"Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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JustinHorton
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"Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:52 am

Attributed to Steinitz, but I cannot find a source for it. Did he actually say it?
"Do you play chess?"
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John Townsend
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by John Townsend » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:16 pm

Thanks to Google Books, I found this on page 2 of The Household Chess Magazine of 31 January 1865:

"It is our intention to create for our readers a series of mental recreations, or, in other words, we have pleasure in presenting them with a complete

INTELLECTUAL GYMNASTICS,

on which the mental portion of their organisation may take full swing.

First and foremost in our mental gymnasium stands Chess, the royal game; patronised by the Emperor, who reigns over nations, and by Genius, who, still greater, reigns over minds."

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JustinHorton
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:29 pm

Thanks for that John. Forgive my ignorance - who would have written that, Steinitz? (I've hunted about a bit, but Google Books on a mobile isn't always the easiest.)
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

John Townsend
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by John Townsend » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:06 pm

I don't know who wrote it. The editor has been identified by Tim Harding (British Chess Literature to 1914: A Handbook for Historians, 2018, page 138 ) as T.H. Hopwood, with assistance from Blackburne.

I felt the passage was worth bringing to your attention because the idea is similar to that in the quote, but, obviously, it hasn't yet led to an answer to your question.

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JustinHorton
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:28 pm

Ah OK. Yes, very much worth mentioning. Also see this.

I guess it could quite possibly be "attributed", as so many quotations are, but even if that were so you'd like to know when it was first attributed.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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O.G. Urcan
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by O.G. Urcan » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:57 am

By chance, I discussed the Steinitz quotation with Edward Winter a few days ago, with a view to presenting various citations on the Chess Notes page.

- O.G.Urcan

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:48 am

Do you have this book or the Deutsche Schachzeitung source?

William Steinitz, Chess Champion: A Biography of the Bohemian Caesar
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=JNITAQAAIAAJ
Kurt Landsberger, ‎Andy Soltis - 2006 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
In November 1885, Mr. H. Bennecke, the chess editor of Bahn Frei!, the newspaper of the Turnclub in New York, visited ... Schachzeitung quoted amongst others Steinitz, who had written from London "Chess is intellectual gymnastics" (34).

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JustinHorton
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:35 pm

That's a good effort. I'm assuming you don't have the original (somebody here must have, though*) and can't tell us what source is represented by (34)?

* I see below that Tim has!
Last edited by JustinHorton on Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Tim Harding
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:39 pm

From the above I believe may conclude provisionally that the quotation should be attributed to Hopwood not Steinitz.

As for the (34) that was the late Kurt Landsberger's incompetent attempt to do citations. The number, like others in his text, just refers to the Deutsche Schachzeitung which is item 34 in his bibliography. Without volume and page numbers it is worthless and clearly the reference is anyway not relevant to the question of who wrote the sentence in question. Landsberger many times quoted secondary sources when primary sources were required.
Tim Harding
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Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
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Gerard Killoran
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by Gerard Killoran » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:34 pm

From

The Chess Player's Magazine. v.4 (1866) page 257

'Nor will it do so until the following axiom, in the truth of which all masters of Chess are convinced, receives general acceptation, and that axiom is, that Chess is for the mind what gymnastics are for the body.'

The article is unsigned.

Correction: I should have read to the last line which is:

'From the Berliner Schachzeitung.'

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JustinHorton
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Re: "Chess is intellectual gymnastics"

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:50 am

Chess Notes.

This seems to particularly stand out:
Philadelphia Inquirer, 22 October 1893, page 21 (feature by Carl Synder which included an interview with Steinitz). One of the world champion’s remarks:

‘Chess may be described as mental athletics. It is the gymnasium of the mind. I believe that the mind can be trained as easily and perfectly as the body, and I know of no better exercise than chess. It develops, strengthens and clarifies the brain.’
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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