First edition of Lasa's iconic Handbuch des Schachspiels, 1843

Paul Rudolf von Bilguer & Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa. Handbuch des Schachspiels. Entworfen und angefangen von P.R. v. Bilguer. Fortgesetzt und herausgegeben von seinem Freunde v. d. Lasa. Berlin, Veit und Comp., 1843. Large 8vo (24 x 15 cm). 2 parts in 1 volume. [2], XI, [1 blank], 376; 124 pp. The second part illustrated with diagrams. Contemporary calf over wooden boards, with two catches and one leather strap with a clasp (the other is missing). Binding rubbed, more severely on the spine, corners damaged, foxed throughout. Overall an attractive copy.


"All artists are not chess players – all chess players are artists" Marcel Duchamp.


First edition of "possibly the most influential chess- book for a period of 90 years" (Oxford Companion to Chess). Von Bilguer had begun the work but died in 1840 when the work was still in the early stages. Von der Lasa took over, finished it and saw it through the press, being in fact the main author. To honour his friend he put Von Bilguer's name as author. Both men were members of the illustrious and influential chess club Berlin Pleiades (other members included Ludwig Bledow, Wilhelm Hanstein, Bernhard Horwitz, Carl Mayet, Carl Schorn) and were part of a development that made Germany the greatest chess nation of the 19th century.


The handbook, divided into two parts, pioneered the modern opening play. The first part opens with a description of general rules and a survey of chess literature, followed by 332 pages of openings analysis; the second and final part covers endgames. The Handbuch became "durch Lasa's Bearbeitung eines der wichtigsten Werke der Schachliteratur" (Van der Linde).


Despite its importance, the Handbuch is scarce on the market.


Oxford Companion to Chess (1984), p. 166; Van der Linde, Geschichte und Literatur des Schachspiels II, p. 15. 

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