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Alessandro Salvio

Alessandro Salvio

Sep 14, 2015, 5:31 PM 0

Alessandro Salvio (born circa 1570) was an Italian chess player who became the strongest player in the world around the year 1598, when he defeated Paolo Boi just three days before Boi died, allegedly by poison. He defeated Geronimo Cascio in 1606.

He belonged to a rich family which allowed him to study and obtain the title of doctor. His brother was a somewhat famous poet who dedicated some published verses to him. He frequented the Napolitana Academy and the chess house of Constanzo Carafa, where he gave several blindfold exhibitions. As a result of these performances, he was asked to perform in the presence of the Count of Benavente, the Marquess of Corleto, Count Francisco de Castro, the Count of Lemos, and even of the Pope of Rome. He started an Italian chess academy in Naples, Italy.

Dr. Salvio wrote two books on chess. Trattato dell'Inventione et Arte Liberale del Gioco Degli Scacchi ("Treaty of the Liberal Invention of the Game of the Chess") was published in Naples in 1604 and is described as the first comprehensive chess book. Il Puttino was published 1634 and is the first book to describe the famous rook and pawn ending now known as the Lucena Position. Salvio also wrote a tragic poem about chess, La Scaccaide.

There are several opening lines that now bear his name:

the Salvio Gambit (C37): 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Ne5 Qh4+ 6.Kf1. 

KGA: Salvio Defense (C39): 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Qe7 6.d4 f5 7.Bc4

QGD: Salvio Countergambit (D06): 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5 3.dxc5 d4

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