Saturday 1 April 2017

Additions to Betts' Bibliography

Chess: An Annotated Bibliography of Works Published in the English Language, 1850-1968, by Douglas Betts, Boston, Mass. 1974, was compiled in the late 1960's, before the advent of internet search engines, on-line library catalogues and databases. It is therefore understandable that many chess publications escaped his notice.

These omissions were mainly minor local publications, or self published works, often from outside England, and particularly from the United States, where Betts was unable to visit during his research.

I have a particular attraction to works "not in Betts", and I have acquired several over the years and noted details of many others. I will present a few of these from time to time starting with the following selection:

Chess Made Clear by Rev. H. C. De Barathy, M. A.. There is no date or details of publication, but this privately published book was printed by the Kent County Press circa 1930's.


This book is not in the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) but is in the Royal Dutch Library (KB).

The 29 page work assumes that the reader has no knowledge of chess and gives very basic instructions on most aspects of the game. Rooks are called castles and, unusually, the Preface is printed on the verso of the title page, and the page numbers are in words. 

The author concludes by recommending further study with standard works on chess, e.g. those by Capablanca and Alekhine.

Ten Years of Chess Federation, being a Resume of the Work of the British Chess Federation 1904-1913, no publication details are included but, no doubt published by the BCF and printed in Redhill circa 1913.

In CPL but not in KB

The content of this 23 page pamphlet was included in the British Chess Federation Yearbook for 1913, see Betts 8-13, but here it is issued as a separate publication.

The pamphlet gives brief details of the foundation of the Federation in 1904, (Betts gives 1903), and explains that the principal work of the Federation has been the organisation of the ten congresses from Hastings in 1904 to Cheltenham in 1913; with the objective of providing competitions for the British Championship and the British Ladies Championship. The venues and competitors in the first ten congresses are listed and detailed congress expenses and receipts are tabulated.

Details of the English County Championships, Correspondence Tourneys, Problem Tourneys and Public School Chess are also included. Page 15 has information on the Blackburne Testimonial fund which had provided an annuity of £2 per week for Mr & Mrs J. H. Blackburne. 

Various other matters are discussed including details of the Federation chess clock and the need for an international chess organisation. 

The following two items "not in Betts" have already been discussed in the article Chess Variants.

Game of Eagle Chess, Introduced and Published by Henry Tichauer, Oxford 1943.

Crompton's Chess; Double Sided Partnership Chess by George Crompton, Framingham, Mass. 1960. 

                                     © Michael Clapham 2017

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