Author: Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani (1719-1796) from the library of J W Rimington Wilson
Publisher: Simone Occhi
vii+384 pages with numerous woodcuts and decorative initials throughout. Small quarto (8" x 5 3/4") bound in half leather over marbled boards. (Bibliotheca van der Linde-Niemeijeriana: Not listed) From the library of J W Rimington Wilson. Second edition. First edition published in 1769.
Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani was an 18th-century Italian law professor, priest, chess player, composer and theoretician. He is best known today for his chess writing. Ponziani was friend with fellow Modenese chess players and writers Ercole del Rio and Giambattista Lolli, and collectively the trio is known as the Modenese Masters. In 1769 Ponziani published the first edition of Il giuoco incomparabile degli scacchi (The Incomparable Game of Chess). As Ponziani did not include his name in this work (Opera d'Autore Modenese) it was identified to the Anonymous Modenese. The edition in 1782 was much improved and laid out the principles of the Italian school of chess as exemplified by 17th-century Italian masters such as Gioachino Greco. Although Ponziani identified himself in the second Modena edition, the 1820 translation by English naval officer J. B. Smith using the pen name J. S. Bingham, The Incomparable Game of Chess, attributed the work to del Rio. Ponziani's work is the best practical guide produced by the Modenese Masters. Like writings by del Rio and Lolli, Ponziani deals only with the opening and endgame, with no discussion of the middlegame. In the opening, the primary objective is to obtain the maximum amount of mobility for the pieces, aiming in particular for vulnerable points such as the f2 or f7 square. No importance is attached to formation or maintenance of a pawn center pawns are used to drive back enemy pieces. Ponziani (1782) also gave an example of an endgame blockade or fortress, in which the inferior side is able to hold a draw despite having only two minor pieces for the queen by hemming in the opposing king. In the opening, Ponziani is best known as the eponym of the Ponziani Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3), although he did not originate it as it was published by Lucena around 1497. His name is properly attached to the Ponziani Countergambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 f5) in the Ponziani Opening as he published the first analysis in 1782. (Wikipedia)
James Wilson Rimington-Wilson (1822-1877) was one of the great collectors of books about chess, as well as books about other games and sports. He was a strong amateur chess player and records of some of his games survive, including a victory over Wilhelm Steinitz, the first official world champion of chess. Rimington-Wilson developed an extensive gaming library, which was maintained and perhaps added to by his son, Reginald Henry Rimington-Wilson (1852-1927). After the death of R. H., his son Captain H. E. Rimington-Wilson (1899-1971) ordered the sale of the library by auction at Sotheby's. It was the Quaritch firm that purchased the vast majority of the Rimington-Wilson lots at Sotheby's. They offered the books in two catalogues shortly after the sale.
Condition: Provenance J W Rimington Wilson with his signature to front paste down. Contemporary half calf, rebacked and recornered, earlier ink calculations and annotations in Italian on front free end paper, Brooklyn Public Library (ink stamp on back free end paper and page ends) else very good.