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Frederick Karl Esling vs Albert Edward Wallace
Wallace - Esling (1895), Melbourne AUS, rd 1, Jun-08
French Defense: Steinitz Variation (C11)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-28-16  optimal play: Wallace-Esling 1895 Australian Championship

Game 1, Saturday 8th June to Monday 10th June



<At the Athenaeum on Saturday last a series of games, destined to decide the chess championship of Australia, was commenced between Mr. A. E. N. Wallace, of Sydney, the present chess champion of Australia, and Mr. F. K. Esling, of Melbourne, who has challenged Mr. Wallace to defend the title.

These two players are properly considered as the two finest chess exponents in Australia, and a few personal references to them will be interesting.

Mr. Wallace is a native of County Antrim, Ireland, and is at present barely 22 years of age. At an early age he distinguished himself in the north of Ireland by his skill over the chessboard, and when he arrived in Queensland, some years ago, he soon assumed the leading position in chess circles there. On changing his residence to Sydney he played a match there, about 18 months ago, with Mr. Crane, who then held the chess championship of Australia, and defeated him in good style.

Wallace - Crane (1893)

Mr. Esling, who is about 10 years the senior of his opponent, is a native of Creswick, in Victoria, and is of German parentage. He was educated in Germany, and had opportunities there of meeting some of the most notable masters of the game, including the renowned Adolph Anderssen, of Breslau; Fritz W. Paulsen and others. Soon after taking up his residence in Victoria, Mr. Esling became the recognised champion of the colony, by virtue of a series of victories in tourneys and otherwise. In the intercolonial chess congress at Adelaide in 1887 he was only half a point behind Mr. Charlick, who by his victory became the first holder of the chess championship of Australia.

Australian Championship (1887)

A meeting between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Esling has naturally been long desired by the chess players of Australia, and there was much satisfaction when it became assured that they would meet in Melbourne during this month, Wallace having on very fair and reasonable conditions waived his right to have the match fought in Sydney.>

Mar-28-16  optimal play: <Shortly after 2 o'clock the contestants entered the room of the Melbourne Chess Club, and Sir Hartley Williams, the president of the club, having taken the chair, the proceedings were commenced by Mr. T. Harlin, who briefly referred to former chess congresses in Australia, and the match between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Crane, which had determined the destination of the chess championship of Australia since Mr. Charlick won it in the first Australian chess congress at Adelaide in 1887.

He alluded to the causes which had prevented Mr. Esling playing for the championship at the Melbourne Centennial Chess Congress of 1888,

Australian Championship (1888)

and adverted to the match, about 18 months ago, when Mr. Wallace in turn took the coveted title from Mr. Crane.

He spoke of the handsome and chivalrous manner in which Mr. Wallace had waived the condition by which he could have insisted on having the match played in Sydney.

Mr. Harlin concluded his remarks by reference to the happy connection between law and chess which had existed in relation to the two most important chess events in Melbourne of late years, the opening of the Melbourne Centennial Chess Congress of 1888, by the late Chief Justice Higinbotham, and the present inauguration presided over by Sir Hartley Williams.

Sir Hartley Williams, who was greeted with warm applause, expressed delight on behalf of all Victorian chess players in meeting Mr. Wallace and also the pleasure felt in the manner in which he had waived the condition he could have imposed, to have the match then about to be proceeded with played in Sydney.

Mr. Wallace was a young man. He trusted his youth would not be urged as a crime against him, for he remembered the time when he himself went upon the bench at the age of 36, and the adverse criticism of friends and others not his friends because of his youth. He had got over that. In common with other Victorian chess players, he hoped Mr. Wallace would not sweep the board here as he had in Queensland and New South Wales.

Mr. Esling, the champion of Victoria, had his sympathies and all his best wishes, and he trusted he would come through the ordeal triumphantly. As this might not prove to be the case, he personally, and on behalf of the Victorian chess players, would be prepared to tender hearty and sympathetic congratulations to Mr. Wallace on his retention of the championship.

