Nurnberg 1896 International Chess Tournament

Nurnberg 1896 International Chess Tournament

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Author: Tarrasch, Siegbert (1862-1934)

Year: 1999

Publisher: Caissa Editions

Place: Yorklin, Delaware


x+403p+1 add with diagrams, plates, appendixes, index, table and bibliography. Royal octavo (9 1/4" x 6 1/4") issued in red cloth with gilt lettering to spine and cover. Translated and edited with commentary, including a preface to every game, by John C Owen. Additional notes by Lasker, Showalter, Steinitz, Fine, Reinfeld and others. First edition.

After the German Championship at Leipzig in 1894, the committee of the Nuremberg Chess Club, of which Tarrasch was a member, had lobbied heavily to obtain the next championship in 1896. After St. Petersburg it seemed to Tarrasch that his home ground was a perfect setting for restoring him to chess supremacy, so the club set out to attract the best players available including the four contestants at St. Petersburg. Interest was high and thirty-nine masters sent in their entries. Twenty were chosen, but at the last minute two of these Berthold Englisch, the veteran German Master, and Amos Burn, the English master had to with-draw. But to the remaining eighteen, in order that every player might enjoy a day off, the committee, on the recommendation of Moroczy then entering his first master tournament, added the young Budapest player Rudolph Charousek, who, although he was not yet able to contend for a prize, certainly had his moments. Also among the contestants was the veteran Simon Winawer, who had submitted his entry at Hastings but had requested to be allowed to play under an assumed name!? His request was denied, but one wonders if he was being hounded by creditors and what disguise he would have assumed to avoid them! Other additions to the field were the nominal U.S. Champion, Jackson W. Showalter and two German veterans, Schallopp and Forges. Of the absent only Burn was missed. A tournament misfortune was Teichmann's illness which ruined his chances in the early rounds. While he scored only two points in the first 16 rounds, he doubled that score in the last three! There was one other temporary fly in the ointment. Because of their great effort to make the championship tournament a success, the Nuremberg committee did not want to assume responsibility for holding the Hauptturnier and the other minor tournaments, which were customarily the adjunct of the biennial champion-ships. This intramural squabble led to the angry departure of Max Lange and other leaders of the association to Eisenach, where they held a "rump" of minor tournaments. Obviously there was no point to this sort of thing and two years later everyone was back together again at Cologne. The Nuremberg Chess Club had planned well. Attendance would be boosted by the fact that the Bavarian State Exposition was being held at Nuremberg that summer. This made the work of the finance committee easier. Club members, leading citizens of Nuremberg, and other chess clubs throughout Bavaria contributed generously. Finally the Museum Society of Nuremberg placed their facilities at the disposal of the tournament committee for use as the tournament site. On Sunday, 19 July, 1896 at 10:00AM the 19 contestants met at the site on the first floor at K�nigstrasse 1 for the formal greeting and the drawing of lots. The first round began on Monday, 20 July at 9:00AM. Play was from 9:00AM until 1:00PM and from 4:00PM to conclusion. A one-hour rest was taken at 8:00PM, if necessary. The time limit was 30 moves in the first two hours and 15 moves in each succeeding hour - the same as at Hastings. Admission tickets for the entire tournament were ten marks. Day tickets were one mark; tickets for one visit were 1/2 mark. The final banquet and prize giving was held on Sunday, 9 August. The first prize was 3,000 marks, the second prize 2,000 marks, the third 1,500 marks, fourth 1,000 marks, fifth 600 marks, sixth 300 marks, and seventh 200 marks. A special brilliancy prize of 300 marks was awarded to Harry Pillsbury for his win over Lasker. A special prize of 100 marks for the best score by a non-prize winner against the prize winners was awarded to Joseph Henry Blackburne. Certainly all of the prerequisites for greatness had been met at Nuremberg, from the setting, the prizes, and the participation of the greatest players of the age. And by the end of 1896, especially after the one-sided return match for the World title at Moscow, it was clear that the one most important prerequisite for greatness was the participation of Emanuel Lasker, who was the first master to dominate the chess world since Paul Morphy burst on the scene so briefly 40 years before. For many years there was no one to challenge this view until Rubinstein, and later Capablanca, appeared. And Lasker continued to hold his own against the strongest players of the world for the next 40 years until he was 68!


A near fine copy issued without jacket.

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