Michael Negele's chess tours III

A chess man came travelling ...

Michael Negele's chess tours
in the 2nd half of 2015 - Part III

The third and final part of Michael’s tours leads us to Bamberg and Amsterdam ...

Chess treasuries of Bamberg (29-30 November)

Helmut Pfleger (with chess pullover) and Bernhard Schmid next to a big photo of the late Lothar Schmid
Helmut Pfleger (with chess pullover) and Bernhard Schmid next to a big photo of the late Lothar Schmid

Hainstraße 51 in Bamberg is certainly the secret Mecca of all chess collectors, provided they are admitted there, as it was the case with GM Helmut Pfleger and Michael Negele end of last November. Both were kindly received by the Schmid family (Ingrid Schmid as well as Bernhard Schmid and his sister Alexandra Stößel) who did their best to offer the guests an overview of Lothar Schmid's huge collection. Naturally time was all too short to gain an even rough overview - this collection outshone all that Michael had seen before in this respect, particularly concerning the quality of the large runs of periodicals and of original covers. That's the result of an optimization over decades, and many items exist twice or three times - Lothar Schmid has always been crazy about "variations". On the other hand the collection is overwhelming in the very meaning of the word, definitely for the current owners, and maybe has already been before for its "creator".

Anyway, a former system is almost not perceptible anymore, and there is an urgent need for action especially on the top floor (attic) which has to be cleared of structural load. In Michael's view it seems impossible to keep the complete collection together. So the core of the collection (items until 1945, with the documents, autographs and photos) could be hopefully included in a public library. Chess graphics, chess sets and other memorabilia in the rooms downstairs should be disposed in order to gain some space for those items, to be cleaned and recorded. A further part of the collection (dated after 1945) could pass into a Lothar Schmid Museum in Bamberg, while most of the duplicates could be auctioned off, efficiently. In any case it is desirable to preserve the collection in Germany, as a cultural chess heritage. Admittedly, it's a Herculean task ...

A (very limited) selection of further photos in this gallery.

As to Lasker there was less than expected, but Michael could inspect only a fraction of the total. At least he could record 25 letters of Lasker to W.A.T. Schelfhout, moreover there were quite a lot of totally unknown photos. The alleged Lasker diary exists as well, but the contents are poor. Lasker received it as a present from his sister Philchen at Christmas 1912, and in 1914 he had started to write entries.

The guestbook of the Schmid family is worth a special mention, as it is a distinguished collector's item containing numerous prominent visitors, among them all the world champions after Alekhine, apart from Gary Kasparov only (Max Euwe has been in Bamberg several times).

Michael Negele has written an excellent article (11 pages!) on collector's passion, his visit to Bamberg and Lothar Schmid's treasures, including some background stories:
Sind Sammler glückliche Menschen? oder Der Fuchs und die Trauben, in: SCHACH 2/2016, p.46-56.

We still show some photos from the previous day:

The following four photos show important "chess places" in Bamberg:

Final Pleasures in Amsterdam

Michael's last chess trip of the year was scheduled for 8th of December, the tour to Amsterdam should serve above all a meeting with Bob van de Velde to discuss in detail some points of the Lasker project. Afterwards the opportunity arose to attend the "Euwe drink" in the Holland Casino, an event held twice a year. This time it attracted an impressive number of about 60 chess friends, a main subject was the existential threat of the city to withdraw its subsidy (rent) to the Max Euwe Centrum (ChessBase has already reported on that).

Ruud van Caspel (a well-known lawyer and author) delivered a flaming speech on the survival of the MEC, while MEC chairman Jan van Run tried to radiate optimism and suggested to find new sources of capital. (Report at the MEC web site.) He also reminded of Max Euwe's winning the world championship title quite exactly 80 years ago (15-12-1935).

Our member Peter de Jong had the chance to present his meanwhile finished Euwe trilogy (for that see also the announcement on our page "Home"). The youngest Euwe daughter, Fietie Brouwer-Euwe, received from Peter a copy of volume I of his work.

Below we give a small selection of photos from the "Euweborrel" (borrel [Dutch] = tot [schnapps]).

Photographs © Dr. Michael Negele, Wuppertal

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