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Johann Jacob Loewenthal
Number of games in database: 150
Years covered: 1842 to 1874

Overall record: +53 -58 =35 (48.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 4 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (10) 
    C65 C64 C84 C78 C63
 Sicilian (10) 
    B44 B20 B30 B40 B32
 Giuoco Piano (8) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Philidor's Defense (8) 
 French Defense (7) 
    C01 C00
 King's Gambit Declined (6) 
    C30 C31
With the Black pieces:
 Giuoco Piano (8) 
 Evans Gambit (6) 
    C51 C52
 Petrov (6) 
 King's Gambit Accepted (5) 
    C39 C33 C38
 Philidor's Defense (5) 
 King's Gambit Declined (5) 
    C30 C31
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Morphy vs Loewenthal, 1858 0-1
   Loewenthal vs Brien / Wormald, 1854 1-0
   Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1858 1-0
   Anderssen vs Loewenthal, 1851 0-1
   Loewenthal vs Szen, 1842 1-0
   Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1858 1/2-1/2
   Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1858 1/2-1/2
   Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1859 1-0
   Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1858 1-0
   Anderssen vs Loewenthal, 1851 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Loewenthal - Williams Match (1851)
   Buckle - Loewenthal Match (1851)
   Morphy - Loewenthal (1858)
   5th BCA Congress, London (1862)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Birmingham 1858 by MissScarlett

   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858
   Morphy vs H Baucher, 1858
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858
   Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858
   Harrwitz vs Morphy, 1858

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Johann Jacob Loewenthal
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(born 1806, died Jul-20-1876, 70 years old) Hungary

[what is this?]

Johann Jacob Löwenthal (Lowenthal/Loewenthal) was born in 1806 (traditionally 1810) in Pest, Hungary.(1) From 1842-1862 he was a member of the international chess elite, scoring multiple wins over the best players of his day, including Paul Morphy, Howard Staunton, Adolf Anderssen, Daniel Harrwitz, and Jozsef Szen.

Hungarian Master

Despite belonging to a Jewish family, Loewenthal attended a Catholic Piarist middle school, along with future Hungarian champion Jozsef Szen. It is not known whether they were school friends or even knew each other at this point, but by 1836 they were regular partners at the Cafe Europa, Pest's premiere chess haunt. Szen, already recognized as Hungary's strongest player, gave his partner large odds, but within a year, Loewenthal could compete at even odds, and eventually began scoring some fine wins, such as Loewenthal vs Szen, 1842. Szen now regarded Loewenthal highly enough to enlist him as first assistant in an 1842 correspondence match against Paris, which Pest won 2-0. In 1846 Loewenthal toured Vienna, winning a match against Carl Hamppe. He didn't fare as well against Tassilo von der Lasa in an informal series of games at Neuner's Cafe, going down +0 -5 =2. Von der Lasa attributed this lopsided score to Lowenthal's "persistence in playing, three times, the Evans's gambit attack."(2)

In 1848 Loewenthal joined the Hungarian nationalist democratic revolution of Janos Kossuth, and served in the civil administration of a provisional parliamentary government. The revolution was crushed in late 1849 and Loewenthal fled Hungary for Germany. In Hamburg he booked passage on a steamship bound for America, and arrived in New York City on 29 December 1849.

Cincinnati Cigar Divan

Understandably, Loewenthal found himself in a state of mental distress, with scant savings and little more than a vague idea to travel west and "settle down upon the land."(3) He had not been a chess professional in Hungary, and he had no intention of pursuing a chess career in America. After some weeks he chanced upon a chess puzzle in the New York Albion which rekindled his passion for chess, and instilled a desire to join the company of strong American players. He contacted the newspaper, which in turn gave him a letter of introduction to Charles Henry Stanley, the Albion's chess column editor. Stanley knew Loewenthal was a Hungarian chess master and introduced him to the New York chess circle. Loewenthal was embraced, engaging in a series of informal matches. He began a tour of the United States, always preceded by a letter of introduction that guaranteed him a warm welcome at each new stop. During a brief sojourn in New Orleans he played, and lost, two games to a 12 year old Paul Morphy. His American odyssey ended on 22 June 1850 in Cincinnati, where he garnered enough local support to open his own "Cigar Divan" (chess parlour). In early 1851 Loewenthal's friends raised the necessary funds to send him to the International Chess Tournament in London.

Staunton's Protégé

In the first round of London 1851 Elijah Williams knocked Loewenthal out of the tournament. He was too ashamed to go back to America because he felt guilty about letting down his Cincinnati backers. Eight years later he published an apology to them in <The Book of the First American Chess Congress>. There were other reasons to remain in England, most notably the chance to test himself against the best masters in the world. Between 1851-1854 he played a series of games against Staunton, Anderssen, and Lionel Kieseritzky. Howard Staunton in particular was impressed with Loewenthal, both as a chess player and a man, and he soon became a powerful benefactor. Through his influence he secured employment for Loewenthal as a chess writer for the "Era," and in 1853 he arranged a match between his new protégé and Daniel Harrwitz, a player ranked by <The Oxford Companion to Chess> as the strongest master in the world at this time (4). The match, first to 11 wins, would prove both a grueling and bitter affair, partly because Staunton insisted on politicizing the contest even before it had begun. He castigated Harrwitz for being a professional chess player whilst praising Loewenthal for conforming to the English ideal of a gentleman master who kept "the game subordinate to the duties of life." (5) Loewenthal established a 9-2 lead, but Harrwitz dug down and after almost three months of struggle came out on top +11 -10 =12.

Staunton was disappointed by the result, but contrary to a widely held and persistent belief, he did not break off cordial relations with Loewenthal at this time.(6) Staunton continued to exert his influence to aid his protégé, recommending him as a chess tutor, an agreeable job Loewenthal could add to chess writing and chess club administration as a means to eke out a very modest income without actually becoming a chess professional. Staunton had no quibble with Loewenthal or others making a living from chess, so long as that living did not derive solely from exhibitions, playing for stakes in clubs, or winning cash prizes from matches or tournaments. The actual falling out between Staunton and Loewenthal likely arose from a disagreement over the record of an informal series of consultation matches played between 1856-1857 featuring Staunton + allies vs. Loewenthal + allies. Staunton took to boasting about his gaudy plus score, and when publicly challenged on its accuracy (though not by Loewenthal), he requested that Loewenthal publish his agreement with the tally. Loewenthal failed to do so, and Staunton severed relations. He also withdrew his longstanding public support, using his influence to ease Loewenthal out of a paid position as secretary of the St. George Chess Club.

Career Peak

Loewenthal's first English tournament victory at Manchester 1857 proved a somewhat curious affair, partly because the master's section was regarded to be an undercard for this widely publicized consultation game-Anderssen / Horwitz / Kling vs Staunton / Boden / Kipping, 1857. In addition, it was a three round single game knockout designed to finish the event as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, Loewenthal triumphed by eliminating Bernhard Horwitz and Adolf Anderssen, then "beating" Samuel Standidge Boden by drawing him in the final round. Boden was forced to leave to meet an engagement in London, so Loewenthal was declared the winner and awarded a set of Chinese carved chessmen, which he proudly put on display in London.

In 1858 Loewenthal became the first European master to face Paul Morphy, now a grown man determined to prove he was the greatest chess player in the world. Morphy won the match with relative ease, although Loewenthal managed three wins, including at least one truly fine performance in game five- Loewenthal vs Morphy, 1858. Morphy, even more dead set against chess professionalism than Staunton, tried to give the match stakes to Loewenthal, who refused, but finally allowed Morphy to buy him new furniture.

The struggle with Morphy had Loewenthal fighting fit for the Birmingham 1858 congress, which proved to be his career highlight. After dispatching James Kipping in the first round, he squared off against Howard Staunton and vanquished him in their first game, a two day 66 move struggle that lasted at least 12 hours- Staunton vs Loewenthal, 1858. The experience seemed to break Staunton, who offered little resistance in game two of the round. He would never again post a good result in a significant chess event. After eliminating John Owen in round 3, Loewenthal faced the formidable Austrian master Ernst Falkbeer in the final. In the first to 3 wins championship round, Falkbeer offered considerably more resistance than had Staunton, but Loewenthal triumphed +3 -1 =4, carrying off top honors and a 60 guinea cash prize.

