by Jean Oliver Leconte
The table where Bonaparte is said to have played chess at the Café de la Régence was a tourist attraction for almost a century.
Some time ago, Mr. Patrice Belluire (France), whom I thank, gave me a book reference (which I did not know), where this table of Bonaparte appears and in which it is possible to view the interior of the Café de la Régence at the end of the 1930s.
It is the book Chessmen published in 1937 that I bought in a small Parisian bookshop (a copy signed by the author M. J.Maunoury and dedicated to the publisher Harcourt!)
The president of the "Théméchecs" association, Mr. Alain Barnier (France), has contacted us for various exchanges concerning our two associations with rather similar objectives. What he proposes will interest, I hope, most of our members.
Our French association gathers chess collectors, originally rather philatelists, but also collectors of books, magazines, pictures, games and other objects, as well as amateurs of chess history and culture. A quarter of the members are outside France.
Our website is here: http://echecs.online.fr/themechecs/
I propose the idea of collaborating with you, notably by exchanging information, for example on our side:
- by mentioning the website of the KWA / CH&LS association;
- mentioning your events and informing you about ours;
- sending our newsletter to the president (3 times a year);
- giving you free access to our auctions (once or twice a year), etc.
Dear members of the society!
On 10 September 2022, we held our first General Assembly in the beautiful Palazzo del Doglione of Marostica. Many of our members could also see the life chess event in the evening which was shown until the end despite some heavy rain showers in between! I wish to thank in particular our Italian members Stefano Zulian and the President of the Marostica Chess Club, who helped a great deal in the preparation. Moreover, it was an honour that we could count the great Italian Chess historian Dr. D’Elia among our participants. In order to facilitate the cross-communication, I attach the list of participants with e-mails for your information.
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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:
Zur Schach-Akademie in Achdorf bei Landshut und vom Sailerschen-Kreis (To the chess academy in Achdorf near Landshut and from the Sailerschen circle)
On two chess scenes of the early 19th century:
A chess academy in Achdorf near Landshut by professors from the Landshut University (1800-1826), later the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Attached to the first part is a facsimile of Prof. Mall's witty and ironic speech at the end of the chess academy entitled Zweiter Jahresbericht über die Ereignisse in der Schach-Akademie auf dem Zollhause zu Achdorf im Jahre 1814/15 erstattet bei dem Schach-Soupée am 27. Februar 1815. This report, I could only prove 3 printed originals, gives an insight into the social background of the members of the chess academy and their chess meetings in the former customs house.
In the second part, the lifelong enjoyment of chess by the later Bishop of Regensburg, Johann Michael Sailer (1751-1832), is discussed. He was friends with Johann Caspar Lavater, among others, who also discussed the chess automaton on his trip to Copenhagen in the summer of 1793. Accompanying is described J.M. Sailer, Professor of Theology, through the theological and historical conflicts triggered by the Napoleonic Wars, within and outside of the professorships in Dillingen, Ingolstadt, Landshut and Regensburg in the early 19th century.