Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games


September 18, 2013

One of the prizes distributed after The Hastings 1895 Chess Tournament. See Horace F. Cheshire's The Hastings 1895 Chess Tournament, page 334. A direct link with a famous chess tournament described by Kasparov as "the most important 19th century tournament." A piece of chess history.

Author's presentation copy to Isidor Gunsberg.

Isidor Arthur Gunsberg (November 2, 1854 – May 2, 1930) was a chess player, best known for narrowly losing the 1891 World Chess Championship match to Wilhelm Steinitz.

Gunsberg began his career as the player operating the remote-controlled chess automaton Mephisto, but later became a chess professional. He moved to Great Britain in 1876, later becoming a naturalized British citizen on May 12, 1908.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s Gunsberg was one of the top players in the world. He decisively won a national tournament in London in July 1885, and a few weeks later won the 4th German Chess Congress in Hamburg. In match play, he defeated Joseph Blackburne and Henry Bird in 1886. In 1887, he shared first with Amos Burn in the London tournament. In 1890 he drew a match with Mikhail Chigorin, a former and future challenger for the world chess championship. Later that year, Gunsberg himself challenged Wilhelm Steinitz for the world title. The match took place in New York City and Gunsberg lost with four wins, six losses, and nine draws.

In 1916 he sued the Evening News for libel when they said that his chess column contained "blunders". He won the suit after the British High Court accepted a submission that in chess matters, eight oversights did not make a "blunder".