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John Saunders - British Chess Game Archive

Further Information & Links

Last Edited: Tuesday June 18, 2024 7:57 AM

John Saunders: Chess Writings and Reports

New feature: link to chess articles I've published online over the past 20 years


John Saunders' Chess Blog This is my chess blog, where I occasionally make reference to what is on BritBase, with perhaps a few background notes. It provides a way of sending me feedback. This blog post has some info about the philosophy of BritBase. And this blog post has some technical information about how best to transmit chess games.
American Chess Bulletin Game Collection This excellent game collection at was compiled by 'Phony Benoni' (David Moody) and consists of game scores from the American Chess Bulletin (ACB) from 1904 to the 1930s. It's a work in progress and a highly useful one for discovering game scores published in what used to the USA's leading chess magazine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Australian Chess Games "A site comprising PGN files of Australian chess games, many with annotations by the players, GMs, IMs and FMs. Total (so far): 18,963 games (14% annotated or with some form of notes). This site consists of games played in Australia or by Australians overseas, arranged by tournament type and location. The site started with a focus on Queensland games, but has since been extended to Australia and internationally. The games have been drawn from a database of Australian games that is maintained by Paul Summers using ChessBase software. Currently that database has in excess of 202,000 games, so there is still a lot of uploading to do!" HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Australian Newspaper Archive - Trove Trove is a free Australian newspaper archive and it often comes up trumps when looking for old British chess material.
Belgian Chess History Nikolaas Verhulst collects games played in Belgium or by Belgian players abroad. Very interesting website.
Biographer's Bistro This discussion thread at Chessgames dot com is well worth dipping into as some skilled and knowledgeable chess historians make regular contributions. Recommended.
BrasilBase Adaucto Wanderley da Nobrega has set up a Brazilian National Database. 12/12/02: URL changed
British Columbia (Canada) A downloadable collection of 30,000+ games played in British Columbia or by British Columbian players elsewhere, prepared by Stephen Wright. There is also an excellent bulletin published on the site which can be accessed here. An excellent resource.
Chess Notes Not confined to British chess, of course, but Edward Winter's Chess Notes are essential reading for all chess history buffs.
ChessSuite An excellent chess utility written by Thomas Niessen which I have recently (2023) started to use to compare versions of scores (specifically the PGN Comparer function). Highly recommended. Also worth a read is Thomas Niessen's perspective on different versions of game scores in which he makes several very good points.
Danbase The admirable Eric Bentzen has set up the Danish cousin of 'Britbase'. It is part of the Danish Chess Federation pages. In English.
Dutchbase Jack Goossens, a very helpful and generous contributor to Britbase, was in charge of the Dutch equivalent. This is an important repository for chess information, given the tremendous contribution that the Netherlands has made to our game. Not updated since 2002 but still of great value.
Dutch Newspaper Search (1) is a very useful website for browsing Dutch newspapers, which have plentiful chess content. Don't be put off by not knowing the language!
Dutch Newspaper Search (2) De Groene Amsterdammer is another newspaper archive which I am told by Alan Smith is a good place to look for historical chess material. Alan says, "There is an 1890-1914 column, written by Rudolf Loman who was a London resident during these years. Quite a lot on British chess. There is an earlier column in the 1880's and later columns by Olland and Tartakower."
Edinburgh CC Biographies Some interesting biographical information is now being posted here.
Edo Historical Chess Ratings - Players An excellent resource for chess history research, providing retrospective Elo ratings of past players. The link is to the list of players thus rated, which often features useful biographical details for them, together with the source of the information.
Hastings Chess Club History A forum where Sussex chess historian Brian Denman posts a great deal of well-researched historical information. If for any reason the primary link fails, you might try to access the same information via this link.
Hastings Past Players A link to some excellent biographies of players who were members of Hastings Chess Club, written by one of BritBase's most regular contributors, Brian Denman.