Citizen of Empire

Now serving as secretary of the British Chess Association, Loewenthal organized the London 1862 congress, an imporant event featuring the English debut of Wilhelm Steinitz. The congress was also notable for its round robin format, which would soon permanently replace the traditional knock out system. In addition, Loewenthal supervised a supplementary problem solving contest, wrote the tournament book, and entered the tournament, which proved too much for him. After winning his first three rounds against Thomas Barnes, Valentine Green, and Augustus Mongredien, Loewenthal dropped out of the competition due to exhaustion. Adolf Anderssen would ultimately win the event. London 1862 marked the end of Loewenthal's competitive chess career.

Loewenthal continued to serve in the B.C.A until 1868, organizing a Challenge Cup in 1866 which was won by Cecil De Vere, who thus became recognized as the first official British Chess Champion. Loewenthal was widely respected for his work in the B.C.A., but he prompted a great uproar by attempting to use this office to create new official English chess rules designed to update the rules Staunton had laid down in 1860 in <Chess Praxis>. The controversy arose largely from one exceedingly strange proposal, that a player was not obligated to change a promoted pawn into a different piece.(7) This engendered a heated argument over English chess rules that was not finally resolved until the early 20th century.

Happily, this gaffe did not seriously affect Loewenthal's position as a leader in British chess administration. No foreign master had held so many high offices in important chess clubs and national organizations, and he formalized his full integration into the English chess scene by obtaining British citizenship in 1866. Loewenthal's love for England was reciprocated in concrete form on two occasions. In 1864 and 1874 special funds were collected to supplement his always precarious income. Four years before his death in 1876, Loewenthal met Staunton for dinner at the Malvern chess congress and renewed their friendship, an occasion Loewenthal likely appreciated as much or more than the financial support. From 1851-1876 he had dedicated his entire life to English chess, and continued to do so after his death. He left his modest estate as a trust fund to promote chess in England. This only amounted to 274 pounds, but the St. George Chess Club used it to purchase a silver cup which was used from 1922 on as a prize for inter-county championships.


(1) Loewenthal's birth year has traditionally been given as 1810, but it is likely earlier than that. In his 17 July 1866 application for British citizenship, he states he is 60 years old, which would put his birthday in 1806 or even late 1805. It seems unlikely Loewenthal would forget how old he was by a four year margin. His application can be viewed in the National Archive of the U.K. ref. HO1/133/5171.
(2) Chessplayer's Chronicle VII (1846) pp. 216-218.
(3) Daniel Willard Fiske (ed), The Book of the First American Chess Congress (New York 1859), p. 390.
(4) Hooper and Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess>. 2d Edition, Oxford 1992, p. 169.
(5) Illustrated London News XXII 15 (October 1853), p. 531.
Tim Harding, Eminent Victorian Chess Players - Ten Biographies. McFarland 2012, pp. 84-86.
(7) The B.C.A. revision of Staunton's Chess Praxis rules was intended to harmonize English and Continental rules. They were drafted with the help of foreign masters including Von der Lasa and Jaenisch. The revisions did eventually help achieve the goal of harmonization, but they were badly marred by the inclusion of the "dead pawn promotion" option, in which a player was not forced to change a promoted pawn to another piece. The discussion over the revisions was complicated by the tendency of some to support the revisions solely in order to oppose Staunton, and also by the fact that Continental journals such as the Wiener Schachzeitung agreed with Staunton that the "dead pawn" rule was ridiculous.


Daniel Willard Fiske (ed.), The Book of the First American Chess Congress. New York 1859.
Hooper and Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess. 2d Edition, Oxford 1992.
Tim Harding, Eminent Victorian Chess Players - Ten Biographies. McFarland 2012.

