Literature Of The Ga-me
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LITERATURE OF THE GA-ME. The number of works that have been written upon chess in various languages is very large ; and only a few of the principal books on this subject can be cursorily alluded to here. Confining ourselves to those authors who have treated of the practice and science of the game, we may begin with Jacobus de Cessolis, otherwise Jacopo Dacciesole, whose main object, however, though he gives the moves, he., was to teach morals rather than chess. He was a Dominican friar, and his treatise, Solatium Ludi Scacchorum, scilicet, Libellus de Moribus Hominum et Offieiis Nobilium, was written before the year 1200. It was afterwards translated into French, and in the year 1474 Caxton, under the title of The Game and Playe of the Chesse, printed an English translation of the French version. It has been held by many that this was the first book printed in England.
In 1490 we have Die Gottinger Handschrift, a work containing nine different openings and fifty problems. The author of this manuscript is not known. It is supposed that both he and Lucena were indebted to an earlier source, now unknown. Then comes Vicent, a Spanish writer, whose book bears date 1495. This is pretty well all we know about him, for only the title page has been preserved, the rest of the work having been lost in the first Carlist war, forty years ago. Of Lucena, another Spanish author who wrote in or about 1497, we are better informed. His treatise (Repeticion des Amores y Arte de Axedres) comprises various practical chess matters, including 150 positions, illustrated by 160 well executed wood-cuts. Various of those positions are identical with those in Die Gottinger Lfandschrift. Druniano's work is an unacknowledged reproduction of Lucena's. In the sixteenth century works upon the game were written by Damian (as just mentioned), Ruy Lopez, and Horatio Gianutio della Mantia ; in the seventeenth century by Salvio, Polerio, Gustavus Selenus, Carrera, Greco, Fr. Antonio, and the authors of the Traite Lausanne; in the eighteenth century by Bertin, Stamma, Ercole del Rio, Lolli, Cozio, Philidor, Ponziani, Stein, Van Nyevelt, Allgaier, and Peter Pratt ; in the present century by J. F. W. Koch and C. F. Koch, Sarratt, John Cochrane, Win. Lewis, Silberschmidt, Gintlam Kassim and James Cochrane, George Walker, A. MacDonnell, Jaenisch, Petroff, Von Bilguer, Von der Lasa, Staunton, Kling and Horwitz, Bledow, Dubois, Kiescritzki, Max Lange, Lowenthal, Dufresne, Neumann, Snide, Zukertort, Preti, and others. The titles of several recent works by English writers are quoted below.
English chess owes much to W. Lewis and George Walker for their multifarious literary labours in the early part of the present century, the former being the best original analyst that England has yet produced. But to Howard Staunton must be ascribed the most important share in creating the popularity which the game has achieved in this country. His victory over St Amant in 1843, and his successful career as a match player during the ensuing eight years, tended in the first place to attract the popular attention, while his works gave a style and a shake to the practice of the game amongst his countrymen such as contributed much towards laying the basis of that high degree of excellence which now characterises chess playing in England. Staunton's first work, the Chess Player's Handbook, was published in 1847, and again (revised) in 1848. For want of further adequate revision many of its variations are now out of date, while later additions and discoveries naturally find no place therein ; but taking the Handbook as it was when issued, very high praise must be bestowed upon the author for the good judg- ment, ability, and painstaking labour evidenced in the compilation of the work. If there be anything wanting in original analysis, this is more than compensated for by the care, acumen, learning, and research which enabled him to utilize and condense in a clear, intelligible, and attractive form all the stores of knowledge then accessible. His other works are the Chess Player's Text Book and The Chess Player's Companion (1849), the latter being a collection of his own games, the Chess Praxis (1860),and various smaller treatises. As has been already stated, the laws of the game, as laid down in the Praxis, form the basis of the rules adopted by the British Chess Association in 1862, the main differences between the two codes arising from a mitigation in the Association laws of some of the severe penalties laid down in the Praxis, and the enactment of the "Dummy Pawn" rule, whereby a pawn on reaching an eight square may, if the player chooses, remain a pawn. In 1840 Staunton established the Chess Player's Chronicle, which periodical he continued to edit until 1856, while for four years - commencing in 1865 - he carried on the Chess World. Moreover, he was the chess editor of the Illustrated London News during a period of thirty years, viz., from 1844 till his death in 1874. The services which he rendered to chess in thus popularizing the game and successfully engrafting it upon our periodical literature have been admitted in all quarters. In this respect also George Walker's work in Bell's Life in London, of which publication he was the chess editor for forty years, should not go without special acknowledgment. To Staunton's works must now be added his posthumous Chess Theory and Practice, edited and prepared for the press by R. B. Wormald, 1876.
Among Continental chess authorities Von Heydebrandt and der Lasa (more usually known by his second title) stands pre-eminent. The German Handbuch, the famous volume with which his name is inseparably associated, was commenced in 1843 by Von Bilguer, who died before the first edition was completed. The second, third, fourth, and fifth editions (the last published in 1874) were successively edited and revised by Von der Lasa, and the book now stands a lasting monument of his genius and industry.
Of recent English works upon the openings the following may be mentioned : - The Book of Chess, by G. II. Selkirk, 1868 ; Key to the Chess Openings, by Thomas Long, 1871 ; Positions in the Chess Openings, by the same author, 1874; Chess Openings, by F. W. Longman, 1874; Synopsis of the Chess Openings, by Wm. Cook, 1874 ; The Chess Player's Manual, by G. H. D. Gossip, 1875 ; and The Chess Openings, by Robert B. Wormald, 1875. There has also lately appeared a selection of games, compiled. by II. E. Bird, under the title of Chess Masterpieces, 1875; and likewise the following collections of problems, viz., Chess Problems, by J. Pierce, M.A., and W. T. Pierce, 1873; Supplement to Chess Problems, by the same authors, 1874; and English Chess Problems, a selection of chess problems by the best English composers living and lately deceased, also put forth by the brothers Pierce, 1876.