Chess Before the Internet
by Bill Wall

Before there was an Internet, chessplayers at great distances played chess by postal correspondence, optical signaling, telegraph, telegram, megaphone, wireless telegraphy, telephone, radiotelegraphy, radiotelephony, shortwave, radio, amateur radio, CB radio, teletype, email, and telnet. Here are some of the facts about chess before the Internet.

In the 1600s, Venetian and Croatian merchants played correspondence chess.

The earliest known postal game was between a Dutch army officer named Freidrich Wilhelm von Mauvillon (1774-1851) stationed at Breda, Netherlands, and one of his friends stationed at The Hague (Den Haag), Netherlands in 1804. Mauvillon's three correspondence chess games (winning two and drawing one) were published in his chess book in 1827.

In late 1823, Le Cercle du Philidor chess club in Paris challenged the London Chess Club (located at Tom's Coffee House on Cornhill) in a correspondence match of two chess games, but the match did not get played as the London team was too slow to accept.

The first well known correspondence challenge was the Edinburgh - London chess club match, from April 24, 1824 to July 31, 1828. The match was scheduled to continue until two decisive games were completed. Draws did not count (there were 2 draws — games 1 and 3). Edinburgh made the first move on 4 of the 5 games. Edinburgh won, 2-1.

Soon after the Edinburgh-London correspondence match, a correspondence chess match was played between the chess clubs of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

In 1825, the next British correspondence match after Edinburgh-London took place. This was a match between the chess clubs of Liverpool and Leeds. Leeds won.

In 1825-1826, the Manchester Guardian sponsored a correspondence match between the Manchester Chess Club and the Liverpool Chess Club. This was the first time that a newspaper sponsored a correspondence match. Manchester won.

In 1828, the first correspondence match outside Europe took place in India. The Madras Chess Club beat the Hderabad Chess Club 2-0.

In 1828-1829, the first known private correspondence match occurred between E. Houlston, Jr. (London) and his father, H. Houlston (Wellington). H. Houlston won.

In 1832, Baron Paul L. Schilling von Canstatt (1786-1837) in Russia created the first electromagnetic telegraph. He had a transmitting device which consisted of a keyboard with 16 keys. These served for switching the electric current. He was one of the first to put in practices the idea of binary (on-off or dot-dash) system of signal transmission. An English student, William Fothergill Cooke (1806-1879), took the model of the telegraph to England, declared that this model was constructed by him and got a patent for it. The telegraph was soon after used by the English railway. The original telegraph used two wires between two stations to form a complete electrical circuit or "loop."

By 1835, a telegraph line was installed along the first German railroad and a telegraph network was built in Munich, Germany.

In 1836, Dr. David Alter (1807-1881) invented the first known American electric telegraph in Elderton, Pennsylvania. He rigged the telegraph between his house and his barn.

Also in 1836, Samuel Morse (1791-1872), an art and portrait painter, independently developed an electrical telegraph and replaced the letters by points and lines (...---...). His assistant, Alfred Vail (1807-1859), developed the Morse code signaling alphabet with Morse. Morse code was designed so that the most frequently used letters required the least effort. Morse was also a chess player who followed the career of Paul Morphy (1837-1884). There is even an 1848 daguerreotype of his wife and daughter playing chess.

In 1837, and Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) and William Cooke developed the first commercial electro-magnetic telegraph. It displayed 20 letters, but need five wires to connect the sending and receiving stations. It was soon replaced by the Morse Telegraph when it was found that telegraph messages could be received by sound alone, and only needed one or two wires.

In 1837, Carl August von Steinheil of Munich, Germany, found that by connecting one leg of the apparatus at each station to metal plates buried in the ground, he could eliminate one wire and use a single wire for telegraphic communication. This led to speculation that it might be possible to eliminate both wires and therefore transmit telegraph signals through the ground without any wires connecting the stations.

In January 1838, Morse first successfully tested his telegraph in New Jersey. Without a repeater, the range of his telegraph was limited to 2 miles.

