Study of the Month: May, 2018

by Siegfried Hornecker
5/26/2018 – As the column is always changing, reader feedback was received that April’s historical examination was too long and the column should concentrate on studies more, which of course has been the heart of this column. Therefore the next issue will be more condensed again. In May and probably July SIEGFRIED HORNECKER concentrates on selected non-fiction (May) and fiction (July) literature about chess. This month focuses on Josef Kling and Bernhard Horwitz.

Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play

Rules of thumb are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb.


"Endings" were only the beginning

Discontinuing the straight historical line for now, instead we have a look at the very beginnings of the term "chess study" — but not at the beginning of chess studies overall, which would lie over a thousand years earlier.

In 1851, a few remarkable events happened: A big chess tournament was held in London, the first international one, during which, in a free game (i.e. not the tournament game), Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky played a game where Kieseritzky won both rooks but got checkmated, known as the "Immortal game".

Josef Kling

Josef Kling No less immortal is a book published the same year by Josef Kling (pictured) and one of the London participants, Bernhard Horwitz: "Chess studies; or: Endings of games". In the tourney held in the K.O. system, Horwitz beat Henry Edward Bird, who named the 1.f4 opening, but lost to Howard Staunton, famous today for his chess set. Staunton lost to a Prussian master named...Adolf Anderssen! Anderssen went on to beat Wyvill Marmaduke in the final round with 4½:2½, winning the tournament.

book cover

In the same year, chess history won with Horwitz and Kling’s book (pictured in a 1995 reproduction). Born exactly 175 years prior to me, on March 19th 1811, Josef Kling was a German chess master, and as Wikipedia quotes, “a pioneer of the modern style of chess”. Of course, his knowledge was valuable to chess composition as an expert for problems and artificial endgames, for which their book would coin the term "studies", much akin to the "studies" he had done on practical chess, for which now, for example, the term "theory" is used. The invention of the word "cook" for an unsound study, however, likely is wrongly attributed to Kling, as Edward Winter of Chess Notes fame already showed in 2006.

Born in Mainz, Kling soon dedicated his life to chess, moving to Paris in 1834. In Paris, Kling played in the Café de la Régence to make a living. Fifteen years later, his collection "The Chess Euclid" with 200 chess problems was published. It was 1849, Kling was long renown as a chess player. Howard Staunton had cited Kling’s endgame analysis two years earlier in "The Chess Player’s Handbook". Sources are unclear on when Kling went on to become a church musician and music teacher, if in Paris or already prior. Famously, Kling also invented a stalemate-based theme, known after him. The Kling theme, or "Kombination Kling" in German, requires a 'line-officer' (bishop, rook, queen) to move over a square ("critical square") which afterwards is occupied by another piece or pawn of the same color, blocking the way back, leading to the immobilization of that officer with subsequent stalemate. Unfortunately, the original study with this idea is completely broken. Instead, a much better study with this idea is given before showing this month’s five thematic studies and the additions to previous issues of this column.

Bernhard Horwitz

HorwitzBenjamin Horwitz (his original name) was born on 10 May 1807 in "Neustrelitz", a city sounding like a new military unit ("new streltsy" if translated as such), Indeed, the name of the city is based on those Slavian fighters, meaning "the city of archers". "Benjamin" meaning "the son of luck" in Hebrew (and Ben-Oni meaning something akin to “the son of grief”) however might have sounded a bit too Jewish, and as those people have a difficult history, being confronted through all ages with antisemitism, it might possibly explain why Horwitz later changed his first name to Bernhard, although this can only be speculation on my part — to my knowledge the real reason is unknown. He studied painting at the Academy of Arts in Berlin from 1836 to 1839, being a member of the "Plejaden" (pleiades), the Berlin school of chess. Afterwards, in 1839, he moved to Hamburg, and in 1845 to England, becoming a citizen of Britain. The moves were for artistic learning, or as it would be said today, vocational education, done to advance in his occupation as an artist. Several matches against famous chess players resulted, such as against Staunton, Harrwitz, and others.

London 1851’s seventh place in the Crystal Palace, built for the World Exhibition 1851, might not have been a triumph, but also not a complete defeat. Of course, the building was still thriving with the World Exhibition when the tourney was played, a fitting event as surely someone at the time must have cracked the pun that this international tourney was a World Chess Exhibition. As colour photography was invented in 1861, i.e. ten years later, the pictures (above and below) are rather artist’s painted impression of the surroundings of this event.

Crystal Palace 1851-54

Crystal Palace | Image: Dickinson Brothers (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Not much is known to me about Kling’s later life. What we know for certain is that, starting in 1852, Kling owned a coffee house in London, occasionally hiring Horwitz as a professional player there. However, according to Wolfgang Pieper from Osnabrück, they did not always retain their friendship and fell out of grace with each other. Josef Kling died on December 1st, 1876 in London, a quarter of a century after publishing the second of his two most famous books.

Bernhard Horwitz became the grandfather of Leopold Horwitz, a strong chess player, who in turn was the father of Walther Horwitz (December 5th, 1906 — April 9th, 1966), a strong problem composer. In 1964, a beautiful problem by him with Dr. Ado Kraemer won the first prize in the Schwalbe more-mover tourney, based on a work by Bernhard Horwitz and Josef Breuer that only was published in 1965, which sadly is unknown to me and does not seem to be in the Schwalbe’s Problem Chess Database, so only the improved version can be found on the Schwalbe website. Of course, the immortality of Horwitz was in his works, including the "Horwitz gambit" (C23) 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 b5!? (White will usually continue with 4.Bb5, although 4.Nb5 would also be possible, as 4.Ne4? 5.Qf3 is a catastrophe for Black). As for the mortal man, he died on August 29th, 1885 in London. Incidentally, the game against Schulten 1846 has a very famous ending, so we reproduce it in full.


You probably know that you can move pieces on our replay boards to analyse and even start an engine to help you. You can maximize the replayer, auto-play, flip the board and even change the piece style in the bar below the board.

At the bottom of the notation window on the right there are buttons for editing (delete, promote, cut lines, unannotate, undo, redo) save, play out the position against Fritz and even embed the ChessBase game viewer on your website or blog. Hovering the mouse over any button will show you its function.

World Federation for Chess Composition

World Federation for Chess Composition (


Siegfried (*1986) is a German chess composer and member of the World Federation for Chess Composition, subcommitee for endgame studies. His autobiographical book "Weltenfern" (in English only) can be found on the ARVES website. He presents an interesting endgame study with detailed explanation each month.
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chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 5/27/2018 02:54
Illuminating heritage of endgame studies. Many thanks.