Old Chess Photographs

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  • Old Chess Photographs

    Old Chess Photographs

    August 14, 2015

    A couple of years ago a photo of a Paul Keres simul at Hart House in 1975 was posted in ChessTalk.

    http://www.chesstalk.info/forum/show...ht=keres+simul

    It brought forth a lot of comment and a wave of nostalgia – you know - 40 years ago, university life, players of the past..

    I think it is good to recall chess in simpler times.
    ______

    Recently, a photo was posted

    http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/r...step=1&itemx=1

    which brought a lot of comment in the English Chess Forum:

    http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7657

    It is of a London League Match from 1931. I thought it was an interesting old photo but had to go back and re-examine it when I read all the reaction to it.

    Michael Basman describes what St. Brides was in an article entitled “Confessions of a Crooked Chess Master”:

    “In the early 1960s I used to pay for a club called Southgate. In fact, Southgate boasted two of the leading junior players of the time on its top two boards, Hartston and myself. Hartston, I remember once, scored a spectacular draw against the British Champion, Jonathan Penrose, which was a sign of things to come. The matches were played at St Bride’s Institute near Blackfriars. One would arrive by train around about 6.30 p.m. and play until about 9.30 in a fabulously dingy room at the top of the building. Then the caretaker would come up and throw us all out as quickly as possible.”
    _____

    I first heard of St. Bride’s on the back page of A. J. Roycroft’s new magazine on the endgame study, EG:

    “Next Meeting: Friday 1st October 1965, 6.30 p.m. at St. Bride's Institute, London, E.C.4.
    Item 1: The Cheron, Lommer and Peckover Letters – AJR”

    On an English vacation later, I passed by St. Bride’s, which was between Fleet Street and the Thames, but of course, did not try to go in.
    ________

    The thing I will remember most about the photograph is the back wall thickly hung with hats and coats!

    Here are some of the observations on ECForum:

    John Saunders - The page where I found it indicates that the photo was taken in 1931, but it could just as easily have been 1981 since the room looked much the same then. I think the bookcase housed the book collection of a chess problem society (the TR Dawson collection?).

    County matches and London League games were played there so it was in constant use. The room (a windowless attic space) was permanently set up for chess. It was grimy and dingy but, perversely, I always enjoyed playing there. I suppose it was the sense of history. Or possibly the narcotic effect of all the cigarette smoke.

    Roger de Coverly - One or two of the chess clocks look suspiciously like BH Wood's converted alarm clock design, which might date it to rather later. I'm trying to picture the clocks in the 1970s, I have an idea they were Gardes, but I could be wrong. As well as London League, St Brides was used as a neutral venue for county matches.

    One period detail which dates it as not the 1970s is the vast number of hats, along with coats on the far wall.

    Barry Sandercock - I was interested to see the photo, as it was in that room I played my first county match for Middlesex in Sept. 1946. On another occasion I still remember my surprise at stalemating an opponent when I had a winning position and his king was in the centre of the board, in that same room. I also remember the rickety staircase to get up to that room. My Middlesex opponent was a mister H.J.Stedman. Doubt if he is around now ! I still have the score sheet. (It was board 44 and I won the game.)

    Yes, nice find, John.

    Gordon Cadden - Like many old players, I climbed the staircase to the dark and gloomy room. The bookcase housed the collection of the British Chess Problem Society, which held their meetings at St. Brides. That 1931 photograph is fascinating. My eyes focused on the vast array of Trilby Hats. Then we have a wonderful display of chess clocks; not a BH Wood tin clock in sight. Chess boards and pieces made of wood. At least half of the Middlesex Team were members of the Hampstead Club, with the doyen of the club, Richard Clewin Griffiths, on top board.

    Fascinating to see A.J. Bernfield as a healthy schoolboy. A stalwart member of the Metropolitan club, I remember him with a cigarette permanently attached to his lips, coughing his lungs out. Surprisingly, he played a reasonable game.

  • #2
    Re: Old Chess Photographs

    Seeing the Keres simul photo again, I am reminded of the opportunities missed. As a U of T undergraduate as well as a frequent player at the Hart House Chess Club from '65 to '69, I missed a golden opportunity to start an important historical record. There were a number of significant chess events that took place at Hart House in those years. They should have been recorded as part of our chess history. Perhaps it's not too late while people may still have old photos of the major events of those years. There was just before then >>>>

    A Bobby Fischer simul (1963?)
    A double simul by WC Boris Spassky (40 bds) & Paul Keres (30 bds) (196-?)
    A Canadian Open 1968 (won by Bent Larsen)
    A Canadian Closed Playoff (Zvonko Vranesic vs Duncan Suttles 1969)
    A Canadian Closed (won by Peter Biyiasas yr?)
    and a number of other historic events which escape my memory.

