Tuesday 3rd of June 2008
Press release Alice and the chess master : the adventure goes on !

« L’Utopie raisonnée pour les droits de la liberté en art (URDLA) », centre international estampe et livre (http://www.urdla.com/gardes.htm), lead by Max SCHOENDORFF, has permitted the adventure « Alice and the chess master » (http://www.echecs-histoire-litterature.com/) to be continued with the publication of a French book entitled Alice and the chess master.

Christophe LEROY, enthusiast (and bewitched !), invites us to the deciphering of the mysterious chess game of the book of English author Charles Lutwidge DODGSON, alias Lewis CARROLL: Through the looking glass and what Alice found there (Continuation of Alice in Wonderland) published in 1871.

We remember the meeting (1999-200) between Christophe LEROY and the NOAO and its famous « Secret Garden » (http://www.ensemblenoao.com/).

Then the event « Garden and wonders : Alice’s mirror » which took place in 2007 in the Lacroix-Laval Domain with the help of the Conseil Général du Rhône, allowing this chess enthusiast (President of Comité Rhône Echecs since 1996, general delegate of the Lyon Olympic Chess club since 1992) to explain this amazing adventure during several conferences with the construction of a giant chessboard made of mirrors.

His travel to London and Oxford the same year yielded him the necessary contacts to continue with his research.

In this 176-page book, a nice demonstration is made on this game, a coded game with different possible translations. It seems to be a request for marriage from Lewis CARROLL to Alice LIDDELL (the true Alice). His request ultimately was refused, making the English poet even more melancholy than normal … but leading him to write a second masterpiece…

Alice and the chess master (written in French !) is circulating at the moment among world experts : Lewis CARROLL Society of London, of New York, Christ Church in Oxford, the historical Alice’s Shop and numerous others experts…

These discoveries are unpublished…
How could this game, visible to all in the book of Lewis CARROLL, keep its secrets for so long? Why did nobody find out the solution despite the tips given by the author himself on December 1896, 25 years after the first edition ?

Lewis CARROLL wrote in his preface to the December 1896 edition:

As the chess-problem, given on the previous page, has puzzled some of my readers, it may be well to explain that it is correctly worked out, so far as the moves are concerned. The alternation of Red and White is perhaps not so strictly observed as it might be, and the “castling” of the three Queens is merely a way of saying that they entered the palace; but the “check” of the White King at move 6, the capture of the Red Knight at move 7, and the final “checkmate” of the Red King, will be found, by any one who will take the trouble to set the pieces and play the moves as directed, to be strictly in accordance with the laws of the game.

Christophe LEROY based his research on a lot of magazines or books which have been sent to the Centre of Chess Players (3, rue de l’Angile Lyon 5°), a place where games have been played for 18 years by the local chess players. He realized that this game had never really been read or solved properly .…

Thinking that this game was really poetic and deserved to be known and recognized, Christophe LEROY said : “I think this game is part of the world literary heritage…” with the feeling to have finally found a precious text of the English author… allowing us to have a truly different reading than the one usually found in Through the looking glass and what Alice found there.

In this French book we can see two acknowledgements to the URDLA and the chessplayers of Lyon:

– one towards Marcel DUCHAMP http://www.echecs-histoire-litterature.com/docs/duchamp.doc : red and white diagrams of the chessboard are similar to those of his book Opposition et cases conjuguées sont réconciliées par Marcel DUCHAMP et V. HALBERSTADT(1932).

– the other one to Lewis CARROLL and Henri RINCK (http://www.echecs-histoire-litterature.com/docs/rinck.doc), endgames specialist from Lyon, recognized throughout the world by his peers, via the use wherever applicable of the Christ symbol (check) of XIXth century.

In fact Henri RINCK was one of the last to use it in his books, including the last one : 1414 fins de parties (1950).
See you soon !

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