Audio guide

How to pronounce Lowenthal's name, courtesy of <Annie K.>:

Last updated: 2022-02-23 23:39:52

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 153  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Loewenthal vs Szen 1-0351842BudapestC53 Giuoco Piano
2. Loewenthal vs Szen 0-1371842BudapestC53 Giuoco Piano
3. K Hamppe vs Loewenthal 0-1321846Match (03)C26 Vienna
4. K Hamppe vs Loewenthal 0-1301846UnknownC26 Vienna
5. von der Lasa vs Loewenthal  ½-½321846ViennaC00 French Defense
6. Loewenthal vs K Hamppe 1-0471846Germany mC44 King's Pawn Game
7. Loewenthal vs von der Lasa ½-½381846Casual gameB01 Scandinavian
8. J H Turner vs Loewenthal 1-0311850New York mC38 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0551850Casual gameC42 Petrov Defense
10. Morphy vs Loewenthal 1-0491850Casual gameB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
11. Loewenthal vs E Williams 1-0541851Loewenthal - WilliamsC00 French Defense
12. Loewenthal vs Anderssen 0-1381851London MatchC54 Giuoco Piano
13. Loewenthal vs Staunton 0-1201851Casual gameC50 Giuoco Piano
14. Loewenthal vs Staunton 1-0391851Casual gameB40 Sicilian
15. Anderssen vs Loewenthal 0-1171851London MatchC45 Scotch Game
16. Loewenthal vs E Williams 0-1391851Loewenthal - WilliamsC00 French Defense
17. Loewenthal vs Anderssen 1-0301851London m/1C33 King's Gambit Accepted
18. Anderssen vs Loewenthal 1-0211851LondonC51 Evans Gambit
19. Anderssen vs Loewenthal 1-0201851LondonC33 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Loewenthal vs Anderssen 0-1341851London m/1C33 King's Gambit Accepted
21. Loewenthal vs Anderssen 0-1301851LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
22. Loewenthal vs C Jaenisch 1-0281851Casual gameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
23. Loewenthal vs Staunton ½-½441851Casual gameB32 Sicilian
24. Anderssen vs Loewenthal 0-1521851London MatchC42 Petrov Defense
25. Loewenthal vs A Ehrmann  ½-½561851London Chess Club tB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 153  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Loewenthal wins | Loewenthal loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-31-09  Knight13: Loewenthal drew Steinitz with score of (+0 -0 = 2) in 1866

search "Steinitz vs Loewenthal".

That proves enough that he's a very strong and underrated player.

Mar-15-10  micartouse: I love the Lowenthal ... as White because it was my first tournament win and gave me joy. :) I agree with Sneaky's line because I somehow remembered the king walk by playing against my computer, so I entered into the endgame confidently. Play actually resumed:

8. Qxf6 Nxf6
9. Nc3 d5
10. Bg5! Nxe4
11. Nxd5! 0-0
12. Be3

and despite the fact that it took me 1/2 of my time to come up with those moves, they are good and led to a crushing position. This endgame is somehow awful for Black - it seems all the tactical shots show up for White for positional reasons I don't understand.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: J.J. gets today's Victorian Trash Talking Award, for a note in the game Brien vs Gocher, Match, Ipswich, 1860. In this position:

click for larger view

White played <19.Nb5>. Loewenthal commented, in the <Chess Player's Chronicle (1860), p. 306:

<"The game is lost as ...Bxh2+ is threatened. The move in the text has the poor advantage of changing the position on the board.">

Jul-15-11  YoungEd: Here's to good friends. Tonight is kind of special. Let it be Loewenthal.
Jul-15-12  brankat: R.I.P. master Loewenthal.
Mar-12-16  zanzibar: His bio is almost longer than all the comments here.

Q- Does anybody know other games of his against Kennedy? Specifically, where/when they might have been played?

What was the general opinion about his endgame skills? How about Kennedy's?

Mar-13-16  zanzibar: Unfortunately, <CG> doesn't have the <Lowenthal--Kennedy (~1867)> game that contained this comment at the end:

Nous recommandons l'étude de cette fin de partie à compter du 25e des Blancs; d'ailleurs, Lowenthal est un des amateurs hors ligne pour les fins de parties, s'il n'est pas l'unique. >

La Stratégie v1 (1867) Parties Moderne G-8 p37

I'd like someone to provide an accurate translation of this...

