Milano October 3 1849 – Milano March 15 1910
Chess player and Italian patron, in 1879 he came 2nd in a social tournament in Milan and 4th in the 3rd National Tournament in Milan in 1881. In September of that same year he was among the founders of the Milanese Chess Society and its president since 1893. In 1885 he became champion of Lombardy winning twenty games in a row. In 1886 he fought, in Berlin, with von Scheve with the result +1 -4 but he suffered the use of the clock (“a diabolical device”) to which he was not used. He got better results with Harmonist +1 -1 = 2 and Hauptmann. Later he had the opportunity to compete with the masters Janowsky, Lipke, Lange, Kirschner, but he was always defeated. It was only in 1894 that he succeeded in par with von Bardeleben and in 1898 he won, in Cologne, against Gutayer. These results earned him a prestigious award in the Vossische Zeitung which he called “Italiener Schachmeister”. In 1901 in Venice he obtained the 2nd place. He invented an attack, which he played in the Milan tournament of 1881, in two games (against Cavallotti and Della Rosa) that the authoritative Oscar Cordel, with whom he polemicized at length attributed instead to Fritz (Fritz-Mason, Nuremberg, 1883).

  • 1897: Milan-Palermo telegraph challenge, first in Italy
  • 1897 the world champion Lasker visits the Milanese and the Patriotic
  • 1901 Schlechter visits the Milanese, with a banquet in his honor
  • 1902 Mieses plays simultaneously
  • 1906 10th congress and national tournament, won by Martinolich
    Famous members of those times were: Arrigo Boito, librettist poet, senator – Virgilio Inama, Greek professor – Cipollini, musician, author of Piccolo Haydn – Emilio Gola, painter – Luigi Mangiagalli, Professor and senator – Moisè Loria, Humanitarian founder – Gian Galeazzo Arrivabene, who was also President of the Patriotic chess section – Eccheli del Dosso, Davide CampariArturo Reggio

Odd destiny of fate, shortly after being elected president in life for 1909, Edoardo Crespi disappeared, 61 years old, in March 1910. In his will, Edoardo Crespi did not forget about chess: he appointed heir of his possessions (a discrete sum, almost 200,000 Lire of the time) the Municipality of Milan to establish the free soup for the poor, with the obligation to pay a legacy of 10,000 Lire to distant relatives and 45,000 lire to the Braidense to set up a small chess library and with the annuity pay 300 lire annually to the SSM for the social tournament and 3,000 Lire every 4 years for the National tournament. As a sign of gratitude, Crespi was buried at the expense of the Town Hall in the Monumentale cemetery, where he still rests today.

Dr. Martino Tondini, to whom Crespi had entrusted the testamentary execution, succeeded him to the presidency. And while in those years the changes of venue continued to take place, the new president was anxious to see the wishes of Crespi executed in order to organize the much-desired tournaments.

Finally in 1914 the funds were released and it was possible to organize the social tournament while, due to the possibility of war, the national tournament was postponed. Despite the war the tournament will be played in 1916 and won by Arturo Reggio who replays the 1913 Bologna success.

The 2nd Crespi tournament will be played in 1919 instead of 1918, its natural expiration, it will be called the tournament of victory.

The third Crespi, that of 1922, had two peculiarities: the tournament was hosted by the Garden society (the following ones will instead be hosted at the Patriotic) and saw the rise of Mario Monticelli who then won the 6th in 1934 and the 7th in 1938 .

In 1926 the 4th Crespi is played. In those years Alekhine went to the Milanese and performed at the Patriotic, simultaneously on 14 chessboards.

The 5th Crespi will be played in 1931 to coincide with the period of the Milan Trade Fair and also for the award of the Italian champion title.

Under the presidency of Count Dal Verme, thanks to its patronage and the untiring work of Ferrantes, the Milanese prospered and the Crespi tournaments were increasingly sumptuous: The 6th Crespi will be played regularly in 1934 and will be won by Mario Monticelli, becoming Italian champion.

