LSAK chess book auction November 2021

by Michael Clapham

Lund Chess Academy recently held the latest of its regular online chess book auctions and many interesting and valuable lots went under the hammer. The auctions are admirably organised and conducted by Per Skoldager abd Calle Erlandsson whom I thank for allowing reproduction of the auction details and images.

There was keen competition for several scarce and sought after periodicals including the following:

  • British Chess Review, edited by Daniel Harrwitz, London, volume I only for 1853. This sold for €500 which was possibly good value as a full run of this periodical (12 issues for volume I and six issues in 1854 for volume II) sold in an LSAK auction earlier this year for €2,071.
  • A complete three volume run of The Amateur Chess Magazine, edited by James Chatto, London, 1872 to 1874, realised €270. From May 1873 the title changed to The Amateur and the chess content gradually diminished in favour of other amusements.
  • Shakhmaty (Novoye Vremya), edited by Chigorin, St Petersburg, 1891-92. An almost complete run containing all 32 issues of Volume I and 10 (of 14) issues from volume II. This sold for €335. This periodical is listed in Sakharov, 1968 edition, No. 218, 2001 edition No. 263, and LN 6313 but, curiously, is not in Di Felice's Chess Periodicals.
  • A rare full run of 38 supplements from the Danish magazine Vor Tid for 1883 realised €706. Each supplement contained two pages of chess edited by J. Jesperson and O. Meisling.
  • Volumes I and II of Oesterreichische Lesehalle, Vienna 1881-1882 filled a gap in someone's collection for €665. This monthly journal for entertainment and education had a chess department edited by Hermann Lehner with help from numerous contributors.
  • A complete run of the short lived Czech magazine Šachová svět for 1925-26, edited by Miroslav Soukup, was knocked down for €817.
  • A good run of the Spanish magazine Problemas (Sociedad Española de problemistas de Ajedrez) consisting of volumes II to VIII for the years 1947 to 1966, published in Barcelona and attractively bound in three volumes, sold for €1,110. Cleveland only has a very incomplete set of this magazine. 24 issues of Problemas for 1946 and 1947 were sold separately for €82.
  • The first two volumes of Neue Berliner Schachzeitung for 1864 and 1865, edited by A. Anderssen and G. R. Neumann, sold for €128 and €110. Various early volumes of The British Chess Magazine for the years 1884 to 1892 sold for between €121 and €211. An incomplete volume of Revista del Club Argentino de Ajedrez for 1921 made €155, and an odd volume of Dubuque Chess Journal (always hard to find) sold for €160.

Among the intriguing items of memorabilia was a chess related poem written by Adolf Anderssen a few weeks after winning the London 1851 international chess tournament. This sold for €1,500.

A letter written by Frank Marshall to Rufus Stevenson dated January 1913 fetched €325, while a brief five line message written by Alekhine in French sold for €653.

A Postcard with the signatures of 23 of the 24 players in the 1970 match between USSR and The World (Fischer's signature is missing) sold for €244.

Among the tournament books, the following attracted the most attention:

  • Der Dritte Kongress des Deutschen Schachbundes, Nürnberg 1883, by E. Schallopp, Leipzig 1884: €67.
  • A Siesta - Szanatórium Nemzetközi Sakkversenye, Budapest, 1928, by F. Chalupetzky and L. Toth, Kecskemét 1929. An attractive work on the event won by Capablanca (who also contributed to the book) ahead of Marshall: €174.
  • Skák: The Icelandic Chess Magazine. The 23 special issues covering the 1972 World Championship match between Spassky and Fischer: €166.50.

Also offered for sale were six official FIDE programs/reports for tournaments between 1927 and 1936. None of these scarce items are listed in the 1955 LN catalogue although some are now in the van der Linde-Niemeijeriana collection in The Hague.

  • Procès-Verbal du IV Congrès, Londres 28-30 Juillet 1927: €57.
  • VIIIe Congrès de la F.I.D.E. tenu à Praha du 11-16 Juillet 1931: €375
  • Procès-Verbal du VIII Congrès, Prague 22-26 Juillet 1931: €186
  • Compte-Rendu du XI Congrès, Zurich, 27-29 Juillet 1934: €50
  • Compte-Rendu du X Congrès, Folkestone, 21-23 Juin 1933: €90
  • Compte-Rendu du XIII Congrès, Lucerne, 24-26 Juillet 1936: €120

Some scarce chess problem collections were sold including:

  • 101 ausgewählte Schachaufgaben by J. Kohtz and C. Kockelhorn, Braunschweig 1875: An early collection of German chess problems: €79.
  • 200 Schachaufgaben, by Samuel Gold, Wien 1883: €150
  • 96 Schackproblem , by Fritz Geijersstam, Stockholm 1908: €61.

Three pamphlets by the Italian author Emilio Orsini, published in Livorno, Italy and bound together:

  • Raccolta dei migliori problemi 1877-1879, Raccolta dei migliori problemi 1879-1880, Concorso internazionale di problemi, 1881. The last of these is not in the LN 1955 catalogue and is one of only 50 copies: €705.

Top price in the aution was achieved for a rare Dutch book Het schaakspel, by van Zuylen, Campen 1792. From the online catalogue: "Van Zuylen was a Dutch general, nobleman and politician. He was appointed Marshal of Holland in the Kingdom of Holland and served as French senator following the annexation of Holland by the Napoleonic Empire. Van Zuylen van Nijevelt was also an amateur scientist and became known for his treatise on chess." This copy lacks the plates and chess-board, as does the copy in the LN catalogue. This exceeded expectations selling for €3,250.

Other notable items included the following:

  • Chess, volume I by Richard Twiss, London 1787, €110. Gordon Cadden gave an interesting talk at a meeting of the Ken Whyld Association in Norwich, England several years ago in which he quoted from a letter from Twiss to Francis Douce, a major contributor to this early chess bibliography. This letter stated that 750 copies of volume I of this work had been printed of which 335 had initially sold, 60 given away, leaving a remainder of 355. Volume II was printed in an edition of 500.
  • Nouveau traité du jeu des échecs, by L. C. de la Bourdonnais, Paris 1833. Two books in one, and this copy has a handwritten game between Morphy and chess club Versailles bound between the two. This is the game against Chamouillet and allies played in November 1858. (Löwenthal page 235, Sergeant page 151, Shibut game 223). €173.
  • Deux cents parties d'échecs (1908 - 1927), by A. Alekhine, Rouen 1936. A very nice copy of this book published by the Fédération Francaise des Échecs: €221.
  • Elementarbuch der Schachspielkunst, by Johann Koch, Madgeburg 1828: €184.
  • Das Schachraumspiel, by Ferdinand Maack, Berlin etc. 1908. An unusual work on three-dimensional chess: €79.
  • Ajedrez en Guatemala, by Hans Cohn, Guatemala 1947. A rare chess book from Guatemala, Central America: €253.
  • The incomparable game of chess, by J. S. Bingham, London 1820. €210.
  • Le Monde des Echecs. Published by L'Echiquier in Brussels in 1933, this contains 16 portraits of some of the leading chess personalities of the 1920s and 1930s. €87.
  • Chess in former German, now Polish territories, self published by the author Fred van der Vliet, The Hague 2007. This English work that I was not familiar with has much on the history of chess in Germany, covering among other matters, Adolf Anderssen and his home town of Breslau: €63.
  • Prvá Slovenská kniha Šachová, Zilina 1930. The first Slovakian book on chess: €111.
  • Harrie Grondijs' ultra small editions were naturally in demand with two volumes of his Chess Craze Bad series selling for €190 each. These editions of just 37 copies originally sold for €50 in 2015 and 2017.
  • David DeLucia's lavishly produced books also fetch high prices and the first edition of A Few Old Friends, Darien 2003, sold for €131 while Bobby Fischer, Triumph and Despair, compiled in collaboration with Alessandra DeLucia, Darien 2009, realised €446. From the catalogue:

    "Pictorial account of all sorts of Fischer items, accumulated over the years by the author. This monumental work is an extension of Bobby Fischer Uncensored, including a complete 1999 diary written in Fischer's hand (300+ pages), 8 Fischer annotated games from Herceg Novi 1970, 7 unrecorded training games (1992) between Fischer and Gligoric (6) and Torre (1), over 100 pages of correspondence between Fischer and Gligoric from 1973-1995, the Ed Edmondson notes from the early to mid-1970's regarding Fischer telephone conversations, a 62-page typescript by Fischer elaborating the differences between the Batsford and Simon & Schuster editions of 'My 60 Memorable Games', 2 letters written by Fischer to the U.S. consulate while incarcerated in the detention center in Japan and other letters and memorabilia of Fischer. Foreword by Alessandra De Lucia. Epilogue and bibliography. Bound hardcover in solid black slip case. 786 p. 28 cm x 23,5 cm. Private edition - Darien, CT, 2009."

A total of around 340 lots went under the hammer with the majority selling for €25 or less so there were plenty of items for all pockets. All eyes now turn to next weekend when Antiquariat Klittich Pfankuch hold their half-yearly auction in Braunschweig with nearly 900 lots of chess literature, chess sets and memorabilia offered for sale including some exceptional items from the collection of the late Lothar Schmid. No doubt the big hitters will be rolling into town with their bidding boots on but let's hope that they leave a few crumbs for the rest of us.

The article was first published on Chess Book Chats

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