Author: William Lewis (1787-1870)
Year: 1835 and 1832
Publisher: W Simpkin and R Marshall
A Selection of Games at Chess Played at the Westminster Chess Club Between L. C. de la Bourdonnais and an English Amateur of First Rate Skill bound with Fifty Games at Chess, Which Have Actually Been Played, Most of Which Occurred Between the Author and Some of the Best Players in England, France and Germany; to Which is Added Some Account of the Village of Stroebeck, in Germany, With the Three Games
132 pages; iv+108 lacking the 2 ad pages. Octavo (8 1/2" x 5 1/2") bound in half leather with decorative gilt to spine with red label in gilt lettering over marbled boards and marbled page ends. (Whyld and Ravillous 1835: 3 and 1832: 4) First editions.
La Bourdonnais came to London and encountered the great Irishman Alexander McDonnell in 85 games lasting all through the Summer (La B. 46, McD. 26, Drawn 13). These games were unevenly split between six matches, but the conditions of play were very loose – there were no seconds, there was no time-limit, the stakes were “very small” and, amazing to relate, the whole splendid series would never have been preserved for us but for one man. William Greenwood Walker, the aged Secretary of the Westminster Chess Club, was “little of a chessplayer” but a fanatical “fan” of McDonnell’s, and throughout the whole 85 games the old gentleman sat beside the English Champion “with spectacles on nose” eagerly taking down the moves and “scarce daring to breathe lest the conceptions of his hero should miscarry” George Walker. Lewis selected 50 of these games mostly the one won by La Bourdonnais.
William Lewis was the leading English player in the correspondence match between London and Edinburgh in 1824, won by the Scots (+2 = 2 -1). Later, he published a book on the match with analysis of the games. Lewis visited Paris along with Scottish player John Cochrane in 1821, where they played with Alexandre Deschapelles, receiving the advantage of pawn and move. He won the short match (+1 =2). When De La Bourdonnais visited England in 1825, Lewis played about 70 games with the French master. Seven of these games probably represented a match that Lewis lost (+2 -5). Around 1819 Lewis was the hidden player inside the Turk (a famous automaton), meeting all-comers successfully. He suggested to Johann Maelzel that Peter Unger Williams, a fellow ex-student of Sarratt, should be the next person to operate inside the machine. When P. U. Williams played a game against the Turk, Lewis recognised the old friend from his style of play (the operator could not see his opponents) and convinced Maelzel to reveal to Williams the secret of the Turk. Later, P. U. Williams himself took Lewis' place inside the machine.
Extremities, spine and boards rubbed, spine ends lightly chipped, corners bumped and rubbed, some foxing else very good.