Damiano de Oemira - Libro da imparare giocare a scachi - circa 1524

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DAMIANO DE ODEMIRA (d. 1544). Libro da imparare giocare a scachi: et de belitissimi partiti: reuisti & recorretti. [No place: 1524 or later].

8° (131 x 97mm). Parallel text in Spanish and Italian. Title woodcut of a game in progress, woodcut figures of the six chess pieces, 92 woodcut chess diagrams. (Title tipped onto front pastedown, occasional spotting, F1 with catch-letter severely cropped.) Contemporary vellum with manuscript title on spine (crinkled, inscription faded). Provenance: Andrea Lachi (early purchase inscription on verso of final leaf, now faded) -- occasional early 20th-century bibliographical annotations in English.

The fourth (first undated) edition, following after Blado's 1524 Rome edition, of the first chess book to be published in Italy. Changes to the title woodcut, first used in 1524, give the prelate to the left of the chess table more hair and a bigger pair of glasses, the table cover is more highly decorated, and the previously plain floor is now chequered. Mis-signing occurs in quire G. First published in 1512, this compilation by Damiano, a Portuguese priest, included variations of the Petroff, the gambit now called after him, the Guioco Piano, and the Queen's Gambit. But his reputation rested mainly upon his collection of problems, of which only one was his own creation. The section headed 'Arte de giocare alla mente', beginning on H5 of this edition, is an explanation of how to play blindfold. Another fifty years elapsed before the next chess book (Ruy Lopez) was published. Rare edition. EDIT 50101 (listing only 4 copies); DeLucia p. 13; Murray p. 787-88; Van der Linde, Geschichte und Literatur des Schachspiels p. 341; Das erste Jartausend der Schachlitteratur p. 29.