English column
Szachowa Vistula Chess Monthly

- Progress in the chess science is a very positive fact - an average chess aficionado may say - but who after all is (or was) Mr. Bartoszkiewicz?
- And how his name should be pronounced? - would add another, not versed with complexity of Slavonic languages. The last question could be answered easy: BAR-TOSH-KEVICH (English transcription).
For sake to try to answer the first question I would like to quote a fragment of the IM Jan Teplitsky's long and entertaining article ?Akiba Rubinstein Revisited? (Chess Life 2002, v. 12, p. 772-774).
"When Akiba was 16 he came across a chess book written in English when perusing books for his theological studies and was hooked. His life was to take a very sharp turn. To the great dismay of his family gone were books about Torah and out alone a paper-cut board and chess pieces.
Later Akiba would exclaim that at that time he was studying six to eight hours a day for 300 days a year! Thanks to his incredible talent and tenaciousness the results came very fast. In 1901 Akiba won the beautiful game against a strong Polish player.

Akiba Rubinstein - G. Bartoszkiewicz
Bialostok, 1902
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0-0 Bc5 6.e5 d5 7.exf6 dxc4 8.Re1+ [Good for Black is 8.fxg7?! Rg8 9.Bg5 Be7! (9...Qd5? 10.Nc3 Qf5 11.Re1+ Be6 12.Ne4 Rxg7 13.Nh4 and White wins) 10.Bxe7 Kxe7 (not afraid of ghosts!) 11.Re1+ Be6 12.Re4 d3.] 8...Kf8 9.Bg5? [This is a very dubious move. Much better is 9.fxg7+ Kxg7 10.Ne5 with some compensation.] 9...gxf6 10.Bh6+ Kg8 11.Nxd4! [This is a point of White's combination.] 11...Bxd4 12.c3 Bf5 [Missing 12...Be5! 13.Qxd8+ Nxd8 14.f4 Nc6 15.fxe5 fxe5 , which leaves Black with a winning position.] 13.cxd4 Nxd4 14.Nc3 Bg6? [This is a terrible move. Black has to give the knight on d4 more protection with 14...c5 ]


15.Re8+! Qxe8 16.Qxd4 Qe5 17.Nd5!! 1-0
(end of quotation).

It is more clear now, who in chess was Mr Bartoszkiewicz. He lost (the next Famous Loser, like Lionel Kieseritzky) the very first recorded (en passant - when and by whom?) game of Great Akiba.
Somebody extremely inquiring would ask: how we know that G. Bartoszkiewicz was not only STRONG, but also POLISH (and not for example Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian etc. etc.) chessplayer?
Somebody could underline a contradiction about dating of the mentioned game; 1901 or 1902? Well, in the Eastern Europe the Impossible is sometimes possible; as we remember, the Bolsheviks Revolution 1917, called often October Revolution, begun in November. The city of Bialystok during more than 100 years, from 1808 till 1915 (the year of offensive of the German Army on the East Front during I WW), belonged to Russian Empire; all events there used to have double dating.
Some months ago, studying yearbooks of Russian chess magazines from the turn of XIX and XX centuries, I was lucky to find several forgotten games played by our hero, the Famous Loser Two. He took part in, as a minimum, 3 correspondence chess tournaments of "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" (the fifth, sixth and seventh); in the latter he shared 1-2 places with A. I. Romashkevich (Romaszkiewicz?) of Kharkov (both 18,5 points out of 22 games), they followed Saburov (well know chess organiser, 17,5 p.), Koslaninov (14 p.), Prince Urusov (13 p.) and Kolenko (12,5 p.), participated also Berens, Shabelsky, Khmelevsky, Kugaievsky, Severov and Pshetslavsky.

G. G. Bartoszkiewicz - K. K. Bething [C77]
6. "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" corr. t.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 Bc5 6.c3 0?0 7.0?0 d6 8.Bg5 Ba7 9.Nbd2 Qe7 10.Bc2 Nd8 11.Be3 Ne6 [Also could have been played 11...Bxe3 12.fxe3 Ng4 and 13...f7-f5.] 12.Bxa7 Rxa7 13.g3 Ng4 14.d4 exd4 15.cxd4 Ng5 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.f4 Qf6 18.e5 dxe5 19.fxe5 Qb6 20.Nc4 Qh6 21.Qe2 b5 22.Na5 c5 23.d5


