Thursday, 13 December 2018

The Huddersfield College Magazine



The Huddersfield College Magazine started life as a general school magazine with two pages on chess.  But, such was the extent of its chess coverage in the later volumes, and its importance in leading to the foundation of The British Chess Magazine that The HCM is included in major chess bibliographies such as Chess: An Annotated Bibliography by Douglas Betts and Di Felice's Chess Periodicals.

Betts 7-15 records that The Huddersfield College Magazine was published in eight volumes from 1872 to 1880 in Huddersfield, with W. J. C. Miller as editor from October 1872 to June 1876 followed by John Watkinson up to 1880, and that the chess section was superseded by The British Chess Magazine.  

However, for the full story of this magazine see Tim Harding's deeply researched book British Chess Literature to 1914 which has extensive coverage on pages 73 to 76, with further details of how it evolved into The British Chess Magazine on pages 164/165. 



Harding notes that this scarce periodical is not available in any of the United Kingdom's copyright libraries but that complete sets are available in the Royal Dutch Library, Cleveland Public Library and the M. V. Anderson Chess Collection in the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. (The Moravian Chess Publishing House of Olomouc, Czech Republic, has reprinted the chess pages from The HCM in a series of three books)     

Although the magazine was originally aimed at pupils and old boys of the college, the ever growing chess content attracted many subscribers who had no connection with the school. Harding also hints that the transformation into The British Chess Magazine was partly to rival The Chess Monthly, edited by the foreigners Leopold Hoffer and Johannes Zukertort, with the new name waving the British flag.  

The Huddersfield College Magazine flourished during a busy period for English chess magazines;  The Chess Player's Chronicle, The Westminster Papers, The Amateur Chess Magazine, The City of London Chess Magazine and The Chess Monthly were all published in England during part or most of The HCM's eight year life. Some American chess magazines were also available in England at the time.  There was, however, a short period from April 1876, following the demise of both The Chess Player's Chronicle and The City of London Chess Magazine, until the former re-launched in January 1877, when there was no British periodical devoted entirely to chess. (The Westminster Papers included whist and other recreations).



The first issues of the magazine had just two pages devoted to chess with a game and a problem. This quickly grew in stages and by 1879 chess occupied more than half of the magazine; the 32 page magazine for July 1879 for example, included 19 pages of chess with coverage of problem tourneys, local, national and international chess news, and the third part of an eighteen page review by Thomas Long of The Theory of the Chess Openings by G. H. D. Gossip.

The magazine's editor excelled in providing obituaries and memoirs of prominent chess personalities;  St. Amant, who died in October 1872, was remembered on pages 74 to 76 of the January 1873 issue, and in August 1874 a long and balanced obituary of Howard Staunton appeared on pages 232 to 234. 




From the many obituary notices on Staunton, this essay was singled out for praise by W. N. Potter, on page 164 of The City of London Chess Magazine for August 1874, as being "most in accordance with the facts of the case" 


The City of London Chess Magazine, August 1874, page 164

I. O. Howard Taylor contributed a long memoir on John Cochrane on pages 211 to 214 of the May 1878 issue, (this was subsequently included in Taylor's book Chess Skirmishes, published in 1889), and a three page sketch of the life of George Walker appeared in the magazine for June 1879, this was signed simply "D", and focuses on Walker's popularisation of chess literature.





One item of particular interest to chess bibliophiles is the notice, on page 154 of the May 1874 magazine, of the forthcoming auction in London, by Sotheby and Co. of "rare and valuable works, principally on chess, forming the extensive collection of an American amateur", i.e. C. W. Whitman. 





This auction of 473 lots was held on the day after the same auctioneers had sold off George Walker's library in 314 lots. Oh to have been in London on 14th and 15th May 1874! The catalogues for these two auctions are listed in Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana aucta et de novo descripta; nos. 170 and 1246. 


                                           © Michael Clapham 2018

Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Royal Game, by Stefan Zweig, a follow up.

It seems that my brief mention of Stefan Zweig's chess story The Royal Game barely scratched the bibliographical surface of the publication details of his final novella.



