Valdespino, un poco más conocido

An article by our member
José A. Garzon at the Spanish ChessBase Site.

Life story of female prodigy Sonja Graf-Stevenson

Sonja Graf
Picture 1: Sonja Graf

By Michael Negele (a version from 10th February 2007; an abridged version appeared in Karl 3/2004, pp. 28-34.)

While leafing through some old issues of Schach-Echo I came across a photo (Picture 1) of a young woman whose enigmatic smile instantly aroused my curiosity. Who was this “Miss Sonja Graf” and why does Dr. Eduard Dyckhoff (Picture 2) refer to her as “the German champion” (Text A..) in Magyar Sakkvilag (April 1934, pp. 83-85) when there is hardly any mention of her in German chess magazines of that time?

This was the beginning of my extensive research which revealed some interesting facts about the eventful life of this mysterious figure.

According to some sources, Sonja Graf was born on 15th May 1912 in Munich. This date is also mentioned by Alfred Diel in “The Bavarian Chess Federation – Beginning of the Third Millennium” (2000). However, after consulting the „Chess Personalia A Biobibliography” (1987) things became more complicated. Jeremy Gaige, who has a reputation for being extremely careful, gives 16th December 1914 as Sonja’s birth date, referring to the information in her death certificate. And finally, the third birth date that I came across was 18th December 1912 – this was mentioned explicitly in a laudatory article on Sonja Graf in the short-lived Czech weekly Šachový týden (Chess Week) published on 8th April 1937 before the commencement of the Prague tournament (Text B).

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Calle Erlandsson in Cuba

At the beginning of January our friend Calle Erlandsson returned to Sweden from a two-week trip to Cuba - just in time to take successfully part in the ChessCafe Holiday Quiz. We would like to show you some of his photos he recently sent us.

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KWA members successful at the ChessCafe Holiday Quiz

Again a success of our quiz solvers!

Our Nordic members achieved a remarkable success at the 10th edition of the ChessCafe Holiday Quiz: this time the top trio is formed of Claes Løfgren (in first place), closely followed by Knud Lysdal (2nd) and Per Skjoldager (3rd), completed by Calle Erlandsson (4th) and Miquel Artigas (8th) – so five KWA members can be found among the top ten, a fine recommendation for our association.

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New member: Jimmy Adams

We are pleased to welcome into our midst a new member from Great Britain, for Jimmy Adams (Hoddesdon) recently decided to strengthen the Ken Whyld Association. Not only on the British Isles Jimmy Adams is well-known as the editor of the Chess (Monthly) magazine, he also distinguished himself many times as an author, editor and typesetter of high-quality chess books; moreover - by translation from the Russian - he made several significant chess works available to Western readers. Obviously his main interests in this connection are game collections and tournament books, now and then he made an excursion into opening theory as well. As a collector of chess literature Jimmy is highly selective – therefore his collection is still manageable, and in any case he is very interested in chess history ...

Certainly we would be happy to meet Jimmy personally in London – maybe in the course of our regional UK meeting planned for the coming year!?