The 7th Crespi will be played in 1938, won again by Mario Monticelli ex equo with Eliskases. it will be the first international Crespi tournament, but also the last, as requested by Crespi in his legacy. The idea of ​​Ferrantes was to organize the Milanese Chess April by setting it on Crespi which, however, was to become International! Not yet happy he also wanted a National Master, a National Minor and even the 1st National Women’s Championship with the addition of a simultaneous M ° Grob and a theoretical-practical lesson of Maestro Esteban Canal.

Here is an excerpt from Alessandro Sanvito:

In Via Berchet building, up high, in a three-room neighborhood, in the spring of 1910, on a gloomy day like Milan, sometimes, even in fine weather, a tragedy occurred that was known only by the public late at night , after the intervention of the police who, having knocked in vain at the door, forced the entrance. In the lit-up bedroom, over an armchair, half-undressed, with an open newspaper tumbled to the side, “a man of 60 years, Edoardo Crespi, who was nineteen years before, in 1881, welcoming the votes formulated by the III Congress Italian Chess National, founded the «Milanese Chess Society». ” The Milanese citizen of half a century ago – wrote the biographer of Crespi in 1917 – differed a lot from that of object: the development of industries and commerce, however remarkable, it was not yet such as to require feverish activity and intensity of life and work for which the good Ambrosian could lead a quiet life that was reflected in his good-natured and good-natured character.Those types were quite frequent, including the naive, the grotesque and the facetious, harmless but demanding and anything but courageous, that Ferravilla reproduced so well in his plays and interpreted himself in an incomparable way. Milanese interleaving some Italian words when it came to accentuating the phrase more. Now they are slowly disappearing and it is difficult to meet one in the streets of Milan, especially after the sudden disappearance of Edoardo Crespi. Excellent pasta of man, honest to the point of scruple, he did not hurt anyone, but he feared the evil of others; he was therefore wary and fearful he did not make confidences and his friends were not, after all, good acquaintances. He was born around 1840 (the date indicated by this biographer is wrong. For the exact data of the Crespi see: “Edoardo Crespi” by Alessandro Sanvito, L’Italia Scacchistica, April 1985) his youth was lucky; with a diploma in accountancy and a little money he joined a skilled fur traders. A few years later he retired from the company with more than enough capital to make a living. Although still young he led a very simple life and his only pastime became the game of chess. Unimaginable by nature he saw the danger even where he was not there; he feared thieves and despite having deposited the titles and the values ​​almost everywhere, from the banks to the cookware, he never felt calm, so much so that having seen, one day, a staircase near his window since then he kept constantly closed taxes for fear that some villain with that means happened to him at home. He dressed very modestly and became fond of his clothes to such an extent that he did not indulge in them without a profound regret. He especially liked a hard felt hat, which later became very foldable, and was famous for his antiquated form of coat, the last example to be seen in Milan; so old-fashioned that the owner of a coffee shop in the center would have agreed to sell a room to the Chess Society on the condition that Crespi had stopped the strange garment! ” About thirty years after his death, a famous admirer wrote of him: “I did not see Edoardo Crespi in photography and I knew only what I was told by those who knew him. The photograph showed me a physically nice man; I portrayed him as a moral concept of esteem, slight pity, admiration and gratitude, esteem because he was a good man, of slight pity because he knew no family joy and because he carried within him the travail of mistrust and fear, of gratitude for the great impulse he gave to chess in Milan and Italy and finally of admiration, I would even say of amazement, for the psychological case he represented: reserved and expansive, taciturn and talkative, thrifty and full of generosity: almost misanthropic and at the same time full of love for humanity, he left with his testament, which bears the date of 1900, to the Municipality of Milan, two hundred thousand lire to establish the minestrone he left it free for the poor and forty thousand lire to the Braidense, whose income was to be used for the establishment within the Braidense of a small public Chess Library, named after Edoardo Crespi; payment to the Milanese Chess Society of three hundred lire per year for contributions to social tournaments; payment to the same of three thousand lire every four years after his death for National Tournaments, Magistral and Minor. Meanwhile the deadline, fixed by the rag. Crespi in his will, for the holding of a Tournament in Milan to be financed with the legacy of three thousand lire he arranged for the Braidense Library with the burden, precisely, of allocating this sum to the organization of a tournament, to be held every four years.

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