John Donaldson - Bobby Fischer and his world - frontcover
John Donaldson - Bobby Fischer and his world - frontcover

Our member and temporary deputy chairman John Donaldson has published his third book on Bobby Fischer:

Bobby Fischer and his world - The man, the player, the riddle, and the colorful characters who surrounded him.

Includes 99 annotated games
Los Angeles: Siles Press, © 2020; xx + 664 pp.
ISBN 9781890085193

This real magnum opus is John Donaldson’s third book on Fischer after his A Legend on the road: Bobby Fischer’s 1964 simul tour (1994) and, with co-author Eric Tangborn, The unknown Bobby Fischer (1999). So it is – in terms of soccer – also his hattrick on the 11th world champion.

Already at first glance we see that the work is the result of his chess life long preoccupation with all aspects of Fischer’s chess life. At the same time, browsing the almost 700 pages is enough to understand that the author documents more or less ‘en passant’ important parts of the American chess history of the second part of the 20th century. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future the register of his book (pp. 633-644) will be also used by historians as a kind of encyclopedic reference work. If ever the ‘definitive’ biography of Bobby Fischer will be written, here the biographer finds an essential part of its foundation.

[Update 2020-12-30] John has sent us following reactions in response to some of our remarks regarding his book:

“Like many players of my generation I started playing as a result of the Fischer - Spassky World Championship match. While I never saw Fischer play or had the opportunity to meet him many of my friends did. Their stories of Bobby, often at odds with accounts of him in the main stream media, piqued my interest. Of course I was always interested in his games and what he wrote. My fascination with Bobby only increased after I wrote two small books on him roughly twenty years ago (A Legend on the Road and The Unknown Bobby Fischer).

Marten Coerts - Meester in het schaken, grootmeester in het uitgeven - frontcover
Marten Coerts - Meester in het schaken, grootmeester in het uitgeven - frontcover

In Holland, a biography on the chess publisher, journalist, writer and player Wim Andriessen has been published. Andriessen was an independent person in the Dutch chess scene, who as publisher of the magazine Schaakbulletin (Chess Bulletin) gave room to other voices than heard in circles of the Dutch chess establishment. As he was probably rather unknown abroad and because the biography has been written in Dutch, we requested from the author Marten Coerts, a former member of our Society, a short introduction of the biographee.

Bob van de Velde

Book about publisher, chess player and chess writer Wim Andriessen

Three and a half years after he passed away, the publication of Wim Andriessen - Meester in het schaken, grootmeester in het uitgeven (Master in Chess, grandmaster in publishing) is a fact.

This book describes the personal and work life of Wilhelm Fredrik (Wim) Andriessen (1938-2017), publisher of chess books and magazines, chess player and chess writer. In the Netherlands Wim Andriessen was a well-known person. When he died a lot of Dutch newspapers wrote obituaries in their weekly chess columns.

by Michael Clapham

The auction house Antiquariat A. Klittich-Pfankuch held its bi-annual chess auction last week with many rare and important books, manuscripts and other collectable items going under the hammer. Recent auctions in Braunschweig have included many rare items from the library of the late Lothar Schmid and again, some of the choicest items came from this source.

Approximately 750 lots of books included the following Schachraritäten:

  • An Inquiry into the Antient Greek Game, supposed to have been invented by Palamedes..., by James Christie, London 1801 which sold for €1,200;
  • the first printing of the first edition of Philidor's L'Analyze des Echecs, London 1749 - €1,600; and a later printing in the same year - €950

Frank Hoffmeister - 100 Jahre Belgische Schachgeschichte - frontcover (German edition)
Frank Hoffmeister - 100 Jahre Belgische Schachgeschichte - frontcover (German edition)

In 2020 the Royal Belgian Chess Federation exists 100 year. As a contribution to the celebration of this jubilee our member Frank Hoffmeister wrote a personal homage to the Federation, 100 years Belgium chess history, and included 50 games of historical interest. As is not unusual in Belgium when more or less official publications are meant for national dissemination, the book has been written in the three languages of the country, Dutch (also called Flemish), French and German.

One year later than the Belgium Federation the French Federation was founded and in 1924 the Belgium Federation belonged to the founding members of the FIDE.

Frank Hoffmeister,

100 jaar Belgische schaakgeschiedenis - Een persoonlijk eerbetoon aan de Koninklijke Belgische Schaakbond met 50 partijen
132 pages
ISBN 9789492510990

100 ans d’histoire du jeu d’échecs en Belgique – un hommage personnel à la Fédération Royale Belge des Échecs avec 50 parties
132 pages
ISBN 9789464201000

100 Jahre belgische Schachgeschichte; Eine persönliche Hommage an den königlichen Schachbund Belgien mit 50 Partien
132 pages
ISBN 9789492510983

It will be published within a few days by Thinkers Publishing, Moorstraat 12, 9850 Landegem, Belgium. On the website of the publisher you will find a so-called teaser (pdf).

Bob van de Velde

Tim Harding - Steinitz in London - frontcover
Tim Harding - Steinitz in London - frontcover

by Fabrizio Zavatarelli

Our well-known member Tim Harding had recently added a new monograph to his previous seminal works. Steinitz in London, A Chess Biography with 623 Games (415 p., McFarland, ISBN 978-1-4766-6953-3) in fact goes beyond its title, since it adds a comprehensive account of the Bohemian Caesar’s early activity in Vienna (chapt. 1) and casts a glance at his late years, as well (chapts. 12 and 13). Several pages are also devoted to London chess life and especially to its clubs (in chapts. 3, 5, 9 and 10).

Die Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch - frontcover
Die Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch - frontcover

Five years ago our member Fabrizio Zavaratelli published his impressive biography of a now hardly known, but nevertheless rather mythological chess master from the 19th century, Ignaz Kolisch. His book Ignaz Kolisch The life and chess career was introduced on our website by webmaster Ralf Binnewirtz (see Zavatarelli on Kolisch).

