THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                            Letter from Max Lange to Adolph Anderssen




That the high qualities of the Foreign master were in Germany by no means underrated, is best proved by the publication of the first part of this book. The above considerations were therefore all of a formal nature, and in the same formal sense is the letter to be taken, which the editor of this book, and co-editor of Anderssen, in the Schachzeitung, addressed to him on December 6th, 1858. The writer was led by the sad conviction, that the man who seemed to be destined, first and foremost, to represent German Chess genius, had so little of public spirit, and was so indifferent to the interests of his country; and though the author was happy to see his native country represented by such a man, yet he was decidedly opposed, that the German master should make advances to the Foreigner. The letter runs as follows :—
" My dear Sir and Friend,—Your much esteemed lines of yesterday bring me the confirmation of news, which till now I neither believed well founded, nor possible. You, the mature master of high renown, really intend to undertake a journey to Paris, and thus make the first advances towards a meeting with the youthful champion, who came to Europe to establish his reputation.
" If for a moment the flattering hope of adding fresh laurels to, or to consolidate your well-earned renown has seized entirely upon your mind, and banished for a time, perhaps, every other regard, your natural good sense and tact has, no doubt, soon shown you several points worthy of grave reflection ; and I trust your determination is the result of serious and mature thought. After this most probable supposition, I should perhaps abstain from saying anything else, but simply express my best hopes for your success, wishing you sincerely a continuation of the well-being of your body and intellect, and a never failing presence of the powers of your mind.
" The peculiar circumstances of the case, however, demand a decided and unvarnished opinion, the more so as your determination is of great consequence to the Chess circles in general, and as it is our duty firmly to pronounce the sentiments of our country in the face of the presumptuous foreigner.
" If you were to be welcomed in Paris as the representative of German championship, I should be obliged to protest against such a misconception in the name of German mastership. Neither our grandmaster Heydebrand von der Lasa—who but lately repudiated the suppositions of the daily press concerning him, with proud energy— nor the German Clubs—especially that of Berlin, known to advantage equally well at home and abroad—would, under present circumstances, consider your journey to the foreign country necessary or advisable.
" The long established reputation of German mastership, stands in the opinion of all good Chess players in the world, so high and immovable, that it does not require confirmation in a contest of our own seeking; and, considering the supercilious pretensions with which foreigners are in the habit of regarding our country, it behooves the proud consciousness of national power, not to imperil our dignity by making the first step towards the stranger. This first step should be the further from our mind, the more there is a necessity for the ambitious young master himself to issue the challenge; and when you were the first to throw down the gauntlet, you had then passed already the limits prescribed by national pride. But now, as you are prepared to go still farther, there remains nothing even for your personal position, than the single chance of a complete and decisive victory, as the only excuse for that deeply founded consciousness of superiority, which alone could have reasonably induced you to make the first step to meet the foreigner.
" That this chance may be realized, allow me now, and chiefly for your own sake, confidently to hope, and to give to that confidence the strongest expression, by my stating to you, that in this combat of your own seeking, you must, under any circumstances, carry a decisive victory.
" If the iron power of will, which counts for so much in Chess, could, steeled in the fire of that necessity, yet gain in hardness and resistance, then it will be my greatest triumph to have spoken that word, as it is my heartfelt wish, that your high genius may safely guide you.
" In sincere devotedness, yours truly,
" Professor Anderssen. MAX LANGE."

    This letter was written just prior to the Morphy-Andersson match. It can be compared to Anderssen's letter to Heyderbrandt Von der Lasa a year after the match.