27 September 2016

Buschke in Chess Life

In Shaping Chess History, I mentioned the digital collection of early Chess Life magazines (CL; 1946-1969). One of the best features of the earliest CLs was the series of Albrecht Buschke history columns titled 'Alekhine's Early Chess Career', which ran for almost three years starting at the end of 1949. In the early 1960s, Buschke was back in CL with a series of full page advertisements for chess literature. The first ad appeared in January 1961 and introduced itself with,

Having done business at 80 East 11th Street, N.Y., for over 15 years, we were pleased to greet the U.S.C.F. as our neighbor, when it moved into the same office building, a few years ago. Now that the U.S.C.F. turns its chess newspaper, CHESS LIFE, into a magazine, we would like to extend our best wishes for a prosperous and long CHESS LIFE! We are going to offer selections from our large stock of CHESS LITERATURE -- one of the largest in the world, particularly in second hand and unusual material -- on the pages of CHESS LIFE every month from now on. Every month the selection will cover a different branch of the wide field -- and what could be more appropriate than to begin with CHESS MAGAZINES which usually offer SOMETHING to EVERYBODY?

The ad for the July issue featured autographs.


It started,

Collecting material in the handwriting of famous chess masters, chess problemists and other persons of distinction in chess (such as historians and authors of chess books) has always had a particular fascination for us, especially if this material in itself was of some chessic significance. We trust other collectors share this interest with us and we are therefore offering herewith a small selection from our vast stock of chess autographs.

Here is a sample item for Capablanca.

CAPABLANCA, J. R.: A series of 4 letters -- all entirely in Capablanca's handwriting, relating to his participation in the Moscow International tournament of 1925:
1) Letter to W. P. Shipley, Habana, Oct. 4, 1925. with envelope carrying Capablanca's second signature. ... "Things have happened which make uncertain my going to Moscow" ...
2) Letter from Moscow, Nov. 5, 1925. with envelope with Russian stamps to W. P. Shipley. (... "I am apparently in good health but how well I shall make out in the coming tournament is hard to say as it is now for me extremely difficult to get down to real hard work and by the time I get to it, it may be too late." ...
3) Letter from Moscow, Nov. 24, 1925, to B. Kagan (... "As you know I do not seem able to win a game, something new to me. I have only nine more games to play and have only 5 1/2 so far. I doubt very much if I shall finish any better than sixth" ...
4) Letter from Moscow, Dec. 1, 1925, to Kagan. ("... Bogolouboff is practically sure of first place and Lasker of the second place. I have a chance to be third .. .").
Together 9 1/2 pages and 2 envelopes: ...$42.50

Only $42.50! Today each one of those items alone would sell for three figures, maybe more. I recognized another item in the ad:-

M.M. BOTVINNIK, M. EUWE, P. KERES, S. RESHEVSKY, V. SMYSLOV: Signatures of participants on specially inserted page of the Dutch book on the World Championship of 1948, WERELD-KAMPIOENSCHAP SCHAKEN 1948, by Dr. M. Euwe. Or. cloth Botvinnik's and Smyslov's signatures in Cyrillic. Only 25 copies published of this special edition deluxe of the tournament book? ... $15.00

A few years ago I posted about this in the series 'Top eBay Chess Items': Wereldkampioenschap Schaken 1948 (May 2011; 'It received 11 bids and finally sold for US $483.99'). The ads ran every month and were apparently popular with CL's readers.

NO AD • Many readers have commented on how much they like to read Dr. Buschke's chess book ads that appear in CHESS LIFE every month. Many feel that even though the copy is advertising it is also interesting in terms of dates, history of the game, literature of foreign countries, etc. The August [1961] issue contained no ad and we have received many inquiries as to the reason. (CHESS LIFE is probably the only publication in the world that has received complaints from its readers about the lack of advertising!) Even though Dr. Buschke supplied an ad for the August issue, somehow there was a slip-up, beyond anyone's control, and it did not appear. CHESS LIFE sincerely apologizes both to Dr. Buschke and our readers for the mistake.

The ads were back in September and continued until May 1962, although sporadically in the final months.

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