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Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership
Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership by Edward Lasker (romantic love story reading .pdf) 📖
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The best players at present are considered to be NewellBanks and Alfred Jordan.





The game of Chess is played by two armies who oppose each otheron a square board or battlefield of sixty-four alternate whiteand black squares. Each army has sixteen men; one King, oneQueen, two Rooks (or Castles), two Bishops, two Knights and eightPawns. The Generals of the two armies are the two playersthemselves. The men of one side are of light color and are calledWhite, those of the other side are of dark color and are calledBlack.

The object of the game is to capture the opposing King. When thisis done the battle is ended, the side losing whose King iscaptured. To understand what is meant by the capture of the Kingit is first necessary to become acquainted with the lawsaccording to which the different men move on the board.

To start with, the board must be placed so that

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership by Edward Lasker

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**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

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*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****


Title: Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership

Author: Edward Lasker

Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4913] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on March 25, 2002] [This file was last updated on April 7, 2002]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII



This etext was produced by John Mamoun <mamounjo@umdnj.edu> with help from the online distributed proofreaders page of Charles Franks.


Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership

Complete instructions for the beginner [and] valuable suggestions for the advanced player.


Edward Lasker











Board and men

The moves of the men

Special terms

Symbols for moves

Chess laws




Fundamental endings

Relative value of the men

How the different men cooperate





King’s Pawn openings

Queen’s Pawn openings

The middle game




Game No. 1: Jackson Showalter vs. Edward Lasker,

Lexington, Ky., 1917


Game No. 2: Edward Lasker vs. Jose R. Capablanca,

New York, 1915










The first position

The second position

The change of the move

The third position

The fourth position

The fifth position








The following is an e-text of “Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership,” by Edward Lasker, copyright 1918, printed in New York.

This e-text contains the 118 chess and checkers board game diagrams appearing in the original book, plus an extra chess diagram that appears on the front cover of the book, all in the form of ASCII line drawings. The following is a key to the diagrams:

For chess pieces,


R = Rook

Kt = Knight

B = Bishop

Q = Queen

K = King

P = Pawn

Black pieces have a # symbol to the left of them, while white pieces have a ^ symbol to the left of them. For example, #B is the Black bishop, while ^B is the white bishop. #Kt is the black knight, while ^Kt is the white knight. This will let the reader instantly tell by sight which pieces in the ASCII chess diagrams are black and which are white.

For Checkers pieces,


* = black single piece

o = white single piece


** = black king

oo = white king

Those who find these diagrams hard to read should feel free to set up them up on a game board using the actual pieces.


The present world war has given great impetus to the game of Chess. In the prison camps, in the field hospitals, in the training camps and even in the trenches Chess has become a favorite occupation in hours of leisure, not only because it offers a most fascinating pastime, but mainly because it serves beyond any doubt to develop what is now the most interesting study for every soldier—the grasp of the principles underlying military strategy and the ability to conceive and to carry out military operations on a large scale.

Frederick the Great, Napoleon and Moltke, the great scientists of war, had a decided liking for the game of Chess and owed to it many an inspiration which helped them in laying out their military plans. Indeed, no other game exists which offers such complete analogies to war.

Two armies oppose each other on the Chess board, composed of different units which may well be compared with infantry, cavalry and artillery.

The success of the operations on the board, which represents the battlefield, does not depend upon any element of chance, but solely upon the ingenuity and the skill of the players who are the commanders-in-chief of the forces.

Although a Chess game differs from a battle in that the material strength of the opponents is equal, the order of events is the same in Chess as in war. The troops are first mobilized and made ready for action with utmost speed, then important positions are occupied which give the troops freedom of action and insure safe lines of retreat and, finally, when the formation of the enemy is known, the strategic plan is made which the generals try to carry out by means of different tactical maneuvers.

Considering this similarity of Chess and war it is not surprising that Chess has gained greatly in popularity among all those whose work or thought is more than superficially influenced by the present war.

