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Curt von Bardeleben
Von Bardeleben 
Number of games in database: 279
Years covered: 1883 to 1921

Overall record: +91 -95 =92 (49.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C77 C67 C79 C63 C61
 Queen's Pawn Game (17) 
    D02 D05 D00 D04 A40
 Orthodox Defense (12) 
    D50 D55 D60 D63 D61
 Four Knights (11) 
    C49 C48
 French Defense (11) 
    C11 C01 C14 C13 C00
 Queen's Gambit Declined (7) 
    D37 D35 D31
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (28) 
    C77 C78 C66 C87 C80
 Giuoco Piano (14) 
    C50 C53 C54
 Queen's Pawn Game (11) 
    D02 D00 A40 D05
 French Defense (10) 
    C01 C10 C14 C00 C13
 Vienna Opening (8) 
    C28 C25 C26 C29
 Petrov (8) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Von Bardeleben vs Bird, 1895 1/2-1/2
   Von Bardeleben vs J Mieses, 1895 1-0
   Albin vs Von Bardeleben, 1892 0-1
   Von Bardeleben vs Paulsen, 1887 1-0
   Von Bardeleben vs Harmonist, 1887 1-0
   Tarrasch vs Von Bardeleben, 1887 1/2-1/2
   Von Bardeleben vs W Pollock, 1895 1-0
   Tarrasch vs Von Bardeleben, 1889 1/2-1/2
   Von Bardeleben vs Tarrasch, 1888 1-0
   Schlechter vs Von Bardeleben, 1895 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Blackburne - Bardeleben (1895)
   8th DSB Kongress (1893)
   Von Bardeleben - Von Gottschall (1895)
   Three Masters Tournament (1896)
   London (Vizayanagaram) (1883)
   Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904)
   Frankfurt (1887)
   Breslau (1889)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Hastings (1895)
   Barmen Meisterturnier A (1905)
   16th DSB Kongress (1908)
   13th DSB Kongress (Hanover) (1902)
   Munich (1900)
   Vienna (1908)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Blackburne - Bardeleben 1895 by Chessical
   Blackburne - Bardeleben (1895) by MissScarlett
   Kiel 1893 by suenteus po 147
   1893 Kiel Komplett by Calli
   von Bardeleben - von Gottschall by Chessical

   Schiffers vs Blackburne, 1895
   Tarrasch vs Blackburne, 1895
   J Mieses vs Pillsbury, 1895
   W Pollock vs Chigorin, 1895
   Gunsberg vs Burn, 1895

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Curt von Bardeleben
Search Google for Curt von Bardeleben

(born Mar-04-1861, died Jan-31-1924, 62 years old) Germany

[what is this?]

Private Life

Curt von Bardeleben was born in 1861 in Berlin. In between 1883 and 1887, he took 4 years off to finish his law studies (1). In 1924, he died after falling from a window either intentionally to commit suicide (1) or due to a misfortune (2). Together with Jacques Mieses, he published the Lehrbuch des Schachspiels (Leipzig, 1894). Furthermore, he wrote many important theoretical articles on chess (1).


At the age of 20, von Bardeleben won the Hauptturnier of the German Chess Congress in Berlin (3) and two years later London (Vizayanagaram) (1883). After another good result at Nuremberg (1883), he made his comeback at Frankfurt (1887) with a good result (4). Other notable successes include Bradford (1888) (5), a shared 1st place at Leipzig (1888) (6) and a 3rd place at Breslau (1889). He shared 1st place at Kiel (1893) (7). Von Bardeleben started the Hastings (1895) tournament with 7.5 points out of nine games, but his play seemed to collapse in the second half of the event following a famous loss to Wilhelm Steinitz. He won Berlin (1896) (8) and Berlin (1897) (9) and came in 2nd at Berlin (1902) (10). He shared 1st place at Coburg (Meisterturnier) (1904). He retired from competitive play prior to World War I.


Curt von Bardeleben won a match against Richard Teichmann in 1895 (11) and played matches against Rudolf Spielmann, drawing in 1905 (12) and winning in 1907 (13). He lost matches against future world champions Emanuel Lasker (1889) (14) and Alexander Alekhine (1908) (15).


(1) "Neue Wiener Schachzeitung", January 1924, pp. 21-22. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

(2) Jacques Mieses in "Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten", Sonderheft Nr. 2, 1924, pp. 55 f.

