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Amsterdam Tournament

Amos Burn7/8(+6 -0 =2)[games]
Emanuel Lasker6/8(+5 -1 =2)[games]
James Mason5.5/8(+3 -0 =5)[games]
Louis van Vliet5/8(+3 -1 =4)[games]
Isidor Gunsberg4/8(+2 -2 =4)[games]
Johann Hermann Bauer3.5/8(+2 -3 =3)[games]
Rudolf Loman3/8(+2 -4 =2)[games]
Arnold van Foreest2/8(+1 -5 =2)[games]
Robinson Kay Leather0/8(+0 -8 =0)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Amsterdam (1889)

Preliminary arrangements appeared in the British Chess Magazine, August 1889, p. 318. Of course, they also appeared in the German tournament book cited below.

An International Chess Congress will be held at the Cafe Red Lion, Vygendam, Amsterdam, beginning on August 25th. There will be three classes, the first to consist only of acknowledged foreign masters, and some of the strongest Dutch players. Hours of play, 12 to 4 pm., and 6-30 to 10-30, each competitor to play one game with every other and two games each day, except on three evenings of the week, when unfinished games will be played out. If the entries do not exceed seven, it will be a two-round tourney. Time limit, 18 moves per hour. The committee will decide in which class each competitor will play.

These players impressed the Committee sufficiently to gain admittance to the top group: Johann Hermann Bauer Amos Burn Arnold van Foreest Isidor Gunsberg Emanuel Lasker Robinson Kay Leather Rudolf Johannes Loman James Mason Louis van Vliet. Of these, Burn, Gunsberg, and Mason were already veteran Masters. Bauer and Lasker were less experienced internationally, having qualified as Masters by winning Hauptturniers at the German National Congress. Lasker, indeed, had done so only a month earlier. Van Foreest was the current Dutch champion. Loman and van Vliet were native Dutch players, though they resided in London at the time. Finally, there's Mr. Leather, a professor at Liverpool University. There is a report that Joseph Henry Blackburne had entered and was expected to play, so Leather might have been promoted from a lower section to produce an even number of players. When Blackburne never showed up, Leather was allowed to remain in the Master section though he proved to be outclassed.

Amsterdam, 26 August - 1 September 1889

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pts 1 Burn * = = 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.0 2 Lasker = * = 0 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 3 Mason = = * = = = 1 1 1 5.5 4 Van Vliet 0 1 = * = 1 = = 1 5.0 5 Gunsberg 0 0 = = * = = 1 1 4.0 6 Bauer 0 0 = 0 = * 1 = 1 3.5 7 Loman 0 0 0 = = 0 * 1 1 3.0 8 van Foreest 0 0 0 = 0 = 0 * + 2.0 9 Leather 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - * 0.0

Two games are missing. Mason and Bauer did not submit a score from their round two game, and Leather, having lost every game, departed before his last round game with van Foreest.

Lasker started well, winning his famous double-bishop sacrifice game against Bauer in Round 1 and sprinting to 3-0. A loss to Van Vliet in Round 4 dropped him into a three-way tie for first with Gunsberg and Mason, while Burn (who had scored a draw and a bye in the first two rounds) kept chugging along, making up ground. Lasker got his bye in Round 7, and Burn took the lead with his fifth straight win. The Englishman made it six straight in Round 8, clinching a tie for first as Lasker drew. The younger man did have a chance to catch up in the last round when he had White against Burn, but settled for second place with a quick draw.

Fuller details can be found in the original tournament collection.


British Chess Magazine, August 1889, p. 318.
Der Internationale Schachkongress zu Amsterdam im August 1889 / bearbeitet von Jur. Das. Dirk van Foreest und Cand.-Jur. Joan Diderik Tresling. Utrecht: J. E. Beijers, 1891.
Yenowine's News, September 29, 1889.

