Thursday, July 30, 2009


I do not really know how many of you are interested on the subject "CHESS ON STAMPS" but as I am a chess on stamps lover I present you here an interesting article titled "Chess Positions on Stamps" written by Jon Edwards and Joram Lubianiker.

Chess is Fun: Chess Positions on Stamps

Chess Positions on Stamps

Jon Edwards and Joram Lubianiker

This lengthy exhibit would not be possible without the many contributions on this topic in the ChessStamp Review. I call attention to the long bibliography at the end of the exhibit and particularly to the many articles by Joram Lubianiker.

His studies have identified nearly every game represented by a position on a chess stamp. That effort has eased the production of this exhibit. To complete this effort, I had only to determine the identity of three games (using ChessBase 8.0, of course).

Presenting this information on the web is a natural next step. In addition to the images of the stamps and the consolidation of all of the information, you will find links to the games themselves. Not all of the positions selected for these stamps are the best possible, but there are some wonderful games here! This exhibit will take some time to complete. For the moment, I provide the images of the stamps and all of the games. I will add some descriptive materials for each game, as time allows.

Capablanca v Lasker, New York, 1924
Emanuel Lasker won the 1924 New York tournament, losing only one game to Capablanca. This extremely complex game won the 3rd brilliancy prize. Lasker missed a drawing opportunity with 37...Bf7 rather than 37...Qe6. The game is well annotated in Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess.

Botvinnik v Capablanca, AVRO, 1938
In his book: A Half Century of Chess, Botvinnik noted that this position was remembered years later at the World Chess Olympiad in 1954 on a cake displayed in a shop window. The Queen on e7 makes a poor blockader of the passed e6-pawn. White removes the queen by force. 30.Ba3 is the beginning of a beautiful 12-move combination.

Fischer v Benko, USA ch, 1963
This Fischer win occurred as part of his unprecedented 11-0 victory in the 1963-4 US Championship. In the diagram, it appears that Fischer can play e4-e5 threatening checkmate on h7. But Benko would have been able to respond with ...f5. Fischer therefore uncorks "a bolt from the blue" with Rf6!! with the now unstoppable threat of e4-e5. A wonderful illustration of the timeless chess principle: "The threat is stronger than the execution."

Alekhine v Rubinstein, The Hague, 1921
Following several eccentricities by Black in the Queen's Gambit, white embarks upon an early attack, moving his h-pawn three times, his dark-squared bishop four times and, after Bf6, probably has a winning position. Alekhine analyzes this game in detail (game 61) in his Best Games of Chess.

Johner v Nimzovitsch, Dresden, 1926
Nimzovitsch describes this game as "one of the best blockading games I have ever played" and analyzes it extensively in both My System and Chess Praxis.

Spassky v Smyslov, Bucharest, 1953
From the stamp, you would expect a game of Steinitz, but the designer placed the wrong diagram on the stamp. The position derives from a Spassky game in 1953, nearly 50 years after Steinitz's death. This Bucharest tournament was the young 16-year-old's first taste of international competition. From the diagram, Spassky, playing white, played 33.Ng7, and Smyslov resigned after 33...Rd6 34.Ne6 Rxd2 35.Rg3. Only a year later, Smyslov scored 12-12 against Botvinnik!

Steinitz v Zukertort, match, 1886
And here is the Steinitz game, the ninth game of his 1886 match against Zukertort.

Kolisch v Anderssen, London, match (1), 1861 This 1861 match is better remembered for how it was timed, with an hourglass, than for this particular game. Anderssen lost mis famous match against Morphy in 1858 but bounced back to defeat Kolisch three years later.

Morphy v Harrwitz, Paris, match (3), 1858 Morphy lost the first two games of this match. According to Edge, Morphy was distracted by the night life in Paris and had very little sleep. After his second defeat, Morphy predicted that Harrwitz would not win another game. Sure enough, Morphy won the next five games and Harrwitz refused to continue to play.

