Abbildungen der Seite

gamesters were contending for the deepest stakes. No person easily forgives himself who loses, though to a superior player. No

person is ever known to flatter at this game, by underplaying himself. It is certain, this play is an exercise of the understanding. It is a contention, who has the most solid brain ; who can lay the deepest and wisest designs. It is, therefore, rarely known, that a person of great

vivacity and quickness, or one of very slow parts, is a master of this game.”

And the editors of the Gentleman's Magazine for July 1789, make this observation : “ We will venture to assert, that after mathematics, logic, arithmetic, and one or two other sciences, we are not acquainted with any thing that more strengthens the mind than Chess. Were it possible to know that two men were of exactly equal powers, natural and acquired, in every other

respect but with regard to Chess; and if A could play well at Chess, and B could not, A, we should see (could we see such things) would checkmate B, in every profession, and every situation in life where they were

opposed. It is not a trifle to be accustomed to turn and twist one's mind to the shifting combinations of thirty-two men, with six different movements, on sixty-four squares. Lord Chatham, upon being complimented on one of his finest strokes in politics, is reported to have said, that “ he deserved little praise, for his success arose only from having been checkmated by discovery, the day before, at Chess.

In the Critical Review for September, 1787, is the following passage : “ The enthusiastic admiration of Chess-players for their game, is easily accounted for by those who have felt its influence, and have known the uncommon hold it takes of the mind and its affections. Equal players labour with great earnestness ; and a casual absence of mind alone determines the game. We have heard of a lady's suffering herself to be undressed, without perceiving it, while immersed in the mysterious movements of queens, bishops, and knights.”

A pamphlet, intitled A Letter to a young Gentleman just entered at the University, published at Oxford in 1784, has this paragraph:


Chess, by my advice, you will always continue to practise. If we should meet when you are some years older, I will tell you

the various reasons which I have for advising you to play at this


in preference to any game that depends only on chance. Remember too, that after having been able to learn Chess, you must not complain of an inability to learn any thing else.”

This extreme interest in the game renders the playing for money unusual, as well as unnecessary. M. de Legalle, however, the instructor of Philidor, used to win half a crown a game of the Chancellor d’Aguesseau, and his scholar would frequently find

persons to play with him at a crown a game; but it may be supposed the object of such persons was instruction, and not money.

Hoyle also taught how to open the at a crown a lesson.







It is most probable, that the game of Chess, from whatever or whomsoever it arose, was not originally as it is now played. The great length of time that has elapsed since its invention—the different countries it has passed through—and the different people who have used it, and felt more than a common interest in it, seem to warrant this idea.

The ancient games were played with pebbles, and perhaps upon the bare ground, marked and scored for the purpose. Improvement was natural. Each nation might add what it conceived to be such; and, jealous of its perfection, reject what it might fancy unnecessary innovations.

. Many Europeans have invented games,

pieces, and moves, which they have flattered themselves have, by adding intricacy to difficulty, increased the satisfaction of playing; but the game, as it at present stands, seems to approach so nearly to perfection that that alteration

may be considered the worst that recedes farthest from it.

The game played by the Chinese, called Chong Kè, and which, from the situation of the country, and the never-fluctuating manners of that people, may be supposed to have the greatest affinity to the original one, is as follows:

There are nine pieces instead of eight to occupy the rear rank, and they stand on the lines between, and not within, the squares. The game is consequently played on the lines.

The king, or Chong, stands in the middle of this row.

His moves resemble those of our king, but are confined to a fortress marked out for him.

The two princes, or Sou, stand on each side of him, and have equal powers and limits.

The mandarins, or Tchong, answer to our

« ZurückWeiter »