Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Ossip Bernstein
O Bernstein 
Wiener Schachzeitung, May 1914, p 81.
ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
Number of games in database: 297
Years covered: 1902 to 1961

Overall record: +121 -80 =93 (57.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 3 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (28) 
    C69 C66 C61 C80 C79
 Sicilian (26) 
    B73 B23 B45 B58 B57
 Queen's Gambit Declined (13) 
    D37 D30 D38
 French Defense (13) 
    C12 C14 C01 C17 C18
 Tarrasch Defense (8) 
    D32 D34
 Ruy Lopez Exchange (7) 
    C69 C68
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (36) 
    C65 C78 C66 C97 C63
 Orthodox Defense (19) 
    D50 D51 D56 D52 D63
 Queen's Pawn Game (14) 
    D02 D00
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (8) 
    C97 C86 C92 C91 C84
 Giuoco Piano (8) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Slav (6) 
    D10 D15 D12
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   O Bernstein vs J Mieses, 1904 1-0
   O Bernstein vs Najdorf, 1954 1-0
   Albin vs O Bernstein, 1904 0-1
   O Bernstein vs NN, 1932 1-0
   O Bernstein vs NN, 1927 1-0
   O Bernstein vs Smyslov, 1946 1/2-1/2
   O Bernstein vs Metger, 1907 1-0
   O Bernstein vs NN, 1927 1-0
   O Bernstein vs NN, 1931 1-0
   O Bernstein vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1909 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Stockholm (1906)
   Vilnius All-Russian Masters (1912)
   London A (1946)
   Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904)
   Barmen Meisterturnier A (1905)
   Madrid (1951)
   St. Petersburg (1909)
   St. Petersburg (1914)
   Berne (1932)
   Zurich (1934)
   San Sebastian (1911)
   Ostend-B (1907)
   Groningen (1946)
   Amsterdam Olympiad Final-B (1954)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Barmen Meisterturnier A 1905 by Phony Benoni
   Zurich 1934 by suenteus po 147
   Berne 1932 by Tabanus
   San Sebastian 1911 by suenteus po 147
   San Sebastian 1911 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Vilnius 1912 (All-Russian Masters) by Phony Benoni
   Stockholm 1906 by Phony Benoni
   London A 1946 by Tabanus
   St Petersburg 1914 by Benzol
   St Petersburg 1914 by JoseTigranTalFischer

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Ossip Bernstein
Search Google for Ossip Bernstein

(born Oct-02-1882, died Nov-30-1962, 80 years old) Ukraine (federation/nationality France)

[what is this?]
Ossip Samoilovich Bernstein was born in Zhitomir*. Awarded the GM title at its inception in 1950, he was Moscow Champion in 1911.

In tournaments, Bernstein finished =2nd after Mikhail Chigorin at the All-Russian tournament 1903, 4th= with Georg Marco at Coberg 1904, 4th= with Carl Schlechter at Barmen 1905, 1st= with Schlechter at Stockholm 1906, 5th at Ostend 1906, 1st= with Akiba Rubinstein at Ostend 1907, 5th at St Petersburg 1909, and 2nd after Rubinstein at Wilno (now Vilnius) in 1912 ahead of Aron Nimzowitsch and Alexander Alekhine.

After the First World War and the Russian Revolution, Bernstein moved to France. In 1933, he drew a training match (+1, =2, -1) with Alekhine. His last great result was at Montevideo in 1954 where he was 2nd= with Miguel Najdorf behind Rene Letelier Martner.

He passed away in a sanatorium in the French Pyrenees in 1962.

