Message to CH&LS members

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Dear fellow members of the CH&LS,

Our treasurer Henri Serruys and I are about to prepare our report on the status of membership and annual fee payments for the General Assembly in Belfort on September 2 – where, of course, we hope to meet many of you!

In order to complete the report, we have a few requests for you:

It appears that some of the email addresses we have are no longer active – so if you have changed your email address recently please inform the secretary of the valid one!

And please observe that the payment of the membership fee for 2023 must be completed no later than August 15. If you have any questions, please contact us!

Treasurer Henri Serruys
Secretary Claes Løfgren

best wishes,
Claes Løfgren

Invitation to this year's General Assembly in Belfort (France)

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Dear members of the society!

This is to invite you for our next General Assembly meeting on 2 September 2023 in Belfort and share with you the final program. We are holding this meeting in the city library of Belfort, which hosts the chess collection of our late member, Jean Mennerat (Bibliothèque Municipale de Belfort - Fonds Mennerat ). "La bibliothèque municipale" is located at Place Jacques Chirac, BP 80025, 90000 Belfort.

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Tobiblion update

Per Skjoldager has updated the database of the BoC-Project. 8 new items and 66 new descriptions have made it into Tobiblion as well as the data of the 83th Klittich auction. They are now available for members in Tobiblion.

Juan Morgado and his opus magnum

Juan Sebastián Morgado - Ajedrez en la década infame 1933 - 1934 - frontcover
Juan Sebastián Morgado - Ajedrez en la década infame 1933 - 1934 - frontcover

by Bob van de Velde

For chess historians, bibliographers or collectors – in short for most members of our membership – Argentina is from their point of view a far away country that doesn’t show many unsuspected or exciting activities on their field of interest. That’s to say, at first Eurocentric sight this can seem so. However, here too, as is so often is the case, a first sight leads to a wrong view. Of course, we all know that the two events that probably had the most far-reaching consequences in the modern chess history, took place on Argentinian soil in the second quarter of the 20th century: the world championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine in 1927, and the 8th Chess Olympiad in 1939. The first event had a major impact on the participation in the top tournaments in the ‘30’s as Alekhine didn’t want to play his rival in a tournament; because of the outbreak of the 2nd World War during the tournament, the second event had an enormous effect on the organised chess world in almost every aspect.

Both events however have in common that the reporting mostly came from European hands – participants, administrators, journalists, eyewitnesses –, anyway, rarely observations and reflections were heard from Argentinian side, neither can we say that abundantly South-American sources were cited. But this situation drastically has changed since in 2012 our member Juan Sebastián Morgado has begun to publish his Complete history of Argentine chess.

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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.

Invitation of CH&LS members to the CCI meeting in St. Louis, Missouri USA

Tom Gallegos, President of CCI-USA, has informed us about the CCI Conference to be held July 6-9 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, while also inviting all CH&LS members to attend.

Here is his email: (The attachment with program and registration form mentioned in the email is at the end of the text).

Dear CCI Members, Guests, and Friends,

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Chess Theory from Stamma to Steinitz, 1735–1894

Frank Hoffmeister - Chess Theory from Stamma to Steinitz, 1735–1894 - frontcover
Frank Hoffmeister - Chess Theory from Stamma to Steinitz, 1735–1894 - frontcover

by Jean Olivier Leconte

The McFarland publishing house (USA) has a whole branch specialized in books about chess history, which is to their credit, because the target audience is rather limited. Note that the published books are always of good quality.

I recently acquired one of their latest publications, with the book of my friend Frank Hoffmeister. His book, to which I contributed very modestly, does not differ from McFarland's books. It is a book of great quality for those who are interested in the history of chess and the beginnings of the opening theory for example.

In his introduction, Frank indicates that he started writing this book in ... 2009 (!) for publication in 2022. Such a length of time does not surprise me, considering the richness of the book. Note that in the February 2023 issue of the New In Chess magazine, the British Grandmaster Matthew Sadler publishes a long article about this book and gives it the maximum rating of 5 stars!

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Paris celebrates the Café de la Régence

Speech of the President of the French Chess Federation, Eloi Relange
Speech of the President of the French Chess Federation, Eloi Relange

A landmark in chess history. On Tuesday 4 April 2023, the ceremony for the inauguration of the commemorative plaque of the Café de la Régence took place at N°161 rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.

This ceremony marks the end of a cultural project led by Jean-Olivier Leconte (FIDE master and chess historian) and that lasted several years, in particular to convince the City of Paris of the interest to pay tribute to this place known worldwide by chess players.

The ceremony took place with several deputies of the Mayor of Paris, as well as the president of the French Chess Federation.

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Ghosting Karl Marx. Hidden Agendas of a Muzio Gambit

Karl Marx's grave, Highgate, London
Karl Marx's grave, Highgate, London

by Dr. Bernd-Peter Lange

The Marx that nobody Read

In a recent film directed by the Haitian director Raoul Peck, The Young Karl Marx, the eponymous hero appears as, among other better known pursuits, a genius on the chess board. In two of the scenes set in pubs he triumphantly checkmates Friedrich Engels and clinches a victory over his political rival, the Anarchist Bakunin by decisively pinning one of his opponent´s pieces.

Neither of these games in the film relies on documentary evidence. However, there are two notations of chess notations that Marx has been credited with for a long time, one an impressive win in a Muzio gambit against the contemporary problemist Heinrich Meyer, the other one a mating attack against the famous Prussian master Gustav Neumann, both around 1870. The notations of these games have been republished frequently in Russian journals from 1926 and 1938, respectively, but also in other countries, even though doubts on their authenticity have accompanied their publication throughout. In recent articles in chess journals, these doubts have peaked in definitive refutations of the involvement of Marx in the two games he has been credited with, albeit without much of an impact on the conservation of the view of the philosopher as chess prodigy.

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