Chess in 1904

By Bill Wall


In 1904, Hedley Roy Abbott (1904-1979) was born in Davenport England and later moved to Christchurch, New Zealand.  He was the 1936-37 New Zealand chess champion, held in Auckland.


In 1904, the chess salon at Simpson’s Restaurant in London closed down.  Simpson’s was bought out by the Savoy Hotel group of companies.  The chess club was first formed at Simpson’s in 1828.


In 1904, the annual interstate telegraph match between the Melbourne Chess Club in Australia and the New South Wales Chess Association was cancelled because the Australian postmaster general claimed he could not spare the time since the telegraph lines were jammed from increased activity due to rates being recently reduced.  In the early days of cable matches, the telegraph companies were very glad to allow chess matches as good advertising. 


In 1904, Ossip Bernstin played 80 opponents in Berlin.  He won 71, lost 5, and drew 4.


In 1904, a match between the Manhattan CC and the Franklin CC was played at the Manhattan CC.  The 16-board match was drawn.


In 1904, the chess cable matches between the United States and England was halted due to the Russio-Japanese ware, which made arrangements for the cabling too difficult.   The cables were filled with battle reports and diplomatic necessities, with no time to allow chess cable matches.


On February 15, 1904, Vladimir F.  Ostrogsky (1877-1917) set a new world record in blindfold chess when he played 23 opponents simultaneously in Moscow.  He beat the old record of 22 blindfold games held by Harry Pillsbury in 1902.


In February-March, 1904, Frank Marshall tied for 1st with Rudolf Swiderski in the Rice Gambit tournament held in Monte Carlo.


In March 1904, Harry Pillsbury visited Los Angeles.  At the Los Angeles Chess Club, he played 12 players blindfolded.  He lost two games (to F. W. Harrison and C. W. Waterman), drew one game (R. B. Griffith) and won 9 games (T. D. Black, C. A. Miller, J. N. Epstein, W. S. Waterman, J. E. Grant, E. R. Wickersham, L. Weston, F. Neilson, and J. N. Harris).  He blamed his loss on fatigue and loss of sleep after a long train ride.  In April 1904, Pillsbury visited San Francisco.  He played 16 members of the San Francisco Chess and Whist Club.  He lost one game to Arthur Stamer.


On April 10, 1904, Erik Andersen (1904-1938) was born in Gentofte, Denmark.  He won the Danish chess championship 12 time (1923, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936).


On May 4, 1904, Harald Malmgren (1904-1957) was born in Avesta, Sweden.  He was Swedish Correspondence Champion in 1942.  He was awarded the Correspondence Grandmaster title in 1953.  He tied for 2nd place in the first World Correspondence Chess Championship, held from 1950 to 1956.


On May 5, 1904, Alfred Crosskill (1828-1904) died in Beverley, England.   He was an endgame analyst.  He used the pseudonym Euclid.  He was an expert of reaping and mowing machinery in England.  He was a former mayor of Beverley, where he was born.


On May 7, 1904, the British Chess Federation (BCF) was founded.  The BCF had been set up to replace the non-functioning British Chess Association (BCA) and initially, not only governed chess in England, but also included Wales and Northern Ireland in its region of activities.  Its 1st president was A. Naumann.


On May 9, 1904, Gosta Leonard Stoltz (1909-1963) was born in Stockholm.  He was the Swedish chess champion in 1951, 1952, and 1953.  He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1954.  He was an automobile mechanic at age 15, but eventually became a full time chess professional.


On May 19, 1904, Frank Marshall won at the Cambridge Springs International Chess Congress in Cambridge Springs, PA tournament, followed by Janowski, Lasker, Marshall, Showalter, Schlechter, Chigorin, and Mieses.  It was the first major international chess tournament in America in the twentieth century. It featured the participation of World Champion Emanuel Lasker, who had not played a tournament since 1900 and would not play again until 1909. After the tournament Lasker moved to America and started publishing Lasker's Chess Magazine, which ran from 1904 to 1907.  After the tournament, President Theodore Roosevelt invited all the players to the White House.  Baron Albert Rothschild (1844-1911) donated 500 francs ($100) for the brilliancy prize at the chess tournament in Cambridge Springs.


