Chess Player's Chronicle

The Chess Player's Chronicle, founded by Howard Staunton and extant in 1841–56 and 1859–62, was the world's first successful English-language magazine devoted exclusively to chess. Various unrelated but identically or similarly named publications were published until 1902.

Page from Chess Player's Chronicle in a style of descriptive notation

The earliest chess magazine in any language was the French Le Palamède, published in 1836–39 and 1842–47.[1] In 1837 George Walker introduced an English-language magazine, the Philidorian, that was devoted to "chess and other scientific games". Only six issues of it were published, and it expired in May 1838.[2]

The Chess Player's Chronicle became the first successful English-language chess magazine.[3] In 1840 or 1841 Staunton bought the fortnightly magazine The British Miscellany and Chess Player's Chronicle.[4][5] In 1841 it became the Chess Player's Chronicle.[3][6][7][8] In 1843, the Chess Player's Chronicle became a shilling monthly magazine.[4][9]

Staunton "made the inclusion of a large number of games by himself and other leading players of the day a special feature" of the magazine.[10] He also used the magazine as a forum for attacking others. For example, in an early issue, he included the following in "Notices to Correspondents":[11]

A Barrister, Temple.—Calls our attention to the ridiculous alteration of the Laws of Chess, by G. Walker, in his New Treatise on Chess, and asks, "Is it possible such absurdities are sanctioned by the London Chess Club?" The only sanction give to Walker's puerilities by the Committee is to laugh at them. His books on Chess are no authority except among the lowest class of players.

Staunton was the owner and editor of the magazine until the early 1850s,[12] when he sold it to R.B. Brien.[13][14] Brien became editor of the magazine, but was unable to continue its success and discontinued it in 1856 because of financial losses and his own illness.[3][4] It reappeared in 1859 under the editorship of Ignatz Kolisch, Zytogorski, and Josef Kling, but survived only until July 1862.[3][4][15]

Thereafter, a number of magazines appeared with the same or similar name appeared.[16][17][18]Arthur Skipworth, assisted by William Wayte and Charles Ranken, wrote The Chess Players' Quarterly Chronicle, which was published in York from February 1868 to December 1871.[19] Skipworth, who had left Bilsdale for Tetford Rectory, and John Wisker became the editors of the new The Chess Players' Chronicle in February 1872.[20] Johann Löwenthal began writing for it in 1873.[21] The magazine ran until 1875.[22]

In January 1876, it was succeeded by The Chess Player's Chronicle, whose editor-in-chief was J. Jenkin of Helensburgh. Its editorial staff consisted of Jenkin, Skipworth, Ranken, Wayte, and Andrew Hunter of Glasgow. Billed as a "monthly record of provincial chess", it was published at Glasgow, costing sixpence.[22] Its short run under Jenkin's editorship was marked by xenophobia. The February issue stated that the West End Club had "cleared away the disturbing foreign element which whilom infected the Divan" and referring to Wilhelm Steinitz as "the hot-headed little Austrian".[23] Its third and last issue was published in March.[24]

The magazine reappeared in January 1877. It was now under Ranken's editorship, assisted by J. Crum, G. B. Fraser, Skipworth, and Wayte. The first issue apologized for "certain offensive statements and insinuations, seriously affecting the honour of some eminent players", and explained that some members of the present editorial staff had only contributed games and other inoffensive material to it in 1875.[24] Ranken continued to edit the magazine until September 1880.[24][25][26] In 1881, the title was enlarged to The Chess Player's Chronicle, and Journal of Indoor and Outdoor Sports, and "the magazine's importance in the chess world was no longer the same".[24]

None of these magazines compared in quality with what Staunton had achieved, and the success of the British Chess Magazine, by the turn of the century a superior publication, put an end to the title in 1902.[3]


  1. ^ H. J. R. Murray, A History of Chess, Oxford University Press, 1913, p. 886. ISBN 0-19-827403-3.
  2. ^ Philip W. Sergeant, A Century of British Chess, David McKay, 1934, p. 44.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kevin J. O'Connell, writing in Golombek's Chess Encyclopedia, p. 70.
  4. ^ a b c d Anne Sunnucks, The Encyclopaedia of Chess, St. Martin's Press, 1970, p. 72.
  5. ^ Staunton "started with the conduct of a fortnightly publication, The British Miscellany and Chess Player's Chronicle, which in the same year he converted into a regular periodical devoted to the game ... under the name of The Chess Player's Chronicle. Of this he was proprietor and editor from 1841 to 1854." Philip W. Sergeant, A Century of British Chess, David McKay, 1934, p. 50.
  6. ^ Murray, A History of Chess, p. 886-87.
  7. ^ H.J.R. Murray, British Chess Magazine, November 1908, Howard Staunton, part I Archived December 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2008-12-10.
  8. ^ The transformation can be seen at The British Miscellany and Chess Player's Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-12-10.
  9. ^ Sergeant, pp. 50–51.
  10. ^ Murray, A History of Chess, p. 887.
  11. ^ Sergeant, p. 51.
  12. ^ According to Murray, "Staunton was both owner and editor of this magazine from 1841-52." Murray, Howard Staunton, part I. As the following notes indicate, O'Connell and Sunnucks place the end date in 1854 rather than 1852.
  13. ^ O'Connell states, "The proprietor and editor from 1841 to 1854 was Howard Staunton. ... In 1854 R. B. Brien took over the magazine". O'Connell, Golombek's Chess Encyclopedia, p. 70.
  14. ^ Similarly, Sunnucks writes, "Staunton was the proprietor and editor of the magazine until the end of 1854, when he sold it to R. B. Brien." Sunnucks, p. 72.
  15. ^ Murray's slightly different version of events is that, "Under Staunton's editorship the Chronicle was issued regularly until 1852; a new series lasted from 1853 to 1856, and a third series 1859-62." Murray, A History of Chess, p. 887.
  16. ^ According to O'Connell, such magazines appeared from 1863 to 1867, 1868 to 1875, and 1877 to 1902. O'Connell, Golombek's Chess Encyclopedia, p. 70.
  17. ^ According to Sunnucks, The Chess Players' Chronicle was published in London from February 1872 to December 1875, The Chess Player's Chronicle was published in Glasgow from January to March 1876, and The Chess Players' Chronicle was published first in Glasgow, then in London, from January 1877 to September 1880. Sunnucks, p. 72.
  18. ^ Other sources give other spellings. The title page of G. H. D. Gossip and S. Lipschütz, The Chess-Player's Manual (3rd edition 1902), David McKay, states that Gossip won the 1873-74 correspondence chess tournament of the Chess-Players Chronicle. Page 2 of G.H. Diggle, "The Master Who Never Was", British Chess Magazine, January 1969 refers to a review of an 1879 book published in the Chess Players Chronicle.
  19. ^ Sergeant, pp. 151, 159.
  20. ^ Sergeant 1934, p. 159.
  21. ^ Sergeant, p. 162.
  22. ^ a b Sergeant 1934, p. 168.
  23. ^ Sergeant 1934, pp. 168-69.
  24. ^ a b c d Sergeant 1934, p. 169.
  25. ^ David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess, Oxford University Press (2nd edition 1992), p. 332. ISBN 0-19-866164-9.
  26. ^ Golombek's Chess Encyclopedia, p. 271.