Catalonians

batgirl
batgirl
Oct 6, 2010, 1:47 PM |
11

Joan Carbó i Batlle was born the same year as Paul Morphy.  In fact, Batlle was just 3 weeks older than his more famous contemporary. Also a lawyer, though born in Tarragona, Catalonia, Batlle with his two friends, Judge Josep-Salvi Fàbregas and the playwright Josep Pin i Soler (who authored Problemes d’Escacs d’Autors Catalans Contemporanis in 1889) helped form the Club Escacs Tarragona.  Batlle himself wrote an opening book, Coleccion de Aaberturas Seguidas Para su Aplicacion Práctica in 1868.

One of Batlle's chess-problem students was José Tolosa y Carreras who was actually Batlle's elder by 11 years (and outlived him by 14). Carreras was a medical doctor, but, being independantly wealthy, he spent more time at chess than in practicing medicine. In the 1860s Carreras frequented the Café de Recreo in Barcelona which, like it's also more famous contemporary, the Café de la Régence, catered to literary people, philosophers, whist, billiard and chess players.  Much of the chess in Catalonia has its origins in coffeehouses such as the Café Munich, the Cafè Anglès and, of course, the Café de Recreo.

Carrera is honored as a great chess player, but he was more of a chess problemist.

Here are some examples of his work:

 

 

Vol. 1 of the American Chess Magazine (1897) gives Carreras advice for beginner problem solvers:
Hints To Beginners.—The following is from the work of Dr. Tolosa Carreras, of Barcelona : "In the two-move problem the first move is necessarily a threat of mate for the following move, which amounts to saying that black plays only a single move in all the variations. It results from this that the solver possesses a simple means of removing the veil which covers the enigma, and this consists in not concerning himself about white's first move, but acting as if black had the first move. It will then be more easy to see which should be white's first move to thwart the different defences at black's disposal. In this kind of composition direct moves and checks are not generally used. Moves which have a character of repose or waiting, and even of preparation for the combination aimed at, are
preferred."

The above 3-mover was highlighted in the Nuova Rivista degli Scacchi in 1895

 

Carreras and his former teacher Batlle played a well known game. Irving Chernev featured it in his 1955 book, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess, misspelling Batlles' name in the process (as Battle, a forgivable misspelling shared on occassion by several periodicals, the American Chess Buletin and the BCM among them - and ironically at chessgames.com where I appropriated the .pgn)

 


Carreras publish his one book, Traité analytique du probleme d'échecs ,written in French, in Paris 1892. He collaborated on a book of problems with Batlle and on a Ruy Lopez analysis with Joan Capó i González.

The above nameplate tells us that this book (A Collection of the Games Played and a Selection of the Problems sent in for Competition by J.  Lowenthal, 1864) was originally part of Carreras library but bequeathed to José Paluzíe y Lucena (one of the greatest Catalonian chess collectors).

Just as Carreras studied chess problems under Batlle, Lucena tutored under Carreras.

Lucena was a new generation of Catalonian chess players. If possible, he was even more versitile than both Carreras and Batlle. An engineer by profession, he was also a chess player, composer, writer, organizer, teacher, manager and historian.  His massive Manual de Ajedrez has been considered one of the best Spanish instruction manuals. His other books are  Preliminares, Estrategia, Apertures, Finales, Problemas and Miscelanea.

José Paluzíe y Lucena

Lucena's Manual de Ajedrez

contains this dedication