22 March 2019

Le Palamede

After Berliner 'Schachzeitung', where...

I discovered that various 19th century chess periodicals were available via Google Books. My first effort concentrated on 'Schachzeitung'.

...my second effort concentrated on 'Palamede'. From Di Felice, 'Chess Periodicals, 1836-2008':-

1778. Palamède (Le) : Revue Mensuelle des Échecs et Autres Jeux (1836–1847) Vol.1 (1836)–Vol.4 (1839); New Series Vol.1 (1842)–Vol.7 (1847). Monthly. Editors Joseph Mery and Louis Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1936–39), Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant (1842–47). Publisher Au Bureau de la Revue. Paris. France. Illus., ports., cm.21.5 x 14, and from 1842 cm.24.5 x 16.5. Magazine. General. French. Subtitle varies "Revue Mensuelle des Échecs," "Revue Mensuelle des Jeux."

La Bourdonnais' death in December 1840 was undoubtedly related to the gap between the series. All 11 volumes from the two series are available via Google Books, although the last two volumes of the first series are combined into a single PDF file. From Wikipedia's Le Palamède:-

Le Palamède was the world's first periodical devoted to the game of chess. It was founded in France in 1836 by Louis-Charles Mahé de la Bourdonnais, who is often considered to have been an unofficial world chess champion. It ceased publication in 1839, but was revived in December 1841 by Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant, who continued publishing it until the end of 1847.

The Wikipedia page uses an illlustration similar to the one I created for this post.

Left: S01V01, 1836; Right: S02V01, 1842

What does Palamede mean? From Wikipedia's Palamedes (mythology):-

In Greek mythology, Palamedes was the son of Nauplius and Clymene. He joined the Greeks in the expedition against Troy. Pausanias in his Description of Greece says that in Corinth is a Temple of Fortune in which Palamedes dedicated the dice that he had invented.

Wikipédia's page in French, Palamède (mythologie), expands on the dice theme:-

Palamède est l’inventeur mythique du jeu d’échecs, de l’arithmétique, des jeux de dés et des signaux de feu servant à transmettre un message; et Théophraste dit Palamède inventeur des lettres et des chiffres. => 'Palamède is the mythical inventor of the game of chess...'

The first time I visited the Royal Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek; KB) in The Hague, the stack for the chess collection was open to the public. I picked up the bound copies of Palamède, flipped through them, and thought how useful it would be to have the time to examine them in depth. Afterwards the chess collection was closed to the public, but much of its content became accessible through Google Books. Will I now find the time to examine the Palamède volumes?

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