II International von der Lasa Conference in Kórnik 2007

a photo report

Participants and hosts on the steps leading up to the castle
Participants and hosts on the steps leading up to the castle

Last year for the second time (after 2002) an international conference was held in Kórnik castle in honour of the famous master, author and chess historian Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-1899). A considerable number of guests had followed the invitation of the new director of the library, Prof. Tomasz Jasinski as well as of the curator of the van der Lasa collection, Maria Łuczak, as is also revealed by the above group photo.

The three-day conference had been fixed at October 22nd to 24th, naturally the lectures of the altogether 18 speakers who presented the results of their own research were the centre of attention. But also a social supporting programme including an excursion to Osieczna (Storchnest) contributed decisively to a varied and very successful event.

People in Kórnik try hard to present increasingly often the existing chess treasures there as well as the castle in its entirety to an international audience. A first step in this direction was the exhibition Kórnik – A Schinkel Castle in Poland which was held in Potsdam already halfway through 2006. Here is an information about that event (click the small picture on the right).

Opening of the Conference - The Lectures

Prof. Tomasz Jasinski was responsible for the official opening of the conference, he welcomed the guests.

Dr Andrzej Filipowicz, widely known as Polish FIDE delegate and as the editor of the magazine Szachista was chosen as the conference leader.

Also Janosz Woda, president of the Polish chess federation
was present for a while ...

... as well as Hanna Erenska-Barlo who has many times been the Polish woman
champion, here together with GM Robert Hübner.

Michael Negele started the series of lectures with the contribution "Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Koch, a forerunner of Paul Rudolph von Bilguer and Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa". Here his lecture (pdf-file, 4.2 MB) as well as the corresponding contribution (pdf / 1 MB) for the planned conference volume.

He was followed by the Russian old-timer Yuri L. Averbakh who reported on the early days of chess in Europe.

Many well-known faces when looking to the audience.

Vlastimil Fiala presented new findings from von der Lasa's chess career.

Isaak M. Linder who had come together with his son Vladimir spoke about "Von der Lasa and the Modern Age".

A snapshot of father and son Linder, once again the duo
was one of the most popular "objects" of the photo hunters.

The breaks were partly used for the supporting programme but were also welcome opportunities to exchange views and information.

Here Tomasz Lissowski (on the left) shows Isaak Linder his new biography on Jurek Lewi, there is also Jerzy Moras (on the right) present from Penelopa publishing house.

In Maria Łuczak's study: Alessandro Sanvito showed v.d. Lasa's
Polerio copies to Egbert Meissenburg and Siegfried Schönle .
In the background Jurgen Stigter.

An additional group photo in the cellar vaults
before we continue with the lectures ...

The US-American Raymond Kuzanek dealt with "The Letters of Frederic Edge".

The Indologist Maria Schetelich from Leipzig had an eye firmly on the Indian origin of chess.

Alessandro Sanvito reported on the Pacioli chess manuscript found in Italy.

Close attention not only of Calle Erlandsson,
also Toni Preziuso and Egbert Meissenburg seem very concentrated.

In her lecture "Three Games, Three Times" Carmen Romeo devoted herself to an era when the European chess underwent a radical change. Three games (from 1400, 1475 and 1513) were the subject of her comparative examination.

Siegfried Schönle, assisted by his spouse, presented "Chess in books of the Baroque period".

This subject was also published by Siegfried Schönle in book form, only recently we have presented that neat work on our pages.

Karl Kadletz, likewise accompanied by his spouse spoke about "Steinitz, Vienna and the Viennese".

The Indian game of Pachisi was the topic of Ute Rettberg's lecture.

Thus far the lectures of the first day - the second day was reserved for the excursion to Storchnest (Osieczna), we will go into that later on. The remaining 7 lectures were held on the third conference day.

Andrzej Filipowicz with his lecture on "80 Years of the Polish Chess Federation (1926-2006)".

Egbert Meissenburg dealt with the collection of chess works from James W. Rimington-Wilson (1822-1877).

Fred van der Vliet devoted himself to the Dutch player G.C.A. Oskam ("The Man Who Knew Everybody").

Besides the extensive intellectual stimulation the bodily needs of the guests didn't come off badly either: Raymond Kuzanek, Calle Erlandsson, Tomasz Lissowski, Fred van der Vliet and others have a coffee break.

Our three female guest speakers:
Maria Schetelich, Ute Rettberg and Carmen Romeo.

Also the major of Kórnik, Jerzy Lechnerowski
temporarily honoured us with his presence.

Next to the major (on the left) stands Adam Hetnal from the USA
who accompanies such meetings in Kórnik in the course of the
cultural exchange - on this occasion he is frequently helpful
as an interpreter. Sitting at the table: Fred van der Vliet
as well as Petra and Siegfried Schönle.

