The Turk v Mephisto

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Geoff Chandler
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The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:16 am

Hi,

This game.



Has been credited to The Turk in 1770? because it appeared as such in 'A Breviary of Chess by Tartakower (1942).
(which I do not have,)

I thought it was too good. Black (N.NN.) is not your typical N.N. player and the whole game, especially the
opening and the wonderful double Rook sac finish is just not circa 1770.

White to play


I did a bit of poking about, in 'The Chess Player's Week End Book' by R. N. Coles (published 1950) it is giving it
as Mephisto (Gunsberg hiding inside) v N.N. 1883 as does Steinitz in the "The Modern Chess Instructor" (1889 )

Has anybody got another link either for The Turk or Mephisto.

John Townsend
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by John Townsend » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:17 am

An article entitled The Automaton chess player appears as pages iii - xviii of Moravian Chess's reprint of The British miscellany and chess player's chronicle, volume 1, 1841. The frontispiece is an an illustration of the Automaton.

Regarding Mephisto, as a starting-point I suggest a search of this forum, where it has been discussed previously.

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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:48 pm

HI John,

I did a search on here, maybe missed what I was looking for or the game in question was not discussed.

I will check out The Automaton chess player.

I'll also have a look at Chess and BCM after 1940 before 1950 to see if anyone has questioned
that in Tartakower's book the game is credited to The Turk.

John Townsend
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by John Townsend » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:11 pm

Tartakower (1937 edition) gave the game on pages 124-125. He didn't say it was played in 1770, but rather gave that as the time of the Automaton's earliest activities. He mentioned Mouret's period of operating it - which was much later than 1770 - but without attributing the game to Mouret. (Incidentally, Mouret often gave the odds of pawn and move when operating the Automaton, which was not the case in this game.)

Tim Harding
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Tim Harding » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:24 pm

The 4...Qh4 line in the Scotch was unknown in the 1820s when the Turk was being operated by Mouret and Lewis.

Probably Gunsberg operating the Mephisto in 1883 but I haven't found a contemporary source for the game.
Alan Smith of Manchester may know.
Tim Harding
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Geoff Chandler
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:01 pm

Hi John and Tim.

The 1770 date is attached to the game here:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1305753

Whilst most have just praised the game me (I'm Sally Simpson) and one other have questioned it.
I was willing to accept someone in 1770 may have stumbled on the opening variation but had very severe doubts.

I note they give the 'A Breviary of Chess" by Tartakower as (1942)." and It is interesting to know
Tartakower does not give the date in his book. Looks like someone has added 2+2 and come up with 5.

My last post in the above link: "I am going to check with a higher authority..."

Is what I am doing now, thank you to both.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Michael Farthing » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:17 pm

Hey that sounds alarming! Not a suicide note I hope.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:12 pm


I now have ''A Breviary of Chess " by Tartakower, my copy is a 1956 edition.

One could be forgiven for thinking the game (no.53) was played in 1770 by the
Turk because the game's introduction only mentions 1770, The Turk and Mouret.

The only game by Gunsberg in the book is his 'OOPS! Trap' v Steinitz in the 1890/91 World Championship.

White, Gunsberg, to play.



White moved the Knight to the square h4 (OOPS! that drops the f-pawn) so without releasing
the Knight put it back on f3, then after a few minutes and with an air of resignation played 1.Nh4.

1.Nh4 Qxf2 2.Ne4 1-0.

This little ploy is known as the Chigorin/Gunsberg Maneuver

Steintiz writes:

"It should be stated that at this point Gunsberg touched the square at R4 with his Knight,
and then retracted the move, and after taking some time to consider, and shaking his head
as if he had made a mistake, he finally adopted the move. Thereupon I took the Pawn,
and on seeing my opponent’s reply, Kt—K4, resigned.

Then I taxed my opponent on the manner in which he had made his 2oth move,
which was calculated to mislead, and I reminded him that in his match with Chigorin,
he had in a similar case brought a charge against the Russian master.

Gunsberg apologized and gave his word of honor that he had not done it willfully.”

(I writing about Gunsberg here and Ginzberg in the General
Forum, I'm bound to get them mixed them up, just watch me)

John Townsend
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by John Townsend » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:26 pm

It is interesting to note in passing that Staunton tried 4...Qh4 in the Scotch in the 14th game of his match against Horwitz in 1846. He says the move "was introduced by a brilliant amateur of the London Chess Club a few years ago". So it sounds as if it had no known history before the early 1840s. Staunton lost that game, then rejected the move.

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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Tim Harding » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:03 pm

John Townsend wrote:It is interesting to note in passing that Staunton tried 4...Qh4 in the Scotch in the 14th game of his match against Horwitz in 1846. He says the move "was introduced by a brilliant amateur of the London Chess Club a few years ago". So it sounds as if it had no known history before the early 1840s. Staunton lost that game, then rejected the move.
George Walker, New Treatise (1841) page 61, Walker mentions Q to KR5 "a move which appears to have been overlooked by Cochrane and all other writers." Walker considered 4 Nxd4 to be inferior to 4 Bc4 and did not analyse the recapture in any detail.

Then in Walker's translation (really an updated edition) of Jaenisch's Chess Preceptor (1847) on page 170 (in a footnote) Walker said the move 4...Qh4 was first mentioned in his 1841 book and he attributed the move to "Mr. Pulling, of the London Chess Club."

Wormald (1864) also attributed the move to Pulling.

On Wellington Pulling see Augustus Mongredien "Chess Players I Have Known" in BCM June 1888 pages 272-273.

