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         The History and The Culture of Chess


 The 1902 International Chess Tournament of Monte Carlo

     Around the turn of the 20th century, there was interest in international chess tournaments. The Brooklyn Eagle, August 23, 1900 mentions that for the winter of 1901, several countries were vying for the opportunity to host an important chess congress. Of all these countries, Monaco was expending  the most concerted effort. Eventually, Monaco's determination would pay off and the tournament of 1901 would be repeated for an additional three years. It's been said the Monte Carlo was looking for ways to encourage tourism during the winter months and this tournament was in fact an advertising investment. While Monte Carlo always had good tourism during its winter months due to its temperate climate, it's also true that by 1903, its winter tourism rates had reached unprecedented heights.                                                                    


Four Different Countries May Bid
for the International Contests
Next Year.

Glasgow and Montreal Follow Suit -
No Contest in Havana -
American Congress Plans

According to the reports that have recently been circulating, there are at least five different places that want, or are said to want, an international chess tournament in 1901. These are Monte Carlo and Glasgow in Europe, and New York, Havana and Montreal on this side of the Atlantic. Thus far the Monte Carlo people have been the most businesslike in setting about to secure such a meeting, as the masters have, it appears, already been approached on the subject and the indorsement [sic] of the majority obtained.

In Glasgow there is a good deal of talk to the effect that a Scottish congress would be desirable next year. While readers of the Eagle know, from reports and correspondence published, that the same sentiment is abroad in the United States.
Frank J. Marshall, Brooklyn's champion, who is back from a visit to his former home in Canada, is responsible for the announcement that there is considerable enthusiasm among the chess players in Montreal, and that, moreover, a concerted movement to secure a big attraction in the shape of a masters' contest in seriously contemplated. On the other hand, the report given out by the ex-Mexican champion, M. Sterling, that a Cuban international tournament in 1901 was practically a certainty, can no longer be accepted. Direct and reliable information comes form Havana, through A. Ettlinger of the Manhattan Chess Club, who returned from a business trip this week. He states that chess circles there are unusually quiet and that there are positively no prospects of an affair of such magnitude being brought off. Consequently, only four countries can now be considered in the ring as bidders for the masters' services.
           Brooklyn Eagle, August 23, 1900


The New York Times (Jan. 12, 1902) and the Brooklyn Eagle (Feb. 2, 1902) published some information regarding the rules and prizes in the upcoming tournament. Here are the particulars:

Among the patrons are:
the Prince Dadian of Mingrelia, Baron Albert de Rothschild, Count Schaffgotsch, Col. T. E. Vickers, C. B. Frëiherr von Bulow, the Duke Fery d'Esclands, the Duke de Dino, Sir John Thursby, George O. Allain, President of the New Orleans Chess, Checker, and Whist Club, Prof. Reinhold Begas, Capt. A. S. Beaumont, Count Bernard d'Harcourt, Rudolph von Gottschall, Issac L. Rice, Aristides Martinez, President of the Manhattan Chess Club, Dr. Persifer Frazer, President of the Franklin Club, Philadelphia, and others.

The committee is composed as follows:
President: Prince Dadian of Mingrelia
Vice Presidents: Albert Clerc and Louis Heffer
Members: H. Delaire, S. Rosenthal, Issac L. Rice, Col. C. Moreau, Dr. E. Lasker and others
Director of Play: Arnous de Rivière.

The congress will be opened formally on Feb. 1 but only the reception of the players and a discussion on the rules and regulations will take place that day, while the first round of the tournament is scheduled to be played on Feb. 3.

At the time of the issue of the programme the committee had received twenty-six entries of which number sixteen have already been accepted.

