These pages are based on the bibliographical appendices to my PhD thesis, with, in a few cases, additional information that subsequently came to light. Readers are invited to submit their own corrections and clarifications.
Historians nowadays increasingly exploit printed sources, especially periodicals, for their research. The nineteenth century is the first for which the volume of preserved material is so great that selections have to be made. Bibliographies and finding aids are very important, especially in the early stages of a research project. So although some corrections and entries here may seem trivial, they might in future save somebody hours of effort duplicating these findings.
A column is defined as a regular series of articles in a newspaper or other periodical, not merely news reports. In a few marginal cases with periodicals, such as the Huddersfield College Magazine where chess increasingly became a major part of the content, it can be difficult to draw a hard-and-fast distinction between what counts as a column or as a chess magazine.
In most cases I have seen all, or all the available issues of each, chess magazine but a few are rare or unobtainable in public libraries in England or Ireland. It was not practical to look at every chess column, but I tried to see at least samples of every British column to 1850 and every Irish column to 1914. Some post-1914 information is also included but not on a systematic basis.
In this first (April 2011) installation of these pages, I am principally concerned to get as much basic information up on the web as I can in one weekend. More details and improved presentation may follow later.
The attempt here is to compile minimal but complete bibliographical lists of (primarily) British and Irish chess magazines and chess columns in periodicals from their inception to the First World War. I believe this list and the others on this site to be complete, except where otherwise stated. This information was gradually compiled during the period when I was undertaking my chess-historical research at Trinity College Dublin and made extensive use of the aids then available, which were often less than satisfactory.
The late Ken Whyld’s Chess Columns: A List was very useful but, as the author admitted, contained numerous mistakes because the compiler could by no means see everything and often relied on the imperfect work of predecessors. It must also be said that his method of deciding what was the most significant word in a newspaper title when arranging his list pseudo-alphabetically was less than ideal.
The Waterloo Directory, edited by Canadian scholar John S. North, has proved a useful source of information in several cases. Some entries include (as a WAT number) the publication’s reference code in the printed edition of The Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals. The online British directory of 19th century publications is far more extensive.
Gino Di Felice’s recently-published ‘Chess Periodicals’ bibliography appeared late in 2010, long after my researches were essentially complete. I am now in the process of checking it and found it to be sometimes unreliable, and to have several serious omissions.
Readers may wish to consult Nick Pope’s list at his Chess Archaeology site. Although in some cases he gives more detailed publication details that I provide here, Pope’s list is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate, e.g. it omits the very first magazine, George Walker’s The Philidorian. I do not give so much detail but make comments where I think Pope or Di Felice are in error. In some cases Pope has recently added links to Google Books, though readers should be warned that only a small number of these are complete downloadable volumes. I shall probably add a page about Google Books later.
Also, since the history of the various magazines that used variants of the title Chess Player’s Chronicle is very complicated, and other lists are sometimes inaccurate, I have given more detailed information on a separate page.