Chess in 1897

by Bill Wall



In 1897, the American Chess Code was published on the chess rules.


In 1897, Bonar Law was elected President of the Scottish Chess Association.


In 1897, Steinitz and Lipschutz tied in the NY State Championship.


In 1897, Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), the Nobel Prize winner in Literature in 1905, wrote the historical novel The Knights of the Cross or The Teutonic Knights.  The book was first serialized by the magazine Tygodnik Illustrowany, then printed in book form in 1900.  It was the first book to be printed in Poland at the end of World War II in 1945.  The knights play chess.


In 1897, Marvin Palmer was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  He won the Iowa championship at 20.  He won the Michigan championship 5 times.


In 1897, Sergei Urusov died.  He was a chess-playing Russian prince.


In 1897, the first Nordic Championship was won by S. Svensson in Stockholm.


In 1897, Mikhail Barulin was born in Russia.  He fostered chess problems in Russia.


In 1897, Steinitz played 22 games blindfold (+17) in Vienna at age 61.


In 1897, the 2nd Anglo-American match was played.  Great Britain won 5.5-4.5 against the USA.


In 1897, Forry Laucks was born.  He was the founder of Log Cabin Chess Club.


In 1897, the Correspondence Chess League of America was loosely organized.


On Jan 14, 1897, Lasker defeated Steinitz, 12.5-4.5 (+10=5-2), in Moscow for the world chess championship.


In Feb 1897, Pillsbury won the 6th US championship in a match against Showalter in NY.  He won 10-8, with 3 draws.  Pillsbury said he did not want the title.


In February 1897, the press falsely reported William Steinitz’s death.  The headline of the Indianapolis News was “William Steinitz Dead.”  A dispatch from Moscow says that William Steinitz died in a private hospital, where he had recently been placed on account of mental disorder.  (source: Indianapolis News, Feb 22, 1897 and New York Times, Feb 22, 1897)  The story was retracted several days later after associating chess with brain disease, and that Steinitz was not dead, but hopelessly insane.  (source: New York Times, Feb 26, 1897)


On Feb 12, 1897, Abram Gurvich was born in Russia.  He was a chess problemist.


In 1897, the first reference to lightning chess appeared in the March 1897 issue of the British Chess Magazine.


On March 14, 1897, Giorgio Guidelli was born in Serravalle d'Asti, Italy.  He was a chess composer.


On Mar 23, 1897, Jose Araiza was born in Mexico.  He won the Mexican championship 15 times in a row.


On May 10, 1897, David Gedult was born in Warsaw.  He was an amateur chess player that specialized in unusual chess openings.


On May 18, 1897, Edgar Colle was born in Ghent, Belgium.  He was Belgium champion in 1924.


On May 31st to June 1st, 1897, a cable match was arranged between five members of the U.S. House of Representatives (3 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 Populist) in Washington, DC, and five members of the British House of Commons in London. The match ended in a draw, 2.5 to 2.5. This match was arranged by Richmond Pearson (1852-1923), U.S. Representative of North Carolina and Sir John Heaton (1848-1914), a British Conservative Member of Parliament. In this match, a record of time in cable matches was established. Twenty moves were cabled in 21.5 minutes, one move going to and from Washington in 14 seconds.   The signals were carried by the Anglo American Telegraph Company and the Western Union Telegraph Company.


In June 1897, Harry Pillsbury, in a simultaneous exhibition, played 30 of the best chess players in Washington, DC, winning 27 and drawing 3.  He also played 6 games of checkers, winning 4, losing 1, and drawing 1.  (source: Washington Morning Times, June 3, 1897)


In June 1897, the 1st women's international tournament was held at the Hotel Cecil in London. It was won by Mary Rudge (18 wins and one draw), followed by Fagan, Thorold, Worrall, Ponnefin, Thomas, and Barry.  Miss Rudge won 60 British pounds.  (source: New York Times, July 5, 1897 and The Westminster Budget, July 9, 1897)


On July 25, 1897, Andre Muffrang was born.  He was an International Master.


On Aug 12, 1897, Antonius van der Linde, Dutch chess historian, died in Weisbaden.  He was a Dutch historian and considered the first renowned chess historian.


On Aug 16, 1897, Major William Wilson, VP of the Mercantile Library Chess Club, was murdered.


On Sep 28, 1897, Heinrich Fraenkel was born in Germany.  He was known as Assiac.


On Oct 15, 1897, Conrad Bayer died in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia.  He was a prize-winning problemist.


On Oct 19, 1897, Berthold Englisch died in Vienna of a brain disease.  He was German champion in 1879.  He had recently withdrawn from the Berlin International.  At the time, he was accused of accepting a bribe from a weak opponent to withdraw, but his death disproved that report.  (source: New York Times, Oct 20, 1897)


On Nov 30, 1897, Octavio Trompowsky was born in Rio de Janeiro.  He won the 1939 Brazilian chess championship.  The moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 are known as the Trompowsky Attack.