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Saturday, April 30, 2005


  Visit the Gallery Vitrine

Lettere di Giambatista Verci academico agiato, ed anistamico alla nob. sig. contessa Francesca Roberti Franco sopra il giuoco degli scacchi.

By: VERCI, Giambatista.

Book Description: Venice, Giovanni Gatti, 1778. Contemporary decorated wrappers. Title in decorated border, engraved vignette and interesting typographical headpiece.

Rare original and only edition of these eight letters by Giambatista Verci (1739-1795) to the Countess Francesca Roberti Franco on the game of chess.

In 1994 the text of these letters was considered interesting enough to publish a modern annoteted edition. Cat. Chess collect. Royal Libr. The Hague 4156; Alessandro Sanvito ed., Le lettere scacchistiche di Giambattista Verci. Venice 1994 (= Scacchio e scienze applicate 12).

Friday, April 29, 2005


Strategonon. Very early game of military strategy employing math, etc.] hand-colored plates

By: Aretin, Wilhelm Freiherrn

Book Description: Ansbach Doll 1830. Rare War Board-Game Book Aretin, Wilhelm, Freiherr von. Strategonon.

Versuch die Kriegführung durch ein Spiel anschaulich darzustellen.

Old stamps on title, Very good copy. First Edition. Very rare, with only one location in NUC (1983 fiche catalog, showing only the Cleveland Public Library copy).

Describes what the author considers the most true-to-life war board-game yet published, which he believes especially appropriate for advanced cadets, who can learn to be good officers from playing it.

Baron von Aretin, a lieutenant in the royal Bavarian light cavalry (second regiment, to be precise), belonged to a family distinguished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for public service (see NBG).

He writes in his introduction that he has based his war game on one devised in 1803 by his uncle Baron Georg von Aretin, which was never published. Von Aretin gives an overview and critique of war board-games from the seventeenth century, especially those of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These games, derived from the rules and playing board of chess, have in recent times come closer to a true-to-life simulation of war situations, but are on account of lack of verisimilitude, or cumbersomeness of the board, or length of time needed to play, inferior to the game he describes in his book.

Von Aretin has factored into his game natural troop movements, considerations of equipment, terrain and time of year, the working of various weapons, supplies, rules, headquarters and commanders, desertion, sieges, destruction of bridges, naval warfare, etc.

The three folding hand-colored plates with approx. fifty figures show the game pieces; the five folding tables give data on the march of troops and the working of weapons in different contexts.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Magie, oder, Die zauberkräfte der natur....; Fortgesetzte Magie, oder, die Zauberkräfte der Natur....; Neufortgesetzte Magie, oder, die Zauberkräfte der Natur....

By: HALLE, Johann Samuel

Book Description: Berlin Joachim Pauli 1784 - 1802. Seventeen volumes in fourteen. With engraved title vignettes, woodcut head- and tailpieces and 124 folding engraved plates; subject indices complete. Uniformly bound in contemporary half-calf over paste-boards, gilt lettering on spines; First editions of all volumes, an absolutely superb set, complete with the rarely seen 1802 Neufortgesetzte Magie.

This encyclopedia not only covers magic and the history of magic, but documents and illustrates, with beautiful plates, incredible accounts of human knowledge as well as physical science and technology through the eighteenth century.

Halle contributes a huge amount of new material in addition to describing and illustrating the current state of optics, electricity and magnetism, chemistry, mechanics, hydraulics, gunpowder, metallurgy, manufacturing, horology, acoustics, aerostatics (such as those by the Montgolfiers), meteorology (chapters on lightning and lightning conductors), cryptography, paper making, and engraving.

He covers games of amusement, keyboard instructions, fortune-telling devices, magic lanterns, talking machines, Kempelen's automaton chess player, mechanical games, stage props, telegraphy, mouse traps, tobacco and coffee, sign language, swimming, botany, plants and animals, artificial pearls, remedies (different herbs and mixtures), opium, distillation and wine making, etc., and all sorts of curiosities.

Halle (1727-1810), a toxicologist, was professor of history at the Royal Prussian Military Academy in Berlin. Little is known of his life, but he wrote many books on subjects of social, economic, technological, and military history.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I Was Tortured In The Pasadena Jailhouse

I Was Tortured In The Pasadena Jailhouse

By: Fisher, Bobby

Book Description: 1982, 1st edition, fine, stiff pictorial wraps, published by Bobby Fisher, Pasadena, 14 pages.

An unusual pamplet written by Bobby Fisher, The World Chess Champion, who was arrested as a suspect in a bank robbery in Pasadena, California, and his harrowing experiences in the Pasadena Jail and eventual outcome.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005



In the January 2005 rating list issued by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), Garry Kasparov of Russia is still on top with a 2804 rating.

Vishy Anand of India is second with 2786; Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov moves to the third spot with 2757.

World champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia has 2754, and his opponent, Peter Leko of Hungary, is fifth with 2749. Russia's Alexander Morozevich and England's Michael Adams share a rating of 2741.

Peter Svidler, a four-time Russian champion, has 2735. The top woman in the world, Judit Polgar of Hungary, has a 2728 rating.

