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Magnus Smith
Number of games in database: 52
Years covered: 1900 to 1915
Overall record: +27 -17 =8 (59.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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Most played openings
C78 Ruy Lopez (4 games)
C87 Ruy Lopez (3 games)
C42 Petrov Defense (3 games)
C01 French, Exchange (2 games)
B40 Sicilian (2 games)
C77 Ruy Lopez (2 games)
D60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense (2 games)
C49 Four Knights (2 games)
C70 Ruy Lopez (2 games)
D63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense (2 games)

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(born Sep-10-1869, died Sep-12-1934, 65 years old) Iceland (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

Magnus Magnusson Smith was born on the 10th of September 1869 in Iceland. At one time a resident of the Winnipeg, Manitoba area, he was Canadian Champion in 1899, 1904 and 1906. He edited a chess column for the Winnipeg Free Press between 1905 and 1908. In 1910, The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, Pa.) reported that he had moved to Brooklyn, New York. He was a former Brooklyn Chess Club champion (1907) and Manhattan Chess Club champion (1912, 1913). He passed away in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1934.

Note: he occasionally played consultation chess on the team of Magnus Smith / Charles W Blake. References:, Winnipeg Free Press, Pittsburgh Gazette Times, September 18, 1910.

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 52  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Pillsbury vs M Smith 0-1181900MatchC29 Vienna Gambit
2. M Smith vs H Burrell 1-0221902Winnipeg Gold Medal Knock OutB01 Scandinavian
3. M Smith vs H Burrell  1-0271903Icelanders vs WinnipegC01 French, Exchange
4. M Smith vs J Sawyer 1-0401903Montreal-Winnipeg telegraph mC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
5. M Smith vs C W Blake 1-0411904North West tournamentC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
6. M Smith vs R G Fitzgerald  1-02919056th Western ChampionshipC01 French, Exchange
7. M Smith vs H F Lee  0-14019056th Western ChampionshipC78 Ruy Lopez
8. J Sawyer vs M Smith  1-0241906CAN-chC67 Ruy Lopez
9. Maroczy vs M Smith  1-0421906Exhibition gameC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. M Smith vs Maroczy 0-1481906Exhibition gameB40 Sicilian
11. M Smith vs G H Wolbrecht  1-0281906Western Championship (Final)C42 Petrov Defense
12. M Smith vs J C Eppens ½-½661906Chicago Western CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
13. M Smith vs F N Stacy  1-0331906Western Championship (Final)C78 Ruy Lopez
14. E F Schrader vs M Smith  0-1411906Western Championship (Final)C68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
15. M Smith vs L Uedemann  1-03819067th Western Championship (Final)C71 Ruy Lopez
16. C W Blake vs M Smith ½-½341906Western Championship (Final)C78 Ruy Lopez
17. H F Lee vs M Smith  1-0571906Western Championship (Final)D60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
18. H F Lee vs M Smith  0-1781906Western Championship (Playoff)A13 English
19. M Smith vs H F Lee  1-0621906Western Championship (Playoff)C77 Ruy Lopez
20. M Smith vs G H Wolbrecht  1-0531906Western Championship (Playoff)C77 Ruy Lopez
21. G H Wolbrecht vs M Smith  1-0391906Western Championship (Playoff)D63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
22. G H Wolbrecht vs M Smith  1-0861906Western Championship (Playoff)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
23. M Smith vs F D Rosebault 1-0221907Blindfold game000 Chess variants
24. M Smith vs Lasker 1-0471907Simul, 14bC66 Ruy Lopez
25. G Koehler vs M Smith  ½-½441907Manhattan CC-Brooklyn CCC49 Four Knights
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 52  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Smith wins | Smith loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-18-16  Sally Simpson: I enjoy reading these Victorian/Edwardian reports of how a game went.

If there was no way to record a game of chess then all chess web sites would read something like this as taken from above:

"Saunders of Toronto also lost a point, being defeated by Flack of Kingston, who adopted the French defence, and by the opportune advance of a pawn on his sixteenth move won the exchange.

