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Description: In this handwritten, 28-page essay which won the Principal’s English Literature Prize (1883), student Cuyler Reynolds provides a brief history of the origins and subsequent changes to the game of chess. There are 13 exquisite illustrations which accompany the descriptions and maneuvers of each piece. For instance, he writes, “The King has the peculiar privilege of castling; that is, of moving two squares in conjunction with one of the Rooks. He can do this but once in the game. . .” and “The Bishops are grievous enemies when a person endeavors to march his Pawns.” He also lists the numerical value of the pieces, “the Rook is represented by 5.48 while that of the queen is 9.94.” He writes in detail about the importance of how to play the pawns that “may be exchanged for a Queen, Knight, Bishop, or Rook, at the option of the player.” His opinions and reflections are interspersed throughout the essay. He is clearly opposed to the ability to exchange queens for pawns. Regarding the game, he says “I have found the only way to play a good game is to take plenty of time,” and suggests an offensive move, “when a piece is in danger instead of moving away, either put a piece so that. . . it attacks the hostile piece or one of the most valuable pieces.” In conclusion, he says that the game “so carelessly played is undeserving of the rank in which it stands, . . .” There are some editorial remarks in the margins and in the body of the text, possibly by a teacher: “I think the names of the pieces ought not to be capitalized so freely. E. B.”

 The quarto notebook (8” x 10”) has marbled boards. The text is written on ruled pages and the 13 illustrations are on ivory drawing paper. Item #AM00286

Cuyler Reynolds (1866-1934) was a well-regarded journalist and author who served for years as the Albany City Historian; his best-known work is the Albany Chronicles. At the turn of the century, he was also curator and director at the Albany Institute of History and Art. He was at the Albany Academy when he wrote this illustrated essay.

Condition: Light toning to front and rear endpapers. In very good condition.