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 1897 Franklin - Manhattan Chess Club 
Telegraphic Team Match
by John S. Hilbert

    The middle of the 1890s saw an extraordinary growth of interest in inter-club team matches in New York City as well as elsewhere.  1894 brought numerous individual club matches in New York, including participants of the strength of Harry Nelson Pillsbury and Jackson Whipps Showalter.  The next year the Metropolitan Chess League was formed, complete with a formal constitution, adopted in October 1894, and including representation by each of the six chess clubs involved: the Manhattan, City, Brooklyn, Newark, Staten Island and Metropolitan.  That rivalry, however, according to Article 4 of its Constitution, was limited to “any regularly organized Chess Club within 10 miles of New York City” on being elected to participate by a two third vote of the members present at the League’s annual meeting.  But what of rivalries involving much longer distance?
    The same year play began in the Metropolitan Chess League, another inter-club rivalry began that was destined to last for many years.  1895 saw the beginning of the annual team matches between the Manhattan Chess Club of New York City and the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia.  Arguably these were, man for man, the two strongest clubs in the United States at the time, though other New York area clubs, including the Brooklyn Chess Club, which had in fact won the 1895 Metropolitan Chess League, would certainly have objected to such a bald statement.  Few in Philadelphia, however, or elsewhere in the nation, would have questioned the dominance of the Franklin Chess Club in the City of Brotherly Love.
    The 1895 match that inaugurated the Franklin - Manhattan series was played by telegraph, with the rooms of the two clubs being directly connected by wire.  According to Gustavus C. Reichhelm in his seminal volume, Chess in Philadelphia (Philadelphia 1898), written with the assistance of Walter Penn Shipley, “play started at 11 A.M. and ended at 11 P.M.,” with the Philadelphians emerging victorious by a score of 7½-6½.  The following year, on Decoration Day 1896, the Manhattan players had their revenge when they traveled to Philadelphia, there to defeat their hosts also by the odd point, 7½-6½.
    The scene was thus set for the third annual meeting between the two clubs.  Increased national attention was offered the rivalry by the advent of what some would argue today was, at least initially, the most impressive chess magazine ever to be released in America: the American Chess Magazine.  Published by William Borsodi in New York City, edited by Charles Devidé, and appearing with “the cooperation of” a stellar list of contributors, including Pillsbury, Albert Hodges, Shipley, Showalter and others, the American Chess Magazine (hereafter ACM) filled a void on the national chess scene that had been left by the collapse of Steinitz’s International Chess Magazine with the December 1891 issue.  The very first issue of the ACM appeared in June 1897.  As the third annual Franklin - Manhattan team match had concluded May 31, 1897, the event not surprisingly received treatment in the magazine’s inaugural issue.
    By 1897 interest in the club rivalry between Philadelphia and New York had grown to national proportions.  Few questioned New York’s status as the nation’s strongest chess center, and that fact is remembered by many even today, over one hundred years later.  What few now recall, however, is that Philadelphia, then the country’s second largest city, was also considered by many the nation’s next greatest repository of chess talent as well as the home of one of the strongest city clubs in America.  The third annual meeting between the Franklin and the Manhattan would do nothing to dispel such beliefs.  If anything, following the match the status of the Philadelphia club increased.
    Certainly New York players were well aware of the inter-city significance of the match.  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (hereafter Eagle) for May 27, 1897, briefly reviewed the two previous matches, noting that “special interest, therefore, attaches to the coming event since the total scores to date being equal, both sides will naturally make strenuous efforts to pull off a victory and thereby win the rubber.”
    Another sign of the prestige becoming associated with the series of matches between the Franklin and Manhattan clubs was the selection of referee.  Ex-world champion Steinitz filled this capacity, and as would be seen, his services were certainly needed.  At the conclusion of the day’s play, only half of the fourteen games had been concluded, and thus seven required adjudication.  The high number of adjudications was due to the circumstances of play.  Like the first match between the clubs in 1895, the May 31, 1897, event was conducted by telegraph, the two teams situated nearly 100 miles apart.  The Eagle reported that the New York players were gathered “in the assembly room of the United Charities building on East Twenty-second Street, and the Philadelphians in the rooms of the Franklin club, on the eighth floor of the Betz building” in their city.
    Delays plagued play.  Although the match was originally scheduled to begin at 10:30 on the morning of May 31, the Eagle would write that “it was an hour later before the first moves were being ticked off, owing to a hitch in establishing communication between the two points.”  Two telegraph operators, one for receiving and one for transmitting moves, were situated at each location.  The dual transmission, however, designed to speed up play, was undermined by “the fact that one of the wires had again broken down and all the work was being done by a single operator” as early as during the late morning’s play.  The time lost in transmission of moves caused delays that could not be overcome within the framework of a single day event.  Play lasted for a grueling thirteen hours, but finally was halted with victory still undecided, for even after adjudication the score stood 6½-6½ with one game outstanding.  As it finally turned out, even this preliminary and partial result would be questioned and ultimately changed.  And as will be seen, the match was not without its own share of drama, due as much to events off the board as on it.
    Fourteen players appeared at each club on the morning of May 31, 1897, for the start of hostilities.  Frank Sweeny acted as umpire for Philadelphia in New York, while H. Seymour filled similar responsibilities, in Philadelphia, for the New York players.  The ACM would include a collage of photographs from the rooms of the Franklin, as well as a line drawing of the corresponding scene among  the Manhattan club players.
    The New York team in fact benefited from the delay in starting the match.  According to the Eagle, Showalter, their star player, had only arrived the night before from Georgetown, Kentucky.  Showalter “caused considerable anxiety by failing to put in an appearance at the time for which the match was scheduled to being.  The ex-champion, who is noted for his tardiness, had overslept himself and arrived at the hall just in time to be included among the competitors.”
    The pairings saw the Franklin members playing White on even numbered boards.  The table that follows is based on the ones appearing in the ACM as well as the Philadelphia Public Ledger for June 15, 1897, at page 15, though certain changes in results had to be made to both.  In addition, full names of players have been added, where they could be determined, based on original sources as well as Jeremy Gaige’s indispensable Chess Personalia: A Biobibliography.
Board
Franklin Chess Club
Manhattan Chess Club
Opening
Score
1.
Hermann G. Voigt
Louis Schmidt, Jr.
Sicilian
½-½
2.
Alfred K. Robinson
Eugene Delmar
Queen’s Pawn
0-1
3.
David S. Robinson
Albert B. Hodges
Sicilian
0-1
4.
Gustavus C. Reichhelm
Nicolai Jasnogrodski
Spanish
1-0
5.
Julius A. Kaiser
William M. de Visser
Sicilian
0-1
6.
Joseph P. Morgan
David G. Baird
Queen’s Pawn
1-0
7.
Walter Penn Shipley
H. Davidson
Four Knights
½-½
8.
Charles J. Newman
Major J. Moore Hanham
King’s Gambit
½-½
9.
Mordecai  Morgan
Gustave Simonson
French
1-0
10.
Elihu S. Maguire
August Vorrath
Four Knights
½-½
11.
