Chess in 1908

By Bill Wall



In 1908, the USA chess team defeated the British chess team in the 10th cable match, scoring 6.5 to 3.5.


In 1908, Alexander Alekhine won the Moscow Chess Club Spring Tournament.


On January 6, 1908, Lina Grumette (1908-1988) was born in Germany.  She was a chess promoter in California.  In the 1940s, she was one of the best women chess players in the United States.  In the 1970s and 1980s, she ran a chess club in her West Hollywood home called The Chess Set.


On January 13, 1908, Enrico Paoli (1908-2005) was born in Trieste, Italy.  He won the Italian chess championship in 1951, 1957, and 1968 (at the age of 60).  He was awarded the International Master (IM) title in 1951.  He was awarded an honorary Grandmaster (GM) title in 1996.


On January 25, 1908, Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908) died in Lublin, Poland (Russian Empire) due to complications from diabetes at the age of 57.  He was a leading Russian chess master.  Chigorin was the first Russian chess player to participate in international tournaments.  He played two World Chess Championship matches against William Steinitz, losing in 1889 and 1892.


On January 26, 1908, Anders Gideon Tom Ståhlberg (1908-1967) was born in Sunte, Sweden.  He won a record 11 consecutive Swedish chess championships.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950.


In the February 1, 1908 issue of Scientific American (Volume 98, Issue 5), there was an article called “Chess in Three Dimensions” on page 76.  It was called a new chess variant, designed by Dr. Ferdinand Maack, a Hamburg medical doctor, with an illustration in the magazine.  The game was introduced at the International Chess Tournament at Karlsbad and used 8 chess boards (512 squares).  The game was called tridimensional or cubic chess.


In February, 1908, Mrs. Samuel R. (Eveline Allen) Burgess (1856-1936) of Iowa retained her title of woman chess champion of American after defeating Mrs. C. D. Nixdorff of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She scored 4 wins and 1 loss.  She was US women’s champion from 1907 to 1920.


On February 28, 1908, Julius Finn won the New York State chess championship for the second year in a row.


On March 2, 1908, Eva Karolina Aronson (1908-1999) was born in Linkoping, Sweden.  In 1972, she tied for 1st with Marilyn Bain in the U.S. Women’s championship.  She was awarded the women’s IM (WIM) title in 1972.


On March 28, 1908, Hermann Clemenz (1846-1908) died in Tartu, Estonia at the age of 62.  He was an Estonian chess master.  His name is attached to the Clemenz Opening, 1.h3, which he first played in St. Petersburg in 1873.


On April 11, 1908, Henry Edward Bird (1830-1908) died in London at the age of 78.  He was a leading British amateur chess player.


On Aptil 17, 1908,  Duras, Maroczy, and Schlechter won at Vienna, followed by Rubinstein, Teichmann, and Spielmann.


On April 20, 1908, Henry Chadwick (1824-1908) died in Brooklyn.  He was an American sportswriter, baseball statistician, and historian.  He was the chess editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  He wrote a chess column in his own newspaper, the American Chronicle.  In 1880, he wrote “De Witt’s American Chess Manual.”  In 1905, he was the co-author of “How to Learn to Play the Game of Chess.  He played chess at the Brooklyn Chess Club and the Queens County Chess Club.


On May 15, 1908, Emil Joseph Diemer (1908-1990) was born in Radolfzell, Germany.  He was a minor German chess master.  He is most famous for popularizing the line 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3, the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (BDG).


On May 22, 1908, Walter Korn (1908-1997) was born in Prague.  He was a naturalized American author of chess books (such as Modern Chess Openings) and magazine articles.


On June 12, 1908, Duras and Schlechter won at Prague, followed by Vidmar, Rubinstein, Teichmann, Maroczy, Leonhardt, Marshall.


From July 3 to July 5, 1908, the first chess game by wireless telegraphy between groups of players on two ocean liners (Campania and Oceanic) was played in the Atlantic Ocean.  The game was a draw.


