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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Castle, Because a Move is Lost By It

I was preparing a review of Ray Cheng's excellent tactical problem book, Practical Chess Exercises. Searching for a good graphic of the book cover, I googled "Practical Chess Exercises" and indeed found what I was looking for.

But I also found something I wasn't looking for.

One of the Google links took me here, which is a "Google digitized" version of the New York Public Library copy of the 1818 text of the same name. In this early 19th Century Practical Chess Exercises book, most of the initial suggestions are similar to what we would say today. For example, don't play your queen out early, don't give useless checks, and the like. I did find one "rule" a bit out of the ordinary: "Not to castle, except when necessary, because the move is often lost by it."

It also became clear why a tournament book containing many games might be too thick for your bookshelf. Take a look at the way a game score is recorded:

Not quite like playing over a game with Fritz or ChessBase.



  • Great post! I can just imagine the cigar smoking, suit wearing, vaguely British sounding gentlemen annotating their game for the little people.

    By Blogger Macauley, at 8:51 AM  

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