Chess libraries are library collections of books and periodicals on the game of chess. Chess has a very extensive literature, probably exceeding that of all other games combined. In 1913, preeminent chess historian H. J. R. Murray estimated the total number of books, magazines, and newspaper columns pertaining to chess to be about 5,000 at that time. B.H. Wood estimated that number, as of 1949, to be about 20,000. David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld write that, "Since then there has been a steady increase year by year of the number of new chess publications. No one knows how many have been printed..."
The two significant public chess libraries are:
The John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at Cleveland Public Library. Largest chess and draughts library in the world, with over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 bound volumes of chess periodicals." Built on the donation of a quarter of a million dollars and 11,000 books from John G. White's private library upon his death.
The Chess & Draughts collection at the Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana (part of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands). The second largest public chess collection in the world is built on the donations of the private chess libraries of Antonius van der Linde, Meindert Niemeijer and G.L. Gortmans. It contains about 30,000 books.
Grandmaster Lothar Schmid of Bamberg, Germany reportedly owned the world's largest private collection of chess books and memorabilia. In 1992, Hooper and Whyld stated that Schmid's chess library "is the largest and finest in private hands, with more than 15,000 items". In 2008, Susan Polgar stated that Schmid "has over 20,000 chess books". Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam states that Schmid "boasts to have amassed 50,000 chess books.
David DeLucia's chess library contains 7,000 to 8,000 chess books, a similar number of autographs (letters, score sheets, manuscripts), and about 1,000 items of "ephemera". DeLucia's library contains such items as "a 15th-century Lucena manuscript, score-sheets ranging from Fischer's Game of the Century against Donald Byrne to all the games of the 1927 New York tournament, eight letters by Morphy, over a hundred Lasker manuscripts, Capablanca's gold pocket watch, [and] the contract of the 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort world championship match". Ten Geutzendam opines that DeLucia's collection "is arguably the finest chess collection in the world".
The Musée Suisse du Jeu in Switzerland has a room devoted to chess, according to number 152 of EG, which reports their purchase of Ken Whyld's library in 2004. As of January 2010, the British Chess Variants Society was planning to transfer five boxes of archival material related David Pritchard's research for the Encyclopedia of Chess Variants to that collection.
- Murray, H.J.R. (1913), A History of Chess, Oxford University Press, pp. 782–784, ISBN 0-19-827403-3
- Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1984). The Oxford Companion to Chess, Oxford University Press, p. 189. ISBN 0-19-217540-8.
- Susan Polgar, Special Chess Records (February 11, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-1-11.
- See official website, Chess & Draughts collection. Introduction and history
- "A collector of chess books and paraphernalia, he has the largest private chess library in the world." David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed. 1992), p. 358. ISBN 0-19-866164-9.
- "Schmid owns the largest private collection of chess books and other chess material." Harry Golombek, Golombek's Chess Encyclopedia, Crown Publishers, 1977, p. 290. ISBN 0-517-53146-1.
- Hooper & Whyld, p. 226 ("libraries" entry).
- Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, "The Finest Chess Collection in the World", New in Chess, 2010, No. 5, p. 18. The title of the article refers to David DeLucia's collection, not Schmid's.
- ten Geuzendam, p. 19.
- ten Geutzendam, p. 10.
- „Former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov’s writes about his collection“, Stamp Magazine
- 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 March 13, 2010