Samuel W. Bampton
Charles B. Isaacson
Scandinavian
½-½
12.
Jacob Elson
Jacob C. Halpern
Spanish
1-0
13.
John W. Young
S. Lipschutz
French
½-½
14.
Emil Kemeny
Jackson W. Showalter
Spanish
1-0
Franklin Chess Club  8   -  Manhattan Chess Club  6
    The Franklin Chess Club thus defeated the Manhattan Chess Club by a score of 8-6.  Board assignment order, as a glance at the table above will suggest, was not made according to strength.  If this were otherwise, one would have to assume Jackson Whipps Showalter, for example, who had held the United States Championship until the month before, when he had been defeated by Harry Nelson Pillsbury in a closely contested match by a total score of 11½-9½, was considered the weakest of the fourteen players on the Manhattan squad.  One would also have to assume that three previous United States Champions, Hodges*, Lipschütz, and Showalter, all ranked beneath the first board player, Louis Schmidt.  Similar comparisons could be made concerning the Franklin Chess Club.  For instance, Walter Penn Shipley, Samuel W. Bampton, and Emil Kemeny, boards 7, 11, and 14, respectively, for Philadelphia, were known to be three of the strongest players in Pennsylvania.  Though information explicitly stating how match pairings were made could not be found, it appears that players were indeed ranked according to perceived strength and paired accordingly, with actual board numbers then assigned at random. 
    Regardless of how board order was determined, there could be little doubt that the twenty-eight players listed among the ranks of the two teams represented much of the flower of chess talent in the United States, though by no means all.  Pillsbury, of course, was unfortunately absent, as was the boy wonder from Brooklyn, William Ewart Napier.  Western players such as Max Judd were not present.  Frank James Marshall, who would  hold the United States Championship from 1909 until 1936, was not yet so strong as to be missed.  He would not make his international appearance until two years later, when he played in the minor tournament associated with London 1899, and would not seriously be noticed by the international chess community until his third place finish at Paris the year after.  Still, the listings for the Franklin and Manhattan clubs were formidable indeed.  And on paper, at least, the New Yorkers would have had to be considered favorites.  The final result, with the match going to Philadelphia, a victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in the match series, had to be considered a minor surprise.  The Manhattan Chess Club would in future years come to dominate the annual Decoration Day matches between the two clubs.  But on that day long ago, May 31, 1897, such a result was still unknown, a fact awaiting a distant future.
    For most of us, coverage of this chess event occupies but an obscure corner of American chess history, though at the time the eyes of the chess nation were very much fixed on the doings transpiring over the telegraph wires between Philadelphia and New York.  Even the treatment of the match in the ACM, from which a number of the remarks below surrounding the play are taken, provided only one game score in its article proper, and a total of four of the fourteen games in its Games Sections in its June and July 1897 numbers.  Research, however, has uncovered a total of twelve of the fourteen games, many of them with detailed notes.  They appeared in a variety of sources, including Chess in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Public Ledger, with its chess column edited by the Hungarian master and Franklin Chess Club player, Emil Kemeny, and other contemporary sources.
    Rather than simply giving the games according to relatively meaningless board order, the discussion below recreates the unfolding nature of the telegraph match, along with the complications that developed surrounding the play and subsequent adjudication of a number of the games.  The reader is thus invited to step back into the past, and relive with America’s chess elite the tension, triumphs, and defeats of that Decoration Day celebrated so long ago.
    According to the ACM, “the match, almost from the very outset, took a favorable aspect for the Quakers.  It took Mordecai Morgan exactly twenty-one [moves]  to unhorse Simonson.  The full run of this pretty game, with notes by Edward Hymes, are [sic] appended.”  Hymes indeed did briefly annotate the game for the pages of ACM, and his notes are identified below as coming from that publication.  Reichhelm included the game in his Chess in Philadelphia with two brief comments appearing at the game’s conclusion.  But it fell to Emil Kemeny, who included the score first, in the Philadelphia Public Ledger (hereafter Ledger) for June 1, 1897, at page 13, to note that “the first game finished and probably one of the most interesting was the one between Mr. Morgan, of the Franklin Chess Club, last year’s champion, and Dr. Simonson, of the Manhattan Chess Club.  The opening was a French Defense and played very evenly up to the twentieth move, when Mr. Morgan sprung a surprise on his opponent by a beautiful combination, which won a piece, whereupon Dr. Simonson resigned.”  Even the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, obviously sympathetic to the New Yorkers’ plight, reported the encounter as “a brief but pretty game” when it gave its readers the score, belatedly, on June 10, 1897.
Simonson,G (New York) — Morgan,M (Philadelphia)
Board 9
C01/13
French: Exchange
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Edward Hymes & Gustavus Reichhelm
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Be7 
Hymes: We prefer this to the stolid imitation of White’s move, generally adopted with 5...Bd6.
6.0-0 Bg4 7.c3 
Hymes: There is more raison d’ etre in 7.Nc3 followed by Be3 and eventually Ne2.  White has nothing to fear from ...Bxf3.
7...Nbd7 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.Qc2 c5 10.Ne5 Bh5 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.Nb3 Be7 14.Nd4 Bg6 15.Bf5 Qd6 16.f3 Bd8 17.Kh1 Bb6 18.Bxg6 fxg6 19.Be3 
Hymes: White seems utterly unconscious of the clever trap into which he falls.  The proper rejoinder was either 19.Qd2 or 19.Bg1.
19...Rae8 20.Rae1 
Reichhelm: Walking into a fine trap.
20...Rxe3 0-1. 
Hymes: A thunderbolt in the midst of seeming calm.
Reichhelm: For, if 21.Rxe3, then ...Ng4 wins.
American Chess Magazine, 1897.06, p11
Chess in Philadelphia, Philadelphia 1898, p108
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.01, p13
    Thus the Franklin team drew first blood, taking a 1-0 lead.  That lead was maintained, though not extended, when the second game finished.  As ACM wrote of it, “Isaacson and Bampton agreed upon a draw in an even position, each having two rooks and the bishops being of opposite color.”  Kemeny, though, had much more to say about the game, as he wrote in his chess column in the Ledger: “The game between Messrs. Isaacson and Bampton in the telegraphic match between the Manhattan and Franklin Chess Clubs terminated in a draw.  Mr. Bampton selected the Center Counter Gambit, and he endeavored to establish an attack, but his opponent selected conservative moves and managed to maintain an even position.  On the twentieth move an exchange of Queens took place which virtually ended the game, for neither side had any winning chances.  Five moves later a draw was offered and accepted.”  The annotations below are Kemeny’s.
Bampton,SW (Philadelphia) — Isaacson,CB (New York)
Board 11
B01/11
Scandinavian: Classical
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Emil Kemeny
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Qd8 
4...Qa5 is often adopted at this stage of the game, yet 4. ...Qd8 seems safer.
5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Be2 e6 7.0-0 c6 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Bd6 11.Qe2 0-0 12.Ne4 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Qc7 
13...Nf6, followed by ...Nd5, was, perhaps, better, though it must be admitted there was hardly any chance to establish an attack.
