Alessandro Sanvito, RIP 1938-2020

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.

An encounter with Adriano Chicco in 1973 led to a fruitful cooperation between the two Italian Chess Historians which lasted 17 years. For Alessandro was not so much a collector, rather a historian of chess, especially of the early period up to 1700. He often said that so many new elements had come to light in the past 100 years, that Murray (1913) ought to be updated. Quite a challenge… After the death of Adriano Chicco in 1990, he continued the latter’s work. My own collection has 20 works by Sanvito, but there are many more. Most famous are probably the different bibliographies of Italian Chess, which culminated in 2015 in the publication Bibliografia Italiana degli Scacchi.

In 2010, our members Luca d’Ambrosio, Jurgen Stigter, Antonio Rosino and Siegfried Schönle co-authored a Festschrift in honour of Alessandro Sanvito (Refordis, 2010). The Chess Stalker Quarterly of February 2014 also contains a very nice article about Alessandro by the hand of Michael Negele.

I personally got to know Alessandro and his wife in Amsterdam in 2005 and found him to be a kind and generous man. Since then, he would always send me New Year’s wishes (Auguri), but that stopped some 2 years ago. May he rest in peace.

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