About De Ludo Scachorum
De ludo scacchorum or De ludo scachorum (Latin: On the Game of Chess) is a manuscript on the game of chess written by Luca Pacioli, a leading mathematician of the Renaissance. Created in the times when rules of the game (especially the way queen and bishop move) were evolving to the ones we know today. De ludo scacchorum therefore, contains chess problems, to be solved using the old or the modern rules.
The composition of the manuscript (paleographic and linguistic analyses were conducted by Professors Attilio Bartoli Langeli and Enzo Mattesini, docent in Linguistics at the University of Perugia) can be placed between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. A dated watermark on one of its page sets the "terminus post quem" more exactly to 1496, while a request for a printing privilege addressed to the Venetian Doge Leonardo Loredan establishes the "terminus ante quem" as December 29, 1508.
This manuscript was not the first of its kind, but one of the most striking things about it, apart from the originality of its teasers, is the novelty and beauty of its illustrations. While in most contemporary depictions the pieces were represented by letters or numbers (only two depictions used figures, but they were crude, like the chess pieces of the day), in De Ludo Schacorum king, queen, bishop and knight are all represented by elegant and distinctive symbols.
For centuries, it laid in one dusty private library after the next, considered important but from an unknown author, until it was rediscovered in 2006 in the Fondazione Palazzo Coronini Cronberg library collections. From here it went into hands of Franco Rocco, Reinessance geometry expert, who discovered sensational connection between manuscript and Leonardo da Vinci.
Entire story on manuscript re-discovery can be seen on main page under Chess pieces designed by a great master!
View of Villa Coronini 1868 * Alois Hans Scharam