Paris 1867

An international chess tournament was held during the International Exposition of 1867 (Exposition Universelle d’art et d’industrie), held at the Champ de Mars in Paris.  The tournament took place in the Grand Cercle, 10 boulevard Montmarte in Paris from June 4, 1867 (only 2 games played that day) to July 11, 1867 (prizes were not awarded until July 21).  The tournament was scheduled to start on May 15, 1867, but was delayed.  Thirteen participants played in a double round-robin.  Draws counted for zero points and were not replayed.  It would have to wait until Dundee (September 1867) that draws counted for ˝ point.  The time control was 10 moves an hour (6 minutes per move).  This was the first time that hour-glasses were first used, and exceeding the time control by 15 minutes was punished by 20 francs.  It was the first international tournament ever held in France.

This was the 4th international chess tournament held.  The fist was played in London in 1851, followed by New York in 1857, and London in 1862.

Originally, there were 10 players in the tournament when it started, and then there was a list of 14 players (Francois Devinck of Paris dropped out).  Kolisch unexpectedly appeared in Paris and entered the tournament 3 days after it started and won the event.

The winner of the event was Ignatz von Kolisch (1837-1889) of the Austria-Hungarian empire (now Slovakia).  He won 18 games, drew 2 games (counted as zero points), and lost 2 games.  Kolisch won 5,000 francs (about $50,000 in today’s currency) and was given a Sevres vase by Emperor Napoleon III.  He soon sold the vase, invested in real estate, became involved in banking, gave up playing chess competitively, and became a millionaire.  This allowed him to become a generous patron to chess for many years.  Today, a Sevres vase is valued at over $80,000. 

Second place went to Szymon Winawer (1838-1919) of the Russian Empire (born in Poland).  He scored 17 points and won 2,500 francs and a Sevres vase.

Third place went to Gustav Neumann (1838-1881) of Prussia (Silesia).  He scored 17 points.  He won 1,500 francs and a Sevres vase.

Fourth place went to Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900) of Austria-Hungary (born in Prague, Bohemia) who later moved to England, then the United States.  He scored 16 points.  He won 2,000 francs and a Sevres vase.

Fifth place went to Cecil Valentine De Vere (1845-1875) of Scotland.  He scored 12 points and won 1,500 francs (but no vase).

Sixth place went to Jules Arnous de Riviere (1830-1905), the strongest player of France.  He scored 9 points and won 1,000 francs.

Seventh place went to Celso Golmayo Zupide (1820-1898) of Cuba (born in Spain).  He scored 8 points.

Eight place went to Hieronim Czarnowski (1834-1902) of Warsaw, who emigrated to France after the failure of the January Uprising in 1863-64.  He scored 7 points.

9th-10th place went to Sam Rosenthal (1837-1902) of France and Samuel Loyd (1841-1911) of the United States (Pennsylvania).  They scored 6 points.  This was Loyd’s only major tournament that he ever played in.

11thplace went to Martin From (1828-1895) of Denmark.  He scored 5 points.  He introduced the Danish Gambit in this tournament.

12th place went to Eugene Rousseau (1810-1870) of France.  He scored 3 points.

 13th place went to and Emile D’Andre (1827-1900) of France.  He scored 2 points.

There was no formal organization of the tournament.  Players encountered one another during the tournament according to availability and inclination.  136 games were played.

There was a rumor that Paul Morphy might enter this tournament, but Morphy was not interested in playing chess in Paris.  Morphy arrived in Paris in July 1967, accompanied by his mother and sister, and spent the next 15 months in Paris.  Morphy did spend time at the home of Arnous de Riviere and assosicated with Gustav Neumann and Eugene Lequesne, but did not play any chess.  Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879) of Breslau was also invited, but he couldn’t make it.

The 1867 world’s fair exhibition was to unite works of art and industrial products of every country, with a complete representation of the world.  Chess was already part of the 1851 London World’s Fair and the 1862 London World’s Fair.  An international chess tournament was included in this exhibition.  It was the first exhibition that was housed in more than one building.  It was the first open-air event and it featured a pleasure park.  49 nations were represented at the exhibition, which lasted for 217 days, from April 1, 1867 to November 3, 1867.  There were over 52,200 exhibitors and the exhibition was visited by more than 9 million visitors.

Besides the international chess tournament, there was a billiards and a fencing tournament, hot-air balloon rides, an automatic parachute, the word rowing championship, and an underground aquarium, with fireworks every evening.  During the duration of the 1867 Exhibition, all of the Paris museums, such as the Louvre, had free entry.

On display at the exhibition was chess table and chess set of Tsar Alexander II (1818-1881), made of gold, silver, enamel, and ivory.  The chess table and chessmen were among the most successful examples in the Exhibition of the application of enamel to metal on the large scale.  In 2014, this set was part of a Christie’s auction, selling for over $3 million.

Before the tournament, a commission was formed in January 1867 to carry out the international chess event.  The honorary president of the commission was Prince Murat of France, who recommended the tournament be included in the 1867 exhibition.  The president of the commission was the Count of Casablanca, Senator and late Minister of State.  Vice-Presidents included the Duke of Valmy (President of the International Chess Club) and Francois Devinck (1802-1878), member of the Municipal Council of Paris who was a wealthy chocolate entrepreneur and president of the Paris chamber of commerce.  The Secretary was Alphonse Fery d’Esclands, assisted by Charles de Beschenec.  Treasurer was Eugene  Lequesne.  The president of the congress was Baron De Riviere.  Leopold Hoffer was the organizer of all the important details of the tournament.

The chess tournament would take place in the Palais de l’Exposition Universelle, in the rooms of the International Chess Club.  A handicap tournament was planned, but cancelled.  Also, a telegraph match between Paris and Berlin was planned, but cancelled.

In December 1868, Alphonese Fere d;Esclands published a book, Congres International Des Echecs, on the tournament.  Games were annotated by G.R. Neumann and J.A. de Riviere.