Rare first edition of one of the earliest chess manuals; Pietro Carrera's Game of Chess
Il Gioco De Gli Scacchi Di D. Pietro Carrera Diviso in Otto Libri. (The Game of Chess).
Item Number: 96172
Militello: Giovanni de' Rossi, 1617.
Rare first edition of one of the early chess manuals, and the first book printed in Militello at Prince Francesco Branciforte’s private press. Octavo, bound in full contemporary vellum with ink titles to the spine, large engraving of the Branciforte coat of arms opposite the dedication page, woodcut illustrations throughout the text. In near fine condition. First editions are of exceptional rarity, with only three appearing at auction in the past 90 years.
Sixteenth century chess player, historian, and priest Pietro Carrera gained unprecedented fame for his invention of a chess variant on an 8x10 chessboard to which there were added two new pieces called the "Champion" (a combination of the moves of the tower and the knight) and "Centaurus" (a combination of the bishop and the knight). Carrera's innovations gained more fame than the ones made by Piacenza and Marinelli; and became the immediate predecessor of Capablanca Chess invented in the 1920s by former World Chess Champion José Raúl Capablanca. In 1617 he wrote and published Il Gioco degli Scacchi (The Game of Chess), subdivided into eight books where "learning the rules, the odds, the endgames, the blindfold chess and a discussion about the true origins of chess in itself". This was the first book ever printed in Militello, on request of the Princes of Butera, by Giovanni Rosso from Trento; in this poem Carrera collected and elaborated in a systematic fashion information given by previous authors. After the Prince of Branciforte's death, he moved to Messina, then to Canicattì and finally to Catania. Here in 1635, using an alias, he published the "Risposta di Valentino Vespaio contro l'apologia di Alessandro Salvio" ("Valentino Vespaio's answer against Alessandro Salvio's explanation"), where he debated the accusations and criticisms made against him from Salvio.