The 1st Chess Olympiad and creation of the FI(D)E - The Chess Tournament (3/4)

by Jean Oliver Leconte

Third part of the articles dedicated to the 1st Chess Olympiad and the creation of the FI(D)E.

Part one: The 1st Chess Olympiad and creation of the FI(D)E - The first steps (1/4)
Part two: The 1st Chess Olympiad and creation of the FI(D)E - Getting organized (2/4)

I would particularly like to thank Mr Guy Gignac, who sent me an exceptional document. It is the programme for the "International Amateur Chess Tournament", photos of which you have on the left and below.

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The 1st Chess Olympiad and creation of the FI(D)E - Getting organized (2/4)

24/04/1924 Le Figaro
24/04/1924 Le Figaro

by Jean Oliver Leconte

Second part of the articles devoted to the 1st Chess Olympiad and the creation of the FI(D)E.

Part one: The 1st Chess Olympiad and creation of the FI(D)E - The first steps (1/4)

While the organisation of the grand tournament starts moving forward, the newspaper le Figaro ironises.

Chess and the Olympic Games

There will even be a chess tournament during the Olympic Games!
It is being organised under the patronage of Mr Fernand Gavarry, Minister Plenipotentiary, Commander of the Legion of Honour, and will take place from 12 to 20 July in the salons of a grand hotel in the Étoile district.
Most of the major chess federations will be taking part.
After the Muscle Festival, it will be a small gala for the Brain.

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The 1st Chess Olympiad and creation of the FI(D)E - The first steps (1/4)

The official FIDE centenary logo
The official FIDE centenary logo

by Jean Oliver Leconte

The year 2024 corresponds to the centenary of the creation of FIDE - Fédération Internationale Des Échecs. More precisely, it was in Paris on 20 July 1924 that FIDE was created (originally called FIE - The current acronym FIDE would be adopted at the 2nd FIDE Congress in Zurich, Switzerland in 1925, but the meaning did not vary: Fédération Internationale Des Échecs).

I propose to retrace this creation of FIDE, as well as the first Chess Olympiad via several articles. These two events are closely linked. Moreover, as we shall see, the idea of an International Chess Federation came after the launch of the organization of the international chess tournament alongside the Olympic Games.

This first part is devoted to the beginnings of the first Chess Olympiad.
To date, the FFE has said very little about this FIDE centenary event. You can find an article on its website here. But these events seem to me to be very meager (reconstruction of the act of signing the creation of FIDE and giant simultaneous).

There is no mention in these events, for example, of Pierre Vincent, the driving force behind the creation of FIDE. His grave is in the Montmartre cemetery.

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Collector's corner: Two different editions of a chess magazine issue

Henri Serruys
Henri Serruys

Here is the support for the last presentation at the CH&LS general meeting in Belfort on Saturday 2 September.

Henri Serruys (Belgium) presented the very special January 1888 issue of the BCM (British Chess Magazine).

Henri pointed out a curious feature of the January 1888 issue of BCM.

In fact, this issue of BCM was printed twice with slightly different layouts, by two different printers.

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Collector's corner: Draughts and Academie des Jeux

Jurgen Stigter
Jurgen Stigter

The CH&LS General Meeting concluded with two presentations of collectors' books.

The first was by Jurgen Stigter (Netherlands) and the Academy of Games.

Extract from the presentation at the AGM on Saturday 2 September: Annual Meeting of the CH&LS in Belfort
In German on the ChessBase website, by Herbert Bastian: Jahrestreffen der CH&LS in Belfort

A fascinating day at the municipal library ended with a talk by Dr Jurgen Stigter on the classic works devoted to the popular games of the time, (...). Jurgen used the example of draughts to show that it is not always possible to draw reliable conclusions about the spread of the game from the contents of books, as draughts, although a popular game, is not mentioned in some of them.

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The Chapais-Manuscript

Herbert Bastian
Herbert Bastian

Herbert Bastian (Germany) devotes a large part of his spare time to studying the Chapais manuscript, a revolutionary manuscript for the game of chess in its day.

