Saturday 29 October 2022

Additions to Betts' Bibliography. Part 3

Nineteenth century tournament publications.

I have not yet carried out a complete comparison of the entries in Chess Competitions 1824-1970 by Gino Di Felice, Olomouc 2013, with Betts' Bibliography but I suspect that this would reveal a large number of additional publications. The majority would relate to minor and/or local events from around the world and it is not surprising that Betts missed many of these with the tools at his disposal, while it is also a wonder that Di Felice managed to track down so many items for his bibliography. However, Di Felice also missed a number of tournament publications and three of the items below are absent from Chess Competitions.

Newcastle-upon Tyne 1866

Report of the First Annual Gathering of the Northumberland and Durham Chess Association...held at Newcastle-upon-Tyne...2/3 April 1866, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1867.  

Sources: Chess Competitions by Di Felice 1543.1; Das Erste Jartausend der Schachlitteratur (850-1880) by van der Linde no.1855; Quaritch Catalogue 428 (Rimington Wilson) no. 1042.

No availability found.


North Shields 1867

Report of the Second Annual gathering of the Northumberland and Durham Chess Association, held at North Shields...1867,  Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1868. 58p.

The book gives details of the various tournaments held, 34 games and 12 problems from the problem tournament. See Chess Book Chats July 2017 for further details.

Sources: Chess Competitions by Di Felice 1560.1; Schachlitteratur (850-1880) by van der Linde no. 1856; Quaritch Catalogue 428 (Rimington Wilson) no. 1043.

Availablity: Free Library of Philadelphia.


Collection of Owen & Kathy Hindle


Cincinnati 1887

Ohio Chess Association, Constitution, First Tournament etc., Cincinnati 1887. 22p

This publication includes a history of the organisation of the Ohio Chess Association, the Constitution, details of the first convention and tournament, round by round results of the tournament which was run on the knockout system (a decision later regretted), and 7 games.

Sources: Sammlung von Schriften über das Schachspiel, by von der Lasa 1896, no. 1895; Chess Competitions by Di Felice 2013, no. 527.1.

Availability: KB, Princeton University, digitized edition at



Cincinnati 1888.

United States Chess Association. First Annual Report, Constitution etc. Publ. J.R. Mills & Sons, Cincinnati 1889? 52p.

Contains all 24 games of the 1st United States Chess Association Championship won by Jackson Whipps Showalter.

Source: John Rather Chess List 81-A, item 3. Not in Di Felice's Chess Competitions.

Availability:  Library Company of Philadelphia.


New York 1889

Aside from the well known tournament books on the Sixth American Chess Congress, by Morgan and Steinitz, Di Felice's Chess Competitions lists four additional English publications not recorded in Betts. Two of these are pre-tournament programmes which Betts specifically excluded, but the other two, although issued before the tournament, are both of some importance and interest. Di Felice's source in each case was von der Lasa'a catalogue: Sammlung von Schriften über das Schachspiel, Wiesbaden 1896.  


To the Subscribers of the proposed American Chess Congress, and to American Chess-Players generally, compiled by James A. Russell, Baltimore 1887. 14p.

Russell was very much against the appointment of Steinitz as editor of the proposed tournament book, on account of the "vulgar and offensive language" used by Steinitz as editor of The International Chess Magazine.  Russell appealed to subscribers and American chess-players generally to boycott the book, he also asked for his own subscription to be returned but this was refused. 

This pamphlet includes copies of correspondence between Russell and Steinitz and others regarding this matter. It also includes articles from magazines denouncing Steinitz's editorial style.

Sources: von der Lasa 154-2, Di Felice, Chess Competitions 1481.2.

Availabilty: Several US libraries have this item as well as libraries in Madrid and Montreal, but it is not in KB or CPL. Digitized edition at




Sixth American Chess Congress; Address and Prospectus, signed W. W. Ellsworth, Constantine Schubert and W. Steinitz (the committee), Brooklyn 1887. 15p.

The committee firstly emphasises the importance of international chess competition, then presents its proposals for the Sixth American Chess Congress, followed by a five page appeal for subscribers to the book of the tournament to be edited by Steinitz, and issued in a strictly limited edition at the price of $10. 

Sources: von der Lasa 154-1, Di Felice 1481.8.

Availabity: CPL, Harvard University, digitized edition at


Saint Louis 1890

United States Chess Association, Third Annual Report, publ. Carlon & Hollenbeck, Indianapolis 1891. 62p.

Organisation, Constitution, list of members, forty-two games played at Saint Louis 1890 and seven games played at Indianapolis 1889.

Sources: University Place Book Shop List 103 (circa 1957), no. 196,  A. Buschke catalogue 1958, no. 18. Not in Chess Competitions by Di Felice.

Availability: Library Company of Philadelphia.


Lexington 1891

Fourth Annual Report of the United States Chess Association with Twenty-Six Games played at the Lexington, Ky. meeting, publ. Keating & Co., Cincinnati 1893.  50p.