Historical Games E-Mail List Click on this link to send an e-mail to - the mail address of Michel Langeveld, who is putting together some very good archive material in Chessbase CBV format, and distributing it to subscribers to his list.
Ilkley Chess Club This Yorkshire club has some first-class historical articles by Britbase contributor Gerard Killoran, for example this one on the art of chess (re the 1905 British Championship, held in Southport Art Gallery), and also this one on the same subject. There is so much material on this website that specific items are quite hard to find, so I do recommend using the very good search facility provided.
Jeremy Gaige Archive Jeremy Gaige (1927-2011) was an American chess historian and archivist. Jeremy was a giant of chess historical research and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude. The online publication of his collection of his in 2023 is another big step forward for chess historical research: thanks are due to Jon Edwards and Andy Ansel for collating, scanning and publishing this treasure trove of material.
Keverel Chess Some great historical content here from Bob Jones on chess in the West Country.
Lars Balzer Home Page German enthusiast Lars Balzer is the 'King of the Links' when it comes to finding places to download chess games. He has compiled a list of places worldwide where you can do this and he keeps it up-to-date. This is an extremely good and valuable resource. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Peter Stuart NZ Games Database This excellent games database was founded by a notable New Zealand player, the late Peter Stuart, and named in his honour after coming under the stewardship of the New Zealand Chess Federation. A collection of more than 52,000 games by New Zealand players, including (as at August 2020) 864 played by GM Murray Chandler.
'Listener' Column by Murray Chandler Online archive of chess columns written by Murray Chandler in a New Zealand newspaper, The Listener, from 1976.
OlimpBase Created in 2004, this site features downloads, results, etc, from the Chess Olympiads. Recently Continental championships and team championships have been added. This is a very impressive website which we can heartily recommend. By Wojciech Bartelski. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Ozbase Ozbase is the Australian Chess Federation's games archive, which started in March 2000.
Rusbase In English. Russian cousin to Britbase.
Scottish Chess History Alan McGowan curates excellent pages about Scottish chess history within the Chess Scotland website. A good place to start is his biographies page, which the link points to.
Scottish Chess Association Scottish game downloads.
Shropshire Chess History Another really good website with a plethora of historical material, games, photos, etc, lovingly researched by Keith Tabner and others.
Southern Counties' Chess Union Link to the SCCU (Southern Counties' Chess Union) archive page. This has further links to SCCU bulletins - 1958-1978 and 1978-1999 - with complete scores of SCCU county matches played during that time and further excellent historical items. The SCCU website is a great resource and testament to first-class work by its founder and long-time webmaster, the late Richard Haddrell.
Spanish Chess History This is an excellent site with extensive material about chess in Spain, including PDFs of the country's various chess magazines. In particulat there are lists of tournaments with games downloads. Highly recommended.
Swedish Chess Archive This archive has back copies of the Swedish chess journal Tidsskrift för Schack from 1894 onwards.
Tabanus List Chessgames dot com user 'Tabanus' maintains an excllent list of chess history links and sources on his profile page. Highly recommended.
UkrBase Games from recent Ukrainian chess events.
Welsh Chess History A good start is this excellent Cardiff Chess Club History posted at the Welsh Chess Union website.
West London Chess Club Gazette West London CC has a long history and used to produce a very informative West London Gazette, which is available online, via the Wayback Machine.
West London Chess Club: Famous Players An invaluable and well-researched page listing notable players who were members of the long-standing club. (now available via the Wayback Machine)
Other Sites of Interest
100 Year History of the British Chess Federation A general overview of organised chess in England (rather than Britain as a whole) from the mid-Victorian era to the present, by John Poole and Stewart Reuben.
Bulletins of Historical Tournaments A list of 'Chess Player Series' bulletins available for purchase from Tony Peterson. It includes many historical British tournaments.