Anderssen v Steinitz, Vienna, 1873 This game is hardly Steinitz's best, despite the strong opponent. The game illustrates Steinitz's positional understanding; Anderssen's queen is structurally out-of-play as early as move 22.

Ilyln Zhenevsky v Lasker, 1925 Again, not the example we would have picked for one of Lasker's best games. Indeed, many annotators believe that white is fine, and perhaps winning by move 23, but Ilyin-Zhenevsky blundered, losing the exchange and the game with 23.Qe3?

Capablanca v Lasker, Havana, match (10), 1921 The tenth game of the World Championship match, won by Capablanca. In the position on the stamp, Capa avoids a diabolical trap: 23...Nb4 44.Rd2 Rb1 45.Nb2 Rxb2 46.Rxb2 Nd3+ 47.Ke2 Nxb2 48.Kd2 leads to a draw because the black knight is trapped! After 43...Rb1!, 44.Ke1 is a better try but black still wins a pawn with 44...Na5.

Bogoljubov v Alekhine, Hastings, 1922 One of the greatest games ever played, and well worth study. Beginning with 29.Rxa5, white's rook captures both of black's rooks and black's queen, but is foiled by a single, unstoppable pawn. Perhaps the most amazing shock is 34...Ne1 threatening an original smothered checkmate on f3!

Anderssen v Kieseritzy, 1851
The "Immortal Game." From the position on the stamp, the game ended: 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qf6+! Nxf6 23.Be7 checkmate! Of this beatuiful game, world champion Emanuel Lasker wrote in his Manual of Chess: "The end of the game is undoubtedly splendid. The checkmate represents a maximal achievement; three minor officers, unaided, execute the incredible mate in the face of the whole hostile army."

Fischer v Spassky, match (21), 1972
Tal v Vadasz, Talinn, 1977
Karpov v Smyslov, USSR ch, 1971

Karpov v Kortchnoi, Baggio, 1978

Karpov v Kasparov, match (22), 1986

Bruhl v Philador, London, 1783
Anderssen v Morphy, Paris, 1858v
Blackburne v Taylor
Lasker v Tarrasch, Germany, 1908
Janowski v Marshall, 1912
Capablanca v Lasker, match (11), 1924

Reti v Yates, New York, 1924
Bogolyubov v Alekhine, match (1), 1929
Euwe v Alekhine, match (26), 1935
Keres v Capablanca, AVRO, 1938
Botvinnik v Smyslov, match (12), 1954
Botvinnik v Tal, match (6), 1960

Petrosian v Najdorf, Bled, 1961
Fischer v Spassky, match (1), 1972
Fischer v Spassky, match (5), 1972
Korchnoi v Karpov, match (21), 1974
Karpov v Korchnoi, match (32), 1978
Kasparov v Portisch, Niksic, 1983

Kasparov v Deep Blue, Philadelphia, 1996

Steinitz v von Barteleben, Hastings, 1895

Pillsbury v Lasker, 1895
Pillsbury never played in a world championship match, but first place showing at Hastings and his victory there against the new World Champion Lasker cements his place as one the world's best ever. Here at St. Peterswburg, Lasker won despite many errors. It was a key victory. Pillsbury lost 5 of his last 8 games. Lasker won the tournament, crushed Steinitz for the World Champioknship, and held that title for 25 years.

Reti v Alekhine, 1925
A game nominated by Kasparov as the most beautiful ever played. Czech Richard Reti advanced chess theory with the idea of challenging an established center rather than fighting for the center from the start. Don't miss black's wonderful 34th move.

Botvinnik v Capablanca, 1938

Karpov v Unzicker, 1975

Lazarevic v Gaprindaschvili, 1961

Levitina v Chiburdanidze, 1984

William Hook v Saif Kanani, Olympiad, 1980

Morphy v Anderssen, Paris, 1858
Lasker v Capablanca, St. Petersburg, 1914
Botvinnik v Bronstein, match (23), 1951

Fischer v Tal, Bled, 1961
Spassky v Petrosian, match (19), 1969
Kasparov v Karpov, match (20), 1990

Chigorin v Lasker, St. Petersburg, 1895

Steinitz v von Barteleben, Hastings, 1895

Kasparov v Karpov, match (22), 1986

Denker v Botvinnik, USA-USSR radio match (1), 1945

Short v Kasparov, match (23), 1993

Euwe v Alekhine, match, 1935

Chess positions on postmarks!

