David Pritchard (chess player)

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David B. Pritchard
Born (1919-10-19)19 October 1919
Died 12 December 2005(2005-12-12) (aged 86)
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Subject Games, chess variants, chess
Notable works The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants

David Brine Pritchard (19 October 1919 – 12 December 2005)[1] was a British chess writer and indoor games consultant. He:

gained pre-eminence as an indoor games and mind sports consultant, a role that he in effect created. A natural games player, it was to him that inventors or publishers would turn to organise a championship of a new game, write about it or generally promote it.[1]

Though nearly a million copies of his chess books have been sold, Pritchard is best known for authoring The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, in which he describes more than 1400 different variants.

In addition to authoring books on games, Pritchard was editor of Games & Puzzles magazine from 1972 to 1981. He was also a games director for Mind Sports Organisation, and president of the British Chess Variants Society.


Pritchard "flew with the RAF during and after the Second World War, serving mainly in the Far East, and reached the rank of squadron leader."[1] "He was a life fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and his love of travel took him many times around the world."[1]

"Pritchard became a leading chess player when he beat the British Grandmasters Jonathan Penrose and Tony Miles, but his interests covered all indoor games."[1] "During his service he won the chess championship of Singapore in 1954 and Malaysia in 1955."[1] "He was for some time the president of the Battle of Britain Chess Competition, and held its championship on more than one occasion."[1] "He also won the Southern Counties Championship."[1]

"Pritchard was the father of Wanda Dakin and was married to former British Ladies Chess Champion, Elaine Saunders."[2] Elaine was a chess prodigy who won the British Women's Championship at the age of 13, having already won the World Girls' Championship in 1937 and coming close to drawing an exhibition game with the world champion, Alexander Alekhine, when she was 11."[1]

Pritchard died in 2005 at age 86 and was "survived by his wife, Elaine, whom he married in 1952, and their daughter."[1] He has five grandchildren.[3]


"His books for beginners, Begin Chess and The Right Way to Play Chess, sold many hundreds of thousands of copies since their publication in the 1950s."[1] "He also wrote on go (the Japanese territory game) and other games and puzzles."[1] "His essays on Japanese chess (shogi) and Chinese chess (xiangqi) are regarded as masterpieces".[1] "He edited the Games & Puzzles magazine for ten years and his most recent publication was Teach Yourself Mahjong."[1] Subsequent to Games & Puzzles magazine he was editor of The Gamer.

"He served as games director of the Mind Sports Olympiad, an annual event bringing together international competitors in dozens of new and classic board games and other mental skills."[1] "He was president of the British Chess Variants Society and wrote The Encyclopaedia of Chess Variants (1994) – his magnum opus – which became the definitive work in the field."[1] In his second book on variants, Popular Chess Variants, he focused on 20 (for example Extinction Chess, Kriegspiel and Progressive Chess), describing them in more detail. He was close to finishing the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants when he died in 2005. The book was subsequently completed by John Beasley and was published in 2007 with the title The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.In addition to researching and writing on chess variants, Pritchard partook in variant invention himself, incorporating several of his own games in the ECV.

"In his tribute on the English Chess Federation website, Stewart Reuben, a former president of the federation, described Pritchard as 'an affable man with a dry sense of humour who was in no sense old-fashioned in his views'."[1]

Archival material[edit]

According to the British Chess Variants Society, five boxes of archival material related to Pritchard's research for The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants will be held by the Ken Whyld Library of the Musée Suisse du Jeu.[4]





  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q David Pritchard. The Times (London). Features; p. 66. 17 January 2006.
  2. ^ Rooks are suffering with white away. The Gloucester Citizen. p. 43. 22 December 2005.
  3. ^ www.chessvariants.com 1999 Interview
  4. ^ British Chess Variants Society http://www.bcvs.ukf.net/ "David Pritchard’s files have been prepared for transfer to the Musée Suisse du Jeu, where they will be kept in the Ken Whyld Library and made available to future researchers." "Site updated 17 January 2010", retrieved 13 March 2010
  5. ^ The second edition of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, edited and completed by John Beasley after Pritchard's death.

External links[edit]