Studies composed by

F. Chapais

(France, 9.5.1746 - 28.7.1818, Canada)

There is little known of him as a person although he wrote an interesting essay about endgames: Essais analytiques (circa 1780, see below frontcover) :

In EG 145 and EG 146 we can read:

Chapais, the 18th century French trader whose manuscript picked up by von der Lasa investigated the 0002.01 and other endgames. Who was Chapais ~ we have no first name - and what happened to him? Veteran researchers, especially the Frenchman Jean Mennerat and the Dutchman Henk Mesman, have tried to find out more facts than the meagre ones Chapais himself vouchsafed. Mesman traced the original manuscript to Kornik in Poland (a von der Lasa conference will be held there in ix2002) and Mennerat has produced selected facsimile reproductions. But no trace of Chapais has yet come to light. This leaves us free to conjecture — which we now do. Dr Mennerat has confirmed that the following conjecture had not occurred to him. We surmise that Chapais emigrated to French-speaking Canada to join an established Chapais community, perhaps when the upheavals of the French Revolution made life difficult for the well-to-do. In support we adduce: the township of Chapais in the Province of Quebec; records of early 18th century immigrants of the same name; genealogical trees of descendants, some of whom are on record as being traders; and a Chapais prominent in 19th century Canadian politics. Lastly, if relevant handwritten documents should be unearthed we have, thanks to Mennerat and Mesman and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kornik, dozens of pages of holograph material for ready comparison.

Continuing the Chapais Canada Conjecture (see EG145 p591).

In 1930 Thomas Chapais, while representing Canada at the League of Nations, took time off to visit the township of Brecey in Normandy (near St Malo).

Brecey was the reputed ancestral seat of (a branch of) the emigrated Chapais clan, to which 'our' Chapais may or may not have belonged.


Further at Chess Notes by Edward Winter  Chapais is mentioned as one of the first who mentioned the importance of opposition:

Mr Grondijs, however, also mentions Chapais’ manuscript Essais analytiques sure les echecs avec figures (circa 1780):

‘It starts off with a complete theory of the opposition in ten pages, followed by about 100 pages with practical examples showing how to handle basic pawn endings. His theory stops short only of the wider notion of corresponding squares which was discovered and developed from the early twentieth century onwards. Chapais’ treatment includes the diagonal opposition, which he terms oblique opposition, and the so-called magic box.

I am currently working on a book which will disclose that part of the manuscript, and will make Chapais stand out as the hidden genius that he was.’

Also his importance about the endgames with two knight against 1 pawn is mentioned like on Wikipedia.


The most extensive reasearch to find more about him is done by Dr. med. Jean Mennerat.

His research can be found in French language and has a translation to German by Harald E. Balló.


Also Harrie Grondijs has written books where he uses work of Chapais and mentions him in titles like:

King Rules by Harrie Grondijs, Chapais and others.

(See the books by Grondijs, Harrie 1946 about this in Chapaisiania).


At 10.11.2017, ChessMuseum Reports:

Chapais identified as Gaspard Monge (9.5.1746 - 28.7.1818)

Herbert Bastian, recently deposed ex-president of the German Chess Federation, has made an intriguing discovery for chess history, in the course of his ongoing interest for the mysterious Chapais endgame manuscript. The pseudo Chapais - according to Bastian -  stands for the great french mathematician Gaspard Monge, contemporary of Diderot, Alembert, Voltaire and Rousseau, and briefly adviser to Napoleon Bonaparte.

French collector Jean Mennerat was the first to describe the manuscript in detail in a publication in 1992 - the single existing manuscript of the Chapais text today is part of the Heydebrand and von der Lasa library in Kornik, Poland. Bastian's find has been published in an extensive  article in the October number of the German chess magazine Schach -  a book about Chapais/Monge and the manuscript is in the works....


(All his studies, more exact dates, possible corrections or cooks and exact details about sources can be found in the

Harold van der Heijden database V (31-12-2015) )