Original collection: Game Collection: Amsterdam 1889, by User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 34  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs J Bauer 1-0381889AmsterdamA03 Bird's Opening
2. R Loman vs Gunsberg  ½-½251889AmsterdamA00 Uncommon Opening
3. R Loman vs R Leather 1-0161889AmsterdamB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
4. A van Foreest vs Gunsberg  0-1201889AmsterdamC50 Giuoco Piano
5. J Mason vs Burn ½-½231889AmsterdamD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Lasker vs A van Foreest 1-0501889AmsterdamA04 Reti Opening
7. L Van Vliet vs R Leather 1-0531889AmsterdamC53 Giuoco Piano
8. Burn vs J Bauer 1-0721889AmsterdamD02 Queen's Pawn Game
9. L Van Vliet vs Gunsberg  ½-½521889AmsterdamC55 Two Knights Defense
10. R Loman vs Lasker 0-1221889AmsterdamC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
11. J Mason vs A van Foreest  1-0461889AmsterdamC29 Vienna Gambit
12. L Van Vliet vs Lasker 1-0241889AmsterdamC41 Philidor Defense
13. R Leather vs Lasker 0-1561889AmsterdamA07 King's Indian Attack
14. J Bauer vs A van Foreest ½-½431889AmsterdamD02 Queen's Pawn Game
15. R Leather vs Gunsberg 0-1831889AmsterdamA07 King's Indian Attack
16. Burn vs R Loman 1-0231889AmsterdamC50 Giuoco Piano
17. L Van Vliet vs J Mason ½-½611889AmsterdamC13 French
18. J Mason vs R Loman  1-0441889AmsterdamA20 English
19. Burn vs A van Foreest 1-0481889AmsterdamD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
20. R Leather vs J Mason  0-1341889AmsterdamA07 King's Indian Attack
21. R Leather vs Burn 0-1371889AmsterdamC49 Four Knights
22. A van Foreest vs R Loman  0-1191889AmsterdamC51 Evans Gambit
23. J Bauer vs L Van Vliet 0-1471889AmsterdamC13 French
24. J Bauer vs R Loman 1-0281889AmsterdamC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
25. Burn vs L Van Vliet 1-0551889AmsterdamC66 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 34  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-13-13  shallowred: I asked Santa for the Amos Burn biography by Richard Forster.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: From the bio:

<so Leather might have been promoted from a lower section to produce an even number of players.>

I don't think he was in a lower section:

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Burn, baby, Burn! Disco inferno!
May-19-16  zanzibar: In case one is wondering, like me, about
<Yellowine's News> reference:

Phony Benoni chessforum (kibitz #11710)

Apparently it didn't get fixed yet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <zanzibar> I did fix the collection page, which is what was referred to. Didn't think to get the tournament t page as well.
May-19-16  zanzibar: All's well that ends well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <There is a report that Joseph Henry Blackburne had entered and was expected to play, so Leather might have been promoted from a lower section to produce an even number of players.>

I doubt he was promoted, because Leather's name was being linked - alongside Blackburne, Mason, Gunsberg, Lee - with the event from as early as the first week in August. Mention is also made of another prospective player, Hall of Bradford, who's so obscure I've never heard of him. Why Leather (or Hall) would be admitted to an event that specified 'acknowledged foreign masters' remains a mystery. Maybe his 'friendship' with Burn did play a part.

I think I've found the reason why Blackburne withdrew:

<The international tournament at Amsterdam terminated on Sunday, 1st September, with the following result:-

First prize, £33 or £35 6s. 8d., Mr. Amos Burn, score 7 games; [...]

The 6s. 8d. attached to the first prize rather puzzled people, until they learnt that originally the prize was to have been even money; but the committee, understanding that a certain litigious person was likely to play in the tourney, resolved to retain 13s. 4d. in hand to meet possible legal expenses. I congratulate the Dutch upon the success of their pleasant little tournament, but the winner of the first prize therein is certainly not as yet entitled to be called the champion of the world. That title was won at Breslau, and now belongs to Dr. Tarrasch. I observe that this tourney was opened on a Sunday and closed on a Sunday. Now, whether chess is a suitable recreation for Sunday may be a moot point; but decidedly professional chess - chess that requires men to labour and work hard all the day long - ought not to be sanctioned or permitted on Sundays. I am no puritan, but I don't hesitate to say that permitting, and, still worse, requiring men to devote Sunday to match-playing is immoral and indecent. MARS.> (Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, September 7th 1889, p.822)

Mars, of course, is Reverend George Alcock MacDonnell, so we'll forgive him his prejudice, especially because it's Sunday.

Blackburne, as we know, was also reportedly unhappy with playing on a Sunday: Breslau (1889), even though the start date of the event (August 25th) had been advertised well in advance. This suggests Sunday play was still a rarity, and Blackburne may not even have considered it when entering. As it happens, the beginning of the masters' event was delayed and two rounds were played on Monday, but the final round was on the Sunday.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <MissScarlett> Thanks for that very interesting post...I was most struck by Mars' comment that <the winner of the first prize therein is certainly not as yet entitled to be called the champion of the world. That title was won at Breslau, and now belongs to Dr. Tarrasch.>

I know there was some back and forth about who was the world champion in those days; it would be nice if that could be discussed in the Breslau introduction.

Breslau (1889)

Jun-18-17  Nosnibor: With regard to Blackburne not playing it would appear that he was unwell and he had played at Breslau shortly before where he had suffered his worst performance since London 1862.He had arranged to meet Gunsberg at Liverpool St. Station and thence onto the boat ferry at Harwich. Gunsberg was going as a reporter only.However Blackburne never showed up and it was Gunsberg that took his place and not Leather.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I know there was some back and forth about who was the world champion in those days; >

I merely took it as being an ironical dig at Burn, or his supporters, but I'm as oblivious to British chess politics back then as I an now. It's almost as if I inhabit a higher realm.

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