Expedition through London - The Knights and Kings of Chess

"Everyone ought to have a hobby, and certainly no prettier or pleasanter hobby can be found than chess."

This was written by George A. MacDonald on page 88 of his wonderful "The Knights and Kings of Chess", London 1894 and I am confirmed in this statement by our nice London meeting from June 8-10, 2007. With the following selection of pictures I would like to invite all members who unfortunately couldn’t attend the meeting of our English group to immerse a little in the fantastic atmosphere of the historical places. Naturally it was also vital to meet some of our British chess friends personally for the first time – this will be a lasting memory for me.
I would like to express my thanks especially to Jimmy Adams and Mark Huba for the fantastic guided tour on Saturday morning and to Malcolm Pein and Jim Fisher for the permission to use the London Chess Centre as a meeting place on Sunday morning.

(from left) John Beasley, Michael Negele, Marie-Theres and Andreas Saremba, Jurgen Stigter, Tony Gillam
(from left) John Beasley, Michael Negele, Marie-Theres and Andreas Saremba, Jurgen Stigter, Tony Gillam

Our meeting started on Friday evening, without further ado we chose the hotel of the Sarembas as our meeting point ...

Andreas Saremba and Tony Gillam in a Turkish restaurant
Andreas Saremba and Tony Gillam in a Turkish restaurant

... and then went in a cheerful circle to a Turkish restaurant nearby. A successful start with a reunion of the "La Tour-de-Peilz" participants Tony Gillam, John Beasley, Calle Erlandsson, Marie-Theres and Andreas Saremba as well as Jurgen Stigter and Michael Negele.

Charing Cross Station - Mark Huba (left) and Jimmy Adams talking to John Beasley (right)
Charing Cross Station - Mark Huba (left) and Jimmy Adams talking to John Beasley (right)

Next morning at Charing Cross Station I was pleased to meet – apart from the group of the evening before – for the first time such "heroes" of chess literature as Dr. Leonard Skinner and James (Jimmy) Adams; then Regina and Berth Corneth as well as the photographer from CHESS, Mark Huba joined us too.

Out tour led us to the Charing Cross Hospital where Johannes Hermann Zukertort once closed his alert eyes forever, by the former En Passant Club to Simpson’s-in-the-Strand – a real eldorado for everyone interested in chess history.
(Please click the small pictures on the left.)

Our group at the entrance to "Simpson's-in-the-Strand"
Our group at the entrance to "Simpson's-in-the-Strand"
Jurgen Stigter, Bert Corneth and Calle Erlandsson - do not speak, just be amazed!
Jurgen Stigter, Bert Corneth and Calle Erlandsson - do not speak, just be amazed!

Even "hard-baked" KWA members couldn’t get over their amazement and kept on gaping ...

The impressions given to the visitors of our website by some picture galleries may have a profound effect on them just as on us – that is unique.

Gallery 1 (20 photos)

Gallery 2 (21 photos)

Simpson's-in-the-Strand
(history of the club/restaurant)

Furthermore at (German) ChessBase -
Frank Mayer: Schachnostalgie
Rückkehr in die Vergangenheit: ein Schachclub im Herzen des "alten" London

After so much chess history it was only appropriate to stroll by the Savoy Theatre (Among other things the chess world championship 1993 between Short and Kasparov was held there.) to the garden and to the memorial to Gilbert and Sullivan – something for our music fans [The Gilbert and Sullivan Operas] - the rest relaxed and looked forward to a glass of beer in the Cole Hole Pub.

Somerset House
Somerset House

From there we went on along the Strand to Somerset House where in June 2003 our friend Ken Whyld met for the last time his London friends on the occasion of the opening of "The Art of Chess" ...

The Royal Courts of Justice
The Royal Courts of Justice

... past the Australia House and the Royal Courts of Justice - among other things the renowned chessmen case B.H. Wood (Chess, Sutton Coldfield) v the House of Jaques came up for trial here - which Jimmy knew quite a lot of exciting details to tell about.

Then to Fleet Street with the numerous newspapers and their chess columns – the most famous of course "The Field", at first ruled by Wilhelm Steinitz, afterwards by his arch enemy Leopold Hoffer.

Jimmy Adams, Leonard Skinner and Mark Huba
Jimmy Adams, Leonard Skinner and Mark Huba

At the end of this fine tour we again arrived at an (Irish) pub and the impressions were heightened by some glasses of Guinness.

Bert Corneth, in the background Jurgen Stigter
Bert Corneth, in the background Jurgen Stigter

A few stalwarts then went to the shop of the British Chess Magazine and indulged themselves in chess books ...

It’s a pity that our evening meal in an Italian restaurant turned out all too loud due to the unwelcome contributions of some English housewives at the next table ...

John Roycroft shakes his head in disbelief, in front of him Michael Clapham
John Roycroft shakes his head in disbelief, in front of him Michael Clapham

But next morning that was quickly forgotten as the next paradise for chess collectors had opened its doors for us at an unusual time. Meanwhile Owen Hindle, Michael Clapham, Tony Peterson and Mike Sheehan had arrived as well as the study specialist John Roycroft as a guest – I nearly didn’t succeed in starting our short meeting with a report on our activities ...

Handing over of the "Zukertort" to Jimmy Adams
Handing over of the "Zukertort" to Jimmy Adams

... but in the end we could inform our members in full and particularly make our kind guide Jimmy Adams obviously very happy by presenting our Zukertort book to him.

In detail presented was also the Lasker project in which quite a lot of KWA members play a substantial role ...

A find on Lasker?
A find on Lasker?

... moreover Andreas Saremba told about the planned new start of our BoC online database ...

... and Jurgen Stigter about the KWA foundation.

Naturally our book market shouldn’t turn out too short, Jim Fisher was also pleased about the unusual Sunday selling.

In the front 2 x Tony (Peterson and Gillam)
In the front 2 x Tony (Peterson and Gillam)

Afterwards we went together to a near pub and continued talking shop.

Only at about 4 pm the general farewell began, but Jimmy Adams and Tony Gillam insisted on still keeping Bert Corneth and me company at a wonderful French dinner in a small but excellent restaurant near Earl’s Court.

I remember these nice days in London with great pleasure, certainly the closing photo in the London Chess Centre will give expression to this contentment.

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