Siegfried Schönle

Chess in Printed Works of the Baroque Period

After the Humanism the central artistic events had moved to the east, to the old German-speaking regions, they appeared in urban cultures such as Riga, Dorpat, Reval, Thorn, Danzig, to cite only a few.

The German writer Günter Grass has given a description of the baroque period in a very concise and clear style in his tale worth reading "Das Treffen in Telgte" (1979). The Polish title of this marvellous story is: "Spotkanie w Telgte", published 1992 in Poland. And in the year of the German first edition the tale was translated into English: "The Meeting at Telgte".

Presented are printed works of the baroque age (1600-1700) dealing with chess. Among them are particularly printed works which are generally not considered as "chess books" such as the Selenus but belong to different literary genres. Chess is related to the following names: Johann Lassenius, Adam Olearius, Luis Garon, Martin Limburger, Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, Christoph Ludwig Dietherr von Anwanden, Julius Wilhelm Zincgref, Laurentius von Schnüffis, Daniel Caspar von Lohenstein, Friedrich Hortleder, Caspar Dornau, Erasmus Francisci, to name only several. Their works frequently deal with moral questions of chess, but the authors of the baroque period also showed an interest in blind chess, living chess, the pawn promotion and other aspects of chess.

Kassel, 11/2007
Siegfried Schönle

Further publications

  • Schach in Kunst und Kultur

510 Pages A4 size, printing in 3 columns.
4273 Entries with numerous annotations, additions and bibliographical references.
Limited edition of 20 copies.
Blue hardcover binding with gilt lettering on front cover and spine.
Price 85 Euros plus postage.

The work reflects the result of 25 years of collecting with focus on chess scenes and chess illustrations in German literature, from the baroque period until the year 2016. 10 Titles from the 16th century, about 55 from the 17th, 100 from the 18th and 280 from the 19th century are included.  But also many other languages than German are present in the collection.  This applies especially to an important topic of the collection: Stefan Zweig’s “Schachnovelle”, a story of which Mr Schönle has tried to collect as many editions in as many languages as possible even if this would only remain a target.  For those interested: the entries 3811 to 4372 are Schachnovelle-editions and associated secondary literature.

About 600 English language works and translations are included.

Other special topics in the collection are works on the Chess Automaton of Baron von Kempelen (The Turk), crime stories, and art related books and catalogues.  Lexicons, bibliographies and other works of reference were gradually added over the years.

Please have a look at the pictures and some sample pages:

More details can be found in the German language introduction: