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An unreliable and outdated little guide with basic instructions, laws, openings and six problems.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

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