Foundation of the Ken Whyld Association

First Stage:
Visit to the Bibliotheca Augusta
in Wolfenbüttel

Bibliotheca Augusta

Duke August Library, Wolfenbüttel

About 35 chess friends from near and far had accepted our invitation to travel to Brunswick in order to attend the KWA foundation meeting – the correspondence chess GM and chess dealer Juan Morgado from Buenos Aires undertook the longest journey. The first event, long awaited, was marked by a trip to the famous Duke August Library in Wolfenbüttel (15 kms from Brunswick), the former royal seat of the “Welfen” (i.e. an old German dynasty). This library contains a collection of sources of European book history from the last years of the medieval period to the present, and has evolved into a place of research and study of European cultural history.

The group of participants at the entrance to the library
(large picture)

A warm welcome by the library director, Prof. Dr. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, was followed by an introductory lecture of 20 minutes, given in English by Dr. Gillian Bepler. The big library hall provided a truly impressive backdrop with the shelving as an integral part of the architectural concept of the room. Equally overwhelming are the stocks: the library comprises about 850,000 volumes, including about 415,000 printed before 1850, about 3,500 incunabula, 75,000 of the 16th century, 150,000 of the 17th century and 120,000 of the 18th century.
You can get an insight into the history of the Duke August Library by reading the following web page: Short History of the Library (in German only).

Dr. Jill Bepler delivering her lecture ...

... and the interested audience

... this time from a different perspective

Bodo Pawlik,
Günter Büsing,
Frank Schubert and
Bernd Ellinghoven
in a central position

The guided tour immediately afterwards, took place in two groups (“English” and “German”) and included, because of the limited time available, only a section of the library. This included the “globe room”, which has a collection of old maps and world maps as well as globes, the room with the chess exhibits naturally became the favourite object of observation.

Tony Gillam,
Jurgen Stigter,
Dr. Bepler and Calle Erlandsson


A copy of “Gustavus Selenus” (Das Schach- oder König-Spiel), the first printed chess book in German, published in 1616, and the accompanying manuscript were in the centre of a small gallery of books and manuscripts with exquisite rarities on the subject of chess and “Rhythmomachia”, the ancient number game.

Henri Serruys,
Hans-Jürgen Fresen,
Matthias Limberg
Wolfgang Pähtz

Juan Morgado,
Henri Serruys,
Godehard Murkisch
and Peter Holmgren
(bending over the glass case),
Günter Büsing and
Claes Løfgren

A massive and simple game board (“folding box”), once in the possession of Duke August, was a further eye-catcher. Surely it was in everyday use and the upper side is equipped with an inlaid chess board. At the bottom there is a nine men’s morris. In the interior were stored the (unfortunately missing) gaming pieces, and the insides are arranged as a tric-trac playing area (“backgammon”).

Dr. Bepler,
Tony Gillam and
Calle Erlandsson
next to the game board
of Duke August

An exhibit of outstanding importance is the chess table of the German poet and philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (*1/22/1729 †2/15/1781), who lived in Wolfenbüttel from 1770 till his death and who worked as a full-time librarian in the Duke August Library. You may inspect here a transcription of notes about Lessing’s chess table from 1880. This letter was only recently discovered in private ownership and reached the library as a gift of the firm Klittich-Pfankuch: Lessing's Chess Table (in German only).

Prof. Dr. Schmidt-Glintzer and Mr. Roger Klittich in front of Lessing’s chess table

At the end of the guided tour, which produced an exceedingly positive response from the visitors and which was met with suitable applause, Michael Negele addressed some words of thanks in the name of the Ken Whyld Association and of all participants, to our hosts, Dr. Jill Bepler and Prof. Dr. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, as well as to Mr. Roger Klittich, who had so excellently organized this visit.

Rolf Littorin,
Juan Morgado,
Peter Holmgren,
Roger Klittich,
Calle Erlandsson

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