Monday, 5 March 2018

More 2017 acquisitions

The Game of Chess by Kenneth Sawyer Goodman (1883-1918), published by The Stage Guild, Chicago 1944.

The Game of Chess was Kenneth Sawyer's best known play first performed in 1913 and first published in 1914. This is not a chess book as such, but this clever one act play, set in pre-revolutionary Russia and with a cast of four, opens and closes with a chess game in progress. 

This publication is recorded in Betts' Bibliography at 46-5 where he quotes the colophon at the end of later editions stating that the first edition consisted of 150 copies on Japanese Vellum, indicating a small limited edition. However, the colophon in the first edition, which is freely available online, states that there were also 1,050 copies printed on laid paper. 

Colophon from first edition

Colophon from later editions


From Morphy to Fischer, Who's Next: A Russian's viewpoint.

This twelve page pamphlet by the Russian father and son chess historians and authors, Isaac Linder and Vladimir Linder was issued in 2002 and, I believe this was an essay delivered at a meeting of Chess Collectors International.

The authors discuss American chess heroes with lengthy observations on Morphy and Fischer, and a paragraph or two on Pillsbury, Marshall, Fine and Reshevsky. The "Russian's viewpoint" is generally complimentary and favourable to their subjects, while making some honest insights into their characters, particularly Fischer's:

Frank Brady refers to this essay in his book Endgame published in 2011. The reference is on page 369 of the hardback edition (page 425 of the paperback edition) in a note to page 264 (page 315, p/b) where details are given of the $100,000 in cash handed to Fischer in 1993 by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, in payment of royalties in respect of the Russian edition of My 60 Memorable Games.  

The final page of this pamphlet has a large group photograph from the U.S.S.R. v The Rest of the World match held in Belgrade in 1970.


One Hundred Chess-Games Played Between Mr. J. F. Emmett and Mr. Vivian Fenton, During the Winter of 1864. Published by Trubner and Co., London 1865.

This is one of the very first books dedicated to recording the games between two players, probably only preceded in English works by William Lewis's A Selection of Games at Chess, Played at the Westminster Chess Club, between Monsieur L. C. de la Bourdonais and an English Amateur of First Rate Skill, [Alexander McDonnell]), London 1835, and,  An Account of the Late Chess Match between Mr. Howard Staunton and Mr. Lowe, by Thomas Beeby, London 1848. 

In my copy pages 9/10 have been inserted after pages 11/12.

The one hundred games are given with occasional light notes, often one word,  frequently in Latin, and with many witty metaphors:

Game 47; "Saving the foal to lose the mare" 
Game 50; "Throwing a fly for a brace of trout"
Game 66; "A hare for three birds"
Game 77; "Taking the bung from one end of the cask to stop the other" 
Game 79; "Turning up at last like Blucher at Waterloo"
Game 84; "A bull in a china shop"
Game 87; "A coal-cart with twelve horses drawn across the Strand"

Throughout the winter, Mr. Emmett had the black pieces and Mr. Fenton the white pieces, but they alternated having the first move. The overall result was declared to be 58 wins for Emmett, 38 wins for Fenton and 5 draws, which adds up to 101 games but there is some confusion in the scoring right from game one which is marked up as a win for both players. There is also the remark on page 52, after game 91, that games exceeding 50 moves have, with two exceptions, been omitted, as taking up too much space. 


Chess-Nuts, No. 1 First Aid to Beginners, Part I - For White, by Arthur Firth, Letchworth 1928.

The first, and only, book in a proposed series of small handbooks for beginners and social chess players. The aim was to teach some basic openings from both White's and Black's points of view, and the material was "taken from articles which have already appeared in two or three provincial papers" (BCM, London Chess League Supplement, 1928 page 386). However, these articles are not recorded in Chess Columns, A List, by Ken Whyld, Olomouc 2002.

Part I dealt with White's point of view and page 73 included an announcement that Number 2 of the First Aid Series would give Black's point of view, however there were no further books in the series.

Social Chess was a theme for Arthur Firth who contributed a series of articles to The British Chess Magazine under the heading of Social Chess in 1929 and 1930
before launching his chess magazine The Social Chess Quarterly which appeared from October 1930 to April 1936.

Firth also issued Chess-Nuts or Chess in a Nutshell in 1929, being 50 cards with an end game or study on one side and the solution on the other. He advertised these in all 23 issues of Social Chess Quarterly.

                                                         © Michael Clapham 2018



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