Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (34)

1/2/2010 – Lucidity is the hallmark of good chess instruction, but what happens if the teacher has no conception of intelligibility? The Editor of Chess Notes dips into the wordy world of the ‘grand left oblique aligned en appui with major crochet’, where ‘designations for posting disparity are u lead and (u) lag’. Recommended for code-breaking practice...

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Chess Explorations (34)

By Edward Winter

In any discussion of obscure chess instruction one author’s name stands out: Franklin Knowles Young (1857-1931). Three sample pages from his books are given below:

Above: page 264 of The Grand Tactics of Chess (Boston, 1905).

Above: page 97 of The Major Tactics of Chess (Boston, 1909).

Above: page 97 of Field Book of Chess Generalship (New York and London, 1923).

We reproduce his obituary on page 10 of the January 1932 American Chess Bulletin:

One of Young’s few supporters was Charles W. Warburton, whose book My Chess Adventures (Chicago, 1980) contained much material in defence of Young, ‘that most maligned of American chess writers’ (page 42). An overview of Young’s chess books was provided in an article ‘The Evolution of Chess Science (?)’ by John Barr on pages 325-328 of the August 1983 BCM

A seldom-seen volume by a kind of Young the Younger is Chess Logic For Beginner and Master by B. Koppin, a 45-page booklet which appeared in the United States in 1949. C.N. 2613 (see page 391 of A Chess Omnibus) noted that C.J.S. Purdy was in cracking form when discussing (i.e. demolishing) it on page 43 of Chess World, 1 February 1950. He concluded with the observation: ‘It is well printed. But why was it printed?’

To illustrate what Koppin offered beginners and masters, three pages are shown below, without further comment or sneering:


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Edward Winter is the editor of Chess Notes, which was founded in January 1982 as "a forum for aficionados to discuss all matters relating to the Royal Pastime". Since then, over 6,400 items have been published, and the series has resulted in four books by Winter: Chess Explorations (1996), Kings, Commoners and Knaves (1999), A Chess Omnibus (2003) and Chess Facts and Fables (2006). He is also the author of a monograph on Capablanca (1989).

Chess Notes is well known for its historical research, and anyone browsing in its archives will find a wealth of unknown games, accounts of historical mysteries, quotes and quips, and other material of every kind imaginable. Correspondents from around the world contribute items, and they include not only "ordinary readers" but also some eminent historians – and, indeed, some eminent masters. Chess Notes is located at the Chess History Center. Signed copies of Edward Winter's publications are currently available.


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