<Lowenthal est un des amateurs hors ligne pour les fins de parties, s'il n'est pas l'unique.>

I have a pretty good sense of what it means, but one must pay attention to nuance in such remarks, mais oui?

Jun-05-16  zanzibar: <Here, for instance, is a highly revealing passage about a master of an even earlier day, Johann Jacob Löwenthal:

“The late Herr Löwenthal was held in great esteem by London chess players, and was of a somewhat quiet retiring disposition and very nervous as a match player. Once, when one of his chess columns suddenly collapsed he caused some little amusement to his friends—and they were legion—by the lachrymose way he had of stating his grievance.

‘Ah, my friends, I have lost my organ! I have lost my organ!’

The poor fellow would say almost wringing his hands. On making this complaint to a certain waggish chess friend, the latter said gravely,

‘Have you lost your monkey, too?’

For once the gentle Löwenthal was roused. So linking his arm into that of his waggish friend, he said

‘No! No! the monkey’s all right. I’ve got him here.’” >

From J.S. Hilbert's review of Moravian's republication of Lasker's <London Chess Fortnightly>.

lachrymose - tearful, or given to weeping.

Nov-22-16  Paint My Dragon: <Tabanus: I stumbled upon this: Hastings and St Leonards Observer, Saturday 17 July 1926, page 8:

Next Wednesday English and Hungarian chess players will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Herr Lowenthal. the great chess master, who was born at Budapest in 1810, and died in Hastings, July 21st, 1876. As we mentioned about a month ago, the stone which the St. George's Chess Club (London) erected over Lowenthal's grave in the cemetery at Ore, has been restored through the good offices of the British Chess Federation, and one of the federation officials will lay a wreath on the grave on the 21st July. Further, we learn that a brass tablet is being sent from Budapest, bearing the inscription: "To the memory of J. J. Lowenthal, from the chess amateurs of his native city. Budapest, on the 50th anniversary of his death, July 21st, 1926." This is to be fixed to the gravestone as a permanent record of their affection for a countryman who is still rememlered with esteem in all parts of the world ...>

Nice passage posted by <Tabanus> in the Biographer's Bistro, I would say deserving of a place here too.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The <Falkirk Herald> of June 26th 1926, p.6, reveals that the chess problemist and historian, <John Keeble>, was responsible, via burial records, for locating Lowenthal's grave in the Hastings Borough Cemetery, earlier that year. It seems local chess players were unaware that Lowenthal had lived and died there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: From the biographical notes:

<Loewenthal's birth year has traditionally been given as 1810, but it is likely earlier than that. In his 17 July 1866 application for British citizenship, he states he is 60 years old, which would put his birthday in 1806 or even late 1805. It seems unlikely Loewenthal would forget how old he was by a four year margin. His application can be viewed in the National Archive of the U.K. ref. HO1/133/5171.>

When and by whom was this archival discovery made? Does any other evidence support it? I note that in Harding's <Eminent Victorian Chess Players: Ten Biographies> (2012), he gave Lowenthal's birth year as <1810?>, so the issue was already live, and by this year's <British Chess Literature to 1914: A Handbook for Historians>, it'd tipped in favour of <1806?>. If anyone has access to <Eminent Victorian Chess Players>, could they check the relevant chapter and attendant notes, because these were unavailable to me via Google Books.

Wikipedia still has the DOB as <15-07-1810> based on Gaige's <Chess Personalia>, which gives several sources for Lowenthal's data, so a specfic authority for that date can't be identified.

Jul-21-18  zanzibar: WP (1876) cite Lowenthal's own account of dob 1810:

Jul-21-18  zanzibar: (Harding, btw, uses 1810 as dob in EVCP, even if seeming to prefer an earlier date. Funny that <CG> is more bold than Harding himself in the matter)

Here is what I presume is Lowenthal's own biography from <Men of the Time (1872)>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <<Loewenthal's birth year has traditionally been given as 1810, but it is likely earlier than that. In his 17 July 1866 application for British citizenship, he states he is 60 years old, which would put his birthday in 1806 or even late 1805.>

It's curious such an application didn't require a complete DOB. The question remains as to where Gaige got the exact date of July 15th. If the 1810 is wrong, should this date be suspect, as well? If the aim of knocking a few years off was simply to make himself appear more sprightly (and younger than Staunton!), would it make sense for Lowenthal to change his actual birthday?

