The long-forgotten Turkish chess automaton of the Italian Joseph Morosi

Biographie Universelle - title page
Biographie Universelle - title page

by Jean Oliver Leconte

In a previous article on my website (in French) I wrote about the visit of Kempelen's chess-playing Turkish automaton to Paris in 1783.

During my research I discovered many newspaper articles about a chess-playing Turkish automaton in Paris in the year 1800. At that time Kempelen was still alive and his automaton had not yet been sold to Johann Maelzel. But curiously, the name of the person who brought the automaton to Paris in 1800 was not Kempelen. In 1783, the newspaper articles mention a certain Anthon (who I have not yet identified). And in 1800, it is a certain Morosi. And that's when I thought something was wrong. And "Hey presto!", in the reference book "Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne" (Paris 1843), we find in volume 74, page 417 a short biography of someone called Joseph Morosi (26-06-1772 - 27-09-1840) presented as an Italian mechanic born in Ripafratta, a small village in Tuscany. The text indicates:

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The 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad

Dominique Thimognier
Dominique Thimognier

Dominique Thimognier, editor of the excellent site Héritage des Échecs Français, has presented the last conference in Marostica (Italy) on Saturday September 10th. You have below the support of his conference devoted to the 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad.

This is the only Chess Olympiad organized in France, except for the one in 1924, during the Olympic Games in Paris, which was considered as unofficial. Dominique Thimognier benefited from two testimonies of the time, with Michel Benoit, French champion 1973 and member of the French team in Nice, and Louis Risacher, referee during these Olympiads.

A difficult organization: with 10 times fewer volunteers than the previous Olympics, while many more teams took part, the hotel to accommodate the teams was still under construction, etc.

The 3rd World Junior Chess Championship in Antwerp, Belgium in 1955

Frank Hoffmeister and Henri Serruys
Frank Hoffmeister and Henri Serruys

This is the material of the third lecture given in Marostica on Saturday 10th September 2022 during the general assembly of the international association CH&LS. The 3rd World Junior Chess Championship in Antwerp, Belgium in 1955, by Henri Serruys, treasurer of the association.

Lasker's difficult journey after the First World War

Frank Hoffmeister, president of the CH&LS, during the GA in Marostica
Frank Hoffmeister, president of the CH&LS, during the GA in Marostica

This is the material for the second lecture given during the general assembly of the CH&LS association.

Frank presented the lecture "Lasker's Difficult Journey after the First World War" by Frank Hoffmeister, of which you have the support below.

Interestingly, one of the audience members added that Lasker had gone broke twice in his life. Firstly, just after the First World War, because he had invested in German government loans to finance the war, and then after the krach of October 1929.

Chess as a means of moral education in the Middle Ages

Björn Reich
Björn Reich

Here is the support of the first lecture by Björn Reich.

Russian Chess Literature: Early Periodicals - Table

Sakharov 1968 - Shakhmatnaya Literatura SSSR; Bibliografia (1775-1966), Moscow 1968
Sakharov 1968 - Shakhmatnaya Literatura SSSR; Bibliografia (1775-1966), Moscow 1968

by Michael Clapham

Part one: Russian Chess Literature: A brief history
Part two: Russian Chess Literature: Early Periodicals
Part three: Russian Chess Literature: Early Periodicals - continued

Below is a Table of bibliographic references from four sources for Russian chess periodicals up to 1917. The sources are as follows:

  • Sakharov 1968 - Shakhmatnaya Literatura SSSR; Bibliografia (1775-1966), Moscow 1968
  • Sakharov 2001 - Shakhmatnaya Literatura Rossii; Bibliograficheskiy Ukazatel (1775-1997), Moscow 2001
  • LN - Bibliotheca van der Linde - Niemeijeriana, The Hague 1955
  • Di Felice - Chess Periodicals; An Annotated International Bibliography, 1836-2008, Jefferson 2008

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Russian Chess Literature: Early Periodicals - continued

by Michael Clapham

Part one: Russian Chess Literature: A brief history
Part two: Russian Chess Literature: Early Periodicals

7. Shashechnitsa: Ezhemesyachnyĭ Zhurnal, Moscow 1891. edited by D. I. Sargin and P. P. Bobrov. Sakharov (1968) 211, Di Felice 2439, LN 6314.

Shashechnitsa was launched in July 1891, six months after the St Petersburg magazine Shakmatnyĭ Zhurnal had commenced, and for the first time, Russia had two contemporary chess journals. Although titled Shashechnitsa (Draughtsplayer), the magazine was conceived as a publication equally devoted to chess and draughts. However, chess predominated from the outset; the first issue included 38 pages of chess and 10 pages of draughts.

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Russian Chess Literature: Early Periodicals

by Michael Clapham

Part one: Russian Chess Literature: A brief history

This second article on Russian chess literature provides information on early chess periodicals, in chronological order. Further bibliographic details can be found in Chess Literature, USSR, (1775-1966), by N. I. Sakharov, Moscow 1968, and Chess Periodicals, by Gino Di Felice, Jefferson and London 2010. The LN catalogue: Bibliotheca van der Linde-Niemeijeriana, The Hague 1955 only lists the library's holdings.

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Russian Chess Literature: A brief history

Painting depicting a scene from a Russian folk epic (bylini).
Painting depicting a scene from a Russian folk epic (bylini).

by Michael Clapham

This is the first of a series of articles tracing the history of chess literature in Russia and the Soviet Union. The information has been compiled from many sources, mainly in the English language; these are listed in the Bibliography at the end.

This is very much a work in progress, and further information may be added. My knowledge of the Russian language is non-existent and some of the sources give conflicting or incorrect information. Furthermore, Russian writers and historians generally praise highly their literary heritage while Western commentators are usually more measured in their views. I therefore invite comments on any errors or omissions so that a comprehensive and accurate account of Russian chess literature can eventually be completed.

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An unknown side to Salo Landau

Salomon Landau (1903-1944) vs. Count Johannes van den Bosch (1906-1994), c. 1930.
Salomon Landau (1903-1944) vs. Count Johannes van den Bosch (1906-1994), c. 1930.

by Bob van de Velde

Several years ago, Reuben Fine and Salo Landau’s Schaaksleutel (= Chess Key) was presented in the Nieuwsbrief (Newsletter) of the Max Euwe Centre (no. 76, April 2011) as an exceptional object ‘from bygone days’. It is a kind of disc made of thin cardboard, the size of an LP[1]. When this disc is turned inside a frame, which is also made of cardboard, it shows a multitude of chess opening variations, 116 in number. As far as I know, this was the first time that someone attempted to present chess opening theory in such an easy-to-use, systematic way. No wonder that MEC trained the spotlight on this copy of the second, improved edition (≥ 1936) of a quite rarely preserved instrument! Initially it couldn’t be retained in the MEC collection, but eventually the Amsterdam chess centre was able to obtain it after all.

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