Tim Harding

Tim Harding introduces himself in greater detail with his past and present chess activities at Dr Timothy Harding's Homepage.

Tim Harding - Steinitz in London - frontcover
Tim Harding - Steinitz in London - frontcover

Steinitz in London

Drawing on new research, this first biography of William Steinitz (1836–1900), the first World Chess Champion, covers his early life and career, with a fully-sourced collection of his known games until he left London in 1882. A portrait of mid-Victorian British chess is provided, including a history of the famous Simpson’s Divan.

Born to a poor Jewish family in Prague, Steinitz studied in Vienna, where his career really began, before moving to London in 1862, bent on conquering the chess world. During the next 20 years, he became its strongest and most innovative player, as well as an influential writer on the game. A foreigner with a quarrelsome nature, he suffered mockery and discrimination from British amateur players and journalists, which eventually drove him to immigrate to America. The final chapters cover his subsequent visits to England and the last three tournaments he played there.

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British Chess Literature to 1914

A huge amount was published about chess in the United Kingdom before the First World War. In this book, the first of its kind, the author combines new information about the early history of the game with valuable advice for researchers into chess history. The book greatly develops the bibliographical material which was available on this website for the last few years.

The chapters about books and specialist magazines trace how the growing popularity of chess in Victorian Britain was reflected in an increasingly competitive market of publications aimed at the whole spectrum of players from beginner to expert. In some cases the author traces the further development of chess literature well into the twentieth century.

The chapter on The Chess Player's Chronicle, for example, begins by examining in detail that magazine's little-known precursor, The British Miscellany. Special attention is also paid to lesser-known episodes in the history of that magazine, such as the Third Series and the little-known late years that ended with The Chess Chronicle in 1901 and 1902. The chapter about other chess magazines mentions several short-lived ones that the author has seen, and examines in some detail the question of who edited the early volumes of The Chess Player's Magazine,as previous writers have mostly got this wrong.

Other topics covered include the leading chess libraries and the use of digitized chess texts and research on the Web. Further appendices include corrections and supplements to standard works of reference on chess. For example, there are corrections to The Oxford Companion to Chess and several additions and amendments to the birth and death details of players in Gaige's standard work Chess Personalia

Special attention is devoted to the chess columns that appeared in newspapers (both national and provincial) and in magazines of various kinds from 1813 onwards. These articles, which usually appeared weekly, provide a wealth of information on early chess, much of which is not to be found elsewhere.

A major feature is an annotated bibliographical appendix listing all known British and Irish chess columns published up to the First World War. This includes many additions and corrections to the late Ken Whyld's book Chess Columns: A List. Tony Gillam (of The Chess Player) was of great assistance in this part of the work.

Tim Harding

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Timothy Harding's new book: British Chess Literature to 1914

Joseph Henry Blackburne

Tim Harding, who had already included an essay on J.H. Blackburne (1841-1924) in his previous book Eminent Victorian Chess Players (2012), has now finished a stupendous biography and game collection about the "Grand Old Man" of British Chess. Interestingly enough, we learn from Tim’s preface that our KWA meeting in Norwich (April 2012) and his talk on Blackburne on that occasion led him to tackle the task of writing this volume of finally 582 pages. By his meticulous research he has unearthed a huge amount of biographical details and – for the delight of the readers – added an abundance of illustrations (photographs, drawings, caricatures). Above all the book contains more than 1,100 of Blackburne’s games, mostly annotated (some game scores are missing). And the appendices offer, apart from several indices, a bibliography, some interviews and articles as well as 55 chess problems composed by Blackburne. Some more information about the book is offered at the author’s web site where you can also find some linked reviews. Unquestionably this biography is the most beautiful, the most comprehensive and the most reliable work on Blackburne so far, hence it belongs on the shelves of each chess friend who is interested in the chess greats of the old times.

(R.B., IX 2015)

Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland, 1824-1987

Tim Harding is one of the most industrious authors of our members, he has shifted from the short-lived opening literature to the stimulating and entertaining genre of correspondence chess game collections and CC history. Also in an exemplary manner his Chess Mail http://www.chessmail.com/, unfortunately publication ceased with the January 2006 issue.


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