As you say in your own notes on London CC members, John, there was more than one member of the London club named Pulling and Wellington Pulling appears to have resigned in 1835 (but maybe rejoined later). So far as I can see, without exhaustive research, the consensus of contemporaries seems to have been to attribute 4...Qh4 to Wellington Pulling.
Tim Harding
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John Townsend
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by John Townsend » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:43 am

Thank you, Tim. Very interesting. I trust that future text books will refer to 4...Qh4 as the Pulling variation!

Hans Renette
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Hans Renette » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:48 am

While doing research on L. Paulsen I can confirm what Tim writes. See below Staunton's note to Paulsen's 4th move (4...Qh4) in the game Wilson-Paulsen, Bristol 1861.

"This move was first introduced in England by Mr. Wellington Pulling, an amateur remarkable for the brilliancy and rapidity of his combinations, about twenty-five years ago, and for some time it was considered to give Black a marked advantage in the opening. Subsequently, however, Mr. Horwitz invented the ingenious reply of 5.Nb5, and, in spite of every endeavour to disprove its efficacy, this reply appears to establish the validity of the original attack." - Staunton. Taken from the Illustrated London News, 7 December 1861

Hans

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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:00 pm

Hi,

A Wellington Pulling is given as a subscriber to:

"A Selection of Games at Chess, actually played in London, by the late Alexander McDonelll Esq."

Selected and Arranged by William Greenwood Walker in 1836.

In the 19th game of that book (page 69) McDonnell is giving Knight Odds to Mr. P****** (Pulling?)

"The pre-game note adds:

"Mr.P. Is one of the most ingenious and imaginative players
of the day, and now no one can give him the Knight"

A breezy entertaining game, McDonnell offering his Queen for a mate and later the ingenious Mr P
offers a Knight to McDonnell which cannot be taken because the remaining Knight wins the Queen.



A Mr. P****** also feature in Game 10, ( Page 11, no introduction) this time receiving Rook odds.

Again it could be the same player taking his first imaginative steps in the game.
Black sacs the exchange and as in the previous game go to work on the King with his Knights.

Mr.P. is doing OK till he walks into a mate in one. He has a cast iron perpetual which I suppose
was not taken because in those days the odds player did not do such things and doing so would
have risked being black-balled from the club.



Craig Pritchett
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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Craig Pritchett » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:28 pm

Interestingly Staunton's 1861 Illustrated London News reference (see above) to Wellington Pulling and the initial 'discovery' of 4...Qh4 against the Scotch wasn't included in his earlier 'The Chess-Player's Handbook' (1847), though I've no doubt the claim is almost certainly correct and that it indicates that the 'discovery' goes back to at least around 1836 ... though who can be certain that no one else had ever previously chanced on the move ... somewhere in the wider chess playing firmament!

'The Handbook', however, did include fulsome praise of the gambit line 5.Nb5 (Horwitz), as it had just been played in the Horwitz-Staunton match (1846) before publication. Staunton considered that it more than revived the main line Scotch Game and indeed that it also raised doubt about ...Qh4 as a fully playable defensive try.

We all know, of course, that later Steinitz (mainly, but also many others, including L Paulsen) restored 4...Qh4 to the status (at least) of a highly dangerous weapon. Steinitz only lost faith in the line, after nearly two decades of using it often and successfully, towards the end of the 1880s. He thought that the 5.Nb5 gambit (perhaps most accurately, in his view, in its 5.Nc3! Bb4 6.Nb5 form - see his Modern Chess instructor 1889) should (at least) fully compensate for the sacrificed e-pawn, due to White's possession of the bishop pair and Black's inability to castle ... which is still almost certainly the view of the likes of Kasparov and other top players today (although there is still no published 'refutation' of which I am aware ... and I've looked!).

Due to Steinitz's enormous success and extraordinarily creative and deeply analytical contribution to the 4...Qh4 line, however, I always thought that if the line had a name it had gradually assumed the title 'Steinitz Variation' (by the late 20th century). Certainly Lev Gutman called it that (following a number of others) in his (excellent) Batsford treatise '4...Qh4 in the Scotch Game' (2001).

Steinitz wrote in his International Chess Magazine (1890) that 'the systematic analytical development of modern ideas (in chess)' could be traced back to his famous set of extended annotations in 'The Field' (aided by Potter) on the two correspondence games played between the London and Vienna chess clubs (1972-74), one of which was a most thoroughly complex draw in the 4...Qh4 line (London, mainly Steinitz/Potter playing Black). And this remains a truly important chess historical document, which is still worth a very long look.

Well done Wellington Pulling (I guess) but he's not really quite in the same league as world champ Steinitz! By the way, I believe there is also a Popert-Staunton draw (1840) in the 4...Qh4 line.

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Re: The Turk v Mephisto

Post by Hans Renette » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:04 pm

As far as I know Paulsen played 4...Qh4 only once - in the aforementioned game against Wilson.

Wellington Pulling was mentioned on a few other occassions in the Ill. London News:

* 22 Feb. 1862 - as a member of the standing committee of the B.C.A.

* 30 May 1863 - Staunton commenting 4...Qh4 against the Scotch (Maczuski-Kolisch): "The originator of this ingenious counter-attack was Mr. Wellington Pulling, and for many years it was considered unanswerable. In 1846, however, Mr. Horwitz suggested a reply - 5.Nb5, which appears, if properly followed up, to give th advantage of position to the first player. See "The Chessplayers Handbook," p. 171; and an article on the Scotch Gambit in the Berlin Schachzeitung for October, 1846."

* 26 May 1866 - "The most rapid, and at the same time the most brilliant, English player of the last thirty years was Mr. Wellington Pulling, whose death, recently, will be regretted by all who knew him. Next to him in rapidity, but beyond him in invention, was Mr. John Cochrane."

Hans

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