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The Pleiades
April 03, 2004

 

There can be little dispute over the place of England in 19th chess.

Without any other evidence than the creation of the 1st International Chess Tournament of London, 1851, it would seem obvious.

For this tournament - arranged by Howard Staunton, the popularly accepted World Champion - players came from all over the world. Unfortunately Saint Amant couldn't be enticed from California, even with all expenses paid.  Alexander Petrov and Carl Jaenisch (from Russia), didn't  play nor did Heydebrand von der Lasa (from Germany) nor Ignazio Calvi (from Italy).

1st International Chess Tournament of London, 1851

Participants

Results - there were 8 prizes

A. Anderssen - Germany
L. Kieseritzky - France
B. Horrwitz - Germany
J. L÷wenthal - Hungary
K. Mayet - Germany
J. Szen - Hungary
H. Staunton - England
JR Mucklow - England
M. Wyvill - England
Brodie - England
H. Capt. Kennedy - England
W. Newham - England
E. Williams - England
E. Kennedy - England
H. Bird - England
E. Loewe - England
1. Anderssen - 15 pts.
2. Williams - 13.5 pts.
3. Wyvill - 13 pts.
4. Staunton - 11 pts.
5. Szen - 12.5 pts.
6. Capt. Kennedy - 10 pts.
7. Horrwitz - 5 pts.
8. Mucklow - 2 pts.

 

 

download tournament PGN

Six of the sixteen participants are from outside of England. Three from Germany, two from Hungary and one from France. Proportionately, three of the eight prize-winners were from outside England. The overall winner was a German. 

This demonstrates that strong chess was being played in other places than England, particularly in Germany.

Germany hadn't made much chess noise prior to this tournament. Yet it was apparent  just  how quietly advanced the Germans had become. This advance was achieved despite the lack of codified or standard  rules in Germany early in the century. Part of the credit for the developments can be attributed to an informal group of six men who stamped German chess with their individual. This group referred to themselves as the Pleiades.

 

The Berliner Pleiades were a loosely formed group of generally well-educated and sophisticated  German chess players who met between the years 1837 - 1839  for the express purpose of exchanging ideas and discussing their various individual and joint chess projects.

It's unclear what, if anything, of great value the Pleiades contributed as a group, but what is most significant is the contributions of the individuals who comprised it. While the group itself had no tangible significant achievement,  it's possible that the individuals may not have matured as they did without it's existence, without it's support, without it's shared resources and interaction.

Their name drives from the constellation of the same name meaning the Seven Stars or the Seven Sisters.

 The Constellation name, like most, is based of Greek mythology.

The Dance of the Pleiades

 

Halcyone - `queen who wards off evil

Asterope  - lightning or twinkling 

CelŠno - swarthy 

Eleckra - amber, shining or bright 

Maia - grandmother, mother or nurse 

Merope - eloquent, bee-eater or mortal

Taygete - long-necked

 

The members of this group included:

 

Dr. Ludwig E. Bledow (1795-1846) 

A mathematics teacher at C÷llnischen Gymnasium zu Berlin, he founded the Berliner Schachgesellschaft (The Berlin School of Chess,  the oldest, extant German chess association) in 1827. When he died, he left a chess library of 14,000 volumes. He also founded the periodical, Schachzeitung der Berliner Schachgesellschaft  (later edited by Anderssen and von Minckwitz. In 1871, changed it's name to Deutsche Schachzeitung). He also was the founder of the Pleiades.

 

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1837.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Bernhard Horowitz"]
[Black "Ludwig Bledow"]


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Bb6 5.d4 Qe7 6.d5 Nd8 7.Be2 d6 8.h3 f5 9.Bg5 Nf6 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Nh4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Bxe7 Bxf2+ 14.Kf1 Ng3+
0-1

 

picture of Bledow at Chess Cafe


 

 

Wilhelm Hanstein (1811-1850)

 

He was born in Berlin and died in Magdeburg.

