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Chess History

If you like chess, chances are you will enjoy learning more about the history of the royal game and its players. Below are some of the best history-related chess links.

Chess Archaeology
A robust and active site that features PGN files of difficult to find games, articles about recent "excavations," links to other sites, historical chess photographs and drawings, and advertisements for limited edition chess history books. The "Excavations" section contains a number of fascinating articles.

Chess Cafe
One of the best sites on the net, this site reads like an amazing monthly magazine with several ongoing features and archives to back issues. Includes book reviews, opening analysis, and games. Those interested in history will most want to read Edward Winter's Chess Notes column.

Chess Curiosities
Tim Krabbe's wonderful collection of far-fetched facts from the history of the royal game. A truly entertaining and often humorous site that you must visit.

Chess Tournament and Match History
Glenn Giffen's useful site, complete with many PGN files to download.

World Championship
A rather complete history of the championship with game files to download.

British Chess Magazine
The oldest chess magazine in continuous publication, British Chess Magazine offers a window onto chess history and history in the making. Be sure to check out the Britbase section of the site (which is hard to find from the main page if you don't know to look for it). Britbase, the British Chess Game Archive, features downloads of PGN files from almost all British tournaments in history, including almost all of the great Hastings tournaments.

The Campbell Report
Your window onto the world of correspondence chess. I recommend the column On the Square for those interested in history and Hard Chess for those who enjoy analysis, but there is a wealth of information, games, and archives for you to explore. You might enjoy John Hilbert's piece titled Stalking the Blue-Eyed Chess Score.

Chess Dryad: California Chess History
Articles from old California chess magazines and a games archive are featured here.

Chess History
An active clearinghouse for chess historians and those interested in seeing works in progress.

Chess History by Larry Parr at World Chess Network
A useful introductory article on chess history with a focus on great players and the development of the World Championship.

Offers historical chess ratings of all the great players before Elo.

Super Tournaments
Download files from historical "super"-GM events.

La Grande Storia Degli Scacchi
A very thorough history of the great players of times past. Includes many historical tournament crosstables, photographs, and writings on Italian chess history.

History of the Chess Olympiads with downloads.

A History of the National High School Chess Championship
A fascinating chronology, from 1969 to the present, with details about the participants and some games appended.

The Dimock Theme Tournament of 1924 by Michael Goeller
My site devoted to a small theme tournament that featured Marshall, Torre, and Santasiere contesting games beginning 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4.

History of Chess Olympiads
Great historical info, from the most recent olympiad website. An impressive collection.

U.S. Chess History
Articles from the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame site.

Chess History Timeline
A dateline of chess-related events.

Chess Notes by Edward Winter (now at Chess History)
The great chess historian (semi-emeritus) shares his findings in a series of articles, formerly at Chess Cafe. If you are into chess history, you'll want to check back here often.

Chess History: The Game is Afoot by Terry Crandall

Early Modern Chess, The Dawning of Enlightenment by Gary Thomas

The Greatest Chessmasters by Ignacio Marin
Some opinionated but interesting history of Morphy and Steinitz.

Chess Poster Chess History by Chesmayne
An excellent chronicle and discussion of the many periods of chess history, beginning with the origins and working through the Renaissance, the Romantic era, the hypermodern period, and our own era of professional tournament play.

Cleveland Public Library
Home to the John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection, the Cleveland Public Library is worth knowing about and visiting if you are serious about chess history. At over 33,000 volumes devoted to chess and checkers, it is by far the largest collection of its kind in the world.

Chess History Group at Yahoo
Register to get history updates and chat.

Chess Endgames - Chess Analyses - Jan van Reek
A wonderful collection of PGN files on historic tournaments and matches (along with other cool stuff).

DejaNews Chess History Discussion Board
Now part of the Google Groups, DejaNews Chess History is the best place to talk about history or post a history related query.

The Greatest Masters by Ignacio Marin
Detailed biographies of Morphy and Steinitz (so far).

Chess Records Management
A list of historical tournaments and winners. Wish it had crosstables and other details. But it is an impressive effort from Nick Pope.

Great Players
From the Chess Poster web site, short bios of the most famous champions of the game.

Historic Chess Variants from Chess Variants.
An incredibly thorough collection of rules on chess variants through the ages is offered here. Check out the story of Chaturanga which was likely the original version of our game.

Victor Keats - Chess Historian
A site devoted to the historical research of Professor Keats, bibliophile and chess historian, with information about his books and some short writings and extracts.

Legends of Chess
A page from the City College Chess Club devoted to all of the world champions.

Marshall Chess Club
One of the longest-lived continuously operating chess clubs in the world, the Marshall is a testament to the longevity of the game in New York City and is worth a visit.

Norman Tweed Whitaker and the Search for Historical Perspective by John S. Hilbert
A really amazing piece of historical analysis, commentary, and self-reflection by our leading chess journalist and historian.

Old in Chess (in Spanish and English)
A site devoted almost exclusively to the history of chess in the 1970s. So it really isn't that "old" in chess terms. But it has some good collections of games and information on players.

Old Masters Archive
Short biographies of selected great players.

On the Origins of Chess
A European site in English devoted to tracing the starting point of the game we call chess.

On the Square, by John S. Hilbert and others
Articles on chess history and other matters -- including pieces by the great chess historian John S. Hilbert. See especially his well-known piece titled Stalking the Blue-Eyed Chess Score.

The Origin of Chess by Sam Sloan
The detective is on the case. An interesting essay with excellent links to other resources (at the bottom of the page) devoted to that ancient history retrograde analysis dilemma.

Princeton University Library
Home to the Eugene B. Cook chess collection, the second largest in the U.S., Princeton is a "closed stack" library that requires permission to access, so be sure to call ahead about their policies before making the trip.

Sarah's Serendipitous Chess Page: Chess History
Has some good articles. Especially of interest is the page devoted to Chess Automatons (given the recent publication of The Turk, about Maelzel's Chessplayer) and the biography of Morphy (which includes web-viewable games).


Updated 06.12.2005 | Contact Michael Goeller