Five Rare Books for Collectors: Chess

Bernard Quaritch

Libro da imparare giochare a scachi, et de belissimi partiti by Pedro Damiano de Odemira

A new catalogue of rare books on chess from Bernard Quaritch features one of their own previous catalogues on the subject dating back to 1929, including many books on the history and theory of the game collected by J. W. Rimington-Wilson, and maintained and added to by his son R. H. Rimington-Wilson.

Highlights of this new 2022 catalogue include:

* Libro da imparare giochare a scachi, et de belissimi partiti by Pedro Damiano de Odemira. First printed in 1512, this is the second of several undated editions (1520–1540) and the first Italian work on modern chess with text in Italian and Spanish and numerous woodcuts. It includes advice such as don’t play aimlessly, don’t play too fast, and when you have a good move look for a better one. Damiano is also the first to state that the board should be placed so that the lower right square is white.

* The history of chess by Duncan Forbes, first edition, 1860. Forbes (1798–1868) was professor of oriental languages at King’s College London, and compiled a catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum.

* Chess for beginners by William Lewis, 1835. First edition of this chess manual by the proprietor of a chess school in London. Lewis (1787–1870) was the operator hidden inside William de Kempelen’s chess automaton the Terrible Turk.

* The works of Damiano, Ruy-Lopez and Salvio, on the game of chess by Jacob Henry Sarratt, 1813. Includes “the elements of the art of playing without seeing the board.”

* The game of chess by Marco Girolamo Vida, translated into English from the Latin by Richard Stanton Lambert, 1921. First edition of this translation of Vida’s Scacchia ludus, the most famous poem in chess literature.