|A Letter to Bert (4/8)|
A Letter to Bert (4/8)
The March issue wrote of the death of the “bookman” Robert McWilliam. I was sad for Lill and their lovely corgi dog Ben who Robert mentioned in his many letters to me. This issue of “In The Library” by John wrote on John Keeble’s library which is worth repeating:-“ John Keeble’s was one of the major chess problem libraries which did not find its way down to us, and this photocopy (of notebook dated 28 January 1911), recently supplied to us by Cleveland, shows what we have missed. (Another library which we did not obtain was Dawson’s, and this now seems even more unfortunate; we have since received a copy of the bookseller’s list which included most of it; and its purchase would appear to have been well within our resources at the time) To be sure, some of the items seem to have had little problem content and we might not have wished to retain them, but there were others of clear relevance whose acquisition now would be quite beyond our reach. To list just a few R A Brown’s book of 1844, for which I have twice searched in the British Library without success; the collections of 1855,1860 and 1878 by J A Miles (the British Library has only the last of these); the problem solving sheets from the BCF tourneys of 1904 to 1910 inclusive, now surely gone beyond recall. Oh dear. The notebook contains no problems-what to do for our usual four diagrams? There is an extensive bibliographical note on Keeble’s book “The Caduceus” of 1910 (the report of the Norwich Mercury selfmate tourney”)…..”
ITL for May 1997 considered “Pierce Gambit, chess papers and problems” by J and W Pierce 1888 and John wrote:-“This recently appeared in a bookseller’s catalogue and I snapped it up. (It is one of the books which I had to read in the British Library, when compiling my pre-1950 British problem bibliography). It is one of the most interesting of the 19th century books. It is in three parts (a) analysis of the gambit, an S- sacrifice line in the Vienna opening, by W T Pierce; (b) seventeen miscellaneous chess papers by J Pierce; (c) 134 problems, each author contributing. The problems are typical work of the time, competent but not outstanding, and the book’s special interest resides in the papers…” One of the papers is described by John and finishes with this delightful sentence for 1888:-“And now I am sure you have had enough of the ‘modern problem’ and the pupil concurs:-“Let us stroll down to the club, and have a turn at billiards”.
The Library day was held July 12 with 13 present on a sunny day. The library photos were shown including some in TRD’s possession. It was clear from the results of the editor’s chess composition quiz that Michael McDowell had a mighty grasp of biographical and other information on problemists. John Rice changed ITL to ‘In My Library’ and gave a lovely description of the C D Locock books:- “120 Chess Problems “(1912); “70 More Chess Problems” (1926) and “Imagination in Chess” (1930’s) with a reprint of “72 Black Checkers” (1918 by BCM). By one of those lucky chance stops, call it prescience if you like, John Rice picked up a copy of “120 Chess Problems” in a local second hand shop a few months earlier and in it were some cuttings from an unidentified newspaper that gave biographical information on Locock. Wonderful stuff and good of John to share it with readers. Locock was one of the best and his chess puzzles with “..humourous and whimsical notes..” as John wrote, were what I liked about him. The British Loyd?
There was a nice photo of Barry Barnes and Colin Vaughan at the Library day on the cover of the September Problemist. Visitors were welcome to bring their own computers to use at the library. And Barry was calling it a day after 33 years of editing the original 2-ers. A mighty effort and like all the editors, done with no financial reward. The BCPS ‘staff’ are an inspiring lot. John’s ITL column discussed “The Gentleman’s Journal” 1869-72 which chess cuttings had been donated by Colin Vaughan. John collated it against the British Museum Library copy and filled in a few omissions. H F L Meyer was a later chess editor of that Journal.
The November issue advised that Harold Lommer’s papers had been deposited at the library on indefinite loan and Ken Whyld passed on the news that Mrs Alice Loranth of the Cleveland Library was retiring due to ill health. The BCPS Library owed her a lot for her kindness and attention. So also did I with my sporadic letters which she answered so promptly. A very great lady. ITL for the month was written by Michael McDowell about that most famous problemists biography “The Chess Bouquet” by Frederick Richard Gittins. It is one of the most important British Chess problem books of the Victoria era and the biographical material is Gittins lasting memorial. There is some good information on “Chess Bouquet 2” which did not appear. A pity really as Australian problemists had sent information.
1998 arrived with a tremendous article by Lu Citeroni on the “Our Folder” magazine by the Good Companions (1913-24) and without doubt one of the most scholarly magazines ever to appear. It concentrated on problems but occasionally there would be a major article on Philidor, Morphy etc which truly places the magazine in a class of its own. It is difficult to accept declining financial returns as the reason why the magazine folded in 1924, which was a boom year all over the world but the facts speak for themselves. The magazines appeal fell on deaf ears and so the end came. Lu also gave a description of “The Good Companion Two-Mover” one of the Christmas Series volumes.
March 1998 ITL saw John Beasley back in the chair with an item on “Mr Blackburne’s games at chess”(problem pages 1899) It was good of Michael McDowell to provide the pages for the BCPS library.
In the May issue was news of the BCF’s executive Stewart Reuben and David Sedgwick, Chairman and International Director respectively, presence at the AGM of the BCPS. They advised of the Hastings International Chess Centre at 37-40 Marina Hastings. Stewart expressed the hope that the BCPS would use the premises and place the library at the Centre. The proposed new library based on the Golombek collection, supplemented by other donations plus the BCPS library would be very impressive and with a permanent staffing even more so. A decision from the BCPS is due in 1999. This will be a very important decision as the BCPS library – in fact the BCPS totally – is one of those efforts certain groups of which problemists are one, appear capable of – a voluntary Society. Good Companions in style but far more successful and over 80 years old.
The gesture by Harry Golombek in bequeathing his library to the BCF was a generous one and perhaps there is room to move here that will enable the BCPS to get assistance in publishing the Problemist for the transfer of the library to Hastings. The thought of the two libraries together increases the possibility of more converts to problems.
ITL by John concentrated on those fabled “Black Books” which resulted in a series of 100 Manuscript books each containing up to 75 compositions of contemporary and deceased English problem composers. Half are still lost but George Jellis helped index the remainder and a couple more have come to light since George was the Archivist. John discussed Black Book No 41 of 1917 on H W Butler of the Sussex Chess Problem Fraternity.
The July issue announced “A complete unbound run of The Problemist from issue 1 in 1926 to the end of 1996 in good condition” and that it was to be sold by auction after November 1. The highest bid over £500 securing the set. The Library day held at John and Sue’s home saw 12 in attendance and John described some new accessions, in particular, Bob McWilliam’s copies of Mile’s “Chess Gems” (1878) and Keidanz’s “The chess compositions of E B Cook” (1927). Michael McDowell had obtained photocopies of “A Century of Two Movers” and also the Gamage Overbrook. Bob McWilliam’s collection of Schiffman Theme problems was also now in the library.
John’s writing style is attractive and ITL for July reminded us of the late D G McIntyre of South Africa and his book “Some Problems for My Friends” (1957). The dedication by McIntyre to his father who taught him chess and of his mother who he thought, disapproved of the teaching is quite funny. McIntyre should have written more and not about problems. The quote under the title of “Some Problems…” from R L Stevenson (a chessplayer by the way) is lovely:-
“Go, little book and wish to all
Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall,
A bin of wine, a spice of wit,
A house with lawns enclosing it,
A living river by the door,
A nightingale in the sycamore! (Underwoods)
And this quote gives some idea of the pleasantness of McIntyre. His other book “Sonatas in Chess” is nice also. But in “Some Problems…” Alain White’s article “On Problem Collections” written in 1914 appeared 37 years later and though only a page, puts so beautifully what is so wonderful about chess problems:-“..An evening spent by the fireside with Mr McIntyre in an examination of these problems will be a pleasant one surely. It will take us to the farthest point geographically from which an individual collection of chess problems has ever spoken to us, and its message of friendly greeting is all the more welcome because of its assurance that our well loved game flourishes so bravely in distant lands”. There is an “Alain White Collection” in the South African Library in Cape Town. It was handed over in 1945 and McIntyre played a part with White and Niemeijer. 250 books went to the Collection. How typical of the latter two men. And in the back of the book is a small Appendix of South African Chess Rhymes. Charles Murray, a well-known Cape educationist was very good and it would have been great to see more than the three pages McIntyre published. Here is a sample:-
“Life is a recurring three-mover;
Only sure – the unexpected.
And your plans must be made over,
For the pawn which you neglected.”
Dr C Louis Leipoldt the South African poet, journalist, historian wrote this during the Parliamentary turmoil over the “Native Question”:-
Chess in South Africa
The much-belauded fool looked wise
And pondered what he saw.
“I think,” he said, “That, if he tries,
White can still make a draw”.
The Master smiled and shook his head
“You’ve left it all too late.
“There is no doubt of it,” he said,
“It’s Black to move and mate!”
Leipoldt’s verse (undated) was quite topical in 1957 when McIntyre’s book appeared and rather prophetic today with Nelson Mandela handing the reins over to Mbecki.
It was a happy sight to see the photo of Barry Barnes and Yury Suchkov hugging one another at the 41st World Congress of Chess Composition held at St Petersburg on the cover of the September issue of the Problemist. Who knows what flow-ons there are from this and many other “super thematic combinations” as was the photo caption? I recall Kissinger, Bryzinski and Dobrinin often sat down for a drink and a game of chess.That probably did more for the cold war than most diplomatic forays.
ITL for September was a resume of Keidanz’s book on ‘The chess compositions of E B Cook’ (1927). This copy was from Robert McWilliam’s library which was “much greater than most of us realised”.
The November issue came with a very fine catalogue of Books and Magazines prepared by the new ‘bookman’ Peter Fayers. It included the Bob McWilliam legacy and Peter amusingly defines a vintage book as anything earlier than 1948 which was his birth year! Bob’s collection was certainly fine and distributed far and wide under the policy of a maximum of four books per member. A very fair way of doing it. I was fortunate enough to get the Abbott book and a lovely copy of Locock’s “70 Chess Problems” with Robert’s pressed bookplate included.
ITL included a revisit to “The Chess Bouquet” and its descendant “ The Chess Bouquet and Small Heath Boulevard” (1912). As John wrote it surely was a curious item and appeared to be a chess pamphlet and local newspaper. Michael McDowell got some of it during visits to the Hague library. Extracts found contained problems by William Finlayson, E J Winter-Wood and W.J.Wood.
It has been very enjoyable reading through old Problemist magazines noting the growth of the library which must be well over 1000 items now and in the good hands of John and Sue Beasley. The catalogue is on the Internet.
Richard John Ford The Chess Library of Dick Ford was sold by Phillips in London on 3 October 1985 and was very successful. The State Library of Victoria bid for item 88:- “The pleasaunt and wittie Playe of the Cheasts renewed…” Rowbothum 1562 the Damiano translation….the estimate was £850 and the library missed it.
Neville Ledger went to England in late 1982 and called to see Dick Ford. In a letter (17 May 1983) to me he wrote:-“Dick had an average sized room with all four walls from floor to ceiling covered in books. I was surprised to find so much modern stuff similar to what I have for sale. He delighted in showing me his treasures but I am not well read in that field and you would have found a lot more to enjoy. Really I would have loved to spend say two days looking at his books but I had less than two hours. Dick is terribly practical, he does not mince words. My train arrived a little early and everyone had gone while I looked for him. A very elderly figure appeared at the top of the stairs. “LEDGER?”, he shouted. I waved and then he was the most perfect host until we left late in the afternoon.”
BCM May 1974 p.171/2 discusses the May 1874 chess book sales described in these pages earlier and also gives information on Dick Ford’s collection and his desire to expand the pre 1600 section of his chess library. The ‘jewel’ of his library was the Rowbothum which fetched $1.60 or 16/- at the 1874 sale. Dick gave a good description of this book in BCM but did not disclose what he paid for it.
In 1976 I wrote to Dick at the address given in the BCM article (‘Three Chimneys’ Linton near Maidstone Kent) but the letter was returned. I got Dick’s address in 1981 from Michael MacDonald-Ross and included the old letter with my 1981 letter. He replied very quickly with the comment about my old letter that it was “better late than ever”. He had a fabulous collection then and described some of his rarities briefly. His lists contained past selling prices such as 1584 Lopez copy sold in 1980 for $1250; Salvios in 1980 for $850 and Actius 1980 for $450. A 1694 Hyde in 1980 for $1250 with a page missing but copy supplied. A Lamb in 1977 for £60 (note currency change),a Stamma in 1978 for £50. He had been a great friend of the late Alfred Sharpe and they had not had a quarrel. “Neither of us tried to ‘do’ the other”, he said. His list of wants sent with his initial letter was mostly Australian rarities some of which I still don’t have. His collection was indeed fabulous to most collectors, and certainly to me.
He had bought the 1656 “Royal Game of Chesse Playe” in 1931 for £2. Lucky Dick. He was a Chartered Accountant and able “to indulge himself”. At the end he had over 2000 volumes including a complete set of BCM. The sale estimate was £33,000 and the sales were in that area. Ken Whyld had a one page resume of the sale in BCM Dec.1985 p.536. The 1562 Rowbothum made £2500 which was the highest price paid topping the £2000 for the BCM set.
The Tasmanian Chess Magazine had the opportunity to publish five short articles by Dick Ford on antiquarian chess books and these appeared from April 1983 to April 1984.The articles follow:-
When your editor visited me in England recently he was very interested in my chess books which included a number of old and rare books. He thought the readers of ‘Tasmanian Chess magazine’ might well be interested to read about them. I have been a collector for many years and it is fair to say the longer you collect the more interesting it becomes.
Let us, as an example, deal with GRECO. He lived from c 1580 to 1634 and was the leading Italian master. He travelled extensively particularly to the Courts of France and Spain. He came to England in 1622. All his money was stolen by brigands when he was enroute to London. Here he played members of the aristocracy. He sold manuscripts of his writings on chess. He spent his last years at the Court of Philip IV at Madrid.
In 1656 was printed “The Royal Game of Chess Play” in London. It was based on Greco and was an immediate success. Various issues were printed over the years and as late as 1900 Professor Hoffman published “Games of Greco”. I have a copy of the first French Edition published in Paris in 1669. As an example of the pleasure to be found in old chess books is the following from Greco:- 1.P-K4..P-QN3;2.P-Q4..B-N2;3.B-Q3..P-KB4;4.PxP..BxP;5.Q-R5+..P-N3;6.PxP..N-KB3;7.PxP..NxQ;8.B-N6++
Some copies of the books (they are not numerous) have a picture of King Charles I as a frontispiece. When Oliver Cromwell appeared the Government then insisted that all booksellers should remove the picture. It is fair to say that careful purchases can be a useful anti-inflation hedge over the years. A copy of this book could have been purchased in 1933 for say £10. Recent sales have been 1976 Holland 2000 guilders, 1977 England £350, 1980 USA $800, 1981 USA $1050. Greco left his estate to the Jesuits”.
