How a loud tie won a chess game

by ChessBase
9/29/2006 – Almost eighty years ago, on Sunday, May 08, 1927, the newspaper Times Signal, published in Zanesville, Ohio, carried a chess story on the tricks of the great chess players. It talks about "goat-getters" such as wearing loud clothes or smoking cheap "stogies" (cigars) that chess masters use to put off the opponent. Amusing read.

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The top part of the page is devoted to accident statistics, with the lightly-clad lady in the middle of the page serving as a chart for the body parts most likely to be injured in accidents: head 4.3%, eyes 5.8%, arms and hands 53.0%, trunk 8.1%, legs and feet 28.8%.

Here is the full text of the chess story, for your enjoyment and pleasure:

How a 'Loud' Tie Won a Chess Game – What is YOUR 'Goat-Getter'?

No one talent is so valuable to anyone as concentration. His ability to think logically is man's chief edge over the gorilla, which replaces cerebral activity by swinging on his tail.

But the art of concentration is like a sporting event. There is always a "mental hazard." One well-known writer, for instance, can concentrate in a boiler shop, but is in distress immediately someone begins to to whistle. Another wonders why homicide is illegal when a neighbour drums on a desk. In no profession is the “mental hazard” so apparent, however, as that of master chess players, such “goat-getters” as strong stogies, loud neckties and oversize lead pencils frequently proving deciding factors in tightly contested games.


Jose R. Capablanca, Who Alone of the Great Masters Fears Not a Single “Goat-Getter.” His Capacity for Concentration is a Marvel to His Opponents.

Among the trickiest of the champions is Dr. Emanuel Lasker, of Germany. Although he ordinarily affects only the finest brand of Havana cigars, he invariably appears for tournament play smoking the lowliest and vilest of cheap stogies. One opponent, the great Maroczy, is said once to have conceded a bracket rather than go on enduring the fumes. Lasker also makes use of a yawn to get an opponent’s nerve. The late Dr. Janowsky, a very nervous player, claims to have lost an important championship in Austria because his adversary affected lavender and red neckwear.

Frank Marshall, American champion, is thrown into a panic if someone congratulates him before a game. Dr. Alexander Alekhine, French champion, is ill at ease without his “lucky pencil.” Only Capablanca is immune from nervousness. He hasn’t a weakness, opponents say.


Once the Master Maroczy Conceded a game to Dr. Emanuel Lasker Because He Couldn’t Endure the Fumes of the Latter’s Stogie.

Frank J. Marshall, Who is Thrown Into a Panic if Someone Congratulates Him Before a Contest.

Dr. A. Alekhine, Who is Ill at Ease in a Tourney Without His “Lucky Pencil.”


A Close Up of a Chess Player’s Scarf Which So Distressed an Opponent That He Lost the Game.

A Yawn So Infuriates Many Chess Players That Their Games Suffer.


Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Whose Bagful of Tricks Helped Him to Remain World’s Champion for 29 Years.

Information and scan provided by Lawrence Totaro, a researcher and collector from Las Vegas, NV. Lawrence is a member of the Ken Whyld Association, UACC, The Manuscript Society and The Ephemera Society.

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