In 1838, the first American correspondence chess match was played between players in Washington, D.C. and players at the Bassford's Chess Room in New York. Play was interrupted in 1839 and there was no official result.

In July 1839, the telegraph entered commercial use over the 13 miles of the Great Western Railway, from Paddington station to West Drayton.

Samuel Morse (a chess enthusiast) wrote a letter to Louis McLane (1786-1857), an American lawyer and politician, claiming that he played a game of chess by telegraph on April 9 and 10, 1844.

On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first Morse code message ("What Hath God Wrought?") by telegraph from Washington to Baltimore.

On November 16, 1844, the first game of checkers (draughts) was played by telegraph between a player in Baltimore and the assistant telegraph superintendent in Washington, D.C.

On November 23-25, 1844, a telegraph match was played between the chess clubs of Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC (38 miles apart). The two cities were the first to be linked by an American telegraph. Seven games were played by telegraph. The games were played to test the accuracy of the telegraph as well as for the players own amusement. A numerical notation was used (the White pieces were on numbers 57 through 64). The 686 moves which made up the match were transmitted without a single mistake or interruption. The first chess game was played by Mr. Greene in Baltimore against Dr. Jones in Washington. Mr. Greene won.

Soon, the telegraph and Morse code was being used by the telegraphers and chess enthusiasts to play long-distance chess. It took over 50 years for a telegraph match to be played between a chess club in the United States against a chess club in Britain.

The telegraph was used much more for commercial than social purposes. The telegraph companies advertised chess matches to show the practical applications of the telegraph in its speed and accuracy and long distance. To call attention to its interactive potential, early demonstrations of the telegraph included long-distance chess games.

In early 1845, Howard Staunton (1810-1874) was proposing playing chess by telegraph and brought up the idea to Professor Wheatstone. He suggested that a game should be played by telegraph between two persons only, one stationed at each end of the telegraphic line.

On April 9. 1845, Howard Staunton and Captain Hugh A. Kennedy (1809-1878) traveled to Gosport, on the west side of Portsmouth Harbor, southwest of London to play a team of players in London (Vauxhall terminus) by telegraph. The two teams of players were 88 miles apart. The telegraph ran along the tracks of the South Western Railway. Staunton and Kennedy lost their first game to the team of Henry Thomas Buckle, Captain William Evans, George Perigal , William Tuckett, and George Walker (Staunton only says the first game was unfinished). According to Staunton, the first game was to test the powers of the telegraph with the signals that would be used in the next day's game. Staunton wrote, "the first day's play is a sort of rehearsal merely to familiarize the men to our chess notation." Getting the moves back and forth involved a ten minute delay. The game lasted 9 hours and was transmitted in Gospart by Mr. Hoffmeister. For Staunton and Kennedy, the moves were made in their hotel, and a messenger took it to the telegraph offices a few blocks away. During the first game, several mistakes occurred in transmission of the moves. One case had a bishop on the wrong square for several moves in the game.

On April 10, 1845, a second game was played between Staunton and Kennedy at Gosport vs the team in London. The draw in the second game was agreed after 43 moves so that Staunton and Kennedy could catch the last (half past 5 o'clock) train of the day back to London.

On April 17, 1845, der Humorist reported a telegraph game between Howard Staunton of London and Matthew B. Wood of Southampton.

In 1846, William Cooke, Charles Wheatstone, and John Ricardo founded the Electric Telegraph Company, the world's first public telegraph company. When operators were bored, they played chess by telegraph.

In 1846, only 146 miles of telegraph lines existed. By 1850, there were 10,000 miles of telegraph lines.

In 1847-48, the first known correspondence chess match between universities occurred. It was a match between the Hermes Club at Oxford University and Trinity College Cambridge. Oxford won.

In 1851, during the London International Tournament, a telegraph match was planned between London and Paris. Due to disagreements with the French government, the telegraph match did not take place. Thus, the organizing committee of the London tournament arranged a telegraphic match between the St. James Hall Chess Club and the London Chess Club.

In 1852, "Sybil" became the first known woman to play correspondence chess. She played a postal game against George Fraser as part of the Home Circle magazine challenge. She won her game.

