Saturday 9 February 2019

Analyse du Jeu des Échecs, par C. Sanson

New chess manuals based on Philidor's Analyze were still being published in the 1860's, 120 years after the publication of Philidor's original work L'Analyze des Echecs in 1749. One of the last "new" Philidorian texts published in the 19th century was Analyse du Jeu des Échecs, par A. D. Philidor, Nouvelle Édition, corrigée, enrichie de variantes et illustrée de nombreux diagrammes, suivie d'un supplément d'études sur les fins de parties; by C. Sanson, Paris 1868.

This first edition of Casimir Sanson's book is based on the 1777 edition of Philidor's Analyse du Jeu des Échecs and includes an extensive supplement on endgame studies. However, it is the 1872 edition of Sanson's book that I am focusing on here:

Analyse du Jeu des Échecs par A. D. Philidor; édition augmentée de soixante-huit parties jouées par Philidor: du Traité de Greco; des débuts de Stamma et de Ruy-Lopez, par C. Sanson, Paris 1872.  

This edition, enlarged from 396 pages to 504 pages, includes 106 pages of Philidor's openings analysis, followed by the Études de Fins de Parties from the earlier edition, plus 68 of Philidor's games from the 1780's and 1790's. These are probably the 68 games recorded by George Atwood, many of which were subsequently published by George Walker in A Selection of Games at Chess, actually played by Philidor and his Contemporaries, London 1835. It is indeed unfortunate that no earlier games by Philidor survive.

The book also includes a Traité de Jeu des Échecs par Gioachino Greco with a six page Préface by Sanson and 127 pages of Greco's "games", openings analysis and a few endings. This is followed by a Traité de Stamma with 15 pages of Stamma's opening analysis and finally an 11 page Traité de Ruy-Lopez.

However, not only does this book present, in one handy volume, the openings analyses of four of the most important players and writers in the history of chess, but this tome also includes three interesting bibliographies. Firstly, a Bibliographie Chronologique des éditions publiées de L'Analyse de Philidor is given on pages 300 to 306 listing 65 works from 1749 to 1870.

This is followed by a Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de C. Sanson on pages 307 to 332, detailing 270 items, and finally, pages 470 to 472 contain a Bibliographie des éditions publiées de Greco Calabrois.

The bibliography of Philidor is incomplete, and has a number of errors, oddities and curiosities. I can make a few comments on the English books as follows:

Sanson states that the first English edition of Philidor's book, Chess Analysed, London 1750, is in two volumes, but this is just a single volume.

There is no mention of Chess Made Easy, published in several editions from 1797 to 1820, all of which included examples from Philidor, or The Elements of Chess, Boston 1805, or Pohlman's book, Chess Rendered Familiar, London 1819. Furthermore, several editions of some of the books listed are omitted, such as the 1773 and 1787 editions of Chess Analysed.

Sanson records an 1802 edition of Studies of Chess by Peter Pratt, who he persistently refers to as Peters Pratt. However, the first known edition of this book was published in 1803, which Sanson also records.  

Item 38 in the Bibliographie is: 1815 - Chess Analysed with Caissa, by Sir W. Jones, and corrections and additions, by the editor. 2 vol. in-8. London. Another unknown work, this is possibly the 1814 edition of Studies of Chess.
Curiosly Sanson dates the first edition of his own book at 1869 instead of 1868, probably just a slip.

Catalogue de La Bibliothèque de C. Sanson

Sanson had an impressive library, with a number of scarce books from the 17th and 18th centuries including Salvio 1604, Selenus 1617, Greco 1689, Severino 1690, Bertin 1735, Stamma 1737, Philidor 1749, Ercole del Rio 1750, Lolli 1763, Ponziani 1782 and others.  But his library was particularly strong on, what were to him, modern books of the early and middle 19th century, with around 250 books from this period.

His Catalogue is a little disorganised and has several errors in names, titles etc. For example, he names the author of Chess Strategy, 1865, as Brown (Robert) of Bridport, and Emmett J. F. and Devian Fenton as authors of One Hundred Chess Games, 1865. The English edition of Max Lange's book Paul Morphy: A Sketch from the Chess World, is listed under Falkbeer but the German edition is listed under Lange. The Accomplished Chess-Player, by Roy Reuben, 1834, is listed under Franklin R. etc.

Sanson added the following note at the end of his Catalogue:

Nota. - Dans notre Traité Théorique et Pratique, nous donnerons un Catalogue des ouvrages publiées sur le jeu des Echecs, qui ne se trouvant pas dans notre bibliothèque.

This is Sanson's revision of Traité Théorique et Pratique du jeu des Échecs, first published in Paris in 1775, and he lists his work in his Catalogue as published in two volumes (Tome I: Théorie, Tome II: Pratique) in 1872 by Garnier Frères in Paris.  However I cannot find this in any bibliographical record, although a fourth edition of this work was published in Paris in 1873 by Delarue with no mention of two volumes or C. Sanson. See LN 541 and Kieler Schachkatalog 3341. Either way, I haven't seen a copy so I do not know if this includes the list of chess publications not in Sanson's own library.

Furthermore, this list is not mentioned in Aucta, although Sanson's three other bibliographical efforts are listed at 1038, 1039 and 1040. 

Casimir Sanson died in 1873 aged just 35, according to Gaige's Chess Personalia, but his edition of Analyse du Jeu des Échecs was reprinted many times over the next 60 years. I have a copy on poor paper with an imprint dated 1922 and Owen Hindle has a copy dated 1931 with attractive pictorial wrappers.

Biblographie; Des éditions publiées de Greco Calabrois
The bibliography of Greco lists 43 items from 1615 (which is almost certainly incorrect)  to 1857, including a couple of manuscript items. This compares with extensive details of twenty manuscripts and 47 books in Joseph Leon's The Bibliography of Greco in The Games of Greco by Professor Hoffmann, London 1900. Leon's list includes eight post 1857 works, indicating that Sanson's list of Greco books was fairly complete, however, Leon dismisses Sanson's list thus: "The bibliography is full of mistakes"

Sanson's bibliography of Greco

Extract from Leon's bibliography of Greco

Other notable items in Sanson's Analyse du Jeu des Échecs include a letter from Philidor's grandson Eug. Danican Philidor dated August 1870, the Liste des Souscrivans from Philidor's first edition of 1749, and the Préfaces from both the 1749 edition and the second edition of 1777.

Incidentally, two uncharacteristic slips in The Oxford Companion to Chess regarding Philidor: The 1984 first edition of the Companion gives the title of Philidor's first book as L'analyse du jeu des Échecs instead of L'analyze des Echecs; this was corrected in the New Edtion of 1992. The New Edition (page 304) gives 1795 as the date of the third English edition of Philidor's book, this should be 1790.

Many thanks to Jurgen Stigter and Owen Hindle for images of the 1868 and 1931 editions respectively.

Some of the books consulted for this article:

                                     © Michael Clapham 2019

1 comment:

  1. Hey, great analysis I just picked this book up in France for 15 euros.