Sunday, February 1, 2009

Diemer on Bogoljubov

E. J. Diemer knew GM Efim Bogoljubov quite well, having become acquainted with him, I believe, during his 1934 world championship match with Alekhine in Baden Baden. An entry in Edward Winter's Chess Notes reprints a tribute by Diemer which was published on page 221 of the August 1952 CHESS after Bogoljubov's death:
"The last time I saw him was in Freiburg, ten days before his death. On 6 June he won a lightning-chess tournament organized among the members of the Freiburg team, for whom he had played at top board since 1950. The next day, he helped Freiburg beat another local team by 8:0 and the same evening he beat the well-known Berlin master Mross (in the last tournament game of his life) to help Freiburg register a 4½-3½ win against a team (Berlin-Eckbauer) which had successfully defeated Luxembourg, Cologne, Basle and Lucerne. I had a conversation with him then of rare seriousness. As if conscious of the nearness of his end, he spoke, on this last occasion, about – Chess Immortality. I discovered at this late hour in his life, and I pass it on as his closing thought, that Bogoljubow wanted his chess to be regarded as an art and himself as an artist. He feared, he said, that not one of his games, even from the great tournament at Moscow in 1925, the zenith of his career, would be deemed worthy of inscription in the scrolls of immortality. So high did he set his ideals. And so sceptically did he look back over his 40 years of masterly endeavor. Luckily the chess world will not share his pessimism. Countless masterpieces of play remain to assure him the immortality he sought."