We start our midsummer birthday medley with chess friend Henri
Serruys from Antwerp, he celebrated his 56th birthday on August
4. Above all he is a collector and he has particularly dealt with chess
bookplates, recently he has published a nice book with numerous illustrations
on this special field (see also our page Publications).
Best wishes go to the great collector Jean Mennerat who
has settled in the French Alps: he looked back on whole 87 years on August
11. His exceptional collection of more than 27,000 volumes in 44 languages
belongs without any doubt to the largest and most significant ones throughout
the world. Even if he is - for health reasons - not able to contribute
so actively to our bibliographical aims his spontaneous joining and his
support of the KWA alone deserve our special appreciation. We have already
pointed to his publication Un Manuscrit Méconnu: Le Manuscrit
de Chapais [Chapais’ unrecognized manuscript; by Dr. med. Jean
Mennerat, Paris] in our page Publications,
you will find the text of the French original and its German translation
at Harald Balló’s homepage.
The recently published article on the first chess bibliophile Frédéric
Alliey is a teamwork of Jean Mennerat and Harald Balló (KARL
1/2004, p. 20-23).
Only two days later our chairman Jurgen Stigter turns
up on the birthday list, he’s now 51 years "young" –
surely quite a right statement with regard to Jurgen’s travelling
quota. Over the last decade a superb collection (of about 20,000 volumes)
resulted from his collecting passion – and it is still rapidly growing
by continuous purchases. Jurgen is in the remarkable situation being able
to devote his time largely to his hobbies, so doing sport, the collecting,
recording of chess literature in a bibliography and travelling to collectors
and congresses world-wide constitute central activities. In addition he
is active in further clubs as in the board of ARVES or as a member of
the International Society for Board Game Studies and of the Lasker Society.
Going at regular intervals to the near opera house in Amsterdam as well
as the compulsory post-nocturnal football training on Sunday morning (substituted
by cross-country skating in winter) belong to his non-chess passions.
As far as I know two short (typewritten) manuscripts have been published
by Jurgen Stigter: as a declared Lasker enthusiast a bibliography on Lasker
(Emanuel Lasker: a bibliography. Amsterdam, 1987.- 15 sheets)
and somewhat later The History and Rules of Rithmomachia: the philosopher’s
game. (Delft, appr.1989.- 12,  sheets). At the moment he deals
with the "Yuletide-Series"– the first issue (no.
0) is already available.
Again you may look up further biographical details on Jurgen Stigter in
KARL 1/2004, p. 37.
Again our next greetings go in the direction of Amsterdam, Tom
de Gijsel completed his 34th year on August 14 and by that he
is the junior of the month. About his chess activities we only know that
he engages himself in collecting too.
We still remain in the Dutch scenery and welcome a real jubilee, the world-renowned
arbiter Geurt Gijssen completed the 7th decade of his
life on August 15. Geurt Gijssen himself has summarized the early years
of his youth in a few sentences: "As a Dutchman I was born in Germany
where my father worked for a tobacco group. I have witnessed the war in
Germany, in Emmerich and in Neviges [near Düsseldorf (? – better:
near Velbert – MN)]. After our house was bombed on October 7th,
1944 we were evacuated to East Germany – at that time I have learned
the rules of chess. After the war we lived for some years in Rotterdam
and since 1952 I have lived in Nijmegen and I have also spent there my
time working as a grammar-school teacher in mathematics." (taken
from: Harald Steiner: Porträt eines Schiedsrichters, in: Schach-Report/Dt.
Schachblätter/Dt. Schachzeitung 10/1996, p. 41-46; translation by
After his retirement from school teaching in 1983 the path was cleared
for a second career as an arbiter. Here he derived some benefit from the
experiences he had acquired in the psychological field during his last
10 years of working as an advisor. Already in 1978 he had gained the qualification
for a National Arbiter as required from the FIDE, only two years later
he was an International Arbiter. In the Eighties things were rapidly getting
better and Geurt Gijssen became one of the most popular arbiters world-wide
– highlights of his career were among other things the world championship
matches Kasparov – Karpov in Seville 1987 and in New York/Lyon 1990
as well as Karpov – Kamsky in Elista 1996. From 1990 to 1994 he
was Chairman of the FIDE Arbiters Committee, then in Moscow 1994 he became
Chairman of the FIDE Rules Committee. And "G.G." didn’t
get in the least tired over the years – let us remember only the
last year when he led some top events as chief arbiter (Kasparov –
Deep Junior in New York, Febr. 2003; Aeroflot Open in Moscow, 2003; Kasparov
– X3D Fritz, Nov. 2003).
Geurt Gijssen became known to a large audience especially by his excellent
column "An Arbiter’s Notebook" appearing monthly since
April 1998 at the Internet ChessCafe, here he entertains his readers with
essays and anecdotes from the arbiter’s practice and he replies
to reader’s questions on tricky disputes and borderline cases from
tournament events. Apart from arbitrating another passion of Geurt Gijssen
is the collecting of chess literature, as early as 1996 his collection
had increased to respectable 6,000 volumes (the current number is unknown
The reader (being able to speak German) will find a more detailed portrait
of our jubilee in the a. m. literature. We wish Geurt Gijssen many happy
returns of the day to continue his hobbies!
Continuation on the next page!