Chess in 1753
by Bill Wall, 2021

Books by Bill Wall
In 1753, Francois-Andre Danican Philidor (1726-1795) returned to London, England and lived at No. 20 Meard Street in Soho for a year. He was more focused on music than chess. He was concerned that his chess reputation might injure him as a musician. [source: Allen, The Life of Philidor, 1863. p.36]

On February 23, 1753, Philidor promoted nine of his own works in a concert given in London. It was billed as "Mr. Philidor's Concert." He gave an overture, four arias, a duet, and three choruses at the Great Room at 21 Dean Street in Soho. One of the singers in Philidor's concerts was Gaetano Guadagni (1728-1792), a famous Italian mezzo-soprano castrato singer. [source: Duncan, Music and Musicians in the Equity and Common-Law Courts of England, 1690-1760, 2015, p. 10]

A London newspaper wrote that after a rehearsal for one of Philidor's concerts, he "is in a fair way of making the same figure in Musick as doth at chess." (source: General Advertiser, Feb 23, 1753)

In 1753, George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) heard some of Philidor's musical compositions at a Public performance in London. Handel approved of his choruses, but thought him defective in melody. [source: Taylor, Chess Chip, 1878, p.7]

In March 1753, Count Benjamin Thompson Rumford (1753-1814) was born. He was a famous physicist and keen chess player. His visitors were not allowed to leave unless they played a game of chess with him.

In June 1753, the British Museum opened. They displayed several chess sets and chess boards. The rarest was a cloth chess board and pieces from Mongolia. [source: Harris, A History of the British Museum Library, 1753-1973, 1998]

In December 1753, Philidor set William Congreve's (1670-1729) Ode to Harmony, in honor of St. Cecilia's Day, to music. St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians.

On December 9, 1753, Philidor placed a notice in the London Public Advertiser: "Mr Philidor begs leave to acquaint the public, that in order to justify himself of the calumny spread about town, that he was not the author of the Latin Music he gave last year, as likewise to convince the world that the Art of Music has been at all times his constant study and application, and Chess only his diversion, he has undertaken to set an Ode to Music, in praise of harmony, wrote by the celebrated Mr. Congreve." [source: Twiss, Chess, Vol 2, 1787, pp. 216]

In 1753, Carlo Pindemonti published La Scaccheide in Verona.

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