Chess in 1916

By Bill Wall


In 1916, Siegbert Tarrasch and Jacques Mieses played a chess match in Berlin.  The prize was 1/2 pound of butter.  Tarrasch won 9-4.


On January 7, 1916, Paul Keres (1916-1975) was born in Narva, Estonia.  He won the USSR championship in 1947, 1950, and 1951.  He finished 2nd five times in the Candidates’ tournaments.  In his lifetime, he defeated 9 world chess champions.


On February 4, 1916, Octavio Troinescu (1916-1980) was born in Cernauti, Austria-Hungary (now Romania).  He was Romanian champion in 1946, 1954, 1956, 1957, and 1968.  He was awarded the International Master (IM) title in 1950.


In January-February 1916, Jose Capablanca won the Rice Memorial, held in New York, held in honor of Professor Isaac Rice, who had died in November, 1915.  He won 12 games and drew 4 games, losing 1.   In the Rice Memorial event, Capablanca lost one game, to New York State chess champion Oscar Chajes, on Feb 8, 1916. He would not lose another chess game for 8 years, losing at New York 1924 to Richard Reti on March 22, 1924.   He played at least 136 games between 1914 and 1924, only losing one game.


On March 21, 1916, Frank Marshall played 105 boards in a simultaneous exhibition held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  It was a world record at the time.  One member of Congress (Congressman James Glynn of Connecticut), as well as members of the press club, newspaper correspondents and local experts participated.  Marshall won 82 games, lost 8 and drew 15 in 7 hours.  The Vice President of the United States, Thomas R. Marshall, was there to watch and followed Frank Marshall’s performance with great interest.


In April, 1916, Charles Jaffe (1879-1941) was involved in a court battle involving non-inclusion for publication of some of his chess analysis.  Jaffe brought suit to recover $700 for work alleged to have been done in analyzing the Rice Gambit that was never published for a book called Twenty Years of the Rice Gambit.   Jaffe lost the case, since the publisher never asked Jaffe to do any analytical work for him. (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Apr 5, 1916)


On May 6, 1916, Paul Tautvaisas (1916-1980) was born in Bychov, Mogilev (now Belarus).  He was a Lithuanian-American chess master.  In 1943, he won the Lithuanian chess championship. 


On May 11, 1916, Osmo Ilmari Kaila (1916-1991) was born in Helsinki.  He was Nordic champion in 1946 and Finnish champion in 1938-39 (after a play-off) and 1953-54.  He was awarded the IM title in 1952


On May 15, 1916, Vincenzo Castaldo (1916-1970) was born.  He was Italian champion in 1936, 1937, 1947 (after a play-off), 1948 (after a play-off), 1952 (jointly), 1953 and 1959 (after a play-off). He was Italian CC champion in 1956.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.


On June 5, 1916, Borislav Kostic (1887-1963) played 20 blindfold games simultaneously in New York, winning 19 and drawing 1. It took him 6 hours and 11 minutes to finish the exhibition.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jun 5, 1916)


On July 5, 1916, Friedrich Kohnlein (1879-1916) died in the Battle of Somme in France.  He was a German master and problemist.  He composed about a 150 chess problems.


On July 26, 1916, Henry Charlick (1845-1916) died in Adelaide, Australia.  He was 71.  He was the first Australian chess champion in 1887.


On August 20, 1916, Paul Felix Schmidt (1916-1984) was born in Narva, Estonia.  He was Estonian champion in 1936 and 1937.  He was German Champion in 1941.  FIDE awarded him the IM title in 1950.


On August 23, 1916, the 17th Western Chess Association (US Open) was held in Chicago.  Edward Lasker took 1st, followed by Jackson Showalter.


On September 3, 1916, Alexander Koblencs (1916-1993) was born in Riga, Russian Empire.  He was the Latvian Championship in 1941, 1945, 1946 and 1949.


On September 16, 1916, Vernon Dilworth (1916-2004) was born.  He popularized the opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4, now known as the Dilworth Attack.


On November 18, 1916, Miguel Cuellar Gacharma (1916-1985) was born in Columbia.  He was Colombian champion nine times (1941, 1946, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1971).  He was awarded the IM title in 1957. 


On December 4, 1918, Kaarle Sakari Ojanen (1916-2009) was born in Helsinki.  He has been Finnish champion in 1950, 1951, 1951-52, 1952-53, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1983 (after a play-off).  He was awarded the IM title in 1952.


On December 13, 1916, Isidor Gunsberg was successful in suing the Associated Newspapers and the chess column Chess News Agency, written by A. W. Foster, for libel, winning 250 British pounds in damages.  Foster wrote that Gunsberg wrote a hostile series full of chess blunders and a high proportion of unsound problems with a series of second solutions that keep popping up.


On December 26, 1916, Marshall played 129 boards simultaneously in Philadelphia, a new world record.  It was played at the Curtis auditorium.  Marshall played for 8 hours, walking 18 miles.  Marshall won 97, lost 9, and drew 23.