Chess Archaeology HomeChess is a scientific game and its literature ought to be placed on the basis of the strictest truthfulness, which is the foundation of all scientific research.W. Steinitz

A Combined Bibliography and Want List
by Anders Thulin

    In the recent column Chess Lore: “Wanted” at, 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 Gaige’s impressive works.  It did, however, point out a strange omission in rather strong terms:
[...] 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 chronicled.
    This statement can easily be extended to other fields than that of chess matches, although perhaps none of the same importance.
    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.
Main work:
  • 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.
    Complementary works:
  • 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 Gaige’s 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.
    Other works:
  • 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

  • Moscow, 1937
    Referenced by Gaige.
  • The only work currently in print is that of Richard Melton. 
  • Gaige’s 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.
    To do:
  • A player index

  • It is impossible to decide whether a player is listed in a crosstable without going through all the relevant volumes.
  • More years

  • Crosstables up to 1970, at least, are needed, and preferrably to the same standards already set by Gaige.
  • Extend coverage

  • - 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 Gaige’s Checklist.
    - Add information about tournament directors and other persons closely involved with the progress of the tournaments.
    Main work:
    No main work seems to exist.
    Other works:
  • P. Feenstra Kuiper: Hundert Jahre Schachzweikämpfe

  • Amsterdam, 1967
    Covers only the most important matches during the 1851-1950 period.  Not seen.
  • 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

  • (see above)
    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.
    To do:
  • Cover matches up to 1970

  • To similar standards of documentation as used in Chess Tournament Crosstables.
    Main works:
    No works known
    To do:
  • 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.
    Main works:
    None known, but see Zemitis below.
    Other works:
  • Theodor Kiel: Verzeichnis der Schachzeitungen und Schachspalten

  • Minden, 1885
    Not seen.
  • 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 this area.
  • To do:
  • 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).
    Main work:
  • 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

  • (see above)
  • Johann Berger: Schachjahrbuch 1899/1900 contains a list of chess columns.
  • Some national chess bibliographies cover this area, and occasional chess column clippings may be available in libraries.
  • To do:
  • 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.
    Main work:
    None known
    To do:
  • 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 obtain.
  • 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.
    Main work:
    None known
    In these days of highly organized chess, the main sources are probably the publications of the different chess federations and organizations.
    To do:
  • 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.
    Main work:
  • 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.
    To do:
  • More of the same

  • 25 years have passed.
        This area has already been mentioned by Winter, but I’d 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 can’t think of anything more to do.
        Main work is Gaige’s Chess Personalia (MacFarland, 1987 — out of print).  Judging from the catalogue of Cleveland Public Library (, Gaige has also produced similar works for many individual countries, and for other subgroups (women players, problemists, arbiters, etc.)
    © 1999 Anders Thulin.  All Rights Reserved.

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