14.Qh4 Rae8 15.Rad1 e5 16.h3 f5 17.dxe5 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Bxe5 19.Qc4+
19...Qf7 
Black could not well avoid the exchange of queens, for ...Rf7, as well as ...Kh8, was likely to give White the preferable game.  Of course the exchange of queens virtually ends the game, neither side having the slightest winning chances.
20.Qxf7+ Rxf7 21.Rd3 Rfe7 22.g3 Kf7 23.Rfd1 Kf6 24.Kg2 f4 25.gxf4 Bxf4 ½-½. 
At this point a draw was offered and accepted.  The position is a perfectly even one, and the bishops being of opposite colors, no other result could be anticipated.
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.12, p18
    Playing equally safe were two other players, Shipley and Davidson.  Simple as the result was, it did raise an interesting question for purposes of conducting the match, and its first controversy.  According to the ACM,  “Shipley and Davidson soon followed suit [after Bampton and Isaacson’s draw].  The latter, however, sought first advice from the captain of his team, to which the Franklin Club’s umpire, Mr. Sweeny, objected.  This gave rise to a controversy over the wires, Mr. Shipley stating that, in his opinion, the captain had no right to advise any of his players whether to play for a draw or not, and he made the point that, for instance in an endgame, the captain, seeing a possible win, might indirectly call the player’s attention to it by directing him to continue.  Mr. Shipley added that, when approached by a player on his team, he invariably tells him to use his own judgment.  Mr. Davidson replied: ‘I accept the draw, but maintain that the captain should have the privilege of managing his team as regards playing or not.’”  This matter aside, the draw maintained the Franklin’s lead at 2-1.
    Concerning the game itself, Kemeny wrote of it that it “was carefully played and resulted in a draw.  Mr. Shipley selected the Petroff Defense, which, however, was shifted into a Double Ruy Lopez.  Mr. Davidson, on his seventh turn, made the conservative a3 move, instead of the usual Ne2 play.  This made the defense comparatively easy, and, as a matter of fact, the Philadelphian experienced but little difficulty in holding his own.  After twenty-two moves were made all the minor pieces were exchanged.  Queens, both rooks and all the pawns remained on the board, but the position was a perfectly even one.  Neither side having any winning chances, a draw was offered and accepted.”  Shipley often played much more conservatively in team match play than he did individually, no doubt the product of his personality, legal training, and even his Quaker background, a background which has historically emphasized for those who share it the good of the group over the display of individual talent.
Davidson,H (New York) — Shipley,WP (Philadelphia)
Board 7
C49/01
Four Knights: Symmetrical
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Emil Kemeny
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bb4 
Showalter at this point prefers the 4...Bc5 play.  The text move, however, is more conservative, and in all probability better.
5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.a3 
The usual play is 7.Ne2, followed by c3 and d4.  The move selected is hardly satisfactory.  Black has the option to answer ...Bxc3 or ...Ba5.  In both cases White lost time. 
7...Bxc3 8.bxc3 Ne7 9.Bg5 Ng6 10.Nh4 h6 11.Nxg6 fxg6 12.Bc4+ Kh7 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3
14...Qe8 
An important move, which enables Black to continue ...Nh5 as well as ...Be6.  The position now is equalized.
15.Rb1 b6 16.Re1 Be6 17.Bb5 c6 18.Ba4 b5 19.Bb3 Bxb3 20.cxb3 Nh5 21.d4 Rd8 22.Rb2 
Perhaps the only way to continue the attack.  It is, however, to no purpose.  Black answers ...Nxg3, and there is no chance for either side.  At this stage a draw was offered and accepted.
22...Nxg3  ½-½. 
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.07, p19
    The Franklin players maintained their minimal lead following conclusion of the next game, once again due to conservative play by the Philadelphians.  Kemeny would write that “the game between Messrs. Maguire and Vorrath in the recent Franklin - Manhattan telegraphic match was evenly contested and terminated in a draw.  Mr. Maguire selected the Four Knights opening, and he obtained a slight advantage.  His twenty-second move, however, was too conservative and enabled his opponent to equalize the position.  When twenty-five moves were made there was no winning chance for either side and a proposed draw was accepted.”  The ACM added that “the game between Maguire and Vorrath had gone on for twenty-five moves without a single pawn being exchanged, when a block[ed] position ensued, which insured the draw.”
Maguire,ES (Philadelphia) — Vorrath,A (New York)
Board 10
C48/01
Four Knights: Spanish (Rosenthal)
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Emil Kemeny
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 d6 
4...Bb4 or 4...Bc5 is the usual play.  The move selected gives Black a somewhat slow development.
5.d3 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Ne2 Nh5 8.Ng3 Bg4 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.h3 Nxg3 11.fxg3 Bh5 12.g4 Bg6 13.Be3 c5 14.b3 c6 15.Qe2 Re8 16.Bd2 Bf8 17.Be1 f6 18.Nh4 Bf7 19.Nf5 g6 20.Ne3 Be6 21.Bh4 Bg7
22.Rad1 
White at this stage of the game had the preferable position.  The open f-file should prove of value.  The proper continuation was 21.Rf3, followed by Rdf1, and eventually Qf2.  Black would have difficulty in defending the f-pawn, and he would have been obliged to move ...g5, which would have weakened his kingside.
22...Rf8 23.Rf3 a6 24.Rdf1 Ra7 25.Be1 ½-½. 
White’s twenty-second move was loss of time, and it gave Black the chance to get his queen’s rook into play.  If White had continued Qf2 Black would have replied ...Raf7.  White at this stage of the game offered a draw, which was accepted.
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.09, p16
    Another draw as the hours went by, this one between Newman and Hanham, only heightened the tension.  Kemeny would write that the game “terminated in a draw after twenty-six moves.  Newman, who is noted for his aggressive style of play and brilliant combinations, had in Major Hanham an opponent whose strong point was his conservative play.  The opening varied slightly from the book lines, viz. by 5.fxe5, White endeavoring to turn the game on new lines.  Black, however carried it to the draw, through many interesting stages.”
Newman,CJ (Philadelphia) — Hanham,JM (New York)
Board 8
C30/03
King’s Gambit Declined: Classical
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Emil Kemeny
1.e4 e5 2.f4 Bc5 
Gambits are but rarely played in match games, but in the hands of a player who is thoroughly familiar with the opening very often proves successful, per example, in the Nuremberg Tournament, Charousek defeated Lasker, Blackburne and Showalter, playing a gambit in each case.  Black’s 2...Bc5 is the favorite, and perhaps the strongest move for defending.
3.Nf3 d6 4.c3 Bg4 5.fxe5 
5.Bc4 or Be2 are both good moves.  The text move simplifies the game to some extent for Black.
5...dxe5 6.Bc4 Nd7 7.d4 Bb6 8.0-0 Qe7 9.Qb3 Bxf3 
The attack on Black’s f-pawn becomes very threatening.  9. ...Bxf3 stays it for the moment.
