Luis Ramírez de Lucena

Luis Ramírez de Lucena (c. 1465 – c. 1530) was a Spanish chess player who published the first still-existing chess book. He is believed to be the son of humanist writer and diplomat Juan de Lucena.[1]

Luis Ramírez de Lucena
Bornc. 1475
Diedc. 1530
NationalityKingdom of Castile
EducationUniversity of Salamanca
OccupationAuthor, chess player
Known forLucena position


A page from his book

Lucena wrote the oldest surviving printed book on chess, Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez con 101 Juegos de Partido ("Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess"), published in Salamanca around 1497.[2] The book includes analysis of eleven chess openings but also contains many elementary errors that led chess historian H. J. R. Murray to suggest that it was prepared in a hurry.[3] The book was written when the rules of chess were taking their modern form (see origins of modern chess), and some of the 150 positions in the book are of the old game and some of the new. Fewer than a dozen copies of the book exist.

Commentators have suggested that much of the material was copied from Francesc Vicent's now-lost 1495 work Libre dels jochs partits dels schacs en nombre de 100.[4]

The Lucena position is named after him, even though it does not appear in his book. (It was first published in 1634 by Alessandro Salvio.) The smothered mate (later named Philidor's legacy) is in the book.[5]


  1. ^ (it) Article by Daniele Ciani about Luis Lucena, on the web site Chess Archeology
  2. ^ Matulka 1931, p. 5.
  3. ^ H.J.R. Murray, A History of Chess, 1913/2012, p. 786.
  4. ^ M. C. Romeo. "Lucena - a mystery after 500 years". Archived from the original on July 2, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ See the image of p. 201 of the book


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