In 1853, two ships, the Barham and the Wellesley, played a correspondence game while sailing from Calcutta to London. They used optical signaling systems between them to make their moves.

In April 1853, the first postal chess tournament was organized by Henry Mott (1818-1875) and the Home Circle newspaper. The newspaper was later discontinued, but the games continued to be published in Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper. The tournament was won by C.F. Smith after three years of play.

In August 1854, a demonstration was made to send an electric current through bodies of water without the use of wires. James Lindsay of Great Britain was able to demonstrate transmission across a mill dam at a distance of 500 years.

Howard Staunton discussed his early telegraph games in the Illustrated London News on April 4, 1856. He also reported on a telegraph contest between the Liverpool Chess Club and the Manchester Chess Club, 30 miles apart. The game lasted eight hours.

By the mid-1850s, people regularly exchanged greetings and news by telegram. Some wealthy player even had a telegraph machine installed at home so that they could play long-distance chess.

On March 28, 1856, the first chess game by telegraph between Liverpool and Manchester was played. After 8 hours of play, the clubs agreed to a draw. (source: London Times, March 31, 1856) On July 19, 1858, the first Australian telegraph match was played, between the Hobart Town chess club and George Town chess club.

On August 16, 1858, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean from western Ireland to eastern Newfoundland (1,600 miles). Messages could now be sent in a matter of minutes instead of 10 days — the time it took to deliver a message by ship. The first cable was a telegram from Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan, congratulating him on such a cable. The first cable on worked for three weeks ($100 per message), until someone applied too much voltage to it trying to achieve faster operating.

In late 1858, after the first cable was laid across the Atlantic, Howard Staunton (1810-1874) of London offered to play Paul Morphy (1837-1884) in New York by the new transatlantic cable. The stakes were to be 500 pounds a side. However, the transatlantic cable failed and was not successfully replaced until 1866.

In December 1858, the New York Chess Club played a telegraph match against the Athenaeum players of Philadelphia. Two games were played over the wires of the American Telegraph Company. The first game was drawn and the second game was won by Philadelphia.

In 1859, Samuel Morse was in Europe and watched Paul Morphy play chess. When Paul Morphy returned to New York, the New York Chess Club had a testimonial dinner for Paul Morphy on his return. Samuel Morse was invited to sit at the head table with Morphy, but Morse wrote back to the Testimonial Committee, regretting he had a previous engagement, but wished Morphy well.

In 1859, a telegraph match was played by chess clubs in Quincy, Illinois and Saint Louis, Missouri.

In 1859, the Morphy Chess Club of Wilmington, Delaware defeated the Philadelphia Amateur Chess Club by telegraph. (source: The Bloomington Pantagraph, Feb 11, 1859)

In March 1859, the Detroit Chess Club defeated the Cleveland Chess Club in a match by telegraph.

On October 26, 1861, the first telegraph match played by submarine cable (moves transmitted by telegraph) took place between Liverpool and Dublin. The final result of the match is unknown. The match was played courtesy of the Magnetic Telegraph Company. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, Vol. 20, 1861, p. 354)

In 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph system was established from the eastern United States to California.

In 1862, perhaps the first international telegraph chess game was played between Hugh Kennedy in England and Serafino Dubois in Italy. Dubois won the game.

In May 1863, a telegraph match was played between the chess clubs of Hamilton, Canada and St. Catherine's in Western Canada.

In 1863, Henry Mott organized a correspondence chess tournament with 128 players. This was the largest postal tournament until the 1940s. The tournament continued until mid-1867, but was never completed.

In January 1864, the Philadelphia Chess Club defeated the Paulsen Chess Club in New York in a one game match by telegraph.

In February 1865, an electric telegraph match was played between London, England, and Dublin, Ireland. It was arranged by the Electric Telegraph Company, the world's first public telegraph company. It took 2 minutes for a move to be made from one location in London to the other location in Dublin.

In 1865, a second transatlantic cable was successfully laid (an earlier cable snapped) and first became operational on July 28, 1866. By the end of the 19th century, there were about a dozen transatlantic cables between the United States and Europe. Nowadays, all transatlantic cables use fiber optic technology.

