It's a humid day threatening rain here in Milwaukee, but the stormy weather has given me a chance to do some catch-up at my poor, languishing Goddesschess blog. As you know (or if not, I'm telling you now), I've been a member of the Chess Collectors International or CCI for many years. I don't remember exactly when I joined, but I believe it may have been in the early to mid 2000's. I receive the CCI magazines/news letters and the USA branch of the CCI also produces it own magazine that comes to me three times a year.
Recently I wrote about an exciting development - the CCI is going to be holding its biennial meeting in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) once again next year! The first (to my knowledge) was in 2011, then in 2015, and now again next year in 2020. Since I received the information, I've been thinking about possibly attending. I have a while before I need to make a decision. I always like having those "whiles."
The only CCI meeting I attended was in 2011, also in St. Louis. It coincided at the time with the Kings v. Queens Tournament (also called "The Battle of the Sexes" Tournament) of American and international players being hosted at the St. Louis Chess Club, just a few blocks away from the hotel I booked a suite at for my friend of nearly 30 years, Georgia, and myself. The chess club is right across the street from the World Chess Hall of Fame (and museum that features several new special exhibits, as well as shows and creative activities all year round.) The Gift Shop at the World Chess Hall of Fame is something special - if you have a chance, visit it!
I went back earlier today to blog entries here from 2011 and refreshed my memories of the CCI meeting in 2011. I did a summary in 2011 and in it I mentioned a few of the people I met as well as a special purchase or two I made at the CCI Auction that always closes out CCI get-togethers.
I met Duncan and Ann Pohl - Duncan is the current editor of the CCI-USA Magazine, and a most excellent job he does. Mr. Pohl was one of the presenters in 2011; he started out a bit nervous, but soon got into the groove of his presentation on "vintage" American chess sets that don't cost an arm and a leg as many of the rare sets (or pieces) do that were crafted in the Old World, merely a couple of fingers or maybe a hand. Yikes! Both Duncan Pohl and his wife, Ann, were at a round table shared with attendees (were there 10 or 12 of us - don't remember) including Georgia and I, at the CCI meeting at a lovely cocktail and dinner party. I struck it off right away with Ann Pohl - such a lovely lady. It was a lively group - the conversation hummed!
Mr. Pohl has produced a couple of books on American chess sets that would be of great help to a collector and of interest to any fan of the ancient game of the Goddess who wants to learn about American producers of chess sets, the materials used to make them, the rarity (or not) of such sets today, etc. Both can be found at Amazon:
Later that evening after dinner, Ann Pohl introduced me to Rick Knowlton, who had also given a fascinating presentation at one of the CCI sessions. We had a long chat about ancient chess and its origins, at least 30 minutes. Among other things, Mr. Knowlton maintains a website on Ancient Chess (which I am particularly interested in). He also did a "diary" online of his visit to St. Louis for the 2011 CCI meeting. How wonderful then, to see that Mr. Knowlton and well-known chess historian Jean-Louis Cazaux produced a book (which you can find a Youtube video on), "A World of Chess: Its Development and Variations through Centuries and Civilizations." Also offered at Amazon.
I also see that the BBC New program "The Forum" produced an episode by Mr. Knowlton and Mr. Cazaux that aired on April 19, 2019 and is available online in Podcast, "Chess: A Chequered History."
You just never know what these chess collectors and chess historians may get up to!