This reverse seemed to unnerve the Toronto player, for he shortly afterwards lost his rook, then the queen and the game."

How does one kibitz to that and if so what would it read like.

"White should have resigned when he lost his Rook."

"Reports state that Flack often adopted the French Defence. The advance of the pawn on move 16 sounds like it was all book."

"Saunders is a mere chess tourist, he is always getting unnerved when the exchange down."

"Go Flack!"

The final table of this tournament.

Scroll down to the 24th Canadian Championship.

(We have to find this Saunders - Flack game.)

Apr-18-16  ljfyffe: <Simpson>The table should say E. Saunders, of course....A writeup of the 6th and final preliminary round 1899 is given in the Toronto Mail and Empire, Wed., April 15, 1899 edition.
Apr-18-16  Sally Simpson: Hi ljfyffe,

The other tables have it as E. Saunders of Toronto and some Ernest Saunders. The 'F' is possibly a typo but the lad who put up the website.

Apr-18-16  luftforlife: <Sally>: I have Saunders-Flack, and other games from the 24th Canadian Championship (Dominion Tournament, Championship Class/Senior Division). I have been researching this tournament and those players who competed in it for some time now; please consult my forum for all the details.

In several days, I will transcribe the following games from Montreal 1899:

Saunders-Flack, Eighth Round, French Defense, "23. . . . B tks P ch.," 0-1.

Short-Goldstein, Ninth Round, Ruy Lopez, "29. K to Kt 3," 1-0.

Sanders [sic] - Smith, Twelfth (Final) Round, Scotch Game, "26. R tks R," 0-1.

Short-Davies, Twelfth (Final) Round, Ruy Lopez, "28. B to K 6 ch." (N.B.: Black's final move not clearly legible, must be checked), 0-1.

Snellgrove-Flack, Twelfth (Final) Round, Bird's Opening, "30. Q tks Q ch.," 1-0.

I've already transcribed Bolster-Stewart, Second Round, Giuoco Piano, "15. . . . Qe3," 0-1, and Stewart-Goldstein, Eighth Round, Ruy Lopez, "28. Bb6," 1-0.

Once I've transcribed the games, and I've double-checked the game-scores as transcribed into algebraic notation, I will prepare PGN headers and moves and submit them for upload.

I've addressed issues such as Steven Wright's misdescription of Ernest Saunders as "F. Saunders" in his tournament crosstable, and other appellative mishaps, in my forum. Please take a look. Best to you.

Apr-18-16  ljfyffe: <A list compiled of chess players in championships by the Secretary of the CCA of the time has H. Jackson, not C.O.>
Apr-18-16  luftforlife: From the article appearing in The Montreal Gazette on April 7, 1899 covering the eleventh and penultimate round of the 24th Canadian Championship at Montreal on April 6, 1899:


"The centre of attraction all through the evening was the game between Goldstein and Smith. The later [sic] opened with the Ruy Lopez, and for some time the position was even, but on the middle game Goldstein came out of a wholesale exchange of pieces a pawn to the good. It was a doubled pawn, and the advantage was not an easy one to make use of, but by the steady advance of his pawns and the careful manipulation of knight and bishop Goldstein gradually forced his opponent into a very difficult position, in which Smith defended himself with great skill. Eventually it resolved itself into an ending of bishop and two pawns against knight and two pawns, but Goldstein had a pawn nearer queen, and pushed it to victory. After a severe struggle lasting to 80 or 90 moves, Smith resigned shortly after midnight. Goldstein is a member of the Cercle St. Denis Club, and his hard won victory was hailed with loud applause."

The Montreal Gazette, April 7, 1899, p.8.

Apr-18-16  luftforlife: From the article appearing in The Montreal Gazette on April 8, 1899 covering the twelfth and final round of the 24th Canadian Championship at Montreal on April 7, 1899:


"Saunders played the Scotch game against Smith, and by sacrificing the exchange on his twelfth move got up a lively attack, but it proved to be not quite good enough, for the Manitoba champion defended himself with his usual care, forcing an exchange of queens, which compelled Saunders to resign about ten moves later."

