Chess Archaeology HomeChess is a scientific game and its literature ought to be placed on the basis of the strictest truthfulness, which is the foundation of all scientific research.W. Steinitz

The Lazy Man’s Guide to Chess Research
by Andy Ansel

    If you are like me, you have a keen interest in chess history.  You also probably have a pretty good chess library, as well as a database to store and play through games.  Unlike some of the contributors to this site (such as Nick Pope and John Hilbert), you have never visited your local library and know absolutely nothing about chess newspaper columns.  But you enjoy reading some of their research and decided to try your hand at writing a chess article.
 _
    I admit that Emanuel Lasker is one of my favorite players.  I admire his gutsy style and fighting attitude.  So I decided to look into his championship match versus Wilhelm Steinitz, played in Moscow in 1896.  I decided to play through all the games which I already had in my database and add some notes.  Games in my database have either been commercially bought or downloaded from one of the chess Internet sites. 
    I started by looking at the new book on Lasker by Ken Whyld.  I played through the first game and noticed that it only had forty-four moves while my database had forty-five moves.  I then decided to look up the games in other books in my library.  I started with the German book in the Weltgeschichte series on Steinitz, and noted that it had forty-five moves.  I moved on to the Weltgeschichte book on Lasker and noted that it only had forty-four moves.  I then pulled out the Gelo book, Chess World Championships, and checked out the game.  It had the full forty-five moves. Finally I looked at the German Biography on Steinitz written by Bachmann.  I do not have the original, which was done in the early 1920’s, but I do have the Olms reprint.  Finding the game, I noted that it only had forty-four moves.  Here is the game that started my research.
Steinitz,W — Lasker,Em
(1)
C54/02
Giuoco Piano: Greco (Steinitz)
1896.11.07
RUS Moscow
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.0-0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 d5 10.Ba3 dxc4 11.Re1 f5 12.Nd2 Kf7 13.Nxe4 fxe4 14.Rxe4 Qf6 15.Qe2 Bf5 16.Qxc4+ Kg6 17.Re3 Rae8 18.Rae1 Rxe3 19.Rxe3 h5 20.h3 h4 21.d5 Ne5 22.Qxc7 Nd3 23.Qxb7 Bc8 24.Qc6 Qxc6 25.dxc6 Nf4 26.Re7 a6 27.c4 Kf6 28.Ra7 Nd3 29.Be7+ Ke6 30.Rc7 Ne5 31.Bg5 Rg8 32.Be7 g5 33.c5 Nf7 34.f3 Re8 35.Kf2 Rxe7 36.Rxc8 Kd5 37.Ra8 Ne5 38.Ke3 Nxc6+ 39.Kd2 a5 40.Rf8 Re5 41.f4 gxf4 42.Rxf4 Rh5 43.Ke3 Ne5 44.Ra4 Nc4+
** And here is the “extra move.”
45.Kf4 Kxc5 0-1.
** [This is also the conclusion from my earliest source, the Daily Tribune. - Pope]
New-York Daily Tribune, 1896.11.22
Weltgeschichte des Schachs, v11 Lasker, Wildhagen 1958, 11-185
Weltgeschichte des Schachs, v7 Steinitz, Wildhagen 1968, 7-435
Schachmeister Steinitz, v4, Olms 1980, p214-215
Chess World Championships, Gelo 1988, p312
The Games of Wilhem Steinitz, Pickard & Son 1995, p135
The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker, Whyld 1998, p74
    I was more than a little curious.  I decided to play through game two and compare my various sources.  First I again used the new Lasker book by Ken Whyld and saw the game ended at move forty-one.  Whyld had listed as his source, Deutsches Wochenschach 1896, which is a very obscure German magazine.  But my database version only had thirty-seven moves!  I figured this was an easy problem to solve.  After all, this was a World Championship match.  I then decided to look through some of my books to see how many moves they had.  I then checked Gelo’s book on World Championships, but instead of resolving the discrepancy, Gelo’s book added to it, giving forty-two moves.
    In arguably one of the most important chess matches of the year, and using two very reliable sources, plus my existing gamescore, I had found different versions of the game.  Perhaps my other sources would resolve this absurdity.  I pulled out the Weltgeschichte book on Lasker.  In looking up the game, I found that it lists forty-two moves or the same as Gelo.  Feeling better, I opened up the Steinitz Weltgeschichte by the same publisher, and what do I find, but thirty-seven moves, the same as my database!  Finally I looked up my last source, the Olms reprint on Steinitz. Now I can’t read German, but it appears that it has 37 moves with White announcing mate in 5.  Any way, here is the game for your enjoyment.  At least, I think it’s the game—or maybe it isn’t.  I’ve added the various endings.