*Wikipedia article: Zhytomyr
Wikipedia article: Ossip Bernstein

 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 297  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. O Bernstein vs B Leussen  1-0471902DSB-13.Kongress Hauptturnier AC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
2. Pillsbury vs O Bernstein ½-½261902Kaiser-Cafe, Blindfold Simul 21bC14 French, Classical
3. Schiffers vs O Bernstein  0-12819033rd Russian National TournamentB25 Sicilian, Closed
4. Rubinstein vs O Bernstein 0-12519033rd Russian National TournamentC45 Scotch Game
5. Chigorin vs O Bernstein 0-13219033rd Russian National TournamentC30 King's Gambit Declined
6. M Lowcki vs O Bernstein  ½-½4119033rd Russian National TournamentD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Znosko-Borovsky vs O Bernstein 1-02019033rd Russian National TournamentB24 Sicilian, Closed
8. O Bernstein vs P P Benko 1-02519033rd Russian National TournamentC41 Philidor Defense
9. S Izbinsky vs O Bernstein  ½-½6019033rd Russian National TournamentC78 Ruy Lopez
10. O Bernstein vs Salwe ½-½5319033rd Russian National TournamentC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
11. O Bernstein vs F Duz-Khotimirsky  1-06119033rd Russian National TournamentB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
12. Albin vs O Bernstein 0-1241904ViennaC50 Giuoco Piano
13. Spielmann vs O Bernstein ½-½281904BerlinC39 King's Gambit Accepted
14. W John vs O Bernstein 0-1331904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
15. O Bernstein vs M Brody  1-0731904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
16. H Wolf vs O Bernstein  ½-½381904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C78 Ruy Lopez
17. O Bernstein vs G Marco  ½-½611904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C78 Ruy Lopez
18. J N Berger vs O Bernstein  ½-½311904Coburg (Meisterturnier)D32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
19. O Bernstein vs H Suechting  ½-½521904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C42 Petrov Defense
20. Von Gottschall vs O Bernstein  ½-½391904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C28 Vienna Game
21. O Bernstein vs Swiderski 1-0561904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C12 French, McCutcheon
22. L Forgacs vs O Bernstein  ½-½611904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
23. Schlechter vs O Bernstein ½-½391904Coburg (Meisterturnier)D51 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. O Bernstein vs Von Bardeleben ½-½621904Coburg (Meisterturnier)C92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
25. H Caro vs O Bernstein 1-0481904Coburg (Meisterturnier)A84 Dutch
 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 297  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Bernstein wins | Bernstein loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-02-10  rapidcitychess: Happy Birthday to you, you played good chess Ossip.

Now guys! Cut the Ossip!

Mar-24-11  Caissanist: Wrt Sneaky's story, Bernstein told the story to Arnold Denker around 1946, who had this to say about it: <Yes, I know--yet another story about a last-minute reprieve from a firing squad. But Bernstein was absolutely convincing when he described at length how his hands were shaking when playing against the officer, and I believed his story then and I believe it still.>
Jul-11-11  Gaius Marius: I agree with both of VonKrolok's remarks already made on Jan-09-07! However to meet his remarks Ossip Bernstein's photograph is needed to exchange the present photograph of Jacob Bernstein, which has to be moved to his own site. I will sent by e-mail three photographs of Ossip Bernstein and one photograph with Jacob Bernstein & Oscar Chajes from the tournament Karlsbad 1923. It is obvious that the present photograph of Jacob Bernstein is the left half of the photograph with Jacob Bernstein & Oscar Chajes. The right half is the still missing photograph for the site of Oscar Chajes! Members of the Management have now the possibility to complete the three sites of Ossip Bernstein, Jacob Bernstein and Oscar Chajes with the own photograph!
Jan-02-12  King Death: <News is to hand that Dr. O. Bernstein, one of the great figures in chess, who was resident in Fance for the last 20 years, has been interned in unoccupied France, apparently solely for 'racial reasons.'...>

Bernstein was lucky to survive his internment. The Nazis would round up any Jews they could find and send them east especially as the tide turned against them.

Aug-18-12  Karpova: <Ein in Hannover nach Congressschluss gespielter Wettkampf zwischen Heinrich Wolf und S. O. Bernstein wurde als unentschieden abgebrochen, nachdem die ersten vier Partien remis geworden, jeder eine weitere Partie gewonnen und die 7. und 8. Partie wiederum remis geworden waren.>

Source: Page 183 of the 1902 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

So +1 =6 -1 between the two players. A remarkable result for Ossip who was still at the beginning of his chess career (Wolf was 7 years older).