This year Fabrizio Zavaratelli, together with our member Luca D’Ambrosio and with Michael Burghardt, have published a kind of complementary work Die Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch (544 p., Edition Marco, ISBN 978–3-924833-82-4). On the website of the Glarean Magazin Ralf Binnewirtz, now a former member, has published an extended review of this new publication on and of Ignaz Kolisch. You will find it on F. Zavatarelli u.a: Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch.

By the way, on these Swiss website Ralf Binnewirtz reviewed in depth many chess books, for instance recently the biography of Hein Donner by the late Alexander Münninghoff.

Below the first paragraph of the review is shown.

Bob van de Velde

Das schachjournalistische Phänomen Ideka

von Ralf Binnewirtz

Drei Schachhistoriker und -autoren haben sich zusammengetan, um die 92 sonntäglichen Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch – erschienen 1886-1888 in dessen eigener Wiener Allgemeinen Zeitung – in einem kompakten Band zu vereinen, der weit über die Schachwelt hinaus Interesse beanspruchen darf. Denn diese Feuilletons tangieren und reflektieren nahezu alle Bereiche der Gesellschaft und vermitteln in der ausgefeilten Prosa des Autors ein Zeit- und Sittengemälde Westeuropas aus der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts.

Read more …

Alessandro Sanvito, Vienna, 2010
Alessandro Sanvito, Vienna, 2010

Our Honorary Member Guy van Habberney has informed us about the sad news that our old-time member Alessandro Sanvito passed away, and sent us the obituary below. In addition to it we republish Michael Negele’s article My unforgettable stay at Ermide’s and Alessandro’s home which he wrote for our Chess Stalker Quarterly six years ago.

[Update 2020-11-13] Our member Siegfried Schönle advised us that there is a second volume of the Festschrift in honor of Alessandro Sanvito. A PDF with its content and the multilingual title pages was added at the end of the article. [/Update]

Alessandro Sanvito, 1938-2020

Alessandro Sanvito, one of our earliest members, passed away in Milan on October 21st, aged 81. He had been suffering since a couple of years. Born is 1938, Alessandro’s early youth was marked by the second world war. Then, in 1959, he became seriously ill, to the extent that he was unable to finish his studies. His 9 years older brother Luciano, a famous designer, subsequently helped him to set himself up as a reputable jewelry and diamonds appraiser. In 1965 he married his wife Erminde, with whom he had 4 daughters. They all survive him.

Dr. Diego D'Elia - Il codice Vittorio Emanuele 273 della Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma: analisi storico-culturale e codicologica - frontcover
Dr. Diego D'Elia - Il codice Vittorio Emanuele 273 della Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma: analisi storico-culturale e codicologica - frontcover

The book Il codice Vittorio Emanuele 273 della Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma: analisi storico-culturale e codicologica (The Vittorio Emanuele code 273 of the National Central Library of Rome: historical-cultural and codicological analysis) published for the publishing house Itinera progetti di Bassano del Grappa is the latest in chronological order of the great research work on the history of chess carried out by Dr. Diego D'Elia, among the world's leading experts in this sector.

In this essay, accompanied by a large and well-documented critical apparatus, a detailed and in-depth overview of the late medieval chess literature is provided, based on the direct study of the sources, in a process that culminates in the analysis of an important 15th century codex, kept at the National Central Library of Rome, guiding the reader in a study path that will allow him to learn about the fascinating world of board games such as chess, backgammon and the game of filet (derived in part from the Arab tradition), which were widespread in our society throughout the centuries of the late Middle Ages, seen and interpreted in their historical and cultural context.

It will thus be understood the late medieval chess literature, which will form the basis for the training of world-class chess players both Italian and Spanish in the Renaissance era, among the first to apply the current rules of the game of chess, among which the Venetian champion is also included the priest Lorenzo Busnardo. A book that is, let us be permitted, a very important text for the history of the most widespread game in the world, and which finally puts order, correcting some historical and methodological errors, in one of the most compelling fields of study in the context of the most characteristic of knowledge and our culture.

Stefano Zulian

For any information and any purchases write to or look at Itinera Progetti

Fabian Krahe (Ed.) - Shôgi Hamburg - frontcover
Fabian Krahe (Ed.) - Shôgi Hamburg - frontcover

From the editor of the book mentioned below, we got this information, that could be of interest especially for members who are Shôgi players themselves or have historical interest in the game:

Dear Members of the Chess History & Literature Society,

I recently published a book with articles of my german blog about japanese chess called Shôgi Hamburg. It covers the time from 2013 to 2019. It's mostly accounts of tournaments in the city of hamburg, but it also includs four very short essays about the history and culture of shôgi. Maybe it is of interest for your society or some of your members.

Fabian Krahe

Fabian Krahe (Hrsg.): Shôgi Hamburg. Beiträge aus den Jahren 2013 bis 2019.
Norderstedt: Books on Demand 2020
108 pages
15,00 Euro
ISBN-13: 9783751920216

With contributions from: Uwe Frischmuth, René Gralla, Fabian Krahe, Jürgen Woscidlo

For more information:

Tom Gallegos and Luann Woneis gave further information about the CCI meeting in St. Louis. The message also contains photos of the display shelves at Link, bulging with sets, just to whet your appetite.


Greetings CCI Members and other Chess Friends,

Just a quick reminder: Don't forget to bid on Chess SETS, Chess BOOKS and much more at Link Auction Galleries in St. Louis, September 5, 2020 at 10:00 in the morning, Central Daylight Time. That’s 16:00 (4 pm) for the UK; and 17:00 (5 pm) for most of the rest of Europe.