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Editor: Dr Tim Harding
  Dr. Tim Harding   J. H. Blackburne     Paul Morphy   Correspondence Chess history book   Captain W. D. Evans

Steinitz book: queries and corrections

Any new book is liable to contain a few errors that unfortunately only come to light after publication. Proof reading is still an imperfect science. Familiarity with one's own work can lead to details being overlooked which leap to the eye of readers seeing a work for the first time.

Unfortunately Steinitz in London is no exception. This web page is for listing errata which, we hope, can be fixed in any future reprint. We can mention four actual mistakes and also provide some clarification about the photograph below.

First, however, we re-open a query which is not necessarily a correction to the book. Who was the wealthy Epstein featured in a famous anecdote (see page 20) about the young Steinitz? Our note 59 to Chapter 1 (page 376) mentions that Michael Ehn, in his book Geniales Schach about coffee house chess in Vienna, identifies this person as “textile industrialist and banker” Gustav Ritter von Epstein (1828–1879).

We now note, however, that in 1851 the Chess Player's Chronicle (volume 6, pages 347-348) printed a letter congratulating Anderssen on his victory in the London tournament. Unfortunately we did not remember this letter when writing the section of our book "Viennese Chess Before Steinitz" (pages 16-19). It was dated 10 September and signed by 37 Viennese chess players, writing from the Cafe Neuner, one of whom was a C. L. Epstein. At that date Gustav Epstein was only 22 or 23 years old. It is of course quite possible that the two Epsteins were both chess players and even members of the same family.

Other signatories who are mentioned in our book were J. R. von Henickstein, Jos. Matscheko (Matschego according to Ludwig Bachmann), Falkbeer (probably Ernst Falkbeer but might be his brother or both), J. Staudigl (a famous bass singer), and H. P. Schlemm.

Errata list

Page 19. Meitner was three years younger than Steinitz, not slightly older as our page carelessly states, and he was not born in 1838. Meitner's birth date, according to Ehn in his book (page 98) was 24 August 1839. (Thanks to Jason Radley for noticing the error.)

Page 170. It is stated here that G. R. Neumann and Steinitz made 50 per cent in their tournament games but in fact Steinitz made a plus score against the German master. (Thanks to Hans Renette for pointing this out.)

Page 197, Game 346, Amateur v Steinitz. The game header says "Remove White's queen's rook" but the header should say "Remove Black's queen's rook."

This was a rare case where Steinitz gave odds of a piece without taking first move and the exception was forgotten when a global substitution of text was made during the editing of the book. (Thanks to Mark Erickson for spotting this.)

Gastineau party group photo

Page 216, caption. In my biography of Blackburne (page 94) everybody in this famous picture was correctly named (which was not the case in some previous books and unfortunately not in Steinitz in London). Somehow, when submitting the captions for the Steinitz book, an earlier version of the caption was sent, in which two of the amateurs in the photograph, were named incorrectly. We took the opportunity of our article in New In Chess 2020/7 to provide the correct caption.

The bearded man standing far left was actually J. Lovelock, a committee member of the City of London Chess Club) not Bussy as the book says. The man with large whiskers standing centre (to the right of Blackburne) was Henry F. Down (the club's Honorary Secretary at the time), not Coburn as named in the book. A corrected caption will appear with my article about Steinitz which is due to be published in New In Chess 2020/7.

The full corrected list of names is as follows. Seated: Steinitz, Gastineau, De Vere. Standing: Lovelock, Horwitz, Potter, Löwenthal, Down, Blackburne and Dr. Ballard.

Thanks to Fabrizio Zavatarelli for spotting this, and he also informs us that this famous group photograph was almost certainly taken not on 14 June 1873 (as we thought in the book) but rather on 5 July, shortly before the 1873 Vienna international chess congress. In the photograph Steinitz is seated to the right of the host, Henry Francis Gastineau, who hosted parties at his home in Peckham, south London, on both those dates.

We also now believe that the two "alternation games" on page 217 (game numbers 391 and 392) may have been played on 5 July, but possibly later at Simpson's Divan rather than at Gastineau's, since one of those involved (John de Soyres) does not appear in the photograph.

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