A request from Norway

Heading of the first article, January 1952
Heading of the first article, January 1952

Our member Claes Løfgren has received a request from Terje Kristiansen from Tønsberg, Norway. Mr. Kristiansen is a member of Sjakkhistorisk Forum and specialist for Soviet chess history.

Here is the request:

Dear Mr. Løfgren,

Dr. Albrecht Buschke, the German Jew who emigrated to the USA in 1938 with a huge collection of chess books, letters, autographs and magazines, wrote many columns in the 1952 American chess magazine Chess Life called: Alekhine’s Early Chess Career. Additional data by A. Buschke. V. Alekhine in Soviet-Land. He claimed that the 1921 versions of Das Schachleben in Sowjet-Rußland were either edited or shortened by the publisher Bernhard Kagan:

“We own part of the original manuscripts which Alekhine had given to his publisher for publication - a comparison of the manuscripts of those games which were eventually included in the pamphlet shows that the printed version is usually considerably shorter… We believe that the publisher Kagan took considerable liberties with these manuscripts in order to save paper and printing costs, and this consideration probably accounts also for the regrettable fact that by far not everything that Alekhine had submitted was included in the pamphlet. Unfortunately, the pages of the Alekhine manuscript in our collection form, as we said before, only part of the complete manuscript (pages 11-27, 29-36 on legal size paper), but even these portions show not only discrepancies from the printed version, but comprise also material not used at all… This proves that Alekhine had brought more material with him when he left Russia … unfortunately. Kagan seems to have changed of or lot pages of the Alekhine manuscripts before he sold the rest to us in 1931 with the publication rights, and if these lost pages of the manuscript should ever turn up yet, we could expect to find a few more of the games Alekhine played while in the Soviet Union.”

Vlastimil Fiala reached the same conclusion (about omitted Alekhine games in Das Schachleben in Sowjet-Rußland) in his 1992 The Complete Games of Alekhine Volume 1.

Do You, or any of Your members, know something about this? Is there any way to reach out to the estate of Lothar Schmid – or David DeLucia? I have tried, unsuccessfully. There might exist, unwittingly, unpublished pages of Alekhine’s first memoirs and perhaps even (annotated) chess games in a collection somewhere…

Anyone who can answer Mr. Kristiansen questions or has other information for him, can contact him under the e-mail address .

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