Charles A. Gilberg obit

Charles A. Gilberg’s obituary from <ACM v1 Jan 1898 No 8 p469-470> (see text below):

Charles A. Gilberg - obit - ACM v1 Jan 1898 No 8 p469Charles A. Gilberg - 59 - ACM v1 Jan 1898 No 8 p470Obituary

By the death of Charles A Gilberg chess has lost a sincere friend one who filled a unique place among its votaries and one to whose memory when justice is done tributes sufficiently eulogistic can never be paid.

The imperfections of men are like the clouds which pass before the sun. In the occasional shadow the brightness and warmth are not so vivid but when twilight has come and the light sinks beneath the horizon memory pictures only the glory of the cloudless noon.

Charles Alexander Gilberg was born in Camden New Jersey June 17, 1835. His parents moved to Hoboken in the same State when he was very young and his early years were spent in and around New York City. He was graduated from the College of the City of New York and became a clerk in a mercantile house later he entered the house of Thos. J. Owen & Co. as an employee and with that steadiness which was one of his most marked characteristics he rose to become a partner and eventually the managing partner in the firm. The business was largely in Cuban products and the recent troubles in the island had a depressing influence upon Mr. Gilberg and probably greatly affected his health. In 1890 Mr. Gilberg was forced to undergo the operation of lithotrity [ed- a surgical procedure involving the mechanical breaking down of gallstones or other calculi] from which he suffered for several years thereafter and in the last few years he seemed to be affected by slight ailments. He was at the Manhattan Chess Club the night before his death and complained then of illness. He was found dead in bed the following morning January 21.

In chess Mr. Gilberg found that pleasure which is the heritage of the intelligent mind To him its beauty ever appealed an to further its interests he spared neither strength nor time. One of his first recollections of home life was of his father and mother playing chess but while it was a constant companion of the household he did not learn the moves until 1855 when he was about twenty years of age and even then seemed not to acquire the habit until he was drawn into club life at the time of Paul Morphy s return from Europe in 1859. In that year he joined the old New York Chess Club which met in the University building on Washington Square. He soon took his proper place among the members and was early acknowledged to be one of the rising players. He formed a strong friendship for Morphy and in later years with the cooperation of Napoleon Marache assisted Morphy in the collection and publishing of his games

It was in the problem world that Mr. Gilberg found his affinity and his devotion to the poetry of chess was as constant as ever a goddess could demand. His first problem was built in I861 and in the years which have flitted by since then he composed several hundred positions many of them of the highest form of the art. He filled the position of judge in many tournaments and was sought for constantly for that arduous work as he was universally acknowledged to be eminently fitted by natural talent to criticise the compositions of others In the composition of fourfold problems a difficult form he was particularly noted.

He has left a monument of his genius in the problem art in the beautiful book Crumbs from the Chess Board which is made up of 200 selections from his compositions. It was published for distribution among his friends in 1892 and is valued by fortunate possessors.

In executive life Mr. Gilberg has done great service to chess. During the forty years in which he has spent much of his time in the clubs more than ten years were in the capacity of president. In 1865 Mr. Gilberg became a resident of Brooklyn and in 1868 accepted the Presidency of the old Brooklyn Chess Club. He retained his membership in the old New York Chess Club and was one of the early members of the Manhattan Chess Club its successor. He joined the Danites Chess Club, which was one of the most enjoyable social clubs Brooklyn has had and when that was merged into the present Brooklyn Chess Club in 1886 he added his name to the list of organizers. In 1889 Mr. Gilberg became president of the Brooklyn Chess Club and in the same year president of the New York State Chess Association. He was president of the State Association for three years, giving way to the present leader Howard J. Rogers but he retained the presidency of the Brooklyn organization until 1895 when J. T. Marean succeeded him. In 1897 he accepted the presidency of the Manhattan Chess Club and had been re-elected for a second term a month before his death. During his incumbency of the executive positions the organizations made great strides in membership and position in the chess world mainly due to his constant care and active leadership.

Mr. Gilberg was one of the compilers in 1865 of the “American Chess Nuts” with Eugene B. Cook and W. R. Henry; and with Loyd, Cook, Waterbury, Allen Henry and others bore the expense of the publication of that great collection of American problems. The connection of Mr. Gilberg with the Fifth American Chess Congress in 1880 and his munificent act in the finishing up of the work of that Congress are remembered by chess players with gratitude. He was treasurer and when the time came for publishing the “Book of the Congress” which had been pledged by the Committee, there were no funds. With the honor which was his natural endowment he personally prepared the book and paid the cost of it himself the amount expended being not far from $1000. The work of preparation alone would have been sufficient contribution to the cause of chess as the Book of the Fifth Congress includes records of the previous Congresses played in this country and biographies of leading players the collection of which must have been accomplished only after great labor.

Mr. Gilberg’s love for chess induced him to gather its records, and early in his career he commenced the collection of the great library of chess literature which was his pride in recent years. It is seldom that a bibliophile possesses as Mr. Gilberg did the habit of order. His library was in the most perfect condition as to arrangement and cataloguing and while the number of volumes of books and collections of manuscripts, photographs, curios, scrap-books, clippings and all other things in which chess was even mentioned must have reached into the thousands he could place his hand upon anything at a moment’s notice.

Chess has few friends so constant; he was ever ready to aid anything that tended to spread a knowledge of the game and his name was perhaps as well known in every part of the world where chess is played as any amateur that ever lived.

 

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