    Does anyone have photos of any of those events? They could be reproduced, enlarged and used to create a mounted historical record.
    Last edited by Vlad Dobrich; Saturday, 15th August, 2015, 08:30 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Old Chess Photographs

      Originally posted by Vlad Dobrich View Post
      Seeing the Keres simul photo again, I am reminded of the opportunities missed. As a U of T undergraduate as well as a frequent player at the Hart House Chess Club from '65 to '69, I missed a golden opportunity to start an important historical record. There were a number of significant chess events that took place at Hart House in those years. They should have been recorded as part of our chess history. Perhaps it's not too late while people may still have old photos of the major events of those years. There was just before then >>>>

      A Bobby Fischer simul (1963?)
      A double simul by WC Boris Spassky (40 bds) & Paul Keres (30 bds) (196-?)
      A Canadian Open 1968 (won by Bent Larsen)
      A Canadian Closed Playoff (Zvonko Vranesic vs Duncan Suttles 1969)
      A Canadian Closed (won by Peter Biyiasas yr?)
      and a number of other historic events which escape my memory.

      Does anyone have photos of any of those events? They could be reproduced, enlarged and used to create a mounted historical record.
      Dobrich had excellent photos of Hart House late '60s published in Canadian Chess Chat snd his Chess Canada had an issue on the '72 Canadian Closed.

      A history of the Hart House CC can be found through the Hart House CC website.
      Last edited by Erik Malmsten; Sunday, 16th August, 2015, 03:46 PM. Reason: delete name

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Old Chess Photographs

        Old Chess Photographs

        October 16, 2015

        There are a number of old black and white photos of chess players at Hastings, which can be enjoyed at:

        http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/galleri...chess+hastings

        Among them Botvinnik, Robert Byrne, Smyslov, Capablanca, Korchnoi, Alekhine, Sultan Khan, and about half way down the album, a handsome Geza Fuster. The caption says that is from 1938 but he didn’t play at Hastings until 1958. A lot of you knew Geza – is that a 28-year-old or a 48-year-old Fuster?

        There is a 17-year old Larry Evans in 1949 looking very dapper and a photo of Anatoly Karpov (1972) that I mistook for Alexander Grischuk for a moment.

        NB: This site crashed yesterday for several hours.
        Last edited by Wayne Komer; Tuesday, 26th January, 2016, 03:26 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Old Chess Photographs

          One of the photos depicts German GM Schmidt dressed as if he were going for a walk in the snow. Did the Hastings tournament site not have any heating?

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          • #6
            Re: Old Chess Photographs

            Old Chess Photographs

            October 20, 2015

            When I was studying in England 1969-1973 the majority of houses did not have central heating nor double-glazed windows. I was once then in a London hotel, where the heat in my room was supplied by a small radiant heater, which used electricity like crazy. Suddenly there was a “clunk” and I was sure that the heater had blown the fuse. In fact, what happened was that the electric meter had stopped and a coin had to be put in it to start the power again!

            I played in a tournament at a suburb of Manchester, in a school gym, that was so cold at Easter that I shivered all through the first round and wore a sweater and coat for the other rounds.

            I thought that many improvements had been made with the heating problem since but recently read this on-line:

            Theodopouos Pherecydes (December 10, 2003) - I lived in Hastings (well, St. Leonards, ac-tu-ally) for about a decade and played the Hastings Christmas tournament twice: Dummy Division. It was so cold that both times I played in gloves.

            http://www.samizdata.net/2003/12/has...-and-all-that/

            I can well believe that after the War, fuel was in short supply and Paul Schmidt was not the only one to play in a heavy coat!

            And there is this story: In 1932, Dutch Master Daniel Noteboom attended the Hastings Chess Congress, held in December-January. The weather was so cold that he caught pneumonia at Hastings and then died, January 12, 1932, a few days after the event.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Old Chess Photographs

              Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
              Old Chess Photographs

              October 16, 2015

              There are a number of old black and white photos of chess players at Hastings, which can be enjoyed at:

              http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/galleri...chess+hastings

              Among them Botvinnik, Robert Byrne, Smyslov, Capablanca, Korchnoi, Alekhine, Sultan Khan,

              and about half way down the album, a handsome Geza Fuster. The caption says that is from 1938 but he didn’t play at Hastings until 1958. A lot of you knew Geza – is that a 28-year-old or a 48-year-old Fuster?
              I conversed with Fuster many times in the 60s and 70s (I don't think I ever played him except in speed games),
              and I have to think that picture of him is more likely a 28 year old than 48... (I could be mistaken of course,
              but he certainly looked every bit his age in the 60s-70s )

