16 December 2014

Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Books

In my recent post on Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Paintings, I noted that there were 'plenty of interesting items to choose from'. Besides the paintings (there were two I could have used) there were a couple of books that caught my interest. Why they caught my interest I can't explain, except to provide material for another post.

The first book auction was titled 'Rare Signed 1st Edition "An Essay Toward Making The Game Of Chess Easily Learned"', subtitled 'Signed By Author, Edmund Hoyle & The Publisher, Thomas Osborne'. It sold for US $2600 after a single bid. The description said,

Extremely old & rare 1st Edition volume of "An Essay Toward Making The Game Of Chess Easily Learned". This book was printed in 1761 in London, England. Its author Edmond Hoyle was world renowned for many of his treatises on learning how to play different games. This first edition is signed by the author and by the publisher Thomas Osborne. This is because there were many pirated additions, so for many years every genuine book bore the signature of the author, Edmund Hoyle. Many times the publishers name was also signed as is the case with this edition, where you can easily see the signature of the publisher, Thomas Osborne, underneath the author's signature.

The book can be browsed on Google Books: An Essay Towards Making... It consists of 40 game fragments illustrating the opening and a few basic endgames.

The second book auction was titled '1821 v. Rare CHESS AUTOMATON KEMPELEN * The First Edition * Illustrated'. It sold somewhere between $4000 and $6500, 'Best offer accepted'. The description included a transcription of the book's title page,

AN ATTEMPT TO ANALYSE THE AUTOMATON CHESS PLAYER, OF MR. DE KEMPELEN. • WITH AN EASY METHOD OF IMITATING THE MOVEMENTS OF THAT CELEBRATED FIGURE. ILLUSTRATED BY ORIGINAL DRAWINGS. • TO WHICH IS ADDED, A COPIOUS COLLECTION OF THE KNIGHT'S MOVES OVER THE CHESS BOARD. • LONDON; PRINTED FOR J. BOOTH, DUKE STREET, PORTLAND PLACE. 1821.

followed by technical and biographical notes:-

Custom made drop down box with morocco title label to front board, original paper covered boards, lacking the upper cover, spine rubbed with loss, some light spotting and minor marking but generally in very good condition. An octavo volume, it measures approximately 23cm (9") 15cm (6cm (0.5cm (¼"). Pagination pp. [2], [5]-40 collated and complete with the half-title and 10 plates (including frontispiece).

Robert Willis (1800-1875), polymath, engineer and architectural historian. Willis was Jacksonian Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Here he was noted for his unique blend of mathematics, natural philosophy, and -- an enduring passion -- animal mechanism.' He specialized in the study of mechanism, extending the earlier researches of Kempelen into speaking machines, 'he furnished practical experiments which analysed and imitated mechanically the human vowel sounds'. 'In 1820 he went with his sister Mary to London's Spring Gardens to scrutinise Wolfgang von Kempelen's (1734-1804) automaton chess player. Having established that there was room for an adult to lurk within, mimicking machine intelligence, he published in 1821 an expose which Edgar Allan Poe passed off as his own in 1836'. (ODNB). An interesting and curious book, it is one of the great rarities of both chess and automaton literature.

The book can also be browsed on Google Books: An Attempt to Analyse the Automaton Chess Player... It contains a number of 'plates' showing the construction of the automaton.

The bookplate of the Google copy ('Ex libris Silas W. Howland') is shown on the left. I've seen the same bookplate and source ('Harvard College Library') stamped on other antiquarian chess books available on Google Books.

15 December 2014

TMER Working Files

After last week's post, Kasparov's Travels Extended, I realized that its working file, m-w.com/about/misc/aa14l08x.htm, was structurally weak. Besides lacking a title to identify it in any web references, it was an orphan page not integrated with any other material on the site. Ditto for the other files in the same directory.

To fix this, I added an appropriate header and footer, then moved it to my page on Chess History. Ditto for the other files in the same directory. They can all be found in the section called 'TMER++ Working Files'.

Since I hate breaking links on active pages, I replaced the original m-w.com/about/misc pages with redirects to the new pages. This might create some issues with browsers, but I'll deal with that if it happens.

14 December 2014

Chess, Ebay, Christmas, and Paintings

Here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, the month preceding Christmas is like, umm, Christmas. Just as with last year's Quarter Sawn Chess (December 2013), there are always plenty of interesting items to choose from. In a recent post, American Pastimes, I mentioned that 'my most favorite posts are about paintings', and for this current post I had two to choose from.

The item pictured below, titled 'Margaret Dovaston (British, 1884-1955) The Chess Game', sold for US $3250 after receiving 7 bids from two bidders. The starting price was $2000 with a seller's estimate of $4000-6000.

