Geza Maroczy

by Bill Wall

Geza Maroczy (GAY-zaw MAHR-otsee) was born in Szeged, Hungary on March 3, 1870.

He learned chess as a school boy.

He developed his game while studying engineering at the Polytechnial in Zurich in the 1890s, but he did not complete his engineering degree.

He played in his first chess tournament, in Budapest, in 1894.

In 1895 he won the “minor” championship at Hastings. Harry Pillsbury won the master's event.

In 1895 he defeated Charousek in a match in Hungary. He won 6, lost 2, drew 6.

In 1896 he took 2nd place at Nuremberg, behind Emanuel Lasker, but ahead of Tarrasch and Pillsbury.

In 1897 he was a Professor of Mathematics in Budapest.

In 1902 he won at Monte Carlo with a 14 3/4 score, ahead of Pillsbury, who had 14 1/2. The quarter of a point was for the first draw. Draws after that were 1/2 point.

In 1905 Maroczy challenged Lasker for the world championship match.

In April 1906, he and Emanuel Lasker signed an agreement to play a match for the first to win 8 games. The match fell through. New York chess circles tried to raise the money for the match stakes, but failed. The Havana Chess Club agreed to fund and host the match, but a revolution broke out in Cuba and the deal fell through. The opportunity for a match never game again. In 1907 Lasker played the weaker Frank Marshall, instead, and won with 8 wins, no losses, and 7 draws. The purse was for $1,000.

He retired from chess play in 1908 to devote more time to his profession as a clerk.  He worked as an auditor at the Center of Trade Unions and Social Insurance.  At the time, he was perhaps ranked number 2 in the world in chess, behind Lasker. He later resumed his chess career.

In 1909 he wrote the first thorough book about Paul Morphy. It was published in Leipzig.

During World War I, he suffered from extreme poverty.

In 1919 he was accused a Communist in Hungary and was dismissed from his job as a senior officer at a savings bank and was a chief auditor at the Educational Ministry. He later moved to Hastings, England.

In 1921, he started coaching Vera Menchik who became the Woman's World Chess Champion in 1927. He also began giving simultaneous chess exhibitions.

In the Netherlands, he coached Max Euwe.

He later moved to New York and directed the 1927 New York International.

He returned to Hungary in 1927 and played for Hungary in the Chess Olympiad, held in London.  Hungary won the gold medal.

In 1927/1928, he defeated the 1924 champion of Hungary, Geza Nagy (1892-1953), in a match, scoring 5 wins, 3 draws, and no losses.

In 1931, during a chess tournament in Bled, he challenged Nimzovich to a pistol duel at dawn Nimzovich refused.

In 1935 and 1937 he was the tournament director for the Alekhine-Euwe match.

In 1945 he lived in an overcrowded shelter in Budapest. He later contracted pneumonia and almost died.

In 1946 he and his wife left Hungary for Amsterdam, but could go no farther than Vienna.

In 1947 he made it to Amsterdam, but later returned to Budapest.

His last tournament was in 1947. He played at a tournament in Baarn at the age of 77, after a retirement of over 10 years. It was at Baarn where he was quoted as saying, "The world has gone downhill since I was young. When I look around me nowadays, I am glad that I myself am going downhill."

In 1950 he was awarded the Grandmaster title at the age of 80. Maroczy was on the first FIDE list of 27 chess grandmasters.

He died in Budapest on May 29, 1951 at the age of 81.

Maroczy was fluent in Hungarian, German, and English.

In 1974 Hungary released a chess stamp with a drawing of Geza Maroczy playing chess.

In the 1985, Korchnoi claimed that he played Maroczy through a medium.


Maroczy - Moreau, Monte Carlo 1903

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Be7 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bd2 Be6 7.O-O-O Bf6 8.f4 Qc8 9.Nf3 Nh6 10.h3 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 O-O 12.f5 Bd7 13.f6 Ne5 14.Nxe5 gxf6 15.Qg3+ Kh8 16.Nxd7 (16...Qxd7 17.Bxf6 mate)  1-0