A laptop too has a certain attraction.
Standing: the couple Schönle, Calle Erlandsson, Toni Preziuso and Karl Kadletz; sitting: Michael Negele, Tomasz Lissowski, Hedwig Kadletz.

Let's pick up again the threads of the lectures: Tomasz Lissowski reported on Tartakower in Poland in the summer of 1935 and gave a short résumé of Cezary Domanski's lecture who was not present (... about the many talents of Chaim Janowski).

Here his later report on the Kórnik meeting 2007.

"Emanuel Lasker and Mathematics" was Jurgen Stigter's subject.

Kazimierz Krawiarz dealt in his lecture with "The Fate of German Chess Collections in Poland after World War II" .

The topic of Maria Łuczak was "My Travel Round the World" - i. e. von der Lasa's world tour 1882-83 and the diary written during this travel, it was presented in extracts by Maria Łuczak.
A reprint of this diary has been promised.

On Wednesday evening it was also Maria Łuczak who offered historical posters on the chess congress New York 1857 for sale.

Supporting Programme and Further Pleasant Events

The first conference day Krzysztof Kmiec from Kraków opened the exhibition "Not only chess ...", equipped with numerous bookplates.

Below some items from his collection.
(Click on small pictures!)

Moreover Krzysztof Kmiec presented his book which offers home-made bookplates from the field of pharmacy (see below).

We take from this book the preface (in English/German) as well as a biographical chapter (in German).

In addition you were invited to admire treasures from the von der Lasa collection, here Siegfried Schönle was photographed in front of the
showcase with the rarities.

A recital in the evening of the first day was part of the supporting programme too, the countertenor Tomasz Raczkiewicz was accompanied on the piano ...

... by the pianist Michal Karasiewicz.

The opportunity to deal in the reading room with von der Lasa's estate was eagerly made use of, such as by Toni Preziuso, Alessandro Sanvito and Siegfried Schönle.

Jurgen Stigter met Yuri Averbakh there.

A viewing of the Biblioteka Kórnicka was offered as was a concluding guided tour of the castle.
The director of the library (photo below) showed the archives with the von der Lasa stocks to a selected small group (Robert Hübner, Karl Kadletz and Michael Negele).

In time for the conference a reprint of v. d. Lasa's "Erneutes Verzeichniss" had been finished which was naturally met everywhere with great interest.

The reprint from the publishing house Moravian Chess was presented by Jan Łuczak (brother of Maria Łuczak) ...

... and distributed afterwards.

In the afternoon of the third day GM Robert Hübner gave a simul against the youth of the chess section "The Rook".

Ewelina Nowak, our guide of the castle and of the library's treasure chamber presented to Robert Hübner a commemorative document on his simul.

Excursion to Osieczna ("Stork's Nest")

By the trip to Osieczna the visit of the town was made possible to us which the von der Lasa family had chosen as their domicile. The graves of the members of the family are also situated in its Protestant cemetery, only a short time ago they had been restored. Therefore first a visit of the Baron’s grave was on our agenda which took place in a commemorative ceremony together with a group of pupils from Osieczna.

A plaque at the cemetery points in Polish/German to the certainly most famous inhabitant of the town: Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa.
(Please click on the picture to read the German text.)

The commemorative ceremony at the graves

Adam Hetnal had joined in as well.

Tomasz Lissowski and Michal Negele

Toni Preziuso, Juri Awerbach and (partly hidden) Fred van der Vliet

Obviously this event had also attracted the local press who asked for some short interviews, Maria Łuczak was one of the "victims".

Andrzej Filipowicz looks quite sceptically ...

... as he as well couldn't escape at all.

The next station of our trip was Storchnest Castle, here towards the lake ...

... with the palace tower

... and a further partial view (west wing)

We were welcomed by director Dr Maria Gawlinska while Dr Maciej Michalski (on the right) ...

... informed us about the history and the architecture of the castle by his lecture "The castle in Osieczna at the turn of the 19th century and its iconographical representation".

The coat of arms of the family
von Heydebrand und der Lasa
(on the left)

In 1890 Tassilo's son Heinrich as the owner started a renovation and extension of the castle, see the following sheet:

A collection of attractive chess sets (from Wojciecha Koscielniaka)
was very popular and supplied rewarding motifs for our photographers.

Obviously only a very short game was played here. (Hübner vs Averbakh)

With a guided tour of the local Franciscan monastery our stay in Stork's Nest came to an end, we visited both the magnificent church belonging to the monastery (see the pictures below) and the chapel of the monks. The insights given into monastic life left the participants deeply impressed.

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