Thursday, August 31, 2006

Olimpiu G. Urcan

There is an interesting interview by Neil Brennen at Chessville with chess historian Olimpiu G. Urcan, whose articles on Julius Finn and Rudolph Sze have won the CJA Award for best historical articles of 2005 and 2006. Urcan discusses his interest in "marginal" and "amateur" chess players of the past, with whom he identifies to some extent, perhaps, due to the parallel position of chess historians today. As he says:

"Chess historians are marginals themselves, as a matter of fact maybe of the most unfortunate type. They live at the periphery of historical writing and, if that isn’t enough, at the periphery of the chess world. In spite of its very reduced audience, I think chess history writing has progressed greatly in the last 40 years. Not only in respect to the quantity of books written, but also in respect to a certain trend of producing superior works and establishing a clearer scientifically-based methodology of work. ... But my feeling is that, as long as it is not connected to serious academic circles, chess history writing will remain a hobby or an after-work preoccupation for most of these writers, since the majority of them realized that making it a business makes no or little financial sense. Their labors of love will still be published, but they will still be individual efforts bought only by the long-lasting chess collector, the most loyal reader, client, and, at times, patron of a chess historian."

Some additional articles by Olimpiu Urcan include:
UpdateOlimpiu Urcan himself wrote to add one item to the list:
Captain Vladimir Sournin:A Russian Chess Player's Exploits in America (September 1, 2006)
I take it that means my webliography is complete....

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