Friday, 9 June 2017

The American Supplement to Cook's Synopsis



The American Supplement to the "Synopsis," containing American Inventions in the Chess Openings; Together with Fresh Analyses in the Openings, since 1882, edited by Joseph W. Miller, London 1885.



The "Synopsis" supplemented is the third edition of William Cook's Synopsis of the Chess Openings. A Tabulated Analysis, London 1882.



First published in 1875, Cook's Synopsis is a tabulated analysis of the openings with a short introduction to each, including historical origins, and a columnar layout with notes; a format still utilised in more recent openings encyclopedias such as Modern Chess Openings, Batsford Chess Openings, Nunn's Chess Openings etc. 



The American Supplement has a cryptically worded Introduction which I do not fully follow, but mainly appears to be a complaint about unacknowledged copying. 



The publisher of The American Supplement was W. W. Morgan Jun., a major chess goods dealer at the time, and there are several adverts at the back for his wares. The first advert on the verso of page 91 is for a proposed book with the title Modern Chess Openings. However, this was never published and that title was eventually taken by R. C. Griffiths and J. H. White for their 1911 book, and many later editions.



The advert section also includes a three page Catalogue of Books on the Game of Chess offered for sale by W. W. Morgan Jun. and this lists many interesting and scarce works from the 18th and 19th centuries.





However, perhaps the most important part of the whole book, to chess bibliophiles, is the specimen issue of The Chess Player's Chronicle bound in at the end of each book. W. W. Morgan Jun. was the proprietor and publisher of The Chess Player's Chronicle at the time and he promoted his magazine by including a recent 12 page (plus covers) weekly issue with each American Supplement.






I have three copies of The American Supplement and each has a different issue of The Chess Player's Chronicle for 1885 which is a very scarce periodical in its original form.

The full title of this periodical  from 1881 to 1889 was The Chess Player's Chronicle and Journal of Indoor and Outdoor Amusements, however, my three copies have chess content only.

Page 39 of the 1st July 1885 issue has this rib-tickler about Blackburne:



Each issue has a list of books for sale by W.W. Morgan Jun.


The American Supplement is not a particularly scarce book but, extraordinarily, I cannot see this in the Cleveland Public Library catalogue; surely they have this?

                                           © Michael Clapham 2017

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