Sarah's Chess Journal

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         The History and The Culture of Chess

 November 2006

Information comes from Lawrence Totaro of Ultimate Chess Collecting

Sometimes historians get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. Some instances are more important than other instances.

In my earlier posting -  Calotype - dealing with what is considered the first chess-related photograph, the premise was that the date is very important as it is with any "first." But in pursuing the observation that various dates had been given by different authors, we learned from a highly authoritative source - on photography, not chess - the correct date and the correct photographer . All the chess books gave credit to the wrong man!

The implications of this deserve an essay all to itself. But this essay will take a snapshot from a different angle.




The picture on the right is a reproduction of a page from Ken Whtld's book, Guinness CHESS The Records  (Great Britain by Guinness Superlatives Ltd, 1986) .

In his book on RECORDS, Mr. Whyld got the date wrong, as well as the the photographer.

The central point isn't that Mr. Whyld, deemed one of the 20th century's greatest chess historians, made an error, but rather that such errors, or traps, so easily occur that even the best researchers fall prey.












Below, we'll see where Ken Whyld got it right - and Fred Wilson got it wrong:

George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was a 19th century cartoonist and illustrator most famous for his artwok in novels such as Charles Dicken's Sketches by Boz in 1836 and Oliver Twist in 1838. He was also reveled in  satire and caricatures attacking the British royaly as well as the twin Vices of Drinking and Smoking. He drew at least two (very similar) sketches on Chess, one in 1819 and the other in 1835 (and possibly one more in 1814).

The picture below is page 20 from Fred Wilson's wonderful A Picture History of Chess. Wilson gave the date of this picture as 1835. But this is the illustration from 1819.






Here is the 1835 ilustration





Ken Whyld got it right in his Guinness CHESS The Records (page 10)


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