04 March 2014

Delucia's Chess Library

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I had several alternatives to the post on Chess Ambrotype. One of the ideas involved books by David Delucia, one of the world's premier chess collectors. I've already featured Delucia's collection twice on this blog, in Three Fischer Games Uncensored and in Lay up Your Treasures. During the past fortnight two more of his books sold at auction:-

David Delucia's Chess Library; A Few Old Friends - Vellum copy 1 of 20 printed • Sold for about US $700, 'Best offer accepted'. The description said,

In 2007, I decided to do a book highlighting the best items in my chess collection. I titled the book, David DeLucia’s Chess Library – A Few Old Friends. It’s a hardback, double stitched for strength and quality and 394 pages on high quality paper. For those of you who do not know Dale Brandreth he is one of the leading chess historians in America. He has been a chess book dealer for decades. Here is Dale’s review of a Few Old Friends when it was published.

A SPECTACULAR BOOK !! DAVID DELUCIA'S CHESS LIBRARY - A FEW OLD FRIENDS, second edition, just published in a total edition of 225 copies of which only about 200 are for commercial distribution. Hardback, 394 pages (glossy clay-filled paper), 9x11 in, 4.5 lbs. About five years ago DeLucia published a beautiful book within this same title with photos of some of the highlights of his fabulous collection of rare chess books, manuscripts, autograph letters, and ephemera in a 130-copy edition of which only 100 were by distribution. That book had about 2/3 as many items as this one and it sold out very quickly with the price originally at about $95. Today copies go at auction between $300 to $450. Both volumes are notable for their fine photos, many in color.

Among the treasured depicted in this volume are the Paris Lucena Manuscript, the first edition Damiano, a flawless Carrera, the three editions of Saul (1614, 1640, 1672), the first edition Ruy Lopez, three different-color editions of the London 1883 tournament book (pristine copies), the Dubuque Chess Journal (with collation of this very hard-to-get complete run), St. Petersburg 1895 Tournament book, letters and scores of Alekhine, a commemorative envelope from Em. Lasker to his wife Martha from Cambridge Springs 1904, the first page of the Cambridge Springs 1904 tournament bulletins (the first tournament bulletins ever), extracts from several Lasker manuscripts (some on mathematics), several Lasker letters, a letter from Einstein to Lasker, Morphy letters, scoresheets, photos, and his chess board, Capablanca scoresheets, Capa's top hat, passport, and watch...and hundreds more extraordinary items. These two volumes are unique in the history of chess literature. I lack enough superlatives to do these two volumes justice

David Delucia's Chess Library; In Memoriam • Sold for about US $950, 'Best offer accepted'.

Here is Dale Brandreth’s Review- In Memoriam. A VERY SPECIAL ITEM - JUST OUT! DAVID DELUCIA'S CHESS LIBRARY. IN MEMORIAM - SPECIAL EDITION, 2-volume boxed set, only 150 printed. Vol. 1, books and title pages of choice items, 482 pages. Vol. 2, 635 pages, mainly letters and photos. Much material on Lasker, Alekhine, Capablanca, and Fischer, but wonderful material on Steinitz, Botvinnik, and other great players too. There are scarcely enough superlatives to describe this set of fantastically superb books, documents, and photos. The only comparable volumes are the others which DeLucia published on Fischer and the other two volumes of similar items in his wonderful collection.

Even for relatively common books such as some of the many books on Fischer, signed by Fischer or others, the copies are beautiful mint or close-to -mint examples. But the value does not end with gazing in awe at the treasures every chess aficianado will appreciate, for the letters—many in their entirety—contain much chess history which has either been unavailable or only so in dribs and drabs world wide. The entire production is impeccable in the quality of the photos, color reproduction, binding, paper and layout.

And there are more copies on offer. The following composite shows six books; from left to right, top to bottom: 'A Few Old Friends - First edition', 'Bobby Fischer Uncensored - Large Paperback Edition', 'In Memoriam', 'Bobby Fischer Uncensored', 'A Few Old Friends - Second edition', and 'A Few Old Friends - Vellum copy'.

'A Few Old Friends' and 'In Memoriam' we saw above. The description for 'Bobby Fischer Uncensored' (paperback) said,

In 2009, I published Bobby Fischer Uncensored in a hardback edition (currently listed on Ebay). At that time I also printed some paperbacks to give to friends. I have a few left over so I have decided to list them. The content is identical to the hardback but they are bound in laminated covers. each copy is wrapped in cellophane. Here is the review of my book by Edward Winter, one of the world’s leading chess historians:

Review Bobby Fischer Uncensored by Edward Winter – 2009 • One of the most extraordinary of all chess books has just been published: Bobby Fischer Uncensored by David and Alessandra DeLucia (Darien, 2009). A richly-illustrated 394-page hardback of supreme quality, it presents hundreds of items from David DeLucia’s collection of Fischer material, including photographs, game-scores, correspondence, contracts, books and ephemera.

More: 6189. Bobby Fischer Uncensored [Chesshistory.com] • For sample content, see Chess Explorations (79) [Chessbase.com]

I'm not a collector, but if I were I would have these books.

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