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Albert Whiting Fox vs Karper
"Karper Die Him" (game of the day Feb-24-2022)
Casual game (1900), Heidelberg GER
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo (C50)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-16-18  Jean Defuse: ...

Edward Winter:

Pages 187-189 of Napier The Forgotten Chessmaster by John S. Hilbert (Yorklyn, 1997) contain some relevant information on A.W. Fox. It is reported, for instance, that Napier gave the <Fox v Karper game (the occasion being specified as ‘Heidelberg, 1901’>) in his column in the Pittsburg Dispatch of 28 January 1901, misidentifying White as J.W. Fox (who, Dr Hilbert added, was Albert Fox’s father)...



Feb-24-22  Brenin: 20 Qg5 leads to a slightly quicker but less spectacular win, after 20 ... g6 21 Bd4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Beautiful combination! Qg6!! There are other forced mates but i5t is beautiful!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Game title Yoda talking sounds like--if you don't know the Latin phrase "Carpe Diem."

Seriously though, Fox had an amazing combinative vision. Pity he didn't reach his potential. 20.White to Play would make for an unsolvable Sunday puzzle.

Feb-24-22  shivasuri4: Isn't 17.Qg4 an immediate win, with the hanging queen?
Feb-24-22  Steve.Patzer: 16….Qxe4 should draw.
Feb-24-22  nalinw: This was BEFORE Marshall's famous game in 1912!!!

Great game and ok pun

Feb-24-22  nalinw: the final Rd5 is overkill - e5 would have done just as well
Feb-24-22  Brenin: <nalinw>: No, 24 e5 allows Qxe5 24 fxe5 Kh6 25 Rh3+ Kg5, and Black escapes.
Feb-24-22  goodevans: <shivasuri4: Isn't 17.Qg4 an immediate win, with the hanging queen?>


I find White's reluctance to play this fairly obvious move here and on the next few moves quite bizarre. Equally baffling is that in the face of a K-side onslaught, Black plays irrelevant Q-side moves like 18...Rac8 and 19...Ba8. I'm afraid that this game just doesn't cut the mustard for me.

After <16.Nf5> the only move that doesn't lose quickly is to prevent 17.Qg4 with <16...Qxe4>.

click for larger view

Perhaps Black was afraid of <17.Nxg7> but he would have had in response <17...c5!>. This incarcerates his DSB but the mate threat means that after <18.f3 Qg6> he gets White's rampant N in return.

Feb-24-22  Timwestlund: 21.♕g6!! followed by ♖d5! must be one of the most beautifull combinations i've ever seen. Considering that white saw this, it is very strange that he did not see 17.♕g4. It's not like ♕g4 is a strange engine move, it's an obvious and decisive double threat.
Feb-24-22  Granny O Doul: Up until 20. Bb6, this was one of the worst played games in the history of chess.
Feb-24-22  Dionysius1: Hi <Granny>. ?Would you have played 6.Ng5. It surprises me how much of a mess Black could get into just by playing 5...Bb4 (and not playing 5...Nf6).

Hah! I've invented putting a ? at the beginning of a sentence so as not to imply the move at the end was a bad one. Yay me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Here is a strange moment.

click for larger view

The ♗ on b3 is a powerful piece - and certainly the bishop is more important than the black ♘ on a5.
I was expecting 19...Nxb3, which wasn't too bad.
Instead, Black played the paradoxical
White now commences the final huge onslaught.

Feb-24-22  Dionysius1: Ah, I like that this game is both a poor one and a charming one. A thumb in the nose to those who would get the engines out and not see the fun (if there any)
Premium Chessgames Member
  mjmorri: <Granny O Doul: Up until 20. Bb6, this was one of the worst played games in the history of chess.> My problem is up until that point, I understood the game completely. :-)
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  keypusher: <Granny O Doul: Up until 20. Bb6, this was one of the worst played games in the history of chess.>

I see that you are unfamiliar with my ouevre.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Mine as well.
Feb-24-22  Granny O Doul: @Dionysus1: I like Ng5 at move 5 or 6, and I really, really like it at move 11.

Anyway, I don't believe this game. Offramp has identified one suspect moment, and another is 12. Kh1, whose only possible point I can see is so that 20...Qxb6 does not come with check.

