Chess Lyrics: A Collection of Chess Problems

Author: Mackenzie, Arthur Ford (1861-1905)

Publisher: J. H. Graham

Location: New York

Year: 1905



xciv+476 with frontispiece, portrait plate and diagrams. Thick octavo (8 1/2" x 5 1/2") bound in half leather with six raised spine bands with gilt lettering in brown spine label over marbled boards. Edited by Alain c White. (Betts: 33-55) First edition of White's first Christmas book.

In his introductory essay, "Some thoughts on problem Matters," the author first gives an account of his own career in problem composition, with examples of his work; he goes on to deal with aspects of problem construction, including such subjects as purity, complexity of two-movers compared with three-movers, duals, adjudication, coincidences, resemblances, originality, etc. there follow 282 of his composition, with solutions and notes by various composers.

Composer of Scottish descent, schoolteacher in Jamaica. Composed orthodox Two- and Three-movers. In 1880-1 he first competed in an international tournament for chess problems; he won third prize in the Burnley Express problem tournament. Over the years he won some 200 prizes for chess problems, and quickly established a reputation as one of the most outstanding composers of chess problems in the world. In 1887 he published a book, Chess: Its Poetry and Its Prose, under the patronage of distinguished men, such as the Bishop of Jamaica, and the Governor, and the British politicians Lord Randolph Churchill and Sir Robert Peel. The book dealt with the basics of chess and with the art of the chess problem. He lost his sight in early 1896, and after a period of despair he found that he still could compose. Then he begun to move away from the conventional style of his time. Mackenzie said this about composing blind: "I have lately come to think that problem composition is peculiarly a mental work, and that employment of board and men is in many ways a nuisance. ... Certainly the three-movers I composed since losing my sight are infinitely superior, as a whole, to those composed before."


Attractively bound in quarter leather, some occasional internal soiling, lacks White's Christmas greetings else a very nice copy of on of the scarcer Christmas series.