Persons celebrating an Anniversary
in January 2005

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The first greetings of the new year go to the Thuringian city of Jena where Wolfgang Pähtz looked back on 53 years on January, 7th. About four decades ago (1964) he learned to play chess and not all will know or remember that it was he who sowed the seeds of the enthusiasm for chess in his family as he has directly passed the chess bacillus on his sister Hannelore and his brother Thomas (who is GM a long time now), a late effect – the development of his niece Elisabeth – is quite common knowledge from the chess press. A few years after his chess start Wolfgang Pähtz already achieved a notable success when winning the GDR Team Championship, meanwhile half the Pähtz family was in the team. He reached the peak of his playing strength around 1978, at that time he also won the GDR cup once (curiously without cup, its presentation was refused as he had only competed as a substitute). Additionally he was active in correspondence chess as well as a chess programmer: before the "Wende" (in 1988) he has worked together with a chess friend in Erfurt on the software for the last GDR chess computer Chess Master Diamond. Due to his job he competes more sporadically in the top league, but up to now his collecting passion for chess items (literature, stamps, postmarks etc.) and for chess literature (particularly older German literature) has remained unbroken.

Only three days later the well-known German problemist Godehard Murkisch from Göttingen celebrated his special day, he turned 65 on January, 10th. As we have only partly appreciated so far his exceptionally varied activities in the field of chess in general and of problem chess in particular we would like to make some (surely still incomplete) additional remarks on this occasion.
At first we have to record that Godehard Murkisch had also a close connection with OTB play, after 1960 he has intensified his attention to this branch of chess and has also achieved respectable results [Champion of Göttingen 1966; participation in the State Championship of Lower Saxony 1969; at the beginning of the 2nd "Bundesliga" (national league) he played successfully for his club "Tempo Göttingen"].
As a problem composer Godehard Murkisch has built roughly 350 problems in quite some categories (2#, 3#, studies, fairies, construction tasks), and he has got a whole lot of awards over the years. In addition he has developed a special liking of fairy chess games or playable chess variants (particularly "Doppelzugschach" which he has invented). The appointment as International Judge for Chess Compositions in 1974 and the conferring of the FIDE Master title in 1990 supply further evidence of his skill and expertise. Besides that he has devoted a lot of his time to organizing: since 1966 he has been active as the problem manager of the Lower Saxony Chess Association and in this position he has organized numerous club solving competitions; and as a (former) member of the Schwalbe board he also did a good job as the administrator of the association’s library till 1982.
Last but not least we have to mention his excellent works as a chess journalist, editor and author: for he has not only run several problem chess columns in daily papers or weekly magazines (among others in the Stern and the WELT after Hans Klüver’s death), also numerous articles were published by him (in Die Schwalbe, in chronicles, chess yearbooks or almanacs), and many a book from his publishing house adorns the shelves of collectors and problem friends: we remind again of the successful (3 editions!) paperback Rätselvolle Schachaufgaben, of the small but very pleasant anthology Carl Bilfingers Schachaufgaben (1984), of the nice tribute paid to his problem friend Hans Klüver – ein Schachporträt (1988) and of the careful revision of Kurt Richter’s classic Kurzgeschichten um Schachfiguren (1991). Naturally his principal work remains the Kuhn/Murkisch-Series which is already familiar to us and on which he had a forming influence as co-editor and (partly) author together with Winfried E. Kuhn († 2004), appearing in his own publishing house Nightrider Unlimited since 1999: this high-quality series whose hardcover editions are bright red-coloured – similar to White’s Christmas Series – belongs to the iron stock of each serious problem library.

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