Remembrance of Ken Whyld and Visit to Cambridge

Ken Whyld and Isaak Linder International Conference of Chess Historians Kórnik, Sept. 16-18, 2002 (Photo courtesy of Tomasz Lissowski)
Ken Whyld and Isaak Linder International Conference of Chess Historians Kórnik, Sept. 16-18, 2002 (Photo courtesy of Tomasz Lissowski)

On the 10th anniversary of the death of Ken Whyld who passed away on 11th of July, 2003 we feel obliged to give a note of remembrance. Moreover we can offer a pictorial report on Michael Negele’s meeting with Tony Gillam in Cambridge last week.
[Slightly updated 2013-07-13]
[Second update 2013-07-21]

Michael Negele has "excavated" quite a lot of material for our note of remembrance:

Two articles by Ken Whyld from the British Chess Magazine, The English Devil (BCM, July 1977) and Turkish Delight (BCM, September 1978).
Just afterwards Ken Whyld published his first Quotes and Queries column (No. 3933, October 1978).
We also add his last Q&Q column: Q&Q No. 5650, July 2003. (All scans courtesy of British Chess Magazine.)

Vogt’s 'Letters' by Ken Whyld, published in Bonus Socius, the Jubileumuitgave voor Meindert Niemeijer ter gelegenheid van zijn 75ste verjaardag (1977), p. 295. The one-page article on the very last page of the book deals with the letters of an ominous German Carl Fr(i)ederich Vogt, published in a (nowadays very scarce) booklet Letters on Chess, London 1848, see this PDF of the Whyld article.

Guy Van Habberney comments: "With regard to Vogt: since there is no German original extant, it has to be either Lewis or Walker. I have the original book, and everything (style, layout, precision, price) points to Lewis. I do not agree with Ken Whyld on this one: his argument is rather shaky, methinks. Ken Whyld simply caused confusion where previously there was none!" and "The 'Notice' at the beginning of the book states that it is a translation of a series of letters 'the last of them dated 1834'. If it was the Vogt KW is referring too, he must have been quite precocious…" According to Whyld, C.F. Vogt was born in 1817.
Guy has also provided some scans of the Vogt/Lewis book: the title page and 'Notice' first page / second page; as well as a list of the Lewis books the editor had on offer (at the end of the book).
(As to the first name of C.F. Vogt, "Friederich" is obviously correct, the "Frederich" on the title page a typo; in the "Notice" Carl Fried. is given.)

Interestingly enough, in his Chess Texts printed before 1850 Ken Whyld (and Chris Ravilious) discussed this booklet again (p. 146), here the scan of this entry. Michael Negele however found that the "case" had already been clarified much earlier, for the original discussion (where D.W. Fiske was involved!) see Chess Monthly 1857, p.135, and 1858, p. 61f.! Also in Michael’s latest find, the article Letters on Chess von U. Ewell from Schachzeitung, Jan. 1852, p. 15-19, the author acts on the assumption that the letters of C.F. Vogt were a faked up story.
In this context we also point out to another interesting find of Michael, the article Lucena, ein Brief von C.F. Vogt., published in Schachzeitung, Jan. 1852, p. 20-23. Michael assumes that the articles in the Schachzeitung 1852 were written by von der Lasa.

In his two "Verzeichnisse" von der Lasa gives always "by U. Ewell (Lewis)" for the Vogt letters (No. 3186), so for him the author was absolutely certain. He met William Lewis on 27 August 1855 in London, subsequently their correspondence developed which lasted until 1857.

For Michael Negele the following picture results:
"Lewis, who actually had disappeared from the London chess scene (last publication in 1838), wants to start up again the production of his books and for this purpose mostly copies from the Bilguer. He must have been encouraged to do that by the exuberant appreciation of his person and his works in the 1843 edition. Lewis had close contact to Ludwig E. Bledow (1795-1846) (Amtmann Von B.?) who translated his book on the match De La Bourdonnais vs MacDonnell in the year 1835 into German. But even more logical for "Von B." seems Paul Rudolf von Bilguer (1815-1840).
However original is that Lucena appreciation which is not extant in the Bilguer. (Even referring to the legendary Vicent book.)

Very fine the conclusion of the Lewis chapter by Bilguer (von der Lasa), naturally by Lord George Byron:
Where frequent beauties strike the reader´s view,
We must not quarrel for a blot or two;
But pardon equally to books or men,
The slips of human nature and the pen."

We assume that Ken Whyld was "in a squeeze" to contribute to the a.m. Bonus Socius edition.