10.Rxf3 Ngf6 11.Be3 
11.Bg5 seems stronger than the line adopted.  If 11...h6, then 12.Bxf6 with a good attack.
11...0-0 12.Nd2 exd4 13.cxd4 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Qxe4 15.Bxf7+ Kh8 16.Bd5 Qe7 17.Rxf8+ Rxf8 18.Bf3 
White cannot capture the b-pawn with bishop on account of the reply ...Rb8.
18...c6 19.Bf2 Qd6 20.Rd1 Nf6 21.Qc2 Nd5 22.Bxd5 Qxd5 23.b3 g6 24.Qc4 Qf5 25.Qe2 Rd8 
26.Qd3 ½-½. 
The forces and position both being even a draw was agreed upon.  Black might have continued 26...Qxd3 27.Rxd3, and then endeavored to win White’s d-pawn, but it is difficult to ferret out anything more than the draw.
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.14, p17
    The score was now 3½-2½, but Philadelphia was about to extend its lead shortly before play was called.  As the ACM reported, “Jasnogrodski was rather unfortunate in being pitted against so dangerous an opponent to his style of play as brilliant Gustavus Reichhelm.  Moreover, the Russian ill-advisedly selected Steinitz’s Defense to the Ruy Lopez, and, as a result, went down ignominiously before the Pennsylvanian.”  Pillsbury annotated the game for the pages of the July ACM and those annotations are identified below with his name.  Not surprisingly, Reichhelm himself included the game in his book about chess in his home city.  His brief comments are given too, and any notes not attributed to Pillsbury are taken from that source.
Reichhelm,GC (Philadelphia) — Jasnogrodski,N (New York)
Board 4
C62/01
Spanish: Steinitz
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Harry Pillsbury & Gustavus Reichhelm
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 Nge7 
Pillsbury: Most masters consider 5. ...Nf6 better; Steinitz, however, prefers the text move.
6.Bg5 
Pillsbury: Adopted by Chigorin against Steinitz in their second Havana match, also by Showalter against Hodges, 1894.
6...f6 7.Be3 Ng6 
Pillsbury: Steinitz in this position prefers 7. ...Nc8.
8.h4 
Reichhelm: This secures the advantage. 
8...exd4 
Pillsbury: Perhaps 8...h5 is better, although weakening seriously Black’s kingside pawns.
9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Bxb5 11.Nxb5 c6 
Pillsbury: Either 11...Qd7 or 11...a6 is superior to the text, which weakens seriously the Black d-pawn.
12.Nc3 Be7 13.h5 Ne5 14.f4 Nf7 15.Qg4 Rg8 16.Qf5 
Reichhelm: An important step in the combination.
16...g6 
Pillsbury: Though by no means satisfactory, 16...h6 would have warded off the attack and given Black reasonable defensive chances, whereas the text allows White an additional avenue of attack.
17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Qe6 Qd7 19.Qb3 Rg7 20.0-0-0 Qc7 21.Rh3 b6 22.Rdh1 
22...0-0-0 
Pillsbury: Of course this loses at least a pawn, but Black’s game was anyhow hopeless.
Reichhelm: This hastens the end, but his game was hopeless.
23.Nd5 Qb7 24.Nxf6 
Pillsbury: 24.Qc3 also wins at least the exchange instantly.
24...Bf8 25.Qe6+ Kb8 26.Ng4 Ne5 
Pillsbury: Tantamount to resigning, which he might do now with good grace.  If instead 26...Rg8 27.Rh7 Rd7 28.Qe8+ Qc8 29.Qxc8+.
27.fxe5 c5 28.Bc3 Qxe4 29.Qf6 Rgd7 30.Qf3 Qc4 31.Rh7 Be7 32.Nf6 Bxf6 33.Qxf6 Qxa2 34.e6 1-0. 
Chess in Philadelphia, Philadelphia 1898, p108
American Chess Magazine, 1897.07, p116
    Thus, the ACM noted that “the score stood 4½-2½ when at 11 o’clock play was called and Mr. Steinitz’s work began.  Kaiser had Queen, rook, bishop and seven pawns against Queen, two rooks and four pawns, but the rooks were doubled on the seventh row and Mr. de Visser, in showing how he proposed to win, disclosed some brilliant  continuations which he had in store for his opponent.  He got the verdict.”  Not surprisingly, Philadelphia papers did not include the game score, though New York, obviously, had a great deal of interest in the game.  The notes are de Visser’s own, written especially for the Eagle.
de Visser,WM (New York) — Kaiser,JA (Philadelphia)
Board 5
B54/02
Sicilian: Open
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by William de Visser
1.e4 c5 
A very popular defense in Philadelphia, which we would have done well to have looked up a little and let alone the new wrinkles in the Ruy Lopez and King Gambits we had in store.
2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 
This and the following two moves are a favorite of Lasker.
5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.g3 Nf6 8.Bg2 
I am told that this King fianchetto attachment in the attack against the Sicilian Defense is also recommended by Herr Lasker, but I fancy, after the present experience, that Lasker would play h3 before Bg2 to prevent the Black knight coming to g4.
8...Ng4 
This gives Black the better position already, for White cannot well afford to allow his e-pawn to be doubled.
9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Bd2 
Giving up a pawn for an attack which is hardly justified by the results.
10...Qb6 11.0-0 Qxb2  
Mr. Kaiser doesn’t get bluffed easily.
12.Rb1 Qa3 13.h3 Ne5 
Best—I wanted him to play ...Bxc3, in which case I should have gotten the best of it by Rb3 and Bxc3.
14.Rb3 Qa6 15.Re1 Be6 16.Rb4 Qc8 17.f4 c5 
I think this pawn was better where it was.
18.Rb1 Nc4 19.f5 Bd7 20.e5 Nxe5 
The best move, which gives Black much the better game.  Had he attempted to save the exchange, he would have subjected himself to an overwhelming attack.
21.Bxa8 Qxa8
22.Bg5 
This is a strong move, and at the same time a  trap.  It is meant to entice Black to check with the knight at f3, when he would have lost, Mr. Kaiser, after the match, telegraphed that he could have won at this point by checking, but in reply to this claim I submit the following for his respectful consideration: 22.Bg5 Nf3+ 23.Qxf3 Qxf3 24.Rb8+ Bc8 25.Rxe7+ Kd8 26.Rxf7+ Ke8 27.Re7+ Kd8 28.Rxg7+ and mates next move.  I really expected the following: 22...Nf3+ 23.Qxf3 Bd4+ 24.Kg2 Bc6 25.Rb8+ Qxb8 26.Qxc6+ and will win.
22...f6 23.Nd5 Qc8 24.Bf4 Bxf5 25.Bxe5 dxe5
26.Qf3 
This I think was about the best move I made in the game, and I imagine Mr. Kaiser did not quite see all it threatened.
26...Be6 27.Rb7! Bxd5 
Of course, if 27...Qxb7 28.Nxf6+ wins the queen.  White now has the best of the game.
28.Qxd5 e6 29.Qb3 0-0 30.Rd1 c4 31.Qb5 f5 
I think that here ...Re8, followed by ...Bf8, might have been a little better, but White has now a winning game anyhow.
