Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (8)

8/31/2008 – Over the years a number of correspondents have submitted to the Editor of Chess Notes their photographs of the final resting-places of various chess masters, including Anderssen, Capablanca, Grünfeld, Morphy and Nimzowitsch. There is even the remarkable case of the two masters who share the same grave. A pictorial record is presented here.

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Chess Explorations (8)

By Edward Winter

Graves of chess masters

The first reader who submitted photographs of a famous master’s grave was Armando Alonso Lorenzo (Prov. Ciego de Avila, Cuba), in 1994. The site is the Colón Cemetery, Havana:


These pictures were taken by Bernardo Alonso García, who owns the copyright. Nor, of course, should any other illustrations from Chess Notes be (mis)appropriated.


In C.N. 3908 Marek Lada (Warsaw) offered this photograph, taken in August 2005, of Anderssen’s grave at the Osobowicki Cemetery in Wrocław, Poland:


There even exists a booklet of graves with a chess theme, published in 2006. In C.N. 4452 Rob Bijpost (Middenmeer, the Netherlands) wrote:

‘The Dutch chess collectors’ group “Motiefgroep Schaken” has issued a 44-page booklet in Dutch with information on about 44 chess graves and illustrated with 39 photographs.

One of the pictures shows the resting-place of the Dutch chessplayer Jacques Davidson, which has a problem engraved on it. It is mate in one. The solution is Kc9 or Kd9; the king goes to heaven, and his rival is mated.’

C.N. 4352 gave a photograph, also taken by Mr Bijpost, of Daniël Noteboom’s grave in the public cemetery in Noordwijk:

We recalled in that connection the following item on page 239 of the August-September 1933 Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond:


In late August 2008 Michael Lorenz (Vienna) presented in C.N. 5733 a photograph which he had taken at Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof, where E. Grünfeld was buried on 9 April 1962:


As regards Morphy, in July 2005 Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden) gave, in C.N. 3849, this postcard:

The caption on the reverse side reads: ‘The most interesting of New Orleans’ historic burial places, the St Louis Cemetery No. 1 – there are three – has been in use for 175 years, with some of the inscriptions still decipherable dated 1800. Here lie the bodies of Paul Morphy, the famous chessplayer; Gayarre, the historian; Etienne de Boré, who first made granulated sugar; Charles LaSalle, brother of the famous explorer.’

The same Chess Notes item reproduced two photographs received from Gordon W. Gribble (Hanover, NH, USA):


A curious case of a ‘double grave’ (Nimzowitsch and Enevoldsen), in Copenhagen, was shown by Michael Negele (Wuppertal, Germany) in C.N. 4307:


In C.N. 5099 Jan Kalendovský (Brno, Czech Republic) offered a photograph of Karel Treybal’s gravestone in Prague:


Finally, C.N. 4499 featured, courtesy of Tomasz Lissowski (Warsaw), two photographs which he took at the Jewish Cemetery, Okopowa str., Warsaw. Our correspondent reported that there are three graves of Winawer family members: Szymon (on the left), his wife, Adela née Kerner (on the right) and their son, Rafal.




Information about other masters, including Alekhine, Labourdonnais, Lasker, McDonnell and Pillsbury, can be found by consulting the entry for Graves in the Chess Notes Factfinder. For readers wishing to pursue this theme, an invaluable reference book is Chess Personalia by Jeremy Gaige (Jefferson, 1987, reprinted in 2005). It may also be helpful to consult our feature article Where Did They Live?


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All 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 over 5,700 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).

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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