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Greco, Gioacchino (Joachino)

Gioacchino Greco (1600-1634) was an Italian chess player and the best known of the wandering chessmen in the early 17th century. Greco learned chess from earlier books and kept a notebook of tactics, and short and clever games.  He made a living selling chess manuscripts of openings and traps to wealthy patrons (also Cardinals and Archbishops), first in Italy (around 1619), then to France, then to England, then back to France.  In 1622 he was robbed of all his money while on his way to London.  In 1624 he lived in Paris and rearranged his chess manuscripts, eliminating the longer and less attractive games and adding new brilliancies.  From 1624 to 1626 he sold his manuscripts to French patrons.  In late 1624, he went to Madrid, Spain and defeated all other chess players at the court of King Philip IV.  He was taken to the West Indies by a Spanish nobleman where he died, leaving his fortune to the Jesuits.  He was born in Celico, Calabria and became known as the Calabrese (Il Calabrese) in later life.  After his death, a game collection was published in 1656 by Henry Herrington containing over 150 games with his own annotations.  This book, The Royall Game of Chess-Play, Sometimes The Recreation of the late King, with many of the Nobility.  Illustrated with almost an hundred Gambetts.  Being the study of Biochimo the famous Italian. This was the most important English-language chess book up to its day

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