He discovered the Hanstein Gambit line in the KGA:
1. e4 e5 2. f4
2... exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. d4 h6 6. O-O d6 7. g3 Nc6 8. c3 g4 9. Nh4 f3 10. Nd2 Nf6 11. Nf5 Bxf5

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Wilhelm Hanstein"]
[Black "Tassilo Von Der Lasa"]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 h5 6.Bc4 Rh7 7.d4 d6 8.Nd3 f3 9.gxf3 Be7 10.Bg5 Bxg5 11.hxg5 Qxg5 12.f4 Qg7 13.c3 g3 14.Kd2 g2 15.Rg1 h4 16.Qf3 h3 17.Nf2 Nf6 18.f5 Qh6+ 19.Kc2 h2 20.Rxg2 h1=Q 21.Nxh1 Qxh1 22.e5 Rh2 23.Bf1 dxe5 24.Nd2 Nc6 25.d5 Nxd5 26.Rxh2 Qxh2 27.Bd3 Ndb4+ 28.Kb3 Nxd3 29.Rh1 Qxd2 30.Rh8+ Kd7 31.f6 Nd4+ 32.cxd4 Qb4+ 33.Kc2 Ne1+

0-1

Picture of Hanstein at Chess Cafe
 

Karl Schorn (1803-1850) 

Very little is known of Schorn.

He was a painter, born in Duesseldorf and died in Muenchen

[Event "?"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "von Bilguer"]
[Black "Schorn"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7.Bxb2 Bf8 8.Qd5 Nh69.Ng5 Qe7 10.Nc3 d6 11.Nb5 Ne5 12.Bxe5 dxe5 13.Nxc7+ Qxc7 14.Rac1 Qe715.Bb5+ Bd7 16.Qxb7 Rd8 17.Rfd1 Bxb5 18.Qxb5+ Rd7 19.Rc8+ Qd8 20.Qxd7#
1-0
 

Bernhard Horwitz (Horrwitz) (1807-1885) 

He was born in Neustrelitz, Germany.

He moved to England in 1845 and became an internationally known chess player. He lost to Anderssen in the London, 1851 tournament, but came in 7th out of 16.

He won the first study-composing tournament, held in 1862.

He lent his name to the expression Horwitz Bishops, two bishops working in tandem on adjacent diagonals.

He formed a chess partnership with fellow composer, Josef Kling (1811-1876). Together they produced Chess Studies (1851),  a book containing 208 endgame studies. This book is considered the beginning of modern endgame theory.

[Event "London m3 ;HCL 34"]
[Site "London m3 ;HCL 34"]
[Date "1846.??.??"]
[Round "23"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "H Staunton"]
[Black "B Horwitz"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.c3 Nf6 7.Bg5 O-O 8.O-O h6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.f4 Nd7 11.Nd2 c6 12.Qc2 Nb6 13.Bb3 d5 14.e5 Bg7 15.Rad1 c5 16.N4f3 c4 17.Bxc4 dxc4 18.Nxc4 Qc7 19.Ne3 Nc4 20.Nd5 Qc5+ 21.Kh1 Ne3 22.Qf2 Qxd5 23.Rxd5 Nxd5 24.Nd4 Ne7 25.h3 h5 26.Re1 Nf5 27.Kh2 Nxd4 28.cxd4 Be6 29.b3 Rad8 30.Rd1 Rd5 31.Qe3 f6 32.Rc1 fxe5 33.dxe5 Rxf4 34.Qxa7 Bxe5 35.Kh1 Rfd4 36.Rg1 Rd7 37.Qc5 R4d5 38.Qe3 Kh7 39.Re1 Bf5 40.a4 h4 41.Qxe5 Rxe5 42.Rxe5 Kg7 43.Kg1 Kf6 44.Rb5 Be4 45.Kf2 Bc6 46.Rb6 Rd2+ 47.Kf1 Kf5 48.Rb4 Bxg2+ 49.Kg1 Be4 50.a5 Kf4 51.Rb5 g5 52.b4 g4 53.hxg4 h3 54.Rh5 Kg3 55.Kf1 Bf3 0-1