We have found three postmarks with chess positions. Perhaps readers of this page will know of others.

A disappointment here... a postmark containing a fragment of a position, but there's not enough for ChessBase to find a real game. Any ideas?


Dr. Raphel Ruppin, "Game Positions on Stamps," ChessStamp Review #28

Harold Beagle, "British Virgin Islands Salutes American Moves in Chess," ChessStamp Review #30

Andrew Katz, "Errors in the Design of Chess Stamps," ChessStamp Review #33

Conrad Goodman, "New/Old Issues and Varieties," ChessStamp Review #47

P.C. Burnett, "Jugoslav Chess Issue from 1950," ChessStamp Review #60

Joram R. Lubianiker, "The Design of Laos 88," ChessStamp Review #61

Joram R. Lubianiker, "Letter to the Editor," ChessStamp Review #67

Joram R. Lubianiker, "Game Positions on Stamps: Review and Completion," ChessStamp Review #70

Joram R. Lubianiker, "Armenia 1996 Chess Issues," ChessStamp Review #85

Joram R. Lubianiker, "New Game Positions on Stamps - Part 1," ChessStamp Review #96

Joram R. Lubianiker, "New Game Positions on Stamps - Part 2," ChessStamp Review #97

Joram R। Lubianiker, "New Game Positions on Stamps - Part 3," ChessStamp Review #98


Wednesday, July 29, 2009




Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Dear kostas, thank you very much for the opportunity you gave me to upload some items of my collection to your terrific blog.Unfortunately the time for my vacation has reached. So i must leave tommorow to spend some days relaxing in Halkidiki.I must assure you that I enjoyed it very much.Thanks again.


This is what I see every morning as I am getting up

The white house in the center
is the place from where
I am uploading this article

A good morning as the sun is rising in Malia

Dear friends

Due to my summer vacation is difficult to upload new covers on my blog. So my good friend Yannis Hiras is making me the favor to upload from time to time some intresting covers and I thank him VERY MUCH.

As for me I will try to upload some intresting philatelic articles from other webpages in order to help you improve your philatelic knowledge.

These all till my return back to Agia Paraskevi.

Have a nice time


P.S. You can continue sending me your correspondence in my P.O. Box as my wife is in Agia Paraskevi taking my correspondence (but please not registered letters). All the letters will be answered as soon as I will be back to my home.

Introduction to the VARIABLE VALUE STAMPS or ATMs

In the last decades many postal administrations around the world have tested, developed and implemented different franking solutions for shipments, using the issue of variable value stamps. Without doubt this is one of the fields in recent postal and philatelic history with more new ideas and even greater possibilities for the future, and also one of the most unacknowledged amongst philatelists. In this article we'll develop what makes a variable value stamp and its classification.

What are the VARIABLE VALUE STAMPS ? What are the ATMs ?

The concept of a variable value stamp is very wide, in constant and fast development, and includes different types of postage stamps, hence the difficulty for a precise definition, but in general they could be defined as stamps issued according to the needs of the user.
Thus, the user (customer or postal employee) requests or selects a certain face value and a special machine prints and issues, instantly, the postage stamp.

Any postage stamp not meeting these requirements cannot be considered a variable value stamp.

The variable value stamps (or automatic variable value stamps) can be described using different criteria, although the main one is possibly according to their conditions of issue and use. They could be also classified, for example, according to the characteristics of the paper
when they are printed.

According to the conditions of use of the postage stamp, the variable value stamps can be classified as stamps for immediate use and stamps with indefinite validity (ATMs).

