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SHASTREE (Trevangadacharya). Essays on Chess, Adapted to the European Mode of Play; Consisting Principally of Positions or Critical Situations Calculated to Improve the Learner and Exercise the Memory.1814

Bombay: Printed for the Author, by M. D. Cruz, No. 10 Military Square. First English edition, small 4to (185 x 134 mm), [2], [8, list of subscribers], iii-xiii, 178, [1]pp., text very clean and bright, nineteenth-century smooth red calf, spine and boards faded, spine lettered direct in gilt, edges marbled, a very nice copy. An extremely rare English translation of one of two chess books printed in India in the early nineteenth-century. The other was published 15 years later in Madras Analysis of the Muzio Gambit, and match of two games at chess played between Madras and Hyderabad, 1829. "In the year 1814 there was published, in Bombay, an original work on chess, by a native of India, well known throughout the British dominions in Hindostan as a player and teacher of the game. The book was originally written in the Sanscrit tongue, but was printed in English, under the direction of the author, by the title Essays on Chess, and is prefaced by a goodly list of subscribers, both British and native. This volume is now exceedingly rare; many of its positions are exquisitely beautiful, and, in fact, of first-rate merit and science. Mr. Lewis reprinted the greater part of the work in England, under the title of Oriental Chess; for which favour, I have been told, the author was not particularly grateful. The name of this gifted Hindoo was Trevangadacharya Shastru. I have quoted him in this essay, because he was celebrated for playing well without seeing the board. A friend of mine has seen him play three, and even four games at once, blindfold, with the best players,—performing his laborious task with perfect accuracy. He would attend European residents for a certain fee ; and would play eight, ten, and twelve hours at a sitting,—taking no refreshment but a little rice or tea, and seldom opening his lips to utter a single word. He played indifferently the English or Hindoo variety of chess ; and never, it is affirmed, was beaten by any European." (Frazer's Magazine, March, 1840).

Stock #40027

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