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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848,
THE distinction with which the game of Chess is viewed by those initiated in its mysteries, being as well merited as it is general, it becomes superfluous with such to insist upon its right to be classed as an exalted source of recreation.
To those unacquainted with this noble game we would say, however, that it is distinguished from all other games, by the suffrages of many writers on education. Eminent men of every age and clime have been its votaries; illustrious generals have directed engagements on its field; mathematicians have examined its positions, and calculated the force of specific combinations, while divines have exercised contemplation in its vicissitudes.
“The silly prejudice,” says a late English writer, “that Chess is a mere recreation, and the acquisition of a knowledge of its principles a waste of time, has long been rejected by every one capable of forming a judgment upon the matter; and it is now generally admitted to partake more of the character of a science, than that of a simple pastime. That employment surely cannot be wholly purposeless, which enables one to exercise and bring into play many of the qualities necessary to a successful progress in the great game of life. Calculation, foresight—well arranged, and well digested plans of action,-to-e habit of never commencing an undertaking, until the issue of it
has been thoroughly considered, steadiness in prosperity, patience in difficulty-a strictly guarded temper; and last, though not least, courtesy and amenity of manner-all these are requisite to make a good Chess-player; and will the possession of them not do yeoman's service to any man, be his profession or calling what it may ? To the objection, that Chess is apt to engross time that ought to be devoted to more important objects, it may be answered, that abuse does not abrogate use; and that a habit of intoxication in one person is no reason why another, who has more command over himself, should not be solaced with an occasional glass or two of wine.” In our own country, Benjamin Franklin, than whom a greater economist of time never existed, was a warm advocate of the game of Chess. The following extract from his memoirs shows, that rather than relinquish his favorite recreation, he devised means to turn to account the time he allotted to its pursuit: “I had begun in 1733,” says he, “to study languages; I soon made myself so much a master of the French, as to be able to read the books in that language with ease; I then undertook the Italian: an acquaintance, who was also learning it, used often to tempt me to play Chess with him: finding this took up much of the time I had to spare for study, I at length refused to play any more, unless on this condition, that the victor in every game should have a right to impose a task, either of parts of the grammar to be got by heart, or in translations, &c. which tasks the vanquished was to perform upon honor before our next meeting: as we played pretty equally, we thus beat one another into that language.” At the period above referred to, Franklin was out twenty-eight years of age : in after life, and amid his busy career, Chess was ever his favorite source of relaxation. He has left us an essay entitled “The Morals of Chess,” from which it may not be irrelevant in an American book, to quote a few passages:
“The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; severa) very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions: for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or of the want of it. By playing at Chess, then, we may learn, “First—Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequence that may attend an action; for it is continually occurring to the player, “If I move this piece, what will be the advantage or disadvantage of my new situation ? What use can my adversary make of it, to annoy me?—What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks o' “Second—Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: the relation of the several pieces, and their situations; the dangers they are repeatedly exposed to; the several possibilities of their aiding each other; the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or that piece; and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him. “Third–Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired by observing strictly the laws of the game; such as, if you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand. “Therefore, never deviate from strict play; as the game becomes thereby more the image of human life, and particularly of war; in which, if you have incautiously put yourself into a bad and dangerous position, you cannot obtain your enemy's leave to withdraw your troops and place them more securely; but you must abide all the consequences of your rashness. “And Lastly, we learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs; the habit of hoping for a favorable chance, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so sudden to vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after contemplation, discovers the means of extricating oneself from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory from our skill; or, at least, from the negligence of our adversary. And whoever considers, what in Chess he often sees instances of, that success is apt to produce presumption and its consequent inattention, by which more is afterwards lost than was gained by the preceding advantage, while misfortunes produce more care and attention, by which the loss may be recovered, will learn not to be too much discouraged by any present successes of his adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune, upon every little check he receives in the pursuit of it.”—FRANKLIN, Morals of Chess. In the compilation and arrangement of the following pages, the Editor has had in view the twofold object of conveying instruction to the mere beginner, and offering matter of interest to the practised player. The former of these objects he thinks he has attained in the rudimentary portions of the work, extracted from the best elementary treatises in any language; viz., Lewis's Chess for Beginners, and Elements of Chess—Walker's Chess made Easy—and Tomlinson's Amusements in Chess; while the Games in Actual Play, by correspondence between clubs, or over the board between the most eminent players of every country, together with Staunton's masterly analyses of the King's and Queen's Gambits, will prove, it is hoped, both entertaining and instructive to that class of players sufficiently advanced to understand and appreciate their beauties. The Games in Actual Play, illustrative of the Bishop's and knight's Game, the most popular of all the openings, have been