Chess Museum Receives Historical Donation

Chess Museum Löberitz says thank you for historical donation – granddaughter of a master comes to visit

The chess table donated to the museum by Bernhard Gregory’s granddaughter is almost as old as the chess community.

Alice Kahl doesn’t have many memories of her grandfather, the chess master Bernhard Gregory. But the 92-year-old shares her interest in chess and a few years ago donated a table with a chessboard to the Löberitz Chess Museum. It dates from 1879. The former professor at the University of Leipzig visited the collection at the invitation of museum director Konrad Reiß. The chess master granddaughter was delighted that the game of kings received such an honor. “The table is really appreciated here and I’m happy about that.”

“It would take three days to see everything here,” said writer Rolf Voland, who visited the museum with Kahl. An active chess player himself for many years, the writer now concentrates on writing books. Black versus white, of course. For beginners interested to learn chess, here is a recommended reading-book lesson in chess at IchessU. The Leipzig native devotes his work to textbooks and memoirs, some of which have been translated from Russian.

Both visitors immortalized themselves on chess boards that are available for prominent visitors, said Konrad Reiß. He also briefly introduced the history of the location of the Löberitz chess community and reported how chess was played in the school in the past. In the meantime, the club is suffering from a lack of young talent but is still playing in the highest German circles.

Who is the Chess legend, Bernhard Gregory?

image source: Wikipedia

Life could not begin more mysteriously than that of Bernhard Gregory. He was abandoned and found at 9:30 p.m. on the evening of April 18, 1879, on the front steps of the town hall in Reval, now Tallinn. He was adopted by Senator Ferdinand Oscar Gregory.

At the age of 8, the child learned to play chess at this school, also with the support of his father. Two years after the death of his father, Bernhard Gregory left his hometown of Reval in 1898 to study in Germany. So he began studying chemistry and technical sciences in the Bavarian metropolis of Munich. At the age of 23, he married Ida Hempel, aged 18, from Leipzig, on 2 September 1902 in London. A year later daughter Iselin was born. In 1904 the family moved to Martin-Luther-Strasse 78 in Berlin-Schöneberg. He continued his studies in Berlin. In 1905 their second daughter, Dolly, was born.

At the beginning of World War I, in 1914, the marriage broke up and Ida Gregory moved back to her parents in Leipzig with her two children. Bernhard Gregory stayed in the capital and now devoted himself even more to playing chess. He also had time during the war years, because as a so-called “stateless person” he was not drafted into military service by Germany. For him personally, that was a flaw. In hindsight, certainly a stroke of luck.

He successfully participated in chess tournaments. After that, Gregory retired from active tournament chess. In 1931, after many years of separation, his first marriage ended in divorce and he married his second wife, Helene Hermine, née Walsleben. This marriage remained childless. In 1932 Bernhard Gregory and his wife were naturalized in Prussia and thus received German citizenship.

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After the end of his chess career, Gregory worked as an engineer in his adopted home of Berlin. He died on February 2, 1939, in Berlin-Schmargendorf, probably from cancer.