In this book, Edward Winter ("the world's greatest chess historian" in the words of U.S. scholar and master John Donaldson) delves deeply into chess lore to separate reality from myth. Intended for both the general enthusiast and the devotee of the game's history, Chess Facts and Fables features not only the leading masters in their moments of triumph, tragedy and controversy but also many neglected players and unsung heroes. There are investigations into famous and not-so-famous chess mysteries and hoaxes, as well as forgotten brilliancies and illuminating quotations. Detailed sources are given, and numerous items include contributions from the author's correspondents worldwide. Illustrated with 219 scarce photographs and 210 diagrams of chess positions, the book concludes with a comprehensive bibliography and four indexes.
Chess has its history, of course, and a long one, too; or rather several histories, each with its little fact and much fable, after the true manner of history in general.
James Mason, in his introduction to Social Chess (1900)
Fact and fable are commonly intermingled, and chess historians have a hard time disentangling them, for the game's literature is particularly blighted by untrustworthy assertions, rickety anecdotes and dubious quotes. The intention of the Chess Notes series, which began in 1982, is to sort out fact from fable and to present fresh, accurate material. As did the three previous volumes (Chess Explorations, 1996, Kings, Commoners and Knaves, 1999, and A Chess Omnibus, 2003), the present anthology offers a wide variety of historical delvings, biographical narratives, authenticated quotations and forgotten games. There are, certainly, some "scoops," but no less numerous are the "failures," i.e. matters on which the truth has yet to be established satisfactorily. The work goes on.
These pages feature a number of discoveries by readers, and warm thanks are expressed here to correspondents throughout the world who have contributed the fruits of their own researches. Proof-reading assistance from Jonathan Manley has been greatly appreciated. Above all, this book owes an immense debt to Richard Forster, whose generosity in sharing his expertise and time has gone far beyond what may legitimately be hoped for by any author.
Readers are cordially invited to inform the publisher of any factual errors that they detect, these being the responsibility of the author alone.
Geneva, March 2005
List of Content
001 I. Position
021 II. Games
067 III. Miscellaneous
149 IV. Biography
226 V. Gaffes
257 VI. Mysteries
312 VII. Quotes
341 Book List
353 Index of Games and Positions
357 Index of Openings
358 Index of Illustrations
361 General Index