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Gustave Simonson
Number of games in database: 26
Years covered: 1883 to 1911
Overall record: +5 -17 =4 (26.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born Sep-24-1864, died Mar-21-1935, 70 years old) Germany (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]
Gustave Simonson was born in Bromberg, Prussia (present-day Bydgoszcz, Poland) and died in Folkestone, England. A long-time fixture of the Manhattan Chess Club, he won the Club Championship in 1883.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 26  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. L Cohn vs G Simonson 0-1191883New York gameC51 Evans Gambit
2. G Simonson vs S Roberts 0-1371883New York-Philadelphia mD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Zukertort vs G Simonson 1-0271883Manhattan corrA80 Dutch
4. Steinitz vs G Simonson 1-0321883Simul, 27bC39 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Tarrasch vs G Simonson 1-0101887BerlinC47 Four Knights
6. B Lasker vs G Simonson  1-0481887BerlinA07 King's Indian Attack
7. Lasker vs G Simonson 1-0361892Match seriesC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
8. G Simonson vs Lasker 0-1341892Match seriesC67 Ruy Lopez
9. G Simonson vs Lasker 1-0681892Match seriesC67 Ruy Lopez
10. E Delmar vs G Simonson 1-0231893ch-Manhattan ccC53 Giuoco Piano
11. G Simonson vs A Hodges 0-1431893Manhattan CC chC50 Giuoco Piano
12. G Simonson vs J T Heppell  ½-½261895British CC - Manhattan CC cable mC55 Two Knights Defense
13. A K Robinson vs G Simonson 1-0351895Manhattan CC - Franklin CC telegraph mB20 Sicilian
14. G Simonson vs M Morgan 0-1201897Franklin CC v Manhattan CC Telegraph MatchC01 French, Exchange
15. Marshall vs G Simonson  1-0181899Manhattan CC chC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
16. G Simonson vs J M Hanham 0-1211899New York Manhattan CC ChC50 Giuoco Piano
17. Janowski vs G Simonson 1-0301899Janowski Exhibition Series at Manhattan Chess ClubD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. G Simonson vs J Roeske  1-0491904Manhattan CC - Franklin CCC67 Ruy Lopez
19. G Simonson vs H F Lee  ½-½441905Manhattan CC-Chicago CCC78 Ruy Lopez
20. H Ranneforth vs G Simonson  0-1431905New York - Berlin mC49 Four Knights
21. D S Robinson vs G Simonson ½-½471906Manhattan CC- Franklin CCC34 King's Gambit Accepted
22. H Zirn vs G Simonson  1-0471907Manhattan CC-Brooklyn CCC67 Ruy Lopez
23. J Mieses vs G Simonson 1-0311908New York exhC28 Vienna Game
24. G Simonson vs J W Young  ½-½211908Manhattan CC-Franklin CCC01 French, Exchange
25. G Simonson vs N Whitaker  0-1411909Manhattan CC - Franklin CC mC53 Giuoco Piano
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 26  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Simonson wins | Simonson loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-14-08  Karpova: He wrote a book in 1900: "A plain examination of socialism".
May-20-13  thomastonk: From the biography: "In 1876 he joined the Chess Circle of the City of Hartford." Is this derived from the list of names <Tabanus> posted on Mar-24-13 on City of Hartford? There is only a "Professor Simonson", when this Simonson was just 12 years old. Below one can find more information casting doubts on a relation to Hartford.

Berger's "Schach-Jahrbuch für 1899/1900", Leipzig 1899 has a long entry about him. He was born on Sep-24-1864 in Prussia, and this should be corrected in his biography, too. The town Bydgoszcz was Bromberg in those days, and belonged to Prussia from 1772-1920. According to Berger, Simonson is since 1866 in New York. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University, and his M.D. from New York Universtiy. Moreover he studied three years at Berlin University. In 1899, according to Berger, he teaches at the New York Evening High School political economy, and he is a translator at the Court of Special Sessions, New York. Then Berger lists some of his tournament successes, mostly in Manhattan and New York, but also one of them in Berlin.

Dr. Gustave Simonson has been the corresponding secretary of the Manhattan Chess Club in 1896 and 1898 ("New York Daily Tribune" January 13, 1896, and ACM, 1897, p 566). Several sources call him the librarian of this club in those days, too.

A line of the Rice Gambit has been called Simonson's Defense.

