pgn-file of congresses (93 games)       zip-file of Cbase files


1. Regional federations

Georg Schnitzler from Düsseldorf and Otto Wülfing from Elberfeld took the initiative for a congress of chess players in Rheinland-Westfalen. The meeting place became Düsseldorf, because it was located at a crossing of railroads. Many players from Düsseldorf, Elberfeld, Köln, Mühlheim, Duisberg, Crefeld and Wesel travelled to the lovely Ananasberg in the Hofgarten on Sunday 21 ix 1861. Casual games were played. They went to the Europäischen Hof in downtown Düsseldorf for an afternoon banquet. At the end Alfred Schlieper proposed to establish an annual chess congress and got an ovation. The Westdeutschen Schachbund was founded. Hereafter, the friendly hostilities were resumed. A special guest was the 80-years-old first-rate butcher Frank, who had fought with the old war-horse Blücher on the chessboard. A popular opponent was Graf Conrad Vitzthum von Eckstädt from Dresden. He played several games with the three mentioned organisers. 


Café Ananasberg

(the middle part has the shape of a pineapple)

Max Lange

won five regional chess congresses

Although top players participated in the early congresses, the atmosphere was relaxed, because the players had fine jobs and the stakes were low. 4-6 players took part in the main event. When the master tournament was unfinished at the end of the official program, extra days were added. A more professional mood was created, when the field increased to ten, and chess clocks were used. Two games were played per day and a tight time schedule was applied. A tradition of congress books started at once and continued, though few copies were sold of the report about Düsseldorf 1861-62. 

Westdeutschen Schachbund


1. Düsseldorf 1861: Casual games.

2. Düsseldorf 1862: Max Lange.

3. Düsseldorf 1863: Max Lange.

4. Düsseldorf 1864: Max Lange.

5. Elberfeld 1865: Gustav Neumann.

6. Köln 1867: Wilfried Paulsen.

7. Aachen 1868: Max Lange.

8. Barmen 1869: Adolf Anderssen.

9. Krefeld 1871: Louis Paulsen.

10. Düsseldorf 1876: Wilfried Paulsen.

11. Köln 1877: Johannes Zukertort.

12. Frankfurt 1878: Louis Paulsen.

13. Braunschweig 1880: Louis Paulsen.

Norddeutschen Schachbund


1. Hamburg 1868: Max Lange.

2. Altona 1869: Adolf Anderssen.

3. Altona 1872: Adolf Anderssen.


Mitteldeutschen Schachbund


1. Leipzig 1871: Adolf Anderssen.

2. Leipzig 1876: Adolf Anderssen.

3. Leipzig 1877: Louis Paulsen

(Anderssen Jubilee).


Lange and Anderssen won five times, Louis Paulsen four and Wilfried Paulsen two.


Barmen 1869

Schallopp, W. Paulsen, Anderssen, Hein, Minckwitz, Zukertort

Hermann Zwanzig

General Secretary and driving force

2. Congresses until the Great War

The Deutschen Schachbund had been founded in Leipzig on 18 vii 1877. When the next meeting took place in the Schützenhaus on 15 vii 1879, sixty-two clubs had become member of the chess federation. Hofrat von Gottschall became Chairman and Zwanzig the General Secretary. Twelve players participated in the master tournament of Leipzig 1879. Thereafter the field increased and improved. 


Schützenhaus Leipzig


When foreign players were invited for Berlin 1881, an important and successful formulae was completed: 1. A master tournament was organised every second year, in a time when few international events took place. 2. Germans could partake in many groups and their talents qualified for master tournaments by a master title in the Hauptturnier. 


Dresden 1892

Standing: Heyde, Schmid, Blackburne, Noa, Hoffer, von Scheve, Walbrodt, Zwanzig

Sitting: Loman, Schottländer, Winawer, Mason, Schallopp, von Bardeleben, Tarrasch, Mieses, Albin, Alapin


Many important chess players took part, but Lasker found the prizes too low, when he was world champion. Tarrasch and Schlechter won three master events. Organisers kept a balance between the interests of amateurs and professionals. The Great War ended a fine tradition. 


Winners of the master tournament (Deutschen Schachbund)

1. Leipzig 1879: Berthold Englisch

2. Berlin 1881: Joseph Blackburne

3. Nürnberg 1883: Szymon Winawer

4. Hamburg 1885: Isidor Gunsberg

5. Frankfurt 1887: George Mackenzie

6. Breslau 1889: Siegbert Tarrasch

7. Dresden 1892: Siegbert Tarrasch

8. Kiel 1893: C. von Bardeleben and C. Walbrodt

9. Leipzig 1894: Siegbert Tarrasch

10. Eisenach 1986: no master tournament

11. Köln 1898: Amos Burn

12. München 1900: H. Pillsbury and C. Schlechter

13. Hannover 1903: Dawid Janowsky

14. Coburg '04: Bardeleben, Schlechter, Swiderki

15. Nürnberg 1906: Frank Marshall

16. Düsseldorf 1908: Frank Marshall

17. Hamburg 1910: Carl Schlechter

18. Breslau 1912: A. Rubinstein and O. Duras

19. Mannheim 1914: Alexander Alekhine



Master title in Hauptturnier

Berlin 1881: Curt von Bardeleben

Nürnberg 1883: Siegbert Tarrasch

Hamburg 1885: Max Harmonist

Frankfurt 1887: Johann Bauer

Breslau 1889: Emanuel Lasker

Dresden 1892: Paul Lipke

Kiel 1893: Hugo Süchting

Leipzig 1894: Norman van Lennep

Eisenach 1896: Wilhelm Cohn

Köln 1898: Ottokar Pavelka

München 1900: Rudolf Swiderski

Hannover 1902: Walter John

Coburg 1904: Augustin Neumann

Nürnberg 1906: Saviely Tartakower

Düsseldorf 1908: Friedrich Köhnlein

Hamburg 1910: Georg Rotlevi

Breslau 1912: Bernhard Gregory



Carl Schlechter after a win in Hamburg 1910

Bogoljubow in Breslau 1925


3. The Interbellum

Mannheim 1914 had been ended after eleven rounds by the outbreak of the Great War. Germany became exhausted by the warfare and an influenza epidemic.

When the disaster had ended, the DSB dropped its leadership in the organisation of international tournaments. The Schachbund gave priority to the preparation of national events. Master tournaments became local occasions. The DSB organised four Hauptturniere as Berlin 1920. Ehrhardt Post was the manager. A master tournament followed in the same city at the end of that year as a regional initiative by Kagan. 


Winners of the last DSB Congresses:

20. Berlin 1920: four Hauptturniere

21. Hamburg 1921: Ehrhardt Post (level of Hauptturnier)

22. Bad Oeynhausen 1921: Ehrhardt Post (level of Hauptturnier)

23. Frankfurt 1923: Ernst Grünfeld (mediocre master tournament)

24. Breslau 1925: Efim Bogoljubow (master tournament)

25. Magdeburg 1927: Rudolf Spielmann (mediocre master tournament)

26. Duisburg 1929: Carl Ahues (similar to German championship)

27. Swinemünde 1931: Efim Bogoljubow (similar to German championship)


The Großdeutschen Schachbund (GSD) was founded in 1931. When Hitler took power in 1933, the DSB was dissolved. Bad Pyrmont 1933 counts as the first German chess championship. The level sank deeply, when Otto Zander spoke against the Jews. Emanuel Lasker and Jacques Mieses emigrated. Siegbert was refused in the Tarrasch club. 

The national German championships continued until 1943. When the Schachbund was founded in 1877, some had wanted a broad federation with Austria. The wish came true by the Anschluß in 1938. The Austrian Eliskases won the championships of 1938 and 1939. He stayed in Buenos Aires, when the Second World War began. The tragedy for German chess was immense, when the great talent Klaus Junge fell in 1945. 


4. Resurrection

German chess revived quickly after the horrendous war was over. The first closed championship was held in 1947. A new star became Wolfgang Unzicker. The DSB was reestablished in 1950. Separate championships were organised in the West and East until 1990. Thereafter, the efforts were combined. 

A remarkable initiative was taken by the DSB in the 1970's. Every second German championship became an international tournament. The events showed similarity to the master tournaments of the past. However, the involvement of the Schachbund remained restricted to one main event. 


Open German Champions:

I. West Berlin 1971: Svetovar Gligoric

II. Dortmund 1973: Hecht, Andersson and Spassky

III. Mannheim 1975: Walter Browne

IV. Bad Lauterberg 1977: Anatoly Karpov

V. München 1979: Boris Spassky

VI. Bochum 1981: Lubomir Kavalek

VII. Hannover 1983: Anatoly Karpov


The DSB had planted seven seeds. It became a full-grown tree in Dortmund. The Schachtage were an annual event with many groups in the 1980's. A super tournament crowns the occasion since 1992. 

A standard formula exits for annual super tournaments. Top ten players and other stars participate in the main group of Dortmund, Linares and Wijk aan Zee. Many chess professionals and amateurs participate in lesser groups. Hundreds of enthusiasts watch the explication. Results appear in the media, especially internet. So everybody gets something. Compared to the German chess congresses, the problem tournament and solving competition have disappeared. Only Wijk aan Zee has a collective dinner, the traditional pea soup. 

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