Aug-25-12  Karpova: Bernstein won the 1911 Moscow Championship with +12 =2 ahead of Selezniev (+12 =1 -1) followed by K. Wygodtschikow with 9.5/14, K. I. Issakow with 8.5/14 and N. M. Pavlov together with Estrin (both 7.0). D. R. Pavlov was Bernstein's main competitor at the beginning but dropped due to an illness.

From pages 337-338 of the 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Jul-16-13  Caissanist: According to Denker, Bernstein was only interned in France for a short time, after which he and his wife fled over the Pyrenees and were allowed to stay in Spain for the remainder of the war.
Aug-29-13  Karpova: 1.5 years after quitting chess (temporarily), the <ingenious Russian Pillsbury> Dr. Bernstein gave two Simul exhibitions in 1909 to support the fund for St Petersburg (1909) - one in Moscow (+20 =2 -7) and one in St. Petersburg (+14 =1 -1). In the latter Simul, about 480 moves were played in 1.5 hours, with his opponent using up 1 hour.

Source: Page 56 of the 1909 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Bernstein.
Oct-06-13  Karpova: The Paris Chess Chlub "Fou du Roi" invited Dr. Bernstein to a 53-board Simul on June 6, 1926. It lasted 5 hours. The result was +37 -1 =15 (the sole winner was F. Guittet).

From pages 220-221 of the July 1926 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'

Aug-27-14  The17thPawn: Was Bernstein the fellow who ended up crazy and believing he had a standing game with God? I only ask as it mentions he died in a Sanatorium.
Aug-28-14  Karpova: <The17thPawn: Was Bernstein the fellow who ended up crazy and believing he had a standing game with God?>

No. Wilhelm Steinitz allegedly believed that. The story is most likely apocryphal, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Karpova> Wasn't the story attributed to Steinitz that, towards the end of his life, he claimed he was able to give God odds of pawn and move? Never heard this angle regarding Steinitz so far as I recall.
Aug-28-14  Karpova: <perfidious>

As is usual in such cases, the accounts differ and yes, pawn odds are also often mentioned. Here is a good overview:

Back to Bernstein, I think it's also useful to point out that a sanatorium is not necessarily a psychiatric hospital.

Aug-28-14  The17thPawn: <Karpova & Perfidious> - Thank you both for clearing up my misinformation. Fascinating speculation regarding Steinitz, nonetheless.
Mar-04-16  zanzibar: An anecdote by Bernstein about Burn:

Amos Burn (kibitz #71)

Oct-02-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Ossip Bernstein.
Oct-02-16  Hodor: What's the use of it?
Nov-09-16  bengalcat47: Does anyone know if there is a book written about Dr. Bernstein which would include the best games of chess that he played?
Nov-09-16  vonKrolock: I remember of a book (if memory not fails) by Tartakower with games - analysis etc
Nov-09-16  vonKrolock: "Moderne Schachstrategie" 1930 by Savielly Tartakower
Nov-30-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Ossip Bernstein.
Mar-12-17  JohnBoy: Handsome young man. Nice choice of pic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: a better link for the Bernstein bio:

Mar-07-21  Sally Simpson: The TV programme 'Mysteries of the Museum' 1st March did a feature on Ossip Bernstein (the mysterious object in the museum was a pistol officers in charge of a firing squad 'might' have used.)

The programme said Bernstein was just about to be shot when the officer in charge of the firing squad thought he recognised him, though in the programme Bernstein was wearing a blindfold and was facing away from him prior to being shot in the back if the neck.

The officer asked if he had ever been mistaken for the chess player Ossip Bernstein.

Bernstein said it was him and he had to play a game of chess v the officer and win to prove it. (*spoiler alert* Bernstein won.)

During the dramatic playing chess sequence the board was, of course, around the wrong way.

There were two chess playing parts (board correct in one) in both cases the player giving checkmate then knocked over the opponent's king.

The officer recognising Bernstein's name is probably what actually happened but that would not make good T.V. so this is yet another chess myth that has been dropped in viewers laps.

Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 3)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific player only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC