Tuesday 3 May 2016

The Laws and Practice of Chess

Howard Staunton's final chess book was published in 1876 two years after his death, having been prepared for publication by Robert Bownas Wormald from Staunton's manuscript. The first edition is titled Chess: Theory and Practice, but the second edition, also published in 1876, and all later editions, have the title The Laws and Practice of Chess. (Wormald died in 1876)

    Howard Staunton                                         Robert Bownas Wormald

The book is inscribed to J. Rimington Wilson the famous 19th century chess book collector. 

In his brief Preface Wormald declares `It has been my main object to make neither alterations nor additions, except when absolutely necessary, but to give the book to the reader, as nearly as possible, as it left the late Mr. Staunton's hands.´

Of particular interest to chess bibliophiles is that, for the first time in his chess books, Staunton includes much interesting information on previous players and writers on the game. This is included in a chapter on the Origin and History of the Game of Chess.

He gives details of most of the major chess works from Cessolis, Vicente and Lucena in the 15th century down to Sarratt, Cochrane, Lewis and Alexandre in the 19th century. 

Having `exhausted the historic period´ Staunton then lists the names of the major contemporary players and writers from France, Germany, England, USA, Russia and Italy, and concludes with the following:

It is perhaps surprising that, while Staunton was one of the most influential chess writers of the nineteenth century, and was also widely regarded for a number of years as the World's leading chess player, there is not a word about his own achievements either as writer or player. 

                                     © Michael Clapham 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment