Persons celebrating an Anniversary
in July 2004

A real jubilee is now in sight, the well-known and everywhere popular chess dealer, publisher, journalist and author Manfred Mädler has completed his 70th year on July 15. He is the only one remaining from the old guard of German chess dealers like Rudi Schmaus and Kurt Rattmann, and also the great flood in August, 2002 was not a serious danger for the chess house Mädler at Dresden. A lot of things have been written about my friend Manfred, even lately in the German magazine KARL where a report was given on his collection of chess clocks and the history of timekeeping in chess (see issue 02/01); not to forget the article worth reading in issue 1/2002 where some curiosities and anecdotes from his rich chess life are told.

Manfred was born at Dresden and grew up there in the hard years of WW II and the post-war period. Eleven years old he became infected with the chess virus and the well-known Dresden problemist Hans Vetter who became his chess teacher has influenced him in that he couldn’t get it out of his head anymore. Manfred, by family tradition qualified as an ironmongery merchant, left his birthplace which provided no career prospects end of October 1952 – at the age of 18 – to make his fortune in the west – at first in the Palatinate, afterwards to the Hessian Darmstadt, later on in Kiel, to Switzerland (Zurich and Bern), also for 2 years to Sweden (Stockholm) where he assisted FIDE to build up a chess library. The change to chess to make his living took place gradually with the decline of the retail trade in his branch, the chess house Mädler was founded in 1972 at Lübeck, as is well known further stages were Düsseldorf (1975-1996) and since 1996 Dresden – after 44 years as a “globetrotter” he came back to his roots: in his parental home, an old villa in Dresden-Blasewitz, he has not only continued together with his wife Monika his chess retail trade but he also went into wholesale trade to further safeguard his existence.

For decades Manfred was exceptionally productive in order to reactivate chess life in Germany: for more than 30 years he held chess courses at adult education centres, his chess column (games) in the STERN run more than 20 years, numerous workshops and weekly courses for chess friends (combined with additional stimulants like hiking or wine-tasting sessions) have to be added. On the other hand Manfred always had a particular liking of correspondence chess where he developed into one of the strongest German masters; he could gain the due IM title at that time (1968) where chess computers were not yet existing and the general inflation of titles had not yet started. In those days he extremely closely missed to move into the final group of the V. CC world championship (1965-68): he lost his last game vs Hans Berliner in the preliminary round due to an endgame error – without this arduous win Berliner would have failed to qualify. It is somewhat fateful that Manfred has gone down in the annals of CC history with just this lost game. But it didn’t spoil his lasting enthusiasm for corresponding chess and up to now he has made it his (pleasant) duty to attend the yearly German CC meetings.

My – at first acquaintance, then friendship with Manfred has now been lasting for more than 10 years, and we Lower-Rhineland chess friends regretted it very much when he moved to Dresden in 1996. Even today we remember very well his Düsseldorf chess shop together with the antiquarian bookshop above as it often served us as a welcome refuge after the unpleasant matters of everyday life – here the personal meeting with Manfred was always of central importance as he was the guiding spirit of the chess house and every time he provided his visitors with new anecdotes from a seemingly inexhaustible fund. We, i.e. the chess friends Michael Negele and Hans-Georg Kleinhenz as well as myself have visited the “Mädlers” several times in wonderful “Elbflorenz”, the amusing evenings in a friendly get-together, particularly in the “Gelbfüßler”, will always be remembered too.

Dear Manfred, we – I surely may include here our KWA friends – will be very pleased to see you again at our Forchheim meeting. For your special day we wish you all the best and further decades of unbroken creative power and joie de vivre!

PS: You will find a photo of Manfred Mädler on the following page: 125 Jahre DSB – Jubiläumsfeier in Leipzig 11. Mai 2002.

Our final birthday greetings do to the Dutch city of Leiden: Jan Postma turned 58 on July 26. He is known to us being an avid user and supporter of the Royal Library at The Hague, so he is not very happy about the restructurings running there at the moment.

Congratulations to all!

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