Folke Rogard, President of FIDE - the lawyer who organised chess in the shadow of the Cold War

Henri Lindberg

Here is the presentation given by Mr Henrik Lindberg (Sweden) at the CH&LS association's general meeting in Belfort.

Extract from the presentation at the AGM on Saturday 2 September: Annual Meeting of the CH&LS in Belfort
In German on the ChessBase website, by Herbert Bastian: Jahrestreffen der CH&LS in Belfort

Henrik Lindberg, assistant professor for economic history in Stockholm, reported in an extremely interesting lecture on the life story of the Swede Folke Røgard (*1899-†1973), lawyer and FIDE President from 1949-1970. Those who are interested in chess history during the Cold War can already look forward to the hopefully imminent publication of Henrik's book, as the title of the lecture reveals: Folke Røgard: organiser of modern world chess in the shadow of the cold war. Røgard was a well-known personality and made headlines, among other things, as the lawyer of the famous Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (*1915-†1982), who was seen in the 1942 film Casablanca alongside Humphrey Bogart (*1899-†1957), incidentally also a chess enthusiast. Røgard got the FIDE World Championship cycle off the ground when the first interzonal tournament went to Saltsjöbaden in Sweden (1948). Through his good contacts on both sides, he also repeatedly succeeded in bringing the Soviet Union and the USA together, for example by preparing the bilateral match of 1955.

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Rare books from the Jean Mennerat collection

Clémence Tariol during her presentation
Clémence Tariol during her presentation

This is the text of the first conference held on Saturday 2 September at the CH&LS association's general meeting in Belfort.

The presentation was given by Clémence Tariol, curator of the Mennerat collection at the Léon Deubel library in Belfort.

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Annual Meeting of the CH&LS in Belfort

Prof. Dr. Frank Hoffmeister
Prof. Dr. Frank Hoffmeister

by Herbert Bastian

On 2 September members of the Chess History and Literature Society (formerly Ken Whyld Association, KWA) met for their annual meeting in Belfort, France, one of the magical places for chess historians. The Belfort City Library administers the estate of Dr Jean Mennerat (*1917-†2007), the most important French collector of chess literature. In the course of his life, Mennerat collected about 27,000 books and about 1,000 periodicals on the royal game, which are now preserved for posterity in Belfort.

After a short welcome in the City Library by Prof. Dr. Frank Hoffmeister, who replaced the Dutchman Bob van de Velde as President of the CH&LS last year, curator Clémence Tariol introduced the Mennerat Collection in a PowerPoint presentation. Mennerat began collecting in 1936. The dominant language of the works is English with about 6,000 titles, followed by about 4,100 German-language works. It is surprising that "only" 8% each of the works are in French, Spanish, Dutch and Slavonic. Rarer languages such as Swedish, Hebrew, Maori and Esperanto are also represented. The actual collection is located elsewhere and could not be visited. However, members were able to examine a selection of some particularly valuable items from the collection.

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Der Harzer Schachbund [The Harz Chess Federation]

Harzer Schachbund - book cover title page (outside), 2nd volume
Harzer Schachbund - book cover title page (outside), 2nd volume

by Siegfried Schönle [Original article in German is here. Translation by DeepL]

According to the German Chess Federation, there are over 2000 chess clubs in Germany. Each of these clubs has its own history, be it short or far back in the history of chess in Germany.

A generally perceptible sign of this are, among other things, the countless club magazines, commemorative publications, publications on club anniversaries, which as a rule find significance and attention in the narrow circle of the club and the respective city, and more rarely cause a supra-regional interest.

A brief look back into the history of chess associations or chess clubs shows that the oldest chess club in Germany was founded in Berlin in 1803 - later called the Great Chess Club. This can be proven, among other things, by the following anonymously published writing:

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Message to CH&LS members

Dear fellow members of the CH&LS,

Our treasurer Henri Serruys and I are about to prepare our report on the status of membership and annual fee payments for the General Assembly in Belfort on September 2 – where, of course, we hope to meet many of you!