On June 4, 1904, Henri Grob (1904-1974) was born in Braunau, Austria (the birthplace of Hitler).  He was Swiss champion in 1939 and 1951.  He represented Switzerland in four chess Olympiads.  He was awarded the International Master title in 1950.  He was a newspaper columnist, artist and portrait painter.  He painted portraits of several grandmasters.  He married 9 times.  He is best known for popularizing 1.g4  “Grob’s Attack.”


In June 1904, the American Chess Bulletin was founded by Hermann Helms (1870-1963) and Hartwig Cassell (1850-1929).  It continued until 1963.


On June 27, 1904, Paul G. Giers (1904-1987) was born in Bonn, Germany.  He was president of the New York State Chess Association and the United States Chess Federation from 1948 to 1950. 


In the summer of 1904, Jose Capablanca came to the United States to learn English and prepare himself for entry to Columbia University.  He entered Woddycliff School in South Orange, New Jersey.


In July 1904, Honolulu played a wireless chess match with Hilo


On July 2, 1904, Erik Ruben Lundin (1904-1988) was born in Stockholm.  He won the Swedish chess championship 10 times (1932 (jointly), 1934, 1938, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1946, 1960, 1961 and 1964).  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and an Honorary GM title in 1983.


On July 27, 1904, Lyudmila Rudenko (1904-1986) was born in the Poltava region of Ukraine, in the Russian Empire.  In 1928, she won the Moscow Women's Championship.  She won the Leningrad Women's Championship three times.  She was the second Women’s World Chess Champion from 1950 to 1953.   She was USSR Women’s champion in 1952.  She was awarded the Woman Grandmaster title in 1976.  Her professional career would be as an economic planner for the Soviet Union, and chess (and swimming) would remain a hobby.  She became the Odessa swimming champion in the 400 meter breaststroke.


In August, 1904 von Bardeleben won the 14th German Chess Federation Championship in Colburg, followed by Schlechter, Swiderski, Bernstein, and Marco.


1904.08.08 Bain (Weiser), Mary born in Hungary.  Challenger 1937.  US women's ch 1951-3.


On August 8, 1904, Mary Weiser Bain (1904-1972) was born in Hungary.  She came to America in 1921 after her father never returned from battle during World War I.  She married Leslie Bain in 1926.  She was Women's World Championship Challenger in 1937 and 1952 and was awarded the WIM title in 1952. She was the first American woman to represent the U.S. in an organized chess competition. She was US Women's Champion from 1951-53.  In the 1950s she ran a chess emporium/coffee house on 42 Street in Manhattan.


On August 19, 1904, Denham Waller won the 17th New York State Chess Association tournament, held at Sylvan Beach, New York.  Frank Marshall won the Rice Trophy Competition.


On August 27, 1904, Vladimir Andreevich Makogonov (1904-1993)  was born in Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and an Honorary GM title in 1987.  He was many times Champion of Azerbaijan and played in eight USSR Championships between 1927 and 1947.  He was one of the first teachers of Garry Kasparov.


On September 3, 1904, the first British chess championship sponsored by the British Chess Federation finished at Hastings.  William Napier (1811-1952) won the men’s championship (after a playoff with Atkins).  Kate Finn won the women’s championship.


In September, 1904, the American transport liner Minneapolis played a wireless chess match with the Holland-American liner Ryndam.  The game ended in a draw after 4.5 hours of play.  Many of the passengers on both ships were betting on the game as to who would be the winner, hoping to meet and settle their bets in New York, but the outcome of the game made this unnecessary.


In September, 1904, Admiral Caspar Goodrich (1847-1925) and the officers of the United States cruiser New York played a chess game by wireless telegraph with Captain Hubbard and the officers of the cruiser Boston.  The game was finally won by the players on the Boston.