<Karpova> wrote that he authored a book on socialism. The same author wrote two works on greek grammar in 1903 and 1911, as is noted within these books.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <thomastonk> His birthplace is another one of those accidents of history. It was controlled by Prussia from the 1770s until after World War I, but otherwise was Polish.
May-20-13  thomastonk: <Phony Benoni> You write "controlled by Prussia", and I assume you would like to indicate that it was a Polish city with a Prussian government. Maybe that was true in the very early years of this long period of 150 years, when the town had only 1000 residents, but I don't know that. But then Bromberg grew rapidly, and mostly the Protestants, which are no Poles, of course (Prussia has been a Protestantc country, but quite liberal in this respect). In 1816, there were 6100 residents in Bromberg and the catholics among them, German and Poles, were already a minority. In 1852, there were 12600 residents, but only 26% catholics. For 1892 it is known that only 5% of the people were Polish. So, in 1864 Bromberg was a Prussian city with a small number of Poles.

But anyway, the statement "Gustave Simonson was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland" is wrong, because Poland didn't exist until 1918. He was born in Bromberg, Prussia.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <thomastonk> Perhaps we should adopt the solution used for Emanuel Lasker, who also born in a city under Prussian jurisdiction which is now part of Poland. (As was Tarrasch, for that matter.)

On the other hand, there are famous players like Winawer, Janowski, or Akiba Rubinstein who are identified with Poland but were born in Prussian- or Russian-controlled lands.

Premium Chessgames Member

Hmm, Professor Simonson in Hartford was Dr. Leopold Simonson, principal of the High School there. This bio needs revision. But I'm going on holiday soon.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: I see it's been corrected. Probably OK now, but there was also a Gustave Simonson from Germany born 15 Sep. 1864 who came to USA in 1866 and was naturalized in 1886. If that's not the same person (with wrong birth date).
May-21-13  thomastonk: First of all, I'm happy to agree with the recent change in Simonson's biography. Thanks.

<Phony Benoni> The description of Lasker's birthplace in his biography is correct. But to call Berlinchen a "city under Prussian jurisdiction" is unprecise.

Berlinchen was founded in 1278 on the territory of the "Margraviate of Brandenburg", the larger of two parts that later formed Prussia, the other being the "Duchy of Prussia", whose territory is, roughly spoken, between Gdansk and Kaliningrad. Berlinchen never belonged to foreign souvereign power, except of war times ("Thirty Years' War", "Seven Year's War", and the "Napoleonic Wars"), and it became Polish after WW II, then named Barlinek.

Things are different with Breslau, today Wrocław, Anderssen's town and Tarrasch's birthplace, which belonged during the centuries to several countries of different nationality, as well as the small Bromberg. Larger cities need no further information, but smaller ones do. And then it depends ...

Finally, the famous Polish players you mentioned prove that a birthplace is only one property, and that the membership to an ethnic group or more than one is something additional. Sometimes things coincide, often they don't.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Tabanus> I suspect that Sept. 15 Simonson and Sept. 24 Simonson are probably the same person. The New York Times for November 2, 1892, commenting on the game G Simonson vs Lasker, 1892, notes:

<"His vanquisher was Dr. Gustave Simonson, a fellow townsman of Lasker, although brought up and educated in this city.">

Maybe not a fellow townsman, but that fits with coming to the United States at the age of two. Jeremy Gaige's <Chess Personalia> gives Sept. 24.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Comparision of the two:

A) Gustave Simonson, passport issued in New York 18 June 1886:

Birth <15> Sep. 1864. From Germany

Age 21, 5 feet 4 ¾ inches
Eyes dark brown, hair dark brown, complexion dark, face oval Address: 278 Grand St., New York

Naturalization record: physician, German, arrived 1866

Witness: <Otto Simonson> (there was also an Otto Simonson b. in NY 1862)


B) Gustave Simonson, passport issued in New York 28 June 1921:

Birth: <24> Sep. 1864 in Bromberg, Prov. of Posen, Prussia

Father: <Otto Simonson>, born in Prussia, emigrated from Germany about 1865, naturalized in 1876, and lived in New York until he died in 1897

Came in 1865 and lived in New York uninterruptedly till 1921

Address: 54 West 48th Street, NY
Occupation: Interpreter, Supreme Court, New York County

about to go to British Isles temporarily
Age 56, 5 feet 6 inches
Eyes dark brown, hair dark and gray, complexion dark, face round


I think it's the same person. There is also a detailed passport application from the American Consulate in Florence, Italy, dated 6 Oct. 1922. Here it is stated that he has made "About 20 trips of short duration, to Europe". (Each time with a sloppy filling out the form.)

I'll be away 4 weeks, 4th trip to the Philippines!

May-21-13  thomastonk: <Tabanus> That looks pretty good. But I am little bit surprised about "physician". Do you think this can be due to his doctoral degree?

Have a nice trip!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <thomastonk> I guess not, he was only 21 then and probably just studied physics at the time.


May-21-13  thomastonk: Teacher of political economy, interpreter at a Court, books on socialism and Greek grammar, physician, chess player, who begun with checkers, involved in literature by writing plays (s., and in the Manhattan Chess Club: one time champion, recording secretary 1885, corresponding secretary and librarian (see above) ....

