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Damiano, Pedro

Pedro Damiano (1470-1544) was a Portuguese apothecary (pharmacist) and author of Questo Libro e da imparare giocave a scachi et de li partiti, the first chess (modern chess) book in Italy.  It was published in Rome and written in Italian and Spanish in 1512.  It was the first bestseller of the modern game of chess.  It went through eight editions in 50 years, first being published in Rome.  The book has ten chapters and 124 pages, 89 of which deal with 72 problems and studies.  The book contained chess advice and introduced the smothered mate.  In the book, Damiano suggested that chess was invented by Xerxes, and called the game of chess Axedrez, which is the Spanish word for chess today.  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 is called Damiano’s Defense.  There were no new chess works from Damiano’s book until Ruy Lopez wrote his book in 1561, almost 50 years later.  The discovery of Damiano’s chess book and its mistakes encouraged Ruy Lopez to write his own chess book.  Pedro Damiano may have been a pseudonym to hide his real name.

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