Thursday 19 May 2016

5,000 chess books

From The Chess Amateur, Volume XI, October 1916, page 2:

Mr. W.S. Branch notes in Cheltenham Chronicle that `he believes the number of separate chess works in all departments, and excluding magazines or pamphlets, that have been published since the invention of printing, to be now over 5,000. This does not include later editions unless much enlarged or altered. The oldest chess books, from their age and variety, are of great cash value. But this does not apply to many books, now old, but printed since the 17th century: though three or four are rare, and consequently worth a good deal more than they were published at. Captain Bertin's book of 1735 is one. Later books, but out of print long ago, generally sell at from a fourth to half what they were published at.´

Title page of The Noble Game of Chess by Capt. Joseph Bertin.

The comment by William Shelley Branch regarding `later books´ is reflected in the following advert for Frank Hollings on the back cover of The Chess Amateur for February 1907.

Incidentally, original copies of The Chess Amateur from 1916 are very scarce as all volumes from IX to XIV covering the years from 1914 to 1920 are virtually impossible to find. I do not have these myself and I have taken the above quote from the modern reprint by the Publishing House Moravian Chess, Olomouc, Czech Republic.

                                         © Michael Clapham 2016


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