Chess Theory from Stamma to Steinitz, 1735–1894 - Frank Hoffmeister

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Hardback, 492 pages, Mcfarland Publishing 2022

Most chess biographies present the games of famous players—but not their writings. Filling that gap, this book begins with Syrian master and author of chess studies Philip Stamma, and finishes with the first world champion William Steinitz. The main novelties in opening, middlegame and endgame theory in the 160 year period are examined and biographical sketches put the contributions of more than 30 masters into context.

The author presents many new insights—for example, regarding the origins of the Ponziani Opening, the Dutch Defense and the Petroff Defense. French star La Bourdonnais used other sources for almost every part of his Nouveau Traité. Morphy’s analysis of the Philidor Defense was faulty and Anderssen’s play included many positional ideas. Harrwitz and Neumann published modern treatises long before Steinitz came out with his Modern Chess Instructor. Many ending themes belong to less well-known authors, such as Cozio, Chapais, van Zuylen van Nyevelt, Sarratt, Kling and Horwitz, Berger and Salvio.

83 illustrations, 407 diagrams, appendices, bibliography, index

A European Union official and professor of international economic law, Frank Hoffmeister was several times finalist of the German amateur chess championship. Between 2009 and 2020 he served as president of Europchess, the club of the European institutions in Brussels, and published several reviews of chess history books in the journal Schach. He lives in Kraainem, Belgium.

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