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Our new member, Carsten Hansen, introduces himself in the members area (You must be logged in to read).

New Member: Carsten Hansen

On 20 March a Zoom online conference for interested chess historians will take place on the occasion of "100 years of the French Chess Federation". It is a joint initiative of the CH&LS members Prof. Dr. Frank Hoffmeister (Bruxelles) and Herbert Bastian (Saarbrücken) together with Jean Olivier Leconte (Paris). Partners of the event are the French Chess Federation (FFE) and the German Chess Federation (DSB).

Originally, the conference was to take place locally in Paris, at the same time as a general meeting of the CH&LS. This was prevented by the Corona pandemic. Now all members of the CH&LS are invited to attend the interesting lectures by leading chess historians. Registration is free of charge by sending an email to one of the organisers (see the programme below). About a week before the conference, participants will then receive the access code by email. The Zoom programme is available free of charge on the internet (Zoom software download page) and must be installed on the participant's computer beforehand.

The Russian chess legend GM Yuri Averbakh with his daughter and Thomas Thomsen, Weimar 2014
The Russian chess legend GM Yuri Averbakh with his daughter and Thomas Thomsen, Weimar 2014

This month Yuri Averbakh, our oldest member, celebrated his 99th birthday. On behalf of our Society we send him our warmest congratulations and wish him many years to come in good health!

Yuri Averbakh is not only our oldest member, but also of the Chess Collectors International. Its President, Michael Wiltshire, has received a request from Raymond Keene to share his tribute to Averbakh, published in The Times on February 20th, with all CCI members and other interested parties. It was the former President of the CCI, Thomas Thomsen, who was so friendly as to send us the link to The Article, where Keene’s panegyric, as he himself called his article, can be found:

https://www.thearticle.com/averbakh-at-99-mens-sana-in-corpore-sano

It goes without saying that we are glad to comply indirectly to Raymond Keene’s request and to give our members the opportunity to take note of his contribution to the celebration of Yuri Averbakh’s birthday.

Bob van de Velde

John Donaldson - Bobby Fischer and his world - frontcover
John Donaldson - Bobby Fischer and his world - frontcover

Our member and temporary deputy chairman John Donaldson has published his third book on Bobby Fischer:

Bobby Fischer and his world - The man, the player, the riddle, and the colorful characters who surrounded him.

Includes 99 annotated games
Los Angeles: Siles Press, © 2020; xx + 664 pp.
ISBN 9781890085193

This real magnum opus is John Donaldson’s third book on Fischer after his A Legend on the road: Bobby Fischer’s 1964 simul tour (1994) and, with co-author Eric Tangborn, The unknown Bobby Fischer (1999). So it is – in terms of soccer – also his hattrick on the 11th world champion.

Already at first glance we see that the work is the result of his chess life long preoccupation with all aspects of Fischer’s chess life. At the same time, browsing the almost 700 pages is enough to understand that the author documents more or less ‘en passant’ important parts of the American chess history of the second part of the 20th century. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future the register of his book (pp. 633-644) will be also used by historians as a kind of encyclopedic reference work. If ever the ‘definitive’ biography of Bobby Fischer will be written, here the biographer finds an essential part of its foundation.

[Update 2020-12-30] John has sent us following reactions in response to some of our remarks regarding his book:

“Like many players of my generation I started playing as a result of the Fischer - Spassky World Championship match. While I never saw Fischer play or had the opportunity to meet him many of my friends did. Their stories of Bobby, often at odds with accounts of him in the main stream media, piqued my interest. Of course I was always interested in his games and what he wrote. My fascination with Bobby only increased after I wrote two small books on him roughly twenty years ago (A Legend on the Road and The Unknown Bobby Fischer).

Marten Coerts - Meester in het schaken, grootmeester in het uitgeven - frontcover
Marten Coerts - Meester in het schaken, grootmeester in het uitgeven - frontcover

In Holland, a biography on the chess publisher, journalist, writer and player Wim Andriessen has been published. Andriessen was an independent person in the Dutch chess scene, who as publisher of the magazine Schaakbulletin (Chess Bulletin) gave room to other voices than heard in circles of the Dutch chess establishment. As he was probably rather unknown abroad and because the biography has been written in Dutch, we requested from the author Marten Coerts, a former member of our Society, a short introduction of the biographee.

Bob van de Velde

Book about publisher, chess player and chess writer Wim Andriessen

Three and a half years after he passed away, the publication of Wim Andriessen - Meester in het schaken, grootmeester in het uitgeven (Master in Chess, grandmaster in publishing) is a fact.

This book describes the personal and work life of Wilhelm Fredrik (Wim) Andriessen (1938-2017), publisher of chess books and magazines, chess player and chess writer. In the Netherlands Wim Andriessen was a well-known person. When he died a lot of Dutch newspapers wrote obituaries in their weekly chess columns.

by Michael Clapham

The auction house Antiquariat A. Klittich-Pfankuch held its bi-annual chess auction last week with many rare and important books, manuscripts and other collectable items going under the hammer. Recent auctions in Braunschweig have included many rare items from the library of the late Lothar Schmid and again, some of the choicest items came from this source.

