Gustav Richard Neumann

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Gustav Richard Ludwig Neumann (born December 15, 1838 in Gleiwitz , † February 16, 1881 in Allenberg, Wehlau / East Prussia) was an important German chess player .

Neumann in the 1860s

Life and career as a chess player

Neumann was born in Gleiwitz, Silesia, as the son of a printer in 1838. His chess talent showed at the age of ten. After high school his family enabled him in 1860 a study of the medicine in Berlin , but he devoted himself, just arrived in Berlin, mainly the game of chess. He never finished his studies, but served in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 as a field doctor.

Gustav Neumann, now almost forgotten, was one of the strongest and most famous chess masters of his time. During his time in Berlin, the 1860s, he measured himself against the best German players. Adolf Anderssen gladly accepted him as an opponent during his annual visits to Berlin. In 1865 he won the tournament of the Berlin Chess Society with a result of +34 = 0 −0. In the same year he won all three games at the West German Chess Congress in Elberfeld .

Neumann played his first international tournament in Paris in 1867 (4th place) and has since been considered one of the best players in Europe . In the same year Neumann won in Dundee, Scotland ( Wilhelm Steinitz was second ). Neumann took over the editing of the Neue Berliner Schachzeitung in Berlin in 1864 and actively participated in the journalistic field. His chess books, which appeared in the following years, were extremely popular and have been translated into numerous languages.

In 1869 he decided to move to Paris to finish his studies there. But it shouldn't come to that. Neumann suffered a nervous breakdown in December 1869 and was admitted to a Paris mental hospital. In March 1870, thanks to the help of friends, he was able to return to Germany, but the nerve disease persisted, and until the end of his life he had a lot of pain and hospital stays ahead of him. But he continued to take part in chess tournaments as far as his illness allowed him: in 1870 he was third in Baden-Baden (he defeated Adolf Anderssen 2-0). He played his last tournament in Altona in 1872 , where he won second prize. The disease was now overpowering and he had to give up playing chess. He died at the age of 42 in Allenberg in 1881.

Gustav Neumann's highest historical Elo number was 2742. This he reached in October 1867. From December 1868 to May 1870 he was number one in the subsequently calculated world rankings.

Proposal for a draw rule

In the tournament in Baden-Baden in 1870 Neumann lost in the 10th round with the white pieces an "eternal game", which lasted over twelve hours with 124 moves. His opponent Wilhelm Steinitz used it from the 19th to the 29th move, from the 34th to the 40th move and from the 87th to the 101st move of constant repetitions . Neumann later commented in the “Deutsche Schachzeitung” as follows: “(...) I suggest, in order to avoid a case that occurred several times in the Baden tournament, that after three repetitions of the same move by both sides, each player I have the right to end the game as a draw. ” In a slightly modified form, this rule of a draw by repetition of moves later became common in tournament chess and is retained to this day.


Individual evidence

  1. Michael Negele: Gustav Richard Ludwig Neumann , German Chess Federation, December 15, 2015
  2. Deutsche Schachzeitung, May 1871, p. 151.

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