KWA Jubilee Publication

Paperback, format A5, 46 pp.,
illustrated, color print.
Limited and numbered edition of 250 copies.
With a foreword by Guy Van Habberney.

Simpson’s, Headquarters of the World is the title of an hitherto unpublished manuscript by Ken Whyld which our board has chosen to publish on the occasion of our tenth anniversary.

Each member of the KWA will receive a copy of this commemorative publication as a jubilee gift, a first distribution is planned for the 22nd of November, 2013 in Braunschweig.
The further distribution after our meeting has still to be arranged.

The first galley proof: Imprint and the first page of Guy’s foreword.
The first galley proof: Imprint and the first page of Guy’s foreword.

Ken Whyld’s unfinished text, dated 1993, deals with the history of the famous "Grand Divan" – a London chess saloon which became widely known as Simpson’s-in-the-Strand. Its variable history, with ups and downs over the decades, is to a large part told by contemporary writers, reporters, chess masters or other eye witnesses who are quoted by Ken Whyld, this way providing a varied and detailed picture of "Simpson’s" from different individual perspectives. An appendix contains altogether 35 historical games (not annotated apart from Anderssen’s "Immortal" where light comments are given). To spice up the otherwise existent textual wasteland, we have added the few historical illustrations of "Simpson’s" available to us, as well as some photographs of modern times, thus hoping for an overall attractive and delightful little publication.

Below we give one of the illustrations with additional information:

The above drawing is taken from Bradley Ewart, Chess: Man vs Machine (1980), p. 169.
From the caption: "… Leopold Hoffer, with bald head, sits at extreme left, while the Reverend W. Wayte at a nearby table plays Zukertort, as the Reverend MacDonnell leans on the latter’s chair. Blackburne, with pipe in mouth, stands near the gentleman with top hat and cigar. Steinitz, at extreme right, removes his overcoat. There is still a Simpson’s to this day, but unfortunately chess is no longer played there."

This cartoon by the English artist Harry Furniss, published on 4 April 1885 in the famous British Punch magazine, was discussed in more detail by George Alcock MacDonnell in his book The Knights and Kings of Chess, London 1894, p. 151-154.
Edward Winter has not only reproduced the original cartoon from Punch in his Chess Notes (C.N. 7384 + 7412) where you will have a much larger view of the drawing (than it is possible in a booklet of A5 format), but he also gives the full text from MacDonnell’s book – for that see his C.N. 7412.

Ken Whyld’s typewritten manuscript had only survived in the form of a PDF of minor quality, and while I had to cope with the task of typesetting and page layout, Guy Van Habberney has cared for the final printing and binding in Belgium. I think all members will appreciate the board’s decision for a glued copy which (according to Guy) looks really nice, instead of choosing a low-priced stapled version. Anyway, I am very curious now to see the copies which our chairman will all bring along to Braunschweig.

Let me add that the layout represents my first try at all to use LaTeX, a high-quality typesetting system which I preferred this time, aiming at a more professional result than it is to achieve with MS Office tools.
Even though this is a small booklet only, it will hopefully give a little bit pleasure to our members.

Ralf Binnewirtz, 01-11-2013

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