Lorentzos Mavilis... a poet, a fighter, a chess player

Lorentzos Mavilis... a poet, a fighter, a chess player

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This blog's beginning was a game I've found in a late 19th century manuscript. The ms was written by Lorentzos Mavilis, describing a winning game against Dr Lasker!? The handwriting has some imperfections concerning the notation [a reconstruction -filling the gaps- effort is tried at the end of this posting ~ share an opinion if you take a look]. But in any case it was a strong enough motive to search a little on this chess player, whom I knew mostly as a poet and a military volunteer...

Lorentzos Mavilis [or Mabillis ~ in greek Λαυρέντης Μαβίλης], was born in Ithaca on 6 Sep 1860, having some Spanish origin. He was the son of a judge of the Ionian Islands and the grandson of the cosnul of Spain in Corfu [Don Lorenzo Mabili y Boulligny, who was married with an island inhabitant]. In 1877 Lorentzos went to Athens to study philosophy and litterature, and since that time started writing poems. But soon, disappointed, left for Germany. Firstly in Munich & Freiburg, studying philology and philosophy, returning in Corfu in 1884 for a short time, and again in Germany. He also stayed for at least a year in Breslau [part of Germany at the time, now Poland]. And finally he earned his PhD from the University of Erlangen, in 1890.

Mavilis in Freiburg [1881], found in Τα έργα του [1915], p. 65 // this edition contains some photos

In Germany had an intense student life. Helias Pantazopoulos, a Mavilis' fellow student and friend in Munich, was writing to his mother in 1883:

"... [Lorentzos] is five years older than me, a young blond man, handsome as an Archangel, - German girls call him the new Apollo -, very lively and bright, but with aristocratic manners, he speaks five languages greatly, and with his mother usually in English. Unfortunately, he got involved with the German [student] clubs, drinks a lot of beer, has often duels [with sword] and neglected his courses." in Νέα Εστία, 168/1933, p. 87 .There was also a suspicion that Lorentzos had a beard so to cover a scar earned in a sword duel [Fotos Giofyllis' memories in Νέα Εστία, 803/1960, p. 15].

In Germany occurred the main part of his chess career too, but this some paragraphs below...

Returning to Greece, had an intense activity too. In 1896 he joined as a military volunteer the Cretan revolt [of 1895-1898] against the Ottoman Empire. And in 1897 he went to Epirus, with a group of 70 Corfiot volunteers at his own expense, during the Greek-Turkish War of 1896-97, where his arm was injured. In 1909 he was elected in the Greek parliament, where he took active part around the Greek language question as a demoticist. In 1912, when the First Balkan War broke out, Mavilis offered himself again as a volunteer in the Greek army, but he was already 52 years old. So he joined the Garibaldini volunteers as a captain under the command of Ricciotti Garibaldi. On 28 Nov 1912, during the battle of Dryskos, he was shot in the face and throat, and died...

Quite a life!!

Mavilis in 1912 with Garibaldino uniform

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CHESS

Since his first academic days, Lorentzos got involved with chess, as it occurs from his 1877 letters [in Νέα Εστία, 934/1966, p. 790], either as a player or a problem solver. I couldn't track if he was a co-founder but surely was one of the first members of Akademischen Schachclub in Munchen [ASCM], since its first days of 1886. As a chess player he was considered strong enough for the time, while edochess gives a peak rating of around 2350. He participated in the 5th DSB-Congress, Hauptturnier A [Frankfurt, 1887], ending 4th with 5.5/9 [DSB 1887 book, p. 16] & in the 6th DSB-Congress, Hauptturnier [Breslau, 1889] [DSB 1889 book, p. 25].

Within the latter tournament, he was advanced from the stage group, earning a draw from Emmanuel Lasker on the 4th round! In the next winner group, Lasker defeated him and Mavilis ended last [7th] but among the prize winners [40 Mk]. It's noticeable that he participated in this tournament under the name Sillibam [his name backwards, check DSZ 44/1889, p. 288], possibly as he didn't want to be recognized in homeland. He also earned 20 Mk for the fastest correct solution in a problem solving contest.

From The international chess magazine. v.5 (1889), p. 288 // FEN: 1n5Q/1Kp5/2P1r2p/1pR1Bp1P/4k3/P3p2P/2b1N3/r1b3N1 w - - 0 1

In August 1890 he won the 3rd Bavarian Chess Association Congress in Regensburg with 6.5/9. This time Dr. L. Greco was chosen as pseudonym [Berliner Schachzeitung 1890, p. 277], probably cause he had recently received his PhD. After this win, ASCM officially saluted Mavilis, as he was returning back in Greece [Akademisches Monatsheft für Schach, S1, Nr14/1890, p. 2].

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I've chosen two games [without comments] within Breslau 1889 and one within Regensburg 1890. The one vs Steif had been used as a reference game for Ruy Lopez opening in The chess digest 1901, p. 87. These two [Mavilis & Steif], during these days in Breslau [on 29 Jul], drew in consultation against Louis Paulsen, who was participating in the master tournament [the latter game occurs from a Mavilis' notebook in jpeg and from http://www.greekbase.gr/].

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Attacking style I think... simple and aggressive!

Also a mate in 3 by Mabillis...

Found in Akademisches Monatsheft für Schach, S1, Nr37/1893, p. 1

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His above mentioned fellow student and friend Pantazopoulos reproduces a Mavilis' saying: "All philosophical systems are intellectual exercises, like a good game of chess. They are not related with truth at all..."

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A game against Lasker??

This blog was decided to be made for this game. I've found a Mavilis' notebook in  Ψηφιοθηκη ΑΠΘ [only pdf on down left of page]. This handwritten notebook is identified as Mavilis' one and contains games in german notation and poems in greek, mainly during Autumn 1889 in Breslau. On page 6 I've tracked a won game played against Dr Lasker! 

From Mavilis' notebook, introductory paragraph of the game. Full game jpeg here as it takes 2.5 pages

The writing has some imperfections and difficulties in reading, but I've tried to reconstruct it. If you find an error, please share it. In any case, as I couldn't track the game elsewhere, here it is. Full game jpeg here as it takes 2.5 pages

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some more reference links on web around Mavilis, in greek

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