On July 25, 1908, the Los Angeles Police Department raided the Los Angeles Chess Club at the San Fernando Building because the chess players were playing poker.  T. W. Burton, S. L. Godman, C. W. Watermanm L. Watson, W. S. Waterman and J. H. Jones were all arrested and booked for gambling.  Subsequently they were released on $25 bail. (source: Los Angeles Herald, July 26, 1908)


On August 5, 1908, Milton Loeb Hanauer (1908-1988) was born in Harrison, New York.  He was a public school principal, chess master, and Marshall Chess Club official.   He was Marshall Chess Club champion in 1951.  He was the author of Chess Made Simple.


On August 19, 1908, Frank Marshall won the 16th German Chess Federation Ch in Duesseldorf, followed by Salwe and Spielmann.


On August 22, 1908, Henry Atkins won the 5th British Chess Championship, held at Tunbridge Wells, England


On August 25, 1908, the 9th Western Chess Federation Open (US Open), was held in  Excelsior, Minnesota.  Edward Elliot won the event.


On September 30, 1908, Emanuel Lasker defeated Siegbert Tarrasch, 10.5-5.5 in the World Chess Championship.  The match was held in Duesseldorf and Munich.


On October 8, 1908, Viacheslav Vasiliyevich Ragozin (1908-1962) was born in St. Petersburg.  He was a Soviet Grandmaster, an International Arbiter of chess, and a World Correspondence Chess Champion. He was also a chess writer and editor.  He was awarded the GM title in 1950.  He was awarded the GM in Correspondence title in 1959 after winning the 2nd World Correspondence Chess Championship (1956-1959). 


On October 13, 1908, Jan Foltys (1908-1952) was born in Svinov, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic).  He was Czech (Bohemia and Moravia) champion in 1940 and 1943.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.


On October 16, 1908, Vsevolod Alfredovich Rauzer (1908-1941) was born in the Ukraine.  He was a Soviet Ukrainian chess master known for his contributions to chess opening theory, especially of the Sicilian Defense (Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer variation).  He was Ukrainian champion in 1927 and 1933. 


On October 27, 1908, James Macrae Aitkin (1908-1983) was born in Calderbank, Lanarkshire, Scotland.  He was Scottish champion in 1935, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961 and 1965.  He won the London championship in 1950.


On November 5, 1908, Alexey Pavlovich Sokolsky (1908-1969) was born in Kangush (Narovchat), Penza, Oblast, Russia.  He was a Ukrainian-Belarusian chess player of International Master strength in over-the-board chess, a noted correspondence chess player, and an opening theoretician.  He won the championship of Ukrained in 1947 and 1948.  He specialized in the move 1.b4, sometimes called the Sokolsky Opening.


On November 21, 1908, Salomon “Salo” Mikhailovich Flohr (1908-1983) was born in Horodenka, Austria-Hungary (present day Ukraine).  FIDE awarded him the grandmaster title in 1950 and the international arbiter title in 1963.


On December 3, 1908, Frank Marshall defeated Jacques Mieses of Germany in Berlin, scoring 5 wins, 4 losses, and 1 draw.


On December 16, 1908, Sonja Graf (Stevenson) (1908-1965) was born in Munich, Germany.  By the mid 1930s, she was regarded as one of the strongest female chess players  in the world.  She played in the Women's World Championship tournament in 1937 and 1939, tying for third in 1937 and finishing second to Vera Menchik in 1939. She was awarded the women’s International Master (WIM) title in 1950.  She shared the U.S. Women's title with Gisela Kahn Gresser in 1958-59 and won it in 1964.


On December 22, 1908, Vitaly Chekhover (1908-1965) was born in St. Petersburg.  He was a Soviet chess master and chess composer.  He was Leningrad chess champion in 1937 and 1949.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and the IM in Composition title in 1961.