In order to complete the report, we have a few requests for you:

It appears that some of the email addresses we have are no longer active – so if you have changed your email address recently please inform the secretary of the valid one!

And please observe that the payment of the membership fee for 2023 must be completed no later than August 15. If you have any questions, please contact us!

Treasurer Henri Serruys
Secretary Claes Løfgren

best wishes,
Claes Løfgren

Invitation to this year's General Assembly in Belfort (France)

Dear members of the society!

This is to invite you for our next General Assembly meeting on 2 September 2023 in Belfort and share with you the final program. We are holding this meeting in the city library of Belfort, which hosts the chess collection of our late member, Jean Mennerat (Bibliothèque Municipale de Belfort - Fonds Mennerat ). "La bibliothèque municipale" is located at Place Jacques Chirac, BP 80025, 90000 Belfort.

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Tobiblion update

Per Skjoldager has updated the database of the BoC-Project. 8 new items and 66 new descriptions have made it into Tobiblion as well as the data of the 83th Klittich auction. They are now available for members in Tobiblion.

Juan Morgado and his opus magnum

Juan Sebastián Morgado - Ajedrez en la década infame 1933 - 1934 - frontcover
Juan Sebastián Morgado - Ajedrez en la década infame 1933 - 1934 - frontcover

by Bob van de Velde

For chess historians, bibliographers or collectors – in short for most members of our membership – Argentina is from their point of view a far away country that doesn’t show many unsuspected or exciting activities on their field of interest. That’s to say, at first Eurocentric sight this can seem so. However, here too, as is so often is the case, a first sight leads to a wrong view. Of course, we all know that the two events that probably had the most far-reaching consequences in the modern chess history, took place on Argentinian soil in the second quarter of the 20th century: the world championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine in 1927, and the 8th Chess Olympiad in 1939. The first event had a major impact on the participation in the top tournaments in the ‘30’s as Alekhine didn’t want to play his rival in a tournament; because of the outbreak of the 2nd World War during the tournament, the second event had an enormous effect on the organised chess world in almost every aspect.

Both events however have in common that the reporting mostly came from European hands – participants, administrators, journalists, eyewitnesses –, anyway, rarely observations and reflections were heard from Argentinian side, neither can we say that abundantly South-American sources were cited. But this situation drastically has changed since in 2012 our member Juan Sebastián Morgado has begun to publish his Complete history of Argentine chess.

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Failing better. Beckett's game with chess in Murphy

Samuel Beckett in 1977
Samuel Beckett in 1977

by Dr. Bernd-Peter Lange

A game's trajectory

Beckett´s lifelong obsession with chess has become a household word. From his childhood with its games in the family, through his participation in matches of the chess team of Trinity College Dublin, facing the Danish master Aaron Nimzowitsch in a simultaneous exhibition, losing many chess games to Marcel Duchamp in his French exile, games in the Vaucluse hideout in the second World War to many occasional friendly games against many partners well into old age, Beckett never lost his fascination with the game. (Knowlson, 1996) The chess books in his library had a focus on the contemporary chess scene, specializing on game collections of the World Champions of chess from Capablanca in the 1920s to Kasparov in the 1980s. (Van Hulle/Nixon, 2013, 261-287) The most concentrated literary reflection of Beckett´s preoccupation with chess came early in his career with the writing and publication of Murphy. The novel is a rarity among thematically related fictions since it integrates the notation of a complete chess game and notes commenting on some of its moves.

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Literature, women playing chess and Bertolt Brecht

Margarete Steffin and Bertolt Brecht
Margarete Steffin and Bertolt Brecht

The society has recently published a very interesting essay from our member Bernd-Peter Lange about the German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht and chess playing women around him.

As it is in German, you can find the article in our German website here:

Literatur, Schach spielende Frauen und Bertolt Brecht.