Illustrations from Stamma on the Game of Chess 1818 edition

22 July 2022
Illustration from Stamma on the Game of Chess, 1818 edition

Wednesday 20 July may have been Miles Franklin day in Australia — being the occasion the winner of the annual prestige literary award is announced — but it was also International Chess Day. Also known as World Chess Day, 20 July marks the day International Chess Federation was established in 1924, although International Chess Day didn’t come into being until 1966.

In honour of the beloved checkered board game, the University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee Special Collections have posted images from the 1818 edition of Stamma on the Game of Chess, which contained numerous illustrations of game openings and critical situations. Much of the text was written by Philipp Stamma, and edited by William Lewis, who were eighteenth century chess masters.

Illustration from Stamma on the Game of Chess, 1818 edition

Although I play from time to time, I’m not the biggest chess aficionado you’d ever meet, but I was intrigued to learn game pieces were often coloured red and black, rather than the white, or ivory, and black pieces I’m more familiar with. There’s an interesting, though brief, discussion about red chess pieces here.

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