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by Michael Negele

All of a sudden I was reminded to my old story about Susanna (Sonja) Graf-Stevenson (Schicksal eines „Fräuleinwunders“ – der Lebensweg der Sonja Graf-Stevenson | Life story of female prodigy Sonja Graf-Stevenson). A new novel, published by an Argentinian author (Ariel Magnus), but in German language, immediately reminded me to think of an update of my own research of 2007.

Through Willibald Müller who was in contact to Mrs. Joyce Graf (in Hildenborough, Kent) I received a bunch of letters by Sonja to her brother Alex Graf. In 2011 the English version of my article was translated - thanks to Vlastimil Fiala. In 2013 I had been in Buenos Aires and Juan Morgado brought me to some place where Sonja had lived (The Chess Treasures of CABA).

In 2016 I had found new material in the Rueb scrapbooks in the Royal Library in The Hague. So in 2019 it may be it is high time to get a clue what happened in Munich in 1926 ...

Nicholas Lanier, CCI Meeting Trier, 2015
Nicholas Lanier, CCI Meeting Trier, 2015

Michael Wiltshire, CCI Chairman, wrote us a very sad message. Nicholas Lanier, the keeper of chess-museum.com, who lived in Portugal, died on March 26th. He will soon be buried in Austria, his mother's home country.

More information:

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.

Arbeit am Labyrinth - front cover

The great cultural historian Professor Hans Holländer (1932-2017, see our obituary Memories of Hans Holländer) who produced so many fascinating essays and books on the game of chess has left us some texts from his last chess project. Austrian publishing house Sonderzahl (http://www.sonderzahl.at) has announced to publish them in April 2019 under the title Arbeit am Labyrinth. We recommend to make good use of the subscription offer and attach the information flyer (in German).

Andreas Saremba

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On March 28, Forum Auctions is auctioning off some interesting chess books, including the only known Greco manuscript that is not in a state library or similar facility.

For more information about the books, visit the Forum Auctions website.

Antichi scacchi italiani - front cover

Recent book written by our former KWA-member Massimiliano [Max] De Angelis (President of CCI Italia)

The book is in English and Italian, and the preface is by the renowned Alessandro Sanvito who confirms it fills a void in our knowledge of the history of chess and is a detailed research showing a passion for the subject. It deals specifically with antique Italian non-figural chess sets, used in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The topic required careful research as these pieces are rare and unknown even to the most knowledgeable collectors. There are coloured photographs on most pages. Basically the study confirms that chess playing Italy produced its own chess sets and used them routinely.

Michael Wiltshire

More information:

Calle Erlandsson and Bernd Schippan, June 2014
Calle Erlandsson and Bernd Schippan, June 2014

Bernd Schippan

* 09-01-1946   † 07-02-2019

Again it is my sad obligation to say "farewell" to a long-term chessfriend, but a quite silent member of our small collector's realm. When I moved to Wuppertal in 1999, Bernd Schippan was a well-known (and renowned) chessplayer of master strength in the so-called "Industriegebiet".

However, I only noticed him as an ardent collector of valuable chess literature and especially of chess autographs, after the foundation of the Ken Whyld Association. In the early years of our association, we had many email exchanges about "market evaluation" and "prices", mainly based on David DeLucia's A Few Old Friends (2003). Laterly, I was often amazed by the "bidding contests", Bernd Schippan was involved at the auctions in Brunswick.

We are now looking for persons who are willing to contribute to the Tobiblion project. We are especially looking for someone who has a keen interest in bibliography and would like to enter data on books into our system.

As a bibliografer you must obey to the rules on the classifications you are working on and must be meticolous and accurate when entering meta data and descriptions on books.

Our Tobiblion webmaster and advisory board, will facilitate instructions on rules and policies on the individual classifications. You must have your own scanner and IT equipment in order to fill the position.

Salary will be 2,- € for each fully described item, approved by the webmaster.

If you are interested, please contact the Tobiblion Webmaster at

Michael Negele
Michael Negele

Shortly before the 150th birthday of Emanuel Lasker, the first volume of the new Lasker biography was published. Hartmut Metz conducted an interview with Michael Negele, one of the editors of the three-volume monograph. The English translation is now available on ChessBase:

The German original version is available here:

Alessandro Sanvito at a lecture in Bolzano, May 2011, assisted by Luca D'Ambrosio.
Alessandro Sanvito at a lecture in Bolzano, assisted by Luca D'Ambrosio: KWA Meeting at Bolzano 18 to 20 May, 2011

Alessandro Sanvito from Bresso-Milano, celebrates yesterday his 80th birthday.

Unfortunately, his appreciation in Wikipedia is still only insufficiently maintained.

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessandro_Sanvito

However, it expresses in a way, the importance of this Italian chess scholar in our small realm of 64 squares.

Ad multo annos, dear Alessandro

Michael Negele