* * *

"The meeting closed with the presentation of the prizes. Mr. Smith received a handsome case of silver fruit knives and forks, Mr. Goldstein a gold medal, Mr. Flack a case of carvers, Mr. Davies a gold medal, Messrs. Saunders and Short, each a chess board and men, Mr. Snellgrove a case of spoons. The brilliancy prize, offered by Mr. Richard White, managing director of The Gazette, was awarded to Mr. Stewart, who received a hearty round of applause for his clever play without sight of the moves."

The Montreal Gazette, April 8, 1899, p.5.

Apr-18-16  Sally Simpson: Hi luftforlife,


"In several days, I will transcribe the following games from Montreal 1899."

I cannot wait several days. I'm now like a kid on Christmas Eve watching the minutes slowly drag by.

Please post the bare score. Stick in my private forum thingy thing.



" Mr. Smith received a handsome case of silver fruit knives and forks."

"Mr. Snellgrove a case of spoons."

I came 2nd in a minor tournament in Dortmund in 1970. I won a flask! and also the best game which was a round of applause. Not a "hearty round of applause." just a normal round of applause.

I could have won the thing (and got a bigger flask.) but I hung my Queen in the last round.

(it was the first thing I ever won at Chess. I was chuffed. I kept going on about it. My then girlfriend said 'why don't you get it engraved.')

Apr-19-16  luftforlife: Hi, <Sally>. Great to hear from you. Congrats on your performance at Dortmund '70! I admire you your prowess and your tenacity. The most I ever won over-the-board was a hot date with Joey Heatherton, but that's another story for another time . . . . ;-)

I wasn't trying to tantalize; I'm just jammed-up at the moment. I will send the score as soon as I can. Glad you're excited! I find this games from Montreal 1899 and fin-de-siècle Canadian chess quite bracing. My enthusiasms for the oeuvre and the era stem in no small measure from the visionary service and enduring legacy of one A.M. Snellgrove, erstwhile Secretary of the Canadian Chess Association, who temporarily rescued that body from moribundity at the end of the nineteenth century, and in the process revivified Canadian chess throughout the Provinces and beyond.

"We toured the world and elsewhere." -- Derek Albion Smalls

Apr-19-16  luftforlife: Here is my transcription of Ernest Saunders v. Marcús Smith, Scotch Game, Final Round, 24th Canadian Championships, Montreal, April 7, 1899:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 e5xd4 4. Nxe4 d6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. NxNc6 b7xNc6 7. Nc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bb7 10. e5 Nd7 11. Qg4 Nxe5 12. RxNe5 d6xRe5 13. Bh6 Bf6 14. Rd1 Qe7 15. Rd7 Bc8 16. Qxg7+ BxQg7 17. RxQe7 BxBh6 18. Ne4 Bf5 19. Nf6+ Kg7 20. Nh5+ Kg8 21. h4 Ra8d8 22. g4 Bxc2 23. Nf6+ Kh8 24. g5 Bg7 25. Nd7 Rd8e8 26. RxRe8 RxRe8 0-1.

The Montreal Gazette, April 8, 1899, p.5 (annotations omitted).


Apr-19-16  Sally Simpson: Hi luftforlife:

Thanks again for posting the Saunders - Flack game in my private forum thingy.

The above game have an error. I could see right away 4.Nxe4 is wrong and move 6.NxNc6 b7xNc6 won't work as this mixing up Descriptive with Algebraic. Often done when copying a Descriptive game to Algebraic.

I've fixed it. This is the corrected version.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 d6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Nc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bb7 10. e5 Nd7 11. Qg4 Nxe5 12. Rxe5 dxe5 13. Bh6 Bf6 14. Rd1 Qe7 15. Rd7 Bc8 16. Qxg7+ Bxg7 17. Rxe7 Bxh6 18. Ne4 Bf5 19. Nf6+ Kg7 20. Nh5+ Kg8 21. h4 Rad8 22. g4 Bxc2 23. Nf6+ Kh8 24. g5 Bg7 25. Nd7 Rde8 26. Rxe8 Rxe8 0-1

Here (White to move)

click for larger view

The move 15.Rd7 simply looks winning.