In 1866, D.A. Gringmuth, a leading Russian problem composer, invented a telegraphic code where files were designated with one of two letters, depending on whether it was on White' side or Black's side. For White, P-K4 would be gego. For Black, P-K4 would be seso.

In 1866, the Christchurch Chess Club in New Zealand was formed for a telegraph match against the Nelson Chess Club.

On June 24, 1867, a telegraphic match between New York and Detroit was held. Their first game was drawn. Detroit won the second game.

In 1867, the Detroit Chess Club defeated the Muskegon Chess Club in a telegraph match.

In 1869, a telegraph match was played between the Westminster Chess Club and the Bristol Chess Club. Eight games were played. The Westminster Club won four, drew one, with 3 unfinished games to win the match.

In September 1869, the Melbourne Chess Club defeated the Adelaide Chess Club in a telegraphic match (+5-1=1).

In 1870, a telegraph match was played between Victoria and New South Wales. Victoria won with 3 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws, and one unfinished game.

In 1870 the first correspondence chess club, the Caissa Correspondence Club, was founded. The club sponsored correspondence tournaments and matches. It initially had only 12 members, rising to 14 members in 1875. The club lasted four years.

In 1870, a telegraph chess match was played between a team from Hartford, Connecticut and a team from Springfield, Massachusetts.

In June 1870, a game of chess was played by telegraph between four players of New Orleans against 4 players in three Mississippi towns, the latter also consulting by telegraph. The Mississippi party were all practical telegraph operators. The main New Orleans chessplayer was John Galbreath. He was secretary of the New Orleans Chess and Checker Club and night wire chief of the New Orleans Western Union office.

On November 9, 1870, the first interstate match by telegraphy in Australia was played, Victoria vs. N.S. Wales.

In 1871, a seven-board chess match was played between teams in Sydney, Australia and Melbourne, Australia. Sydney won with 5 wins, 1 draw, and one loss.

In the 1870s, the Chess Players' Quarterly Chronicle was the first chess magazine to organize postal chess tournaments.

In 1872, Johann Loewenthal (1810-1876) proposed that a telegraph match of two games be played between the City of London Chess Club and the Vienna Chess Club (Schachgessellschaft), the two strongest chess clubs in Europe. A time limit of 4 days would be granted to each party for deliberation. Six players were to be elected on each side. The first moves were dispatched by telegraph and correspondence on June 1, 1872.

In 1874, the City of London Chess Club defeated the Vienna Chess Club in a telegraph match, scoring 1.5 to 0.5. The consultation match played by telegraph was the first of its kind in Europe.

In 1874, Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), a chess enthusiast, invented the telephone at the age of 27. He said he was inspired the speaking machines of Wolfgang von Kempelen, who created the chess-playing automaton "The Turk." Bell later wrote a book on what he thought how The Turk played chess.

In 1875, George Black of Hamilton, Canada, and his friends T.C. Mewburn and C.D. Cory, were in the habit of playing chess using the telegraph wires existing between their houses.

In 1875, the first correspondence match in Italy took place between the chess clubs of Ferrara and Livorno.

In December 1875, the first international correspondence chess match began between the USA and Canada. It lasted until 1877. The USA won 26 to 11.

In 1876, the first correspondence all-play-all tournament was organized by Rev. T. Archdall. There were 17 entries. The winner was John Crum.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be granted a U.S. patent for a device that produced clear intelligible replication of the human voice. He had patented the telephone and soon chess was being played over the telephone.

In July 1877, the first intercontinental correspondence chess match, the International Postal Card Match, began between the USA and the UK. The match lasted until 1881. There was no official result after 112 games. The USA team had 32 wins and the UK team had 30 wins.

In 1877, chess was first played using the telephone. The first documented telephone chess game is from Dr. White and Mr. Treadwell of New York. Treadwell won.