Lasker,Em — Steinitz,W
(2)
C64/04
Spanish: Classical
1896.11.11
RUS Moscow
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 Nge7 5.0–0 Ng6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb6 8.Nc3 0–0 9.a4 a6 10.Bc4 h6 11.h3 d6 12.Be3 Nce7 13.Re1 c6 14.Qb3 Bc7 15.Nd2 Rb8 16.Rac1 b5 17.axb5 axb5 18.Bd3 Kh8 19.Ne2 f5 20.exf5 Bxf5 21.Bxf5 Rxf5 22.Ng3 Rf8 23.Qe6 Qc8 24.Qxc8 Rfxc8 25.Nb3 Kg8 26.Ne4 Kf7 27.g3 Ke8 28.Re2 Kd7 29.Rce1 Bb6 30.Bf4 Bc7 31.h4 h5 32.Bg5 Bd8 33.g4 hxg4 34.h5 Nf8 35.Nec5+ dxc5 36.Nxc5+
[The gamescore published by Pickard terminates here. -Pope]
36...Kd6 37.Bf4+
And White announced mate in 5 according to Bachmann in Schachmeister Steinitz; the game also ends here in Weltgeschichte Steinitz.
37...Kd5 38.Re5+ Kc4 39.Rc1+ Kxd4 40.Re4+ Kd5 41.Rd1+
Here the game ends according to Whyld. 
41...Kxc5 42.Be3# 1–0.
According to Weltgeschichte Lasker and Gelo. [and Helms in the Eagle.-Pope]
**
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1896.11.22
Weltgeschichte des Schachs, v11 Lasker, Wildhagen 1958, 11-186
Weltgeschichte des Schachs, v7 Steinitz, Wildhagen 1968, 7-436
Schachmeister Steinitz, v4, Olms 1980, p215-216
Chess World Championships, Gelo 1988, p312-313
The Games of Wilhem Steinitz, Pickard & Son 1995, p135
The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker, Whyld 1998, p74-75
    Having been exhausted by this struggle, but not defeated, I decided to look at the next game, game three of the same match.  Here my database had the game lasting 39 moves.  Well guess what, Whyld’s book, again citing Deutsches Wochenschach 1896, had only thirty-four moves.  Again, my curiosity piqued, I decided to look at the same sources.  Gelo listed thirty-nine moves as did Weltgeschichte Steinitz and they had a different twenty fifth move; however, Weltgeschichte Lasker had thirty- four moves as did the Olms Steinitz book. Again major controversy about a World Championship game!  Here is the third game along with the various conclusions.
Steinitz,W — Lasker,Em
(3)
C54/02
Giuoco Piano: Greco (Steinitz)
1896.11.17
RUS Moscow
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.0–0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 d5 10.Ba3 dxc4 11.Re1 Be6 12.Rxe4 Qd5 13.Qe2 0–0–0 14.Ne5 Rhe8 15.Nxc6 Qxc6 16.Re1 Rg8 17.Re5 b6 18.Bc1 g5 19.Rxg5 Rxg5 20.Bxg5 Rg8 21.f4 Bd5 22.g3 Kb7 23.h3 Qb5 24.Kh2 Rg6 25.Qc2
** Here the different sources diverged with both Whyld and Weltgeschichte Lasker giving the following continuation [as does the Evening Journal -Pope]: 25.Qf2 f6 26.Bh4 Bf7 27.g4 Qd5 28.Qc2 h5 29.g5 fxg5 30.Bxg5 h4 31.Rf1 Rg8 32.Qd2 a5 33.a4 Re8 34.f5 Rg8 0-1. 
25...f6 26.Bh4 Bc6 27.g4 Qd5 28.Qf2 h5 29.g5 fxg5 30.Bxg5 h4 31.Rf1 Rg8 32.Qd2 a5 33.a4 Re8 34.f5 Rg8
Here the game ends according to Bachmann.
35.Re1 Qxf5 36.Re5 Qf3 37.d5 Qg3+ 38.Kh1 Qxe5 39.dxc6+ Kxc6 0-1.
According to Gelo and Weltgeschichte Steinitz. [and Pickard. -Pope]
**
The Albany Evening Journal, 1896.12.05
Weltgeschichte des Schachs, v11 Lasker, Wildhagen 1958, 11-187
Weltgeschichte des Schachs, v7 Steinitz, Wildhagen 1968, 7-437
Schachmeister Steinitz, v4, Olms 1980, p216-217
Chess World Championships, Gelo 1988, p313
The Games of Wilhem Steinitz, Pickard & Son 1995, p135
The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker, Whyld 1998, p75
    So much for easy research!  Looking at the first three games of a World Championship match and finding many different continuations, what should I do?  Since I am not even sure where my local library is, and if they even have old newspapers, or which ones to check, I was stumped. Then I did the next best thing.  I called my friend Tony Gillam who is a major chess researcher and asked him for his advice.  His answer after asking me the dates the games were played (and if that was the old [Julian] or new [Gregorian] calendar) was that he would check the Russian newspapers the next time he goes to London for research.  Me, I’m too lazy.

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