Paris – Marseilles
correspondence games in the 1880s.
By Eric RUCH
this 4th issue of the ICCF Amici Sumus, I would
like to report about the “strange” correspondence games
played between the Paris and Marseilles Chess Clubs in the
As far as I know, only
one of these games has ever been published by Carlo Alberto
Pagni in his monograph about CC games between Clubs during
the 19th century, but the history of these,
probably, unique CC games has never been brought to light.
Pagni mentioned in his
book that the game was given to him by the German CC GM
Hermann Heemsoth and that he has found the score in an old
polish magazine! Hermann Heemsoth could not give me any more
details about the game.
About one year ago, I
was very lucky to find the following brief article,
published in the Chess Monthly edited by L. Hoffer and J.
Zükertort (Vol IV, December 1882, page 104):
“We have received a collection* of one
hundred self-mate endings, partly taken from actual play,
partly original compositions, and the reminder
transformation from direct into self-mates. Also some games
played by correspondence between Paris and Marseilles, and
games and endings of Four-Chess. The self mates average from
two to fifty-five moves. The work is a labor of love,
dedicated to the lovers of Chess by the author, Mons.
Antoine Demonchy, of Marseilles. The little book of 144
pages , copiously illustrated with diagrams, is
lithographed, and altogether of an elegant appearance.
*) « Une centaine de Fins de Parties
Inversées » Dédiée aux Amateurs d’Echecs (Marseille 1882).
The German chess
collector Ralf Binnewirtz could confirm that the game was
published in this book. Finally, during the summer of 2004,
I was fortunate enough to find and buy these two books
written by Antoine Demonchy and find out that he actually
published six CC games played between Paris and Marseilles
during the 80s (probably many more have been played
according to the book).
Front page of the book of A. Demonchy.
The unique feature about
these games, is that they are not standard games, but
“losing games” where you have to get mated to win the game!
and as far as know, these are the first CC losing games ever
One must also note that
these games were not played according to the currently most
acknowledged losing chess rules, as for instance the capture
was not compulsory.
The game published in
the polish magazine was among the games published in the
book and probably was the source of this publication.
Let’s see this first
game and see how you can force a player to mate you!!
Paris - Marseille
(White gives Queen
1.d4 d5 2.¤c3 c6 3.¤f3 g6 4.e4 e6 5.e5 ¥b4 6.¥d2 ¥xc3 7.¥xc3
b5 8.h4 h5 9.0-0-0 a6 10.¤g5 f5 11.g3 ¤h6 12.¥d3 ¤f7 13.¥xf5
gxf5 14.¤xf7 ¢xf7 15.¥d2 ¤d7 16.¦he1 c5 17.dxc5 ¤xc5 18.¥g5
£g8 19.¦e3 ¥b7 20.¦c3 ¦c8 21.¥e3 ¤d7 22.¥d4 ¦xc3 23.bxc3 a5
24.¢d2 a4 25.¦b1 ¥a6 26.¦g1 £g4 27.¦b1 ¦c8 28.¦b4 ¦c4
29.¦xc4 dxc4 30.a3 f4
31.¢c1 fxg3 32.fxg3 £xg3 33.¢b2 £xh4
34.¢c1 £e1+ 35.¢b2 £d1 36.¥a7 ¤xe5 37.¥c5 h4 38.¥d4 ¤c6
39.¥e3 e5 40.¥f2 h3 41.¥g3 e4 42.¥f4 ¢e6 43.¥g3 e3 44.¥f4 e2
45.¥g3 ¢d7 46.¥h2 e1£ 47.¥f4 £ee2 48.¥g3 £dxc2+ 49.¢a1 £f1+
50.¥e1 £d2 51.¢b1 h2 52.¢a1 h1£ 53.¢b1 £f8 54.¢a1 £xa3+
55.¢b1 £ad6 56.¢a1 £f6 57.¢b1 ¢c7 58.¢a1 b4 59.¢b1 b3 60.¢a1
¢b6 61.¢b1 ¢a5 62.¢a1 ¤e7 63.¢b1 ¤c8 64.¢a1 ¥b5 65.¢b1 £a6
66.¢a1 ¤b6 67.¢b1 £h7+ 68.¢a1 £xc3+ 69.¥xc3# 0-1 !!