On June 20, 1877, the first telephone exchange was opened for the express reason of playing chess. Hugh Cossart Baker, Jr, (1846-1931) of Hamilton, Canada wanted to play long distance chess with his friends. He leased four telephones so that he and his friends could contact each other directly about their chess moves. Melville Bell (1819-1905), father of Alexander Graham Bell, came to Hamilton and installed three telephones on Baker's private telegraph line, and in the house of his friend, J. R. Thompson. This was the first telephone transmission between more than two telephones on one circuit.

In October 1877, chess was being played by telephone in Washington, DC.

In January 1878, a chess game was played in Hartford, Connecticut by telephone between John G. Belden and Ellen Gilbert (lady champion of America) on one side, and Mr. C.G. Lincoln and Mr. A. E. Olmsted on the other side, a distance of several miles. The game was left unfinished, due to the lateness of the hour. Belden was chess editor of the Hartford Times.

On January 25, 1878, the first known telephone chess game (a single game and not a match) played in England was played by F. Thompson and John Cooper, separated by three miles in Derbyshire, England. Thompson was chess editor of the Derbyshire Advertiser.

In 1879, there was a demonstration of wireless transmission via conduction in Amos Dolbear's magneto electric telephone that used ground conduction to transmit over a distance of a quarter of a mile. Telegraphic communication using earth conductivity was eventually found to be limited to impractically short distances, as was communication conducted through water, or between trenches during World War I.

In 1880, a consultation chess game was played by telephone between the chess clubs of Brighton and Chichester.

In 1880, Sir William Watson Rutherford (1853-1927), a British politician who was a member of the Liverpool Chess Club, invented a chess code for telegrams. At the time, the British Post Office did not allow digits or ciphers (series or groups of figures or letters, or words not found in a standard dictionary) in telegrams, but they did allow Latin words. This method also allowed moves for two games to be transmitted at the same time. In this method, the legal moves in the position were counted using a system until the move being made was reached. This was done for both games. The move number of the first game was multiplied by 60 and added to the move number of the second game. Leading zeros were added as necessary to give a four-digit number. The first two digits would be 00 through 39, which corresponded to a table of 40 Latin roots. The third digit corresponded to a list of 10 Latin prefixes and the last digit corresponded to a list of 10 Latin suffixes. The resulting word was transmitted. This code later fell out of favor when the rules were changed so that ciphers were allowed in telegrams.

In November 1880, the Liverpool Chess Club played the Calcutta Chess Club via telegraph using the Rutherford code. This was the first intercontinental telegraph chess match. The match lasted four months and was won by Liverpool.

In 1882, the Toronto Chess Club played the Detroit Chess Club by telegraph. This may be the first telegraph match between the USA and Canada.

In 1883-84, the Cambridge University Chess Club played a postal game with patients at the Bethlehem (Bedlam) Hospital and lost.

In the mid-1880s, Thomas Edison patented an electromagnetic induction system which allowed telegraph signals to jump the short distance between a running train and telegraph wires running parallel to the tracks. He also helped patent a ship-ti-shore communications system based on electrostatic induction.

In 1884, the French chess magazine La Strategie organized an international chess tournament, open to subscribers in Europe and Algeria. There were 11 players from France, Belgium, England, Greece, and Hungary. The winner was Laquiere, a Frenchman living in Algeria.

In 1884, the first telephone chess match between chess clubs was played between the Cardiff Chess Club and the Swansea Chess Club in England.

In September 1884, a telephone match was played between the Bradford Chess Club and the Wakefield Chess Club, with 8 players on each team.

In the 1880s, Louis Uedemann (1854-1912) developed a notation code for telegraphs. It was first used in the 1886 telegraph match between London and St. Petersburg. He used a two-letter label for each square and transmitted four letters — two letters for the origin square followed by two letters for the destination square.

In November 1886, the St. Petersburg chess club defeated the London chess club in the telegraph match. The St. Petersburg Chess Club also defeated a chess club in Siberia by telegraph.

In 1887, Heinrich Hertz demonstrated electromagnet waves by experimentally generating radio waves in his laboratory. Radio waves were originally called "Hertzian waves." The modern term "radio wave" replaced the original "Hertzian wave" in 1912.

