REFERENCE LITERATURE FOR CHESS HISTORY
A Combined Bibliography and Want List
by Anders Thulin
| In the recent column Chess Lore: Wanted at www.chesscafe.com,
Edward Winter listed a number of areas of chess history where further work
is highly desirable. Some of these are: general chess history, player
collections, republication of important annotators like Steinitz and Tartakower,
and translations of important books.
| The area of basic reference material is covered
only briefly and essentially only mentions Jeremy Gaiges impressive works.
It did, however, point out a strange omission in rather strong terms:
This statement can easily be extended to other fields
than that of chess matches, although perhaps none of the same importance.
|[...] and nobody, it would seem, has yet ventured to produce
a dependable chronological list of all match results between strong masters.
As long as something as fundamental as that is lacking in chess literature,
it is strange for anyone to believe that the heritage has been adequately
| The purpose of this article is to make such an attempt
by listing important areas for chess history reference material, noting
what work has been done, and suggesting what further work may be needed.
Jeremy Gaige: Chess Tournament Crosstables
vol I: 1851-1900 (1969)
vol II: 1901-1910 (1971)
vol III: 1911-1920 (1972)
vol IV: 1921-1930 (1974)
privately published: Philadelphia
The standard reference books. Lists all known complete
OTB tournaments regardless of strength, with source references.
Jeremy Gaige: Chess Tournaments - A Checklist
vol I: 1849-1950
vol II: 1951-1980
privately published: Philadelphia, 1985
A listing of known tournaments no crosstables, just event names,
years and winners.
Richard Melton: The Complete Book of Chess Tournament Crosstables
vol 1: 1851-1948
vol 2: 1949-1967
Fountain Hill, AZ : Ram Enterprises, Ltd., 1997 (both volumes)
Despite the title, this work is only a selection of important tournaments,
produced for a different audience than Gaiges work. Its main value
is that it covers the time after 1930, but as there is no source information,
or indications of when the author had to recreate crosstables from partial
information as the preface indicates happened, I doubt that it merits to
cited as a main work for this subject area.
P. Feenstra Kupier: Hundert Jahre Schachturniere
Amsterdam : W. Ten Have N. V., 1964
Covers the most important tournaments in the period 1851-1950.
In German. Referenced by Gaige.
N. I. Grekov: Istoriia shakhmatnykh sostiazanii
Referenced by Gaige.
The only work currently in print is that of Richard Melton.
Gaiges main works only cover complete crosstables for OTB events.
No correspondence tournaments are included, as far as I can find, nor
are incomplete known crosstables listed.
A player index
It is impossible to decide whether a player is listed in a crosstable
without going through all the relevant volumes.
Crosstables up to 1970, at least, are needed, and preferrably to the
same standards already set by Gaige.
- Correspondence tournaments have not been listed at all, as far as
I can find.
- There are several tournaments for which no full crosstable can be
given, but where at least the known data can be presented. To some
extent this is covered by Gaiges Checklist.
- Add information about tournament directors and other persons closely
involved with the progress of the tournaments.
No main work seems to exist.
P. Feenstra Kuiper: Hundert Jahre Schachzweikämpfe
Covers only the most important matches during the 1851-1950 period.
Edward Winter, ed: World Chess Champions
Oxford : Pergamon Press : 1981
- Covers only the World Championships for men.
- There are several other works covering this area, and no compelling
reason to quote more than this one.
Richard Melton : The Complete Book of Chess Tournament Crosstables
Lists World Championship match, Women World Championship match, Junior
Championship match, and some further important match results only.
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess, vol. 1
Contains important matches up to 1866.
Cover matches up to 1970
To similar standards of documentation as used in Chess Tournament Crosstables.
OTHER CHESS EVENTS
No works known
List team matches
List exhibition events: Simuls, blindfolds, living chess, etc.
These have close connections to chess columns, as being indicative
of the chess activity in a community.
List congresses and similar administrative events.
This point has strong connections with chess clubs and organizations,
mentioned below, and should perhaps be merged with it.
None known, but see Zemitis below.
Theodor Kiel: Verzeichnis der Schachzeitungen und Schachspalten
Val Zemitis: Alpha list of international chess journals
Davis, CA : Amber Pub. Co., 1991
Not seen. May be main work.
Some national chess bibliographies, and chess library catalogues cover
List general chess periodicals up to at least 1970
- The main purpose is of course to get an idea of what periodicals
a country, an editor, a language has produced. Another important
purpose is to provide a base for correct and unambiguous bibliographic
references. (Anyone who doubts this is needed is cordially invited to study
the publishing history of Wiener Schachzeitung. All of them.)
- This list has connections with the chess column list mentioned below,
as some chess columns have been published under names that easily can be
mistaken for names of periodicals, e.g. Augsburger Schachblatt, or BergischeSchachzeitung.
List club periodicals
These are only rarely listed in general works of bibliography, yet
can give important information on the growth, life and decay of a chess
club (or at least its club magazine).
Alain C. White: List of Chess Columns
published in several installations in the chess column of Norwich
Mercury (UK) in 1907-1908
|Other known works:
Theodor Kiel: Verzeichnis der Schachzeitungen und Schachspalten
Johann Berger: Schachjahrbuch 1899/1900 contains a list of chess
Some national chess bibliographies cover this area, and occasional chess
column clippings may be available in libraries.
List columns up to at least 1950
- The number of chess columns gives a good indication of the level
of chess interest in a country, as well as the type of chess interest:
game play or problem chess. They are often the source for information
of local interest, and are now the sources for many otherwise unknown
games by visiting chess luminaries.
- For the area of republication of important writers and annotators,
knowledge of their columns is of prime importance.
| This area comprises composed problems and studies,
prize tourneys etc.
List prize tourneys
Coverage of tourneys for chess problems or studies, in particular the
list of prize winners, and where the report was published. For early tourneys
perhaps up to 1930(?) it would be useful to document the winning compositions
as well, as original sources are becoming increasingly more difficult to
Catalogue private publications
- This may be a non-issue, but I have the impression that many works
in this field are published privately, and only seldom appear in official
works of national bibliography. - If this impression is correct, we need
a bibliography over such works on chess composition.
CHESS CLUBS AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
In these days of highly organized chess, the main sources are probably
the publications of the different chess federations and organizations.
Cover the early years
That is, cover the time before chess became much organized in the area,
region or country of interest: What chess clubs existed? Where?
How large were they? When did they die, or merge with other clubs,
or refuse to do so, etc. This area has close connections with that
of chess personalia.
Monographs on important chess clubs
Some chess clubs are of sufficient interest to merit their own studies.
One possibility may be the Havana Chess Club in the late 1880s.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CHESS HISTORY
Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana aucta et de novo descripta
Vol 1: Chess: Bibliography and History
The Hague, 1974
- Only covers holdings of the library, not necessarily everything that
has been published, though coverage is probably very close to 100%.
- Not in print.
More of the same
25 years have passed.
| This area has already been mentioned by Winter,
but Id like to add my suggestion for republication of chess columns by
important chess writers, players or problemists.
| And, as so many of the works listed elsewhere in
this article are out of print, the general area of chess history could
also do with a bit of republishing of important works.
| I have not mentioned chess personalia, but that
is only because Jeremy Gaige has done so much in that area already that
I cant think of anything more to do.
| Main work is Gaiges Chess Personalia (MacFarland,
1987 out of print). Judging from the catalogue of Cleveland Public
Library (www.cpl.org), Gaige has
also produced similar works for many individual countries, and for other
subgroups (women players, problemists, arbiters, etc.)
© 1999 Anders Thulin. All Rights