In reply… a glimpse of Di Felice

This is a cut and pasted copy of a post that was too long for <CG>. I hope it’s readable here.

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zanzibar: <WCC> – I hope it’s clear that I’m more than sympathetic to the goal, but there’s an element of wanting to <“spin straw into gold” (1)> at work here.Consider a trusted source, like <Di Felice (2)>. My understanding is that he’s held up as a “gold” standard for modern day biographer – with every fact referenced, and even published in book form.

But as has been noted, scratch beneath the surface, and try to follow up the “actual” provenance of some of his sources –

Consider <“Chess Results, 1961-1963” (3)>, the first of his 2013 trilogy. Let’s look at his sources. We are most interested in tournaments, but note of the debt owed to <Jeremy Gaige (4)> starts off the preface in Di Felice’s books, and should begin here as well.

Apparently, De Felice utilized the <Koninklijke Bibliotheek> in The Hague for most of his information. At least, this is the one library resource he explicitly thanks in his preface. (Keep this is mind for later).

Now to the tournaments – let’s break down by geographical location a selection of references from the limited preview sample that was available to me:

<NZL – “Chess World 1961, p5”

Auckland (NZL), XII-I 1960-61–68th NZL ch>

A reference yes, but can you find me a library where I can find this magazine? An online reference would be even better. In other words, I need a reference for the reference (at least circa 2013 – after all, I’m a reasonable man!).

Actually why “Chess World”, is that an local magazine from NZL which contains the most in-depth coverage?

<HUN – Magyar Sakkelet 1961, no 2, Front-cover

Budapest (HUN), 28 XI-6 1960-61–“Charousek Memorial” Junior Tournament>

OK, I understand that a Hungarian magazine might provide the best coverage of a Hunagarian tournament…

<RHO – The South African Chessplayer 1961, p. 21

Bulawayo (RHO), 27 XII-1 I 1960-61–RHO ch>

…and that a South African magazine might provide good coverage of a nearby, smaller, country. (Note the Historically accurate usage of an obsolete country name)

<ENG – (multiple(a-c))
(a) Schach-Echo 1961, no. 2, Front cover
(b) Chess 1960-1961, p. 163
(c) Chess 1960-1961, p. 164

Hastings (ENG),28 XII-7 I 1960-61–36th “Christmas” International Tournament>

Well, it’s not clear to me why the British magazine needed to be supplanted with a German magazine, other than the convenience of having the crosstable on the cover. But wouldn’t it need to be double-checked?

There are levels of trust at play, that is an important point of this post.

<USA – Chess Life 1961, p. 140

Massachusetts (USA), 1960-61–Massachusetts State ch>

A Swiss table, showing round pairings, but not colors. Oh, and John Curdo, who is still going strong, won!

<GDR – Schach 1961, p. 41

Meissen (GDR), 27 XII-I 1960-1961–Junior Tournament>

A respected, and natural choice.

<USA – Soltis & McCormick: The United States Chess Championship 1845-1996, p. 106

New York (USA),18 XII-5 I 1960-61–13th USA ch & FIDE Zonal Tournament>

Soltis, an author recently criticized in this forum, is used by Di Felice. So unless McCormick did all the footnotes, we can assume that Di Felice is willing to accept Soltis’ shortcomings. Because, surely, other sources of information on this tournament must be available.

<ITA – Magyar Sakkelet 1961, p. 18

Reggio Emilia (ITA),27 XII-3 I 1960-1961–3rd “New Year” International Tournament>

Again, why a Hungarian magazine? Italian chess magazines must exist that cover the tournament – again, shouldn’t they be listed as a cross check?

<ITA – L’Italia Scacchistica 1961

Varazze (ITA),27 XII-3 I 1960-61–3rd ITA Junior ch>

For instance.

<ENG – The British Chess Magazine 1961, p. 286

Aberystwyth (ENG),14-25 VIII 1961–48th BCF ch>

Another for instance. A British magazine for a British tournament.

Skipping Swiss, Swede, Belgium, French, Dutch tournaments let’s get to the “nut” – the tournaments in the USSR.

<USSR – Russian Chess Base

Arkhangelsky (USSR), 1961–1/2 Final 21st RSFSR ch>

Russian Chess Base?! What kind of resource is that? (ed- one I’m fond of, that’s what kind).

And is this the old RUSbase-1? I know it was in an earlier Di Felice book. Has anybody here on <CG> checked? I hope so…

Let’s skip other tournaments and just list Soviet ones as they come up, to get a couple of more refs.

<USSR – Russian Chess Base

Ashkhabad (USSR),1961–32nd Turkmenistan ch>

Another RUSbase reference.

<USSR – Shakhmatnyi Ezhegodnik 1961, p. 90

Ashkhabad (USSR),14-26 V 1961–International Tournament>

Yes, there are some Soviet journals available in the West. But note that Di Felice is pragmatic, and is willing to utilize other reference material when necessary.

And to finish – consider this information, quoted verbatim here, from p. 10:

<ATHENS (GRE), 1961–12th GRE ch 1. ANASTASOPOULOS, Anastasios>

Here Di Felice provide no reference whatsoever!







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