In 1887, an international correspondence tournament was held, sponsored by the French weekly Le Monde Illustre.

In 1889, W. W. Morgan, Jr, invented a new type of telegraphic chess code that was supposed to replace the Rutherford code.

In 1890, Edwyn Anthony (1843-1932), a lawyer and a member of the London Mathematical Society, wrote a book called Chess Telegraph Codes. He invented a telegraphic chess code to ease move transmission. He devised a way of telegraphing two chess moves at the cost of one word by using compass notation. So, 1. P-K4 P-K4 2.P-KB4 PxP would be written 1. KPN2 (the king pawn going north 2 moves) KPN2 (Black also plays the king pawn going north 2) 2.KBPN2 (King Bishop Pawn north two moves) KBPNE1 (pawn goes northeast 1 move). This is converted to numeric code 87842 for the first two moves and 61817 for the next two moves. This doesn't look easy.

In 1891, Mikhail Chigorin defeated William Steinitz with two wins in a telegraph match.

On December 12, 1891, the first long distance telephone match in Great Britain took place between London and Liverpool. Liverpool won one game and the second games was drawn.

On January 16, 1892, a match of two games was played by telephone between the Liverpool Chess Club and the Birmingham Chess Club. Each side scored a game.

In March 1892, a telegraph match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club and the New Orleans Chess, Checker, and Whist Club.

In 1894, Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) worked on adapting the newly discovered radio waves to communications. He built the first wireless telegraphy system using them. He made the remark that if sufficient power were obtainable and a large enough antenna erected, it might be possible to transmit messages a distance of 20 miles through the air. Little did he know that in a few years, messages could be sent hundreds or thousands of miles away.

On March 9, 1895, the Manhattan Chess Club in New York played the British Chess Club by cable. Only about 22 moves were played in each of the 10 games. One game was agreed drawn. All the other games were adjudicated as drawn by the new world chess champion, Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941).

In May 1895, a two-game telegraph match was started between Victoria, Canada and San Francisco.

In 1895, the Manhattan Chess Club played the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia in a telegraph match. The two teams were 100 miles apart. The rooms of both chess clubs were directly connected by wire. Philadelphia won 7.5 to 6.5.

In 1895, a telegraphic chess code was invented by Frederick Startin Pilleau called "Dynamic Chess Notation." The moves 1. P-K4 P-K4 would be sent as MDMD. The moves 2.N-KB3 N-QB3 would be sent GDBE.

On March 13, 1896, the first cable chess match between Great Britain and the United States began. It was organized by the Brooklyn Chess Club, and would be the first Anglo-American chess match. The first team match had 8 players per side. Subsequent matches had 10 players per side. Sir George Newnes (1851-1910) was president of the British Chess Club and he provided a silver cup that would go to the winning team. Newnes was an editor and publisher of magazines in Britain. He was the first to publish the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. USA won the first match, 4.5 to 3.5. The Anglo-American cable matches lasted from 1895 through 1911.

The second cable match was played on February 12-13, 1897. There were now 10 players per side. UK won, 5.5 to 4.5. The format from 8 players to 10 players favored the British side, as their 1-point victory was due to the bottom 3 boards winning.

In March 1897, a telegraph match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club and the New Orleans Chess Club. Manhattan CC won 6.5 to 3.5.

On May 31, 1897, a telegraph match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club and the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia. The Franklin Chess Club won 8-6.

On May 31st to June 1st, 1897, a cable match by telegraph (a Wheatstone Duplex machine) was arranged between five members of the U.S. House of Representatives (3 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 Populist) in Washington, DC, and five members of the British House of Commons in London (8,360 miles apart). The match lasted seven days and ended in a draw, 2.5 to 2.5. This match was arranged by Richmond Pearson (1852-1923), U.S. Representative of North Carolina and Sir John Heaton (1848-1914), a British Conservative Member of Parliament. In this match, a record of time in cable matches was established. Twenty moves were cabled in 21.5 minutes, one move going to and from Washington in 14 seconds. The signals were carried by the Anglo American Telegraph Company and the Western Union Telegraph Company. The match was designed to interest Congress in ways to speed and cheapen communications.