Etienne Bacrot of France closes the Top 10 list with 2715.

A Wicked Trap

Alexei Shirov, soon to be living back in Riga, Latvia, is only two points behind Bacrot. He is still a formidable player who can turn a game around by a single, unsuspected idea. In the Smartfish Masters underway in the Norwegian town of Drammen, Shirov was outplayed in the Advanced variation of the French defense by the legendary Viktor Korchnoi of Switzerland. To get out of an unpleasant position, Shirov set up an uncanny trap sacrificing a pawn. He was rewarded when the
unsuspecting Korchnoi took the bait.


1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 Nc6 (The strategic exchange of light bishops 6...Bb5 is successfully met by 7.c4! Bxc4 8.Bxc4 dxc4 9.d5 with white's edge.) 7.0-0 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nge7 9.Na3 Nf5 10.Nc2 h5 (Securing the knight on f5, but weakening the kingside.) 11.b3 (Shirov decides to fortify his pawn on d4. White can also relieve black's pressure on the center with 11.Bd3 since 11...Nfxd4?
12.Nfxd4 Nxd4 13.Be3 Bc5 14.b4 wins a piece for white.) 11...a5 12.Bb2 Be7 13.Ne3 (By sufficiently protecting the pawn on d4, white can now chase the pesky knight on f5.) 13...Nxe3 (After 13...g6 14.Nxf5 gxf5 the black king can't hide on the kingside anymore.) 14.fxe3 a4! (Korchnoi begins his advance on the queenside.)

15.Rb1 axb3 16.axb3 Ra2 17.Kh1 Nb4 18.Bc3 0-0?! (Korchnoi must feel confident that his king is safe.) 19.Ng1 h4 20.Nh3 Nc2 21.Bd2 (After 21.Bd3 Nxe3 22.Qh5 Nf5! 23.Nf4 Nh6 black defends.) 21...Na3 22.Rc1 Rb2 23.b4!? (Shirov is setting up a trap. He can't protect his b-pawn and, chasing away black's active rook with 23.Bc3, leads after 23...Rxe2! 24.Qxe2 Bb5 to black's advantage.) 23...Bxb4? (Even as a young player, Korchnoi loved to snatch pawns no matter how poisonous they might have been. This time he is quickly punished. Black has the edge with 23...Bb5!)

24.Bd3!! (By deflecting the dark bishop from the kingside, Shirov opens a deadly attack against the black king. Suddenly, black can't cope with a double threat: 25.Qh5 and 25.Bh7+! Kxh7 26.Qh5+ Kg8 27.Ng5 with a quick mate.) 24...g6 (The bishop on d2 is untouchable. After either 24...Rxd2 25.Bh7+ Kxh7 26.Qh5+ Kg8 27.Ng5; or after 24...Bxd2 25.Qh5 f5 26.exf6 Rxf6 27.Rc8+! Bxc8 28.Qe8+ black gets mated.) 25.Qg4 (Threatening to blow up black's kingside with 26.Bxg6. Black does not have a good defense, for example 25...Kg7 26.Ng5 Be8 27.Bxb4 Qxb4 28.Qxh4 Rh8 29.Rxf7+!! Bxf7 30.Nxe6+! Bxe6 31.Qf6+ Kg8 32.Qxe6+ Kg7 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Rc8+ Qf8 35.Qxg6 is an epaulet mate.) Black resigns.


1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 (A popular waiting move, courtesy of Ukrainian GM Oleg Romanishin.) 4.Ngf3 (4.e5 c5 5.Qg4 is more aggressive.) 4...Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 Nc6 8.0-0 h5 9.Re1 g5 (Black could have first exchanged pawns in the center 9...cxd4 10.cxd4 before striking on the wing with 10... g5. White can sacrifice a pawn 11.Nb3 g4 12.Nfd2 a5 13.a4 Qb6 14.Nb1! Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Qxd4 16.Nc3 with a promising game.) 10.dxc5!? g4 11.Nd4 Ndxe5 12.N2b3 (A new idea. In the previous games white tried to save his light bishop either with 12.Bb5 or with 12.Nxc6.) 12...Bd7?! (Black should have played here, or on the next move, Ne5xd3.) 13.Bf4 Bf6 14.Nxc6 Nxc6 15.Bd6! (This unpleasant bishop prevents short castling and can't be easily dislodged.) 15...Ne7 (After 15...Be7 white opens up the game with 16.c4!) 16.Nd4 b6 17.b4 Nc8? (Loses at once, but the black king was under pressure, nowhere to go.) 18.Nxe6! (After 18...Bxe6 19.Bb5+ wins the black queen and after 18...fxe6 19.Bg6 mates.) Black resigns.

 :: CHESSGAMES ::   online chess database & community ::

Linares Tournament 2005:

Kasparov, G
Anand, V
Leko, P
Topalov, V
Adams, M
Vallejo Pons
Kasimdzhanov, R

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


~ I ~

Each in his corner, the players
Govern their slow pieces. The board
Keeps them till dawn in its severe

Ambit of two-color hate.
Within irradiate magic rigors
Of form: Rook Homeric, light
Knight, armed Queen, final King,
Oblique Bishop and aggressor Pawns.