32.Rdd7 Bf6 33.Rdc7 Qd8 34.Rd7 Qc8 35.Rbc7 Qb8 36.Qxc4
(Adjudicated by Steinitz), 1-0. 
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1897.06.03
    Steinitz made short work of the game between Alfred K. Robinson and Eugene Delmar.  The ACM merely mentioned that “Delmar, being a piece ahead, also got the decision.”  Unfortunately the game score has not been located.  Initially, another game caused little controversy, though that would change shortly.  According to the June 1897 issue of ACM, “Mr. Hodges’ play against the Sicilian Defense can serve as a model and his position was so manifestly superior that the Franklin Club tacitly gave up the game.  Mr. Hodges asked Mr. Steinitz to reserve decision, as he wanted to submit analysis proving a win, but in the absence of any claim by the Franklin players, Mr. Steinitz awarded him the game then and there.”  Hodges accordingly annotated the game for the next issue of the ACM, in which publication it duly appeared in July 1897.  Hodges’ views on the Sicilian Defense, curiously given in his own annotations at the point where the game was adjudicated rather than in immediate context, make interesting reading for players at the end of the next century.
Hodges,AB (New York) — Robinson,DS (Philadelphia)
Board 3
B73/03
Sicilian: Classical Dragon (Richter)
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Albert Hodges
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 
Preferable to 4...g6, for after 4...g6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.Qd4 White has a superior position.
5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qd2 Bd7 
It is all book so far.  Here 9...Qa5 is often played and the best of players sometimes overlook the threatened loss of the e-pawn, as is well illustrated in a game played in this match. 
10.Rfd1 
A more enterprising line of play is 10.h3, to be followed later by f4, but the attack is premature.  The theory of the modern school is to play for position, and White, with that end in view, adopts a quiet development.
10...a6 11.Rab1 Rc8 12.f3 Qc7 13.Qe1 Rfe8 14.Qf2 Ne5 15.Rd2 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Qxc4 17.Nde2 b5
18.b3 
The counter attack made on the weak c-pawn is well conceived by Black.  The purpose of White in making the text move is not alone to force the queen to retreat, but also to limit the action of Black’s minor pieces.  18.Rd4 or 18.a3 would not have this effect.
18...Qc6 19.Nd1 Qb7 20.Nb2 h5 21.Nd3 Be6 22.Nef4 Bd7 23.Rbd1 Bc6 24.Nb4 Kh7 25.h3 Bh6 26.Nfd5 
The exchange of pieces which follows quickly simplifies matters. The resulting weakness of White’s c-pawn is not so serious as that of Black’s center, upon which White now has the opportunity of making a direct attack. 
26...Bxd5 27.Nxd5 Nxd5 28.exd5 Bxe3 29.Qxe3 Qc7 30.Qf4 Kg7 31.a4 Qc5+ 32.Kh2 b4 33.Re2 a5 34.Rd4 Qc3 35.Rde4 Rc7 36.Qg5 Kf8 37.Qh6+
37...Qg7 
This move was probably made under pressure of the time limit and is inferior to 37...Kg8.  But Black, in maintaining his position on the queenside, apparently did not foresee the danger.  After White’s reply he must play ...Qc3 or White improves his position with Rc4.
38.Qf4 Qc3 39.Re6 Kg7 40.Rxd6 
Master players as a rule do not look with favor on the ‘Sicilian,’ probably for the reason that Black’s center pawns are apparently weak.  The opening moves in this game appear to have been made with accuracy, and though White in the endgame has the advantage, it does not necessarily indicate that the defense is analytically unsound, but experience teaches us that it is well to avoid playing games of an irregular character in important chess contests, when the defense can with less difficulty maintain an equality by developing from the center of the board.
(Adjudicated by W. Steinitz), 1-0. 
The game was adjourned at this move and according to the rules adjudicated by Mr. Steinitz, who decided it a win for White.  Numerous variations may be given which all result in favor of White and from them we select the following.  After 40.Rxd6, should Black play ...exd6, then this continuation is practically forced.  40.Rxd6 exd6 41.Rxe8 Qxc2 42.Qxd6 Qc5 43.Qd8 Qc1 44.Rg8+ Kh7 45.Rh8+ Kg7 46.Qf8+ Kf6 47.Qd6+ Kg7 48.Ra8 Qc5 49.Qd8 and wins.  Should Black, instead of capturing the rook on his fortieth move, play ...Qc5, the following line of play is probable: 40...Qc5 41.Qe5+ f6 42.Rxf6 exf6 43.Qxe8 Qxd5 44.Re7+ Rxe7 45.Qxe7+ Qf7 46.Qxf7+ Kxf7 47.Kg3 Ke6 48.Kf4 g5+ 49.Ke4 f5+ 50.Kd4 Kd6 51.Kc4 Kc6 52.g4 hxg4 53.hxg4 f4 54.c3 bxc3 55.Kxc3 Kc5 56.b4+ axb4+ 57.Kb3 and wins.
American Chess Magazine, 1897.07, p114-115
    But the matter did not end there.  In fact, once Hodges published his analysis in the July number of the ACM, Robinson, no doubt aided by other Franklin club members, offered a rebuttal of Hodges’ analysis and Steinitz’s conclusion.  The new magazine was no doubt pleased to offer its readers another viewpoint, introducing the page devoted to the matter by writing that “Mr. D. Stuart [Robinson], and, we may say, the entire Franklin Chess Club, is of the opinion that Mr. Steinitz erred in awarding the above game to the Manhattan Chess Club (compare ACM, No.2, game 16, p.115).  Their claim is based on 41...Rd2, a move not considered by Mr. Hodges in his notes to the game.  We append Mr. Stuart’s [Robinson’s] analyses.” 
    David Stuart Robinson introduced his comments by saying that “in the analysis given by Mr. Hodges, in the second number of this magazine, page 115, he suggests two lines of play for Black, which calls to mind a note frequently made to inferior moves, ‘I wonder why?’  If we accept the two lines laid down by Mr. Hodges in his continuation of the game, as the strongest for Black, the game is certainly lost to Black, but if Black on his fortieth move plays ...exd6, we would suggest the following lines of play for Black, beginning with his forty-first move:”  [The formatting of Robinson’s argument has been altered below, but hopefully not its substance.]
