Sunday, 1 August 2010

Enid Blyton On Chess (Chess Quote)

A comment by the author Enid Blyton (here) got me wondering if she played chess, and also if she was possibly influenced by chess as a child.

The quote was from a letter about her childhood where she described how her mind would be flooded at night by stories, "all mixed-up, rather like dreams are, but yet each story had its own definite thread—its beginning and middle and ending."

This trytychian description of beginning, middle & end, from my personal perspective has a chessic flavour.

Whenever a question about esoteric chess history comes up it is always wise to consult Edward Winter's Chess Notes. Hey presto! the answer appeared.

The following text is from Chess Notes Archive [24] - 4446. Enid Blyton (C.N. 4234):
Geoff Chandler (Edinburgh) has been doing some hunting on possible connections between chess and the British writer Enid Blyton (1897-1968), and has forwarded us a passage from page 55 of her autobiography (written for children), The Story of My Life (London, 1952):

‘When I was six my father taught me to play draughts, and a little later he taught me to play chess. That was just before I was seven. He thought that all young children should learn to play chess. “If they have any brains it will train them to think clearly, quickly and to plan things a long way ahead”, he said. “And if they haven’t any brains it will make the best of those they have!” I don’t know if he was right. I know that I enjoyed the games immensely. Children rarely play chess now. There is not enough time, and chess is a game that takes up a very great deal of time. I wonder if any of you who are reading this book can play chess.’
Considering the text quote is from 1952, I was surprised that Enid described there being 'not enough time', to play chess. Also, the comment that 'chess is a game that takes up a very great deal of time' suggests to me that she did indeed study the game of chess as well as play it.

Tags: 1952 - Autobiography - Chess - Chess Quote - Children - Edward Winter - Enid Blyton - Geoff Chandler - Tryptychian

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