75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub 1948 – 2023

– Ein Verein packt aus – [A club unpacks]

75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub - frontcover
75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub - frontcover

by Siegfried Schönle

Surely some readers immediately have questions when hearing this title:

Uedem? Where is it? I don't know (the reader will find an answer briefly and with spice on pages 36-39 - of 251 pages - without advertising)!

In short: near the Dutch border, on the Lower Rhine, in the district of Kleve and has around 8,600 inhabitants.

A club unpacks? What is the content of the "package" and how could it be packaged?

A package is generally looked at after it has been received, and the type of packaging allows initial and quite vague conclusions to be drawn about the content. This "package" is now exceptionally carefully packed:

  • format 215x300 mm;
  • 251 p.;
  • solid cardboard cover;
  • colored print, numerous easy-to-read facsimiles, photos, tables on good quality paper;
  • 25,- €, edition 200 pcs.

All this is offered in a professional layout and in high print quality! The editors were the association members Heinz Aldenhoven, Hans-Josef Arts and Michael Venhoff.

To order: https://uedemer-schachklub.de/kontakt-2/ and/or

8,600 inhabitants - from a metropolitan perspective, the derogatory word "Kuhdorf" [one-horse town] could very quickly be used, but the city dweller or chess friend who judged in this way would immediately get a crimson face if he devoted himself to the content of this commemorative publication.

Festschrift? No! This is a festival book and a very stately and handsome one at that.

Yes, the Uedemer Schachklub 1948 e.V. unpacks and the result is amazing.

Which chess club, be it large or small, can report that 30 trips to about 50 countries have been carried out for its members? Worth mentioning are Dubai and the Chess World Championship 2021, p. 236-237, Munich 1972, p. 76-79 / India p. 180ff / the club visited Brazil, Jordan, Egypt and numerous other places in the world, see p 104-105, there with colored maps.

The long, tabular listing of the simultaneous events also arouses admiration. The reviewer counts 23 simultaneous games at the season opening alone (between 1998 and 2005, p. 115), others are listed: Baldur Hönlinger in 1955, Robert Hübner several times (1978, 1998, 2012, 2014) and Vlastimil Hort in 2001, Barbara Hund , Elisabeth and Thomas Pähtz, Artur Jussupow, Christopher Lutz, Alexander Khalifman, Arkadij Naiditsch, Klaus Bischoff, Leonid Kritz and Peter Leko. They all found their way to Uedem and accepted the invitation of this very active association!

The description of the Gründerzeit in 1948 by Heinz Aldenhoven is worth reading, pp. 8-17. This is placed in the larger historical context of the post-war years by Helmut Cox, pp. 20-27. The reader learns about the difficulties of reconstruction, dealing with the consequences of the war, the winter of 1946/47, traffic problems and much more. The advantages of the rural region are also carefully considered.

A nice idea that runs through the entire volume is the series "Einer von uns: ..." [One of us]. In this, members of the association are presented in words and pictures on two pages each.

75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub - p. 240-241
75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub - p. 240-241

The same can be said of the series "Highlights der Jahre ..." [Highlights of the years], which, beginning with the founding year 1948 and ending with 2022, p. 218f, chronologically and concisely recalls the events. Hardly understandable today, but very important for the year 1959, for example, is the message "Schachklub mietet eine Schreibmaschine, Kosten: 15 DM monatlich." [Chess club rents a typewriter, costs: 15 DM per month.]. Problems with press work and the financial worries that plague numerous chess clubs are indicated here.

75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub - p. 56-57
75 Jahre Uedemer Schachklub - p. 56-57
Bernd Besser
Bernd Besser

Even the viewer of the festival book who is merely leafing through the pages will not overlook the 10 full-page, colored works of art by the graphic designer Bernd Besser from Lohfelden near Kassel, p. 250-251, but will be able to view and enjoy the chess motifs.

Even the viewer of the festival book who is merely leafing through the pages will not overlook the 10 full-page, colored works of art by the graphic designer Bernd Besser from Lohfelden near Kassel, p. 250-251, but will be able to view and enjoy the chess motifs.

The "package" is far from empty and the fullness can only be hinted at in the following list:

  • to the longstanding chairman Karl Hoffmann
  • the great importance of school chess and the organization of district championships, pp. 150-155
  • the richly illustrated "Suppenturnieren" [Soup tournaments], pp. 128-135
  • the Doppelkopf-tournaments with result tables, pp. 120-125
  • a little PC history related to that of the association, pp. 96-101
  • personal memories, e.g. p. 68f, p. 212f
  • the International Tournaments, pp. 48-57

The enumeration should be briefly interrupted here in order to draw attention to the fact that on p. 55 there are three notations by the then 14-year-old Robert Hübner, which can therefore be easily reproduced, which he made in the 5th International Lower Rhine Chess Tournament in 1963 against Nowak, Bachmann and Achenbach played. With a smile one reads the friendly written card, p. 54 with photo, addressed to the organizer, of the boy, who points out, not for himself (!), that the spectators stood “allzu dicht" [too tight] around the boards.

  • on girls' and women's chess, pp. 214-215
  • a list of the board members and officials of the association, pp. 220-227
  • of course, the long series of club champions should not be missing in such a writing, p. 240ff

A different kind of listing, which also reflects the activities and lively club life, a kind of “name dropping”, reads like this: Baldur Hönlinger, Robert Hübner, Vlastimil Hort, Mark Taimanow, Victor Soultaubeieff, Gennadi Sosonko, Jan Hein Donner, Hans Ree, Péter Leko, Elisabeth Pähtz, Jan Timman, Emond Barthélemy.

Two celebrities from German chess life have shown a special closeness and sympathy to the Uedemer Schachklub 1948 e.V. for years: GM Dr. Robert Hubner and GM Vlastimil Hort.

As a 14-year-old Robert Hübner took part in a tournament in Uedem in 1963, played there several times simultaneously, see above, shows his appreciation in personal words of thanks, pp. 58-59. These encounters with GM Robert Hübner are described by club member Herbert Cloosters, pp. 210-213.

GM Vlastimil Hort also obviously likes this club, played a team simul, chatted and told anecdotes and entertained the club members with "nuts", i.e. problems, pp. 198-203. His kind words, together with a problem statement, can be read on pp. 202-203.

The reader of this review will not be surprised by my conclusion: the association has succeeded in producing an admirable festival book of high quality, offering a wealth of the most varied chess content. I would like to congratulate you on this!

Siegfried Schönle (Kassel)

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