Hodges - Robinson
Analysis by D. Stuart Robinson
40…exd6 41.Rxe8
41...Rd7 {41...Qxc2, as suggested by Hodges for Black, is suicidal, for it not only allows White to obtain an overwhelming attack, but gives him a passed pawn. The purpose of Black should be [to] defend this pawn as long as possible, and when White abandons the e-file, [to use it] as a means of counterattack on the exposed position of White’s king.} 42.Ra8 {There are several variations, which seem to be open to White, and we will first continue with a line of attack pointed out by  Rocamora, in the presence of Steinitz, which seemed to win, but the proper continuation for Black was not then seen. [Robinson latter returned to White’s forty-second move, however, claiming that if instead 42.Qe4 he would have responded with 42...Qf6, concluding that “in this position, if there is any win it is very difficult to find, and under the custom of adjudicating adjourned games, a clear win should be shown by some line of play after eight or ten moves.  Black would now maintain the position that he has secured and wait till the e-file is vacated, or White advances the pawns on the kingside, which seems hardly advisable.”  He noted too, concerning  42.Re2, that “if White is forced to this variation, the win seems still more remote.”  After 42...Qf6 43...Qc4 “White has now no attack that Black cannot answer with counter attack on the kingside.” Similarly, Robinson believed that if instead “now 43.Qxf6+, then 43...Kxf6, and the White’s d-pawn is lost or his game prejudiced.”]} 42...Qa1 43. Rxa5 {We give this continuation first, as it was the object to win the a-pawn, but the capture is fatal. [Robinson later added that 43.Qe4 Qf6 44.Rxa5 Re7 45.Qxb4 h4 that the last move “forces a draw.”  He then continued, saying that if 44.Re8, “the foregoing analysis seems to force the rook to return to the e-file, but Black has thereby gained an important move, and preserved the d-pawn, and as the same variation can be secured by playing for White on his forty-second move 42.Qe4, 42.Ra8 is fruitless for White.”  He concluded this sub-line by saying Black would then respond with 44...Rc7, effectively repeating the position.]} 44.Qxd6 {If 46.Qxb4, it is equally bad, for then 46...Re1 wins.} 44...Re1. [Robinson apparently felt the final position required no commentary, in order to further demonstrate that no clear win for White appeared in the position.]  
American Chess Magazine, 1897.08, p139
    Though the analytical controversy was finally not resolved in the pages of the ACM, Hodges’ victory over Robinson remained on the books, and the final match result includes this tally.  Had Robinson persuaded Steinitz to reconsider his decision, as Steinitz was to do involving another game, and had he been successful in convincing the referee of the merits of his claim, the Franklin club’s margin of victory over the Manhattan players would only have increased.
    The Franklin players did benefit from one matter, though.  According to the ACM, “Mr. J. P. Morgan had an ideal attack against D. G. Baird’s King with rook pawn and knight pawn advanced to the sixth and rooks behind, but somewhat let up by bartering away his rooks for the Queen.  Mr. Sweeny claimed the game on the ground that Mr. Baird had exceeded the time limit, and the claim was allowed.  Mr. Morgan probably would have gotten the decision anyway.”  The gamescore has unfortunately not been found.  Apparently the Manhattan team did not contest the decision, and the game was awarded to the Franklin club.
    Kemeny and Showalter, clearly two of the strongest players present, conducted a game of course closely watched, both during play and during Steinitz’s adjudication.  The ACM wrote that “Kemeny claimed a win against Showalter and got the verdict.  The game was a Ruy Lopez, Kemeny playing the same variation against Showalter which the latter repeatedly had adopted against him in their match.  A draw position had been arrived at when Showalter, under the impression that he must win in order to save the match, effected a break which cost him the game.”  Kemeny’s column introduced the game as follows. [After extensive reading of Kemeny’s many columns, the author suspects either Kemeny did not create the final draft of the introduction, or else, perhaps more likely, tried to write of his own performances as he did everyone else’s, without acknowledging he was one of the player’s involved.]  “The game between Messrs. Kemeny and Showalter in the telegraphic team match between the Manhattan Chess Club of New York and Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia, was adjudicated by Umpire Steinitz in favor of the local player.  The game was a Ruy Lopez, the Kentuckian adopting the Berlin Defense.  Mr. Kemeny, on his 9th turn, deviated from the usual Nd4 continuation, adopting the b3 move.  The venture hardly proved a success, for Showalter was enabled to obtain a pretty good game when he played his 14th turn ...Bf5.  The position then became interesting, and for a time it looked as if Showalter would win.  He, however, selected a rather conservative continuation, which enabled his opponent to inaugurate a winning kingside attack.”  Reichhelm also included the game in his book on Philadelphia chess, noting that it was “a great battle.”
Kemeny,E (Philadelphia) — Showalter,JW (New York)
Board 14
C67/04
Spanish: Open Berlin (Fianchetto)
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by E. Kemeny
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.b3 
The usual, and probably the best, continuation is 9.Nd4, followed by b3.  The play selected develops the queenside quite rapidly, but the White knight is prevented from occupying the important d4 square.
9...0-0 10.Bb2 Nc5 11.Nbd2 Ne6 12.Rad1 d5 13.Nd4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bf5 
Well played.  White cannot well answer 15.Nf3 on account of ...Bg4, nor can he properly guard the c-pawn.  The move c4 is pretty nearly forced, which enables Black to establish a passed pawn on the d-file.  Black was enabled to select this continuation through White’s ninth move.  At that stage Nd4 should have been played, as pointed out above.
15.c4 c5 16.Bb2 d4 17.Ne4 a5 18.Ng3 Qc8 19.Nxf5 Qxf5 20.f4 h5 
An important move.  White threatened g4, followed by f5, with a pretty dangerous attack on the kingside, which continuation is stopped now.
21.Rd3 
21...Rfd8 
21...a4, it seems, was the proper play.  The move selected is too conservative.  Black, with 21...Rfd8, wanted to prevent White from b4, in reply to Black’s ...a5 play.  The text move enables White to move a4, stopping the advance of the a-pawn.
22.a4 
An important move.  Though it renders White’s b-pawn weak, it was the best play he had at his disposal.  White can sufficiently guard the b-pawn, and it was necessary to stop the advance of Black’s a-pawn, which would have given Black a promising attack on the queenside.
22...Ra6 23.Bc1 Rb8 24.Bd2
24...Bd8 
If there is any winning chance at all for Black it rested with the ...f6 play.  Black should have tried to obtain the command of the open e-file.  The play he selected, namely, 23...Rb8, 24....Bd8, followed by ...c6, is inferior, and enables White to turn the tables.  Black desired to guard his a-pawn with his bishop.  By doing so he compromised his position, and White is enabled to start a kingside attack, which proves successful.
25.Qf3 c6 26.Qh3 Qxh3 
Forced, for if he moves ...Qg6 or ...Qe6, White continues with f5.
27.Rxh3 Bc7 28.Rff3 g6 29.Rd3 Ra7 30.Rhf3 Kg7 31.h3 h4 
To prevent the g4 play.
32.Be1 Rh8 33.Bd2 
33...f6 
Black should have answered ...Rb8.  The move selected proves disastrous.  It weakens Black’s g-pawn, and White is enabled to start a winning attack by advancing the g-pawn, and by the subsequent command of the open g-file.
34.exf6+ Kxf6 35.g4 hxg3 36.Rxg3 Rh5 37.Rg4 Ra8 38.Rdg3 Rg8 39.Rg5 Rxg5 40.Rxg5 Bb6
(Adjudicated by W. Steinitz), 1-0. 
At this point play was stopped and the game was adjudicated by Referee Steinitz in favor of White.  The win is forced by f5, which forces Black to answer ...Rg7 or ...Kf7.  White then plays Rxg6 followed by fxg6.  Black’s king is obliged to remain on the kingside in order to stop the advance of the h-pawn.  The white king is enabled to move to the queenside capturing the pawns, which gives him a win.