Need to find whether Lowenthal crops up in the 1861 or 1871 censuses...

Jul-22-18  zanzibar: I would suggest going with the traditional date, officially, while noting Harding's discoveries - which aren't authoritative enough for him to use in EVCP.

But that's just me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Is the 1866 application for British citizenship, Harding's discovery? As mentioned, I don't have access to the relevant chapter and notes of <EVCP>.
Jul-22-18  zanzibar: I assumed so, note #1 above comes from Harding, I thought.

As I said, the WP article mentions Lowenthal's own input for his submission to MotT - which I assume is why 1810 is traditional. I think only July is given there, and not the exact dob (to the day).

Jul-22-18  zanzibar: The normal preview I see for Harding's EVCP only gives me the first page for Lowenthal - and it's clear Harding is using 1810 in the heading, though he mentions the caveat (which appears later, and not in a fn)
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Another matter that <EVCP> - apparently - addresses is the misdating of Lowenthal's pasing to July 21st, not the 20th, as witnessed by: Johann Jacob Loewenthal (kibitz #37). Gaige (1987, 1ed) also has the 21st.

That Lowenthal died on the 20th is confirmed by its announcement in several papers on the 21st, e.g., <Liverpool Mercury>, p.7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Now serving as secretary of the British Chess Association, Loewenthal organized the London 1862 congress, an imporant event featuring the English debut of Wilhelm Steinitz. The congress was also notable for its round robin format, which would soon permanently replace the traditional knock out system.>

I was aware that the tournaments of London 1851, New York 1857 and Birmingham 1858 were knock-out events, but it wouldn't have occurred to me that the round-robin format hadn't been used before. A preliminary check of seems to support this. Any dissenters?

Jul-22-18  zanzibar: One of the points of Z-base was to clarify the genesis of various aspects of tournament play - a subject I was interested in at the time (of Z-base, not of the first tournaments).

Anyways - if you check the Fifty listing, my/the canonical roadmap of early tournament play, you'll find this:

7. LONDON 1862
14 Player 13 Games

The first tourney where each
player plays with every other.

Reichhelm's choices are pretty good, though lacking a couple of notables (i.e. Lasker's early entry, plus some of the very early German DSB's, etc.)

Jul-22-18  zanzibar: Of course, Reichhelm did overlook this tournament - which I think is a contender in some sense for the first national RR:


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I already told you that I'm boycotting <Zanchess> as a hate site, or, at least, an instrument of <BIG DATA>.

I am not a number, I'm a free (wo)man!

Jul-23-18  zanzibar: <I am not a number, I'm a free (wo)man!>

Well, I've always thought you were a special kind of life form, one without gender.

< I already told you that I'm boycotting <Zanchess> as a hate site, or, at least, an instrument of <BIG DATA>.>

Oh, deary, that's what you say in light of day - but we know better.

Oct-06-20  login:

Who decided that white should always go first?

[Q&A, July 2020, excerpt]

'.. Johann Löwenthal, a British master, put forth one of the first proposals of record to give white the obligatory first move. At the First American Chess Congress, held in New York in 1857, Löwenthal sent two letters to the secretary of the New York Chess Club, Frederick Perrin.

On page 84 of the congress’s proceedings, it refers to one of the letters by citing “the advisableness of always giving the first move, in published games, to the player of the white pieces…” This rule was not immediately adopted, and tournament organizers maintained flexibility on the first move. In the Fifth American Chess Congress in 1880, it was written on page 164 of the Code of Chess Laws, “The right of first move must be determined by lot. The player must always play with the white men.”

Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion, repeated this idea in his 1889 book, “The Modern Chess Instructor,” where he wrote on page XII: “The players draw by lot for move and choice of color. In all international and public Chess matches and tournaments, however, it is the rule for the first player to have the white men.”

Thus, there was a growing consensus that white should move first. ..'

Courtesy of The Conversation US, with
'Chessdrummer' Dr. Daaim Shabazz, Associate Professor of International Business, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

More drums

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