[Event "London (England)"]
[Site "London (England)"]
[Date "1846.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "J Schulten"]
[Black "B Horwitz"]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 b5 4.Bxb5 Bc5 5.d3 c6 6.Bc4 Qb6 7.Qe2 d5 8.exd5 O-O 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.dxe4 Bxf2+ 11.Qxf2 Qb4+ 12.Bd2 Qxc4 13.Qf3 f5 14.exf5 Bxf5 15.Qb3 Qf1+ 16.Kxf1 Bd3+ 17.Ke1 Rf1# 0-1
 

Karl Mayet (1810-1868 ) 

A He was both a barrister and a judge.

He played in the London, 1851 tournament,  but with poor results. 

He discovered several opening lines: 

The  Mayet Gambit in the KGA
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4
3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.d4 d6 6.c3

The  Mayet Attack in the Latvian Gambit 
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5
3.Bc4

The Mayet Defense in the Italian Game/ Evans Gambit
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4
5. c3 Bf8

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Von Der Lasa Tassilo"]
[Black "Mayet Karl"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Ne7 9.d4 b5 10.Nxb5 c6 11.Nc3 Qb6 12.dxe5 Bb7 13.Ne4 Qb4+ 14.Bd2 Qxc4 15.Qg4+ Kxe5 16.f4+ Kd4 17.c3 Nxc3 18.Bxc3+ Kxe4 19.f5+ Kd5 20.O-O-O Kc5 21.b4 Kb5 22.a4 1-0

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Mayet Karl"]
[Black "Von Der Lasa Tassilo"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7.Bxb2 f6 8.e5 Be7 9.Re1 Kf8 10.Nc3 fxe5 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Rxe5 Bf6 13.Qf3 d6 14.Rd1 Nh6 15.h3 Bd7 16.Rh5 Bc6 17.Nd5 Nf7 18.Rf5 Bxd5 19.Rdxd5 c6 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Rxf6 cxd5 22.Rxf7+ Ke8 23.Qxd5 1-0

picture of Mayet at Chess Cafe
 

Paul Rudolph von Bilguer (1813-1840) 

This picture came from Tim Krabb? site

 

   

Army  Lieutenant Bilguer was most famous for his book, Handbuch des Schachspiels, the first  encyclopedia of chess openings. Bilguer died (at 27) before it's completion and the massive work was finished by his friend, Tassilo von der Lasa.



[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "P Bilguer"]
[Black "Van Der Lasa T"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Be7 4. Bc4 Bh4+ 5. g3 fxg3 6. O-O gxh2+ 7. Kh1 Nh6 8. d4 Ng4 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Ne5+ Kg8 11. Qxg4 d6 12. Qh5 g6 13. Nxg6 Qe8 14. Qd5+ Kg7 15. Nxh4 Rg8 16. Qg5+ Kh8 17. Qf6+ Rg7 18. Bh6 Qxe4+ 19. Nf3 Qg6 20. Bxg7+ Qxg7 21. Qd8+ Qg8 22. Ne5 Qxd8 23. Nf7+ Kg7 24. Nxd8 Na6 25. Nc3 Nb4 26. Rf7+ Kg6 27. Raf1 Bg4 28. R1f6+ Kg5 29. Ne4+ 1-0

 

Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-1899) 

 He was born in Berlin and died in Storchnest, Poland.

In 1843 he published the first edition of Handbuch des Schachspiel, a book started by Bilguer.

Lasa was a Prussian diplomat who traveled extensively.  After his retirement, he travel even more so, not only in Europe but to India, Australia, New Zealand, America and Cuba, playing chess and gathering information. He  was probably the greatest chess historian of the 19th century, assisting and encouraging Murray in writing his famous tome, A History of Chess. He had the largest chess library in the world at that time.

 

He was also one of the best players of his time, though this is often overlooked since, because of professional restraints, he never took part in tournaments. He beat both Staunton and Anderssen in friendly matches as well as Bilguer, Bledow, Hanstein, Mayet, Jaenisch, L÷wenthal, Schulten and Buckle - though it's fair to say that Staunton was past his prime and Anderssen hadn't reached his yet. He lost a match to Szen.