I wrote to Neville about Dick’s views on chess books as an anti-inflation hedge. If one buys a rare book very cheaply Dick is right. The £2 he paid for the 1656 Greco being a sure winner. But say one had bought that book in 1976 for 2000 guilders or $700 Australian and then sold it in 1981 for $1050 US or about $1000 Australian (The Aussie dollar was very strong then – it’s now worth 65 cents for $1 US but back then was $1.13 for each $1 US). This was a high inflationary period and if the original $700 had been invested at compound interest of say 10% then a sum better than that paid in 1981 would have been achieved than by the sale of the book. Also there is the mark-up on sale price.
Dick obviously did well with his sale but I think most of his valuable books were bought pre WW2.
July 1983 TCM:-“Ruy Lopez – Ruy Lopez was a Spanish priest who was born in Estremadora. He was the leading Spanish player of his age whose skill at chess made him a favourite of Phillip II of Spain who awarded him with a rich benefice. When in Rome on ecclesiastical business in 1560 he defeated with no difficulty the strongest Italian players. He became internationally famous.
He obtained a copy of Damiano’s book which, till then, was the leading authority. He considered he could improve on this and on his return to Spain in 1561 he published “Libro de la invencion liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez”.
The book contains general advice and a selection of suggested openings. The Ruy Lopez opening was first stated by Lucena in 1496 but it was analysed at length by Lopez in his book. The first moves are of course 1.P-K4..P-K4;2.N-KB3..N-QB3;3.B-N5 and this opening is popular even to this day. It can surely be said to be the most analysed opening in the history of chess. For example there is 1. the Berlin Defence, 2.Birds Defence, 3.Steinitz Defence, 4. Fianchetto Defence, 5. Classical Defence, 6. Cozio’s Defence, 7. Jaenisch Counter Gambit, 8. Alapin’s Defence.
I have in front of me the second edition of this edition. It is in Italian being the first and then only translation of the book. It was published in Venice in 1584. There is a woodcut on the title page, an illustration of a chessboard, and six woodcuts of individual currency to the word "Gambit".
The first book gives the origin of the game and contains advice to place your opponent with the sun in his eyes in daytime and candle on his right at night. The second book lists some openings. The third book is largely a criticism of Damiano’s analysis and the fourth book continues these criticisms particularly as to the Game at Odds.
It was translated by D G Tarsia and dedicated to Giacomo Buoncompagno, the Duke of Sora. This book is rare. Recent sales in the USA have been $600 and $900 and 3500 Swedish Kroner at Gutenburg”. It seems clear that Dick kept lists for all the rare chess books. A wise decision.
October 1983 TCM:- “Gustavus Selenus. This was the pseudonym of Augustus, Duke of Braunschweig-Lunsbert 1579-1666. He was a learned young man and at the age of 15 was the rector of the University of Rostock and subsequently of Turbingen. He travelled extensively in France, England and Italy where he stayed a year at Padua University. Probably here he came across Tarsia’s translation of Lopez which he translated into German and which forms a major part of his own book. He made large additions of an historical character which make the book of particular value. But his additions to the analysis are usually weak. He introduced some attempts to improve the game none of which proved popular. The title starts “Das Schachoder Konig Spiel von Gustavo Seleno” and continues with 37 other words concluding with “Caesareo Ad Sexennium Lipsae-(Leipzig 1616”) The book gives a valuable account of the Courier game to which we owe all we know of the method of play. The special pieces for this game are Curierer, Schleich, Wean, and others and there are woodcuts of these. The Curierer is a man on a galloping horse, the Wean is a bearded sage and Schleich is a fool with caps and bells. The book is a large 4to and consists of 500 pages. The title page has four engravings the first of which shows a camp with games being played in tents. There are two engravings of pastoral scenes and at the foot are seven gentlemen seated at table, two of whom are playing chess.
After 22 pages of introduction the book proper starts with another fine engraving. There is a list in alphabetical order of chess players and writers. Each chapter finishes with a fine engraving. Between pages 216 and 217 is an engraving of two people playing chess which has been many times reproduced. There are other fine engravings on pages 253, 375, 443 and elsewhere.
The book was relatively unknown in Britain until Sarratt published some of the games and gambits in London in 1817. George Walker stated in 1838 that “the book is very rare”. It is a most beautiful book. The last copy sold in London was by Sotheby’s in April 1978 for £935”.
The State Library of Victoria bid for a Selenus that year and bailed out at £830.
This is probably the one. Fred Wilson, the New York dealer considered this, the pick of the antiquarian books. Cecil Purdy wrote once that the famous Morphy game in the Paris Opera House against the Count Isouard and the Duke of Brunswick reminded him that the Duke was a descendant of the famous Duke who wrote the chessbook above.
The Olms reprint is sometimes available in second-hand book sales ( it might even be still available from Olms)
January 1984 TCM:- “ Phillippe Stamma. Stamma was a native of Aleppo, a town in Syria, and he is described as a belated representative of the Arabic School of Chess. His date of birth is not known, nor of his death. In Paris in 1739 he published his “Essai sur le jeu des echecs” consisting of one hundred endings which, in the ancient Muslim style, were a blend of problem and actual game. From the dedication it was clear he was very poor at the time. He left Paris for London, which was becoming the world centre of chess, and in 1745 he published a revised edition of his French book called “the Noble Game of Chess”. As might be expected, he was the introducer of algebraic notation. The 1745 book I have in front of me is entitled “The Noble Game of Chess or a new and curious account of its antiquity, derivation of its terms etc. by Philippe Stamma, Native of Aleppo in Syria and interpreter of languages to his Majesty the King of Great Britain, London, printed J Brindley Bookseller to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, in Bond Street 1745”. There is a preface of XXIV pages followed by 73 openings including the Knights Close Game, the Bishops Close Game, the Pawns Close Game, the Knights Gambit, the Bishops Gambit. The second part of the book is a “Hundred games in various particular situations with the manner of playing them”. Pages 109-115 consist of “Advice to Young Players”. The final paragraph of the book states “N.B. The author thinks it proper to inform the publick that no copies of this book are genuine but such as are signed by him”. This is followed by his signature. The book is scarce. A copy was sold by Sotheby’s in 1980 for £130”.
Interesting that Stamma should sign the final page of his book. As though someone might plagiarise his work. His signature if PHILIP STAMMA was witnessed by a ‘J Hayes’. The title page spells his name PHILLIP STAMMA so that is a curious mistake, or it may not be. Dick’s copy as quoted above appears to have PHILIPPE in the title but he may have just missed that as “Bond Street” is actually “New Bond Street” in my copy.