I have collected a few of his tournament results.

Handicap tournament at the Manhattan Chess Club 1882: 6th place with 11:9 points. Simonson was a Class 2 player, so he received Pawn and Move from the Class 1 players (see One of these games is published here:

Winner of the Manhattan Chess Club tourney 1883 ahead of Mackenzie and D.G. Baird: "It will be observed that the Captain failed to win first prize, the first instance, we believe, since his arrival in America in which he has not succeeded in securing the first honors. This is a good sign to prove that chess is now advancing." See .

Shared 6th place in the Manhattan Club tourney 1884: 1st Mackenzie 28:6, 2nd D.G. Baird 24.5, 3rd Lipschutz 24, 4th Delmar 22.5, 5th Ryan 22.5 and 6th-8th Hanham, Fisher and Simonson with 18.5 points. See .

Third place in the Manhattan Club tourney 1891: 1st Hanham 22.5, 2nd Hodges 21.5, 3rd Simonson 19, 4th and 5th J. Baird and Delmar 18.5, 6th Ryan 17. See .

May-21-13  thomastonk: From the "New York State Association, History and Report, 1878-1891": Simonson was 1891 elected as <treasurer> of the association, and finished 3rd in 13th annual tournament (1st Delmar, 2nd J.W. Baird, 3rd Simonson ahead of Ford, Rogers, D.G.Baird, Hanham, Hodges, ..., Lipschutz, Kemeny, ..., Ryan, ...).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Perhaps one man gets credit for these five:

Plus our man d. 1935, plus:

Gustav Simonson b. 1864 in Finland, came to US 1882

Otto (Otho) Ludwig Gustav Simonson b. 1862 in Dresden Germany, came to US in 1881, naturalized in Hartford 1886

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Or this 6th one, from New York Sun, 26 Oct. 1913:

"Miss Elsie Harris, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Marcus Harris, will be married on Tuesday evening to <Gustave Simonson Duschnes>. The wedding, to which only the immediate relatives have been invited, will take place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harris, 12 West Seventieth street. There will be no attendants, and the ceremony, which will be at 8 o'clock, will be performed by the Rev. Dr. H. P. Mendes. Mr. Duschnes and his bride will spend their honeymoon in the South. They will make their home in San Diego, Cal."

But despite all the traps and pitfalls (that family tree makers often fall into), probably at least the chess can be attributed to "our man".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: From Lockport Daily Journal (NY), 14 Dec. 1897:

"These Will Be Interpreters.
Albany, Dec. 14. - Of the 13 candidates who tried the state civil service examination for merit for the position of general interpreter in the supreme court, First Judicial district, these three were successful in passing the same: Benedict Morossi, <Gustave Simonson> and Julius C. Espiro of New York."

May-21-13  Calli: From the Columbia U class of '86 25 year class reunion book:

"GUSTAVE SIMONSON, A.B. (A.M., 1892; M.D., University Medical College), joined '86 at the beginning of our Junior year. He was born September 24th, 1864, in Bromberg, Prussia. Since graduating he has spent much of his time in travel and study abroad. He is the author of "A Plain Examination of Socialism" (London, 1900) and "Greek Grammar" (London, 1903 and 1911). He is a member of the Authors' Club and the Manhattan Chess Club.

Business address, Supreme Court, New York.
Home address, 28 W. 61st Street, New York."

Question: Is "University Medical College" also Columbia?

Was about to put some of this in the Bio but wouldn't they know what year he became a Dr. if it was their school.

May-22-13  thomastonk: <Tabanus: Here it is stated that he has made "About 20 trips of short duration, to Europe".> Is this a singular case or to which extent is it possible to trace trips between the United States and Europe? Thank you for a reply.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Talking of passports, who would know that a such to Philippines should expire 6 months *after* the trip, and that an emergency passport should be accompanied by a visum :((

<thomastonk> The statement about 20 trips is quite unusual (line written on the form).

Various sites (often pay for to) have access to a different selection of sources. As regards passenger lists, I only know of which I believe covers the most relevant:

New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943
Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 and 1954-1957
Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945
New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1945
UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934
New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922

In the New York lists I find variants of G(ustav(e)) Simonson about 12 times. In addition there is "Mr. Simonson" or just "Simonson". A few of these may be other persons by the same name. Usually the age is stated, often nationality or birth location, and it can be studied who he travelled together with. And the entry port in Europe.

Jun-01-13  thomastonk: <Tabanus> Thanks! Currently I have only one application for the NY passenger lists in mind, and so I'll still wait with the 14-days free trial at
Feb-22-17  offramp: This young chap has a Swedish name, but was born in Prussia, ie the German part of Prussia, now in Poland, but he became a US citizen and died in England. Quite a gadabout.

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