Alekhine’s Kindness

CORRESPONDENCE

B.H. WOOD, Esq., CHESS.

Dear Wood,

There is one aspect of Dr. Alekhine’s character which may come as a surprise to chess players generally, for in that respect he has not been very widely advertised, that of kindness and readiness to help.

In 1938 I happened to meet Dr. Alekhine and his wife in the Strand Palace Hotel and he asked me to sit at their table. I had not met him or corresponded with him for some years, not since I translated his first book for a very substantial fee. I was neither wealthy nor influential, nor was I the editor of a chess publication. I was carrying in my hand the proofs of my “Basis of Combination in Chess.” Dr. Alekhine asked me what it was and I said it would not interest him, but he insisted that everything interested him and he took a very long time glancing through the proofs. In the end he said:

“I like the idea very much. Would you like me to read the proofs for you and to check the analysis?”

I was dumbfounded and suitably expressed my appreciation. Some ten days later the proofs came back corrected, and in two places some valuable additions were made to the analysis. A charming little note accompanied the package with encouraging words of appreciation, and enclosing another letter which Dr. Alekhine said I could use in any way I wished, and which the publisher did in fact use on the blurb of the book when it came out.

As a contrast I may say that the first man I met who read Dr. Alekhine’s comments on the blurb asked me “What did that cost you?” I avoided being ungentle by not answering.

Yours very sincerely,

(Signed)  J. du Mont

Thornton Heath.

CHESS (May 1946), p.173

 

See also

Alekhine and Alcohol by Edward Winter

Alekhine Checkmated

Alekhine Renaissance by Edward Winter

Alekhine’s Death by Edward Winter

Books by Alekhine (Chess Notes 4436)

Chess with Violence (Edward Winter)

Divinities and the Herd

Interviews with Alekhine by Edward Winter

Two Alekhine Interviews (1941) by Edward Winter

Was Alekhine a Nazi? by Edward Winter

White Snow of Russia

 

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