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Alessandro Salvio
Number of games in database: 1
Years covered: 1634

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(born 1570, died 1640, 70 years old) Italy

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Alessandro Salvio (born circa 1570) was an Italian chess player who is considered to be the unofficial world champion around the year 1598, when he defeated Paolo Boi just three days before Boi died, allegedly by poison. He defeated Geronimo Cascio in 1606.

He belonged to a rich family which allowed him to study and obtain the title of doctor. His brother was a somewhat famous poet who dedicated some published verses to him. He frequented the Napolitana Academy and the chess house of Constanzo Carafa, where he gave several blindfold exhibitions. As a result of these performances, he was asked to perform in the presence of the Count of Benavente, the Marquess of Corleto, Count Francisco de Castro, the Count of Lemos, and even of the Pope of Rome. He started an Italian chess academy in Naples, Italy.

Dr. Salvio wrote two books on chess. Trattato dell'Inventione et Arte Liberale del Gioco Degli Scacchi ("Treaty of the Liberal Invention of the Game of the Chess") was published in Naples in 1604 and is described as the first comprehensive chess book. Il Puttino was published 1634 and is the first book to describe the famous rook and pawn ending now known as the Lucena Position. Salvio also wrote a tragic poem about chess, La Scaccaide.

He analyzed a variation of the King's Gambit known as the Salvio Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.♘f3 g5 4.♗c4 g4 5.♘e5 ♕h4+ 6.♔f1.

Sources: RookHouse Wikipedia - Wikipedia article: Alessandro Salvio -

 page 1 of 1; one game  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Salvio vs NN 1-0121634StudyC50 Giuoco Piano

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: 70 years old!! Quite an advanced age, considering the time frame he lived in!

(I would have spotted him the queen and still have won! :-))

Oct-04-08  Karpova: A link to J. H. Sarratt's book "The Works of Damiano, Ruy Lopez and Salvio on the Game of Chess", London 1813:
Oct-04-08  Karpova: In connection with Italian chess Alessandro Nizzola's article "Italian Chess 1560-1880" is very important. Link:

Italian chess had special rules at that time and this only stopped in 1880. So many games from Italian masters from 1560 to 1880 are not fully comparable to modern chessgames (you'll see what I mean if you have a look at Sarratt's book in my previous post).

Nizzola on the special rules:

Free castling:

<In Italy, castling was freer and more limited at the same time. The King and Rook, after jumping over each other, could go to any square up to and including the other’s starting point, provided an enemy piece was not attacked by either piece. For instance, King’s side castling for White would allow the following six options: 1. Kh1-Re1, 2. Kh1-Rf1, 3. Kh1-Rg1 (not always a good solution with a Black Knight in g4!), 4. Kg1-Re1, 5. Kg1-Rf1 (not very popular among Italians), and 6. Kf1-Re1. Depriving one’s opponent of castling was a substantial advantage, named vantaggio dell’ arroccamento.>

Passing by:

<Italian Pawns, when not sacrificing themselves in the first moves to open lines for their pieces, had an opposite tendency towards self-preservation. Cristopher Becker translated the Italian term passar battaglia as passing by the battle, while David Hooper and Ken Whyld in their Oxford Companion to Chess opted for dodging the fight. My compatriots, probably in accordance with medieval tradition, did not allow the en passant capture. The Pawn using its privilege of moving two squares from, let’s say, d7 to d5 on its first move was allowed to “evade combat” at d6 on its way to d5.>

Suspended pawns:

<In Italy, Pawn promotion was only to a piece already captured by the opponent, and it wasn’t possible for a player to have two Bishops of the same square color. If a Pawn reached the eighth rank before any piece of its color had been captured, it had to wait there “suspended” until a piece was captured, at which time the promotion was possible. Then a move was made, either with the new piece or with another. Moving the new piece didn’t find acceptance in every part of Italy according to Adriano Chicco, but Ponziani and del Rio allowed it in their books.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ziryab: Greco’s famous sacrifice first appears not in Greco’s writings, but in Salvio’s 1604 book.

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