Chess and Radio

Edward Winter




fischer

Chess Review, August 1962, page 227



From page 274 of the July 1923 BCM:

‘At the invitation of the British Broadcasting Company, Mr B.G. Laws on Saturday, the 16th ult., broadcast a short paper “The Art of the Chess Problem”, as an experiment. This included the presenting of three popular graceful problems selected to encourage likely students, at the same time entertaining and instructing those who already are interested. This is the first occasion in the history of chess that the medium of broadcasting has been used to popularise the subject.’

The event was also reported on page 135 of the July-August 1923 American Chess Bulletin, which quoted from The Times:

‘Music, the drama, art, politics, news, all have their place in broadcasting programmes, and now that chess has entered the portals it is to be hoped it has come to stay. Marconi House might keep its eye on such meetings as that of the British Chess Federation, for if the plea be justified that musical excerpts have resulted in a greater number of people booking seats for the various operas, then the interests of the oldest game in the world are well worth its consideration.’

Another quote from around the same time comes from page 9 of the January 1924 American Chess Bulletin:

‘According to the Minnesota Daily Star, in which J.M. Juran conducts a chess column, Dr E.E. Munns of Minneapolis broadcasted a talk on chess over the radio on December 15, urging encouragement of the games at school and in the home. He also gave a short discussion on the theory of the game and included some of Dr Emanuel Lasker’s maxims. Finally, he read a letter from Frank J. Marshall, United States champion.’

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An article on pages 113-114 of the Chess Budget, 23 January 1926 began:

‘At last the British Broadcasting Co. have become aware of the fact that there is such a game as chess and that there are a large number of people in this country who take an interest in it.’

It referred to presentations on the radio by Tinsley and V. Menchik, but complained that Great Britain was far behind Germany, for example, where at least two stations were giving chess talks and lessons.

Page 125 of the 30 January 1926 issue of the Chess Budget specified that it ‘was not Mr E.S. Tinsley, the chess editor of The Times, who gave the wireless exposition of chess – but his brother, Mr S. Tinsley’. Vera Menchik’s radio engagement was briefly mentioned on page 53 of the February 1926 BCM.

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From page 19 of the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, 3 November 1928:

maxim

Wanted: other sightings of the maxim ‘Move the right piece to the right square at the right time’.

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In an article on the inside front cover of Chess Review, October 1951 Irving Chernev made a statement on which we would welcome particulars:

‘Reshevsky made his debut on the radio by singing a love song.’

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As listed under ‘Broadcasting (radio and television)’ in the Factfinder, a number of C.N. items have discussed recordings of old masters in sound and/or vision, but very few specimens have yet been found, even though, in other fields, audio recordings from over a century ago are extant. For example, 19 sketches (patter and song) performed by Dan Leno (see C.N.s 4646 and 4647) between November 1901 and April 1903 are commercially available on a CD from Windyridge.

As regards radio output, have any recordings survived of the 1920s programmes in Germany which occasioned the book Radio-Schach by Edmund Nebermann (Berlin and Leipzig, 1926)?

nebermann

See also pages 265-266 of the September 1927 Deutsche Schachzeitung, but we lack any biographical data on Nebermann.

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Ernst Klein – Olaf Barda
Radio game (BBC-NRK), 1952
King’s Fianchetto Opening

1 g3 d5 2 Bg2 Nf6 3 f4 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 c3 e6 6 d3 Qc7 7 O-O Be7 8 e4 dxe4 9 dxe4 Nxe4 10 Ne5 Nd6 11 Nxc6 bxc6 12 Qa4 O-O 13 Be3 Rb8 14 b3 Nb5 15 Rc1 Rd8 16 Qe4 Rd5 17 Qc2 Bb7 18 Qf2 Nd6 19 g4 f5 20 c4 Rd3 21 g5 Rd8 22 Nc3 Bc8 23 Na4 Ne4 24 Bxe4 fxe4 25 Nb2 R3d4 26 Re1 Rf8 27 Bxd4 Rxf4

dia

28 Rxe4 Rxe4 29 Rf1 Bd6 30 Be3 Bxh2+ 31 Kg2 Bd6 32 Qf3 Rh4 33 Rh1 Rxh1 34 Kxh1 Qf7 35 Kg2 Bd7 36 Qd1 Qe7 37 Qf3 e5 38 Qe4 Qe6. At this point White withdrew.

dia

‘One of the finest games of chess ever played’ was the description on page 155 of the July 1952 Chess World. The same page had derision for Klein’s suggestion that in the final position he had a won game.

klein

Ernst Klein

Coverage of the game and of Klein’s controversial withdrawal was published in three issues of CHESS: July 1952, page 191 (report); August 1952, pages 218-219 (letter from Klein) and 222-223 (annotations by Barda); September 1952, page 237 (letter from Klein).

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Two well-known chess features on the radio were Capablanca’s lectures during the Second World War and the BBC series anthologized in Chess Treasury of the Air by Terence Tiller (Harmondsworth, 1966). For a comment on Fischer’s use of the medium in later life, see the Afterword in Instant Fischer.



From page 251 of the June 1938 BCM:

radio



The conclusion of a report on a girls’ tournament (won by Vera Menchik) at the Imperial Chess Club, London on page 53 of the February 1926 BCM:

‘Miss Menchik wound up a most strenuous day by fulfilling an engagement at 10.30 p.m. with the British Broadcasting Company to give the result of the tournament over the wireless.’



From page 122 of the September-October 1935 American Chess Bulletin:

alekhine kmoch



For the text of a radio talk on chess by Samuel Tinsley, see C.N. 8725.



Pages 57-58 of CHESS, 29 November 1958 had an article entitled ‘Chess on the Air’. The first paragraph:

‘Starting at seven p.m. each Tuesday since the end of September, the BBC has given us a half-hour of chess. Never before in the history of British broadcasting has chess had such a show. Previously, it has been inexcusably neglected: only angling – equally numbering hundreds of thousands of devotees but equally hard to “put over” on the air – has suffered so badly.’

A game between listeners and C.H.O’D. Alexander was published on pages 227-230 of CHESS, 23 May 1959.



From page 5 of Curious Chess Facts by Irving Chernev (New York, 1937):

chernev

It is unclear from the wording whether Chernev himself broadcast the material on the radio.

A radio project had been announced on page 146 of the September 1934 Chess Review:

radio

A follow-up item was published on page 102 of the May 1935 issue:

radio

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Latest update: 1 October 2016.


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