April 1984 TCM:-J H Sarratt was a London schoolmaster who learnt his chess from Verdoni and established himself as “Professor of Chess”. He was the leading English chess master from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. He was a frequenter of the London Chess Club which met at Tom’s Coffee House in Cornhill. His fee was a guinea a lesson. Under his influence stalemate was accepted as a draw. He was the first great English author on chess. His reputation was high and a revelation to English players. His works were of a pioneering character as to chess and the English language. His first excellent books were “A treatise on the Game of Chess” Vol 1 and Vol 2 1808. There is a prefix listing books on chess from Damiano onwards and some friendly criticism of Philidor. Vol 1 contains “Different Methods of Opening the Games” then follows 75 Critical Variations. Vol 2 is “Teaching the Player who does not have the move how to frustrate his adversary’s attack”. Then there are instructions how to checkmate and a section on endings with pawns only. A copy of this work was sold in London for £75. His next book introduced in translation the works of Damiano, Lopez and Salvio. Published in London in 1813 it deals with those “old” authors extensively. A copy was sold in London in 1982 for £105.
His next book was Vol 1 Gianutio, Vol 2 Selenus with a preface giving some details of the authors. A copy of this work was sold in 1977 for £55. In 1821 was published “A New Treatise on the Game of Chess”. It is a more exhaustive work than the 1808 publication.He was assisted in this work by his pupil W Lewis.
Sarratt died in 1821. His widow then went to Paris and taught chess. In 1844 following an article in Le Palamede, describing her as aged 85 and destitute an appeal was launched which enabled her to live in comfort for the rest of her life”.
An interesting series by an eminent collector. On birth and death dates, even today Stamma still has question marks. Gaige in his “Chess Personalia” suggest c 1715 and d 1770? (1808??). Sarratt c 1772 – died 6/11/1819.
Phillips sold another very fine British collection on 21 January 1988. BCM had a very large advertisement in its January issue which indicated that the collection was over 2000 volumes plus a complete run of BCM from 1881 to 1981. There was a write-up in the April issue page 135 and it seemed that the auction became a sort of wake as old friends remembered James Pattle or Jim in a kindly way. Apparently he had many copies of Blackburne’s Best Games but was not keen to part with a single one. As BCM wrote:-“ Ah, a true collector! We may not see his like again”. There were 50 people present and Caissa Books bought most of them. The BCM run made £1500 which BCM thought “What we would regard as (well below) a realistic price”. The BCM editor was heard to mutter “ A bargain” occasionally. The Catalogue indicated the large number of books per lot. For example the Blackburne book went with 33 other books, some not described apart from referring to the fact that they were “mostly best games and Biographies”. Without doubt a very good way to acquire a collection cheaply. It was all over in 80 minutes and £18,500.
I did not know Jim Pattle but knew of him through Michael MacDonald Ross. BCM stated that Jim was a Surrey stalwart who had died of cancer in autumn 1987. He was known within a limited circle as a keen collector of chess books, though like many of his brethren, was not always keen to show them off. He was a fair player and someone recalled at the auction of him winning a miniature with Bxf7+ at Paignton about 1972.
Michael wrote in a 1980 letter that he’d seen Jim’s collection :-“and that it contained three Lolli’s, eight Blackburne’s, (So we know how many he had-BM), four copies of Horae Divanianae…it’s more of a treasure trove than a collection. Most of the books have been picked up from London booksellers during the last twenty years, also from lists, auctions, book fairs…He never sells anything, and almost never swaps, so it can be a bit frustrating for other collectors, who would give anything for one of these duplicates. He has two or three 19th C Indian chess works which are extremely rare; in fact there was so much stuff that I just staggered out in a daze. He’s not a wealthy man, just very single-minded! (I once had a meal out with him; I spent £4.50 he spent £1.50…) a very interesting and pleasant person”.
In another letter Michael described Jim as one of the nicest men one could ever hope to meet. Completely trustworthy, quiet and never boasted.
Michael MacDonald-Ross sold his collection of chess sets and books on 26 March 1987 at Phillips. It was advertised in February BCM as containing 3000 volumes and a description of the sale was published in BCM May p.201/2. It was a fabulous success and netted £58,000. There were 525 lots and Lothar Schmid came over to add to his collection. Caissa Books was a major bidder and the Royal Dutch Library had a bidder. Again the lots had multi books. The chess sets, prints and engravings fetched £13,000 so clearly Michael’s collection was larger than Dick Ford’s. The outstanding book sale was Lot 410 the Gianutio 1597 for £2000. It is exciting to receive a catalogue pre-sale and I bid for Lot 406 a 1750 Greco and got it at £33. One can imagine how fortunate attendees are at these auctions where they can view the books and price accordingly.
It must have been pleasing for Michael to have it all behind him. He was a great correspondent and a very fair dealer and I knew him from 1979 until after the sale of his collection when he went out of chess book dealing. We discussed many things and his knowledge of chess literature and the early books were common bonds. I learned a lot from him.
The Sale of Lot 403-the Greco “The Royall Game of Chesse-Play” with the portrait of Charles and the ownership of Bulstrode Whitelocke was fascinating. The book went for £400 but that inscription was a name that had come down through the centuries. The Narromine News editor was Clifford Bulstrode Whitelocke and with a name like that he had to be related to the 17th century or later owner. On talking to Cliff about it, he told me of the book he had called “An Improbable Puritan-a Life of Bulstrode Whitelocke” by Ruth Spalding. Whitelocke had lived from 1605-1675 and the book certainly looked like his copy. Ruth’s amazing find of Bulstrode Whitelocke’s diary in Dublin is a story of determination and success. Cliff was a descendant and told me of chess in Changi POW camp during WW2 where he spent some years:-“ Officers were segregated from ordinary soldiers. The other ranks were controlled by Warrant Officers. The Officers didn”t go out on working parties and had more time for social life (1 Batman to 4 Officers). There was a lower death rate to the other ranks. Bill Bryant from Western Australia (Commercial Artist) and gunner played a few games with halves of cotton reels and lead cut-outs and board. Journalist friends from Melbourne played a few games. Other ranks could get a pass and visit officers inside the Japanese perimeter. I went with a concert party (semi symphony) to the officers and hospital. After building the Burma Line we took possession of Changi Jail beginning 1944”. Cliff died in 1994 aged 84. As for Bulstrode Whitelocke, he saw off Charles 1, Oliver Cromwell and Charles11.
Many of Michael’s books contained signatures of the great chess personages and premiums were paid to buy those particular books. For example Hastings 1895 with Lasker’s signature went for £150, an unsigned copy went for £65.
I only found out about the “Bibliotheque D’Un Amateur” from Harald Ballo well after the auction on 6 June 1991 in Paris. We started corresponding in mid 1992 and as Harald is a busy doctor, I could only expect letters irregularly. When they arrived was a red letter day as always there was some snippet of collecting lore which was much appreciated. Being keen on Morphy history I was sad to read that the great German collector (4000 chess books) Werner Nicolay had died in 1991 and so any exchange was lost.
Harald writes great letters and here is a sample from his April 1993 letter:-For me these auctions represent a feeling full of suspense. It is exciting. Heart rate and blood pressure rise in the same manner as it happens during the critical phase of a Chess game. Additionally people seem to tax each other how high they will be able to go. The air is full of competitive smell. And I think it is this competition which implies the danger to forget the real value of a book which leads to far too high prices. People forget themselves in the competition by simply bidding against each other and it is by no means the books which play the crucial role in this ‘bidding-game’”.
The “Amateur” above, was Andre Muffang (1897-1990?) an industrialist who won the French Chess Championship in 1931 and had an equal second at Margate in 1923 to Alekhine. Many great collectors were present including Ralf Hess of Frankfurt, Lothar Schmid of Bamberg, Jean Mennerat of Coulans sur Lison, Manfred Mittelbach of Hamburg and Harald Ballo. BCM August 1991 p 337 mentions that Boris Spassky was there with three other GM’s and that he secured a number of items. The overall sale netted £80,000 of which the Lucena 1540 parchment manuscript (item 142) went for £30,000 to a Paris library. The catalogue had a very fine problem collection including a full set of the Christmas Series (6000f-$1200) and a Loyd “Chess Strategy” (1200f) plus a very fine array of early books which included two Damianos (85,000f and 23,000f), an Actius, Bertin, 1689 Greco,1767 Hyde, 1584 Lopez, a good run of Philidors, 1634 Selenus, Twiss, a Windisch 1783 (13,000f) and a very good array of French chess magazines. The Hotel Drouot must have been buzzing with all the choice items.
Harald Ballo wrote about the Damiano in Schach Zettell 147 (DSZ Jan 1997 p.56) and John van Manen translated it as below :-“Damiano, Editio princeps 1512-The Chess book of the chemist Damiano from Odemira in Portugal (Questo libro e Daim Parare Giocarea Scachi et de le Partite, Rome 1512) belongs to the oldest chess books of the new, modern chess, which have reached us. In total eight different edition in the 16th century are known (1st edition = 1512; 2nd edition = 1518; 3rd edition = 1524; 4th edition = 1st undated; 5th edition = 2nd undated; 6th edition = 3rd undated; 7th edition = 4th undated; 8th edition = 1564) where the first edition was dated for the year 1512 following the thorough and careful work by Ross Pinsent, which he published in BCM June 1906( p 229-239). Just like the ca 1497 date printed booklet by Lucena, each edition of Damiano is keenly sought by the chess book collector for rarity.
Adriano Chicco of Italy gave, as part of an essay with the title “Le edixione italiane del Libro di Damiano” in the magazine for bibliophiles “L’Esopo, Rivista Trimestrale di Bibliofilia” in June 1984 ((p.46-58) a list of all known copies of the 1512 ‘Editio Princeps’ in the world. In total Chicco mentions seven places, in which he found copies. To be precise in the Library of the British Museum in London, the National Library in Vienna, the University Library of Salamanca, the Municipal Library of Barcelona, the Royal Library in The Hague and the Cleveland Public Library. The seventh copy Chicco saw in Bamberg in the library of Lothar Schmid.
At that time he could not know, and Schmid obviously did not tell him, that that copy was a loan of the multiple winner of the chess championship of France and collector of chess books, Andre Muffang. Muffang collected during his long, more than ninety years life, a considerable chess book collection. As Muffang’s son told us at the time (in 1990). Andre Muffang kept up very good connections with Meindert Niemeijer of Wassenaar too, who had left him quite a lot of rare chess books, including his duplicate copy of the “Editio Princeps’ of Damiano. Muffang’s collection came after his death in June 1991 at an auction in the Auction House Drouot in Paris and was scattered around the world. This included the 1512 Damiano, which was knocked down to the American De Lucia for 85,000f,i.e. DM 26,000, plus 6.151% premium, that is DM 27,000. It was for a long time the only (and in total the eighth known copy) copy still in private possession.
Therefore we were really astonished, when in the catalogue of an auction of the Auction House of Christie in London, which would take place on 27 November 1996, we discovered a first edition Damiano (which would be the ninth copy). The estimated price was set at 8,000 to 12,000 English pounds. We could not resist the temptation to travel to London in order to hold this rare book in the hand and to bid for it. Unfortunately as underbidders we had to look on (the auctioneer increased the bids in jumps of 1000 pounds and our budget melted away in seconds), how a bidder by telephone, whom we did not know, obtained the book for £20,000, i.e. DM 51,000 plus 15% premium, which is about DM 58,650. This corresponds to a doubling of the Paris purchase price. We left the auction room thoughtful. We will not again meet a Damiano in this life. We were lucky that we found in a small dusty second hand bookshop in an old part of London a rare edition of Robert Burton’s famous “Anatomy of Melancholy”, in which also a sentence appears, which offered us some consolation:- “Chess-play is also a good and witty exercise of the mind for some kind of men, and fit for such melancholy, Rhasis holds, as are ideal, and have extravagant impertinent thoughts, or troubled with cares, nothing better to distract their mind, and alter their meditations….” But one question remains for the ambitious collector:- “Who was the secret bidder at the telephone?”
One query here. If Chicco saw the Muffang copy at Bamberg in Lothar Schmid’s home then it is not an extra copy. As for the secret bidder,that was Lothar Schmid.
In Hamburg on 31 May 1997 a substantial part of German collector Ralf Hess of Frankfurt’s library was sold. The estimates seemed reasonable and the dearest was the 1561 Alcala Lopez at DM 6000; 1617 Carrera at DM 4000; 1604 Salvio at DM 4000; Kagan’s Neueste Schachnachrichten Vols 1 –12 DM 2500 and The London Chess Fortnightly by Lasker 1892/3-19 issues at DM 2500.
One interesting item was No.2431 Zweig ‘Schachnovelle’ Buenos Aires 1942 DM 2000. The 1769 Ponzianai made DM 3000 and Studies of Chess 1803 DM 2000.
This was kindly sent to me by Harald plus the 1997 Auction held in Paris by Rodolphe Chamonal of Games, Sports and Diversions. Harald got a first edition 1749 Philidor here. There were 40 chess items in the 438 item catalogue. Beautifully produced with many colour plates.
The Dr Robert Blass Collection of Early Chess Books was sold by Christies in London on 8 May 1992 and an advertisement was placed in BCM April. There was a simultaneous chess display by Raymond Keene and Murray Chandler at the showing on 6 May with £100 credits for the best games against the GM’s towards purchases at the later auction
And Murray Chandler BCM editor suggested in the May editorial that ‘Collectors of chess literature will shortly be in antiquarian heaven’. He was referring to the Blass sale at which he thought item 9-the 1483 “De Ludo Schachorum” may well fetch £30,000. It actually made £18,000. (or £19,800 including the 10% premium)
A brilliantly produced catalogue with 48 illustrations, it was offered in Chess April issue to anyone writing to Christies. Gareth Williams stated that it was probably the finest chess book and manuscript auction since the Rimington Wilson sale of 1928. There were over 1000 items and Chess July 1992 p 9 reported on the sale. Blass, a Swiss lawyer and keen chess player built up the library during the 1930’s and 40’s and it included part of the Rimington Wilson collection. Every seat at the South Kensington sale room was taken leaving only standing room for many enthusiasts. In view of Blass’s death in 1975 aged 88, it would appear the collection was stored for many years. It netted over £132,000 excluding the 10% premium and attracted all the collecting greats. Harald Ballo bid through Chjristies Frankfurt, the State Library of Victoria was in the thick of it and bid for a Damiano, Carrera, Gianutio and Cozio and got them excluding the Carrera. Ken Fraser was asked to spend about $10-12,000. The books arrived after the auction with the library using a London agent. Other books acquired were a Pratt 1799 and Sarratt 1817 on Gianutio and Selenus and finally a Villot 1825 on Astronomy, the Game of Chess and Egypt.
A number of collectors had travelled from the USA, France, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium and Germany and as well there was a row of white phones manned by Christies staff for those unable to attend. It started at 11.05am and finished 1.35pm. The manuscripts and books sold first brought handsome prices above the estimates in the Catalogue and those collectors who missed out with the first section pushed prices up above estimates again. Michael Mark got the 1561 Alcala Lopez for £1400 plus the 10% premium. Lothar Schmid bought several interesting lots. Victor Keats added to his collection. Michael Sheehan bought the complete run of DSZ for £2300 plus premium and Dale Brandreth of Delaware and Peter Halfmann of Duisburg bought many lots. The 200 lots some containing many books were all gone, the collection dispersed and everyone satisfied. There was an unpublished Morphy letter dated May 22 1859 to Thomas Frere from the St Nicholas Hotel New York. It’s estimate was £2-3000. I don’t know whether it was sold. (From Dale Brandreth)
Most of the treasures of Blass’s library made it to the auction as “Schaakbibliotheken” by Dr N p 18/19 described the great library as it was in 1938. The Trevangadacharya Shastree 1814, the 1624 Middleton from von der Lasa’s library, the Ibrahim ibn Ezra 1838 appeared to be missing and possibly were traded by Blass in subsequent years. He only had 549 books in 1938.
The “Bibliotheque de Mr X” (Harald Falk) was briefly mentioned earlier when Albert Pinkus’ collection was discussed. Two collecting friends Dr Jean Mennerat and Dr Harald Ballo were aware of the upcoming “Mr X” sale at the Drouot Montaigne on the 8 June 1995. The Catalogue which Harald sent me after the sale was another lovely item to have with front and back cover sketches of ‘The Turk’ from the Racknitz book No 166 in the auction. All other photos in the catalogue were superimposed on ‘The Turk’ background. Jean got a Gianutio 1597, Ponziani 1769 and a 1604 Salvio. Harald got a 1561 Alcala Lopez in a real coup for 3500f. This was about $900 Australian and was considerably less than that paid for the copy at the Blass sale. Curiously the 1584 Lopez Tarsia went for 8000f ($2000) which was the Catalogue estimate. The 1561 Alcala was estimated at 4000f. The reverse would have been closer to the mark. A buyers premium of 10% was payable also on these prices. Whilst the Racknitz 1789 brought top price of 13,000f with the 1554 Boissiere “Rythmoachie” (Lot 19), a bundle of 21 volumes from the 19th and 20th centuries brought 14,500f. the very top price was as usual a Damiano 1540 at 20,000f. There was a truly wonderful range of Philidor’s from the three 1749 editions to the next 14 editions finishing in 1850. Lot 146, the 1777 edition was actually signed by the great man and made 10,000f. It was a very reasonable sale for buyers and with Lothar Schmid present there should have been satisfaction amongst all the bidders. The bidding was dominated by an Englishman, two Belgians, Lothar Schmid and Harald Ballo. They were very lucky not to have much opposition.
Falk was an interesting man and Harald Ballo wrote about him in Schach Zettell’s 64, 80,119 and 124 in DSZ 1996. A very useful series of articles on Falk who lived in Hamburg and left Germany in 1933 for Paris with his beloved chess library. Being Jewish he must have watched the ensuing years with horror and decided to sell his library to the Paris dealer Leo Bayer. One can imagine how he felt when the invasion of France took place and the occupation of Paris. Where would a Jewish German go in WW2? Poor devil. He was arrested in March 1944 and ended his days at Auschwitz a month later aged but 38. He was born in Hamburg 27 July 1905. There is a photo of Falk alongside a chess set and table outside his home? (DSZ 119) (See also BCM 1933 p.312-a Falk letter)
I can’t help wondering about the split-up of his library and the sale of the tourney books to Pinkus and then the 1995 sale above of his antiquarian library of 50+ years past Falk’s death. Niemeijer gives some hint in Schaakbibliotheken and Ballo adds more but the picture is blurred.
Tony Mantia of Bellbrook Ohio USA has a very fine collection which in 1986 was over 3000 volumes and 15,000 magazines and he called it ‘ eclectic’ or non discriminatory. His likes are biographical games collections, history and bibliographic items as well as problem books and in fact any type of chess book.
One of his nicest items was Ranneforth’s Schach Kalendars with extensive annotations by Alekhine, including two unknown games from an exhibition in Holland as well as his listing of the games that he was collecting for his second volume of best games. He also holds several books signed by Frank Marshall and a limited first edition of his games collection with a signed presentation to A1 and Edna Horowitz. He holds Sam Loyd’s “Chess Strategy” and A F Mackenzie’s “Chess It’s Poetry and It’s Prose” and “Chess Lyrics”. Tony likes “The Chess Bouquet” by Gittins and I too like that book very much. His copy was owned by H F L Meyer who had tipped many interesting items into the volume such as a photo of himself, a dozen or so of his problems, a letter from George Hume and extensive marginalia on other composers he was familiar with. Tony holds a complete run a Baruch Wood “Chess” and many club and state organisational publications from the USA.
At one stage he ran a research service for the USCF answering such questions as where Pillsbury was buried? What is Bobby Fischer doing now? Etc.
He has visited the Cleveland Library several times and found the curator Mrs Loranth very kind and the staff helpful. Mrs Loranth’s recent retirement is a great loss.
His chess room has 4.5 shelves of History and Bibliography, 5 shelves of Chess Manuals and 2 of Biographical Games Collections and 2.5 shelves of Opening Books. Another section has 3.5 shelves of Openings Books, Half a shelf of Middle Games, Two shelves of Endings and Half a shelf on humour and General (computers etc). Another case has 1 Shelf of Humour and General Books, 2.5 shelves of Problem Books and 3.5 shelves of Tournaments and Matches. Another case holds Games Collections, Informants, Basic Instruction Books and New in Chess. His magazines are held in a closet in which he built shelves. (This is a good idea as closets are quite cheap to buy).
He has filing cabinets, pictures and a cartoon by the famous US Cartoonist Virgil Partch of a chess player saying “I won’t play with a camera whirring in my face”.(Inspired by Bobby Fischer). Tony’s daughter made a sign ‘Chess Room’ when she was quite young and that was in pride of place. A very impressive working room. It has been some years since I heard from Tony and I trust he is well.
Various catalogues of collections have come my way from Dale Brandreth and Fred Wilson:-
Duclos Collection – 1918. This catalogue of 16 pages commences with a letter from J G White to A J Souweine of New York City dated 23 December 1918 in which White describes the collection and in which he placed stars alongside the books in his collection. There are very few unstarred places!
Some very fine series finishing in 1915 were complete runs of La Strategie, BCM, Chess Amateur-the rare book on Prince Andre Dadian by Schiffers, all the early volumes of Chess Player’s Chronicle, The Chess Monthly (London) and a rather good list of other magazines. The curious “Bibliographie anecdotique de jeu des echecs” by J.Gay, Paris 1864 looks interesting; a 1735 Bertin; a full run of the Christmas Series to 1914 including Braune; and a very good selection of problem and tournament books and a Tarsia and Salvio. A very good collection of 950+ items.
M K Brans Collection – December 1974 This catalogue of 25 pages contains 403 items. A Sotheby Catalogue of B H Pinsent’s collection of 14 pages dated 1974 was one item. Another was the Barcelona Library chess collection of 1943, Amsterdam University chess collection of Alexander Rueb, A. de Beruijn’s collection of 81 pages dated 1974, a good batch of Philidors, a 1617 Selenus, Lolli, 1741 Stamma, a splendid array of tournament boks, a 1696 Greco. Surprisingly no magazines but a choice collection.
F H Willing’s Collection A 1920 Catalogue of 37 pages – over 1200 volumes. Charles Willings library description earlier contained F H Willings. This is a great collection. Page 37 gives the Rou Ms of 1902 bound with Bilow, BCA Report Manchester 1857, Schallop’s Steinitz/Zukertort match 1886, Heyde 1891, Schwartz 1888. Amazing pamphlets. The collection contains 15 scrap books of newspaper clippings and 12 autograph letters of Medley, Lowenthal, Lord Cremorne, Watkinson, Sir John Blunden, G B Fraser, Pavitt, Deacon. 13 signatures including Staunton’s, Wisker, James Robey, Thorold, Geo McArthur, Hampton, Blunden, Lord John Hay, R B Brien, Lord Dudley, Lord Stanley, W C Green, W S Pavitt. This is one of the best.
Peter G Toepfer’s collection A 1910 Catalogue of 33 pages including a sketch of those gigantic chessmen was described just before Willing earlier. The preface is great:-“The following alphabetically arranged collection of books on the Game of Chess has been started by me in the year 1900. At that time being informed by a chess friend that a lady in a city in the northern part of our state, had for years been trying to sell her late husband’s chess library. When I went up to see her she had two large washbaskets of chess books placed before me for my inspection, which I at once bought. Since that time in our States, Mexico, Europe etc, I looked up the second-hand bookstalls for the purposes of increasing my collection. No doubt prior collectors are ahead of me in amount of old books, but with latest issues in the English and German language we are on the level. Books or works on the game of Chess not mentioned in the following list I am willing to exchange for my duplicates or to buy at a reasonable price to enlarge my collection. This is the sole object of this print”.
The preface is then repeated in German, French and Polish. One catalogue he has was of Curt Ronninger, successor of Hans Hedwig, Leipzig 1910 and 1912/13, or was Ronninger a dealer? A good collection of magazines, all DSZ for example, but his giant chessmen, used by Lasker twice for lectures were the highlight.
C B Vansittart Collection –Catalogue by Albert Cohn of Berlin 1886 65 pages. 974 items. This catalogue has all the prices asked and in those days 1 mark = 4 shillings UK. A 1512 Guarinus was £100 whereas the 1495 Lucena was £50! A 14th century Cessolis Ms was on offer for £60. The first 13 volumes of CPC were £50, another 1493 Cessolis £90, Gianutio £5, Hyde £2, 1472 Ingold £120, 1561 Lopez £45, 1628 Middleton £20, a music score by Philidor’s father dated 1700 for £35, Rowbothum £25, A Saul £12, Stamma 1745 £2/8/-, 1584 Tarsia £2, Twiss 1787/9 £1/10/-, Walker’s 1844 Chess Studies £7! (Very rare!).
It must be a lovely catalogue to have in original. I have a faded photocopy.
Heinz Loeffler (1907-1981). Dale Brandreth wrote:-“It is with a heavy heart that I write these lines, for my friend and fellow chess book dealer died suddenly only two weeks after I had last received a letter from him. I had the honour and pleasure of doing business with Heinz Loeffler for over thirty years, and it will be difficult to get used to the idea of no longer being able to visit him in the beautiful small West German town of Bad Nauheim, and of receiving his packages of chess books.
Herr Loeffler was a delightful man with a nice sense of humor and a keen interest in chess, its literature, and the people of the chess world. I visited him for the first time in the spring of 1976 in Bad Nauheim and we spent hours walking in the streets of that old Hessian town which served as Supreme Allied Headquarters toward the end of World War II. How well I remember sitting with him on the veranda of the old café on top of the Johannisberg overlooking the town, swapping stories of other collectors and dealers and drinking the good German beer! It was one of those idyllic times in one’s life - too few and too fleeting.
Although Heinz Loeffler had suffered the terrors of two world wars, it was not apparent to see him and to talk to him. He was a tall and fit man who liked walking and swimming right to the end. As a dealer he was rigidly honest, accurate, and always had a fine stock of antiquarian literature in chess. He read many of these books for enjoyment over the years. Having lived in England and France for some years before World War ii, he spoke fluent French and English in addition to German and Spanish.
I know I speak for his many friends and customers when I say that his passing leaves an emptiness and sorrow not soon assuaged. I shall always cherish his memory. Rest in peace, dear friend…”
Christian M Bijl Mr Bijl worked at the Royal Library at The Hague but collected chess books in his own right. He published a catalogue in February 1976 of 99 pages and 858 items and it has most assuredly grown since then. He commenced the catalogue by stating that there were 75 collectors that he knew of with 38 of them holding good collections. These are included:-
1. C M Bijl, Haarlem, Nederland
2. J W Bijl – Sartorius, Haarlem, Nederland
3. C Bijl, Amersfoort,Nederland
4. K Bijl – Piek, Amersfoort, Nederland
5. M J K Bijl, Utrecht, Nederland
6. W Sartorius - ter Hoeven, Utrecht, Nederland
7. Prof. A Becker, Carapachay, Argentina
8. Mr R E Booy, Groningen, Nederland
9. Mr M K Brans, Delft, Nederland
10. A de Bruijn, Bussum, Nederland
11. Chess Department Harvard College Library, Harvard USA
12. Chess Library M V Anderson Victorian State Library, Melbourne, Australia
13. Cleveland Public Library, John G White Department, Cleveland USA
14. Prof Dr M Euwe, Amsterdamm Nederland
15. H Folkers, Nieuw Vennep, Nederland
16. J Gaige Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
17. J ten Have, Amsterdam, Nederland
18. P Jaarsma, nederhorst den Berg, Nederland
19. B B Jensen Bronshoj, Denemarken
20. Mr A K P Jongsma, Heemstede, Nederland
21. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana, Den Haag, Nederland
22. K W Kruijswijk, Bilthoven, Nederland
23. M A Lachaga, Martinez, Argentina
24. C G Langeweg, Nederhorst den Berg, Nederland
25. H Loeffler, Bad Nauheim, West-Duitsland
26. E Meissenburg, Winsen/Luhe, West-Duitsland
27. O Mix, Arnhem, Nederland
28. Dr M Niemeijer, Wassenar, Nederland
29. C Orbann, Amsterdam, Nederland
30. Prof Dr C van Parreren, Amsterdam, Nederland
31. K Rattmann, Hamburg, West-Duitsland
32. Alexander Rueb Stichting, Amsterdam, Nederland
33. L Schmid, Nbamberg, West-Duitsland
34. S J Schurer, Harrlem, Nederland
35. H J Slavekoorde, Den Haag, Nederland
36. C L Stafleu, leiden, Nederland
37. A C van der Tak, Harrlem, Nederland
38. K Whyld, Wollaton, Nottingham,Engeland.
Nice to see so many Dutch collectors
He had a splendidly varied collection of which the following caught my eye:-
No 212 is a catalogue of A Kok’s collection 1039 items
No 238 Bassi’s “History of Correspondence Chess up to 1839”
No.264 Bachmann’s 1920 work on the Café de la Regence, Deschappellles vs Lewis, Schachautomaton, Napoleon I as a Chess Player.
No 289 Heinz Loeffler’s book on Chess Humour “100 Schachanekdoten”.
There were 40 pages of Tournament books and these are superb and 9 pages of Match books.
Ritaukaskra – Landsbokasafnsins 1900 & 1901 Reykjavik (Fiske?)
These two photocopied booklets appear to be a compilation of Professor Fiske’s library. Whether it is complete I am unsure but his obituary stated 1200 volumes.
1900 consists of 5 pages of chess books and 110 items. Very choice with Lasa’s ‘Geschichte” 1897, Twiss, Severino, Lopez 1584, Gianutio 1597, Greco 1669 (Paris)
1901 consists of 20 pages and 775 items. There are some draughts books included and other subjects also:- Ringhieri, Damiano,Lolli, Carrera, Aben Esra 1743, Actius, Twiss Miscellanies, Cobarvbias 1561, Cozio 1766, Greco 1656-a very impressive collection of which this is a glimpse.
Assuming this completes Fiske’s library it consists of 885 items.
This section concludes with a lot of references which I will not expand upon:-
27. Godefroy Gumpel-large chess collection- See Brentanos Vol 1 No 6 page 267.
28. The Morphy Chess Rooms Library-Brentanos page 323.
29. Chess Tales & Miscellanies p.386 speaks generally about libraries.
30. Chess Monthly 1857 p.223-von der Lasa says Franz has the “richest collection of chess works extant”.
31. Profile of a Prodigy 1973 by Brady p.11-Fischer’s library. See also My Seven Chess Prodigies by John Collins 1974 p 22 – his library of 600 volumes.
32. Chess Amateur Vol 19 p 162-Library of Dr Lerch; Vol 17 p 367 Wallis’s library;Vol 16 p 266 P H William’s library; Vol 16 p 298 John Keeble’s library; Vol 13 p 266 (T)Poepfer’s collection to Wisconsin University 1000 books ;Vol 3 p 102 Books on Chess History; Vol 3 p 164 Monsieur Preti’s sale-a disaster; Vol 3 p 252 Otto Harrosowitz-chess book dealer.
33. BCM 1957 June p 163 Bruno Bassi-greatest private chess collection in the world.
34. Problemist 1938 July p142 Niemeijer says his library the largest in Europe-4000 books
35. Problemist Vol 3 p 176 –M W Paris fine library-BCPS library;p 224 Professor Allen’s 35 books 26Ms to BCPS; p.274 BCPS gets 30 books; p.357 Niemeijer’s Schaakbibliotheken.
36. BCM 1900 p 298 Francis Douce-Antiquarian bequeaths library to Bodleian; 1906 p.240
37. BCM 1958 p 175 Eccles Librarian
38. BCM 1908 p 417 John Keeble got J A Miles library
39. BCM 1910 p 283+ F Downey’s collection; p 335 Crespi leaves money for chess in Italy.
40. Chess Player’s Magazine 1866/7 p 128 English gentleman purchases American Amateur’s library in 1865/6 (Henry’s??)
41. City of London Chess Magazine p 83 & p 109 Details on Walker’s sale p 210 Lowenthal stays with Rimington-Wilson.
42. Chess in Australia 1971 p 3 Karlis Lidums has extensive chess library.
43. BCM 1924 p 243,267,323,442; 1925 p 225 Second Hand book prices.
44. BCM 1926 p 133,167,252,265,338,419,456,727 “ “ “
45. BCM p 228 C G Bennett leaves fine library to his old club at Harrowgate.
46. BCM p 433 J McKee collection of books – Scots champion.
47. BCM p.279 100 copies of von der Lasa’s library catalogue.
48. Problemist Vol 6 p 4 Chess book prices;p 131,198, 243 old books; p 225 J F Toff and Thuiller collections.
49. New York Clipper 23.5.1874 George Walker’s manuscripts described. 10.10.1874 Gilberg gives Miron – Alphonsine Ms; 23.11.1878 Allen’s library for sale $3000.
50. Illustrated London News 26.9.1846 – Bledow’s fine library for sale for £100, 550 volumes-Staunton and London Chess Club won’t buy.
25 Problemist July 1996 p 235 Massmann collection including Gerd Meyers 1100 titles.
26. The Field 5.2.1887 – Gumpel to sell his chess library of 160 volumes.
27. The Tablet 10.3.1928 – Some Rimington Wilson sale prices; 31.3.1928 First 8 lines of the Goldsmith Translation.
28. BCM 1932 p 395 – James Borthwick dies – library to Glasgow Chess Club.
29. BCM 1930 p 167 – J G White collection.
30. Chess 1948 p 14 Bruno Bassi looks for Greco’s death-enquiries to Uppsala University Sweden.
31. Chess 1950 p 73 Baruch Wood Chess collection; p.224 Early chess in Central and South America – Bruno Bassi..
32. Chess 1952 p 93 - Photo of war damaged National Chess Centre Sept. 1940.
33. ILN 16.8.1845 – Bledow of Berlin – great collection; 3.10.1846 – Bibliopole did he buy Bledow’s library?
34. Chess 1937 Vol 2 p 394+ Dr Niemeijer’s library. Very fine article.
35. Chess Oct. 1946 Vol 2 p.2 Robert Forbes Combe-good tournament book library.
36. BCM 1952 p. 106 Combe’s obituary-T R Dawson’s obituary.
37. Arnold Denker’s book “The Bobby Fischer I knew” 1995 p 1 Albert Pinkus collector. Also p 30. Page 10 James Longstreet Confederate General plays chess; p 11 Chess Libraries of Chess Life and Manhattan Chess Club;p 268 Kurt Rattman’s collection in Hamburgh.
38. Chess Monthly 1857 p 257-264 Bibliothecal Chess-superb article by Willard Fiske.
39. Problemist May 1969 p 344 P ten Cate problemist.
40. Chess Amateur October 1916 Vol 11 p.2 W S Branch writing in the Cheltenham Chronicle notes that “he believes the number of separate chess works in all departments, and excluding magazines or pamphlets, that have been published since the invention of printing, to be now over 5,000. This does not include later editions unless much enlarged or altered. The oldest chess books, from their age and variety, are of great cash value. But this does not apply to many books, now old, but printed since the 17th century; though three or four are rare, and consequently worth a good deal more than what they were published at. Captain Bertin’s book of 1735 is one. Later books, but out of print long ago, generally sell at from a fourth or half what they were published at”.
Adriano Chicco and Giorgio Porreca’s book “Dizionario Enciclopedico Degli Scacchi” 1971 is a remarkable book with much biographical and historical material – one translation managed was :-“p48..In Italy, the library of Brera owned the small collection of E Crespi, another bequest in 1965 was the library of Dr Lanza (500 books, 280 pamphlets and 30 periodicals). Meanwhile the Italian Chess Federation Library dedicated to Giovanni Tonetti published a catalogue of the collection in 1929. No private collector possesses a comparable collection to some of the great foreign collections. In the last century the family of the Count Salimbeni of Modena possessed a very fine chess library, of which the bookdealers Vicenze and Nipoti of Modena published a catalogue in 1888. The collection was sold to Vansittart when after his death it was dispersed. ( I apologise for any mistranslation-the Dizionario is a beautiful book)