Ruy Lopez on Ebay

2/15/2004 – No, not the opening with 3.Bb5, but a book by the famed Spanish priest who lived in the middle of the 16th century. A first edition Italian version of his lesser-known Il Giuoco De Gli Scacchi is up for sale, with "insect damage to the spine and minute marginal worming". The starting bid is €500 ($640) in this Ebay auction.

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Ruy López de Segura lived in the 16th century (estimated 1530-1580) in Badajoz, Spain. He was a priest and a leading chess player and theoretician. His most famous book was Libro de la invención liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez, published in 1561. But the reason he is remembered, especially in the English-speaking world, is that he propagated one of the most famous of all openings. It goes 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. This is generally known as the Spanish Opening, but many English players call it the Ruy López.

Today on Ebay we discovered a rare original book by the Spaniard. It is Il Giuoco De Gli Scacchi di Ruy Lopez, published by Cornelio Arriuabene in Venice 1584. It is a first-edition Italian language book of which the vendor writes:

"Very good: insect damage to spine, edges worn, boards rubbed with abrasions near edges; description slip laid on to pastedown, title-page a bit soiled, repaired marginal tears on leaves *3 and A1, minute marginal worming, repaired on leaves F2-H4, a few leaves browned 8 1/8 x 5 1/2 inches, [8], 214, [2] pages, early half vellum with spatter boards, title inked on spine, With woodcut headpieces, initials, and textual illustrations. Scarce first edition in Italian of Lopez' famed work, first printed in Spain in 1561 as Libro de la invencion liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez muy util y provechosa. Il Giuoco De Gli Scacchi [The Game of Chess] provided practical as well as theoretical instruction and initiated the modern phase of the game."

The starting bid for the book is €500, and the bidding goes on until February 21, 2004, 23:35:20 CET.

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