Morphy's Games of Chess and Frere's Problem Tournament

Author: Frere, Thomas [1820-1900]

Publisher: T W Strong

Location: New York

Year: 1859



144 pages with diagrams. Duodecimo (6 1/4" x 4") issued in original publisher's decorative blind stamped boards with gilt-decorated and lettered spine. (Hagedorn: 51) First edition.

The second part of this book contains many clever problems selected from those which competed in a tournament arranged by Frere, the chess editor of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The first part was published without the sanction or approval of Morphy, and comprises games with notes copied form the Chess Monthly, The Era and other sources, without any special acknowledgment. The collection was evidently hurriedly and incompetently made to take advantage of the demand created by Morphy's success in Europe. (Hadgedorn).

Born on 8th December 1820 in Brooklyn of a French Creole father and a mother of Irish descent, Thomas Frere's interest in chess is sparked in 1827 on seeing "the Turk", Maelzel's automaton chess player, at Tammany Hall. The story leaps forward to 1854 with Frere, a married man with three children, working for the Home Life Insurance Company in Wall Street whilst also operating a printing, engraving and publishing business. He witnesses the start of public chess in New York when the owner of Limberger's saloon at the corner of Fulton and Nassau Streets, decides to replace the decrepit chess equipment used by two patrons with several new sets and boards. Within three years, in excess of fifty players are frequenting the establishment. Moving from Limberger's saloon to Brooklyn in 1856, Frere starts the Brooklyn Chess Club. Frere becomes involved with organizing and running the First American Chess Congress held in New York. Morphy takes first prize in the Grand Tournament, ahead of Louis Paulson in second. Paulsen causes a sensation with his feats of blindfold chess. In 1859 Frere publishes the first book about the new American chess sensation, Morphy's Games of Chess and Frere's Problem Tournament. During 1858 through 1859 he becomes embroiled in a feud with Daniel W. Fiske, Editor of Chess Monthly and lead organizer of the First American Chess Congress, regarding Staunton's refusal to contest a match with Morphy.


Spine head lightly chipped, corners rubbed else a very good copy of an early American chess title.