Feb-24-22  Dionysius1: That's interesting. I didn't know these forensics went on.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Granny O Doul> Yes, I'm afraid you have a good point. Or several good points, really.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Moreover, page 36 of the [American Chess World] February 1901 issue had given the other Fox game in full (identifying Black as Karper, rather than Chernev’s Casper, but giving no details about the occasion) [...]

But were all the Fox games, and particularly the spectacular queen sacrifices, genuine? Most notably, in the game between Fox and Karper/Casper is suspicion justified over the way Black’s slow moves 18...Rac8 and 19...Ba8 allowed the final combination to be set up? For that game, moreover, what was Chernev’s source for naming Black as Casper, rather than Karper? And where and when was it played?

Pages 187-189 of Napier The Forgotten Chessmaster by John S. Hilbert (Yorklyn, 1997) contain some relevant information on A.W. Fox. It is reported, for instance, that Napier gave the Fox v Karper game (the occasion being specified as ‘Heidelberg, 1901’) in his column in the Pittsburg Dispatch of 28 January 1901, misidentifying White as J.W. Fox (who, Dr Hilbert added, was Albert Fox’s father).[...]

However, the Giuoco Piano game against Karper is peculiar in that A.W. Fox (if it is he) eschews his normal Ruy López, then passes over not just the simpler win pointed out by Chernev but also two easy wins earlier. 13 c3 or 13 a3 wins a piece (Black’s bishop at b4 and knight at a5 are in a tangle), while four moves later 17 Qg4 wins instantly with the double threat Qxg7 mate and Nh6+ with Qxd7. So if the Giuoco Piano is indeed an A.W. Fox game (clearly this is not 100% sure) it seems that, recognizing that he had a cooperative opponent, enjoying the thrill of a brilliancy, and maybe with fond memories of his other Qg6, he declined the easy wins in favour of a flashy finish which he may well have foreseen some way in advance.’ >

Is it possible that a casual game could have taken place early in January of 1901, made its way from Europe to America and been in print by the 28th of the same month? If the score was sent directly to Napier, perhaps, but since Napier apparently believed it had been played by J.W.Fox. the father, direct communication from Albert or a close associate seems unlikely. Was the father a chess player? Was Albert known on the chess scene before his travels to Europe?

And what of its appearance in the magazine, <American Chess World>, in February 1901? Did it correctly identify Albert? Not being familiar with this magazine, I discovered that January 1901 was its first monthly issue.

(Brooklyn) Standard Union, January 27th 1901, p.8:

<The first issue of the "American Chess World," the new chess magazine, came from the press yesterday. The publication is attractive in appearance, contains a wealth of interesting news matter, some fine games annotated by W. E. Napier, former champion of the Brooklyn Chess Club, and is sold at a popular price.>

Feb-24-22  AlicesKnight: Optime, mehercule.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: (Washington) Evening Star, December 22nd 1900, p.7:

<Two games are appended showing the strong and brilliant play of Mr. A. W. Fox, a recent addition to the ranks of the local chess club. Mr. Fox has recently returned from a five years' sojourn abroad, and in a few days will go back to complete an educational course. After June he will be permanently located in this city, where his father, Mr. J. W. Fox, resides. Mr. Fox has the habits of a chess player. Rapid play, the bane of the game, is unknown to him. The most plausible-looking move is not made without premeditation. His genius for the game is shown in the examples given. Mr. F. B. Walker of this city, with whom he played, is, as is well known, no tyro in such matters, and if the other fellow doesn't "get the drop on him" soon he is very likely to be doing the same thing himself.>

There follows the score of A W Fox vs F Walker, 1900

<This game was played at Heidelburg by Mr. Fox against one of the local players. Notwithstanding black's poor development, the game is noteworthy from the remarkable and brilliant manner in which white forced the win.>

There follows the score guessed it....

Well, this certainly explains a lot. And I'm annoyed because I saw this article a few years ago, but some confusion between 1900 and 1901 seemingly stopped me realising its importance to resolving the aforesaid mysteries.

Confirms this game was played in 1900 (or even before), that the score and opponent's name must come directly from Fox, explains how the mix-up between father and son arose, and relegates Napier's role to the margins.

But still some issues remain. Was Walker the <Evening Star>'s chess editor? Could the other Qg6 game (A W Fox vs H E Bauer, 1900) have been played in Antwerp on December 11th (as claimed by the July 1901 <ACW>) if Fox was a recent addition to the Washington chess scene by December 22nd? Did Fox's trip back to Europe take in Antwerp?

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