(3) Rod Edwards,

(4) Rod Edwards,

(5) Rod Edwards,

(6) Rod Edwards,

(7) Rod Edwards,

(8) Rod Edwards,

(9) Rod Edwards,

(10) Rod Edwards,

(11) Rod Edwards,

(12) Rod Edwards,

(13) Rod Edwards,

(14) Rod Edwards,

(15) Rod Edwards,

Last updated: 2016-12-03 11:58:43

 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 287  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Von Bardeleben vs L Benima  1-0571883London (Vizayanagaram)A20 English
2. B W Fisher vs Von Bardeleben 0-1321883London (Vizayanagaram)B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
3. W M Gattie vs Von Bardeleben 1-0571883London (Vizayanagaram)B45 Sicilian, Taimanov
4. Von Bardeleben vs C E Ranken ½-½381883London (Vizayanagaram)C28 Vienna Game
5. F S Ensor vs Von Bardeleben  0-1461883London (Vizayanagaram)C33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Von Bardeleben vs J Minchin  1-0261883London (Vizayanagaram)D37 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. G MacDonnell vs Von Bardeleben  0-1381883London (Vizayanagaram)B40 Sicilian
8. Von Bardeleben vs Winawer 0-15818833rd DSB Congress, NurembergD04 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Von Bardeleben vs M Lange 1-02718833rd DSB Congress, NurembergD02 Queen's Pawn Game
10. A Schottlaender vs Von Bardeleben ½-½2418833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC77 Ruy Lopez
11. Von Bardeleben vs Paulsen ½-½5718833rd DSB Congress, NurembergB32 Sicilian
12. C Leffmann vs Von Bardeleben 0-16618833rd DSB Congress, NurembergB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
13. Blackburne vs Von Bardeleben ½-½3418833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC53 Giuoco Piano
14. Gunsberg vs Von Bardeleben 0-15518833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC53 Giuoco Piano
15. Von Bardeleben vs E Schallopp 0-14218833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC77 Ruy Lopez
16. W Paulsen vs Von Bardeleben 0-11218833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC22 Center Game
17. Von Bardeleben vs J N Berger 1-04118833rd DSB Congress, NurembergD05 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Von Bardeleben vs Bird 0-15418833rd DSB Congress, NurembergA81 Dutch
19. Von Bardeleben vs J Schwarz  1-07018833rd DSB Congress, NurembergD05 Queen's Pawn Game
20. V Hruby vs Von Bardeleben  1-05618833rd DSB Congress, NurembergA13 English
21. Von Bardeleben vs F Riemann  ½-½5718833rd DSB Congress, NurembergE72 King's Indian
22. M Bier vs Von Bardeleben  0-15318833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC77 Ruy Lopez
23. J Mason vs Von Bardeleben  ½-½1718833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC29 Vienna Gambit
24. Von Bardeleben vs M Weiss ½-½3518833rd DSB Congress, NurembergD05 Queen's Pawn Game
25. A Fritz vs Von Bardeleben 0-13918833rd DSB Congress, NurembergC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 287  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Von Bardeleben wins | Von Bardeleben loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-04-13  Caissanist: Of course the reason for Winter's posting of the story is because he is looking for "independent corroboration". There are a <lot> of stories in Chess Secrets for which there is no independent corroboration--Winter should do a page just of those.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: So if I trade in my Microsoft operating system for Apple, is that defenestration?
Mar-04-13  waustad: <phony>No, but for me it was a good idea. Now that I'm retired Windoze might work, but their interaction with the UNIX environment in which I worked was horrible. I confess that when I use Linux I'm just as irritated as I am using the WinDOS products, when dealing with word processing and such. They seem to be into keeping up with the most irritating features. I'm also often angry with Apple, but nowhere near as much as the other operating systems I've used. That said, they do charge more for hardware and they do orphan one way too quickly.
Mar-04-13  waustad: <PB>BTW, It was a good joke!
Mar-04-13  Abdel Irada: <waustad>: Interesting. I'd assumed "window" would be of Saxon origin, but you're right: It's from the Old Norse "vindauga" (/vindr/ [wind] + /auga/ [eye]).

Thank you for the etymology lesson. :-)

Jan-31-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Curt von Bardeleben!!
Jan-31-16  john barleycorn: <TheFocus> are you sure that he has not left the venue?
Premium Chessgames Member
  steinitzfan: I think we all fear to -- like von Bardeleben -- achieve immortality for a game that we lost. However, he won games from the best. And he must have been pretty smart to know he was lost in that Steinitz Immortal game.
Mar-04-16  Sally Simpson: Hi steinitzfan,

Would you really mind losing to a wonderful combination that you know is going to make the 'play and win' combo books.

Yes losing is always bitter but if the opponent excelled themselves by playing brilliantly just to beat you then there is no reason to live in fear.

I'd rather lose such a way than have a totally won game and blow it by blundering. I've lost on both sides of this situation, the lose by blundering is far worse. You cannot forget them. They jerk you out of your sleep that night.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Sally Simpson: Hi steinitzfan, Would you really mind losing to a wonderful combination that you know is going to make the 'play and win' combo books.>

On that point, Kieseritzsky had a great deal to do with immortalizing the Immortal Game.