Manfred Mittelbach of Cape of Good Hope, has provided much further information including an extraordinarily detailed account of the writing and publication of Zweig's story compiled by Elke Rehder of Barsbüttel, Germany. This reveals that Zweig's original typescript was handed to his friend and publisher Abraham Koogan in Rio de Janeiro only two or three days before his death, with  three further copies being posted to associates in New York and Buenos Aires.

Rehder states that the very first publication of the story was in Brazilian Portuguese by Editora Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro in September 1942, with the title A Partida de Xadrez and was included in the omnibus volume As Três Paixões (Three Passions).  

Andreas Saremba has also informed me of this Portuguese translation, stating that this was revealed by Siegfried Schönle in the brochure 65 Jahre Schachnovelle, published by Susanna Poldauf and Andreas Saremba in 2007 for the Emanuel Lasker Gesellschaft.

The first German language publication, with the title Schachnovelle, was issued on 7th December 1942 in Buenos Aires, followed by the first European edition of Schachnovelle published by Gottfried Bermann Fischer in an edition of 5,000 copies at Stockholm in 1943.

One copy of the typescript was sent to Zweig's friend and editor Benjamin W. Huebsch of Viking Press in New York. Huebsch translated the German text into English and published the novel with the title The Royal Game in April 1944. However, the English text had already appeared a month earlier in the March 1944 edition of Woman's Home Companion, enhanced with some fine illustrations.



This American monthly was published by Crowell-Collier Publishing Company of New York and Springfield, Ohio.




A special edition for the American Armed Forces was also published in 1944 by Editions for the Armed Services  together with Zweig's other short novels Amok and Letter from an Unknown Woman.





Many thanks to Manfred Mittelbach for the above illustrations.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Philidor v Morphy; the results are in!

The solutions to 64 shakhmatno-shashechnaya gazeta's New Year's Quiz were published in the paper for 30th March 1939.



The inconsistencies in the illustration of Philidor in play against Morphy were as follows:

1. The chessboard is shown with 10 x 10 squares.

2. The chessboard is the wrong way round.

3. Philidor, who died in 1795 and Morphy, who was born in 1837 obviously never met.

4. Chess clocks of the type shown had not been invented during either of their lifetimes.

5. The portrait on the wall is of V. A. Chekhover, born in 1908 long after the Philidor and Morphy eras.  










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Finally, a cartoon from 64 shakhmatno-shashechnaya gazeta for 31st December 1939:


Grandpa, you have lost on time!...

Friday, 16 November 2018

If only...

Vintage Russian chess literature is full of wonderful photographs, drawings and cartoons, rarely seen in the West. 


Larger version below


This drawing was included on the back page of 64 шахматно шашечная газета for 30th December 1938. This is 64 shakhmatno-Shashechnaya gazeta, or 64 chess checkers gazette.

The picture of Philidor playing Morphy was part of the New Year's Quiz featuring six questions. The heading to this picture asks "How observant are you", and the caption states "In this picture an artist has drawn two famous chess players. Not being particularly knowledgeable in chess, he made major inconsistencies. Take a closer look at the picture and list these inconsistencies"  



Questions 3 and 6 were draughts related. I have the 1939 volume but have not yet tracked down the solutions.


This newspaper size periodical is number 12 in Di Felice's Chess Periodicals where he states that it was published weekly. However, it was actually published every five days and there were 72 four-page issues in 1938.






                                          © Michael Clapham 2018

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Royal Game, by Stefan Zweig.



Another posthumous publication, this chess novel was first published as Schachnovelle in Buenos Aires in December 1942, a few months after Zweig had committed suicide with his wife on 22nd or 23rd February 1942. 

Stefan Zweig

The English edition, The Royal Game, was published in 1944 having been translated from the German MS. by B. W. Huebsch. 



Although written in the late 1930's and early 1940's the story is set in the 1960's aboard a passenger ship sailing from New York to Buenos Aires.


This is the improbable tale of Dr. B., an Austrian lawyer, who had been arrested by the Gestapo and kept in solitary confinement. To stop himself going mad he taught himself chess, using a book stolen from one of his inquisitors. He had no board or pieces but played endless games against himself in his head, and consequently went mad.



25 years later, having abstained from chess during this time, he comfortably outplays and beats the world chess champion, Mirko Czentovic, in a full length serious game, after a chance meeting aboard the liner. Unfortunately the moves were not recorded for posterity (or scrutiny).