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.03, p6
    The final game of the match to be decided at that time, leaving aside for the moment the matter of Elson - Halpern, was the one played between Lipschütz and Young.  “Young claimed an advantage,” wrote the ACM, “while Lipschütz made a strong claim for the game.  The game was finally awarded to the Manhattan Club.”  At least, that was the case in time for the press for the June issue of the magazine.  Kemeny summed up the feelings of the Philadelphia players in his introduction to the game: “what is most puzzling to the local players is the Lipschütz - Young game, which was decided in favor of the former.  The moves, with the diagram showing the position where the game was to be adjudicated, is given below.  The position has been analyzed by several players of the local team, yet there is not the slightest advantage to be found in favor of Lipschütz.  Correspondence concerning this game is going on at present, and it is expected that as soon as Mr. Steinitz receives the correct position and the defense offered by Mr. Young, he will change his decision and declare the game a draw.”
    In fact it transpired that the circumstances were even more confusing than that, at least during the course of the game’s play.  The ACM wrote that “some hitches occurred on boards one [Schmidt - Voigt] and 13 [Lipschütz - Young].  On the former, two pieces had been shifted by outsiders during the recess for supper at the Manhattan end, while on the latter board the Philadelphians made a wrong move, placing Lipschütz’s rook at e1 instead of g1, as transmitted.  Upon discovery of the errors a compromise was effected.  Game 1 [Schmidt - Voigt] was given a draw, although Philadelphia was a pawn ahead and, in return, six moves were taken back on board 13 [Lipschütz - Young], and the game continued from the twenty-second move.”
    The record of what happened following the match was also carried in the pages of the local press.  The Ledger for June 15, 1897, p.15 noted that “Philadelphia won the match, notwithstanding an unfortunate error in the decision of the Lipschütz  - Young game.  Mr. Steinitz admitted that he made a mistake when he awarded the game to New York, and he stated that he would change it if the New York Club consents to it.  This would make the final score of 8 to 6, in favor of Philadelphia.”  Three days later, the Ledger noted that indeed the Manhattan club had consented to Steinitz revisiting his decision, and the latter subsequently determined the game a draw.
    Reichhelm the following year in Chess in Philadelphia, at page 109, summarized the matter thus: “Adjudication time arrived and the game passed into Referee Steinitz’s hands for treatment.  Mr. Lipschütz was sure he could win, and offered to wager $50 that he could demonstrate.  He proceeded: 31.fxg6 h6 32.Rf2 Be3, etc., and Mr. Steinitz was so impressed that he awarded the game to White.  Lipschütz’s analysis was wrong, and 32...Qe3 at least draws.  Mr. Steinitz acknowledged his error, and at the request of the Manhattan Chess Club corrected his decision and awarded a draw.”  Reichhelm’s last sentence appears to conflate the request for correction made by the Franklin Club with the agreement by the Manhattan team to consent to Steinitz revisiting the issue, but Reichhelm’s summary was otherwise essentially correct.  The net result was that the game allowed the Franklin Chess Club to eventually win the match 8-6 instead of 7½-6½. 
Lipschütz,S (New York) — Young,JW (Philadelphia)
Board 13
C11/09
French: Steinitz
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by E. Kemeny
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6 7.a3 a5 8.Be3 Nxc5 9.Nf3 f5 10.Bxc5 Bxc5 11.Bd3 Bd7 12.Nb5 0-0 13.Qe2 Na7 14.Nbd4 Qb6 
Mr. Young has conducted the defense with great good judgment, [and] has at least an equal game.
15.c3 Nc6 16.Qf2 Nxd4 
He should have delayed this capture.
17.cxd4 Be7 
Mr. Young, however, wished at all hazards, to nip any attack on his kingside.
18.0-0 Rac8 19.Rad1 Rc6 20.h3 Rfc8 21.Kh1 R6c7 22.Rg1 
At this point the move inadvertently played on Young’s board in Philadelphia was 22.Re1, and as noted above, this was the position the game was six moves later returned to in exchange for the immediate draw between Schmidt and Voigt on board one.—author
22...Bb5 23.Bb1 Ba4 24.Rd2 
White plays with the sole aim of facilitating his kingside project.
24...Rc1 25.Bd3 Qc7 26.g4 fxg4 27.hxg4 Rxg1+ 28.Nxg1 Qc1 29.Qh2 g6 30.f5 Bg5 
 ½-½. 
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.05, p18
    As noted above, part of the compromise to take back moves in  Lipschütz - Young was the agreement to a draw in the game Schmidt - Voigt, on board one.  Voigt’s agreement to a draw hardly was a sacrifice.  As Kemeny wrote in the Ledger for June 4, 1897, “a lively game between Messrs. Schmidt and Voigt in the telegraphic match resulted in a drawn game.  Mr. Voigt adopted the Sicilian Defense, and by brilliant play he won a pawn on the twelfth move.  The advantage thus gained might have proven sufficient, but the local player permitted his opponent to simplify matters by the exchange of rooks and minor pieces.  When thirty-one moves were made Mr. Voigt was still a pawn ahead, yet his winning chances were pretty near gone.  He offered a draw, which was readily accepted.”
Schmidt,L Jr. (New York) — Voigt,HG (Philadelphia)
Board 1
B72/04
Sicilian: Classical Dragon
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by E. Kemeny
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 
2.Nf3, followed by 3.d4, is better.  White then has the option to develop the queen’s knight to c3 or to d2.  He also may fortify his center by moving c3.
2...Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 d6 7.Be2 
7.Bc4 is, perhaps, a preferable continuation.
7...Nf6 8.h3 Bd7 9.Qd2 Qa5 10.0-0 0-0 11.a3 
White failed to observe the brilliant play his opponent had on hand, winning a valuable pawn.  He should have played Nxc6 or Rd1 or f3.
11...Nxd4
12.Bxd4 
12.Qxd4 would have saved the pawn, though it places the queen in a somewhat exposed position.  The move selected results in the loss of a pawn, as 12...Nxe4 proves.
12...Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Qxd2 14.Nxd2 Bxd4 15.c3 Bg7 16.Rfe1 d5 17.Rad1 Ba4 
A powerful looking move, which, however, does not prove satisfactory.  The bishop will be forced away by the b3 reply of White and Black loses time.  Instead of ...Ba4 he should have moved ...e6.
18.b3 Bc6 19.c4 Bc3 
19...dxc4, followed by ...e6 and ...Rd8 was a better continuation.  Black should have endeavored to maintain his bishops, being a pawn ahead it was likely to secure a win. 
20.Bf3 dxc4 
20...e6 was probably the best play at this stage of the game.  White could not then well move Re3 on account of d4.
21.Bxc6 bxc6 
22.Re3 
Excellent play.  The move forces Black to answer ...Bxd2, followed by  ...cxb3.  Temporarily Black is two pawns ahead, yet White is bound to win one of them, and he obtains the best drawing chances.
