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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Eugenios M. Antonaidi

    This guy is a new one to me. According to the British Chess Magazine of 1907 he was born in Constantinople on 1 March 1870 of Greek parents and was taught how to play chess by his brothers at a young age. He began studying theory in 1888 by using Staunton's Handbook and later by playing over Morphy's games. While in Constantinople he played in four tournaments and finished first in all of them.
     In 1894 he went to France and succeeded in winning several games from a fellow named Stanislaus Sittenfeld who was strong enough to have drawn a match against Taubenhaus and defeated Janowsky in a match. Overall though, he lost most of his games against these two luminaries. Ten years later he began serious study of chess by playing over games played at the Hastings tournaments along with studying just about everything written by Tarrasch. The result was that he became the third best player in Paris behind Taubenhaus and Janowsky.
     In 1905 Antonaidi tied for first place in the Cafe de la Regence championship with a score of +12 -2 =0. As good as that result was, he surpassed it in a later tournament at the Cafe de la Regence (1-2 Marshal and Antoniadi 3-Tartakower 4-de Villeneuve followed by four others) when he defeated both Frank Marshall and David Janowsky, losing only one game (to Villeneuve) due to illness. In that game he had two passed Pawns and was up the exchange. It was this loss that enabled Marshall to tie with him which resulted in a 3-game match to determine the winner and Marshall managed to win by +1 -0 =2. Antonaidi's lifetime score against Marshall was even at +1 -1 =3. Antonaidi attributed his success entirely to his study of the works of Tarrasch and Morphy's games. At the same time he felt Steinitz and his “Modern School” to exhibit a “lack of genius.”
     Antoniadi wasn't only critical of Steinitz. He attacked Staunton, too, writing that he had "no praise to offer for either the strength or the character of Staunton, who had none of the qualities of the English nation.” He also attacked three authors of books on Morphy: Ernst Falkbeer, Geza Maróczy and Philip W. Sergeant saying they were jealous of Morphy and they tried to belittle him in their books. Apparently he had an especially strong dislike for Sergeant because he also criticized Sergeant's book on Charousek.
     Antoniadi spent most of his life in France and appears to have played no serious chess outside of that country. According to Edo ratings his best rating was 2325 in 1907.
     He was also an astronomer who specialized in the study of Mars and Mercury and drew excellent maps of them. In 1909 he demonstrated that the canals of Mars were an optical illusion. See Richard McKim’s talk at a Paris astronomy conference in 2009.  Antoniadi was also a noted architect, historian, artist, and he wrote about both the Egyptian pyramids and Egyptian astronomy. He died in Paris on 10 February 1944.
     The following game feature's Lasker's Defense to the Queen's Gambit and you can find a really good article on it at the Kenilworth Chess Club HERE.

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