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William Lewis

      Harold James Ruthven Murray was possibly the greatest and most influential chess historian ever born.  His monumental work, "A History of Chess," published in 1913, is still valid and quite useful in its centennial year. While researching for his book, Murray published articles in German and English magazines, particuarly the "British Chess Magazine."  His impartial style coupled with his extensive knowledge and understanding cover his articles with an aura of credibility.  Here is Murray's article on William Lewis.

 














Comments


  • 16 months ago

    Ziryab

    I almost read Rousseau's Confessions in graduate school while I was reading Jacques Derrida (who refers to it often), but stopped short. Now, you're pushing me back to that unread text. Nice!

  • 16 months ago

    zealandzen

    thanks for posting

  • 16 months ago

    zealandzen

    thanks for posting

  • 16 months ago

    batgirl

  • 16 months ago

    Ziryab

    Thanks for the link. I suspected as much, but had not inquired.

  • 16 months ago

    batgirl

    Murray's papers are at the Bodleian Library at Oxford - see http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kibitz117.pdf

    I'm not equipped to evaluate Surratt's translations myself. I would take Walker's evaluation with a grain of salt, but I trust Fiske, a linguist, scholar and librarian, implicitly in such matters.

    Those are good reasons. Tedious work without reward other than the reward of accomplishing something tends to go unappreciated (few people realize, and probably don't care about, the time and effort such things entail). 

  • 16 months ago

    Ziryab

    Two principle reasons:

    1) antiquarian interest in a topic that seems neglected.

    2) his games are accessible and instructive to young chess players. A lot of my time is spent teaching chess to elementary age children.

    I've seen those condemnations of Sarratt's work. The lack of specifics renders the criticisms less useful than they might have been. Perhaps the "mutilation" alleged is because he does not repeat games that Ruy Lopez copied from Damiano. In any case, I use what is available, knowing that nothing apart from manuscripts offers reliable answers to many historical questions.

    I haven't inquired about the existence of Murray's notes. Given the scholarly apparatus that would have been his norm, as is clearly evident in his footnotes and text, his papers likely exist in some library in England. A scholar with the time and inclination (and money) might be able to shed light on a few questions. 

  • 16 months ago

    batgirl

    That sounds like an intriguing project.  Is there some reason for it other than intellectual interest?  Going through and transposing all those games must be arduous work. Simply transposing from standard descriptive to algebraic is time-consuming enough for me.

    I don't have any translations of Salvio.  Google Books has his three books though.  Sarratt's (and I really like Sarratt) translations of Ruy Lopez, Damiano and Alessandro Salvio were panned by Geo. Walker as "barbarously mutilated translations" and even by the impartial Wilard Fiske as "so mutilated as to be of little value,"  but they still make interesting reading.

    Well, I guess we'll never know what Murray knew and chose not to reveal.

  • 16 months ago

    Ziryab

    Yes. those are interesting, too. I have the Google Books copy of White's "Greco and his Manuscript" in my Google Play library. I added vol 27 of British Chess Magazine last night. The biographical information on Greco in Murray appears to come mostly from Salvio. I would certainly welcome extracts from Salvio (preferably translated into English) if you come across them.

    As for my project: I enetered all of Lewis's games of Greco into a database (there are 168 variations of 47 games). Hoffman may have added a few, but mostly reduced the number of variations from each stem. Hoffman's games 1 and 2 are game 1 in Lewis.

    Sadly, my hard drive crashed after this project and I lost most of the data. So, I must begin anew. That portion that I used in my youth summer camp exists in other forms not lost--a printed workbook and a tactics problem file that was backed up on other computers. When I started again after hard drive replacement, I began with Francis Beale's 1656 edition. It's a little more laborious than Lewis because the moves are unnumbered.

    My plan is to create some form of comparison device (perhaps a spread sheet) so that I can readily access which of these three sources contains each game or variation. Such device will also note which ones are found in ChessBase and chessgames.com.

    Hoffman's notes are helpful in tracking other historical information. Some of Greco's games had been copied from Damiano, Ruy Lopez, or others. Naturally, I am also working through J. H. Sarratt's text of the games of Damiano, Lopez, and Salvio.

    I'd like to identify which of Greco's games are in fact his, and have a more complete version of his analysis. 

    There's some description of the project at http://chessskill.blogspot.com/2013/05/gioachino-greco-on-game-of-chess.html. Additional posts will appear from time to time.

    It is possibe that Murray helped conceal Hoffman's true identity. I would expect him to be familiar enough with the London chess scene to know that no university employed a professor of chess named Hoffman.

  • 16 months ago

    batgirl

    You may find a previous article on Greco useful or at least interesting : White and Greco.

    Murray gave a lot more information of the more contemporary players in the BCM than in his book, which got skimpier and skimpier as the dates approached his own time.

    I would guess that Murray didn't know that Hoffman was a pseudonym or he would have probably mentioned it.  Murray wasn't the reticent type.  But I think since he used Angelo John Lewis primarily for his magic books, the connection possibly wasn't so obvious back them.

    Tell me something about this comparative project.

  • 16 months ago

    Ziryab

    Useful article. Thanks. I've been reading Lewis's text of Greco (1819), comparing it to "Professor Hoffman's" (1900) and Francis Beale's edition (1656). This article offers more background on Lewis than is available in A History of Chess (1913).

    Murray does not mention that "Professor Hoffman" was a pseudonym for Angelo Lewis. One wonders whether he knew. I suspect so.

  • 16 months ago

    batgirl

    dashkee, notice in the M'Donnell game that Black is the first player (a common practice back then -even Morphy played some games moving first as Black). M'Donnell, playing White, moves second, so in essence, the colors are reversed. Lewis is giving M'Donnell the pawn and 2 moves, so in setting up the board, remove Black's KBP, not White's.

     



  • 16 months ago

    dashkee94

    This was a fun read, but I think I enjoyed the games more.  I don't recall ever having seen games by Lewis or Deschapelles, and their play was more solid than the swash-buckling mate-at-all-costs style that has been attributed to the times.  And games in DN--well, I just love 'em.  I even love the minor mistakes in the game scores, as well as the "remove White's KBP" in the MacDonnell game and then give white's 4th move as P-KB4.  Good stuff.  Thanks, bg.

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