The Classical Era of Modern Chess

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About the Book

First introduced by Arabs to newly gained territories in the Mediterranean during the 8th and 9th centuries, the game of chess soon spread throughout Europe, slowly evolving from the less dynamic shatranj version into modern chess. This study examines the classical era of what became modern chess from the late 15th century into the 1640s, paying special attention to key developments in the medieval period and later. After tracing the birth of modern chess in Europe, it offers a critical appreciation of relevant chess literature—including works by von der Lasa, van der Linde, Murray, Chicco, Eales, Petzold, Sanvito, Garzón and many others—and chronicles all openings and games of the era and the long drawn-out development of laws and rules like “en passant” taking and castlings. At 616 pages, with a glossary, appendices, bibliography, an exhaustive index and more than 150 illustrations, this is the definitive overview of a transformative era in the history of chess.

About the Author(s)

Peter J. Monté studied ancient history at Leiden University, which granted him a doctorate in 1977. He has written articles on the history of chess and lives in the Netherlands.

Bibliographic Details

Peter J. Monté
Format: library binding (7 x 10)
Pages: 616
Bibliographic Info: 155 illustrations, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6688-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiv

Preface xv

Abbreviations xix

Glossary xxi

Part I—The History of Early Modern Chess

Introduction 1

The diffusion of shatranj 3

Medieval chess 14

The birth of modern chess 19

Chapter 1. The First Sources 25

A. Scachs d’amor 26

B. Le Jeu des Eschés de la Dame, Moralisé 31

Chapter 2. Lucena 33

Rules 36

Openings 37

The Problem Section 39

The Background of Lucena’s Life 65

Dating Lucena’s Book 67

Chapter 3. The Lucena Manuscript 69

Rules 70

Openings 71

Conclusion 73

Chapter 4. The Göttingen Manuscript 74

Date and Origin 76

Rules 79

Openings 79

Comparing Three Sources 82

Conclusion 83

Chapter 5. Damiano 85

Rules 87

Openings 88

Subtleties and Problems 89

Reprints 100

Gruget and Rowbothum 105

White’s Damiano 108

Conclusion 116

Chapter 6. The German Manuscript 117

Rules 118

Openings 118

Subtleties and Problems 120

Conclusion 122

Chapter 7. Ruy López 124

Visiting Rome 127

Rules 129

Openings 133

Italians on Iberian Soil 136

Conclusion 145

The ­López-­Complex 146

Chapter 8. The Urbinate Manuscript 147

Rules 148

Openings 150

A Spanish and an Italian Author 152

Conclusion 154

Chapter 9. The “Elegance” Manuscripts 156

A. The Elegantia 156

B. The Regole 159

C. The Riccardiana 160

D. Comparing the Documents 163

Rules 163

Openings 166

The Elegantia and the Regole 170

The Italian Manuscripts and the Riccardiana 171

Conclusion 172

Chapter 10. Printed Works of the ­López-­Complex 175

A. Tarsia 175

B. French ­López-­Editions 178

C. Selenus 180

Chapter 11. Annibale Romei 188

Rules 190

Openings 191

Subtleties 192

Conclusion 193

Chapter 12. Polerio’s Boncompagno Manuscript No. 1 194

Rules 197

Openings 199

Comparing Other Manuscripts 202

Ascriptions 203

Spanish and Neapolitan Features 215

The Problems 217

Conclusion 219

Chapter 13. Polerio’s Leon Manuscript 222

Rules 222

Openings 223

Contemporaries 226

Conclusion 227

Chapter 14. Polerio’s Boncompagno Manuscript No. 2 228

Dedication 230

Rules 231

Openings 232

Subtleties and Problems 238

Conclusion 242

Chapter 15. Rotilio Gracco 244

Dedication 246

Poetry 246

Rules 247

Openings 248

Conclusion 248

Chapter 16. Polerio’s Ordini Manuscript 250

Dedication 251

Rules 253

Openings 254

The Problem Section 255

Conclusion 257

Chapter 17. Anonymous Works of the ­Polerio-­Complex 260

A. The Doazan Manuscript 260

Transcriptions 260Table of Contents
261

Rules 264

Openings 265

The Problem Section 268

Contemporaries 269

Conclusion 271

B. The Boncompagno Manuscript No. 3 274

Rules 275

Openings 275

An Ending 277

Conclusion 277

Chapter 18. Horatio Gianutio 278

Rules 280

Openings 283

The Problem Section 284

Conclusion 286

Chapter 19. Alessandro Salvio 288

His Life 288

The “Trattato” (1604) 289

La Scaccaide (1612) 291

“Il Puttino,” “Apologia” and “Seconda Impressione” (1634) 292

Rules 293

Openings 294

Problems and Endings 295

Conclusion 300

Chapter 20. Pietro Carrera 301

His Life 301

His Chess Work 302

Rules 307

Openings 307

Problems and Endings 308

Vespaio’s “Risposta” 314

Conclusion 316

Chapter 21. Gioacchino Greco 318

His Life 318

The Manuscripts 321

Greco’s Sources 341

Presenting Greco’s Writings 344

Rules 347

Openings 348

Problems and Endings 350

Conclusion 354

Chapter 22. The Pawn’s Leap 355

Passar Battaglia 358

Taking En Passant 361

Conclusion 369

Chapter 23. From the King’s

  Leap to Castling 371

The King’s Leap 371

Castling 387

Conclusion 410

Epilogue 416

Evaluation 416

Miscellanies 417

Aftermath of the Classical Era 428

Part II—Openings and Games of the Classical Era of Modern Chess 439

Part III—Appendices, Bibliography, Index 531

Appendix A. Problem Sections 531

i. Lucena’s problem section 531

ii. Concordance of Problem Sections 540

Appendix B. Concordance of the Lucena-Complex 546

Appendix C. Concordance of the ­López-­Complex 549

Appendix D. Concordance of the ­Polerio-Complex 552

i. Openings 552

ii. Ascriptions 561

Bibliography 567

Index 577

Book Reviews & Awards

Honorable Mention, Book of the Year Award—Chess Journalists of America
“One of the most important chess books published in the last twenty years…highly recommended”— IM John Donaldson (JeremySilman.com); “Like Murray’s great work on the History of Chess, it will stand the test of time and will, due to its prodigious scholarship, eventually always be mentioned along with that previous classic…the erudition, the care, and the enormous effort which went into it is obvious. It deserves a warm reception”—Dale Brandreth, Caissa Editions; “Monté delivers great research and his brilliant, exhaustive work is unique in chess history. But the most amazing part are the openings and games of the period…an absolute must”—Huffington Post.