Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ben Franklin 300 and the Morals of Chess

Nicola Twilley of the Ben Franklin Tercentenary ( writes--

I wondered whether you might be able to share information about this
upcoming chess event with your blog readers:

Among all his other firsts, Benjamin Franklin also managed to author the first piece of writing on chess published in the United States. In 1786, readers of The Columbian Magazine were treated to Franklin’s essay, “The Morals of Chess,” which began thus: “The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. (...) For life is a kind of chess ...”

In this special lecture, John McCrary, Past President of the United States Chess Federation, and Past President of the US Chess Trust, will explore Franklin’s significance to modern chess and the diplomatic and moral lessons Franklin learned from the game. Mr. McCrary will also speculate on Franklin’s actual chess-playing abilities, and introduce some of his opponents, who included several women chess-players, as well as the sensational “Turk” – a chess-playing machine that took Paris by storm.

The lecture will take place in Benjamin Franklin Hall at the American Philosophical Society, and will be followed by a question and answer session, interactive chess diplomacy, a chance to see Franklin’s own original chess set, and refreshments.

This lecture series is made possible through the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation.

Benjamin Franklin Hall, American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106, United States. 6:00 p.m. Free.
(215) 545-3870 ext. 112.

My pleasure! Check it out if you're in the area.

UPDATE: Seems I left out the date in the original post. The lecture will be September 12.

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