In the first case, they are postage stamps issued by the postal employees for franking postal items handed in at the Post Office window, or by the user with special equipment (self-service vending machines or personal computer), and their use and expiry are immediate. These stamps always include some data (sometimes using 2D matrix codes) about the post office origin or issuing equipment, or even the sender or user, and the date of issue. The date is used as a postmark, so these stamps do not require any type of postal cancellation

Different types of variable value stamps for immediate use issued in Spain

These stamps are known amongst international collectors by a variety of names: meter stamps, SFS (from the German word Schalterfreistempel or counter stamp), vignettes de guichet, TP label, etc..
In recent years new systems of immediate franking using the Internet and personal computers have been and are being implemented in some countries. These are known as PC franking or PC postage.
(More information: The variable value stamps for immediate use in the world- Spanish version only)

This type of stamp can sometimes be printed on a special security paper, either gummed or self-adhesive, to be affixed, after issue, onto the shipment, or printed directly onto the envelope.
In Spain these postage stamps are known as franqueos mecánicos (mechanical frankings).

Variable value stamps for immediate use issued in Portugal, Thailand, Argentina and United States

On the other hand there are variable value stamps with indefinite validity which we know as ATMs, issued for public use from automatic self-service vending machines or counter machines by the employees in the post offices, depending on the country.

These machines instantly print the face value required, as selected by the user onto a special paper or label, (gummed or self-adhesive), and usually with a preprinted security background, and the resulting stamp has the same characteristics and can be used for franking just as a "traditional" stamp - anytime and anywhere. It has indefinite validity until affixed and postally cancelled.

ATMs can be bought by anyone for use at anytime. Likewise some types of PC-stamps can be used anytime and anywhere, but only by the user or owner of the specific computer software. They are then no longer treated neither as traditional stamps nor ATMs.

Different types of ATMs issued in Spain

In the first instance, ATMs differ from the mechanical franking because they don't have a date printed on them, which makes for open ended usage, and always requires postal cancellation when finally used for franking.

Having said this, there are exceptions. There are ATM issues which include the date of purchase. Whether a product can be called an ATM is not decided just by the appearance, but the application and the official attitude by the postal administration, concerning the conditions for their use and validity. If the issue can be used anywhere in the country at any time, it's an ATM. If its use, as a stamp, is limited to the date and place of issue, it is not an ATM.

A frequent error is to use the denomination of ATM or variable value stamps by reference to the paper or label. An ATM is not determined by the paper on which it is printed, but the resulting postage stamp.
In the case of Spain, for example, there exists some special printings like adjust and control labels, and these are neither stamps nor ATMs !

The character of variable value stamp or ATM to a postage stamp can be assigned by the terms of issue and use, and not the characteristics or design of the paper or label where it is printed.

ATMs started in 1969 with some tests with a vending machine SAFAA-SATAS in Montgeron, France, and are fully recognized as valid stamps by the U.P.U., according to the resolution of the Hamburg Congress in 1984

Different ATMs issued in France, Greece, Hong Kong, Aland and Cyprus

This method of franking is used in many countries world wide. These stamps are known by a variety of names -sello automático, estampilla, etiquette de distributeur, vignette d'affranchissement, machine vending stamp, CVP - Computer vended postage, automatic stamp, francobolli automatici, ...-, but the most widely used term is ATM (an abbreviation of the German term "Automatenmarken" or stamp from an automatic machine).

(More information: The world of ATMs)

Some usual errors

These are neither variable value stamps, nor ATMs: the first image is a blank label and the second one is an adjust label, both from Spain.
They are not postage stamps.

Despite the same design and different face value, these 2 stamps are not variable value stamps.
This is a set of 2 self-adhesive stamps issued by the Argentinean post in 1996 (Yvert 1944-1945).
In the same way, some of the world wide definitive series with an identical design and different face values are not variable value stamps

The character of variable value stamp or ATM to a postage stamp can be assigned by the terms of issue and use, and not the characteristics or design of the paper or label where it is printed.