Czentovic, a taciturn Yugoslavian idiot savant peasant, could not memorize a single game of chess, yet became champion of the world aged 20 having mastered every secret of chess technique in just six months.

Stefan Zweig evidently had little knowledge of the game, portrays unlikely scenarios and uses incorrect terminology. The story has many anomalies and loose ends, and raises several unanswered questions. 



Nevertheless, the author, a master of psychology, does give an insight into the torment, obsessive behaviour and monomania that the game can induce, and he includes this excellent observation (on page 13 of my copy although here are many different editions):

"It stands to reason that so unusual a game, one touched with genius, must create out of itself fitting matadors"

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The Royal Game is also included in various anthologies including The Chess Reader, compiled by Jerome Salzmann, New York 1949, and Sinister Gambits, edited by Richard Peyton, London 1991:




Thanks to Tony Peterson for images of The Royal Game, and also to Peter Braunwarth for the precise publication date of Schachnovelle.

Monday, 12 November 2018

A Short History of Chess by H. J. R. Murray




A Short History of Chess, by H. J. R. Murray, Oxford 1963.

Further to the brief reference to this posthumous publication in the previous article, Dr. Tim Harding has provided some intriguing information on the evolution of this work, ascertained from research carried out at the Oxford University Press in 2005. Letters seen by Harding in the archive file on Murray at the O.U.P.  give a fascinating, behind the scenes, glimpse of the difficulties in producing this book.  

The following comments are provided courtesy of Dr. Tim Harding and the Oxford University Press:

"Whether the posthumous ‘Short History of Chess’ did much for Murray’s reputation must be doubted. The original manuscript or typescript is unavailable so I cannot confirm yet whether the date of composition (1917) given in the publisher’s note is certain, probable or unreliable. Nor, in the absence of any correspondence from the author relating to it, is it clear for whom exactly this work was composed."

"From some correspondence I have been allowed to see in the Oxford University Press archive, the original idea, after Murray’s death, was that Goulding Brown (a some-time contributor to ‘British Chess Magazine’) would write a final chapter to bring the story up to date, but the editors at the Press were unhappy with what he produced. It was decided that Brown’s chapter would continue Murray's work up to about 1930 only and Harry Golombek was commissioned to write a second extra chapter, although Brown was unhappy about  this, judging  from letters in the file from the Press to Kathleen Murray [H. J. R. Murray's daughter]. (At the same time Golombek was working on his own chess history for another publisher, but this was a popular work based on secondary sources.)"

"Ultimately, after the project had hung fire for some years, the Press gave Golombek a deadline of late 1962 to finish his work and this must have spurred him into action since the book appeared in 1963. There must have been a compromise with Goulding Brown, too, because in the printed book his chapter goes up to 1945 and overlaps with Golombek, who starts with Alekhine and the decline of the hypermoderns. In the O.U.P. file there is even a mention that a new edition was being considered as late as 1976 but, so far as I am aware, it was never proceeded with – just as well because it would have been even less a genuine Murray work than the first edition."

 

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Posthumous publications, part 2

A few more books published after the author's death:

Chess: Theory and Practice, by the late Howard Staunton, edited by Robert B. Wormald, London 1876.  





Wormald, who died in December 1876 aged 42, makes clear in his Preface that he had presented the book for publication almost exactly as it left Staunton's hands, indicating that the work was virtually complete at the time of the author's death. 


Staunton died on 22nd June 1874, aged 63 or 64, while working at his desk, but there are varying accounts of what he was working on. In Howard Staunton; the English World Chess Champion by R. D. Keene and R. N. Coles, St. Leonards on Sea, 1975, page 25 states that "a heart attack took him ..... as he sat in his library chair working on the manuscript of a further chess book, which proved sufficiently advanced with the help of editing by R. B. Wormald, to appear in 1876 as Chess: Theory and Practice"  

However, H. J. R. Murray, on page 518 of an article in the BCM for December 1908, stated that Staunton died while seated at his desk and writing another of the series of papers on Unsuspected Corruptions of Shakespeare's Text which he had been contributing to the Atheaneum.

The fascinating book Notes on the life of Howard Staunton, by John Townsend,  Wokingham 2011, quotes, on page 167, from a letter written by Staunton's wife to her husband's friend James Halliwell: "You will I am sure be very grieved to hear that my poor husband died yesterday quite suddenly. I found him in his chair quite dead with an un-finished letter before him. An hour before when seen he appeared in his usual health." 