<A man of "livid complexion, with melancholic and afflicted appearance," he was nevertheless a cultured chess writer, as his brief period of Editorship of "La Regence" shows, and it is to his lasting credit that he (the loser) saved the Immortal Game for posterity by publishing it in the July 1851 number.>

Lionel Adalbert Bagration Felix Kieseritsky

Mar-04-16 The film was based on Nabokov's book The Defense, based on the life of von Bardeleben.
Mar-05-16  Sally Simpson: ...and Dark Horse is a film based on the life of Maori speed-chess coach and player Genesis Potini.

Here is a trailor of the film.

Not to be my family were when selecting my 2015 Christmas present....with Dark Horse the film all about a horse called Dream Alliance.

Both films are not too bad, enjoyed them both.

Mar-04-17  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Curt von Bardeleben.
Mar-04-17  Petrosianic: And many more.
Apr-17-17  hudapri: Hilarious @PhonyBenoni
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Herr Bardeleben smiled softly, and pensively stroked his silken beard. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Blackburne's opinion, but I do not think with him in this," he said. “Chess is very much a matter of idiosyncrasy. A patient, cautious man will play a slow, cautious game, while an impulsive, eager man will play impulsively and eagerly. We have both kinds of players in Germany, just as you have them here. The brilliant player, whose game is replete with strategy and far-sighted combination, is sought for and admired in Germany quite as much as anywhere else. But, after all, a wise caution is the very essential of chess that is, if you are playing scientific chess, and not merely a skittle game. If you are incautious, you certainly lose if you are cautious, and, at the same time, can play, you stand a chance of winning. I do not see how you can divorce the quality of caution from an intellectual struggle such as the game of chess really is."

"You regard chess as an intellectual contest that is, when the players are well-matched?"

“Oh, certainly a keenly intellectual struggle."

“Well, now, what is your attitude towards chess as an intellectual discipline I know many people who hold that it would prove a useful substitute for mathematics in schools. Conceive the joy of the present generation of school-boys if they were allowed to play chess daily instead of grinding away at Euclid?”

“Yes, yes, I can imagine that they would be willing enough to make the exchange," returned Herr Bardeleben, with a twinkle in his eye but I do not think it would prove to their advantage. In the first place, there is a very great danger involved in learning chess. The game has an almost fatal fascination for those who give themselves up to it, and, if acquired before the habit of self-control is developed, may have the most disastrous consequences and, as an intellectual discipline, chess falls immeasurably short of mathematics if, indeed, there be any comparison between the two in that mathematics deal with fixed and definite propositions, while chess is the most plastic of games, and contains very little that can be regarded as fixed or definite. In chess you not only calculate the moves, but you base a large part of your reckoning upon the character of your opponent. A chess-player who meets another for the first time waits till he discovers what manner of man it is who is sitting opposite him, whether he be patient, or impulsive, or bad-tempered, or nervous, and so on. This human element is not to be found in mathematics. No, the matter is not worth discussing. Let the school-boy keep to his Euclid, and leave chess severely alone. But," continued Herr Bardeleben, after a pause, you must not think that I attach no importance whatever to the mental exercise involved in playing chess. It is a great and noble game, and develops the mental powers to some degree. But that degree of improvement is hardly appreciable by any known test."

“Whom do you regard as the greatest of living chess-players?”

“Ah now you want to get at my inner consciousness? I shall not say I have no opinion on the matter that I care to give expression to. But in five years' time, or less, one of two names will be pre-eminent. There are two men in the running for the world's championship, Lasker and Tarrasch, both wonderful players, of infinite resource and undoubted genius. You must be content with that declaration. The championship lies with one or other of those players."

“And how do English chess-players stand?”

“Oh, very well indeed. You have some really great players, and, for the past few years, English players have scored many successes, but the successes were not of the brilliant order, if I may so express myself. There was no manifestation of genius, no lightning-like revelation of capacity. Perhaps, after all, the day of genius at chess has gone by."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Interview with Von Bardeleben in 1895. The source is "The Sketch" newspaper of Wednesday 14th August 1895:

"A CHESS CHAMPION. The chess-player is not particularly familiar to the public except on such rare occasions as the tournament which is now being played at Hastings, in which Herr Bardeleben is taking part.

"When did you begin to play chess?" asked a Sketch representative. Mein Herr thought awhile, and then answered, “At about my tenth year. I soon grew very fond of the game, and nearly all the time I could spare from my lessons was given to chess. Yes, as you say, I, like others, have some wasted hours to look back upon. But school-boys will waste their time, whatever you may do, and, even regarded as a mode of squandering precious moments, chess has its compensations."

Well, and after these profligate school-days of yours?”

