Chess Facts and Fables
385 Seiten, kartoniert, McFarland, 2005
Chess has developed a large body of myth and folklore and sorting fact from fiction is not easy. As with previous volumes in Winter's "Chess Notes" series - ChessExplorations (1996), Kings, Commoners and Knaves (1999) and A Chess Omnibus (2003) - this work (from a new publisher) features research into chess lore, corrections of popular misconceptions, notes on famous players, and authenticated quotations. There is a rich selection of forgotten games, and many contributions from the author's correspondents worldwide. For both the general enthusiast and the devotee of chess history, the book has more than 220 rare photos and 122 diagrams of chess positions.
Chess has its history, of course, and a long one, too; or rather several histories, each with its little fact and much fable, after the true manner of history in general.
James Mason, in his introduction to Social Chess (1900)
Fact and fable are commonly intermingled, and chess historians have a hard time disentangling them, for the game's literature is particularly blighted by untrustworthy assertions, rickety anecdotes and dubious quotes. The intention of the Chess Notes series, which began in 1982, is to sort out fact from fable and to present fresh, accurate material. As did the three previous volumes (Chess Explorations, 1996, Kings, Commoners and Knaves, 1999, and A Chess Omnibus, 2003), the present anthology offers a wide variety of historical delvings, biographical narratives, authenticated quotations and forgotten games. There are, certainly, some "scoops," but no less numerous are the "failures," i.e. matters on which the truth has yet to be established satisfactorily. The work goes on.
These pages feature a number of discoveries by readers, and warm thanks are expressed here to correspondents throughout the world who have contributed the fruits of their own researches. Proof-reading assistance from Jonathan Manley has been greatly appreciated. Above all, this book owes an immense debt to Richard Forster, whose generosity in sharing his expertise and time has gone far beyond what may legitimately be hoped for by any author.
Readers are cordially invited to inform the publisher of any factual errors that they detect, these being the responsibility of the author alone.
Geneva, March 2005
001 I. Position
021 II. Games
067 III. Miscellaneous
149 IV. Biography
226 V. Gaffes
257 VI. Mysteries
312 VII. Quotes
341 Book List
353 Index of Games and Positions
357 Index of Openings
358 Index of Illustrations
361 General Index
'Chess facts and fables' is an interesting follow up from Edward Winter’s previous works on chess research as 'Chess Explorations', 'Kings, Commoners and Knaves' and 'A Chess Omnibus'. Pleasant enough 'Chess facts and fables' is published by McFarland & Company and that means a beautifully printed chess book but for the fans of lovely chess books this work has to do with a soft but it is overloaded with great illustrations and that are over 220 photographs and 122 diagrams of chess positions! The general index is good for 25 pages, the bibliography book list from nearly 11 pages! All very impressive and the material is divided in to seven chapters: Positions,Games, Miscellaneous, Biography, Gaffes, Mysteries and Quotes. The whole book is filled with interesting curiosities as for example the story of the forgotten chess master Augustin Neumann (1879 - 1906) who once won the Coburg Hauptturnier from 1904, before Vidmar, Duras, Spielmann, Lange and Nimzowitsch. Less than two years later he died in hospital, at the age of 26.
Or the story about Mary Rudge who was once the leading lady player of the world. When she died the BCM issue of January 1920, page 13 accorded her only three lines. For all readers who are interested in Mary Rudge, Tim Harding wrote an interesting article in ChessMail issue 6/2005 on the correspondence career of Mary Rudge and there is even a very interesting internet article on her from John Richards ( http://www.johnrichards.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/horfield/MaryRudge.pdf) Her play was marked throughout by care, exactitude and patience. Someone said of her, ”She doesn’t seem to care much to win a game as to make her opponent lose it.”She risked nothing, she never indulged in fire works for the purpose of startling the gallery; if she got a pawn, she kept it and won, if she got a”grip” she kept it and won, if she got a winning position she kept it and won. On page 270 there is an interesting read on Alekhine’s death of about 3 pages; The autopsy said of him that he suffered from arterio-sclerosis, chronic gastritis and duodenitis, that his heart weighed 350 grammes, that the perimeter of his skull was 540 millimetres, and so on ... . Conclusion: A fantastic written chess book!
With kind permission of the author John Elburg (www.chessbooks.nl)