Beards

How well I remember Steinitz!–short, squat, and stout, with thick red hair and beard, rejoicing in a nose unusually small for one of the Semitic race. He smoked and sipped claret and water, or gin and water–scrupulously iced notwithstanding the coldness of the weather–all the time he played. He rarely rose from his seat during a game, in this respect being a contrast to most of the other players, and especially to Zukertort, whose excitable nature induced him to walk about and follow more or less all the other games in progress in addition to his own. He thought out his moves with his arms folded on the table before him, and did not stroke his beard or twirl his moustache. Nor is there any failure in my memory of Zukertort, whose figure was the very opposite to that of Steinitz. He was short and thin, with a brown beard, over which, while thinking, his fingers were perpetually moving; the nervous twitch that he gave his head was peculiar to himself; his countenance indicated great intelligence and determination.

Tchigorin and Noa was young and sallow, with black beards. Rosenthal, the French champion, and Winawer, from Poland, were seedy-looking little men. Mackenzie was a fine, manly fellow who would have been distinguished in almost any company. Sellman was stone deaf. I recall how Zukertort once confided to me that dominoes was the game at which he really played best, and not chess; that he considered himself to be the best player in the world at dominoes, and that Rosenthal came next; and also how Bird assured me that the quality of chess play was steadily improving, and that he himself played a far stronger game than he had done when he met Morphy twenty-five years before.

 Sir Henry Cotton, K.C.S.I, Indian & Home Memories (London, 1911)

 

Sir Henry Cotton (1845-1915)

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