I this year, the hundredth anniversary of the magnificent chess tournament held at Karlsbad in the late summer of 1907, it is a pleasure to bring to chess aficionados an English translation of the well-known book by George Marco and Carl Schlechter.
Not only was the tournament itself distinguished by a very strong entry, lacking only the presence of Lasker and Tarrasch, but the games themselves were of a high order, perhaps due to the inclusion of the strong younger players:
Rubinstein, Nimzowitsch, Vidmar, Duras, Spielmann, Tartakover, Dus-Chotimirsky, Johner, and Erich Cohn, as well as the established players Schlechter, Marshall, Teichmann, Maroczy, Leonhardt, Mieses, Salwe, Marco, Chigorin (his last tournament), Berger, Wolf, and Olland.
The German tournament book for this event, graced by the perceptive and often philosophical notes of Marco and Schlechter, was reprinted by Caissa Editions in 1979 and by Olms a few years later.
Among the cognoscenti of chess tournament literature, both the book and the tournament itself have long been recognized as superlative.
George Marco is famous for his witty, humorous style and for the depth and ingenuity of his annotations, while Carl Schlechter is renowned for his great strength as a player and for his hard work as a meticulous commentator.
Marco had a style of annotation all his own, one that has to be sampled to get the unique flavor of his discourse. In addition to his revered analytical abilities, he was himself a tournament player of note who had first-hand knowledge of all the great masters of his day from his frequent interactions with them.
We are fortunate to have the thoughtful translation by Robert Sherwood, a player of master strength, who has used the new program Rybka to check much of the analysis, adding additional comments and corrections where needed along with many extra diagrams.
These additions in extenso constitute a significant strengthening of the analysis from a technical viewpoint and must add to an appreciation of the games themselves.
For the great number of tournament book connoisseurs I hope this will be a feast of chessic pleasure and enlightenment, and a nostalgic trip back to the good old days of grand chess tournaments held in wonderful, stately hotels with German Gemütlichkeit, good beer, and Strauss waltzes in the ballrooms during the evening.