Thomas Frère and the Brotherhood of Chess - $94.95
A History of 19th Century Chess in New York City
Martin Frère Hillyer

ISBN 978-0-7864-2327-9
37 photos, diagrams, appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
223pp. library binding (7 x 10) 2007

The 19th century in America saw the evolution of a leisure society. Enjoying numerous technological advances, people had free time to indulge in a variety of pursuits. An assortment of board games flooded American homes. By the middle of the century, chess had surpassed all other games with its popularity. The author of three important chess texts, Thomas Frère was instrumental in the growth of chess as a significant American pastime.

This work provides an historical and chronological look at the 19th century development of chess through the writings of Thomas Frère. His books, letters, chess columns and scrapbooks chronicles the ways chess evolved over the greater part of the 1800s, and illuminates important players of the time and their games. The main text is divided into four sections covering 1827–1900. The first section looks at the early years as chess moved from private to public venues, discussing the establishment of formal chess clubs such as Frère’s 1856 Brooklyn Chess Club. The second section deals with the First American Chess Congress and the advent of Paul Morphy to the world of chess. The third section focuses on Frère’s part in the first formal world chess championship, a role thoroughly documented in Frère’s letters. The fourth section examines the last decade of the 1800s and the steps that led chess into the 20th century.

About the Author
Martin Frère Hillyer is a descendant of Thomas Frère. He lives in Ohio.


“A leading organizer and writer of the day and is given credit for codifying competition rules at the time...also left behind a great deal of chess notes and memorabilia...impressively detailed picture of the era...delightful, well-researched...has obviously been produced with loving care”—British Chess Magazine

“The book offers a unique look at chess life in this country in the 19th century”—The Washington Post

“Well researched and well written book...strongly recommended”—IM John Donaldson,

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