[If 23.dxc5 then 23...Re8 with strong attack.] 23...Qe3+ 24.Qxe3 Nxe3 25.Rfc1 Nxd5 26.Be4 Nb6 27.Rxc5 Nd7 28.Rd5 Rc7 29.Rad1 f6 30.e6 Nc5 31.Rxc5 [After 31.e7 Black would play 31...Rxe7 32.Bxh7+ Kxh7 33.Rxc5 Re2.] 31...Rxc5 32.e7 Re8 33.Bc6 Kf7 34.Rd8 Rc1+ 35.Kf2 Rc2+ 36.Kf3 Rxc6 and white resigned (0-1, because after 37.Nxc6 Bb7 38.Rd6 Rc8 39.Rd8 Bxc6+ 40.Ke3 Rc7! the piece would be lost.
Notes: K. K. Bething in "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" 1900, p. 290?291. Game played from 1 December 1897 till 1 December 1898.

G. G. Bartoszkiewicz - A. I. Romashkevich [C06]
6. "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" corr. t.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Bb4+ 10.Bd2 Bxd2+ 11.Qxd2 Qb4 12.a3 Qxd2+ 13.Nxd2 a6 14.f4 f5 15.b4 b5 16.g4 g6 17.h4 Bb7


18.h5 Ke7 19.Rh4 Rag8 20.Kf2 Rf8 21.Rah1 Rhg8 22.Nf3 fxg4 23.Rxg4 gxh5 24.Rgh4 Rg7 25.Rxh5 Rh8 26.f5 1-0
("Shakhmatny Zhurnal" 1900, p. 126?127, game played from 15 October 1897 till 16 August 1898.)

A. I. Romashkevich - G. G. Bartoszkiewicz [C49]
6. "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" corr. t.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.Nd5 Nxd5 6.exd5 e4 7.c3 exf3 8.Qxf3 Bd6 9.dxc6 dxc6 10.Bc4 0-0 11.d4 Qh4 12.g3 Qh3 13.Bf1 Bg4 14.Qd3 Qh5 15.Be2 Rfe8 16.Be3 Qd5 17.Kd2 Bxe2 18.Kxe2 c5 19.dxc5 Qh5+ 20.Kd2 Bxc5 21.Bxc5 Qxc5 22.Qf3 Qb5 23.Rab1 Rad8+ 24.Kc1 Rd3 25.Qf4 Qd5 26.Rg1 Rd8 27.b3 Rf3 0-1.


("Shakhmatny Zhurnal" 1900, game 927, played from 15 October 1897 till 5 August 1898.)

N. S. Tereshchenko - G. G. Bartoszkiewicz [C02]
6. "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" corr. t.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 Bd7 [All according the theory.] 7.dxc5 [Paulsen's move, obviously the best; White declines to lead a difficult defence of d4, aiming to concentrate his play around e5. After 7.Bc2 Rc8 (or inserting 7...cxd4 8.cxd4) Black has a very good game.] 7...Bxc5 8.b4 [This move, mentioned by Bilguer in his manual, leads to a very interesting game, as it will be seen, but Bilguer erroneously concludes that after 8...Bxf2+ White is able to maintain an extra piece.] 8...Bxf2+ 9.Ke2 Nxb4 10.cxb4 Bd4


11.Na3! [The only move, which refutes Black's combination: White sacrifices an exchange, gaining a solid attack. Trying to maintain (a la Bilguer) a piece, White would obtain a hopeless position: 11.Nxd4 Qxd4 12.Qb3 Qxe5+ 13.Kd1! Rc8 with a winning position.] 11...Bxa1 12.Be3 d4 13.Nc4 Qc7 [If 13...Qxb4, then 14.Nd6+ Kf8! 15.Qxa1 dxe3 16.Rb1 with a strong attack.] 14.Nd6+ Ke7 [Much better was 14...Kf8 ; it could have followed then 15.Bf4! Bc3 16.Ng5 Nh6 17.Qb3 with good game for White.] 15.Bg5+ f6 16.Bf4 Qc3 17.Qxa1 [White could have won the queen: 17.Nc4 b5 18.Bd2 bxc4 19.Bxc3 cxd3+ 20.Qxd3 Bxc3 ; but the game then would be won by ... Black.] 17...Bc6 [17...Qxa1 18.Rxa1 fxe5 19.Bxe5 Nf6 20.Nxd4 and Black's position is hopeless.] 18.Qb1 fxe5 19.Nxe5 Nf6 [Black hardly could have avoided the loss of the game after 19...Rf8 20.Bg3 (20.Bd2? Rf2+!).] 20.Ndc4 1-0.
(Notes: N. S. Tereshchenko of Glushkovo in "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" 1900, p. 43-44, game played from November 1897 till March 1898).