When the players are done
And time has consumed them,
The rite will not have ceased.

In the East this war caught fire,
The whole world its amphitheater now.
Like that other one, this game is infinite.

~ II ~

Tenuous King, slant Bishop, furious
Queen, direct Rook and crafty Pawn
Upon the black-and-white of the way

Seek and engage their armed battle.
They do not know the signal hand
Of the player governs their destiny,
That an adamantine rigor
Subjects their fancy and their journey.

The player too is a prisoner
(The sentence is Omar's) of another board
Of black nights and white days.

God moves the player, he the piece.
What God-hid god the weft begins
Of dust and time and dream and agonies?

(A slightly different translation, Jorge Luis Borges as quoted in "The Flanders Panel" by Arturo Perez-Reverte)

"The player too is prisoner
Of another board
Of black nights and white days.

God moves the player and the player the piece.
But which god behind God begins the weft
Of dust and time and sleep and dying?"

Another beautiful chess poem by Borges:

And since that day
I have not moved the pieces
On the board.


Friday, February 11, 2005


By: RINGHIERI, Innocenio.

Book Description: 1551. Nouellamente da M. Innocentio Ringhieri Gentilhuomo Bolognese ritrouati, and in dieci Libri descritti .. In Bologna per Anselmo Giaccarelli, 1551. FIRST EDITION. Dramatic woodcut vignette on title page, historiated woodcut, bound in contemporary flexible vellum boards, covers laced through, spine lettered in ink in a contemporary hand, edges of vellum at sometime repaired, some soiling and marking to vellum; from the library of Giannalisa Feltrinelli.

Famous book on Renaissance courtly intellectual entertainments, detailing 100 games and pastimes, including chess and palmistry, played at Renaissance courts. - Dedicated to the Italian-born queen of France, Catherine de Medici, the work is divided into 100 chapters, describing such courtly amusements as hunting, fishing, card playing, ballads, madrigals, as well as many other diversions including a game of chess in which the participants dress as chess pieces.

Innocentio Ringhieri (fl. 1550) has aimed his book at a young audience, though one that is not too young to think about courtship: each chapter opens with a playful and flattering address to the ladies, and there are often short disquisition's on the power of love.

The games are based on wordplay, vocabulary exercises, and riddles; they include contests that involve identifying islands, gems, virtues, muses, and so on, and they sometimes take up more substantial and enigmatic topics such as time, death, love, chastity, and felicity.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Marshall's Chess "Swindles"

Marshall, Frank J., Illustrated By Chess Diagrams

Book Description:
New York: The American Chess Bulletin, 1914. First Hardcover Edition.

Comprising over one hundred and twenty-five of his best tournament and match games at chess together with the annotation of the same by himself and other well-known chess authorities.

Also an analysis of the queen's side openings, with several king's gambit novelties and a discussion of the principles of over-the-board chess by Marshall, chess champion of the United States, 1914.

**With a note laid in that reads: With kind remembrances, on the eve of my departure for the front, Frank J. Marshall (signed in pencil), New York, April, 1914** Brick-red cloth with gilt lettering.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Zashchita luzhina [translated as: The Defence].

By: NABOKOV, Vladimir Vladimirovich.] SIRIN, Vladimir (pseud.)

Book Description:
Berlin, "Slovo", 1930. 1930.

First edition of The Defence, written and published in Berlin under the pseudonym 'Sirin'.

A chess master vainly tries to decipher and counter the chess-like attack of an unknown opponent, who is replaying a sequence of biographical moves that once before led him to insanity.

Nabokov wrote all nine of his Russian novels while resident in Berlin, between 1922 and 1937, and it was initially on these novels that his reputation as the best new writer of the emigration was founded.

He subsequently moved to France in 1937, and to the United States in 1940, from which time all his original fiction was written in English.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


SECOND PIATIGORSKY CUP. International Grandmaster Chess Tournament.
Fischer, Bobby].

Book Description: 1966. Textual photos. 1966.

The official program for the Second Piatigorsky Cup, held at The Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California from July 17 to August 15, 1966.

Features photos and brief biographies of the participants, including Robert J. Fischer and Boris Spassky.

Widely considered the best international chess tournament organized during the 1960s, the Second Piatigorsky Cup pitted ten of the most outstanding grandmasters against one another in a double round robin format.

Although Spassky ultimately won, the tournament was highlighted by a remarkable comeback by Fischer, who rallied from ninth place midway in the tournament to finish only a half point behind Spassky.

His first round defeat at the hands of Spassky was the last time Fischer lost to the Russian grandmaster, whom Fischer defeated at the 1972 World Championship when he became the first and only American to attain the title of World Chess Champion.

Signed by Fischer adjacent to his biography. Laid in are some newspaper clippings relating to the tournament and a copy of the typed tournament playing schedule.

Spiral-bound in the original paper wraps, with a design of the Piatigorsky Cup stamped in silver and black on the front.

Ink signature and inscription to the title page, with Fischer's name underlined in red.

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