Scachs d’amor by Bill Wall
is Catalan for “Chess of Love.” The
complete title of this Catalan poem is Hobra intitulada scachs d’amor feta per don franci de Castellvi e Narcis vinyoles e mossen bernat fennolar sota nom de tres planets co es Marc Venus e Mercuri per conjunccio e influencia dels quals fon inventada. The poem was written by Francesc de Castellvi, Bernat Fenollar, and Narcis de Vinyoles. The manuscript was published in
The poem is conceived as a chess game between Francesc de Castellvi and Narciso Vinyoles. Castellvi represented Mars, Love, and had the red pieces (White in modern chess). Vinyoles represented Venus, the Glory, and the green pieces (Black in modern chess). Mars tries to obtain the love of Venus. Mercury acts as an arbiter. The arbiter, Bernat Fenollar, comments and establishes the rules.
The poem uses chess as an allegory for love. Its structure is based upon 64 stanzas, representing the 64 chessboard squares. The first stanza represents White’s move, the second stanza represents Black’s moves, and the third stanza is a comment on the rules of the arbiter. White makes 21 moves, expressed in 21 stanzas. Black makes 20 moves, expressed in 20 stanzas. The arbiter comments 20 times in 20 stanzas. There are three introductory stanzas explaining the allegory, which adds up to the sume of 64 stanzas.
H. J. R. Murray, in A History of Chess, says “The poem exhibits some striking resemblance to Vida’s Schaccia ludus, but on the whole I regard it as describing an earlier phase of chess than that in vida.”
and Fenollar were three well-known members of an
active literary circle in
The manuscript (not a printed book) was discovered in 1905 by the Jesuit P. Ignasi Casanovas (1872-1936). It was lost during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The manuscript consisted of 13 written folia and 30 blank pages.
This game is the first one documented with the modern rules of chess. The game was probably never played, but invented for the poem which contained the 64 stanzas.
de Castellvi was lord of several towns in the area of
was born between 1435 and 1440 in Penaguila, near
was born between 1442 and 1447. He died
The first printed book, by Lambertus
Pamert, appeared in
Castellvi (Mars) – Vinyoles (Venus),
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 e6 8.Qxb7 Nbd7 9.Nb5 Rc8 10.Nxa7 Nb6 11.Nxc8 Nxc8 12.d4 Nd6 13.Bb5+ Nxb5 14.Qxb5+ Nd7 15.d5 exd5 16.Be3 Bd6 17.Rd1 Qf6 18.Rxd5 Qg6 19.Bf4 Bxf4 20.Qxd7+ Kf8 21.Qd8 mate
The poem can be found at http://batgirl.atspace.com/Amor.html