Extract from the presentation at the AGM on Saturday 2 September: Annual Meeting of the CH&LS in Belfort
In German on the ChessBase website, by Herbert Bastian: Jahrestreffen der CH&LS in Belfort

Let us leave the floor to Herbert Bastian:

I was then given the honour of reporting on the state of research on the Chapais manuscript, Mennerat's most important contribution to chess history. The chess-historical significance of the work is now well understood and will be described in my forthcoming book on it. Chapais coined the concept of opposition, which is extremely important for endgame theory, and was the first to use the multifunctional king movement (as I call it) in a whole series of examples, which only became generally known through the famous Réti study of 1921. Chapais was the first to study the endgame king and two knights against king and pawn, which Alexei Troitsky (*1866-†1942) later used as a model, and probably communicated with André Danican Philidor (*1726-†1795) about the endgame king, rook and bishop against king and rook. My investigations of various kinds have used a variety of clues that Chapais could be a pseudonym and in fact the famous French mathematician Gaspard Monge (*1746-†1818) is hiding behind it. Even if there is no 100% proof, the weight of circumstantial evidence is, in my opinion, overwhelming.

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Folke Rogard, President of FIDE - the lawyer who organised chess in the shadow of the Cold War

Henri Lindberg

Here is the presentation given by Mr Henrik Lindberg (Sweden) at the CH&LS association's general meeting in Belfort.

Extract from the presentation at the AGM on Saturday 2 September: Annual Meeting of the CH&LS in Belfort
In German on the ChessBase website, by Herbert Bastian: Jahrestreffen der CH&LS in Belfort

Henrik Lindberg, assistant professor for economic history in Stockholm, reported in an extremely interesting lecture on the life story of the Swede Folke Røgard (*1899-†1973), lawyer and FIDE President from 1949-1970. Those who are interested in chess history during the Cold War can already look forward to the hopefully imminent publication of Henrik's book, as the title of the lecture reveals: Folke Røgard: organiser of modern world chess in the shadow of the cold war. Røgard was a well-known personality and made headlines, among other things, as the lawyer of the famous Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (*1915-†1982), who was seen in the 1942 film Casablanca alongside Humphrey Bogart (*1899-†1957), incidentally also a chess enthusiast. Røgard got the FIDE World Championship cycle off the ground when the first interzonal tournament went to Saltsjöbaden in Sweden (1948). Through his good contacts on both sides, he also repeatedly succeeded in bringing the Soviet Union and the USA together, for example by preparing the bilateral match of 1955.

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Rare books from the Jean Mennerat collection

Clémence Tariol during her presentation
Clémence Tariol during her presentation

This is the text of the first conference held on Saturday 2 September at the CH&LS association's general meeting in Belfort.

The presentation was given by Clémence Tariol, curator of the Mennerat collection at the Léon Deubel library in Belfort.

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Failing better. Beckett's game with chess in Murphy

Samuel Beckett in 1977
Samuel Beckett in 1977

by Dr. Bernd-Peter Lange

A game's trajectory

Beckett´s lifelong obsession with chess has become a household word. From his childhood with its games in the family, through his participation in matches of the chess team of Trinity College Dublin, facing the Danish master Aaron Nimzowitsch in a simultaneous exhibition, losing many chess games to Marcel Duchamp in his French exile, games in the Vaucluse hideout in the second World War to many occasional friendly games against many partners well into old age, Beckett never lost his fascination with the game. (Knowlson, 1996) The chess books in his library had a focus on the contemporary chess scene, specializing on game collections of the World Champions of chess from Capablanca in the 1920s to Kasparov in the 1980s. (Van Hulle/Nixon, 2013, 261-287) The most concentrated literary reflection of Beckett´s preoccupation with chess came early in his career with the writing and publication of Murphy. The novel is a rarity among thematically related fictions since it integrates the notation of a complete chess game and notes commenting on some of its moves.

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Literature, women playing chess and Bertolt Brecht

Margarete Steffin and Bertolt Brecht
Margarete Steffin and Bertolt Brecht

The society has recently published a very interesting essay from our member Bernd-Peter Lange about the German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht and chess playing women around him.

As it is in German, you can find the article in our German website here:

Literatur, Schach spielende Frauen und Bertolt Brecht.