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Max Harmonist
Number of games in database: 44
Years covered: 1885 to 1898

Overall record: +11 -24 =8 (34.9%)*
   * 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:
 Ruy Lopez (6) 
    C65 C67
 French Defense (4) 
    C14 C01 C02
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (7) 
    C67 C69 C77 C60
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Gunsberg vs Harmonist, 1887 0-1
   Harmonist vs NN, 1897 1-0
   Harmonist vs Tarrasch, 1888 1-0
   Harmonist vs Paulsen, 1889 1-0
   Tarrasch vs Harmonist, 1888 1/2-1/2
   Harmonist vs Blackburne, 1887 1-0
   H Stutzkowski vs Harmonist, 1898 0-1
   E Schallopp vs Harmonist, 1887 0-1
   Harmonist vs A Fritz, 1889 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Breslau (1889)
   Frankfurt (1887)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Max Harmonist
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(born Feb-10-1864, died Oct-16-1907, 43 years old) Germany

[what is this?]
Max Harmonist was a professional ballet dancer. His tournament results were humble with his best result being 4th= with Louis Paulsen at Nuremberg 1888, but he won the brilliancy prize at Frankfurt 1887 for his game with Isidor Gunsberg.

Wikipedia article: Max Harmonist

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 44  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Harmonist vs A Flad  0-1371885Hamburg IIC02 French, Advance
2. Harmonist vs Mackenzie 0-14018875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC45 Scotch Game
3. E Schallopp vs Harmonist 0-12818875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
4. Alapin vs Harmonist 1-02318875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC44 King's Pawn Game
5. Paulsen vs Harmonist 1-02818875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC49 Four Knights
6. Harmonist vs J N Berger 0-15018875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
7. Harmonist vs Englisch 0-11518875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC47 Four Knights
8. Harmonist vs Blackburne 1-03618875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtB30 Sicilian
9. Von Bardeleben vs Harmonist 1-03118875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Gunsberg vs Harmonist 0-12618875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC50 Giuoco Piano
11. Harmonist vs A Fritz ½-½2818875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC41 Philidor Defense
12. Schiffers vs Harmonist 1-02818875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC54 Giuoco Piano
13. Harmonist vs Metger ½-½2518875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. M Weiss vs Harmonist 1-04118875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC77 Ruy Lopez
15. Taubenhaus vs Harmonist 0-15018875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC25 Vienna
16. Harmonist vs Burn 0-11818875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC14 French, Classical
17. Harmonist vs Von Gottschall 0-12218875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC45 Scotch Game
18. Zukertort vs Harmonist 1-02718875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC30 King's Gambit Declined
19. Harmonist vs Tarrasch 0-13818875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC14 French, Classical
20. H Caro vs Harmonist  1-0481888BerlinC29 Vienna Gambit
21. Harmonist vs Tarrasch 1-04318882-BSB CongressC01 French, Exchange
22. Tarrasch vs Harmonist ½-½2518882-BSB CongressD05 Queen's Pawn Game
23. Burn vs Harmonist  ½-½4018896th DSB Congress, BreslauC67 Ruy Lopez
24. Harmonist vs Schiffers 1-04118896th DSB Congress, BreslauB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
25. Harmonist vs Tarrasch 0-14618896th DSB Congress, BreslauC67 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 44  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Harmonist wins | Harmonist loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-12-06  guitar2001: McCool: <pawntificator: Max was a ballet dancer by profession!! > Really? I would have thought he was a harmonist.(someone who creates harmonies)

You're a McLoser.

Feb-10-08  brankat: Mr.Harmonist had a talent for the game, but never saw it as a profession.

He did beat Gunsberg, Blackburne, Tarrasch, Mieses, Paulsen, drew a game against A.Burn.

No small feat for an amateur.

Feb-10-09  whiteshark: Player of the Day

Bio: !

The game:Gunsberg vs Harmonist, 1887

Feb-10-09  brankat: Thanks Sharky. A beautiful game indeed.
Feb-10-09  ILikeFruits: players wanna play...
ballers wanna ball...
rollers wanna roll...
Feb-10-09  brankat: Fruits are good for all of them!
Feb-10-09  ILikeFruits: indeed...
Feb-10-09  whiteshark: I have been looking for a second picture from M. Harmonist but so far no success. The photograph above was published on page 356 of Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten, 1926

--> CN 3885

Feb-10-09  WhiteRook48: let's have him play music
Apr-13-09  Dredge Rivers: Ballet? Fooey!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday!
Feb-10-12  Llawdogg: Cool name!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: From the Berlinerschachverband item, it appears that although he was a professional ballet dancer at the Royal Opera, "he suffered from the lingering illness of Cerebal Palsy"
Sep-16-12  Karpova: He won the Jubilee Tournament of the Berlin Chess Society which began on August 15, 1887. The other participants were Caro, Cordel, Kirdorf, Dr. Lasker (Berthold or Emanuel?), Rothländer, Schallopp and von Scheve. 2nd place went to von Scheve (200 Mark) and 3rd to Schallopp (150 Mark). Max received 300 Mark.

