Chess Results 1968-1970

Gino Di Felice

Reviewer: John Donaldson
444 pages

Published by McFarland, Italian chess archivist Gino Di Felice’s Chess Results series, begun in 2004, now comprises twelve volumes encompassing the years 1747-1970. It is the most comprehensive chronological reference work of chess results available and the present volume is a testament to the thoroughness of the author. The latest volume has 854 crosstables and 161 matches. The increasing popularity of chess competitions can be seen by the volume covering a very short time span. Whereas several of the earlier volumes covered an entire decade now the time frame is just a few years.

The standard bearer for chess archivists has long been the late Jeremy Gaige, who was a true pioneer, but De Felice deserves much credit himself, increasingly so as his series goes on. Gaige’s last published work ended in 1930 (although he produced check lists going up to 1980), but De Felice has gone several decades further. There has been little prior work for the second half of the 1960s with only the crosstables published in Anne Sunnucks’ Encyclopedia of Chess and Chess Informant (from 1966 onwards) coming readily to mind as first starts on a large task.

De Felice has done a fine job but this reviewer has one small quibble. Because the author did much of his research with the help of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague he apparently did not always have access to the most complete results. A case in point can be found on page 7 where the 1968 U.S. Open in Aspen has only the results for the first 10 finishers in the 172 player field, citing Schakend Nederland from 1968-69. Quoting a Dutch magazine for a major annual American tournament seems a bit strange and indeed the entire crosstable can be found in Chess Life for November 1968 (pages 417-418) as well as Jack Spence’s tournament book on the event.

The same problem of incomplete results exists for the 1969 U.S. Open in Lincoln where the British Chess Magazine is given as the source (interestingly only Spence’s work on this U.S. Open has the complete record – not Chess Life) but finally things are made right for the 1970 U.S. Open in Boston where the entire crosstable for the 307 player field is given taking up the better part of six pages! This time Chess Life cited as the source. It maybe the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Hague, the second largest public repository of chess books in the world after the John G. White Collection in Cleveland, does not have Chess Life for 1968 nor the two Spence booklets. These sort of small glitches are to be expected in a pioneering work such as this.

Chess Results 1968-1970 is a true boon to chess historians and journalists who need handy reference tools. Those who plan to do a book on a particular player will find the indexes a real time saver as in a matter of minutes they can have a list of crosstables of events their subject played in.

One small matter should be noted. This series does not have women’s and correspondence events as Di Felice plans a separate volume for them.

The physical qualities of these massive paperback books are of a high standard and what one has come to expect from McFarland & Company. Published on good paper and sturdily bound they are intended for serious use for many years.

Highly recommended