22...Bxd2 23.Rxd2 cxb3 24.Rxb3 Rfd8 25.Rc2 Rac8 26.Rb7 e6 27.Rxa7 c5 28.Kf1 c4 29.Ra4 Rd3 30.Raxc4 Rxc4 31.Rxc4 Rxa3 
After this move Black offered a draw, which of course was readily accepted.  Black is a pawn ahead, and he has some winning chances.  By correct play, however, the advantage is not likely to be sufficient to secure a win.
½-½. 
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1897.06.04, p5
    Only one board escaped Steinitz’s evaluation on the evening of May 31, 1897, and that was the game between Elson of Philadelphia and Halpern of New York.  At the time, as noted above, especially with the Lipschütz - Young game recorded as a win for the latter, the outcome of the match appeared to hinge on the adjudication.
    Because of the game’s significance, it received special treatment from the ex-world champion. According to the Eagle for June 3, 1897, Steinitz “called for the two players’ analyses,” and upon receiving it intended to give the position “careful examination.”  The paper continued, noting that “the Philadelphian, Elson, with a passed pawn to the good, naturally claimed a win, but this Halpern as firmly contested, holding that there was a draw in the position with the possibilities of a win for him in case his opponent tried to force matters.  Steinitz said on Monday that the presumption of superiority was with White, he being a pawn ahead and having at least an equal position and that under ordinary circumstances he would have awarded him the game.  Considering its importance, however, he had complied with the request of both sides to subject it to thorough analysis.”
    The position to be adjudicated was published by Kemeny in the Ledger, as it was in the Eagle, though neither paper ran the whole score.  Reichhelm did, however, include the game, with light notes, in his book.  The one additional note by Kemeny that appeared in his column with the game’s final position is identified below.
Elson,J (Philadelphia) — Halpern,JC (New York)
Board 12
C65/01
Spanish: Berlin
1897.05.31
USA (Franklin-Manhattan Telegraphic Match)
Annotations by Gustavus Reichhelm
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 d6 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.Nf1 Ne7 8.Ng3 Ng6 9.0-0 c6 10.Ba4 Qc7 11.Bc2 Bg4 12.h3 Be6 13.Be3 Bb6 14.d4 
The first advance on the center for the purpose of growing an attack.
14...Rad8 15.Qe2 h6 16.Nd2 d5 
This attempt to force the fighting gives White the advantage.
17.dxe5 Nxe5 18.f4 Nc4 19.Nxc4 dxc4 20.Kh2 Bxe3 21.Qxe3 Rfe8 22.e5 Bd7 23.Ne4 Nd5 24.Qg3 Kh8 25.Nd6 Rf8 
Must lose pawn now, but he foresees that Nxf7+ will not pay.
26.Nxc4 f5 27.Rae1 Be6 28.Nd6 Kh7 29.Bb3 Qe7 30.Re2 b5 31.Bc2 g6 32.Qf2 Nb6 33.b3 Nd5 34.Qc5 Qc7 35.Bd3 Qb6 36.Qxb6 axb6 37.c4 Nb4 38.Bb1 bxc4 39.bxc4 Ra8 
(Adjudicated by W. Steinitz), 1-0. 
The continuation is, say, 40.Rb2 c5 41.Rf3 Ra6 42.Rfb3 [Emil Kemeny instead noted in the Ledger for June 15, 1897, p.15, that “the win is forced by the following continuation: ... 42.a3 Nc6 43.Rc3 followed by Rd2, Nb5, and Rd6.”] 42.Rb8 43.g4 fxg4 44.hxg4 Bxg4 45.Ne4 etc.
Chess in Philadelphia, Philadelphia 1898, p109
    Although the Manhattan players eventually consented to having Steinitz reconsider his decision in Lipschütz - Young as well as to extending time, at Steinitz’s request, for further examination of Elson - Halpern, that willingness to lengthen the matter had clearly not been their initial desire.  The Eagle for June 10, 1897, had paraphrased Colonel Morse, “who had the management of the match on Decoration Day,” as remarking in effect that “the Franklin Club [] had declined on the day of play to consider the suggestion of calling the match a draw and replaying it at an early date, when this seemed the most sensible course to pursue considering the closeness of the score and the many unsatisfactory features which had attended the play.”  Perhaps what sounded most sensible to the New York players, who perhaps could hear the match slipping away from them, did not strike a similar chord with the Philadelphians.
    In any event, de Visser added at the same time that “the experience of this match has acted strongly against any further telegraphic contests being played by us, at all events, when over the board play can be substituted with very little, if any, more expense or inconvenience to the players, and this feeling, I know, is shared by players of the Franklin club as well as of the Manhattan.”  And indeed, the classic series of inter-club matches between these two powerful teams proceeded in future years over the board.
    Thus ended the third annual match between the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia and the Manhattan Chess Club of New York City.  The two clubs would play annually for many years, usually with victory falling to the lot of the New York players.  Little more could, or would, be said of this match in years to come, though no doubt the victory was one long cherished in Philadelphia.  The Ledger for June 15, 1897, did add that “the expenses of the match are to be divided between the two clubs.  The local club will receive an engrossed score card as a trophy of its victory.”  An illustration of the score card appears on page 12 of the June 1897 issue of American Chess Magazine.  And understandably so, since the magazine itself presented it to the winning club.  In those glorious days of inter-club rivalry, such a “trophy” no doubt was worth much more than its weight in gold to the victors.

* Whether Albert Beauregard Hodges ever legitimately held the title of United States Champion should be a subject of some controversy among American chess history scholars.  I am indebted to Nick Pope for first bringing the issue to my attention.  The generally held view is that Hodges did hold the title, but this conclusion is based upon the assumption that Lipschütz, the previous title holder, had in fact given up his crown when he moved out West for reasons of health. Lipschütz would later deny that he had abdicated, thus casting into doubt the legitimacy of Showalter having again assumed the title prior to the moment Hodges defeated him in a match.  Hodges did, however, resign his title, or at least his claim to it, shortly thereafter, due to the pressure of his business commitments, and Showalter took up the title once more.  Any question as to Showalter’s later supremacy over Lipschütz was answered in a subsequent match between the two, played once Lipschütz had returned East.  This article, however, is not the place to attempt a detailed evaluation concerning such matters.  They involve complex questions of pedigree, ones requiring long and careful study of the historical record as it pertains to the high throne of American chess.

    The author wishes to thank Andy Ansel, Eduardo Mercere and Nick Pope for their assistance with this essay.

Errata (Added 2000.01.16)
    There is an error in the Franklin - Manhattan 1897 telegraphic match piece. Dr. Albert C. Simonson playing Mordecai Morgan on board nine on the chart would be quite a trick, since Albert Simonson wasn't born until something like 17 years after the match.
    It should be Gustave Simonson. The change needs to be made in the chart, at board nine, and then again in the header for the first game, to read Simonson,G - Morgan, M. 
    Sorry about that. - J.S.H. [No Problem - N. P.]
© John S. Hilbert 1999.  All rights Reserved.

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