Mr. Louis Ellis, as one of the old players, reverted to the old chess times of Melbourne. He recalled the first meeting, held in 1866, to form a chess club in Victoria, which was held in the very building they were then assembled in. He saw a few of those old members present, including Mr. L. Goldsmith, Mr. A. Burns, Mr. P. D. Phillips and others.

After Mr. Harlin had explained the arrangements for the conduct of the match and the attendances of the members of the club and the public, the players tossed for first move, which was won by Mr. Esling.

The first move (P to K 4) was then made on the board by Sir Hartley Williams, and the opening proceedings terminated.

Mr. A Burns, as referee, and Messrs. Harlin and Dunn, the umpires, were in attendance, and the game was watched throughout with great interest by the president and a number of visitors, including Mr. P. B. Walker, of Sydney, a prominent supporter of the game there.

Mr. Wallace defended the opening game of the match with the French Defence, and the game proceeded on the modern lines laid down by Steinitz, Tarrasch and other masters.

White's development appeared to proceed more rapidly than that of his opponent, and, as a result, a very lively game was initiated by White about his 20th move, when he sacrificed a pawn for a strong attacking position, which, at the adjournment, had reached a critical juncture for both players.

The ending will, no doubt, greatly interest the numerous players who, in a room apart from the competitors, followed and analysed the varying features of the contest.

We append the moves of the first game so far as it proceeded to the adjournment at 5 p.m. on Saturday, when Mr. Wallace considered his 28th move, and sealed it at 5.15 p.m.

It will be noticed that the time taken by each player over his moves is about the same, and that this time is a good deal faster than the time limit fixed, 15 moves an hour for each player.

The match will he resumed at 2 p.m. this afternoon (10th June) and continued to 5.15 p.m., and there will be a resumption of play from 7.45 to 11.15 p.m.>

<The Age (Melbourne, Vic.) Mon 10 Jun 1895 Page 5>

Mar-28-16  optimal play: <The match was resumed at the Athenaeum at 2 p.m. yesterday. (10th June)

On the envelope containing Mr. Wallace's sealed 28th move being opened it was found to be R to Q B 2.

Mr. Esling pursued the strong attack he had obtained on the previous day's play, and with such success that he could have won the exchange, or, better still, a bishop for two pawns, and would have in all probability scored the first win.

Not having taken his tide at the flood, although he had undeniably played with great skill to attain the advantage at his disposal, the game resolved itself into apparently a safe draw.

Here, however, Mr. Esling injudiciously played to win, with the result that his game got into an inferior position, in which, by an ingenious resource — involving the sacrifice of a piece — he brought about a very rare ending in practical play, where Mr. Wallace remained with a rook, bishop and king against Mr. Esling's rook and king.

There has been considerable analysis and debate among chess writers, before Philidor and since, whether the player with the superior force can win; and we believe the better opinion is that against the best play he cannot do so, except in certain given positions.

Mr. Wallace elected to go on, and Mr. Esling thereupon, as empowered by one of the laws of chess applying to such positions, claimed, on black making his 45th move, that he effect the win in 50 moves from that point — should Mr. Wallace fail to do this, the game being, by the rules, a draw.

After playing 30 further moves Mr. Wallace signified that he accepted the draw.

A large gathering of players assembled in the rooms of the Melbourne Chess Club, where the players met on this occasion; and there was much applause when the gallant struggle ended in a 'remise'.

Mr. Witton and Mr. Loughran acted as umpires.>

<The Age (Melbourne, Vic.) Tue 11 Jun 1895 Page 6>

Apr-02-16  optimal play: 7.Be3 was a novelty.

32.Rc1? Much better is 32.Na5!


44.Ng4+ correctly assumed R v R+B holds the draw.

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from 1895 Wallace-Esling Australian Championship by optimal play

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