The tournament was won by  J.W. Showalter after a play-off game with  W.H.K. Pollock. The seven player all-play-all would have produced 21 games plus the play-off making a total of 22 games, however the title states that 26 games are included in this publication.

Sources: University Place Book Shop Catalog No. XIII (1937), no. 337; Chess Competitions by Di Felice no. 1120.1; The David DeLucia Chess Library Vol I, (2009), no. 2410.

No availability found


New York (Skaneateles) 1891

Selected games from the Staats-Zeitung Tournament, Albany 1891.

Source: University Place Book Shop Catalog No. XXII, no. 17. Not in Di Felice's Chess Competitions.

No further details or availabilty found. This has to be regarded as a provisional entry in view of the lack of any further information on this publication.

The magnificent Staats-Zeitung cup was commisioned by Oswald Ottendorfer and presented to the New York Chess Association in 1890 to be competed for annually. The Manhattan Chess Club, represented by Major Hanham won the inaugural contest in 1891.  

American Chess Magazine August 1898, page 52.


© Michael Clapham 2022 

Monday 24 October 2022

Additions to Betts' Bibliography. Part 2

Further 19th century works not included in Chess: An Annotated Bibliography of Works Published in the English Language. 1850-1968.


BL    British Library, London 

CPL  Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio

KB  Koninklijke Biliotheek, Royal Library at The Hague

Aucta  Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana aucta et de novo descripta, The Hague 1974.


Chess: British Standard Handbook No. 12, published by J. & R. Maxwell London, c1883. 32p. 

An unreliable and outdated little guide with basic instructions, laws, openings and six problems.  

Availability: BL which has a compilation of British Standard Handbooks in two volumes. The whole series being edited by Henry Llewellyn Williams. Harvard University.



"Mephisto", the Marvellous Automaton. Exhibited at the International Theatre, Exposition Universelle, Paris. 1889. Published by T. Pettitt & Co. London [1889]. 

79p, coloured frontispiece. 

Contents: Chapter I - How "Mephisto" was caught. Chapter II - A Chapter on Automatic Androids. Chapter III - Mechanical Chess. Chapter IV - Testimony of John Imray. Chapter V - Opinions of the Press. Chapter VI - Selection of Games Played by Mephisto.

Fake Automata in Chess by Ken Whyld, Caistor 1994, No. 428.

This appears to be a substantial and important work on chess automata which is absent from the main chess libraries.

Availability: IE University Library, Madrid; Harvard University; Digitized edition at




The Principles of Chess: A Lecture delivered before the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Chess Club, by Louis Zollner, on Tuesday, 10th March, 1891. Printed by M.S. Dodds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1891. 16p. LN 1077

The author gives general advice on playing the game; the first eight pages concentrate on the deployment of the pawns. 

Availability: KB, CPL, Digitized edition at



How to Play Chess: by G.C. Heywood, M.S. Dodds, Newcastle-on-Tyne 1893.

Reprinted with corrections and additions from the "Newcastle Weekly Chronicle".

37 pages plus 10 pages of adverts. 

Elementary Lessons in 4 chapters, one illustrative game and Minor or Special Principles by W.N. Potter. See Chess Book Chats July 2017 for further details.

Availabilty: Several libraries have a copy of this book, including IE University Library, Madrid, and Harvard University, but it is not in BL, KB or CPL. Digitized edition at


Collection of Owen & Kathy Hindle


Four Chess, by W.H. Blyth, Cambridge University Chess Club, Cambridge 1892. 48p.

A handbook on four-handed chess with particular reference to the Hughes game as played in the London Four-Handed Chess Club. Laws, openings, end-games, games and problems.

Source: Copy for sale by Michael Sheehan in 2017.

Availability: Cambridge University Library, Bodleian Library, Oxford (H.J.R. Murray's copy), CPL.



The Brooklyn Chess Club Chronicles, etc. by William Duval, Brooklyn NY 1894. [4], 38p. 

This unusual work covers a wide variety of events and personalities from around the chess world; the entire text is in rhyme.

Source: University Place Book Shop Catalogue XIII, item 98.

Availability: CPL, KB, digitized edition at



The Year's Doings 1895. The Brooklyn Chess Club, by William Duval, Brooklyn NY 1895. 15p.

Covers events at the Club during 1895 and also Pillsbury's victory at the Hastings Tournament of 1895, all in rhyme.

Availability: CPL, KB, digitized edition at


How to place eight men on the sixty-four squares of a chess or draught board so that no two men shall be in line vertically, laterally or diagonally, by Alexander Cuthbert, Glasgow 1895. 7p.

I am not sure if this counts as a chess book but I include it for completeness.

Availabilty: BL, National Library of Scotland.


