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 the Mind Sports Organisation, and president of the British Chess Variants Society.


During and after the Second World War Pritchard was an RAF pilot who served mainly in the Far East, obtaining the rank of squadron leader. During his RAF service he won the chess championships of Singapore (1954) and Malaysia (1955).[1]

As a chess player in Britain, Pritchard had some successes, beating British Grandmasters Jonathan Penrose and Tony Miles, winning the Southern Counties Championship, and winning multiple Battle of Britain Chess Competitions—an organisation for which he was president. Pritcard's interests extended beyond chess to other indoor games.[1]

Pritchard married British Ladies Chess Champion Elaine Saunders in 1952.[1] They had one daughter and, at the time of Pritchard's death, five grandchildren.[2]


Pritchard's earliest writings were chess texts for beginners. Begin Chess and The Right Way to Play Chess, first published in the 1950s, have since sold hundreds of thousands of copies.[1]

Pritchard also wrote on other games, such as go, shogi, xiangqi and Mahjong.[1] He edited two magazines, The Gamer and Games & Puzzles, with a similarly broad scope and served as games director of the Mind Sports Olympiad.[1]

Pritchard served as president of the British Chess Variants Society and invented several such games. The Encyclopaedia of Chess Variants (1994) which discusses more than 1400 different variants is considered to be his magnum opus and the definitive work in the field. This was followed by Popular Chess Variants (2000), which considered 20 games in greater depth . A second edition of The Encyclopaedia of Chess Variants was close to completion at the time of Pritchard's death. Following work by John Beasley it was published in 2007 with the title The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.

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.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h David Pritchard. The Times (London). Features; p. 66. 17 January 2006.
  2. ^ www.chessvariants.com 1999 Interview
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ The second edition of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, edited and completed by John Beasley after Pritchard's death.

External links[edit]