Marlet's painting of the match between Saint-Amant and Staunton: the original, the lithograph, and the copies
by Jean Oliver Leconte
This article concerns the conflict about the painting made by Jean Henry Marlet during the match played in 1843 between Saint-Amant and Staunton. More exactly this painting represents the 19th game of the match, played on December 16, 1843 at the Paris Chess Club (Cercle des Échecs de Paris). This conflict led to a lawsuit between Saint-Amant and the painter Marlet.
The painting of Marlet is an exceptional document in many ways:
- Most of the notabilities of the Chess Club (Cercle des Échecs de Paris - on the 1st floor of the Café de la Régence) are represented, with the significant exception of Deschapelles.
- It is to our knowledge the only representation of the Chess Club of this time.
I discovered in the Parisian press of the time the report of the lawsuit which opposed the painter Marlet to Saint-Amant about the painting. This report brings several very interesting details which Saint-Amant mentions partially in the chess review Le Palamède.
There are, so to speak, at least 3 different versions of this painting:
- The original by Marlet
- A lithograph by Alexandre Laemlein
- Copies painted from the engraving.
Our member, the former President of the German Chess Federation and passionate chess historian Herbert Bastian turned 70 years on 10 December 2022. Born 1952 in Emmersweiler, a small town in the German region of Saarland, near the Franco-German border, Herbert developed his great chess talent in the local chess club since 1966 and became several times champion of his native Saarland. In 1972, he participated at federal level and won the Dähne-Cup in 1976. Although being among the German elite players, Herbert chose a civil career and became a school teacher for mathematics. But even as an amateur he out-calculated Viktor Korchnoi in a memorable game from the GM tournament of Baden-Baden in 1981 (see below). He became shared second at the German championship a year later and represented German colours at the European team championship in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) 1983. He also played in the Bundesliga and scored his 20th(!) title as champion of Saarland in 1992. His constant successes earned him the IM title in 2005. As recent as 2020, he still participated in the federal championships with a remarkable performance of 4/9 at 2300 ELO level.
Our new member, Pete Tamburro from Morristown (US), is presented in the members area (You must be logged in to read).
Another exhibition related to chess opened this week. Siegfried Schönle was there again and reported:
Schach und Musik (in German)
[Update 2022-11-25] The English version of the text is now available: Schach und Musik (Chess and Music) [/Update]
Siegfried Schönle reports on the meeting of the members of Chess Collectors International (CCI) and CH&LS on the occasion of the "Schachwunderland - Kunst und Humor im Schach" (Chess Wonderland - art and humor in chess) exhibition in Plauen. The article is written in German, but will soon be published in English:
[Update 2022-11-25] The English version of the text is now available: Chess and humor [/Update]
by Jean Oliver Leconte
The table where Bonaparte is said to have played chess at the Café de la Régence was a tourist attraction for almost a century.
Some time ago, Mr. Patrice Belluire (France), whom I thank, gave me a book reference (which I did not know), where this table of Bonaparte appears and in which it is possible to view the interior of the Café de la Régence at the end of the 1930s.
It is the book Chessmen published in 1937 that I bought in a small Parisian bookshop (a copy signed by the author M. J.Maunoury and dedicated to the publisher Harcourt!)
The president of the "Théméchecs" association, Mr. Alain Barnier (France), has contacted us for various exchanges concerning our two associations with rather similar objectives. What he proposes will interest, I hope, most of our members.
Our French association gathers chess collectors, originally rather philatelists, but also collectors of books, magazines, pictures, games and other objects, as well as amateurs of chess history and culture. A quarter of the members are outside France.
Our website is here: http://echecs.online.fr/themechecs/
I propose the idea of collaborating with you, notably by exchanging information, for example on our side:
- by mentioning the website of the KWA / CH&LS association;
- mentioning your events and informing you about ours;
- sending our newsletter to the president (3 times a year);
- giving you free access to our auctions (once or twice a year), etc.
Dear members of the society!
On 10 September 2022, we held our first General Assembly in the beautiful Palazzo del Doglione of Marostica. Many of our members could also see the life chess event in the evening which was shown until the end despite some heavy rain showers in between! I wish to thank in particular our Italian members Stefano Zulian and the President of the Marostica Chess Club, who helped a great deal in the preparation. Moreover, it was an honour that we could count the great Italian Chess historian Dr. D’Elia among our participants. In order to facilitate the cross-communication, I attach the list of participants with e-mails for your information.