G. G. Bartoszkiewicz - A. N. Khardin [C22]
6. "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" corr. t.
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Be7 5.Be2 d5 6.exd5 Nb4 7.Bd1 (Weak move, cramping development of White's play.) 7...Nf6 8.Ne2? 0?0 9.c4 (Mistake, as may be seen from the following.) 9...Bc5 10.Qb3 Ng4 11.0-0 Qf6 12.Bf4 Bf5 13.Qf3 Nd3 14.Bg3 Rae8 15.Nbc3 Ne3


16.Ba4 [White gives up an exchange. It seems, better was to give up a queen for a rook and knight.] 16...Nxf1 17.Rxf1 Ne5 18.Qf4 c6 19.Rd1 g5 20.Qc1 Nd3 21.Qd2 h5 22.Nc1 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 Re7 24.h4 gxh4 25.Bf4 Qg6 26.Kh1 Rfe8 27.a3 Bd3 28.dxc6 bxc6 29.Bxc6 Qxc6 30.Qxd3 Bxf2 31.Bd2 Qg6 32.Qf1 Bd4 33.Nd5 Re2 34.Re1 [Or 34.Nf4 Qg4 35.Nxe2 Rxe2 36.Bc3 h3 and wins.] 34...Rxe1 35.Bxe1 Qb1 0-1.
(Notes by A. N. Khardin of Samara in "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" 199, p. 90?91).

A. I. Romashkevich - G. G. Bartoszkiewicz [C52]
7. "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" corr. t.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0?0 d6 8.cxd4 Nf6 [Well known Steinitz's defence from his game against Chigorin in match-tournament in Winter 1895 in Petersburg.] 9.Qa4 [The best move; 9.e5 as played Chigorin against Steinitz in Hastings and in one from games of the match-tournament, is weaker.] 9...Bd7 [If 9...a6, then 10.Bd5 Bb6 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.Qxc6+ (or 12.e5) 12...Bd7 13.Qc2 with pretty good game for White.] 10.d5 Ne5 11.Qxa5 Nxc4 12.Qb4 Nb6 13.a4 a5 14.Qd4 0?0 15.Bg5 Bg4 16.Ra3 Nbd7 17.Nbd2 Bh5 [G. Bartoszkiewicz declines the line used by Steinitz e.g. 17...h6 18.Bh4 Re8 19.Kh1 Ra6 etc. We think the text move is stronger than Steinitz's continuation.] 18.Nc4 Qb8 19.Nfd2 [Defending e-pawn, which can be attacked with all forces by Black.] 19...Qa7 20.Qb2 Bg6 21.Be3 Qa6 22.f3 Ne8 23.g4 [Preventing f7-f5.] 23...f6 24.Rb3 b6 25.Na3 Nc5 26.Bxc5 dxc5 27.Ndc4 Rd8 28.Nb5 h5 29.gxh5 [Not a strong move! White calculated to exploit open g-file and construct attack against g7-point, though this expectation not fully came to life.] 29...Bxh5 30.Qg2 Qc8 31.Kh1 Qd7 32.Rg1 Rf7 33.f4 g6 34.Rg3 Kf8 35.Nc3 [The attractive-looking 35.f5 could have brought nothing but doubtful position for White; it would follow 35...g5! 36.h4 Rh7 (and if 37.hxg5 then 37...Bf3+) and White?s position is weak. The text move aims to advance e4-pawn.] 35...Rg7 36.e5 Qf7 37.e6 Qe7 38.f5! g5 [38...gxf5? 39.Rxg7 Qxg7 (39...Nxg7 40.d6 cxd6 41.Nd5) 40.e7+ Kxe7 (40...Qxe7 41.Qg8#) 41.Qxg7+ Nxg7 42.Rxg7+ winning a piece.] 39.d6 [It wins an exchange, but gives an initiative in Black's hands.] 39...Rxd6 40.Nd5 Rxd5 41.Qxd5 Be2 42.Re1 Bxc4 43.Qxc4 Rh7 44.Rd1 Nd6 45.Qc2 Qe8 46.Rg4 1/2.
(Notes by A. I. Romashkevich in "Shakhmatny Zhurnal" 1900, p. 93-95. Played from 6 August 1896 till 5 February 1898).