15...Qe8 16.Ne4

15...Qb4 16.Rxf7 Rxf7 17. Bxf7+ and Qxb4.

So White played 15.Rd7 and Black broke his heart with 15...Bc8!

Apr-19-16  luftforlife: <Sally>: Thanks for your kind message, and for fixing the silly errors I had made. As I had mentioned, I transcribed this in the wee hours of the morning; I was so tired I didn't realize until after I was finished (or so I had thought) that I'd meant to transcribe Saunders-Flack for you instead! :) Fortunately, that one came out just fine.

I just retranscribed the game and it came out as did your corrected version, so we're all set. I'll prepare PGN headers and moves and submit the game for upload.

Glad you enjoyed it, and I'm sorry I bungled the initial transcription. I had no trouble doing it today while I was awake! ;-) Next time, I'll wait to kibitz with a transcription until I'm fully alert and able to spot these errors and correct them before posting.

Thanks again, and best regards.

Apr-19-16  luftforlife: <Sally>: Obviously, I meant to write "Magnús Smith." Sorry about that.
Apr-19-16  Sally Simpson: I keep promising myself to put aside a weekend to knock together a time machine (how hard can it be), go back to London 1851 and tell Howard Staunton to start using Algebraic notation instead of the 1.Pawn to King's Forth' nonsense.

If overnight all your pre-1980 books have suddenly turned in algebraic you will know I have succeeded.

Whilst there I'll tell him not to play an American called Morphy in a match and thus avoid that humiliating 7-0 hammering he took in the 1859 Staunton-Morphy match.

Again if that match suddenly disappears like it never happened then you will know my time travel experiment has been a success.

Apr-19-16  luftforlife: <Sally>: Thank you for your taking the time and making the effort to correct my well-intentioned yet wayward contributions. Your kindness, patience, and good humor are greatly appreciated, as are your corrections themselves. Always a pleasure to hear from you. Best regards. :)

P.S.: Please tell Mr. Staunton I really enjoy his taste in chessmen, if not his tonsorial proclivities.

Apr-19-16  Sally Simpson: Hi luftforlife,

Nothing wrong with your contributions at all. Copy from moves even if they are both in algebraic is a pain and mistakes do happen.

When I copy old games from newspaper columns I put them straight into a pgn viewer, that should minimise any errors.

And look how often the kibitzers on here (me included) type Kg8 when they/me mean Kg1 etc...

I arrived back from the past next week (a flux capacitor problem) had to giggle about with the controls to get back to today.

Whilst in next week I tried to get on here to see who won the American Championship but could not log on. I must be changing my password in a few days time and as yet I do not know what it is.

Staunton refused to budge on the notation matter. He's a pretty stubborn man. But said he will look out for that American chap I mentioned.

Keep up the good work.

(I see the Staunton-Morphy match has gone. I thought they might. Luckily I kept a record of the 7 games. I'll post them on Morphy's page when I get around to it.)

Apr-20-16  zanzibar: <Sally> do you run an engine when entering moves during transcriptions?

This is a case where they can be very handy to catch typos asap.

(I use SCID when transcribing, and almost always run an engine at the same time.)

Apr-20-16  Sally Simpson: Hi Zanzibar,

No. Just a simple pgn viewer. (chess pad 2.0.2) It catches illegal moves.

I try to switch off completely. All too often I'd spot an idea, stop entering the moves and chase a rainbow variation for the next 10 or 15 minutes.

I'm just thinking about something if one has a computer running whilst entering.

You know we have an auto spell setting. It would be very annoying fun if a computer had a auto move corrector that you could not switch off.

You enter a move, the computer deems it wrong and changes it to what it considered is best.

You would never be able to enter a Latvian Gambit, an unsound sac...every game you entered would all end up being the same game.

That would make entering so much easier. You just copy and paste the previous game...forever.

Apr-20-16  zanzibar: <Sally> I writing this more for other readers, as I'm sure you're happy with your system.