How to Play Chess, published by Wehman Bros. New York c1895. 42p

The date of publication is very uncertain. Various sources give dates between 188? and 1900. Cleveland Public Library has only a 64p later edition dated 1930s.

Source: University Place Book Shop Catalogue XIII, item 352.

Availabilty: New York Public Library, CPL (later edition)


Origin and Early History of Chess, by A.A. MacDonell, Royal Asiatic Society, London 1898. 25p. LN 244, Aucta 712.

See Chess Book Chats July 2017 for further details.

Reprinted from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, January 1898. 

Availability: KB, CPL.


© Michael Clapham 2022

Thursday 20 October 2022

Additions to Betts' Bibliography. Part 1.


This first list of additions to Betts' Bibliography includes some 19th century works in chronological order. More 19th century works and tournament books will be included in a later article.


BL    British Library, London 

CPL  Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio (The J.G. White Collection)

KB  Koninklijke Biliotheek, Royal Library at The Hague (The Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana Collection) 


The Chess-Player's Pocket Companion: Containing An Account of the Game of Chess; a Synopsis of all the ordinary Openings; Analyses of the best Attacks and Defences; and a few of the Endings of Games, by Samuel Comyn, Simpkin, Marshall and Co. London 1851. vii, 68 pages with folding plate of a chess-board between pages 20 and 21.

This is primarily a book on the openings but also includes an Introduction which covers the history of chess, general instructions, maxims, laws, notation etc. The final chapter discusses various endings. 

Availability: BL, CPL, digitized edition at

See  Chess Book Chats July 2017 for further details.



A Collection of Problems in Chess, by the most Eminent Composers; Exemplifying some of the greatest beauties of Chess Strategy: collected and arranged by John Augustus Miles, to which are added a few original positions, which have been constructed expressly for this work. Fakenham 1855. 64 unnumbered leaves. 50 copies printed. LN 2395

120 problems (plus two in the frontis) printed two to a page on the rectos only. List of Subscribers with thirteen names taking twenty copies between them. 

See  Chess Book Chats July 2017 for further details.

Availability: CPL, KB

From the collection of Owen & Kathy Hindle


Chess & Draughts Made Easy. Containing Instructions to Learners, and Hints to Advanced Players. With Rules for Playing and Games for Practice, by J Bishop, A. & S. Joseph Myers & Co., London c1855. 52p.

See Chess Notes, various items, for further details.

Availability: BL


A. Klittich-Pfankuch auction June 2020


Chess: An Annotated Bibliography of Works Published in the English Language 1850-1968

Chess: An Annotated Bibliography of Works Published in the English Language 1850-1968 compiled over 50 years ago by Douglas Betts has become the standard work on English language chess books for the period covered.


Douglas Betts, Chess, March 2006, page 51

Betts carried out this self-funded research during his limited spare time from 1967 to 1970 while working full time and with a young family. This was in the days before personal computers, on-line databases, word processors, printers and scanners. Details of every item were written out by hand on small cards and he typed the whole work at home on a portable typewriter using two fingers, producing the required top copy and three carbon copies. Apart from the important task of recording the ever-growing mass of chess litereature, the chief reason for undertaking this project was to fulfil the thesis requirement for Fellowship of The Library Association. 

The typescript was published by G.K. Hall of Boston Mass. in 1974, and a few hundred copies were soon acquired by libraries, collectors and dealers. Betts was unable to visist the U.S.A or other English speaking countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa for his research but relied on published sources such as library catalogues and book reviews before examining as many items as possible in various libraries including The British Library and The Royal Dutch Library at The Hague. 

Betts was succesful in identifying and recording details of the great majority of the main works on chess but, in view of the limitations and constraints outlined above, it is no surprise that there are many omissions from the Bibliography, certainly in the hundreds. These omissions are frequently minor works, often small pamphlets, multi-language works, sometimes self-published or published away from the leading publishing centres. Many local periodicals and tournament reports also slipped through the net. Betts had anticipated the existence of some of these outliers in an article that he wrote for Chess, volume 70, March 2006, on pages  51 to 53, where he discusses the task that he undertook, the difficulties that he faced, and the impact of his magnum opus. Much of the information above is taken from that article.

In the next Chess Book Chats article I will start listing details of the 100 or so omissions that I am aware of, a list that is constantly growing as the more I look the more I find. These are original works not included in the Bibliography,  not unrecorded editions of works listed by Betts of which there are also numerous examples. I am not listing works of fiction with chess references (Betts Section 44), only books entirely or mainly dealing with chess. 

Betts specifically excluded compendiums of games (e.g. Hoyle), general encyclopaedias and dictionaries; pre-tournament programmes; and publications, such as rules etc., relevant only to a particular club or society.  I have followed this except for club rules etc. which I have included if the publication includes other matters of chess interest e.g. history, games, problems etc.

These lists of omissions will eventually be sorted into a handful of categories, (not the 55 Sections in Betts) and will be in printable PDF format.