing: he nearly did it. He had chosen a little island in Grece, but he asked too much; he even wanted his own kind of stamps etc. Something like Ilyumzjinov with his chess-country.

He moved to America in 1940 and died in Chicago in 1946.

Oct-13-06  BIDMONFA: Johannes Esser

ESSER, Johannes

Oct-22-08  Karpova: From Hans Ree's "An Unbridled Life", June 2002:

An excerpt:

<Jan Esser (1877-1946) was Dutch chess champion, chess columnist, president of the Dutch chess federation for a short time and founder of several chess clubs. He was an enthusiastic match player and once beat Janowski 2-1. But his most remarkable achievements were not in chess. He was a man who wanted to be the best in every field he touched and to a large extent he succeeded in this. Still, his most ambitious scheme became a failure and he died in poverty and isolation, his pioneering efforts forgotten and neglected.

While still living in the Netherlands as a general medical practitioner, his house became a meeting place of artists and intellectuals and his friendship with several of the greatest Dutch artists was to be the foundation of his career as one of the greatest private art collectors that the Netherlands has ever known. Just one example, given in Neelissen's book: at a time that Piet Mondriaan, who was to become the most famous Dutch artist of the 20th century, was still virtually unknown, Esser already possessed 70 of his works. Many Dutch museums possess works donated by Esser, some of them are the crown jewels of their collection.

Esser was also a shrewd financial speculator, who bought and sold castles, palaces, theatres and grand hotels as easily as if they were toy buildings from Legoland. He was a farmer, horse-breeder, builder, hotel manager, operator of a vaudeville house, but all these were only side-activities to his practical and theoretical work as a pioneer of plastic surgery.

This by the way was a term that Esser abhorred, because it suggested trivial cosmetic operations for the idle rich. From time to time he did not feel above making some easy money that way, but his real work was quite different: he gave new faces and a bearable life to the victims of battles or of terrible accidents whose faces had exploded.

The beginning of his spectacular career as a "structive surgeon" - the term invented by Esser - was in World War I. At first he had offered his services to the French and British governments, who were not interested, and so in 1915 he went to the other side, the German and Austrian empires. With him he took four Dutch nurses, recruited from the staff of a rival Dutch surgeon who was not at all pleased. Accommodating the wishes of others was never to be a consideration in Esser's grand schemes.

From Brünn (nowadays the Czech Brno) where he arrived in 1915, he moved to Vienna, then to Budapest and finally to Berlin, where he became quite famous. A Dutch newspaper reported in 1918 that the Emperor's sister in law, the Duchess of Sleeswijk-Holstein-Coburg, took part in his operations as an assistant and that the Empress visited his clinic and conversed with his patients.

Esser performed thousands of operations and developed many new techniques, which he was to describe later in books and scientific articles. As Neelissen writes, some of these techniques were to be reinvented about fifty years later by American surgeons who had no idea that Esser had ever existed.>

Apr-25-09  Dredge Rivers: Esser, no sir!
Jul-31-09  myschkin: . . .

Photo (1904):

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Esser won the "unofficial" Dutch championship tournament at Haarlem in 1908. He also edited the chess column in the "Algemeen Handelsblad".
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is a description of Esser's book "Biological or Artery Flaps of the Face":

Aug-23-12  Karpova: Regarding the short match against Janowski:

Paris, end of May to beginning of June, +2 -1 in Dr. Esser's favor. Dr. Esser ground down Janowski in the Ruy Lopez with 4.Bxc6 thereby giving Janowski no chance to play in his usual combinative style as he was forced into an unfavourable endgame.

From page 252 of the 1910 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Aug-25-12  Karpova: Dr. Esser beat Eugene Ernest Colman in a match in Amsterdam with +5 =3 -2 around 1911.

From page 59 of the 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: He gave a simul in Venezuela on Mar/10/1904:

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <GrahamClayton: Here is a description of Esser's book "Biological or Artery Flaps of the Face">

I've actually read <Biological or Artery Flaps of the Face> and it is a wonderful, hilarious, heart-warming book. Tears mixed with laughter! Highly recommended.

Feb-16-15  zanzibar: Oh, my word. The link <Graham> shows two books, priced for sale at $15k and $27k apiece.

A might bit spendy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <zanzibar: Oh, my word. The link <Graham> shows two books, priced for sale at $15k and $27k apiece. A might bit spendy>

My edition cost me €124,966 and it was worth every cent! Highly recommended!

Feb-16-15  zanzibar: I'm glad you feel that way (especially considering the price).

It's steep, but still far below qualifying for this list:

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It is also on Kindle for $0.01.
Feb-16-15  zanzibar: An extensive review, of a 2003 expanded edition, en français:

<Esser, Johannes Fredericus Samuel:

Artery flaps. Introd. by J. C. van der Meulen,

B. Haeseker. Amsterdam, Erasmus Publ., 2003. XXXV, 164 p. Ill. I 85.–. ISBN 90-5235-160-0.

Rééditer le texte de la chirurgie «structive» d’Esser, voilà une excellente initiative. Soutenu par les éditions Erasmus de Rotterdam et sous la direction de J. C. van der Meulen, Johannes Fredericus Samuel Esser (1877–1946) retrouve sa place dans l’histoire de la chirurgie plastique. Souvent mis de côté, voire occulté par Harold Delf Gillies (1882–1960), un autre grand plasticien du début du XXe siècle, Esser a aussi droit à autant de reconnaissance, ce qui est accompli avec cette publication.