-- Regular rounds to be played on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays. Adjourned games to be concluded on Thursdays of each week.
- Two sittings to take place daily, namely from 9 to 1 and from 3 to 7.
-- A won game counts 1 point. Drawn games have to be replayed; in case of a draw each player receives one-quarter of a point: if the drawn game between the same players is again drawn, then each man receives one-half point for both games; in case the game is won by either party, the winner receives an additional half point, a total therefore of three-quarters of a point for both the games, while the loser gets one-quarter. (This rule was also in force last year.)
-- Two players cannot call a game drawn until they have appealed to the director of play, who may allow the draw or ask the players to proceed with play.
--The time limit has been fixed at thirty moves for the first two hours; afterward the moves have to be made at the rate of fifteen moves to the hour.
-- The committee has the right to alter and modify the rules as the last moment, while the director of play will have the sole right of interpreting the rules.

The committee has received 14,000 francs from the Cercle des Etrangers at Monte Carlo, 500 francs from Prince Dadian de Mingrelia and Baron Albert de Rothschild of Vienna, 200 francs from Capt. A. S. Beaumont, 1,000 francs from J. L. McCutcheon of Pittsburg, and a number of contributions from various sources. It has been decided to divide the money according to the number of entries.

The prizes are, respectively, of the following amounts: 5,000, 3,000, 1,500, 1,000, 750, and 500 francs.
The non-prize winners receive 3,200 francs in all in proportion to the games won by each competitor. About 35 francs will be given for each point won.

A January 1902 issue of The Field likewise stated:

The tournament was patronized by distinguished amateurs of all countries, as shown in the following list:

H. S. H. Prince Dadian de Mingrélia, Councillor Albert Clerc,  Baron Albert de Rothschild, Count Schaffgotsch, C.A. Laisant, Col. RE. Vickers, C.B., Freiher von Bulow, Duc Féry d'Esclands, Dr. Paul Berger, Duc de Dino, Sir J.O.S. Thursby, Bart., George O. Allain, President New Orleans Chess Club, E. Asselin, Aug. Wasmuth, Professor Reinhold Begas, Capt. AS. Beaumont, Count Bernard d'Harcourt, M. Pécher, A Naumann, President Vienna Chess Club, H. Delaire, President of the Cercle Philidor, Rudolph von Gottschall, W.J. Soldatenkoff, Prince de Cantacuzine, Professor Isaac L. Rice, Aristides Martinez, President Manhattan Chess Club, P.A. Saburoff Col. Ch Moreau, F.G. Naumann, J.L. McCutcheon, Dr. Persifor Frazer, President Franklin Chess Club, M. de Boistertre, etc."  

Adding that:

...the tournament contestants met on February 1, 1902, at 3 o'clock with the members of the
organizing committee.
Prince Dadian of Mingrelia was unavoidably absent, owing to a death in his family. Mr. Rosenthal, although at Monte Carlo, could not attend owing to illness, so that the committee consisted only of Mr. Arnous de Rivière (judge commissaire) and Mr. L. Hoffer (vice-president). Fortunately, these two representatives were reinforced by Mr. F. G. Naumann - fortunately in more than one sense, for Mr. Naumann generously contributed L120 towards the prize funds, so that the burning question of consolation prizes for the non-prize winners could be satisfactory settled.


By the end of December, the organization committee had received 16 applications. Nevertheless, the deadline being 31 December 1901, the organizing committee believed that several more major world players would show interest. From , the 26 applications, the participation of the following players was preliminarily confirmed:
     Great Britain: Burn, Blackburne, Teichmann, Gunsberg
     United States: Pillsbury, Marshall
     Austria-Hungary: Maroczy, Schlechter, Marco
     Russia: Chigorin, Janowski, Winawer
     Germany: Mieses, v. Scheve
     Italy: Sig. Reggio
     France: M. Billecard

Among the contestants added to the role between the end of December and February 1 were:  were Mason
(London), Albin and Wolf (Vienna), Walbrodt (Berlin), v. Popiel (Austria),
and Eisenberg (Germany).  By the Sunday when the lots were drawn, Winawer, Burn, and Billecard had dropped out while Tarrasch, Napier, Taubenhaus and Mortimer were admitted. On Monday, when the play was to begin, Taubenhaus and Blackburne bowed out, leaving a total of 20 players.


