Historians are not used to their academic texts being widely circulated. That doesn't have to be the case
– and it helps especially if the topic generates interest beyond the scientific community and thus ensures coverage. The question of the closeness of the world chess champion Alekhine to the Nazi regime was such topic. Two years ago today, I completed my Alekhine study, and five days later it was published in German on the OPUS platform of the University of Stuttgart. A few months later, the English version followed there as well. The reach of this publication and the reactions to it were enormous. The German version was downloaded from the OPUS platform around 2,600 times, the English version almost 4,400 times. In total, therefore, almost 7,000 downloads, mainly in Europe and the USA, but in fact all continents were represented in the course of the two years. Assuming that the publication was not only downloaded but also forwarded directly, the reach was certainly in the five-digit range.
The public attention was also extraordinary. In February 2021, the study was already a topic in the Standard (Vienna), in July in the Frankfurter Allgemeine. The reviews on the German and English pages of the wide-reach platform Chessbase drove up the number of hits. The same was true for some mentions in the social media, for example by TWIC. An interview on the study and its origins appeared in a chess magazine.
Many direct contacts and friendly feedback followed. The only negative contact was with the German Chess Federation. For them, my study was relevant insofar as it brought to light the National Socialist Paul Wolfrum, a president of the Chess Federation unknown to the federation itself. Generously, the cloak of silence is thrown over the details of the contact: At the end I had provided additional information on Paul Wolfrum, after which the Schachbund published a biographical sketch on Wolfrum – but there without linking to the Alekhine study or even thanking me for the information provided!
Apart from that, however, there was friendly and very friendly feedback throughout. Above all, the numerous messages and requests from the academic field showed that the study had reached its actual target group. Hans-Joachim Teichler, for example, incorporated the Alekhine study directly into the new edition of his standard work "Internationale Sportpolitik im Dritten Reich" (Baden-Baden 2022). My article "Entangled" published a few months ago in the international historiographical journal STADION was also a result of the study and its feedback.