L’ouvrage est partagé en deux parties: une première rassemblant une introduction, deux biographies partielles et une reproduction de la plupart des comptes-rendus parus lors de l’édition originale. La deuxième partie présente une reproduction complète de Biological or artery flaps of the face publié en 1932. La première notice biographique nous conduit dans des détails assez personnels de la vie d’Esser, tandis que, dans la deuxième notice biographique, écrite par son biographe Barend Haeseker, un autre plasticien hollandais, nous découvrons beaucoup plus de faits concernant sa vie professionnelle. Pour l’historien, il aurait été souhaitable que ces deux biographies soient complétées par des références, permettant à celui qui veut en savoir plus de compléter ses connaissances. La fin de la première partie est occupée par de nombreux comptes-rendus qui mettent véritablement en exergue l’importance du travail d’Esser. Il ne fut pas seulement celui qui décrivit des lambeaux vascularisés de la face et les lambeaux de rotation mais aussi celui qui développa la technique de couverture des greffons libres de peau d’un pansement humide pour améliorer l’intégration de la greffe avec les tissus avoisinants. La deuxième partie reproduit,in extenso, le texte original de l’ouvrage d’Esser. Elle est précédée par une reproduction de l’introduction d’une édition ultérieure et non datée.Par ailleurs, l’édition reproduite est mentionnée comme deuxième impression. Cela est quelque peu confus. Quelques lignes auraient suffi pour clarifier la situation. La première édition date de 1929 et comporte 407 illustrations.

La deuxième impression, livrée dans cet 316
ouvrage, date de 1932 et comporte 408 illustrations et quelques petites modifications. L’édition ultérieure,dont l’introduction figure aussi,comporte 420 illustrations et date certainement de 1935. La qualité de reproduction des nombreuses images est excellente et le prix de 85 euros est tout à fait correct pour un tel ouvrage. Malgré ces quelques petites imperfections, il devrait prendre place dans toutes les bibliothèques de chirurgie plastique, non seulement pour rappeler l’importance d’Esser mais aussi pour démontrer l’excellence de son travail.

Albert Mudry, Lausanne>

I wonder how many illustrations are in your edition, my dear <offramp>?

I could xpand a bit more, but will end with a note for biographers...

Our chess player's full name appears to be

<Johannes Fredericus Samuel Esser>

Feb-16-15  zanzibar: Here is a picture of Esser, he's seated, on the far left.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <zanzibar: Here is a picture of Esser, he's seated, on the far left. ...>

He is staring at Christiaan Messemaker 's faceplaps.

Feb-17-15  zanzibar: <Jan Esser arts, collector and chess


Esser as Chess [blame google translate]

Why chess will think most of the readers. Jan Esser is so called by Hans Ree (in the book Brilliant Chess) not wrongly "the forgotten champion". After all, he's been even 2x Dutch Champion.

In 1908, John Esser won ex aequo with M.F.S. Pape first prize in the main group of the Federal Contests in Haarlem. This tournament was in those days, when there was no formal championship, considered the unofficial Dutch championship. And official Dutch champion he was in 1913 by Rudolf Loman, the champion of 1912 in a match on up to six parties to defeat from 3.5 to 0.5. Esser also played a lot short matches. As he knew, for instance in 1910 with Yanowsky beat 2-1. (The same Yanowsky that in those years a match against Lasker was able to play the same.) But a world topper Esser was certainly not. In London in 1899 he scored example, only 4 out of 11, well behind real top as Marshall, Marco and Mieses.

But also as a chess organizer Esser was very active. Already in 1893 he founded in Leiden together with some classmates at the chess Morphy. From 1898 to 1915 he was on the editorial board of the Journal, organ of the Dutch Chess Federation. He was a few months in 1908/1909 President of the Dutch Chess Federation. And in 1910 he founded the Amsterdam Chess Club Parkwijk on. From 1909 to 1913 he finally also kept the Saturday chess section of the Algemeen Handelsblad.>

It also includes a photograph of him as a young man. Here's a picture of him much older:

According to this site:

<The Allies did not use his services because he did not have the right papers. >

Which differs slightly with the other story that the Allies ~ "weren't interested", as told above.

Here's a photograph of what I assume is a sample of before/after his work (warning - graphic):


I also recall reading that he may of been the coiner of the medical term Stent, after its eponymous inventer, Charles Stent, a dentist:

It's clear that Esser extensively utilized stents in his reconstructive surgeries - or so I believe.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Interesting article in English:, then download full text.

Oct-13-15  thegoodanarchist: Esser is player of the day today. And nobody cared but me, so far.

There are still more than 8 hours to go on the West Coast, so come and pay your respects!

Oct-13-17  jith1207: reached within 8 hours, only 2 years later.
Oct-13-18  jith1207: Earth has gone another round around the Sun, but it's only me who still cares.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Not true! I commend Esser for all the mutilated soldiers he put back together to give them a semblance of a normal life.

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