Visit to Cleveland, Ohio
by Michael Negele
Cleveland Finds I
We make a short leap in time to the mid-twenties, a top tournament was held in Moscow where the chess greats of those days came together and where the German Russian Bogoljubow produced the finest achievement of his chess career.
The anecdotal episode having grown up around the surely most famous lost game of Emanuel Lasker is well-known:
Moscow 1925, 12th round, Lasker lost his game against Carlos Torre by an elegant see-saw combination of the latter. Lasker’s previous thoughtless moves are supposed to have been caused by a cable which he received during the game and informed him about the acceptance of his play Vom Menschen die Geschichte ["The History of Men", written together with his brother Bertold] by a German theatre.
Among the Lasker memorabilia in Cleveland there were three cables which seem most interesting in this connection – three cables Lasker wrote or received in Moscow:
The first asking for the drama (and 200 fine cigars) is probably dated November 6th, 1925 (the tournament started 10-11-1925).
The date November 6th is covered by a letter from Moscow written by Lasker to his wife the same day.
Particularly the second is of great interest, in fact it arrived in Moscow on the afternoon of November 25th, 1925 at 4.45 pm, just that day when Lasker’s game against Torre took place. The games were played from 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm so that the cable of his brother Bert(h)old could actually have reached him during the game.
In the somewhat mutilated text:
Selenkas = Helmuth Zelenka who later on (1927) gave a lecture on the Lasker drama. (It is known that it has never been performed.)
Finally the third dated the 26th of November, so directly afterwards – in spite of his loss Lasker was "in good spirits".
Cleveland Finds II
The second issue of our finds is devoted to one of the fathers of the "Hypermoderns" - the Danish-Latvian grandmaster Aaron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935). Among other things in Cleveland there is the following picture from 1932 with accompanying text in a show case.
A further historically interesting photo was found on a paper cutting. (Unfortunately the photo is only preserved in poor quality.) Nimzowitsch had just won the jubilee tournament of the Berlin Chess Society in February 1928 (by 10/13) ahead of Bogoljubow, Tartakower and P. Johner.
Two years before Lasker had been portrayed in a drawing by the artist David Friedmann - as well in Berlin.
(International Master Tournament, 17 to 29 November 1926)
[Miriam Morris, the daughter of David Friedmann is still looking for portrait drawings by her father, see her enquiry of October 2006.]
A particularly remarkable find is the letter sent by Nimzowitsch to Emanuel Lasker at the beginning of the year 1929. It's rather easy to make out Nimzowitsch's central request: it consists in the attempt to induce Lasker to a cooperation on his planned booklet, his petition is embedded in all kinds of flattering remarks which could have achieved rather the opposite of the desired effect by their eccentricity. Anyway, the obsequious attitude taken up by Nimzowitsch towards Lasker is to be noticed throughout the text. We don't know Lasker's reply to this letter, in any case the planned brochure has never been published (instead Nimzowitsch's autobiographical booklet Kak ja stal grosmejsterom ["How I became a Grandmaster"]).
Here the original letter dated the 4th of January, 1929 (please click the preview pictures!):
You will find in the following pdf-files a transcription to typewritten text (by Michael Negele) as well as a translation into English (by Kurt Landsberger):
We are indebted to our friend Kurt Landsberger for the this time especially arduous translation work.
The same month (January 1929) Nimzowitsch's article "Laskers allumfassender Spielstil" [Lasker's all-embracing playing style] was published in the Wiener Schachzeitung which we offer here as an additional good read:
Cleveland Finds III
Jurgen Stigter and Michael Negele at the "Doorway to Chess Heaven"
[John G. White Special Collections]
Jurgen and Calle "observed" by John G. White - here the painting in large size.
There were many sights for our amazed chess friends, here a Reynard the Fox chess set.
Again and again old paper cuttings reveal astonishing finds.
The following picture gallery gives an impression of the fascinating premises and furnishings of the Cleveland Public Library (15 photos).
Emanuel Lasker in an old de luxe edition...
... and in heavy metal.
We add a further gallery with 9 Lasker photos in chronological order: Lasker Gallery
Relaxing during the dinner:
Michael Negele and Lissa Waite
Martin Hillyer, Gisela Hillyer and Calle Erlandssson