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  Important facts or issues - raised on this web site 

Some games - like a few of the classics - that I have posted on my website have generated a great deal of e-mail. 
(I now average around 20-to-35 e-mails ... EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!)  

One game, (Pillsbury-Lasker, CS1904); has generated so much e-mail that I have lost track of just how many people have written about this game. I used to have a text file with around 70-80 e-mails that I have saved as concerns this one game. (It became corrupted and I had to delete it - when I had my big computer failure ... and change~over in May, 2004.) 

I worked quite a bit of time preparing some games ... in fact, some files and analysis are the result of many YEARS of work! 

This is why it bothers me so much when someone accuses me of poor preparation, or says I have not done my homework. 
   (This includes one former editor of 'Chess Life' magazine, and one {former} USCF Policy Board member!!!)     

Below is something one friend sent me. It hit the nail .... RIGHT ON THE HEAD!!  So I decided to reproduce it here. 
(I think he originally wrote this for the bulletin board on Chess Cafe's web site.)  

Pillsbury-Lasker, Cambridge Springs - 1904.

Taylor Kingston's June 30 book review of "The Greatest Tournaments in the History of Chess 1851-1986 (CD)" includes this statement: "The report on Cambridge Springs 1904 repeats the tired old myth that Pillsbury had saved 7.Bxf6 for years to play against Lasker."  

If this is a myth, its source is none other than the Daily Bulletin from the CS1904 tournament, which states, "Ever since the St. Petersburg tournament in 1896, Pillsbury had carefully treasured a variation in the Queen's Gambit Declined which he some day hoped to try on one man in an important game. The player he had selected was none other than Dr. Lasker and in the sixth round the grand opportunity presented itself and the surprise was sprung." The Daily Bulletin was published by Hartwig Cassel and Hermann Helms at the tournament site. The success of the Bulletin led to the publishing of the American Chess Bulletin for almost 60 years following the 1904 tournament.

Perhaps more importantly, I am curious if the CD repeats the game score errors that exist in many electronic databases.  I document many of these on my website on the CS1904 tournament, ( <(new URL)> 
Coincidentally, one such error was discussed in detail by Tim Harding in his January 2004 "The Kibitzer" article on this site, (

Steve Etzel  (Mequon, Wisconsin {U.S.A.}

Steve and I have written each other a great deal of e-mails over the last few years, nearly all of these pertain to either chess history ... or the tournament itself, Cambridge Springs, 1904. (Steve's excellent web site)  


I (A.J. Goldsby) wrote Steve:  
<< For my part, I remember reading somewhere how Pillsbury told Hodges that, "the next time he played Lasker, things would be VERY different." He {then} proceeded to show Hodges - apparently a good friend - dozens of new ideas. To show how circumspect Hodges was, he never even mentioned this ... until many years later, after Pillsbury had died. >>  

He responded:  
 << I also think I read somewhere that Napier was Pillsbury's sparring partner and they tested this line extensively before springing it on Lasker.  I also seem to recall that Lasker found a move O-T-B that neither Napier or Pillsbury had considered. >> 
(Steve Etzel)  

  So where does all this  ... ... ...  "stuff"  come from?  {See just below.}  

 (Many normally reliable writers and chess historians have all ascribed to the idea that Pillsbury's 
great {and long} "eight year wait," was a lie, a myth, or even a complete hoax.) 

 "The Book of Chess Lists, Second Edition," 
by GM Andrew Soltis.

 Copyright () by the Author, 2002. 

 Released by: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. 
Box # 611, Jefferson, North Carolina;  28640

  web site -

  Manufactured in the U.S.A.  ISBN: # 0-7864-1296-8  

  Chapter Four (IV) "Fakes, Myths, and Real Jobs"  

  Pages # 106-108, Five Chess Myths 

  Myth Number Four (# 04);  Pillsbury's Eight-Year Wait  (P. # 108)  


"At St. Petersburg 1895-96, four of the world's best players met in a match-tournament of the highest level." (Pillsbury defeated Lasker and Tchigorin in their individual matches, but his miserable and wretched showing against Wilhelm Steinitz allowed Lasker to edge him out for first prize. A.J.G.) "His American fans thought it would bring Harry Pillsbury another remarkable success, but he finished 3.5 points behind Emanuel Lasker and suffered an embarrassing brilliancy loss to the World Champion."  

"Pillsbury eventually got his revenge against Lasker at Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, in 1904. One of the fellow competitors, Georg Marco, noted the similarity in the openings, of the 1895-96 and 1904 games. He wrote that the American had prepared a refutation of Lasker's Queen's Gambit Declined but had to wait eight years to spring it on the Champion."  

"It's true that Pillsbury analyzed the variation after 1896 in enormous depth and it had become something of an obsession with him. But the Lasker story has been embellished quite a bit. Actually the two men had met on several occasions between 1896 and 1904, including two games in which Pillsbury had White. But in neither of those games did he head for the prepared Queen's Gambit Declined line. At Nuremberg, 1896; and London, 1899; he opened with 1.e4."  
- GM Andrew Soltis  

So now we know where the idea of the myth comes from ... and GM Andy Soltis is not the only one, I am fairly certain that Edward Winter has also endorsed this theory as well.  (And there are many more parties ... to this particular crime.)   

So ... if I have to choose between a source ... who is hypothesizing,  (many, many years later!) ... and between a writer who was there when the event actually occurred; I will take the eye-witness account  ...  EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!!!  


Further, I have done VERY EXTENSIVE research on the life of Pillsbury. I own virtually every book ever printed on his life. (At one time, I was considering doing a book on this player - but I never found a publisher for this project.) I have done detailed reading on sources that come from "The White Collection," in Cleveland Ohio. I have had friends send me many documents from the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C. I have received copies of letters, books, and magazine articles from literally all over the world. I also used to have a {nearly} complete copy of Pillsbury's medical records. And I own one of the biggest personal libraries in the South. So what I am about to say can hardly be considered conjecture or hearsay! 

All the evidence seems to point to the fact that Pillsbury HAD prepared this line very deeply ...  and that it resulted in one of his greatest and finest victories!   


  --->  Stay tuned for more interesting chess facts and news.  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2013.  All rights reserved.  

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  Page created: Wednesday; July 14th, 2004This page was last updated on 01/04/13 .