Database of Chess Bibliography

Jurgen Stigter
Jurgen Stigter

The comprehensive bibliographical recording of the entirety of chess literature in a database is certainly a very ambitious undertaking, which can only be realized to a large extent and in a reasonable time by means of a worldwide network. The initiator of this idea was the Dutch collector Jurgen Stigter, whose appeal led to the formation of the "Amsterdam Group" in November 2002.

A first version of an operational database was finally realized in November 2014 by our member Per Skjoldager. At the bi-annual meeting at the auction house Klittich-Pfankuch in November, he presented the first version of “Tobiblion” for the present attendees.

The status of the database project anno 2018 is that we now have two major fields of operations which are available to all members of CH&LS.

The first major area of the database is based on the Klittich-Pfankuch catalogues 40 to 73. The auction database corresponds to the descriptions of the lots in those catalogs and represents approximately 30.000 entries. The lots are illustrated with images from auction 53 and onwards. It is possible to the user to search the database on various search criteria. The database represents an invaluable tool to all collectors who wants to learn more on prices and content. The second major area is the bibliographical part of the database. The bibliography is a so-called descriptive bibliography which is aiming to describe collectable books in text and images. In due time, we will grow the database to its full potential, but at the moment we are focusing on finishing a few categories.

The categories we are working on are the following:

  • Bibliographies
  • Tournament & Congresses
  • Magazines
  • Biographies
  • Autographs and Handwritings
  • Historical Photos

Our aim is to describe the entries therein, in terms of bindings, dust jackets, title page, number of pages, publication year, place and much more. It is an invaluable tool to the collector who wants to know how a perfect copy should look like. If you are in doubt if a certain tournament book was published with a dust jacket or not, you should take a look in Tobiblion.

Magazines, is a special category which aims to describe the individual volumes within each magazine. Apart from the features mentioned above, it also focuses on covers, plates and indexes. For now, we have started with the most common magazines, but we would like to expand this category to cover all magazines over time.

Below you can find the status in numbers for each category. Status as per November 1, 2019.


This bibliography contains 412 items, including all 166 items from the L/N catalogue, 169 items from the Kieler Schachkatalog, and 60 items from the Betts catalogue. References are also made to other relevant works i.e. Sakharov, Lusis, Soukup and others. 81 entries are fully described in text and images corresponding to 19,7 percent.

Tournament & Congresses

This bibliography contains 2774 items, played from 1851 to 2000, including all 705 items from the L/N catalogue, 107 items from the Kieler Schachkatalog, and 438 items from the Betts catalogue. References are also made to other relevant works i.e. Sakharov, Lusis, Soukup and others. 811 entries are fully described in text and images corresponding to 29,2 percent.


This bibliography contains books on the life and games of Robert James Fischer (1943 - 2007), the eleventh world champion and universally acclaimed as one of the greatest players of all time. Match Books, games collections and books on tournaments in which Fischer played a major role have also been included. 34 of 78 entries are fully described corresponding to 43,6 percent.


This bibliography contains the magazines found in the below table.

Title Country Fully
of Items
American Chess Bulletin USA 0 61 0,0%
American Chess Magazine USA 4 4 100%
British Chess Magazine England 31 121 25,6%
Chess Player's Chronicle England 3 45 6,7%
Chess (wood) England 41 52 78,9%
Chess Review USA 30 38 78,9%
Chess World Australia 23 23 100,0%
Deutsche Schachblätter Germany 12 64 18,8%
Deutsche Schachzeitung Germany 47 138 34,1%
Deutsches Wochenschach Germany 9 38 23,6%
Kagans Neueste Schachnachrichten Germany 9 13 69,2%
Laskers' Chess Magazine USA 5 10 50,0%
Skakbladet Denmark 80 97 82,4%
Tidsskrift för Schack Sweden 56 107 52,8%
Wiener Schach Zeitung Austria 20 40 50,0%
    370 851 43,48%

If you are a member of CH&LS and wants to have access to the Tobiblion project, you should contact and ask for your personal password.

Summary since our last report is:

  • Bibliographies: One additional entry. 9 descriptions have been added.
  • Tournament & Congresses: 12 items have been added. 111 descriptions have been added.
  • Biographies: 2 items has been added. 12 descriptons have been added.
  • Magazines: 56 additional entries. Descriptions on 45 items have been added.

Data status: 2019-11-01