KWA Anniversary Celebration at Brunswick 07/11/2008
On the 5th jubilee of the KWA in Brunswick
The well-known auction house Klittich-Pfankuch, Brunswick had invited to the Founder’s Day celebration on the occasion of the first 5 years of the existence of our association, this event should be celebrated in a fitting manner on November 7th with a short ceremony as well as with a supporting programme being tailor-made for the chess interests of the participants. To anticipate things, our hosts succeeded excellently in carrying out their intentions, you couldn’t have asked for a more splendid introduction to the following events in Dresden and Wrocław.
From 11 o’clock in the morning, in the auction hall on Theaterwall 17 we had the chance to look closely at the books and memorabilia which should be put up for auction on November 29th (see our announcement regarding this), an opportunity seized avidly by many members. The visit of the Brunswick National Museum then marked the actual start of our event, at about 3.30 pm the exhibition "Curiose Welfen, welfische Curiositäten" waited for us there ...
The guided tour of the exhibition concentrated on the chess treasures which had been transferred from the Wolfenbüttel "Bibliotheca Augusta", naturally the first chess book in German, the famous Schach- oder König-Spiel by Gustavus Selenus, published 1616 in Leipzig, was the centre of attention.
In the picture on the right the title page of the book in large format, in front of it an original SELENUS as an exhibit.
It is well-known that behind the pseudonym Gustavus Selenus hid Duke August the Younger of Brunswick-Lüneburg. It is less well-known how to explain that pseudonym: so Gustavus is virtually an anagram of Augustus and Selenus is derived from the Greek selēnē = moon, "luna" in Latin, which in turn should refer to Lunaeburgum = Lüneburg.
Selenus has not only dealt with chess but also intensively with secret writings, so it is not surprising that he tried to disguise his identity as an author by using a cryptonym.
Interesting enough, the title copperplate of the "Selenus" contains a series of allegorical portrayals with motifs taken from the ancient Greek mythology, only Palamedes, Odysseus and the Trojan War will be mentioned here as "key words". In the lower part of the title page the Duke appears as Columbus involved in a discussion with Spanish noblemen, even the "egg of Columbus" comes to life again. We are not able to give a more detailed exposition here but those with a thirst for knowledge will learn considerably more at this web page of the "Lippische Landesbibliothek Detmold" (in German only): 'Schach dem Herzog!' ("Check the Duke!")
For writing his work Duke August considerably fell back upon the chess literature existing at that time, which he also purchased, among them especially the above shown book by Domenico Tarsia which is nothing else but the Italian translation of the famous work by Ruy López de Segura from 1561, Libro de la invención liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez.
In the early evening our anniversary celebration could start according to plan, as our (at this moment still) German country’s representative Michael Negele, coming from Wuppertal had arrived in time as well.
Straight after the obligatory short greetings things went on, the first of two "witty speeches" of the evening was presented in an infectious manner by Michael Negele ...
Starting point of his talk was the nice commemorative publication "100 Jahre Braunschweiger Schachclub" (100 Years of Brunswick Chess Club; in the picture above); further explanations of the "Brunswick Chess Metropolis", the XIII West German Congress 1880 at Brunswick including a chess exhibition (quite a novelty at that time!) and of the formation / development of the Brunswick chess club library followed. The lecture, livened up with some questions to the audience and seasoned with many amusing quotations from the Deutsche Schachzeitung 1880, met with due approval – here the presentation sheets linked as a pdf file (1.9 MB).
For additional reading an article (in German only):
Die Bibliothek des Braunschweiger Schachclubs (pdf file, 6 MB).
The second "congenial" lecture of our English friend Tony Gillam (picture above) turned out to be a "not arranged" – so purely by chance – continuation of the first talk! – as Tony reported on his extensive efforts to trace the games of the Brunswick Chess Congress 1880. The inimitable description of his experiences in Brunswick archives and libraries where our "hunter and collector" was exposed to the merciless "German bureaucracy" inducing him to commute back and forth again and again without any result, caused again a tremendous atmosphere. After all he could announce as a conclusion that he had possibly found a person who could supply the games sought after – though this prospect is associated with a great "Maybe". We hope that Tony’s research has been crowned with success in the meantime.
A further highlight awaited us this evening – the now following consultation game of John Donaldson against the "KWA masters": It is quite remarkable which joyful enthusiasm and dedication our members are able to show at the board, beyond all collecting mania.
A short remark on the arrangements: the opponents played in separate rooms, Michael Negele offered to transmit the moves to the opponents. John Donaldson had the white pieces. The time limit was 75 minutes for each side where only the own clock was decisive, leaving the time for transmitting the moves out of account. A strong Nordic-Dutch combination constituted the KWA group (Per Skjoldager, Gunnar Finnlaugsson, Claes Løfgren, Jes Knudsen, Poul Bang Nielsen and Jurgen Stigter), but in the course of the game additional members loudly joined in. Of course it was not allowed to consult chess literature or even computer programs, and the players had to obey the old "Touch and Move Law".
After the KWA group had met White’s Moróczy Bind with a more seldom variation (6... Qb6), they got – probably after few dubious moves (like 11... Be6?!) – into an inferior position, and in move 26 they "sacrificed in desperation" a pawn on the queenside. Moreover a gradually growing time-trouble emerged with advanced play. But owing to a resourceful defence and to a minor inattentiveness of John who was still suffering from jet lag (29. Qd2?!; better immediately 29. Bd2), White couldn’t turn the profitable position into a win ...
... as the "black" KWA group had spotted a saving manoeuvre facilitating a perpetual check while sacrificing a knight. John took the offered knight and at the same time offered a draw which naturally was accepted with shouting and cheering – the draw was celebrated like a win!
You will find additional 8 photos in this Gallery, and you can play over the complete game here:
At the end Karl Klittich distributed the surprise gift, each KWA member received a box containing three bottles of a good wine – at the same time a "chess keepsake" (in a limited edition), as the bottles wear labels with the KWA logo especially produced on this occasion. A wonderful idea of the House of Klittich-Pfankuch in any case – many a member will regret not having come to Brunswick this day!
The KWA anniversary label on the bottle of wine.
The production of the labels was by no means a simple affair as first you must have a licence before you can go into print!
We owe our generous hosts a big "Thank You" for this marvellous celebration which certainly will still be remembered a long time by all participants!