Thursday, 7 January 2016

Staunton's Chess-Player's Handbook (part 2)

The Second Edition, Revised, of 1848.


A cursory glance at the second edition of The Chess-Player's Handbook of 1848 gives the impression that little has changed from the first edition published in 1847. The initial obvious differences are, firstly, that the endpapers now incorporate advertising pages for Bohn's works (usually, but not always), secondly, there is no half title printed on the recto of the frontis leaf, thirdly, the Sphynx problem in the frontis has been amended to include a black rook and knight at a1 and b1 (although the problem still does not take 11 moves to solve), fourthly, the title page states that this is the Second Edition, Revised, and is dated 1848, and fifthly, the prefatory pages have been renumbered to end at viii instead of x as in the first edition. 

Furthermore, a quick flick through the main part of the book reveals no obvious changes. The first 50 or so pages appear identical to the 1847 edition as do the last 50 or so pages ending on page 518 as in the first edition. Douglas Betts, in Chess: An Annotated Bibliography, Boston, 1974, states on page 75 `the revisions, if any, are of a minor nature, and the basic text remains unchanged.´

However, significant changes have been made to the analysis of some of the openings, faulty analysis of some of the endings has been corrected, an additional game has been included and there are even two additional pages in the second edition. These are numbered *151 and 152* and they are usually placed after p152 although I have a copy of the 1848 edition in which this extra leaf is placed after p516, i.e. just before the final leaf. These additional pages were noted by Antonius van der Linde in Geschichte und Literatur des Schachspiels, Berlin, 1874, volume 2, p18, but I have never seen this mentioned in any other work or catalogue. 

Geschichte und Literatur des Schachspiels volume 2 p18

A brief check of each page has revealed the following revisions from the first edition.


1. p66, a 2 line note has been inserted before the 8th move.

2. p68, the words `first at Q's 8th, then´ have been inserted in the note to        14...Q to K's 2nd.

3. p69, the note after the 14th moves has been reworded.

4. p 137, additional notes and analysis included after the 9th moves.

5. pp147-154, numerous revisions and additions to the analysis of the Knights Game of Ruy Lopez have been made and an additional game (Game IV between Captain Kennedy and Mr. Lowe) has been included on pp153-154. All of this necessitated an additional 2 pages, (numbered *151 and 152*), to bring the first and second editions back into line at the start of p155.

6. p185, the note after the 5th moves has been amended...`you have the better game´, replacing... `you win a piece´.

7. p209, the last letter of the last line has been corrected to `B´ instead of `Kt´. 

8. p320, a note and sub-variation have been inserted after the 19th moves of the main game.

9. p330, a note has been inserted after the 6th moves of the main game.

Endings of Games:

10. p411, in the fifth line up from the bottom of the page, K. to Kt.'s 6th (in 1847) has been amended to K. to Kt.'s 5th.

11. p412, the analysis of the position in Diagram 13 has been completely revised.

12. pp437/438,  in the note to Diagram 45 the reference to Mr Lewis's First Series of Lessons has been removed and the moves that follow have been amended. ( Lewis's faulty analysis given in 1847 has been corrected).

1847 edition p437
1848 edition p437
13. p442, Del Rio's faulty analysis of the position in Diagram 51, given in 1847, has been corrected.

Curious Chess Problems:
14. p514, the solution of the Fourteenth Position has been amended so that white now mates in eight and not nine moves.

There are probably further small revisions that have escaped me and, as the edition dated 1848 was reprinted several times up to 1866, there may be differences between these successive printings. The 1848 edition that I used for this comparison is the earliest of the 1848 printings, I believe.

Finally there were at least 3 changes to the name of the firm that printed the 1847 and 1848 editions and the list below is, I believe, in chronological order.

1847: Harrison and Co.
1848: Harrison and Son
1848: Harrison and Sons
1848: T. B. Harrison 

These are the imprints on the verso of the title page; p518 also includes the printers imprint and this is Harrison and Co. for the 1847 edition and T. B. Harrison for all of the 1848 editions.  

                                                    © Michael Clapham 2016

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