From page 16 of the September 1887 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <From the Berlinerschachverband item, it appears that although he was a professional ballet dancer at the Royal Opera, "he suffered from the lingering illness of Cerebal Palsy">

I wonder which symptoms of CP he showed if he could professionally dance. I know there are some "mild" forms of CP, but mild enough to dance?!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Really too bad that Harmonist wasn't a musician or conductor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He is mentioned in Fischer's 60MG.
Feb-10-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Max Harmonist.
May-03-16  zanzibar: From the intro...

<...but he won the brilliancy prize at Frankfurt 1887 for his game with Isidor Gunsberg.>

I think this statement is wrong.

Although his game with Gunsberg may have been brilliant, I don't think it won the Brilliancy Prize. Does anybody have a ref that it did?

<whiteshark> posted a link to a German writeup on Harmonist, which does mention the game, but it only offers this:

<One of his finest games was brought on the occasion of its centenary the chess friends in memory. It was played in 1887 in Frankfurt Master Tournament.>

The original link is stale, here's an archived version:

* * * * *

The game which did win the Brilliancy Prize did indeed involve Harmonist, but on the losing side of the board:

<Schiffers--Harmonist (1887)>

See Reinfeld's <Great Brilliancy Prize Games of the Chess Masters>, p17

Also, several mentions in BCM, e.g. v25 (1905) p57-8:

where it says:

<The Deutsche Schachzeitung, from which the notes to this game are taken, remarks: "For this game, which the 'Chess Monthly' calls the pearl of the tourney, Herr Schiffers received the special brilliancy prize of 100 marks, given by Mr. Lewis, of London.>

Batgirl mentions the Schiffers--Harmonist game as well, citing an earlier BCM ref which got the tournaments confused:

Oct-31-16  Marcelo Bruno: <Karpova> I admit almost certain that the Dr. Lasker was Berthold, Emanuel's brother.
Mar-07-18  zanzibar: Tarrasch talks extensively about Harmonist here:


Yes, Tarrasch confirms he died from CP:


After a prolonged illness, cerebral palsy, Max Harmonist died at the age of 42 years. Those of us who were his friends always remember his creative personality.


Feb-10-19  JimNorCal: He died relatively young
May-01-21  login:

'Yes, Tarrasch confirms he died from CP'

Hell, no.

References to death notes (in German):

There is an obvious translation error by lack of sufficient medical knowledge. Without further ado we rule out 'cerebral palsy' right off the bat, certainly this cannot be the condition (let alone the cause of death) as it would never have allowed Harmonist to develop the required skill for a profession so dependent on precise motor control and muscular strengh for many years straight ( Let's refrain from going into details here, instead claim young joyful Max simply 𝗳𝘂𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗱 around the Kaiserreich and further through bohemian Berlin while he catched at least one STD namely Syphilis somewhere along the way from one body cavity to the next.

Synopsis, the cause of death (considering Tarrasch was quoted correctly) was known then as 'Neurosyphilis/Dementia paralytica' (Treponema pallidum pallidum infection, tertiary stage). Ever since the German vocabulary was enlarged by the pretty useful term 'Hirnerweichung'.

Possible differential diagnose was severe poisoning/intoxination/substance abuse resulting in irreversible Polyneuropathy or something entirely different.

(Unrelated) records ordinary Berlin madhouse


(further reading in German)

May-01-21  login:

Now the fun part:

Max Harmonist dancer at

'Königliche Oper Berlin'
'Königlichen Opernhauses unter den Linden'
'Hofoper in Berlin'
'Ballett der Berliner Staatsoper'
'Königliche Schauspiele in Berlin'
'Lindenoper in Berlin'

Different names for this fat beauty

History of Ballett in Berlin

There he is quoted reaching the ranks of

'königlicher Tänzer'

e.g. from 'Bayreuther Blätter', Allg. Richard Wagner Verein, 1891



residing in 'Fischerbrücke 14',
from 'Neuer Theater-Almanach Theatergeschichtliches Jahr- und Adressen-Buch', Druck und Kommissionsverlag von F. A. Günther & Sohn, 1893

see 'Historical addresses of Mitte'

Symbolic picture


Oct-20-21  Marcelo Bruno: I thought the possibility that his family name can be someone that plays the harmonica or harmonium.
search thread:   
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