I replayed all games of G.G. Bartoszkiewicz and recorded them in my computer data base. Now it is easier to figure out the theoretical and practical level of a player, who sometimes is supposed to be the first partner or even a "chess teacher" of Akiba Rubinstein.
Later, looking at headers of Bartoszkiewicz's games, I started to think, in which corner of Mother ? Russia


(the city?) should be searched.
Rubinstein, after leaving his home Stawiski (city located on the way from Warsaw to Bialystok, then in the Lomza Province), and before his settlement in Polish "Promised Land" (e. g. in Lodz, what happened about 1903), gained some chess experience in Bialystok. Perhaps the area near Bialystok should be taken "under the microscope"? This supposition proved to be correct.
Starosielce - today it is a quarter of Bialystok, advanced most to the West. 50 years ago and more - an independent settlement, from 1919 - with its own civic rights. Soon in the internet I found an information that historian - amateur from Bialystok Mr Krzysztof Oblocki (*) edited two comprehensive books on Starosielce and its inhabitants in the historical perspective.
I was almost sure that new information on Engineer Bartoszkiewicz (as he was titled by Polish chess authors) are granted. "How many engineers could live in the settlement of Starosielce scale in 1900" - I speculated - "maybe three, maximum five".
In June 2005 I phoned Mr Oblocki. He explained that Starosielce, today not extremely famous even in this country, was an ultra-important junction in a railway network. It was there an "iron way" from Petersburg (a capitol of Russian Empire) through Vilnius, Grodno and Warsaw, and so on, through Cracow to Vienna, or through Poznan to Berlin, to the Western Europe.
Commercial goods were transported throughout Starosielce from hundreds of factories in Lodz, Warsaw and Bialystok to the stores and customers on the East.
In opposite direction, Russian soldiers with their weapons had been transported throughout, from the interior of the Empire to garrisons in turbulent, unsubmissive Polish cities, where people were always ready again and again to start a "myatyezh" (in Russian: rebellion) against His Majesty Tsar of Russia.
Mr Oblocki told me that prior to 1915 80% of Starosielce inhabitants were Russian, others were Jewish or Polish. In 1915 all railwaymen with families, but also all workshops and factories were evacuated to the interior of Russia, to Kaluga.
After Poland was again independent in November 1918, due to the almost-closed borders with Soviet Russia and bad political and economical relations with Lithuania, the economical importance of Bialystok (and Starosielce, too) was decreased seriously.
Unfortunately Mr Oblocki was not so lucky to find any ?Bartoszkiewicz of Starosielce? during his (quite comprehensive, as it was said) researches. It should be excluded that G. Bartoszkiewicz was a railway employee. Mr Oblocki pointed out that archives of Bialystok were partly destroyed, and not only by the last war.

(*) Mr Krzysztof Oblocki authored the monograph "Starosielce miasto kolejarzy 1872 - 1996" (Starosielce - the city of railwaymen 1872-1996), edited in 1997. His second book "Starosielskie wspomnienia" (The Recollections from Starosielce) completes and develops the subject (vide: http://www.woak.bialystok.pl).
Then, the history of Starosielce have not started in the era of railway building. National Library of Canada (and some other libraries, too, as I think) possesses in its catalogue the Louis Jacobs? book "Seeker of unity; the life and works of Aaron of Starosselje".
Rabbi Aaron ben Moses ha-Levi lived in Starosielce in years 1766-1828.
Despite this G. Bartoszkiewicz is now "less unknown"; some of his games could be implemented in the modern data bases. As we see, he was a serious partner in correspondent chess tournaments, hardly a "boy for beating".
Is it a chance to find more data on "Rubinstein?s first teacher" The task is difficult though not hopeless. In another Russian monthly "Shakhmatnoye Obozren'ye" (1903, v. 9, p. 329) I found following note:
In the 8. issue of "Strategie" we can see information about games played in Kiev by strong player V. N. Yurevich of Moscow.
He won 3 games of 4 against Mr. Nikolayev, with G. Bartoszkiewicz he scored 6 games.
So the foot-prints of G. Bartoszkiewicz lead from Starosielce to Ukrainian metropolis. Some prospects for further research still exist!
Tomasz Lissowski

szachowa_vistula (at) o2 (dot) pl

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