PGN FILES... PGN stands for 'Portable Game Notation'. It is a special file format (files have the suffix *.pgn) which is used for holding chess game scores and exchanging them between various chess-related software programs. Most proprietary databases now allow you to import PGN format files, so you should have little difficulty importing the files you find here. If you need some software to read the unzipped PGN file, then you should pay a visit to Eric Bentzen's excellent Chess Programs & Utilities page to find a suitable software program or have a look round the web. If you're prepared to pay money, an excellent and inexpensive software package which I heartily recommend is Hiarcs Chess Explorer: it has a hundred and one uses in reading, writing and accessing PGN files, as well as featuring much other functionality. If you don't have any database software and cannot be bothered to get some, you can still open and read PGN files with a simple text editor (such as Windows Notepad or the excellent Textpad). The format is eye-readable English algebraic chess notation. So you can print off a PGN file and play through the games on a three-dimensional board and set.

I am pleased to say that many other people worldwide are now collecting and making available chess databases on the web. Lars Balzer has set up an excellent list of chess database sites, which is an admirable attempt to log all the worldwide activity in this specialised branch of archivism and is highly recommended. Britbase has several overseas 'cousins' (see below) to which you will find links elsewhere on this page. National-based databases have an advantage over worldwide archives in that the archivists are 'closer to the ground' and can provide greater assurance that the data is accurate, names & identities correct, etc. Remember - quality, not quantity!

GAME VIEWER - PGN4WEB... I have experimented with various game viewers over the past few years but am now in the process of standardising on the excellent PGN4WEB software, written by Paolo Casaschi, and systematically getting rid of other outdated solutions. (This process may take me some time and in the mean time you may find that some viewer links do not work. My apologies for this. Eventually I hope to install a PGN4WEB viewer for all the games on the site.) A good tip: it is worth spending a few minutes exploring the PGN4WEB viewer's functionality, which is really superb. Try it now - load a page with a PGN4WEB game viewer window (click here to load the game viewer for 2014 British Championship in a new tab in your browser) and start by mouse-clicking on the g8 square on the chess board. This will display a window listing all the useful things you can do by clicking on other squares on the board. Or click on the long rectangular drop-down box between the game title and the moves and board to choose which other games to load in the window. It's simple and intuitive.

ZIP FILES...Britbase downloads are 'zip files' (with the suffix *.zip). This means that the data has been compressed (or 'zipped') so that download times are minimised. If you have a modern Windows operating system, the software for handling these files should be available on your computer as standard. If not, you will need to install a compression utility (often referred to as a 'Zip program') on your computer to unpack the PGN downloads from the 'zip files'. If you don't have a reasonably modern Windows OS or a compression facility, you can buy one (called WinZip) at, or perhaps look for freeware to do the same thing. Try entering 'compression utility' into the search engine of your choice. 2015 Note: soon none of the above will be necessary as I am in the process of removing the ZIP files and replacing them with a simple link to PGN files. This work is ongoing.

CROSSTABLES... in many cases these are generated from ChessBase (as of August 2017 I am still using ChessBase 11). A note on how this is done - I have recorded this here mainly for my own benefit as I keep forgetting! ChessBase has a handy crosstable or tournament table generation feature in its more recent versions (11/12/13/14) which is adequately documented (for example, here).

However, what is less well documented is how to generate the table in HTML and save directly to a file. For example, the menu system in ChessBase 11 as set up on my computer allows me to copy a tournament table to the clipboard, using either spaces or tab characters as delimiters but there is no obvious menu item to allow this data to be output to a file in HTML format (even though the documentation says there is - ignore it!).

But there IS a way to do it, as follows. Having generated the tournament table you wish to output in HTML, and with the table on the screen as the active window...

  1. Go to the 'File' tab and click on 'Customise' (if you don't see a 'File' tab, you may not have the latest update of your version of ChessBase and will probably need to update before continuing);
  2. In the left-hand column of the 'Customise' window that pops up, find the entry for 'Generate HTML' and assign it a shortcut letter if it does not already have one. (I use 'H' for 'HTML' but you can use whatever you like);
  3. Click 'OK' or 'Apply' and/or close the 'Customise' window;
  4. Now press your chosen shortcut key and you will see a new window offering you HTML Options. I think you only need to check the 'Includes Tables' options before clicking OK (a bit of trial and error may be necessary at this point);
  5. When it invites you to save a file in *.htm format, save the file to somewhere appropriate using whatever filename seems easiest to remember.

Hereafter it is just a question of opening the resultant file with whatever HTML editing software you use for your website, copying the table into your page and tailoring it to your design. (I am grateful to Nick Murphy for patiently explaining to me how to do this.)

