Wednesday 13 February 2019

Limited edition tournament books

Limited editions of tournament and match books have been a feature of English language chess books since 1891 when The Book of the Sixth American Chess Congress, 1889, by W. Steinitz, was published in an edition of 500. This was followed by The Games in the St. Petersburg Tournament, 1895-96, by James Mason and W. H. K. Pollock, Leeds 1896 (500 copies); The Book of the London International Chess Congress, 1899, by F. W. Lord and W. Ward-Higgs, London 1900 (500 copies); and The World's Championship Chess Match played at Havana between Jose Raul Capablanca and Dr. Emanuel Lasker, by Hartwig Cassel, New York 1921 (600 copies).

Then, from the 1930's, a number of authors published series of limited editions, in much smaller numbers, frequently on past tournaments which had not previously been accorded a tournament book.

E. G. R. Cordingley led the way with 18 limited editions published between 1933 and 1953. His first, on Hastings 1932-33 was limited to just 30 copies, followed by Frankfurt 1930 in an edition of 40.                                             

Fred Reinfeld followed soon after, publishing ten limited editions between 1935 and 1939, with five tournament books, one match book, and four games collections. Reinfeld did not state the number of copies printed for any of these, but The British Chess Magazine reported on page 314 of the July 1935 issue that his second book in the series would be limited to 150 copies. 

Cordingley no. 8 and Reinfeld no. 3 on Margate 1935 are the same book, but Cordingley no. 13 and Reinfeld no. 4 on Hastings 1936-37 are different works.

The king of the limited edition tournament book has to be Jack Spence, with 60 books issued from 1949 to 1963. These were divided between his American Tournament Series (38 books), American Tournament Series Supplements (10), Foreign Tournament Series (10) and Foreign Tournament Series Supplements (2).

The first Spence Limited Edition, on Omaha, 1949, had the largest print run of all of his books at 250, others varied between 75 and 200. 

Details of further limited edition tournament books published up to 1968 follow:

Larry Evans published two limited editions in 1948 and 1950 with runs of 275 and 500 respectively.

G. R. Stoney commenced a series of limited editions with  a book on Carlsbad 1911, published in 1953, however, there were no further books in this series.

Ken Whyld completed Cordingley's final limited edition in 1953, on the Budapest 1921 tournament, and then issued  six of his own between 1953 to 1962, with print runs of 125 to 200.

J. E. Jones published one limited edition book on Amsterdam 1956 in the same year, printing just 60 copies.

Dale Brandreth issued three limited edition tournament books from 1957 to 1960, and, although not part of his limited edition series, his collection of games between Lasker and Pillsbury was limited to 700 copies.

Richard McClellan published five limited editions from 1958 to early 1960's, mainly on events from the 1930's, with print runs of between 120 and 175. 

The book on the Munich Olympiad of 1958, featuring games of the South African team, by K. Dreyer, K. Farquhar and W. Heidenfeld was limited to 400 copies.

In 1962 Frank Skoff and Tom McCloud produced a limited edition of 150 on Chicago, 1959.

Finally, D. B. Pritchard's book on Havering, 1967 was limited to 150 copies. 

I will have a closer look at some of these limited editions next time.

There are no doubt other examples and I note that Di Felice's Chess Competitions 1824 - 1970 includes an English language pamphlet, published circa 1960, on Sverdlovsk 1942 with a limited edition of only 16 numbered copies, at 2129.1.

Limited editions continued to be published into the 1970's with books by Dale Brandreth, Tony Gillam, and probably others. 

                                          © Michael Clapham 2019

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