MARK RUBERY CHESS
Vladimir Lenin was a keen chess player, especially whilst in exile before the 1917 Revolution. He spent many of his days playing at a café in Paris on the corner of the Avenue d’ Orleans and the Place Montrouge. Now it has come to light that he may have played chess against a 20 year old unsuccessful Austrian artist named Adolph Hitler over a hundred years ago.
In 2009 a controversial item was put up for bidding at an auction house-a picture Hitler and Lenin playing chess in 1909.
‘The British auction house, Mullock’s put an etching picturing Hitler and Lenin at a chess board up for bidding. The owner of the picture was sure of its authenticity. Historians, however, were not. According to Mullock’s auctioning house, there are five copies of this etching. The one that has been placed on offer has the pencil signatures of Hitler and Lenin on the reverse. Experts are only 80% sure that the signatures are original.
The story is that back in 1909, Adolf Hitler was a jobbing artist in Vienna and Lenin was in exile. The house where they allegedly played the game belonged to a prominent Jewish family that departed from the Austro-Hungarian capital in the run-up to the Second World War and left a part of their property to the housekeeper. The etching and the chess set pictured on it were among the possessions left.
The etching was allegedly drawn from life by the future Führer’s art teacher, Emma Löwenstramm, and is dated 1909. Now the image and the chess set belong to the great-great grandson of the housekeeper, who wants to sell the items. The unnamed vendor asserts that his father devoted all his life to proving the authenticity of the image. The lot is accompanied by a 300-page research document with, it is claimed, proof that the paper and the signatures are original. The preliminary price of the two items is estimated at £40,000.
Experts still doubted the authenticity of the engraving. Historians have no confirmed information that Lenin and Hitler ever met at all. Nor are they sure that Lenin happened to be in Vienna in 1909. Moreover, by that time, Lenin was already bald, whereas the engraving pictures somebody not lacking hair. The last argument, however, was challenged by the auctioneer, who has asserted that Lenin could have worn a wig for the sake of conspiracy.’ and ‘that even as an allegorical picture it shows these men playing chess possibly for the world.’
Nevertheless when the etching went on auction it failed to attract any bidders…
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN
Who that was present that evening does not remember Paul Morphy’s first appearance at the New York City Chess Club? The secretary, Mr. Frederick Perrin, valorously offered to be his first antagonist, and presented about the same resistance as a mosquito to an avalanche. - Frederick Milne Edge