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 McConnell Family Notebooks, Part I
Researched by John Paul Phillips

Item #1:
Letter from Wilhelm Steinitz to James McConnell Sr.
PO Box 2987 New York
March 2nd 1885
My dear Sir

Your extremely kind letter came during my absence from N. Y. and since my return I have been very busy indeed with editorial work.  I however take the earliest opportunity (since finishing the March number of the magazine which is now in binders hands) in which to thank you most sincerely for your generous recommendations.

Knowing you to be an old admirer and friend of poor Morphy I should like to have your opinion on my essay about him after it is finished.  It is impossible to say all at once and many important points have not been even touched yet.  If you happen to have time I should be very glad to have a letter from you on the subject which I would be only too proud to publish with the fullest permission extended to you to criticise me as severely as you may in my own paper.  My object is to show that I have no personal feeling in the matter.

I was very much struck with the remark you made repeatedly after we had played several games together: “A pawn ahead wins.”

This I thought a great concession on your part answering that you had played the (so called) Morphy style probably all your life.  But if I have succeeded in showing that even Morphy did never indulge in material sacrifices when playing important games and that he only hazarded with weaker players I think I shall have removed an injurious prejudice.  For I have seen many good talents spoilt and disappointed by a hankering after brilliancies which have no solid foundation even in Morphy's examples.

I was in hopes of having the pleasure of seeing you again soon in case the tournament at New Orleans should come off.  But I fear I shall hardly be able to make arrangements for a lengthy absence from N. Y. as my editorial labours require my personal attendance here.

With kindest regards to yourself and all chess friends in the Crescent City I have the honor to remain

very truly yours
W Steinitz
J McConnell Esq

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