forgive your enemies;
nothing annoys them so much."
Ken Whyld, one of the most eminent and worldwide known chess historians
and authors, is no longer with us. Most of our group only met him once
and came to know him as a kind elder gentleman, who attended our first
meeting in November 2002 and livened up the discussion about our bibliography
project. The photo below was taken on that event.
Ken Whyld together with
Austrian chessplayer Herbert Rudolf
We learn quite a lot about Ken Whyld from his (very worth
reading) interview he gave Sarah Hurst ("A Walk on the Whyld Side",
CHESS XI 1998; reprinted in S. Hurst, Curse of Kirsan, Milford
2002); for example, that at 13 or 14 the highly gifted boy read Einstein's
Theory of Relativity, and one year later he dealt with Lenin and Freud.
Later on he earned the nickname "The Omniscient One", due to
his encyclopaedic knowledge of chess history.
The high respect which Ken Whyld enjoyed in the chess world cannot only
be attributed to his immense knowledge, but largely to his pleasant co-operative
behaviour. His willingness to share his knowledge with others at any time
and to answer precisely each enquiry was widely known and made him many
friends. Having also a fine sense of humour, Ken Whyld, in his personality
as a whole, was an absolutely exceptional person.
May be, that Ken Whyld's first marriages have suffered from his chess
enthusiasm, a fate he probably shared with many other chess fans. He had
married his great love for many years, Pat Frankish, only recently in
April 2002. It is very sad to hear that they could spend only 15 months
together at their home in the village of Kirton Lindsey (near Caistor).
Whyld flanked by Gert Timmermann and Jurgen Stigter (Amsterdam Meeting
November 30, 2002)
You may find further photos of Ken Whyld at the Website of the Lasker
Many obituaries and tributes appeared after Ken Whyld's death, online
and in traditional chess magazines, and his large number of publications
was recalled. We will select here only the most prominent ones and add
a separate list of all his books.
Books by Ken Whyld
First of all, the outstanding work he created together
with co-author and long-time friend David Hooper, The Oxford Companion
to Chess. Certainly this wonderful book will offer help and advice
to further generations of chess players and researchers, "a masterpiece
representing a landmark in the literature of our game", as Edward
Winter, another great chess historian, commented. For many of us this
gem of an encyclopaedia would be the favourite for the so-called "desert
Secondly, his The Collected Games of Emanuel Lasker,
is the result of decades of games collecting. Including 1,390 games and
32 compositions (endgames, problems) of the former WM, it remains the
most reliable source on the subject.
Third, his volume Chess Columns: A List, which can be
seen as a successor to Gaige's Chess Personalia, is the attempt
to give a complete alphabetical list of all chess columns which were ever
published in serials and newspapers. Surely not a book to read through,
it is a reference book of supreme importance and a must for each serious
Ken Whyld will live on not only in his books, but also in the name of
our Association, which has itself set the task of honouring his memory.
As a first step we will support the edition of a reprint of Ken Whyld's
Chess Reader, whose publication we are planning for this year's