The description added,

12 x 16 inches (30.5 x 40.6 cm) • Margaret Dovaston received her artistic training under Thomas William Cole (b.1857), the still-life artist and headmaster of the Ealing Art School and Arthur S. Cope (1857-1940), the famous portrait artist. She specialized in portrait and genre painting and was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and Royal Society of British Artists.

Dovaston exhibited her first work at the Academy in 1908 and received three medals during her lifetime. She was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1910 and in 1911 was elected a member of the N.B.A. Dovaston's art continued the tradition of 19th century genre painting well into the 20th century, and with it the meticulous technique which characterized it.

For more works by the same artist, see a Google image search on Margaret Dovaston.

12 December 2014

Chess in Bavaria

Just as in Chess Pumpkins from a year ago, the colors of autumn complement the black and white of chess.


Freiluft-Schach im Herbst © Flickr user Ulrich Berens under Creative Commons.

The German title translates to 'Outdoor Chess in Autumn'. The photo's EXIF data pins it to Bad Woerishofen, Bavaria.

11 December 2014

DIY Chess Set

Seen on Doonesbury...

'Six new arcs? Who starts six new story arcs on a Sunday?'

Doonesbury; Sunday, 7 December 2014

...What are 'story arcs'?...

A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and films with each episode following a narrative arc. On a television program, for example, the story would unfold over many episodes • Story arc [Wikipedia]

...Anything here that can be applied to blogging? Continuity of posts is, after all, an ongoing challenge.

While looking into story arcs for nonfiction, I discovered the site Instructables.com, a DIY resource that includes chess: Instructables.com/howto/chess/. There's nothing to do with playing, but lots to do with making your own chess set. Anyone looking for an inexpensive Christmas gift idea?

09 December 2014

Carlsen - Anand II, Chess Press Overview

Just like last year's Carlsen - Anand, Chess Press Overview (2013), let's have one more post about the this year's edition (2014) of the World Championship title match.

  Chessbase Chess.com
  Ilyumzhinov, Putin meet, discuss Sochi matchWCh Sochi: personalities, players and seconds Garry Kasparov On The World Championship
07 Nov: Sochi Opening: Anand draws white for game one Anand To Start World Championship Match With White Pieces
08 Nov: Sochi WCh G1: Climbing back up Mount Olympus Game 1 Carlsen-Anand World Championship: Draw
09 Nov: World Championship 02: Carlsen strikes first Magnus Carlsen Wins Game 2 In Sochi World Championship
10 Nov: Sochi WCh G2: A day to remember  
11 Nov: Sochi G3: Anand strikes back – with a vengeance!Sochi WCh G3: The Tiger roars Vishy Anand Wins Game 3, Levels Score In Sochi World Championship
12 Nov: Sochi G4: Level game ends in Draw Carlsen-Anand World Championship Game 4: Draw
13 Nov: Who will win the match?  
14 Nov: Sochi G5: A few palpitations, but no heart attack Carlsen-Anand World Championship Game 5: Another Draw
15 Nov: Sochi G6: Carlsen won, Anand missed big chance Magnus Carlsen Wins Dramatic Game 6 In Sochi World Championship
16 Nov: Chess blindness of the Champions  
17 Nov: Sochi G7: Unbreakable Anand Anand Holds Draw In 2nd-Longest World Championship Game Ever
18 Nov: Sochi G8: An easy draw for Carlsen Anand Gets Nothing From Opening, Short Draw In Game 8
19 Nov:    
20 Nov: Sochi G9: A quick draw tightens the noose Lifeless Draw in Game 9 Of Carlsen-Anand
21 Nov: Sochi G10: Unrealized opportunities Magnus Carlsen Holds As Black In Game 10, Maintains Lead In Sochi
22 Nov:    
23 Nov: Sochi G11: In dramatic finale, Carlsen retains title Carlsen Wins, Defends World Championship Title In 11th Game
25 Nov: World Championship Sochi: Closing Ceremony Wrapping Up The World Championship
  Carlsen interview after the matchKasparov: The quality of the games was not so highCarlsen analyzes the World Championship (1/2)(2/2) An Interview With Ilya Merenzon, Organizer of Carlsen-Anand

If I really wanted to do a thorough job, I would add some of the video series on the match. Good idea! I might just do that...

08 December 2014

TMERs: Kasparov's Travels Extended

Continuing with the previous post in this series, TMERs: Kasparov's Travels, I merged the links from my post on Kasparov's Campaign Site with the links from Chessbase and Youtube. Then I created an external page on my main site (m-w.com) to store the combined results: Kasparov's Travels During His 2014 FIDE Campaign.

Next step: Identify which of Kasparov's campaign destinations included a simul or other chess exhibition. Before doing that, I could merge the links from Kasparov's Campaign: Twitter & Facebook, but I'm not sure they add new info to the overall picture.