Arthur Kaufmann

A Chess Biography, 1872–1938


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SKU: 9780786461455 Categories: ,

About the Book

This biography explores the life and chess career of Arthur Kaufmann, an early 20th century Romanian-born grandmaster-level player. A contemporary of luminaries such as Capablanca, Réti, Schlechter, Spielmann, and Tartakower, Kaufmann remained an enigma despite his high level play.
Through an analysis of primary sources, including correspondence, diaries and other archival material, Kaufmann’s chess career is reconstructed in detail. His tournament and match play games from the early 1890s to the 1910s are explored, as are his little known matches against some of the top players of his time and his participation in the Trebitsch memorials in wartime Vienna.
The book also offers an unprecedented account of Kaufmann’s close relationship with Arthur Schnitzler, the famed Austrian dramatist, whose diary offers important clues to Kaufmann’s life and work as a philosopher. There is a collection of 71 Kaufmann games with detailed annotations and diagrams.

About the Author(s)

Olimpiu G. Urcan is a Singapore-based chess historian. He contributes regularly to Edward Winter’s Chess Notes and is the author of several chess biographies published by McFarland.
Peter Michael Braunwarth is a scholar and professor in Vienna, Austria.

Bibliographic Details

Olimpiu G. Urcan and Peter Michael Braunwarth
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 274
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, 217 diagrams, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6145-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Foreword by Mihail Marin      1

Preface      3

A Note to the Reader      5

PART I—The Life (1872–1938) and Chess Career      7

1. 1872–1900: A Student in Vienna      9

2. 1901–1910: Intermission      26

3. 1911–1914: Back to Chess      41

4. 1915–1916: Chess in a “Gigantic Hospital”      57

5. June 1917: Breakdown      65

6. 1918–1919: Out of Vienna to Mariazell and Kiev      76

7. 1919–1920: Taking On Einstein      90

8. 1920–1922: Altaussee      100

9. 1923–1938: An Inscrutable Endgame      114

PART II—The Chess Games      143

PART III—Appendices, Sources and Indexes      215

Appendix A: Kaufmann and Chess Theory      217

Appendix B: Tournament Crosstables      222

Appendix C: Kaufmann’s Tournament and Match Record      225

Appendix D: Kaufmann’s Results Against Leading Masters      226

Appendix E: Two More Kaufmann Games?      227

Appendix F: An Encounter with Alekhine?      229

Appendix G: A Kaufmann Imaginary Letter      234

Appendix H: The Unpictured Kaufmann      238

Appendix I: Brief Biographies of Notable Players      242

Sources and Bibliography      253

Index of Openings      257

Index of Opponents      258

Index of Illustrations      259

Index of Other Games      260

General Index      261

Book Reviews & Awards

“Excellent research”—Dale Brandreth, Caissa Editions; “a fascinating study!”—British Chess Magazine; “Olimpiu Urcan and Peter Braunwarth have breathed life into an obscure—if not forgotten—academic scholar…Urcan and Braunwarth have treated Kaufmann’s life with respect…tightly written, expertly annotated, and well-diagrammed. [This book] will appeal to players with a penchant for history and an interest in the golden age of early twentieth century chess. Urcan and Braunwarth have saved Kaufmann from obscurity and have enriched us with moments of culture from the game’s treasured past and of the larger Viennese world of theater and art…a sensitive portrayal of an intelligent and noble man caught up in turbulent times: an account of a scholar both on and off the board in an age both bittersweet and tragic”—; “a new peak for McFarland Publications; very highly recommended”—ndzeven; “a book which might be integrated in the literature about Schnitzler around his 150th birthday.”—Der Neue Merker; “this is a worthy tribute to one of Caissa’s forgotten soldiers and will be read with pleasure by fans of the chess scene pre 1920”—IM John Donaldson (; “besides many interesting and annotated chess games, this masterly edited and lavishly illustrated book also presents the relationship between Kaufmann and Schnitzler over several decades”—German Quarterly; “fascinating”—The Compulsive Reader; “a fitting tribute to Kaufmann’s life”—David G. Mills.