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Tassilo Von Der Lasa"]
[Black "Karl Mayet"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Ne7 9.d4 b5 10.Nxb5 c6 11.Nc3 Qb6 12.dxe5 Bb7 13.Ne4 Qb4+ 14.Bd2 Qxc4 15.Qg4+ Kxe5 16.f4+ Kd4 17.c3 Nxc3 18.Bxc3+ Kxe4 19.f5+ Kd5 20.O-O-O Kc5 21.b4 Kb5 22.a4 1-0

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1838.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Tassilo Von Der Lasa"]
[Black "Ludwig Bledow"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Bb6 5.O-O Nf6 6.d4 Qe7 7.Bg5 d6 8.Kh1 h6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.d5 Ne7 11.Ne1 g5 12.Nd3 Ng6 13.Nd2 h5 14.Qf3 Qe7 15.Rae1 g4 16.Qe2 h4 17.f4 exf4 18.Nxf4 Ne5 19.Bb3 g3 20.h3 a5 21.Nc4 Bf2 22.Rd1 Nxc4 23.Bxc4 Bd7 24.Nd3 Ba7 25.e5 b5 26.Bb3 O-O-O 27.e6 fxe6 28.dxe6 Be8 29.a4 d5 30.Nf4 Rf8 31.Nxd5 Rxf1+ 32.Rxf1 Qc5 33.Nf6 1-0
 

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1838.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Tassilo Von Der Lasa"]
[Black "Josef Szen"]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4
5.O-O gxf3 6.Qxf3 Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.d3 Bh6
9.Nc3 Ne7 10.Bd2 O-O 11.Rae1 Qc5+ 12.Kh1 c6
13.Ne4 Qf5 14.Bc3 Bg7 15.Nd6 Qg5 16.Rxe7 Bxc3
17.Rxf7 Rxf7 18.Bxf7+ Kg7 19.bxc3 Na6 20.Qxf4 Qxf4
21.Rxf4 Nc7 22.Bb3 Nd5 23.Bxd5 cxd5 24.Rf7+ Kg8
25.Re7 b6 26.Re8+ Kg7 27.Rxc8 1-0

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1839.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White " Wilhelm Hanstein"]
[White "Tassilo Von Der Lasa"]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 h5 6.Bc4 Rh7 7.d4 d6 8.Nd3 f3 9.gxf3 Be7 10.Bg5 Bxg5 11.hxg5 Qxg5 12.f4 Qg7 13.c3 g3 14.Kd2 g2 15.Rg1 h4 16.Qf3 h3 17.Nf2 Nf6 18.f5 Qh6+ 19.Kc2 h2 20.Rxg2 h1=Q 21.Nxh1 Qxh1 22.e5 Rh2 23.Bf1 dxe5 24.Nd2 Nc6 25.d5 Nxd5 26.Rxh2 Qxh2 27.Bd3 Ndb4+ 28.Kb3 Nxd3 29.Rh1 Qxd2 30.Rh8+ Kd7 31.f6 Nd4+ 32.cxd4 Qb4+ 33.Kc2 Ne1+  0-1


download Lasa's games

 

Handbuch des Scachspeils

Bilguer's Handbuch was first published in 1843 after Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa  completed the work Bilguer began in 1839.

The book is the first attempt to classify and analyze all known openings along with explanations and games. Because of the nature of the book and the advancements in chess theory and knowledge, it required periodical revisions.

Lasa edited the first four revised editions - in 1852, 1858, 1864 and 1874.

The 6th edition was edited by Constantin Schwede in 1880.

Emil Schallopp edited the 7th edition in 1891.

The 8th, and most famous, edition was edited by Carl Schlechter in 11 parts between the years 1912 and 1916.


In 1921,  Jacques Mieses published a supplement to the 8th edition.

Hans Kmoch provided a final supplement to the 8th edition in 1930.

While a major edition is referred to as Der Bilguer, a supplement is called Der kleine Bilguer

 


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