White mates, but Black
wins the game ! Astonishing !
For those who would like a little practical
exercise I propose to test your ability by solving the
Black plays and wins (by
getting mated!) in 7 moves!
Some good advice: do not
use Fritz to solve it !
This game is already
very fascinating but the next two ones played between the
Paris and Marseilles during the same period are even much
more fascinating. These are two games in one! The first game
is played according to the standard chess rules, and the
winner will be the player who mates his opponent (you will
understand that one cannot resign in such a game). From the
mating position, a move is taken back, and this new position
is the starting point for a new game played according to
the losing chess rules!
Lets have a look to
these amazing games!
Paris - Marseille
1st February 1880 – 27 May 1880
Antoine Demonchy « Une centaine de fins de parties
“ Partie jouée en mode
normal puis en inverse (à qui perd gagne), par
correspondance entre le 1er février et le 27 mai 1880. Les
Blancs jouent les trois premiers coups de suite.”
White has the odds of
1.e4 -- 2.d4 -- 3.¤c3 c6 4.¥c4 e6 5.¤h3 a6 6.e5 g6 7.¥g5 ¥e7
8.¤e4 ¥xg5 9.¤hxg5 ¤h6 10.¤d6+ ¢f8 11.£f3 £xg5 12.¤xc8 ¤f5
13.d5 cxd5 14.¥xd5 exd5 15.£xd5 ¤c6 16.£xd7 £d8 17.e6 fxe6
18.0-0-0 £xd7 19.¦xd7 ¦xc8 20.c3 b5 21.¦hd1 ¤fe7 22.¢d2 ¦d8
23.¢e3 ¦xd7 24.¦xd7 ¢f7 25.¢f4 ¦d8 26.¦b7 h6 27.¦c7 ¢f6
28.a3 ¤d5+ 29.¢g4 ¤xc7 30.h4 h5+ 31.¢f3 ¤e5+ 32.¢e2 a5 33.f3
a4 34.g4 hxg4 35.fxg4 ¤xg4 36.¢f3 ¤h6 37.¢f4 ¦d3 38.h5 ¤a6
39.hxg6 e5+ 40.¢e4 ¤c5# 0-1
Black mates and wins the
first part of the game. The last move is then taken back and
the games was continued as follows :
40...¦d2! 41.¢f3 ¢f5 42.b4 e4+ 43.¢g3 ¦d3+ 44.¢h4 ¦xc3 45.g7
¤g8 46.¢h5 e3 47.¢h4 e2 48.¢h5 ¢f6 49.¢g4 ¢f7 50.¢f4 e1£
There is always a way to
release the Knight from his position to play
51...¤e7+ 52.¢g5 ¢g8 53.¢f6 ¦xa3 54.¢g5 ¦e3 55.¢f6 a3 56.¢g5
a2 57.¢f6 a1£+ 58.¢g5 £ac3 59.¢g4 £c7 60.¢g5 £f2 61.¢g4
£ff4+ 62.¢h5 ¤c5 63.bxc5 b4 64.c6 £g3 65.¢h6 b3 66.¢h5 b2
67.¢h6 b1£ 68.¢h5 ¤d5 69.¢h6 £ce5 70.c7 £e6+ 71.¢h5 £c8
72.¢h6 ¦a3 73.¢h5 ¦a5 74.¢h6 £b2 75.¢h5 ¤b4+ 76.¢h6 £e1
77.¢g6 ¤c6 78.¢h6 £h3+ 79.¢g6 £hh2 80.c8¤
80.c8¥ £e6+!; 80.c8¦+ £e8+!; 80.c8£+ £e8+!)
80...£h6+ 81.¢xh6 £h1+ 82.¢g6 ¤e7+ 83.¤xe7#
White mates and Black
wins the second part of the game.
Paris - Marseille
20 mai 1880 – 31 août 1880
Antoine Demonchy « Une centaine de fins de parties
Games played in normal
mode from 20 May till 19 August 1880, and then in losing
chess mode from 19 august till 31 august 1880.
1.e4 e5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 exd4 4.¤xd4 ¤xd4 5.£xd4 c5 6.£e5+ £e7
7.£d5 h6 8.¤c3 ¤f6 9.£b3 a6 10.a4 d6 11.¥c4 g5 12.0-0 ¥g7
13.¥d2 0-0 14.¦fe1 ¥e6 15.¤d5 ¥xd5 16.exd5 £c7 17.£f3 ¦ae8
18.¦e3 ¦xe3 19.¥xe3 ¦e8 20.¦e1 ¦e4 21.¥d2 ¦xe1+ 22.¥xe1 £d7
24.b3 £a2 25.¥xf6 £xc2 26.¥d3 £c1+ 27.¥f1 £f4 28.¥xg7 £xf3!
29.gxf3 ¢xg7 30.¥h3 ¢f6 31.¥c8 a5
The 31st move seems to
be well played on both sides
32.¥xb7 c4 33.bxc4 a4 34.c5 dxc5 35.¥a6 ¢e5 36.¥c4 f5
37.¢f1 a3 38.¢e2 ¢d4 39.d6 ¢xc4
Paris should have moved
40.d7 a2 41.d8£ a1£ 42.£d3+ ¢b4 43.£xf5 £a6+ 44.¢e3 c4
If Paris had given check
on b1, the game would probably have been drawn.
45.¢d4 £d6+ 46.¢e4 £d3+ 47.¢e5 £xf5+ 48.¢xf5 c3 49.¢g6 c2
50.¢xh6 c1£ 51.¢h5 £f4 52.h3 ¢c5 53.¢g6 ¢d6 54.¢h5 ¢e6
55.¢g6 ¢e7 56.¢h5 ¢f6 57.¢h6
Paris is not allowed to
resign decide to shorten the game.
Position of the direct mat.
The game now goes on in
losing chess mode :
57...¢e5! 58.¢h5 £h4+ 59.¢g6 ¢f4 60.¢f6 £xh3 61.¢g6 £e6+
62.¢h5 £f7+ 63.¢h6 ¢f5 64.f4 g4 65.f3 £f8+ 66.¢h5 g3 67.¢h4
g2 68.¢h3 g1£ 69.¢h4 £g2 70.¢h5 £fg7 71.¢h4 £2g3+ 72.¢h5 ¢f6
73.f5 £f8 74.f4 ¢f7 75.f6 ¢g8 76.f7+ ¢h7 77.f5 ¢h8 78.f6
£c5+! 79.¢h6 £g7+ 80.fxg7# 0-1
It should be noted that
the players of these two last games are not indicated
in the book, but one can assumed that Paris played with
White and Marseilles
with black according to the notes of the game.
I would be very much interesting to hear
from anyone knowing other examples of losing chess games
played by correspondence, especially during the 19th
During the 20th century, there
are least two other well known CC losing games.
The first games played between the
problemist Hans Klüver of Hamburg and Thomas R. Dawson
of London during March and November 1923. This game has
been published for the first time in the Deutsches
Wochenschach in May 1924 and is among the very first
true losing games played according to the most
acknowledged rules of this form of chess.
The other one has
been played between E.T.O Slater of London and the
same Hans Klüver. I have found this game in “Le Courrier
February 1955, without any indication of date.
Some CC Losing
tournaments have been organized in the past, and, as far
as I know,
the first one being the German tournament organized in
1948 by H. Kniest.
The most important
feature of this type of chess are the following
game is won for you if you are the first being unable to
move; this may
happen by losing all your pieces or by stalemate.
Capturing is compulsory for each player; if there exists
more than one possibility to take,
the player may choose the most favourable one.
The king has lost any
royal properties, i.e. there exists no check or mate, so
the K may be taken as any other piece. Especially he may
also be created by a pawn promotion. Logically nowadays
castling is not allowed (but it was allowed in older
times, see the Klüver game). Therefore a game without
kings or with only one king is not unusual!
For more information
see the excellent website of Fabrice Liardet (in
he is one of the greatest LC specialists: