Carl Adalbert Hermann Schlechter was born into a Catholic family in Vienna on March 2, 1874. He was the only child of Adalbert Schlechter and Marie (Meyer) Rieger.
In 1887, at the age of 13, he began playing chess in Vienna, according to Rudolf Spielmann (1883-1942). His chess teacher was Dr. Samuel Gold (1835-1920), a Hungarian physician and composer of chess problems.
In 1890, Schlechter had his first chess problem that he composed published in a chess magazine.
In 1891, he was playing chess at the Cafe Merkur in Vienna.
In 1892, Berthold Englisch (1851-1897) recognized Schlechter's chess talent and introduced him to Viennese chess life. In 1892, Schlechter joined the Vienna Chess Club.
In April 1893, he won his first tournament, a four-player round robin in Vienna. He then played a match with Georg Marco (1863-1923), which ended in a tie after 10 straight draws.
In 1893, Schlechter was writing 4 chess columns in Viennese newspapers and a chess magazine. [source: The Standard Union (Brooklyn) Aug 31, 1895, p. 8]
In March 1894, he tied for 3d place in a Vienna Winter Tourney, won by Jacques Schwarz.
In September 1894, he played in the 9th German Chess Federation tournament, taking 11th place out of 18 players. Siegbert Tarrasch won the event. The event was held in Leipzig.
In 1894, he played another match with Georg Marco in Vienna, which ended in a tie after 4 wins, 4 losses, and 3 draws.
In May 1895, he took 3rd place, behind Georg Marco and Miksa Weis, in the Vienna chess championship.
In September 1895, he took 9th place at the Hastings International Congress, won by Harry Nelson Pillsbury. Schlechter defeated Pillsbury in their encounter.
In 1896, he drew a match with David Janowski in Vienna. He scored 2 wins, 2 losses, and 3 draws.
In April 1896, he tied for 1st place with Miksa Weiss in the Vienna chess championship.
In July 1896, he took 2nd place, behind Berthold Englisch, in the Vienna Chess Club championship.
In August 1896, he tied for 7th place out of 19 at Nuremburg. Emanuel Lasker won the event.
In October 1896, he tied for 4th place out of 13 at Budapest. Mikhail Chigorin and Rudolf Charousek tied for 1st place.
In May 1897, he took 1st place in an 8-man round robin in Vienna, scoring 6 wins and 1 draw.
In October 1897, he tied for 6th place out of 20 at Berlin. The event was won by Rudolf Charousek.
In March 1898, he took 5th place out of 10 at the Vienna Chess Club (Wiener Schachklub) championship. The event was won by Georg Marco.
In July 1898, he took 5th place at the Kaiser Jubilaeumdturnier chess tournament in Vienna. Siegbert Tarrasch and Harry Pillsbury tied for 1st place.
In August 1898, he tied for 6th place in the 11th German Chess Federation championship, held in Cologne. Amos Burn won the event.
On December 4, 1898, Schlechter played seven boards simultaneously blindfolded at the Vienna Chess Club. He won 4 and drew 3. [source: Das interessante Blatt, Dec 22, 1898]
In 1899, he drew a match with Semyon Alapin in Vienna. He won one, lost one, and drew 4 In July 1899, he took 5th place at London. Emanuel Lasker won the event.
In June 1900, he tied for 7th place out of 17 at Paris. The event was won by Emanuel Lakser.
In August 1900, he tied for 1st place with Harry Pillsbury and Geza Maroczy in the 12th German Chess Federation championship, held in Munich. In 1900, he took 1st place in the Vienna Chess Club Winter Tourney.
In March 1901, he took 2nd place, behind David Janowski at Monte Carlo.
In December 1901, he played a 2-game match with Oldrich Duras in Prague. He won one and lost one.
In March 1902, he tied for 5th place at Monte Carlo. The event was won by Geza Maroczy.
In March 1903, took 4th place at Monte Carlo. The event was won by Siegbert Tarrasch.
In May 1903, he took 9th place out of 10 at a King's Gambit Accepted tournament in Vienna. The event was won by Mikhail Chigorin.
In May 1904, he tied for 6th place at Cambridge Springs. Frank Marshall won the event.
In February 1904, he took 2nd place, behind Geza Maroczy, at Monte Carlo.
In 1904, he drew a match with Richard Teichmann in Vienna. He won one, lost one, and drew one.
In January 1905, he won a King's Gambit Declined tourney, held in Vienna.
In March 1905, he won the Austro-Hungarian Championship Tourney, held in Vienna.
In July 1905, he took 4th place at Ostend, Belgium. The event was won by Geza Maroczy.
In August 1905, he tied for 4th place at Barmen. David Janowski and Geza Maroczy tied for 1st.
In February 1906, he tied for 1st with Ossip Bernstein at Stockholm.
In July 1906, he won at Ostend.
In August 1906, he tied for 3rd place in the 15th German Chess Federation Championship, held at Nuremberg. The event was won by Frank Marshall. In January 1907, took 6th place in the 1st Leopold Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna. The event was won by Jacques Mieses.
In June 1907, he took 2nd place at a 6-man round robin grandmaster tourney in Ostend. The event was won by Siegbert Tarrasch.
In August 1907, he tied for 2nd place at Copenhagen. Paul Leonhardt won the event.
In September 1907, he tied for 4th at Carlsbad. Akiba Rubinstein won the event.
In April 1908, he tied for 1st with Oldrich Duras and Geza Maroczy in Vienna. Each scored 14 wins and 5 losses.
In June 1908, he tied for 1st with Oldrich Duras at Prague, Bohemia. Both players had 13.5 points.
In November 1908, Schlechter played 30 boards simultaneously at the Vienna Chess Club. At each board there were 3 or 4 strong amateurs consulting each other. Schlechter won 21, drew 4, and lost 4 games. [source: The Chess Weekly, Dec 5, 1908, p. 9]
In December 1908, Schlechter challenged Emanuel Lasker to a match for the world championship title.
In March 1909, he tied for 8th place at the Chigorin Memorial in St. Petersburg. Emanuel Lasker and Akiba Rubinstein tied for 1st place.
In 1909, he lost a three-game blindfold match against Jacques Mieses (1865-1954) in Stuttgart, Germany. Schlechter lost 2 games and drew one. [source: Hearst & Knott, Blindfold Chess, 2009, p. 50]
In February 1910, he drew Emanuel Lasker in a world championship match, held in Vienna and Berlin. He scored 1 win, 1 loss and 8 draws, losing the final game after having a won game, then a clearly drawn game. The final game lasted 3 days and 71 moves. If he had drawn his final game, Schlechter would have been world chess champion. Schlechter distinguished himself as the first player in 16 years to seriously challenge Lasker's world chess title. [source: Chicago Tribune, Feb 11, 1910, p. 14]
In August 1910, he took 1st place at the 17th German Chess Federation tourney, held in Hamburg. Schlechter had 8 wins, 1 loss, and 7 draws. In January 1911, he tied for 1st with Rudolf Spielmann in the 3rd Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna.
In March 1911, he tied for 5th at San Sebastian. Jose Capablanca won the event in his first international tournament.
In August 1911, he drew Siegbert Tarrasch in a match, held in Cologne. He won 3, lost 3, and drew 10.
In September 1911, he tied for 2nd place at Carlsbad. The event was won by Richard Teichmann.
In February 1912, he took 1st place at the 4th Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna.
In March 1912, he tied for 8th place out of 11 at San Sebastian. Akiba Rubinstein won the event.
In June 1912, he tied for 4th at Pistyan, Hungary. Akiba Rubinstein won the event.
In June 1912, he tied for 1st place with Frank Marshall in Budapest.
In August 1912, he tied for 4th in the 18th German Chess Federation tourney, held in Breslau. Akiba Rubinstein and Oldrich Duras tied for 1st place.
Between 1912 and 1916, he prepared the 8th and final edition of the Handbuch des Schachspiels openings treatise. It was published in 11 parts and had a total of 1,040 pages.
In December 1913, he took 1st place in the 5th Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna.
In May 1914, he took 3rd place at a gambit tournament in Vienna. Rudolf Spielmann won the event.
In December 1914, he took 1st place in the 6th Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna.
From 1912 to 1915, Schlechter played 117 competitive chess games. During that period, he only lost two games.
In December 1915, he took 1st place in the 7th Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna. In 1916, he finished the Handbuch des Schachspiels openings treatise.
In May 1916, Schlechter gave a 22-board simul at the Viennese Chess Society. He won 15, drew 4, and lost 3 in the 4 hours that he played in front of 120 spectators. [source: Wiener Schachzeitung, 1916, p. 60]
In January 1918, he took 3rd place out of 4 in the 8th Trebitsch Memorial, held in Vienna. The event was won by Milan Vidmar.
In 1918, he lost a match with Akiba Rubinstein, held in Berlin. Schlechter won 1, lost 2, and drew 3.
In August 1918, he tied for 3rd place at Kaschau, Hungary. Richard Reti won the event, followed by Vidmar.
In October 18, he took 3rd place an a 4-man round robin, held in Berlin. Lasker won the event.
In December 1918, Schlechter went to Budapest to play in a chess tournament. He was sick and took 5th (last) place. Richard Reti and Zoltan Balla tied for 1st place.
On Decmber 21, 1918, Schlechter gave a simultaneous display with Hungarian master Istvan Abonyi (1886-1942).
He then prepared to return to Vienna and wanted to see his mother by Christmas. Before he could leave by train, his luggage and all his money was stolen. He went to the Budapest Chess Club to get help from his chess friends. As he prepared to travel again, he got sicker and went to the local hospital. At the time, there was a food shortage in Budapest.
Schlechter died at a hospital in Budapest of pneumonia and starvation on December 27, 1918 at the age of 44. He was buried in Budapest on December 31, 1918. [source: "Carl Schlechter Dead," Washington Post, Feb 9, 1919, p. 6] He may have also been the victim of the Spanish flu pandemic.
In April 1925, Carl Schlechter's mother, Meyer Rieger Schlechter, died. [source: Neue Wiener Schachzeitung, March 1925, p. 76]
In 1994, Warren Goldman published Carl Schlechter! The Life and times of the Austrian Chess Wizard.
In 1998, Tom Crain published Schlechter's Chess Games. It contains 811 of his games.
During his lifetime, he played in 63 tournaments chess tournaments, winning 20 of them and finishing in the top three in 38 of them.
In match play, Schlechter won two (Janowski and Mikulka), drew 8, and lost one (Rubinstein).
Schlechter was known as the "drawing master."
Schlechter created over 150 chess problems, mostly two-movers.
In tournament and match games, Schlechter won 401, lost 141, and drew 530 games, for a total of 1,072 games. This works out to 37.4% wins, 13.1% losses, and 49.5% draws.
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