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Steinitz in London: "a milestone in the literature of chess history"

Steinitz in LondonIt is now just over a year since Tim Harding's book, Steinitz in London was published in America by McFarland. It is widely available through usual retailers and the publisher's website.

The biography and game collection deals chiefly with the years 1862-1882 when Steinitz lived in London. It is a large hardback of 415 pages in the same format as the author's 2015 acclaimed biography of British master Joseph Henry Blackburne who was one of Steinitz's greatest rivals.

A major introductory article by Tim about Steinitz appeared in issue 2020/7 of New In Chess magazine on pages 40 through 48 including many illustrations.

We recently updated our page for reviews of the book. These include a review by eminent Polish chess historian Tomasz Lissowski which appeared in the Polish magazine Mat late in 2020. Lissowski concluded by saying:

This book is a milestone in the history of chess literature.

Many thanks to a few readers who have emailed us with corrections or queries about the book. Most are minor misprints. A few mistakes are inevitable in a large work of this kind prepared over a long period. Also one more game from a Steinitz simul has turned up in the British Newspaper Archive. We have again updated our errata page with the most significant corrections. So if you think you have found a significant mistake in the book which is not mentioned there, please email us.

Steinitz (right) playing
 his match with Anderssen in 1866

William Steinitz (right) playing his match with Adolf Anderssen in London, 1866. Victory in this contest established his reputation as one of the world's leading masters.

Steinitz in London is both a biography and a game collection (623 games) which covers the life of the first World Chess Champion from his earliest days in Prague, through the start of his career in Vienna (1858-1862) up to the point (autumn 1882) when Steinitz first went to the USA.

The last two chapters deal with his later visits to England in 1883 and the 1890s and include the three British tournaments that he played in those years.

The book contains about 60 recently rediscovered games which Steinitz played, in Vienna and in the U.K., which are not to be found in the standard print and database collections.

Steinitz in London also include some rare illustrations and reveal many new facts about Steinitz's life. There are factual corrections to previous biographies in several respects.

It also includes crosstables of all Steinitz's tournaments, some of which correct inaccurate records that appeared in previous works. The book naturally includes the usual scholarly apparatus of Chapter notes, Bibliography and indexes.

Steinitz in London importantly includes numerous corrections to Steinitz games whose scores are incorrect in previous books and databases. We are constantly working to improve our Steinitz database.

We were truly astonished to discover how many discrepancies turned up between databases and printed collections of Steinitz games. None could be trusted and we had to undertake a forensic examination using The Chess Suite, new software written by Dr Thomas Niessen of Aachen, Germany, who provided invaluable help.

While the book was awaiting publication, we started checking Steinitz's American and later European games that are not in the book. We were particularly shocked to find a large number of problems with the normally accepted game scores of many Steinitz games. Our history series reveals our findings. Steinitz's matches with Lasker and Gunsberg are especially problematic.

Tim's article for New In Chess 2020/7 also included some examples of games where the usually accepted game score is wrong.

Tim is now preparing more articles for this website which will comprehensively list corrections found for Steinitz and J. H. Blackburne's games. These will include newly-found mistakes in the book Tim wrote some years ago about Blackburne before The Chess Suite was available. There are also cases for both masters where discrepancies in sources mean that the definitive game score cannot be established.

The two articles previously posted on this site, about Steinitz's visits to Dublin in 1865 and 1881, have now been withdrawn, because these accounts have been thoroughly rewritten for the book with new details and extra games.

However, we added to this website a little story about Steinitz which is not in our book but was discovered in a release last year from the British Newspaper Archive.

You can also see the Table of Contents.

For reference, the ISBN for the print edition of the book is 978-1-4766-6953-3. An e-book edition is also available. .