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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Arnold Schottlander

     Arnold Schottlander (April 2, 1854 – September 9, 1909) was born in Münsterberg (now Ziebice), Silesia and was one of Adolf Anderssen's pupils. 
     Anderssen (July 6, 1818 – March 13, 1879 was considered to have been the world's leading player for much of the 1850s and 1860s.  He was quite soundly defeated by Paul Morphy who toured Europe in 1858, but Morphy retired from chess soon after and Anderssen was again considered the leading player. After his defeat by Steinitz in 1866, Anderssen became the most successful tournament player in Europe, winning over half the events he entered. 
     Anderssen was born in Breslau (now called Wrocław), in the Prussian Province of Silesia, in 1818. He lived there for most of his life, sharing a house with and supporting his widowed mother and his unmarried sister. Anderssen never married.  Anderssen lived a quiet, stable, responsible, respectable middle-class life. teaching mathematics, while his hobby and passion was playing chess. 
     Schottlaender, who was born into a well-known and prosperous family of Jewish industrialists, spent his childhood and early youth in Wrocław, Poland which was at that time one of the strongest chess centers of Prussia. His first public debut was in 1876 and was not particularly successful as he lost 0 to 5 in a friendly match against Fritz Riemann
    A year later in July 1877 he participated in an event in Leipzig to celebrate Andersen's 50th anniversary and his result there was not particularly successful either. But, in 1878 a Western-German Chess Federation congress was held in Frankfurt am Main. Schottlander took part in a secondary event, which he won, and so was awarded the title of master. It was also an important victory because by gaining the coveted master title, he also earned the right to play in the championships for the rest of his life. 
     The first congress of the German Chess Federation (DSB) took place in Leipzig in July 1879 and ended with Berthold Englisch's victory over Louis Paulsen with Schottlander sharing 8th-9th place. After that Schottlander was present for almost every DSB tournament, either as a player or as a patron. During these tournaments he would frequently make the rounds of all the games and make comments on them. Known for the brilliance and accuracy of his analysis and his sense of humor, Schottlander was always less concerned about his placement in a tournament than having fun and enjoying the game. 
     In 1893 Schottlander visited the United States and sent an official entry for the proposed Columbian Chess Congress that was to be held in New York City that year. Because the tournament was to coincide with the famous Columbian Exposition of 1893, a world’s fair held in Chicago, the tournament became widely known as the Columbian Chess Congress. Unfortunately, the tournament never took place mostly due to the Panic of 1893, so on August 31, 1893, when it was clear the tournament would not be held, Schottlander returned to Europe. Prior to returning home Schottlander had suffered an injury while visiting Niagara Falls and was still troubled by it a few weeks later which may prompted him to leave earlier than he initially planned.
     After returning from America, Schottländer continued to actively participate in the chess life of Wroclaw.  From time to time he participated in local tournaments and gave simultaneous. 
     Schottlaender was a wealthy man who, though crippled by polio, appeared at the cafe every afternoon where he would perch himself in the center of the U-shaped table on which there were almost always six or eight games in progress. From his vantage point Schottlaender, who was known for his wit, never played but criticized the games with good natured sarcastic remarks. On occasion though, he gave simultaneous exhibitions where he would take on some thirty opponents.
    His major results were: 

1879: 8-9th place at Leipzig 
1880: 9-10th at Wiesbaden 
1883: 12th at Nuremberg 
1885: 16th at Hamburg
1888: 5-6th at Leipzig 
1892: 11-13th at Dresden 

   He is buried in the Jewish cemetery of Breslau. The grave still stands with the symbolic chessboard and the engraving "His body was weak, his spirit strong". 

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