RO - ABC by Marian Stere

RO - ABC by Marian Stere

(A review)


First published: August 29, 2009

Last Update:     August 29, 2009


Marian Stere’s RO-ABC (ROmania - A Bibliography of Chess) is a definitive bibliography of Romanian books, periodicals and other items related to chess. The book is intended for chess collectors, historians and chess history lovers. Most of the book is written in English, small parts of the text are simultaneously in Romanian.


A material is ordered into several sections and each item has its own reference number. The sections are: Books (described 186 items), Magazines (30), Rules, trainers‘ handbooks, documents of the Federation (50), Tournament bulletins (146), Chess in literature, in mathematics etc. (157) and Chess columns in non-chess periodicals (42 items). In all, 842 items are described, all containing detailed bibliographical record that includes (when available): item number - author - title - place and date of publication - publisher - number of the edition - pagination - size - original price - number of copies published - translator - ISB(S)N - notes.


Last two sections deal with chess philately, miscellanea, score sheets, visiting cards, paintings etc. - these items cannot be catalogued as many of them are unique. This is a reason, why they don’t have reference numbers (though they are well described and most of them pictured).


I was surprised by a quantity of pictures - more than 500 items are shown, usually in color. Almost all covers of books and magazines have their own pictures. This is uncommon for bibliographical books, which are usually published as „text only“ or sometimes with few photographs at the end. In fact, I can remember just one another book of this kind that has so many pictures like RO-ABC - it is a bibliography of German „Festschrifts“ Die Tradition verpflichted… by R. Binnewirtz and H.-J. Fresen (sorry, if I forgot something).


So far I spent with the RO-ABC 2-3 hours and I tried to compare my own Romanian books with the bibliography (unfortunately, I have just a few of them in my library ;-). I found exact pagination of Revista de sah (since 1933 titled Revista Romana de sah, reference number RO-ABC 207) of some volumes from 1920s and 1930s. Respectively, I found which volumes should include title/index pages and if a particular volume contains plates or not. This is an information that I was not able to find for years.


According to the author, the edition of the RO-ABC is limited to 222 copies, and all of which are hand-numbered and signed. This makes from the book itself a subject of interest for collectors. The page with book number and author’s signature informs that book is a „Limited edition“, however I did not find any information that total number of published copies is 222.


The price of the book is 62.49 Euro, respectively 49.99 Euro for the KWA (Ken Whyld Association) members. I consider the price as quite acceptable - the price of such a book cannot be assessed as a „price of paper“ - to collect and sort so much material takes a lot of time of studying, researching and consultations.


I recommend Marian Stere's bibliography to all collectors who have (or would like to have) Romanian books in their library. The book offers a lot of information that are useful as a reference and are hardly available from Internet or other sources.


Karel Mokry, August 14, 2009 


(Stere, Marian: Romania - A Bibliography of Chess. Bibliografia sahului romanesc v. 1.0. Bucuresti, Gambit, 2009. Series arhiSAH no.13. Hardcover, 302 pages, 500+ illustrations in text. Signed and numbered by the author).