Additions (mainly) by Thomas Niessen:

Our member Thomas Niessen (Aix-la-Chapelle) has pointed to further sources of interest, the first being Edward Winter’s CN 4337. A Chess Watergate (April 2006) where George Walker’s review from 1848 is (partly or completely) reproduced. Already there the authorship of Lewis was assumed. Most of Winter’s CN 4337 is taken from Geoffrey H. Diggle’s Chess Characters: reminiscences of a badmaster, Vol. 2 (Geneva, 1987), p. 39, Michael Negele has provided a scan (PDF) of this Diggle contribution: 126. A Chess Watergate. But also Diggle – like all others – don’t give the original source of that name transformation "U. Ewell – You You Ell – Double You Ell – W.L. – W. Lewis". This "metamorphose" was also quoted by van der Linde in Geschichte und Litteratur des Schachspiels, Vol. 1, p. 334, as well as in a Murray article in BCM, 1906, p. 49-53.
Both M. Negele and T. Niessen suppose that it is to find in George Walker’s chess column in Bell's Life in London, and Sporting Chronicle, 1848, but they couldn’t get at that rare paper by now. Maybe one of our readers can be helpful?
Moreover T. Niessen mentions another note by George Allen in his Life of Philidor, 1858, p. 56, which is remarkable due to the distinct assessment of the Vogt letters, here a scan as well.

From George Walker’s A new treatise on the game of chess (4th ed., London 1846) we still give a scan of the Letter from Mr. G. Walker to the editor of Bell’s Life – probably Lewis was additionally motivated by Walker’s biting text to publish the Vogt letters.

*   *   *

Here are the short notes by Ken Whyld on Michael Negele’s contributions to Kaissiber 15 (Warren H. Goldman) and Kaissiber 18 (Albert Heyde): note Kaissiber 16 and Kaissiber 19 (p.4), the latter also mentions the case of Oscar Telling (as a strange echo to the Heyde case). Moreover Ken’s comments on the Heyde article in Q&Q No. 5602 as well as Q&Q No. 4832 which deals with the a.m. Telling. (Scans courtesy of British Chess Magazine.)

Oscar Leonardis Telling (much better known under his pseudonym Eze) was the man who robbed his employer (a banking house) in the USA in 1914 and fled at first to Germany. Later on he settled in the South of France and was a major sponsor of some chess events in Nice.
He can be spotted on two photos from the tournaments Nice 1930 and Nice 1931:

*   *   *

Tony Gillam has written some lines about the last day of Ken Whyld's life:

"I received a phone call from Ken's wife telling me that he had died, very suddenly. I knew that Ken was awaiting a heart by-pass operation and he had decided to take some exercise in preparation for the operation by taking a walk every day.
My reaction was that this was probably the worst thing he could have done. After the operation he would probably have had to undertake strong exercise regularly, but before the operation, I would have thought that the less exercise he took, the better.
On the day he died he went for his daily walk and lost his way. As a result he ended up walking much further than normal. When he reached home he went into the kitchen to prepare his lunch and after only a few minutes he collapsed and died immediately."

Michael Negele's Visit to Cambridge (England)

The Great Gate of Christ's College
The Great Gate of Christ's College

By chance I was able to arrange a meeting with Tony Gillam in Cambridge, just one week before the 10th anniversary of our friend’s unexpected death. Tony awaited me in St Andrew’s Street, opposite to the marvellous Great Gate of Christ’s College (see photo above). Till today we both never failed in our appointments, even if the places we arranged to meet were rather obscurely described. [Be aware: Tony has no cellphone at hand !] We then strolled more or less "aimlessly" through the historic part to finally end up near the University Library, in The Backs.

I was eager to visit the library though Tony was not at all a happy bunny about that: He feared enormous administrative barriers and fees. Particularly as he couldn’t identify himself and he had no proof of his residence. In the end he proved his identity by his bus annual ticket (with a photo) and his publication no. 99 served as an evidence of his address. We both got this "temporary pass" free of any charge, Tony was impressed by so much "German stubbornness".
Below some photos, documents and posters, we didn’t find any chess books there. But there is certainly more than enough place for many a chess collection, really "vast" premises. By the way, I had the idea that a KWA membership card could be definitely helpful (formerly also proposed by Andreas Saremba). Of course for a fee and only for interested members.
Late in the afternoon we met with my Cambridge coworker, and we had a nice dinner …

From The Chess Player's Chronicle, 1853 (New Series), edited by Howard Staunton, we still offer the article Sketches of our Provincial Chess Clubs, in contrast to Chess in the Metropole (= London), here the PDF.

Michael Negele

Some documents and posters
(please click to enlarge)

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