Author: Andre Danican Philidor (1726-1795)
Publisher: Chez J Johnston, libraire-editeur. Imprimerie de Lafourcarde
150 pages with 42 color imprints in green, black and red and one wood cult illustrations of chess piece. Small octavo (7" x 4 1/2") bound in quarter leather with raised spine bands and gilt lettering to spine. (Hagedorn: 6; Bibliotheca van der Linde-Niemeijeriana:457) Later edition of Philidor's work first published in 1749.
Fiske noted that the paper, typography and general appearance of the work prove to have been printed in Europe and probably Belgium. But despite its spurious imprint, Hagedorn felt that it required inclusion in his bibliography of Chess in America to 1859. He goes on to suggest that the problems of its pedigree have yet to be solved. America had at that time achieved no fame in the chess world that would make a book from the United States attractive to foreign players. It does not seem to be based on any known American work. He suggest that the answer might be found in the publishing records of early nineteenth century Belgium.
In 1736 at the age of 10, Francois-Andre was exposed to chess by the musicians who played chess during spells of inactivity. Cards were forbidden to pass the time, so chess was played. He learned the game by watching the band members play. He later visited the Cafe de la Regence in Paris and spent much of his time playing chess there. In 1737, at the age of 11, his first music composition, a religious piece, was played before King Louis XV. He left the Chapel Royal choir in 1740 when his voice changed. In 1740 he went to Paris where he earned a living by copying music and giving music lessons. In 1741 Philidor was being instructed by M. de Kermur, Sire de Legal (1702-1792), the leading French chess player. Legal initially gave Philidor rook odds. For the next three years Kermur taught Philidor until Philidor was too strong for his teacher. By 1750 Philidor was considered the strongest player in France, England, and the Netherlands. The French Ambassador, the Duke of Mirepoix, invited Philidor for his weekly chess dinners. In 1751 Philidor left England for Prussia, playing before King Frederick (Frederick the Great) at Potsdam. He then visited Berlin where he played 3 blindfold games simultaneously, winning them all. He then returned to England. In November 1754 he returned to France after being gone for 9 years. He started composing music again. He did not return to England until 1772. He applied unsuccessfully for the post of court composer at Versailles. A rumor had started that nobody could be a chess master and compose good music, so his church music was not really his own. His church music was not accepted by the French royalty because Philidor added an Italian influence to it, so he turned to comedy opera. In 1755 he beat Legal in a chess match at the Cafe de la Regence. On February 13, 1760, at age 33, he married Angelique Richer (1736-1809). He had 5 sons and 2 daughters with her.
Some rubbing to extremities, some light foxing, gift inscription on front end paper else a very attractive copy.