Read more ... (You must be logged in to read)
by Jean Oliver Leconte
In a previous article on my website (in French) I wrote about the visit of Kempelen's chess-playing Turkish automaton to Paris in 1783.
During my research I discovered many newspaper articles about a chess-playing Turkish automaton in Paris in the year 1800. At that time Kempelen was still alive and his automaton had not yet been sold to Johann Maelzel. But curiously, the name of the person who brought the automaton to Paris in 1800 was not Kempelen. In 1783, the newspaper articles mention a certain Anthon (who I have not yet identified). And in 1800, it is a certain Morosi. And that's when I thought something was wrong. And "Hey presto!", in the reference book "Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne" (Paris 1843), we find in volume 74, page 417 a short biography of someone called Joseph Morosi (26-06-1772 - 27-09-1840) presented as an Italian mechanic born in Ripafratta, a small village in Tuscany. The text indicates:
Zur Schach-Akademie in Achdorf bei Landshut und vom Sailerschen-Kreis (To the chess academy in Achdorf near Landshut and from the Sailerschen circle)
On two chess scenes of the early 19th century:
A chess academy in Achdorf near Landshut by professors from the Landshut University (1800-1826), later the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Attached to the first part is a facsimile of Prof. Mall's witty and ironic speech at the end of the chess academy entitled Zweiter Jahresbericht über die Ereignisse in der Schach-Akademie auf dem Zollhause zu Achdorf im Jahre 1814/15 erstattet bei dem Schach-Soupée am 27. Februar 1815. This report, I could only prove 3 printed originals, gives an insight into the social background of the members of the chess academy and their chess meetings in the former customs house.
In the second part, the lifelong enjoyment of chess by the later Bishop of Regensburg, Johann Michael Sailer (1751-1832), is discussed. He was friends with Johann Caspar Lavater, among others, who also discussed the chess automaton on his trip to Copenhagen in the summer of 1793. Accompanying is described J.M. Sailer, Professor of Theology, through the theological and historical conflicts triggered by the Napoleonic Wars, within and outside of the professorships in Dillingen, Ingolstadt, Landshut and Regensburg in the early 19th century.
At the General Assembly in Marostica, previous chairman Bob van de Velde looked back on his tenure. Here is his speech:
Dear members of our Society,
Today is a special day in many respects. The last member meeting of this kind took place 7 years ago in 2015. The place of performance was the library of the German city of Kiel, which properly accommodated a beautiful chess collection. Its catalog is a well-known work of reference. That meeting was the result of the courageous initiative of our creative and energic member Andreas Saremba. But sadly, he was the last one who had that courage. From then on, seven lean years begun, the years during which I was your chairman.
Dominique Thimognier, editor of the excellent site Héritage des Échecs Français, has presented the last conference in Marostica (Italy) on Saturday September 10th. You have below the support of his conference devoted to the 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad.
This is the only Chess Olympiad organized in France, except for the one in 1924, during the Olympic Games in Paris, which was considered as unofficial. Dominique Thimognier benefited from two testimonies of the time, with Michel Benoit, French champion 1973 and member of the French team in Nice, and Louis Risacher, referee during these Olympiads.
A difficult organization: with 10 times fewer volunteers than the previous Olympics, while many more teams took part, the hotel to accommodate the teams was still under construction, etc.
This is the material of the third lecture given in Marostica on Saturday 10th September 2022 during the general assembly of the international association CH&LS. The 3rd World Junior Chess Championship in Antwerp, Belgium in 1955, by Henri Serruys, treasurer of the association.
This is the material for the second lecture given during the general assembly of the CH&LS association.
Frank presented the lecture "Lasker's Difficult Journey after the First World War" by Frank Hoffmeister, of which you have the support below.
Interestingly, one of the audience members added that Lasker had gone broke twice in his life. Firstly, just after the First World War, because he had invested in German government loans to finance the war, and then after the krach of October 1929.
Here is the support of the first lecture by Björn Reich.
Last Saturday 10th September 2022, the CH&LS "Chess History and Literature Society" met for its general assembly in Marostica, Italy. Marostica is famous for its chess show, which takes place every two years. A small town quite suitable for this General Assembly!
Four conferences on chess history were presented during this general assembly. I will publish the material of these four presentations on this website, as well as on my blog Le Café de la Régence.
