Chess historian Michael Negele turns 65!

by André Schulz
2/22/2022 – Today, the German chess historian Michael Negele celebrates his 65th birthday! Negele published widely about a variety of topics but his main focus was and is the life and work of Emanuel Lasker, and he was one of the driving forces in editing an extensive three-volume biography about the German World Champion. | Photos: German Chess Federation

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Michael Negele was born on 22 February 1957 in Trier. After finishing school he started to study chemistry and finished his studies with a PhD. He then worked for the Bayer AG and moved to Wuppertal.

Negele is strong amateur with a current rating of 2205 but his main interest is the culture and the history of chess. He is an avid and diligent researcher who unearthed many new and forgotten sources, and he published his findings and discoveries in a large number of articles and lectures that enriched chess history.

Negele was one of the driving forces in the Emanuel Lasker Society and played a leading role in editing the Emanuel Lasker biography, which was first published in 2009 in a large-format German-language edition and then appeared in an updated and revised three-volume English edition. So far, two volumes of the new edition have been published.

Thomas Weischede, President of the Lasker Society (left), Michael Negele (right), and German Grandmaster Helmut Pfleger in the background

Negele's interest in Emanuel Lasker, World Champion from 1894 to 1921, arose at the Lasker Conference initiated by Paul Werner Wagner in Potsdam in 2001. Supported by Stefan Hansen, the co-editor of the German language Lasker biography, Negele started his extensive research about the life of Lasker, and in 2007 discovered parts of the Lasker estate, which until then had been considered lost, in the Cleveland Public Library in the US.

The three-volume edition of the Lasker biography impresses with a huge number of pictures of old chess masters, and Negele discovered some of these pictures while doing research in the World Chess Hall of Fame and by going through the estate of German chess collector Lothar Schmid.

In a large number of essays Negele also paid tribute to the achievements of masters such as Adolf Anderssen, Tassilo von Heydebrand and der Lasa or Richard Teichmann.

For his research on Anderssen, winner of the Immortal Game and winner of London 1851, the first international chess tournament, Negele took a look at the estate of the German chess master, which is kept in the Biblioteka Kornicka in Kórnik Castle near Pozńan in Poland. The estate contains, among other things, Anderssen's extensive correspondence with many chess personalities of his time.

Negele also wrote a short biography of Sonja Graf, who before World War II for a time was the second best woman player behind Vera Menchik. In 1937 Menchik and Graf played a match for the Women's World Championship which Graf lost clearly (+2 =5 −9). Two years later, at the 1939 Women's World Championship in Buenos Aires, Graf finished second. Without the efforts of Negele the interesting life and the achievements of Sonja Graf would have been all but forgotten.

Negele's research on the Estonian-German chess master Paul Felix Schmid was equally valuable.

Today, 22 February 2022, Negele celebrates his 65th birthday.

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.

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