On September 17, 1904, Daniel Willard Fiske (1831-1904), an American librarian and scholar, died at Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Germany.  In 1857, he was the champion of the New York Chess Club.  His body was brought back to America and he is buried in a crypt of Sage Chapel at Cornell University in New York.  Upon his death, he left his 32,000 volume library to Cornell.  He helped organize the first American Chess Congress in 1857 and wrote the tournament book in 1859, and edited The Chess Monthly from 1857 to 1861 with Paul Morphy. His scholarly volume, Chess In Iceland and in Icelandic Literature, was used as source material by H. J. R. Murray for A History of Chess. Another manuscript, Chess Tales and Chess Miscellanies,  published posthumously, is an anthology covering chess life of the period including articles about Morphy, problems by Sam Loyd, and the history of chess including some fables.  In 1900, he founded the Reykjavik Chess Club in Iceland. He was the editor of the first Icelandic chess magazine in 1901.


On October 3, 1904, Albrecht Buschke (1904-1986) was born in Berlin.  Buschke started collecting chess books and autographs in 1920.  Soon, he had letters from Howard Staunton and Capablanca, manuscripts from Greco and Damiano and the first printing of Benjamin Franklin’s essay “Morals of Chess.”  He was a lawyer and assistant to the director and specialist in foreign currency with the Municipal Gas Company in Berlin, Germany.  He also held a license with the Berlin Court of Appeals.  All this ended in 1933 with the rise of Hitler and the removal of Jews in business and government.  In May 1938, he immigrated to the United States with over 3,000 chess books and 1,500 pieces of manuscript material.  He established himself on Staten Island, and then moved to Manhattan on Eleventh Street.  One of his most important customers was the Cleveland Public Library, which houses the world’s largest collection of chess books in the John G. White Collection.    Other libraries that ordered chess books from him were Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the New York Public Library. 


On October 5, 1904, the Rice Gambit Association was formed at the home of Isaac Rice.


On October 21, 1904, Johan Axel Akerblom (1904-1980) was born in Fors Station, Sweden.  In 1956, he was awarded the title of International Judge for Chess Composition.  In 1967, he was awarded the International Master in Composition title.  He composed more than 5,000 chess problems in his lifetime.  He was known as the Swedish Bohemian.  He was the editor of the problem column of the Swedish magazine "Schackvärlden" from 1928 to 1945.


On October 27, 1904, Stasch Mlotkowski (1881-1943) won the 5th Western Chess Association (US Open) in St Louis.


On October 27, 1904, Frank Marshall won the 7th American Chess Congress, held in St Louis.


In November, 1904, Lasker's Chess Magazine was first published.  It lasted until 1909.


On November 18, 1904, Harold Maurice Lommer (1904-1980), a British chess composer, was born in Islington.  In 1956, he was awarded the International Judge of Chess Compositions title.  In 1962, he was awarded the International Arbiter title.  In 1974, he was awarded the International Master of Chess Compositions title.  In 1939, he wrote 1234 Modern End-game Studies.


On November 23, 1904, Ludwig Rellstab (1904-1983) was born in Berlin, Germany.  He was a German chess player who won the German Chess Championship in 1942 and was awarded the International Master title in 1950.  He was awarded the International Arbiter award in 1951.  He went to Hamburg where he wrote in the chess column of the Hamburger Abendblatt, worked as a chess journalist and also as a secretary at the German Chess Federation.


On November 29, 1904, Carlos Jesus Torre Repetto (1904-1978) was born in Merida, Yucatan.  He won the Louisiana State Championship in 1923. His chess career ended prematurely when he was stricken by mental illness in the late 1920s.  He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1977.


In December, 1904, the Russian ministry issued a circular that the study of chess be added to the curriculum of the schools. (source: Williston Graphic)


On December 9, 1904, Anthony “Tony” Edward Santasiere (1904-1977) was born and raised in New York City.  He was the 12th of 13 children and grew up in extreme poverty.  In 1945, he won the US Open chess tournament.  He won the New York State Championship three times.  He was a teacher and oil painter. 


On December 12, 1904 (old style, Nov 29, 1904), Emmanuel Stepanovich Schiffers (1850-1912) died in St. Petersburg.  He was Russian champion from 1870 to 1880.  Schiffers was known as "Russia's Chess Teacher". In 1889, Schiffers gave the first public lectures on chess theory in Russia, at the St Petersburg Chess Association and in other cities. He wrote the chess textbook Samouchitel shakhmatnoi igry (Chess Self Taught, published 1906).