World – Inducted 2008
One of the original five grandmasters, Siegbert Tarrasch was perhaps the best player in the world in the 1890s, and one of the strongest players never to be world champion. Born in Breslau, Germany, he spent most of his life in Nuremberg and Munich. A doctor by profession, he refused a World Championship title match in 1892 because of the demands of his medical practice. During this time, however, he won four major tournaments in succession: Breslau 1889, Manchester 1890, Desden 1892, and Leipzig 1894. Despite his greatness, Tarrasch was never able to defeat Emanuel Lasker, who became World Champion in 1894. The two played for the title in 1908; however Tarrasch could not best the champion. The rivalry between the two masters endured throughout the 1890s and 1900s. Despite a strong fourth-place finish at St. Petersburg 1914, Tarrasch’s playing career tapered off after this point.
A pioneering chess writer, Tarrasch was known as the “Teacher of Germany,” and his books spread chess knowledge throughout the world. He edited the chess magazine Deutsche Schachzeitung until 1897 and authored several titles, including Die moderne Schachpartie and Three Hundred Chess Games. Many of his books were not translated into English until fairly recently; despite this, however, his teachings and contributions spread rapidly around the world.