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May 2022

Rolf Martens - A New Swedish Biography

Axel Smith, Fredrik Danelius and Calle Erlandsson - Rolf Martens- frontcover
Axel Smith, Fredrik Danelius and Calle Erlandsson - Rolf Martens- frontcover

Rolf Martens (1942-2008) was a unique figure in Swedish chess. Already as a junior he showed promise, and as a student in Lund and a member of the strong local club LASK (Lunds Akademiska Schackklubb) his strength grew rapidly. When he took part in the top group for the first and only time he won the Swedish Championship in 1967. This victory gave rise to a lot of expections, and a sensational 2. prize, half a point after Jefim Geller, in the Gothenburg international tournament 1967/68 indeed secured Martens his first IM-norm.

But that also turned out to be the last. Between half-hearted university studies and life as an enthusiastic blitz-shark at his favourite café, Martens developed a left-wing political interest in the wake of the student revolts of 1968. Detesting what he saw as US and Soviet imperialism alike, he came to believe in the reorganizing of society as described in Mao Zedongs writings, and became a zealous propagator of Maoism. Striving always to support the side of the weak, he took part in demonstrations, navigated between the differing fractions of political parties, managed to be expelled for both right- and left-deviationism, and published a newsletter financed by the Chinese embassy. Chess receded into the background – after all, Martens said, it was ”only fun!”

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New web editor: Jean Olivier Leconte

Jean Olivier Leconte
Jean Olivier Leconte

As already described in the article CH&LS with a new board, we have a new web editor. He introduces himself with a few lines:

Jean Olivier Leconte, 53 years old, I live just outside Paris in the small town of Saint-Mandé and I work in a bank as a database administrator.

I have been playing chess for over 40 years ... I am a FIDE Master, Senior International Correspondence Master, and President of a chess club.

For a little over 10 years, I have been writing articles (in French and Russian) for my website on the history of the Café de la Régence and more generally on the history of chess in Paris:

I also wrote a book in two volumes in French about the history of the Café de la Régence, and co-author of the book of the 100th anniversary of the French Chess Federation (see Special offer for members: La France et son apport dans le jeu d'échecs).

Frank Hoffmeister asked me to be a member of the board of the CH&LS. And so I became the web editor of our association.

If you want to publish an article on our site, you can write to me at

Thank you, and see you in Marostica in September 2022!

Jean Olivier Leconte

Auction of some interesting books

Michael Wiltshire
Michael Wiltshire

Michael Wiltshire, President of Chess Collectors International (CCI), is selling some interesting books at an auction on May 26th at Forum Auctions.

Here is the list:

  • LOT 334: Il Giuoco de gli Scacchi, Ridotto in Poema Eroico, second edition, Vicenza, Appresso Perin Libraro, e Giorgio Greco Compag., 1607.
  • LOT 335: The Royall Game of Chesse-Play, first edition in English, Printed for Henry Herringman, 1656.
  • LOT 336: Chess Made Easy, Printed for J. and P. Knapton...and W. Sandby, 1750.
  • LOT 337: The History of Chess, first edition, 1764.
  • LOT 340: Il Giuoco Incomparabile degli Scacchi, second edition, Venice, Simone Occhi, 1773.
  • LOT 341: Essays on Chess adapted to the European Mode of Play, first edition, Bombay, Printed for the Author, by M.D. Cruz, 1814.
  • LOT 342: The Noble Game of Chess, 2 parts in 1, first edition, Printed for J. Brindley, 1745.

Calle Erlandsson 80

Calle Erlandsson, at the opening of the TePe Sigeman tournament in Malmö, Sweden

One of the founding members of KWA, Calle Erlandsson, reached the mature age of 80 years on May 20. He is today the most avid and active chess collector in Sweden, having over the years amassed a most impressive collection, particularly in the field of chess magazines. Calle has in addition contributed more to Swedish chess than anybody else I can think of. Being a dedicated correspondence player in his younger days, he took active part in SSKK, the section of the Swedish Chess Federation organizing correspondence tournaments, for many years. He also transformed their magazine SSKK-bulletinen from being a plain results list to a magazine full of interesting content. Note that this was before any kind of computer support was available for manuscripts and layout.

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News for members

Palazzo del Doglione: Our meeting venue
Palazzo del Doglione: Our meeting venue

Dear members of the society!

It gives me great pleasure to write the first letter to you on behalf of the board – Claes Løfgren (Secretary), Henri Serruys (Treasurer) and Jean-Olivier Leconte (Webeditor).

As announced on our website, we are planning a general assembly of the society to mark a new phase of our activities. The event will take place on 10 September 2022 in Marostica (Italy) from 10 am to 5 pm. Dr. Roberto Xausa President of the Banca Popolare di Marostica Volksbank Foundation has granted the holding of the General Assembly at the Sala del Buongoverno Palazzo del Doglione - Headquarters of the Foundation in the famous Piazza degli Scacchi! This offers many of us occasion to meet in person after a long period of travel and meeting restrictions. In the evening, you have the possibility to participate in the "Chess-live" event.

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A chess master from Dessau: Otto Rosenbaum

Konrad Reiß, Otto Rosenbaum..., Biography 2021.
Konrad Reiß, Otto Rosenbaum..., Biography 2021.

Author Konrad Reiß wrote a biography about the (almost) forgotten chess master Otto Rosenbaum from Dessau (Germany). Our member Siegfried Schönle took a closer look.

Here are his impressions: Ein Schachmeister aus Dessau: Otto Rosenbaum (in German)