Persons celebrating an Anniversary in July 2004

Our first birthday greetings go to Burg (near Magdeburg) where chess friend and collector Bernd Domsgen celebrated his 51st birthday on July 6.

The next 4 birthdays follow at daily intervals: we will start with Romano Bellucci, his home is in the lagune city of Venice where he looked back on whole 64 years on July 9. He is the head of the editorial department of the international review Scacchi e Scienze Applicate (Chess and Applied Sciences), an highly interesting magazine coming out once per year since 1981 while it deals with the contributions that chess has given and will continue to give sciences and vice versa. Recently he has tackled a new book project, a bibliography on jubilee books of German chess clubs, federations and associations to appear in German/English; the KWA will do its best to give him assistance with regard to investigations and research material.

The Dutch study expert Jan van Reek is the next on our birthday list, he celebrated his 59th birthday on July 10. He started as a study composer in his early youth and continuously improved in the course of time - a point of culmination was 1986, being awarded a 1st prize by Szachy as well as being appointed an International Judge for Endgame Studies. In 1988 JvR was also the driving force behind the foundation of ARVES and as an editor of the study magazine EG he has decisively contributed to its success and its continued existence. We are only able to record the numerous books and writings published or edited by him in a separate list. His latest work “Dutch Chess Champions” has just appeared in this year, it may be ordered online at NewInChess. You will find more about JvR at his websites and

David Shenk comes from Brooklyn, USA, already in the first month of his KWA membership he is celebrating his birthday turning 38 on July 11. His joining of the KWA seems at first remarkable as he is neither a chess player nor a chess historian or a particular chess enthusiast. Instead he is nationwide well-known as a bestseller author of so far four books of completely different (non chess) subject matters, you may learn more about them by visiting his website. But he has now tackled a further book dealing with the history and the meaning of chess, written for a general readership from an outsider’s point of view. Ken Whyld had already wished him good luck for this project: “Perhaps someone outside the chess scene can look with a more detached eye. I wish you well.“ – we would like to follow this wish and we hope that David Shenk will find in our association many creative suggestions and assistance for his work (it will be published by Doubleday in 2006). David told us that he has some chess blood in his veins too – his great-great-grandfather was Samuel Rosenthal – and he aims for learning more about this one family connection to chess history and also for a better understanding of the appeal of our beloved game.

A well-known Swiss collector is next in line, Urs Frischherz celebrated his 46th birthday on July 12. He has not only published his own collection at his fine homepage, but also offers duplicates in exchange or for sale as well as many interesting information on collectors and collecting old chess books – won’t you visit it once more occasionally!

A real jubilee is now in sight, the well-known and everywhere popular chess dealer, publisher, journalist and author Manfred Mädler has completed his 70th year on July 15. He is the only one remaining from the old guard of German chess dealers like Rudi Schmaus and Kurt Rattmann, and also the great flood in August, 2002 was not a serious danger for the chess house Mädler at Dresden. A lot of things have been written about my friend Manfred, even lately in the German magazine KARL where a report was given on his collection of chess clocks and the history of timekeeping in chess (see issue 02/01); not to forget the article worth reading in issue 1/2002 where some curiosities and anecdotes from his rich chess life are told.

Manfred was born at Dresden and grew up there in the hard years of WW II and the post-war period. Eleven years old he became infected with the chess virus and the well-known Dresden problemist Hans Vetter who became his chess teacher has influenced him in that he couldn’t get it out of his head anymore. Manfred, by family tradition qualified as an ironmongery merchant, left his birthplace which provided no career prospects end of October 1952 – at the age of 18 – to make his fortune in the west – at first in the Palatinate, afterwards to the Hessian Darmstadt, later on in Kiel, to Switzerland (Zurich and Bern), also for 2 years to Sweden (Stockholm) where he assisted FIDE to build up a chess library. The change to chess to make his living took place gradually with the decline of the retail trade in his branch, the chess house Mädler was founded in 1972 at Lübeck, as is well known further stages were Düsseldorf (1975-1996) and since 1996 Dresden – after 44 years as a “globetrotter” he came back to his roots: in his parental home, an old villa in Dresden-Blasewitz, he has not only continued together with his wife Monika his chess retail trade but he also went into wholesale trade to further safeguard his existence.

For decades Manfred was exceptionally productive in order to reactivate chess life in Germany: for more than 30 years he held chess courses at adult education centres, his chess column (games) in the STERN run more than 20 years, numerous workshops and weekly courses for chess friends (combined with additional stimulants like hiking or wine-tasting sessions) have to be added. On the other hand Manfred always had a particular liking of correspondence chess where he developed into one of the strongest German masters; he could gain the due IM title at that time (1968) where chess computers were not yet existing and the general inflation of titles had not yet started. In those days he extremely closely missed to move into the final group of the V. CC world championship (1965-68): he lost his last game vs Hans Berliner in the preliminary round due to an endgame error – without this arduous win Berliner would have failed to qualify. It is somewhat fateful that Manfred has gone down in the annals of CC history with just this lost game. But it didn’t spoil his lasting enthusiasm for corresponding chess and up to now he has made it his (pleasant) duty to attend the yearly German CC meetings.

My – at first acquaintance, then friendship with Manfred has now been lasting for more than 10 years, and we Lower-Rhineland chess friends regretted it very much when he moved to Dresden in 1996. Even today we remember very well his Düsseldorf chess shop together with the antiquarian bookshop above as it often served us as a welcome refuge after the unpleasant matters of everyday life – here the personal meeting with Manfred was always of central importance as he was the guiding spirit of the chess house and every time he provided his visitors with new anecdotes from a seemingly inexhaustible fund. We, i.e. the chess friends Michael Negele and Hans-Georg Kleinhenz as well as myself have visited the “Mädlers” several times in wonderful “Elbflorenz”, the amusing evenings in a friendly get-together, particularly in the “Gelbfüßler”, will always be remembered too.

Dear Manfred, we – I surely may include here our KWA friends – will be very pleased to see you again at our Forchheim meeting. For your special day we wish you all the best and further decades of unbroken creative power and joie de vivre!

PS: You will find a photo of Manfred Mädler on the following page: 125 Jahre DSB – Jubiläumsfeier in Leipzig 11. Mai 2002.

Our final birthday greetings do to the Dutch city of Leiden: Jan Postma turned 58 on July 26. He is known to us being an avid user and supporter of the Royal Library at The Hague, so he is not very happy about the restructurings running there at the moment.

Congratulations to all!