But I often need to process many games at a time from a tournament book or various newspaper reports. So my goal is a combination of both accuracy and speed.

And, lack of pain, of course. But doing historical games there is bound to be some pain.

So here are my recommendations:

<1) ε²-processing.>

I've written about this a few times already. But it involves a partner duplicating the transcription, and nobody does that systematically (although it often is done unsystematically). Let's skip this for now...

<2a) Use a pgn-viewer.>

I like SCID, both because it's best (imo), and because it's free. So it's a tool everybody could use.

The idea of a pgn-viewer is to play the game, firstly. It also catches illegal moves.

But I find that many erroneous legal moves enter the scores. So...

<2b) Use a pgn-viewer with an engine.>

The idea of running an engine is to catch a certain obvious subset of these errors. Basically, you look for a wide swing in the eval.

This serves to alert one that special attention is needed. Maybe it's a good hidden tactic, but it could be a screwup. So, check the copy, and then look at the position.

Let's face it, it's tedious to input a game, and very easy to not analyze a game deeply when inputting. In fact, the goal is throughput, and not deep analysis.

The engine doesn't tell you what moves to input, of course, it merely sounds a bell to wake up the operator.

<3) The other technique is to use a highlighter to mark the moves as processed.>

I've learned saves time ultimately.

It's really very easy to skip over moves when inputting a game. Generally you notice this somewhat later, when your game starts hitting illegal moves. Then it's time to back up, and find where the screwup was.

A pain.

I use newspaper scans or PDF files. So I use the <Snippet Tool> to clip out a column of moves, and it allows me to highlight the clip. So, every 5 or 10 moves, I stop inputting, and mark off the moves I've input. This gives me a chance to look at the position, and keep the game properly synched up.

And yes, German (or Russian) literature is much easier to process than older English and American literature. The latter is especially evil when one has to keep track of the Q-side pieces from the K-side pieces as they move across the board.

Apr-20-16  zanzibar: So, <Sally>, to sum up...

An engine is a tool, and a helpful one at that.

And don't play the Latvian if you can help it. Especially if your opponent is ready for it.

Apr-20-16  luftforlife: <Sally>: I submitted Saunders-Smith (12) (24th Can. Ch., Montreal, 1899.04.07) (0-1) for upload. Thanks again for your help. Best regards.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: (Í uppnámi, 20 March 1901, p. 22) says he was born in 1871.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: (Winnipeg Free Press, 23 Nov 2012):

<Among the new arrivals was a 16-year-old orphan named Magnus Magnusson. Magnusson adopted the surname Smith. Shortly after his arrival in Manitoba in 1885, he headed to California to seek his fortune. As the California real estate bubble burst in 1887, Smith relocated to Vancouver, where he joined the local chess club. In 1895, he took up the study of chess seriously and began to play competitively. He returned to Winnipeg in 1898.

Three Canadian Chess Championships were held between 1899 and 1906 -- in 1899, 1904 and 1906. In each of these competitions, Smith secured first place. He was clearly the strongest Canadian chess player at that time.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Í uppnámi, 20 March 1901 says born in Rauðamel í Hnappadalssýslu 1871. A "Freeman Nyhart" family tree says 14 Dec 1867 in Miklaholtssókn, Hnapp., Iceland, and refers to 1901 census of Winnipeg, Canada which actually says 10 Dec 1870. The present page has 10 Sep 1869 -- where is that from?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Winnipeg Tribune, June 11th 1907, p.6:

<As the result of the visit of Dr. Lasker, chess champion of the world, to this city last week, Magnus M. Smith, chess champion of Canada, will become associated with the New York player and will leave for that place at the end of the present month. Mr. Smith will asist [sic] Dr. Lasker in the preparation of his chess magazine and will also act as practicing partner for the doctor, while the latter is in preparation for any of his matches in defence of his title or for tournament play.

It will be gratifying news to the friends of Mr. Smith that the chess champion of the world should pay such a big tribute to Mr. Smith's powers as a chess player though they will regret his departure. [...]>

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