Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Revealing my ignorance here... I was surprised to find this book on the game of Checkers: Lees' Guide to the Game of Draughts or Checkers: Giving the Best Lines of Attack and Defence on the Standard Openings, with Notes and Variations, Revised and Extended by the Late John W. Dawson of Newcastle-on-Tyne; David McKay Company, Philadelphia (1931). Surprised because I always thought of checkers as a simple game that came boxed with about a half-page set of instructions. So here is a 271-page tome, albeit only about 4 X 6 inches in decorative cloth boards with a jillion illustrations and complicated looking diagrams of strategy and maneuvers. Did they confuse this with chess by some chance? And what is "draughts?" Checkers only gets second billing in the title.
Think of checkers and you (I) get an image of old men sitting around the cracker barrel or old Franklin stove in a country store, slowly pondering their next move on the checker board. I don't think of detailed books, with bloated titles, and this one was originally published in 1897. I guess by 1931 (this edition), the game had changed enough in some way to warrant a new edition. Revised and enlarged. What is there to revise about checkers? Perhaps this falls under the heading of "You can't judge a book by its cover."