On the 5th jubilee of the KWA
in Brunswick


The well-known auction house Klittich-Pfankuch, Brunswick had invited to the Founder’s Day celebration on the occasion of the first 5 years of the existence of our association, this event should be celebrated in a fitting manner on November 7th with a short ceremony as well as with a supporting programme being tailor-made for the chess interests of the participants. To anticipate things, our hosts succeeded excellently in carrying out their intentions, you couldn’t have asked for a more splendid introduction to the following events in Dresden and Wrocław.

From 11 o’clock in the morning, in the auction hall on Theaterwall 17 we had the chance to look closely at the books and memorabilia which should be put up for auction on November 29th (see our announcement regarding this), an opportunity seized avidly by many members. The visit of the Brunswick National Museum then marked the actual start of our event, at about 3.30 pm the exhibition "Curiose Welfen, welfische Curiositäten" waited for us there ...

KWA-Quartett vor dem Museum

A KWA quartet waiting in front of the museum for the "starting signal":
(from left) Gunnar Finnlaugsson, Tony Gillam, Andreas Saremba,
Bob van de Velde


The guided tour of the exhibition concentrated on the chess treasures which had been transferred from the Wolfenbüttel "Bibliotheca Augusta", naturally the first chess book in German, the famous Schach- oder König-Spiel by Gustavus Selenus, published 1616 in Leipzig, was the centre of attention.

In the picture on the right the title page of the book in large format, in front of it an original SELENUS as an exhibit.
Gustavus Selenus im Gro▀format

Roger Klittich & Dr. Heitzmann

Our generous host Roger Klittich (on the left) together with Dr. Heitzmann from the Duke August Library who guided us on the tour of the museum and gave interesting
background information on SELENUS.

It is well-known that behind the pseudonym Gustavus Selenus hid Duke August the Younger of Brunswick-Lüneburg. It is less well-known how to explain that pseudonym: so Gustavus is virtually an anagram of Augustus and Selenus is derived from the Greek selēnē = moon, "luna" in Latin, which in turn should refer to Lunaeburgum = Lüneburg.

Selenus has not only dealt with chess but also intensively with secret writings, so it is not surprising that he tried to disguise his identity as an author by using a cryptonym.

G. Finnlaugsson

Gunnar Finnlaugsson in front of the enlarged depiction of
a famous copperplate (from the workshop of the Strasbourg
copper engraver Jacob van der Heyden) ...

Kupfertafel im Original-Selenus

... which can be found at a central place of the "SELENUS".

Interesting enough, the title copperplate of the "Selenus" contains a series of allegorical portrayals with motifs taken from the ancient Greek mythology, only Palamedes, Odysseus and the Trojan War will be mentioned here as "key words". In the lower part of the title page the Duke appears as Columbus involved in a discussion with Spanish noblemen, even the "egg of Columbus" comes to life again. We are not able to give a more detailed exposition here but those with a thirst for knowledge will learn considerably more at this web page of the "Lippische Landesbibliothek Detmold" (in German only): 'Schach dem Herzog!' ("Check the Duke!")

Dr. Heitzmann

Due to Dr. Christian Heitzmann’s expert guided tour our
knowledge of "Selenus" has substantially been broadened.

Domenico Tarsia: Il giuoco degli scacchi ...

Domenico Tarsia: Il giuoco de gli scacchi (Venetia, 1584)

For writing his work Duke August considerably fell back upon the chess literature existing at that time, which he also purchased, among them especially the above shown book by Domenico Tarsia which is nothing else but the Italian translation of the famous work by Ruy López de Segura from 1561, Libro de la invención liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez.


Naturally Duke August had written down his book as a manuscript
before printing, this version too belongs to the
stock of the Bibliotheca Augusta.

alte Diagramm-Darstellung

The inclusion of diagrams (at that time with letter "symbols" for the chessmen)
noticeably enhanced the attractiveness of the book, but also its production costs.

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