Variable value stamos or ATMs form an important part of a collection for any country which issues them. Some collectors resist including them in their philatelic collection, and thus fail to recognise their importance in the mail service. ATMs are as much an issue as any of the definitive or commemorative issues of that country.
More and more postal administrations are realising the benefits of issuing ATMs, and the many trials of these issues have proved successful. They will therefore prove to be more and more essential in a stamp collection, as time goes by.

The collecting of ATMs issued by the different postal authorities (currently some 60 postal services) can be the reason for an interesting specialized collection. Some issues can be included in topical / thematic collections. Themes are abundant and include famous people, virgins, sports, boats, trains, cars, motorbikes and so on.

The collecting of ATMs, like any other stamps can take place at different levels :

  • The most basic would be to collect only one ATM of each model. In this case, a stamp with the minimum possible value that can be printed on the machine.
  • The second level could be the collection of a small value or a complete set of each model and, within the model, of each possible printing variety. The complete set correspond to the basic postal rates used for domestic and the international mail zones. The values which change from time to time with the change of postal tariffs, correspond to the domestic, foreign and overseas rates.
  • More advanced levels of collecting may include varieties of the different generations of machines, printings, papers, control and adjust labels, varieties and receipts, ... Like any other aspect of stamp collecting, you can make it as easy or as complex as you wish.
In the case of current Spanish ATMs, collecting has become more difficult because, at the moment, only some models are used in each Post Office, and simultaneously, to each Post office only there is available one printing variety. The situation is not helped as no advance information is given out about machine changes, dates of usage and so on.
The collection can be complemented by used ATMs. In this case the most common could be to complete the sets with a used cover franked with an ATM showing the national-inland tariff (for example) for each model and each variety.

Registered covers are interesting because up to April 2002, besides the franking ATM they have, the most part of times, a control label too with same paper.
(Image: Registered letter dated November 6th, 2001. It include the franking ATM (right) and the control label (left).

At the present it is necessary to be careful with the conservation and manipulation of current thermal ATMs.

The ATM catalogues of the world

Most of the world wide philatelic catalogues include ATM issues along with some basic information, usually in separate sections, as in the case of the French YVERT & TELLIER (Timbres de distributeurs) catalogue or the German MICHEL (Automatenmarken). National catalogues often include such issues under each issuing country.

There are also a few specialized catalogues, including some with little information or authority. Shown below are some of those we believe to be more interesting:

The German catalogue, Michel Automatenmarken-Spezial 2008-2009, specializes in world wide ATM issues and, at the present time is the leading reference book used by collectors of the subject.
The last edition, in full colour and totally updated, includes ATM issues up to mid 2008.
After the departure of Markus Seitz, the Swiss editor, due to disagreements with the publisher, Thomas von Loeper, the German specialist dealer, has joined the editorial team
Last edition 2008. Colour, German. 348 pages - 54.80 EUR
Markus Seitz, the author of the earlier editions of the Michel catalogue, between 1994 and 2004, and probably the world's leading ATM specialist, has edited the catalogue Automaten-Briefmarken Ganze Welt - Klassik 1969-1999.
This is a highly recommended specialized catalogue which includes worldwide ATM issues between 1969 and 1999, the period which the author considers as being the 'classic' era for this type of collecting.
With a lot of information - it makes essential reading.
Last edition 2008. Black and white. German. 474 pages - 29.00 EUR
In 2000, the Italian publisher, Flavio Rota, published the second edition of its specialized world wide catalogue of ATM issues, FRANCOBOLLI AUTOMATICI 2000 / World Automatic Stamps Catalogue.
The catalogue shows all the world wide ATM issues from 1969 up to May 2000, along with interesting studies about the ATM distributors, varieties and other items related to this subject.
A splendid work for all collectors who want to be introduced to the exciting world of ATMs
Last edition 2000. Black and white. Italian, French and English. 286 pages - 15.00 EUR
Automaten - Briefmarken Deutschland is a catalogue edited by the German, Rainer Reimund.
This, however, is not a worldwide catalogue, but an interesting study about German ATM issues, between 1981 and 1994.
Last edition 1996. Black and white - German. 63 pages