Historic Chess Tournaments and Congresses from The Book Collector
Here is one more American surprise. In 1895, a tournament was held in Hastings, England. Virtually all of the top players were there. Wilhelm Steinitz, who effectively reigned as world champion after defeating Anderssen in 1866, all the way until 1894 when he lost to Emanuel Lasker, was present. So was Lasker, who would reign until 1921, and many others. However, the winner was a total surprise, 22-year-old American Harry Nelson Pillsbury. Pillsbury's career, like that of fellow American Morphy, and unlike the Germans Steinitz and Lasker, would be short, and despite this triumph against the best, he did not become world champion. Pillsbury had contacted syphilis, and his ill health soon affected his play. Suffering severe headaches at St. Petersburg the following year, he lost his mid-tournament lead to finish third behind Lasker and Steinitz, and his health continued to decline until he succumbed in 1906 at age 33. The account of his great victory is provided in The Hastings Chess Tournament 1895... edited by Horace Cheshire. $250.
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