'Korrection Korner' is an errata for British chess gamescores. Given the plethora of chess game scores across the internet, this is an attempt to inject some accuracy into the equation. Contributions awaited from readers and users of Britbase ...


BritBase would simply not have been possible without input from a vast number of people. I am deeply grateful to all of the following who have helped me over the past 25+ years.

Many thanks to Adam Raoof, Adolfo Bórmida, Alan McGowan, Alan Smith, Alex McFarlane, Alexei Shirov, Ali Mortazavi, Alistair Maxwell, Andy Ansel, Andy Borg, Angus Dunnington, Arthur Brameld, Barrie Oakes, Bernard Cafferty, † Bill Frost, Bill O'Rourke, Bob Jones, Bob Taylor, † Bob Wade, Brian Denman, Byron Jacobs, Catherine Glynn, Chris Bird, Chris Jones, Chris Kreuzer, Chris Mattos, Clive Frostick, Colin McNab, Colin Patterson, Craig Pritchett, Daniel Gunlycke, † David Anderton, David Clayton, David LeMoir, David McAlister, David Mabbs, † David Moody, † David Robertson, David Walker, Doug Dean, Eddie Dearing, Eduardo Bauzá Mercere, Eric Bentzen, Geoff Chandler, Gerald Hartmann, Gerard Killoran, Gert Ligterink, Gino di Felice, Graeme Oswald, Graham Chesters, Henri Serruys, Herman van Riemsdijk, Howard Grist, Ian Pheby, Ian Reynolds, Ian Rogers, Ian Thompson, Ian Whittaker, Ingrid Ives, Jack Goossens, † Jack O'Keefe, Jack Rudd, James Pratt, Jane Eichmann (née Anson), Jason Radley, Jeff Heath, Jim Anderson, John Clarke, John Henderson, John Knight, John G Nicholson, John Richards, John Thornton, John Townsend, John Upham, John Weightman, Jon D'Souza-Eva, Jon Edwards, Jon Speelman, Jonathan Gilbert, Jonathan Rogers, Jonathan Wilson, José Miguel Barrueco, † Keith Brown, Keith Selby, Ken Clow, † Ken Whyld, Kevin O'Connell, Kevin Thurlow, Kieran Smallbone, Lance Leslie-Smith, Lara Barnes, Louie Z. Moreno, † Luc Winants, Malcolm Armstrong, Mark Crowther, Mark Orr, Mark Page, Martyn Goodger, Matthew Read, Maurice H. Carter, Mauro Berni, Max Devereaux, Michael Kühl, Mike Alderson, Mike Yeo, Murray Chandler, Neil Blackburn, Neil Graham, Nick Ivell, Nick Murphy, Nigel Povah, Nigel Short, Nikolaas Verhulst, Noel Griffiths, "Nosnibor", Osvaldo Orozco Mendez, Paul Brown, Paul Dunn, Paul Dupré, Paul Georghiou, Paul Harrington, Paul Headon, Paul Littlewood, Paul Spiller, Paul Summers, Peter Bevan, Peter Large, † Peter Parr, Philip Jurgens, Priscilla Morris, Rafael Santana, Ray Collett, Ray English, Reg Clucas, † Richard Furness, Richard James, Richard Palliser, Richard Reich, Rob Appleby, Robert Bellin, Robert Parker, Robert Walker, † Rod McShane, Roger de Coverly, Roger Emerson, Roger Paige, Roger Watson, Dr. Roland Arbinger, Ron de Haas, Rudy Van Kemenade, Scott Freeman, Sean Coffey, Sean Hewitt, Sean Parker, Shaughan Feakes, Steve Giddins, Steve Potter, Stewart Reuben, Stuart Conquest, "Tabanus", Tim Harding, Tony Ashby, Tony Blades, Tony Corkett, Tony Cullen, Tony Gillam, Tryfon Gavriel, Ulrich Tamm, Vladimir Soos and Zdenek Zavodny for their help in supplying games, making corrections and generally providing support and encouragement.

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