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Old Chess Photographs

                Its definitely Geza Fuster 1938. Compare photos of the Hungarian Olympic Teams circa 1935 - 1939 and Geza Fuster at play in the 1958 Interzonal and you will see the difference.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Old Chess Photographs

                  I (sometimes) have an eye for detail. Further down those excellent photos there is a photo of the Bulgarian grandmaster Robotson?? I think its a butchers spelling of Bobotsov.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Old Chess Photographs

                    Fuster did play at Hastings 1938-39, in the Premier Reserves B - he tied for third behind Perlmutter and A.R.B. Thomas.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Old Chess Photographs

                      Old Chess Photographs

                      October 23, 2015

                      These very old photos are from a collection that belonged to Jean-Louis Preti (1798-1881).

                      http://www.interencheres.com/fr/meub...Sat-2015-10-10

                      They are up for auction on November 6, at Enghien- les-Bains, and are expected to go for 600 to 800 euros (about 1000 CND ).

                      The description:

                      Un album de portraits de personnalités du monde des échecs, ayant appartenu à Jean-Louis Preti (1798-1881). 121 tirages au format carte de visite rassemblées dans un album et 2 cartes cabinet. Personnalités nommées à la mine de plomb et/ou à l'encre sur les montages ou aux dos de certaines épreuves. Plusieurs envois à Jean Preti. Portrait de Jean-Louis Preti avec l'Abbé Philippe Ambroise Durand, coauteurs de ''Stratégie raisonnée des ouvertures de jeux d'échecs (1862)'' en début d'album. Cartes mosaïques et portraits de joueurs d'échecs dont : Prince Villafranca, Fery d'Esclands, Comte de Casabianca, Comte de Basterot, Staunton, Grosdemange, Juan Carlo, Henri Frau, de Blémur, Gosse, Van de Steene Bone, C.A. Gilberg, D. Harrwitz, Numa Preti... Reliure détachée, album à restaurer.

                      Réf. : 99623/316

                      My rough translation is that there are 121 photos as visiting cards in an album and in two card-cabinets. The names of the personalities are in pencil or ink on the mounting or on the back. Some of these are Jean-Louis Preti, l’Abbe Durand, Prince Villafranca, Fery d’Esclands, the Counts of Casablanca and Basterot, Staunton..Harrwitz and Numa Preti.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Old Chess Photographs

                        Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
                        I (sometimes) have an eye for detail. Further down those excellent photos there is a photo of the Bulgarian grandmaster Robotson?? I think its a butchers spelling of Bobotsov.
                        I thought that might be the case. Robotson sounds more Scandinavian (and unusual at that). I am quite familiar with the butchery (verbal and written) of Slavic names :)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Old Chess Photographs

                          Old Chess Photographs

                          November 6, 2015

                          While writing an entry in the thread Great Chess Quotes today, I came across a site, which has some great old chess photos.

                          You have to scan down the page but these are definitely worth a look:

                          1) Fischer playing blitz with Petrosian at the Central Chess Club in Moscow in 1958

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.1125

                          2) On the same page, Fischer, Bronstein and Olafsson analyzing on a pocket chess wallet at Mar del Plata in 1960

                          3) Fischer-Taimanov, Vancouver 1971

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.1140

                          4) An older, elegant Capablanca

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.1170

                          5) The Tartakower-Sultan Khan Match. The latter’s headgear is worth the price of admission

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.1185

                          6) Bad Kissingen Tournament 1928 with the signatures of the players. There is also a photo of a Maroczy simul.

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.1035

                          7) Bled 1931

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.270

                          8) A young Blackburne

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.375

                          9) Alekhine’s grave in Paris

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.435

                          10) Richard Reti

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.525

                          11) A sprawling Carlsen and a bearded Larsen

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.3525

                          12) Tony Miles playing lying down

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.3465

                          13) Ivanchuk at Linares in 1990

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.3435

                          14. Kas, Kar, Tim in 1987

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.3060

                          15. Tigran and Rona 1962

                          http://sah.hr/forum/index.php?topic=516.3000

                          To see Keres, Larsen, and Polugaevsky in their prime, is to remind us how much we have lost…


                          All in all, 238 pages of chess photos, games and positions. I think the language is Serbo-Croatian but I will take any correction on this.
                          Last edited by Wayne Komer; Saturday, 7th November, 2015, 03:20 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Old Chess Photographs

                            I think you are right, but according to wiki, "Serbo-Croatian thus generally goes by the ethnic names Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and sometimes Montenegrin and Bunjevac."

                            My favourite online translator says Croatian.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Old Chess Photographs

                              Lovely pictures thanks.

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