No special inducement, however, would be necessary to learn the game, were it more generally known that great advantage is to be derived from the study of Chess, quite apart from the cultivation of strategic ability.

The faculty which is developed by playing Chess is useful wherever logical thinking and concentration are needed, and it cannot be denied that these qualities are most desirable in the every day struggle in which mental work has so largely superseded manual labor.

The thoughtful playing of the game not only cultivates the logical quality and imaginative power of the mind but also tends to develop strength of character. It teaches us not to be hasty in our decisions, but to exercise foresight at all times as we must abide by all consequences of our actions. Moreover, we learn from it circumspection which causes us to survey the whole scene of action and does not allow us to lose ourselves in detail; we also learn not to be discouraged by reverses in our affairs but to hold out and always search for fresh resources.

Thus, Chess serves a good purpose for young and old. The boy will find it a fascinating pastime and, unconsciously sharpening his wits in playing the game, will acquire a fine preparation for his calling in life, no matter what it may be. For the man, and the woman too, Chess is well worth learning, as it will prove the best companion in hours of leisure.

The reason why many people hesitate to learn the game and to teach it to their children is that Chess has been misrepresented as a game which is very difficult to master. This false impression has been created mainly by the wrong methods of teaching usually employed. The majority of writers on Chess deal with a maze of variations and they expect the reader to memorize the moves with which to parry the maneuvers of the opponent, instead of simply developing a few common sense principles which are easy to grasp and perfectly sufficient to make a good player of any one.

This is really the great advantage of the game of Chess over any other board game, that it lends itself to the application of general principles, so that any one can grasp and enjoy it without memorizing more than the rules according to which the men move.

I have tried to develop these principles in a simple way so that they are sure to be easily understood, and I have been greatly aided in my task by Miss Helen Dvorak and Mr. Eugene Fuller, who, without any previous knowledge of the game, have learned it in reading through the manuscript of this book. They have given me many valuable hints in pointing out all that did not seem readily intelligible to the mind of the beginner.

In explaining the game of Checkers, to which the second part of the book is devoted, I have also tried to develop general principles of strategy, rather than to offer a mere classification of analyzed lines of play, which the reader would have to memorize in order to be able to compete with experts.

I was fortunate enough to secure the collaboration of the Checker Champion, Alfred Jordan, who enthusiastically adopted the new idea of teaching and furnished most of the material which I have used in illustrating the vital points of the game.



The History of Chess


The game of Chess in the form in which it is played to-day is usually assumed to be of a much older date than can be proved with certainty by documents in our possession. The earliest reference to the game is contained in a Persian romance written about 600 A.D., which ascribes the origin of Chess to India. Many of the European Chess terms used in the Middle Ages which can be traced back to the Indian language also tend to prove that India is the mother country of the game.

We are, therefore, fairly safe in assuming that Chess is about 1300 years old. Of course we could go farther, considering that the Indian Chess must have been gradually developed from simpler board games. Indeed we know from a discovery in an Egyptian tomb built about 4000 B.C. that board games have been played as early as 6000 years ago; but we have no way of finding out their rules.

The game of Chess spread from India to Persia, Arabia and the other Moslem countries, and it was brought to Europe at the time of the Moorish invasion of Spain. It also reached the far East, and games similar to Chess still exist in Japan, China, Central and Northern Asia, the names and rules of which prove that they descended from the old Indian Chess.

In Europe Chess spread from Spain northward to France, Germany, England, Scandinavia and Iceland. It became known with extraordinary rapidity, although at first it was confined to the upper classes, the courts of the Kings and the nobility. In the course of time, when the dominance of the nobility declined and the inhabitants of the cities assumed the leading role in the life of people, the game of Chess spread to all classes of society and soon reached a popularity which no other game has ever equaled.

While in the early Middle Ages the game was played in Europe with the same rules as in the Orient, some innovations were introduced by the European players in the later Middle Ages which proved to be so great an improvement that within a hundred years they were generally adopted in all countries including the Orient. The reason

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