Approximately 750 lots of books included the following Schachraritäten:

  • An Inquiry into the Antient Greek Game, supposed to have been invented by Palamedes..., by James Christie, London 1801 which sold for €1,200;
  • the first printing of the first edition of Philidor's L'Analyze des Echecs, London 1749 - €1,600; and a later printing in the same year - €950

Frank Hoffmeister - 100 Jahre Belgische Schachgeschichte - frontcover (German edition)
Frank Hoffmeister - 100 Jahre Belgische Schachgeschichte - frontcover (German edition)

In 2020 the Royal Belgian Chess Federation exists 100 year. As a contribution to the celebration of this jubilee our member Frank Hoffmeister wrote a personal homage to the Federation, 100 years Belgium chess history, and included 50 games of historical interest. As is not unusual in Belgium when more or less official publications are meant for national dissemination, the book has been written in the three languages of the country, Dutch (also called Flemish), French and German.

One year later than the Belgium Federation the French Federation was founded and in 1924 the Belgium Federation belonged to the founding members of the FIDE.

Frank Hoffmeister,

100 jaar Belgische schaakgeschiedenis - Een persoonlijk eerbetoon aan de Koninklijke Belgische Schaakbond met 50 partijen
132 pages
ISBN 9789492510990

100 ans d’histoire du jeu d’échecs en Belgique – un hommage personnel à la Fédération Royale Belge des Échecs avec 50 parties
132 pages
ISBN 9789464201000

100 Jahre belgische Schachgeschichte; Eine persönliche Hommage an den königlichen Schachbund Belgien mit 50 Partien
132 pages
ISBN 9789492510983

It will be published within a few days by Thinkers Publishing, Moorstraat 12, 9850 Landegem, Belgium. On the website of the publisher you will find a so-called teaser (pdf).

Bob van de Velde

Tim Harding - Steinitz in London - frontcover
Tim Harding - Steinitz in London - frontcover

by Fabrizio Zavatarelli

Our well-known member Tim Harding had recently added a new monograph to his previous seminal works. Steinitz in London, A Chess Biography with 623 Games (415 p., McFarland, ISBN 978-1-4766-6953-3) in fact goes beyond its title, since it adds a comprehensive account of the Bohemian Caesar’s early activity in Vienna (chapt. 1) and casts a glance at his late years, as well (chapts. 12 and 13). Several pages are also devoted to London chess life and especially to its clubs (in chapts. 3, 5, 9 and 10).

Die Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch - frontcover
Die Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch - frontcover

Five years ago our member Fabrizio Zavaratelli published his impressive biography of a now hardly known, but nevertheless rather mythological chess master from the 19th century, Ignaz Kolisch. His book Ignaz Kolisch The life and chess career was introduced on our website by webmaster Ralf Binnewirtz (see Zavatarelli on Kolisch).

This year Fabrizio Zavaratelli, together with our member Luca D’Ambrosio and with Michael Burghardt, have published a kind of complementary work Die Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch (544 p., Edition Marco, ISBN 978–3-924833-82-4). On the website of the Glarean Magazin Ralf Binnewirtz, now a former member, has published an extended review of this new publication on and of Ignaz Kolisch. You will find it on F. Zavatarelli u.a: Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch.

By the way, on these Swiss website Ralf Binnewirtz reviewed in depth many chess books, for instance recently the biography of Hein Donner by the late Alexander Münninghoff.

Below the first paragraph of the review is shown.

Bob van de Velde

Das schachjournalistische Phänomen Ideka

von Ralf Binnewirtz

Drei Schachhistoriker und -autoren haben sich zusammengetan, um die 92 sonntäglichen Feuilletons von Ignaz Kolisch – erschienen 1886-1888 in dessen eigener Wiener Allgemeinen Zeitung – in einem kompakten Band zu vereinen, der weit über die Schachwelt hinaus Interesse beanspruchen darf. Denn diese Feuilletons tangieren und reflektieren nahezu alle Bereiche der Gesellschaft und vermitteln in der ausgefeilten Prosa des Autors ein Zeit- und Sittengemälde Westeuropas aus der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts.

Read more …

Alessandro Sanvito, Vienna, 2010
Alessandro Sanvito, Vienna, 2010

Our Honorary Member Guy van Habberney has informed us about the sad news that our old-time member Alessandro Sanvito passed away, and sent us the obituary below. In addition to it we republish Michael Negele’s article My unforgettable stay at Ermide’s and Alessandro’s home which he wrote for our Chess Stalker Quarterly six years ago.

[Update 2020-11-13] Our member Siegfried Schönle advised us that there is a second volume of the Festschrift in honor of Alessandro Sanvito. A PDF with its content and the multilingual title pages was added at the end of the article. [/Update]

Alessandro Sanvito, 1938-2020

Alessandro Sanvito, one of our earliest members, passed away in Milan on October 21st, aged 81. He had been suffering since a couple of years. Born is 1938, Alessandro’s early youth was marked by the second world war. Then, in 1959, he became seriously ill, to the extent that he was unable to finish his studies. His 9 years older brother Luciano, a famous designer, subsequently helped him to set himself up as a reputable jewelry and diamonds appraiser. In 1965 he married his wife Erminde, with whom he had 4 daughters. They all survive him.