“ Then I went to the University of Leipsic, to study law. I am afraid, however, that I gave more time to gambits than to the quodlibets of the law. At the University I met a great many strong players, and, of course, my game improved immensely. At last chess obtained so strong a hold over me that I abandoned the law altogether.

“To become a chess-player?”

“Well, yes, I think so. I followed my bent, perhaps the wisest thing to do, on the whole. When at Leipzig I often played with Zukertort, but they were hardly serious games."

“When did you first come to London?”

“I think it was in 1883, if I remember rightly. I was then twenty- two years of age, and was bold enough to measure myself against some of the leading men in the chess world of the day. I played with McDonnell, Gunsberg, and Fisher, and gained the first prize in the Vizianagram Tournament, which was held at the Criterion. Young man as I was, it was sheer impudence on my part to win the first prize over the heads, of so many older players," laughed Mein Herr; "but, you see, I hadn't been a devotee of the game for nothing. In the same year I played in the Nuremberg Tournament against Blackburne, Winawer, and some other masters, and was lucky enough to win the fifth prize. In 1887 I won the first prize at the Frankfort Tournament, and in the following year, at the Bradford Tournament, I managed to divide the third and fourth prizes. But you don't want me, I hope, to run through the whole of my career. Let us talk of chess, the great game, and not of the mere men who play it."

“Willingly. First of all, let me ask you a question relative to the respective styles of English and German chess."

“Are there such styles?” asked Herr Bardeleben innocently. “Chess is pretty much the same game all the world over."

“Well, your great opponent, Blackburne, said, the other day, that there was a marked difference betwixt the English and the German styles of chess that, in short, the German style was laborious, pedantic, and tenacious of small advantages, to the exclusion of great combination while the English style was that of brilliancy, dash, and smart combination."

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Falkirk Herald, February 27th 1924, p.3:

<"Yorks. Observer Budget" says:- “A Berlin messays says that the mystery surrounding the death of Curt von Bardeleben, who was found dead, with a crushed skull, in the courtyard of the house where he lived, is not yet cleared up, and the belief that a crime had been committed is gaining ground. Since 1919 Bardeleben had lived in a boarding-house in the Pallaestrasse, Berlin. On the morning of his death several people saw him leave the house, and a few hours later the porter found him on the stone pavement in the yard. It was thought that he had committed suicide by throwing himself from the window of his room on the second floor. There was, however, no motive for such an act, as he was in good health, and by no means poor, and the police, who are investigating the matter, have dropped the theory of suicide. Bardeleben, who was born in Berlin, was 63 years old, and unmarried.”>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday to Curt von Bardeleben.

< Overall record: +88 -89 =90 (49.8%)* >

88, 89, 90.

One of those losses was my probably his most famous game - the one to Steinitz.

Jan-30-21  BIDMONFA: Curt von Bardeleben


Jan-30-21  Sally Simpson: Hi Bidmonfa,

A wee typo on main page the 1934 should be 1924.

Aug-16-21  Bartleby: Others have spoken about Edward Lasker's wonderful collection of historical anecdotes and chess esoterica, so I'll replicate an extract of Ed Lasker's continuing vignette of the man:

"Von Bardeleben had such an extraordinary face that he was bound to draw every eye on himself whenever he appeared. The left half of his forehead bulged outward and upward as if the left frontal lobe of his brain had irresistibly expanded. The only other man I ever met who had a similarly shaped forehead was Arthur Brisbane.

A Van Dyke beard and a slightly ironic smile while always played on his face gave von Bardeleben a certain Mephistophelian appearance; but one had only to exchange a few words with him to realize it was altogether deceiving. He was well-bred and mild-mannered to a fault --he could never be guilty of an aggressive attitude. He could not even muster the strength to fight his own decadence.

While these attributes, coupled with a wit of literary flavor and a wide knowledge of the humanities made him a delightful conversationalist, they did not befit a success as a professional chess master. He had chosen this career as the only alternative after his aristocratic family had cast him off when his casual treatment of creditors became too embarrassing for them."

If there was ever a time-travel candidate for an evening spent with a chess master of eras past, players like Morphy, Nimzowitsch, Alekhine would probably get the lion's share of votes, but I'd be sorely tempted by Von Bardeleben, as much for the company as the chess. Would be happy to spring for a red Bordeaux at his Cafe Bauer table. Or two. Maybe Richard Teichmann could also join.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <...casual treatment of creditors...>


Nov-25-21  erniecohen: Lasker wasn't kidding. As documented in Winter's article, Von Bardeleben was married 10 times (each to a different woman) between 1902 and 1919.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Bardeleben, being 'casual in his treatment of creditors', was only too obviously unfamiliar with the aphorism: <If you keep it in your pants, it'll stay between your legs.>
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