All draws had to be approved by the director (Arnous de Rivière). The general rule was that no draw would be allowed before the thirtieth move. Teichmann and Mason wanted to agree to a draw after move 24, but they were required to continue playing. The draw was finally allowed at move 35.
   However, there were two exceptions in which games were drawn in less than 30 moves:   Mieses and Schlechter were allowed a draw after 23 moves since almost all of the pieces had been exchanged and a draw seemed very reasonable.  Teichmann and Wolf were allowed a very early draw since, as the tournament book explains "Only the opening was played: every piece was exchanged alternately, and by permission of the director of play, given up and drawn."
   Towards the end of the tournament, several players agreed to draws without playing. The tournament book notes, "The
players paid their own accommodation costs and so, toward the end of the tournament, a number of players who were out of
the running for prizes, agreed to share the point so that they could leave Monte Carlo early."   These drawn games included 
Wolf - Schlechter (2nd game); Eisenberg - Mason; Mason - Eisenberg; Popiel - Gunsberg (2nd game); Eisenberg - Scheve;
Scheve - Eisenberg; Marco - Napier & Napier - Marco.
   As the tournament had dragged on almost six weeks due to the many replays as well as the additional byes, the players who were out of the running for prizes had good reason for wanting to wrap up the proceedings and go home.

Much of what's presented here has a distinct American perspective. Although what exists as the tournament book was created through the Weiner Schachzeitung articles prepared by and annotated Georg Marco, a German, and undoubtedly national presses expressed the happenings from their own viewpoints, most of the information here was gleaned from American newspapers and writers who empathized with Marshall, Pillsbury and Napier above all the others.                         

Play in the Second International
Chess Congress Begins To-day
Marshall, Napier and Pillsbury
All Products of This City -
Pairing in Full.


                   (Special to the Eagle)
Monte Carlo, February 2 -- The second international chess congress, at Monte Carlo, which, save for the absence of world's champion Lasker, would be accounted the greatest on record, was officially opened yesterday, one day later than had originally been scheduled. A pleasant surprise was in store for the chess world, inasmuch as the famous Dr. Tarrasch of Nuremburg, who won the Vienna tournament of 1898, after a tie with Pillsbury, and then retired from chess, again put in an appearance.
In a large measure, the absence of Lasker is compensated for by the participation of Tarrasch. One man, however, stayed away, who was thought to be a certain competitor. This was Amos Burn of Liverpool. Otherwise the field is the very best obtainable and thoroughly representative of the various chess playing countries.
The entry list includes three Americans, as many from France and Germany, five from Great Britain, five from Austria-Hungary, two from Russia and one from Italy, or twenty-two in all.
Contrary to expectations, there was no protest on the part of the masters against any of the rules, and the one providing for the replaying of drawn games, which was made use of last year and at Paris, again holds good.
As last year, these games will only count ¼ point to each player, and, in case of a second draw, another ¼ point is added to the score of each. Otherwise the winner of the second game will receive an additional ½ point, or ¾ in all.
The complete list of masters who participated in the opening proceedings is as follows:

H.N. Pillsbury, F.J.Marshall, W.E.Napier, America; J.H.Blackburne, James Mortimer, Isidor Gunsberg, James Mason and Richard Teichmann, Great Britain; Adolf Albin, D.Janowski and S. Taubenhaus, France; Jaques Mieses, Theodor von Scheve and Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch, Germany; Georg Marco, Geza Maroczy, Ignatz von Popiel, Carl Schlechter and S. Wolf, Austria-Hungary; L.R.Eisenberg, M.I.Tschigorin, Russia; A.Reggio, Italy.
The principal business transacted yesterday was the pairing of the players for the entire twenty-one rounds, this being done, as usual, by means of the Berger tables. In consequence of the decision to replay drawn games, thus making it necessary to have more than one bye-day each week, it was arranged to play four regular rounds a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, leaving Wednesdays and Saturdays for playing off adjourned and drawn games.
The tourney will thus extend over a period of five weeks and one day and the final round will not take place until the 10th of March. Even then the conclusion of the contest may be postponed a few days on account of a few important games which may then be pending. Appended are the pairings for all the twenty-one rounds:

             List of the 21 rounds of pairings

The actual round to be played each day will be determined by lot on the morning of that day. Inasmuch as there are an uneven number of rounds, some of the players will have the first move eleven times, whereas others will have that privilege only ten times, this being purely a matter of luck in the drawing.
A glance at some of the results of the drawing, especially those affecting the Americans, will be of some interest. The schedule shows that both Marshall and Napier will play with the white pieces eleven times. Pillsbury on the other hand, will be on the defensive that number of times.
Others of the big players, who were thus favored, are Janowski, Maroczy and Schlechter. Tarrasch is in the same boat with Pillsbury. By an odd coincidence, Tarrasch is obliged to play black against all three Americans, whereas Maroczy plays white against them all.
It will be noted that Pillsbury and Napier will have the choice of opening with Janowski.
         Brooklyn Eagle, February 3, 1902

The drawing was done on Sunday, Feb 2nd, for a total of 22 players. By early Monday, word had been received that Blackburne and Taubenhaus would be unable to play. Time was then called at 9:00 a.m., so the tournament could proceed with an unusual schedule of 21 rounds, with 2 players receiving a bye each round.

               The Berger Pairing System


Pillsbury had missed the 1901 tournament due to his marriage (on January 20th in St. Louis) and prior commitments:

"Fears are entertained that two of the great experts whose participation in these foreign events usually helps make them famous - namely, Lasker and Maroczy - will not be on hand to take part in the fray. No satisfactory reason for their probable absence has yet been given, as up to a very recent period both were actively engaged in an exhibition tour. As before reported, Pillsbury, the American champion, will also be an absentee, but he could hardly be expected to make this trip in view of his recent marriage and his many engagements in different parts of the country."
Brooklyn Eagle, January 31, 1901

The 1902 tournament was to kick off a 2 year tour for Pillsbury, accompanied by his wife.

American Chess Champion off
for the International Tourney at
Monte Carlo


Harry Nelson Pillsbury, chess champion of America, sailed this morning on the steamship
 St. Louis of the American Line for Southampton, en route for London, whence he will shortly depart for Monte Carlo, the scene of the international masters' tournament, beginning there on February 3.
Pillsbury, who will celebrate his first wedding anniversary on Friday of this week, was accompanied by his wife, and was in the best of spirits. He is looking eagerly forward to the time when he may add additional laurels to his long list of international honors. As he will compete in many tournaments before his return, besides giving innumerable exhibitions of his skill.

After the Monte Carlo tournament Pillsbury will return to England and, barring some untoward incident, will play his game with Blackburne in the cable match over the board. Then he will go after Lasker and have some sort of understanding with the world's champion regarding a match. Pillsbury has already secured all the backing he needs and can get as much more in Hastings, the scene of his grand triumph in 1895.
The American champion returned from Philadelphia yesterday, where he had given two blindfold exhibitions, on a large scale, one at the Franklin Chess Club on Saturday, when he won 12 games, lost 2 and drew 3, and another at the Mercantile Library Chess Club, on Monday, when he won 13, lost 1 and drew 1. Last night he was the guest of the New York Checker Club and entertained a large crowd of checker enthusiasts with a blindfold exhibition against a team of twelve players.
At the Boston Athletic Association last week Pillsbury also played 17 games without sight of the boards, winning 13, losing 2 and drawing 2.
           Brooklyn Eagle, January 15, 1902

Frank Marshall, who played in the 1901 tournament, but with poor results (5.5 pts 10/14), was noticed by the media

Marshall in Paris          
Brooklyn Chess Expert En Route         
to Grand Monte Carlo Tournament        


                              (special to the Eagle)
Paris, France, January 22 -- Frank J. Marshall, the Brooklyn chess expert, had arrived here en route to Monte Carlo, where, with Pillsbury and Napier, he will represent America in the inter- national chess tournament, beginning the third day of February. This morning Marshall had an interview with M. Arnous de Rivière of this city, manager of the tournament, and learned from him that play is to be conducted, as heretofore, in accordance with the Berger system of pairing. Competitors will meet to discuss the rules of play on the Saturday preceding the first day of the tournament. The following twenty-three players representative of all the leading chess playing countries, excepting Australia, have been accepted: [list of players]
                             Brooklyn Eagle, January 23, 1902


From Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion, by Andy Soltis:

It was a charming place for a major chess tournament. The playing site, the casino's Cercle Privé was described in the Prague publication Bohemia as "a richly decorated first floor hall":

"From one side there opens a beautiful view of gardens surrounding the casinos, villas and hotels....From the other side-a luxurious panorama of the southern sea with winding shore, visible right up to Cape St.Martin....The presence in the hall of a large roulette wheel acts somewhat strangely on the players. You don't need to be reminded that we are in Monte Carlo and in this same hall from 9 to 2 each night roulette is played among the select of society."

The va banque spirit at the tables at night may also have influenced Marshall's daytime play. In the 1901 tournament his two games with Mikhail Chigorin were typically outrageous. He took absurd risks, in the apparent belief that if his attacks failed he could always draw the resulting endgame.

Besides the gaming tables, there were other distractions at Monte Carlo.  An unedited Portuguese manuscript with the provisional title, Carl Schlechter - Clássico Vienense do Xadrez, tells us:

The presence of the public was allowed this time - the previous event (1901) was conceived to be covered by the press, with the moves being transmitted [a novelty then] through wireless telegraph. The playing hall, in the upper story (Cercle Privé) of the Casino, was luxurious, with a spectacular view over the gardens on the hill where it was situated, and on the other side, over the sea toward the distant Cape Saint-Martin. Players could complain only about the somewhat unsuitable lighting (provided by very beautiful - but ill-conceived for master Chess - chandeliers). The violins of a Gypsy Orchestra, that played tirelessly in the nearby hotel's restaurant accompanied the moves. In one afternoon, everybody - leaving until later the boards and pieces - rushed to the windows to watch the rise, with its noisy 45 hp motor, of Santos Dumont's new dirigible airship.



Alberto Santos Dumont, the great Brazilian aviation pioneer who designed, built  and demonstrated the first practical dirigibles as well as the first airplane (1906) capable of taking off and landing completely through self-contained  means, was a guest of  the Duke de Dino (Maurice, Marquis de Talleyrand-Perigord, Duke de Dino) in Monte Carlo at this time. Among other things, he was testing his dirigible Number 6, the same dirigible that had just won 100,000 francs in October, 1901 by  meeting the challenge of flying from Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in less than thirty minutes. Dumont gave half his winnings to charity and divided the rest among his employees. Unfortunately, Dumont met with some bad luck at Monte Carlo. The picture on the right shows Number 6 rounding the Eiffel Tower.

Balloon Collapses at Sea
Santos-Dumont Airship Meets With
Disaster - Aeronaut Rescued Unhurt

   Monaco. February 14--Santos-Dumont's dirigible balloon collapsed at sea this afternoon. Santos-Dumont was rescued unhurt.
  The aeronaut started at 2:30 P.M. and was proceeding in the direction of Cape Martin. When opposite the Casino at Monte Carlo a rent occurred in the balloon and in less than ten minutes all the gas had escaped and the balloon fell into the sea.
   Several boats. including the Prince of Monaco's launch, were following the balloon and Santos-Dumas was rescued. The balloon sank.
                                                                     Brooklyn Eagle. February 14, 1902




Let the games begin....