Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (62)

6/5/2011 – Every collector likes multi-signed items. After presenting some from his collection, the Editor of Chess Notes offers readers the opportunity to acquire a stunning one: a programme inscribed by, among others, Anand, Gelfand, Grischuk, Ivanchuk, Karpov, Kasparov, Khalifman, Korchnoi, Leko, Morozevich, Ponomariov, Seirawan, Shirov, Short, Smyslov and Spassky. A grand total of 28 signatures...

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Chess Explorations (62)

By Edward Winter

One of the earliest signed chess books we bought was Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters by Edward Lasker (New York, 1951), inscribed by the players at Hastings, 1951-52 (plus Sämisch, a participant in the Premier Reserves tournament):

In order: L. Schmid, D. Yanofsky, L. Barden, D. Hooper, H. Golombek, G. Abrahams, A.R.B. Thomas, S. Popel, F. Sämisch, S. Gligorić and J.H. Donner.

Such random signature-gathering at chess events is not uncommon, although it is sometimes difficult to identify all the inscriptions. In C.N. 2606 we offered a book prize to the reader who identified the most signatures below, in our copy of László Szabó’s book Nagymesterverseny Maróczy Géza Emlékére (Budapest, 1963):

The winning entry came from Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden), who identified all the signatures, as follows: Hans-Werner von Massow, GER; (Mrs) Bertl von Massow, GER; L. Reissenberger, HUN; Horst Rittner, DDR; János Balogh, HUN; Armin Heintze, DDR; Harald Norell, SWE; Hermann Heemsoth, GER; Costica-Constantin Stefaniu, ROM; György Négyesy, HUN; Walter Merten, DDR; Tibor Flórián, HUN; Jozsef Vándorffy, HUN; Bohuslav Lukás, CZE; Gheorghi Teodoru, ROM; C. Niewiadomski, POL; Paul Diaconescu, ROM; Božidar Kažić, YUG; Vladimir Zagorovsky, RUS. Mr Erlandsson also pointed out that the signatures were gathered at the ICCF Congress in Budapest in October 1965.

For a further example, see C.N.s 6497 and 6533, regarding one of our copies of Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings by Irving Chernev (New York, 1982). Another Dover book in our collection which has multiple signatures is A Picture History of Chess by Fred Wilson (New York, 1981). They were obtained (not by us ...) at the 1991 British Rapid Chess Championships in Leeds:

In addition, two participants in the tournament, Bronstein and Polugayevsky, signed photographs of themselves in that copy of Wilson’s book. Autographs ‘scattered’ in relevant places are also a feature of our copy of Kandidatenturnier für Schachweltmeisterschaft by S. Gligorić and V. Ragozin (Belgrade, 1960). It is inscribed by all eight participants (Benkö, Fischer, Gligorić, Keres, Ólafsson, Petrosian, Smyslov and Tal), usually next to their photographs. Tal signed the book twice:

The second instance is on page 153, at the conclusion of his win, as Black, against Fischer:

Some books are specially prepared for being inscribed by the contestants. A particularly rare example is the limited edition of Wereld-Kampioenschap Schaken 1948 by Max Euwe (Lochem, 1948):

A similar procedure was adopted by the same publisher (De Tijdstroom) for Wereldschaaktoernooi Amsterdam 1950 by M. Euwe and L. Prins (Lochem, 1951). Our copy is shown below, signed by all 20 participants:

The final item in the present article is a 25-page match programme (Russia v The World, Moscow, 2002):

It has been signed by many of the participants and others, the full list (28 signatures) being: Vladimir Akopian, Viswanathan Anand, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Alexey Dreev, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk, Kirsan Ilumzhinov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Alexander Khalifman, Victor Korchnoi, Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich, Alexander Motylev, Judit Polgar, Ruslan Ponomariov, Teimur Radjabov, Sergei Rublevsky, Yasser Seirawan, Andrei Selivanov, Alexei Shirov, Nigel Short, Ilia Smirin, Vassily Smyslov, Boris Spassky, Peter Svidler and Vadim Zviagintsev.

A sample page:

We have just placed this item on sale at ebay.

Afterword: on 9 June 2011 the programme was sold on ebay for $1,675.01.

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All ChessBase articles by Edward Winter

Edward Winter is the editor of Chess Notes, which was founded in January 1982 as "a forum for aficionados to discuss all matters relating to the Royal Pastime". Since then, 7,100 items have been published, and the series has resulted in four books by Winter: Chess Explorations (1996), Kings, Commoners and Knaves (1999), A Chess Omnibus (2003) and Chess Facts and Fables (2006). He is also the author of a monograph on Capablanca (1989). In 2011 a paperback edition was issued.

Chess Notes is well known for its historical research, and anyone browsing in its archives will find a wealth of unknown games, accounts of historical mysteries, quotes and quips, and other material of every kind imaginable. Correspondents from around the world contribute items, and they include not only "ordinary readers" but also some eminent historians – and, indeed, some eminent masters. Chess Notes is located at the Chess History Center. Signed copies of Edward Winter's publications are currently available.

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