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October 2021

Our member Alan McGowan has sent us a reaction on the question of the correct day of the demise of Akiba Rubinstein. The question was put forward by Mr. Philip Jurgens (Ottawa, Canada) and commented by our member John Donaldson (see the contribution on 2021-08-30: The date of Rubinstein’s death). Alan asks:

"Could you perhaps induce a Belgian member of CH&LS to look at the newspapers of the day; a death notice would help solve the issue. Or, going to the heart of things, acquire a copy of the death certificate?”

Well, this sounds like a challenge to our Belgium members! Who of them meets this challenge?

Bob van de Velde

View in the Chess Museum
View in the Chess Museum

Our member Bernd Schneider has sent us the bad news that the Chess Museum in the Swiss municipality Rain near Luzern has gone bankrupt. Its founder and owner Werner Rupp hadn't pay rent for quite a long time. Recently, in the presence of the police, but without the presence of Mr. Rupp, the building of the Museum was closed. In it the 32.000 chess boards, sets and pieces, together with 10.000 books, stay behind, partly packed in boxes, and waiting till the financial debt has been paid. Among the objects are the legacy of Viktor Kortchnoi and 3000 chess related stamps. The Luzerner Zeitung has published details about the background of this bankruptcy: Miete nicht bezahlt: Schachmuseum ist schachmatt

Alain Biénabe, 2008
Alain Biénabe, 2008

Recently, we have received the sad news that our long-time member Alain Biénabe is deceased on February 22th 2021 after suffering from Parkingson’s disease during 12 years.

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Chess, Draughts, Morris & Tables. Position in Past & Present - frontcover
Chess, Draughts, Morris & Tables. Position in Past & Present - frontcover

For chess historians it seems important, at least to me, to have a broader view on the history of the game than more or less exclusively on the sources that offer mainly chess material. We may realize that the history of chess is part of the history of mind games or mind sports, which is a much larger field of research, and no less complicated, even when we focus only on the history of the board games. The annual colloquia of the Board Games Studies are there to prove this.

Another proof is the recently published book Chess, Draughts, Morris & Tables. Position in Past & Present by the Dutch authors Arie van der Stoep, Jan de Ruiter, Wim van Mourik. As experts on the history of draughts (checkers) they are well known in Dutch draughts circles, and this background becomes clear already on the first pages, not by discussing in the first place the position of draughts and its history, but by immediately presenting the question whether draughts have been developed from chess, or … just the other way around. But this is not their main concern. Their aim is another, they try to find answers to the many questions that arise about the position of the discussed board games in the societies of the past and the present. To this end they compare the positions of the games in the different phases of history and in doing so they make use of sources from various fields of expertise, such as philology, literature, art history, sociology. Many beautiful illustrations, lavishly spread throughout the book, support this approach.

pixabay.com

As far as we can remember, it is the first time we received a reaction on our website as such, and not a reaction from a collector, an historian or an author who wanted to add some information or was asking a question with regard to any specific topic. The email letter we received from Mrs. Bianca P. [Name and contact address are known to the editors.], we like to share with our members:

Name: Bianca P[...]
Email: biancap@[...]
Subject: KWA, chess newbies here
Message: Hi all, I hope it's okay to reach out like this but I wanted to give the Ken Whyld Association a big thumbs up from my son and I. He has a newfound obsession with chess but is a beginner (and I am totally clueless about this stuff so as he learns he is teaching me lol), your information here came in handy: https://www.kwabc.org/en/links.html.

Henri Serruys -  Van Spel tot Duel. Het schaken in het jonge België - frontcover
Henri Serruys - Van Spel tot Duel. Het schaken in het jonge België - frontcover

We are delighted to announce a new publication of our Belgium long-time member Henri Serruys, who embarked on an exploration of a terra incognita of the European chess history, namely chess life in 19th century Belgium. In his Dutch language book Van Spel tot Duel (From game to duel) he reports his many discoveries that put Belgium on the map of European chess in that century.

Our Society supported the publication of the book. We draw the attention of our members to the possibility to receive a copy of the limited special edition at the same price as a standard copy.

Bob van de Velde

 

Steinitz headstone, 2019
Steinitz headstone, 2019

Our new member Jon Jacobs has a historical observation and a question regarding the grave of Steinitz, and hopes the members of the CH&LS, or other interested persons, could help him answer this question:

My research collaborator, IM Yury Lapshun, made an interesting discovery when examining and comparing two widely published photos of Steinitz’s grave, and a third photo that we took in 2019 when we visited the grave. The two photos that appear on the CH&LS website (Steinitz, William) and many other websites (copied below), show apparent differences in both the vertical headstone itself, and the wider, ground-level stone on which the vertical headstone rests.