Jean Oliver Leconte
- Lecture 1 - Chess as a means of moral education in the Middle Ages - By Björn Reich (document in English)
- Lecture 2 - Lasker's difficult journey after the First World War - By Frank Hoffmeister (document in English) [available from September 22nd]
- Lecture 3 - The 3rd World Junior Chess Championship in Antwerp, Belgium in 1955 - By Henri Serruys (document in English) [available from September 23th]
- Lecture 4 - The 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad - By Dominique Thimognier (document in French) [available from September 24th]
Dear fellow members of the Chess History and Literature Society,
On Saturday 10 September, the General Assembly of the CH&LS will take place in Marostica, Italy, as of 10am. Thanks to our web editor Jean Olivier Leconte, it will be possible to attend the assembly via this link:
The agenda which we posted in May (News for members) on the website is confirmed. We are looking forward to hear four interesting speeches about Chess in the Middle Ages (Björn Reich), Lasker’s difficult journey after 1914 (Frank Hoffmeister), the World Junior Championship 1955 in Antwerp (Henry Serruys) and about the Chess Olympiad 1974 in Nice (Dominique Thimognier). We hope that many of you, who are not able to be present in Marostica, will take the opportunity to follow the proceedings online. See you there!
Secretary of the CH&LS
Our new member, John H. M. Damsager from Denmark, introduces himself in the members area (You must be logged in to read).
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!”
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: https://lecafedelaregence.blogspot.com/
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 email@example.com
Thank you, and see you in Marostica in September 2022!
Jean Olivier Leconte
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.
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.
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.
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)
Our new senior member, Hanon Russell from Portsmouth (US), introduces himself in the members area (You must be logged in to read).
Dear members and friends of the Chess History and Literature Society!
As announced by our previous chairman, Bob van de Velde, the new board of our society has assumed office. It gives me great pleasure to announce that Henri Serruys (Treasurer - Belgium), Jean-Olivier Leconte (Webeditor - France) Claes Løfgren (Secretary - Denmark) and John Donaldson (Vice-President - USA) will work together with me as new President (Frank Hoffmeister - Belgium).
As one of our first activities, I would like to invite you all for a GENERAL ASSEMBLY 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.
Our member Siegfried Schönle would like to draw attention to a three-part German-language radio show on the subject of chess.
Deutschlandfunk: "Schachspiel - Schachsport" (in German)
On February 22nd our Honorary Member Dr. Michael Negele celebrated his 65th birthday. This day coincided with the day on which, although still informally, the new Board of the CH&LS took office and during the following weeks in which the transfer of tasks took place this special day for our Honorary Member passed unnoticed. So, prior to our warmest congratulations we have to apologise for our lack of awareness to look on time on the birthday calendar!
Michael belonged to the founding fathers of the CH&LS, that started almost 20 years ago as Ken Whyld Association, a small group of collectors, bibliographers and historians. The idea was to connect the few people around the world that were interested in chess book collecting, in problems of chess bibliography, and in chess history, and to exchange information, data, books, and to try to build a kind of ‘wiki’ chess bibliography. The early members of the informal Association had the hope that the number of members could grow up to at most 30, but to a large extent thanks to Michael’s boundless energy, first as treasurer and later as chairman, the membership expanded within 10 year to almost 200 members. When you dive into the historical pages of our website, you can get an impression of his activities and his contributions, for instance when you look under Archive, especially under Expeditions of Michael Negele. During that period he was a true ambassador of the Association.
On Tuesday March 22nd, 2022 Bob van de Velde has written these email letter to the Council of Representatives and to the members of the new Board and the former Board of the CH&LS with regard to the new Board composition:
Dear Members of the Council of Representatives,
dear new Members of the Board,
dear former Members of the Board,
at 00:00 h this morning the term of four weeks has been passed by without a reaction from the Council of Representatives on the proposal of the former Board (email of 21st of February) to appoint the four candidates, mentioned in my email below, as members of the Board:
Frank Hoffmeister as chairman/president,
Claes Løfgren as secretary,
Henri Serruys as treasurer and
Jean-Olivier Leconte as member and website editor.
From now on, together with John Donaldson, vice-chairman/president, they will form the new Board of the Chess History & Literature Society (formally still Ken Whyld Association) .
I am happy to be the first one who can gratulate them with their appointment and to wish them all the success in their efforts to overcome the negative effects on the CH&LS of the lockdown period during the corona pandemic. At the same time I thank the members of the old board for their cooperation during my two-plus terms as chairman and their willingness to improvise during the corona period, and especially I am grateful for Karl Klittich’s support and for his inventiveness to find solutions for almost all problems that arose during the last two years.
Read more ... (You must be logged in to read)
On 8 February 1922, our senior member and oldest living Grandmaster, Yuri Averbakh was born in Kaluga near Moscow. He steadily rose in the ranks of Soviet Chess, became a GM in 1952 and participated in the legendary Zurich 1953 candidates tournament (won by Smyslov). In 1954, he won the Soviet championship and almost qualified for the next candidates tournament in the Interzonal of Portoroz. In 1962, he quit competitive chess and concentrated and chess journalism and politics. His role at the helmet of the Soviet Chess organisation is aptly summarized in his unique Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes (New in Chess, 2011).
Given his high reputation and recognized integrity, Yuri was also chosen as chief arbiter for three world championship matches, namely Kasparov-Karpov (1984), Kasparov-Short (1993) and Kasparov-Kramnik (2000).
While these milestones in his career are already impressive on their own, they do not tell the complete biography, though. Asked in an interview for Chess.com (Yuri Averbakh, The Oldest Living Grandmaster, Turns 100) about his biggest achievement, Averbakh, confessed that neither his performances in competitive chess nor in chess bureaucracy or as arbiter could qualify. Rather, he pointed to his acclaimed book on chess history! Indeed, the monograph A History of Chess – From Chatarunga to the Present Day finished in 2012 (at the age of 90!) established itself quickly as a “must-have” for chess historians. Averbakh went deep into the origins of “Chaturanga”, took account of archeological findings around the globe and showed an intimate knowledge about the main literary milestones on the game. As he observed himself: “I have been gathering material for this book all my life”.
The Chess History and Literature Society wishes to honor Yuri Averbakh for his life-long commitment to the game and his outstanding contribution as chess historian! May he enjoy many more years to come.
Prof. Frank Hoffmeister,
President ad interim as of February 2022
Dear friends and members of CH&LS,
The Edinburgh Chess Club is holding an auction on April 7th, here is the information they have provided:
Advance notice that Edinburgh Chess Club is planning to offer for sale the first batch of its surplus magazines and other publications in an auction which is to be held by Thomas Roddick on Thursday 7th April at 11.30am at their Carlisle saleroom.
Further details will be available much nearer the time when an illustrated catalogues will be available online at www.thomsonroddick.com and live online bidding will be available via easyliveauction.com and the-saleroom.com.
To whet your appetite the magazines on offer include:
- Bound volumes of early rare magazines such as Volume 1 of the Chess Chronicle (published in 1841), which became the first successful English-language chess magazine, and a bound copy of Volume 1 of The Chess Monthly (published in 1879-80);
- Many other bound volumes and single issues of old magazines such as The Chess Amateur, Chess Pie, The Chess Monthly: "Suum Cuique", Chess Chronicle, The Chess Monthly
- Bound and unbound volumes of long running publications such as Chess (Sutton Coldfield), British Chess Magazine, both Scottish Chess and its predecessor the Scottish Chess Bulletin;
- Some foreign language magazines such as Shakhmatnyi Bulleten;
- Recent unbound volumes and single issues of modern magazines such as King Pin and New In Chess;
- And last, but not least, a bundle of Edinburgh Chess Club’s own magazine Capital (Capatal) Chess!
Further details can be obtained from Ian Whittaker, Curator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dear friends and members of CH&LS,
I would like to inform you that the book about the online conference of 20 March 2021 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Fédération Française des Échecs has been published. It contains 12 articles by internationally renowned authors in French and English. Authors are Bastian, Baudrier, Bertola, Eales, Fiala, Garzón, Van Habberney, Hoffmeister, Leconte, Lissowski, Schulz, Teyssou.
EUR 49.90 is the normal price.
304 pages, hardcover
Publisher: Exzelsior Verlag (with further information about the book [in German])
For CH&LS members we offer the book for 40,- (plus shipping, Germany EUR 5,-; Europe EUR 12,-).
Please indicate that you are a CH&LS member when ordering! For orders from Europe we will send you the invoice by mail first. After receipt of the bank transfer the book will be shipped (prepayment).