1899 London


left to right: D. Janowsky, G. Maróczy, F.J. Lee, L. Hoffer, J.W. Showalter, S. Tinsley, R. Teichmann and W. Cohn.
Seated: H.E. Bird, E. Lasker, M. Chigorin, J.H. Blackburne and C. Schlechter.

The London 1899 chess tournament was without a doubt one of the very strongest tournaments ever held on British soil. Almost every great master of the day was present including the past and reigning world champions. It proved to be the swan song of the old champion Wilhelm Steinitz but for Emanuel Lasker it was a glittering success which propelled him way beyond the other grandmasters of the time.

All important players were invited. Many of these players were the champions of the country that they represented. Refusals came from Siegbert Tarrasch and Rudolf Charousek (illness). The businessman Amos Burn had to withdraw at the opening’s day. Fifteen participants played double rounds from 30 May to 10 July 1899, except for Richard Teichmann. He withdrew after round 4 due to an eye disease. His remaining games in the first cycle were declared as lost. Rounds were played in St. Stephen’s Hall. The time limit was fifteen moves in one hour. Participants were entertained by the City of London chess club at Crystal Palace and the Star and Garter Hotel in Richmond. A banquet took place in the International Hall of the Café Monico on 29 June.

Lasker finished a whopping 4.5 points ahead of the group finished tied for second (Janowski, Maroczy, Pillsbury.) This is easily one of the more dominating personal performances in a tournament ever played. London 1899 goes down in history as one of the great Lasker victories along with St. Petersburg 1896, Paris 1900, St. Petersburg 1914 and New York 1924.