The industrious Staunton was probably working on all three.

It is unclear exactly when Staunton wrote Chess: Theory and Practice, but probably over a number of years right up to his death. Townsend's book has many extracts from Staunton's correspondence during the latter years of his life, but there is not a single mention of his final chess work. However, von der Lasa, writing in The City of London Chess Magazine for February 1875, quotes from a letter from Staunton dated 29th November 1873: "I have myself been engaged on a work of the same nature [as Bilguer's Handbuch]... Many sheets of it were in type this time last year, when I was attacked by my old complaint, ... and was compelled to lay it aside."  


Howard Staunton, by D. N. L. Levy, Nottingham 1975, a book which concentrates on Staunton's writings, but without an index or even a contents page, gives, on page 142, the text of a letter from Staunton to Mr. Fraser dated February 17th, 1874, which includes the following: "My Chess work goes on very slowly; though it is nearly all written and a good deal in type. I broke down last year through ill-health. I have never gained the ground then lost."

Chess: Theory and Practice is another extraordinary contribution to chess literature by Staunton.  The first 29 pages are devoted to Some Account of the Origin and History of the Game of Chess. This includes descriptions of the most important chess works from the 15th to the 19th centuries, perhaps written with the assistance of his friend J. Rimington Wilson, to whom this book was dedicated. This is followed by a comprehensive primer,  and an extensive analysis of the openings, over 400 pages, with many illustrative games. Nevertheless, Dr. Tim Harding claimed on page 246 of British Chess Literature to 1914, Jefferson 2018, that the book "made little impact now that Staunton was no longer alive."



The production of this book is all the more meritorious considering Staunton's other literary commitments at the time, his very poor physical and mental state of health, and his nomadic existence during the final years of his life. This is all evident from the many extracts from Staunton's letters in Townsend's book.  

One final matter from Chess: Theory and Practice; pages 22/23 give details of a book by Fra. Antonio das Neves which appeared after his death, in 1647. This is Arte do Liberal Loguo do Axadres, a  manuscript which was never printed, according to van der Linde (Geschichte volume II page 171).


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My Love Affair with Tchigorin, by A. E. Santasiere, Dallas, Texas 1995.




Anthony Santasiere died aged 72 in 1977 leaving some of his manuscripts to Ken Smith who published this book some 18 years later. Smith included the following short note on the last but one page of the book:


Santasiere's passion for chess is evident from his Introduction which is written in his typically romantic style; the word "love" or its derivatives appear 30 times. 

The 100 games are clearly displayed with many diagrams, and are annotated by Santasiere borrowing heavily from previous commentators. 



The short biography of Santasiere, presumably written by Ken Smith, reveals that he was the twelfth of thirteen children of Italian and French parents, had drawn games with Edward Lasker, Marshall and Janowski at Lake Hopatcong in 1923, and was chess champion of Florida in his 60's. Santasiere was also an accomplished poet, musician, artist and novelist.   

While Santasiere was not the most highly respected author, this is a useful addition to the sparse literature on Chigorin in English.

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One of the best known posthumous chess books is A Short History of Chess by H. J. R. Murray, Oxford 1963.
 



Written by Murray 1917, the typescript was found among his papers following his death in 1955. The Clarendon Press at Oxford published this shortly after they had reprinted Murray's 900 page A History of Chess, which was first issued in 1913.  The 138 pages of A Short History of Chess are far more digestible than its predecessor, which expends over 800 of the 900 pages on pre 1500 chess history. 



Murray's typescript took the story of chess from its beginnings up to 1866, and additional chapters were added to A Short History of Chess by B. Goulding Brown covering 1866 to 1945, and by H. Golombek on Modern Times.



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The Modern Two-Move Chess Problem, by Comins Mansfield and Brian Harley, London 1958.




A note on the half title explains that Brian Harley, who died in 1955 aged 71, had designed this book as a primer to introduce beginners to the fascinating charm of the chess problem.






The explanatory Introduction is followed by 24 pages containing 100 problems composed by Comins Mansfield, and 100 pages of solutions with commentary by Brian Harley.

 






A few more another time.