by Michael Dombrowsky
It seems an irony of history that he of all people wrote a biography about Kurt Richter. I talk about Alan McGowan who has written the biography “Kurt Richter – A Chess Biography with 499 Games”. There are some differences between protagonist and author: The year the book comes on the market is the 50th anniversary of the day of death for Richter and the 65th birthday of the author.
And something else distinguished both: McGowan is born in Glasgow. He saw most of Scotland and the rest of Great Britain. When he was 34 years old he moved to Canada and saw a lot from North America. He still lives in Waterloo (Ontario), not far away from Toronto. Richter was born in Berlin (1900) and died in Berlin (1969). He hated it to travel. Inside Germany it was ok. But journeys over the border were very, very seldom. For playing chess Richter left Germany only three times. Once for the Chess Olympics 1931 at Prague, where he wins the bronze medal with 10,5 points out of 15 games (+7 =7 -1) at board four. The second time he played 1936 in an international tournament of Podebrady in Czechoslovakia (a small spa around 40 kilometers east of Prague), where he wins the ninth prize with 9 points out of 17 games (+5 =8 -4) behind Salo Flohr, Alexander Alekhine, Jan Foltys, Vasja Pirc, Gideon Stahlberg, Erich Eliskases, Paulin Frydman and Jiri Pelikan, but ahead of greats like Valdimirs Petrovs, Lajos Steiner or Karel Opocensky. And the third time was a match Germany – Hungary 1939 at Karlsbad, the city was after the German annexation part of the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moldavia” and belonged for six years to Germany. Kurt Richter wins both games against Geza Füster, who immigrates after WW II to Canada.