The third Anglo-American cable match began on March 18, 1898 between the British Chess Club and the Brooklyn Chess Club. The signals were carried by the Commercial Cable Company. The British Chess Club won, 5.5 to 4.5.

The fourth cable match began on March 10, 1899 between the Brooklyn Chess Club and the British Chess Club. USA won 6 to 4.

In March 1899, the British universities of Cambridge and Oxford defeated the American universities (Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and Princeton) by one point in a cable match (3.5 to 2.5). The winning team took possession of the Rice Trophy, donated by Isaac Rice of New York.

In 1899, a team match by telegraph on 12 boards was played between Boston and Chicago. Chicago won the match 6.5 to 5.5.

In 1899, a match by telegraph between St. Petersburg and Vienna was played and won by Vienna. The stakes were 1,000 francs a side.

In 1900, the first ladies' correspondence chess tournament was organized by Hobbies weekly magazine. There were 7 ladies that played. Mrs. F. Sterling Berry and Mrs. Bowles tied for first.

The fifth cable match was played on March 23-24, 1900. USA won 6 to 4. The USA had had two victories in a row. One more and they would take permanent possession of the Newnes trophy. Pillsbury remained winless in 5 cable games against Blackburne. Showalter had won his first 4 cable matches, but drew his game in the 5th cable match. John Barry was now victorious in 5 cable matches. Ed Hymes drew in all of his 5 matches.

In April 1900, a cable match took place between the British universities and the American universities. The British players were Tattersall, Softlaw, and Wiles from Cambridge, and A. George, G. Ellis, and Soddy from Oxford. The American players were C. Rice and F. Hopkins from Harvard; A. Cook and Austell from Yale; Sewall from Columbia; and J. Hunt from Princeton. The British team won 4.5 to 1.5.

In November 1900, the first telegraph match between Victoria and West Australia (2,300 miles) was played, 10 players a side. West Australia won with 6 wins, 3 losses, and one unfinished game.

The 6th cable match began on April 19, 1901. UK and USA tied 5-5. Pillsbury finally defeated Blackburne on board one. Showalter lost his first cable match game. Barry, who had 5 straight victories, drew his 6th match game. Hymes, after 5 draws, finally won a game.

In December 1901, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless message (the letter "S") across the Atlantic using radio waves (then called Hertzian waves). Soon, the system was being used for regular communications and chess was soon being played by wireless communication using Morse code.

The first radio transmitters, which were spark gap transmitters, could not transmit voice (audio signals). Instead, the operator would tap out the chess moves on a telegraph key, which turned the transmitter on and off, producing short ("dot") and long ("dash") pulses of radio waves.

In February 1902, the Minnetonka merchant ship defeated the Cunard liner Etruria in a game of chess conducted over radio. The Minnetonka crew proudly proclaimed her victory to the Minneapolis wireless operator. (source: The Atlantic Transport Line)

On March 15, 1902, USA won the 7th cable match with a 5.5 to 4.5 score. The Americans played at the Brooklyn Chess Club and the English team played at the International Hall, Cafe Monaco in London. The telegraphic communication was provided by the Commercial Cable Company.

On June 10, 1902, six passengers on the American liner SS Philadelphia and one passenger (Paul Ginther) on the Cunard liner SS Campania 80 miles away in the Atlantic played the first match by radio, transmitting their moves by wireless operators aboard the ships. The match was not concluded after 21 moves and several hours since the radios were needed for navigational use and the ships failed to reestablish communications. Later, the SS Philadelphia played other ships, winning its chess games, and claiming to be the first mid-ocean wireless chess champion. (source: The New York Times, June 15, 1902 and Jan 19, 1903 and The Argus, Jan 21, 1903)

In August 1902, a game was played by wireless radio between the S.S. Philadelphia and the S.S. Campania in the Atlantic Ocean.

In January 1903, a team of chess players on the American liner SS Philadelphia defeated a team of chess players on the liner.

On March 27-28, 1903, the British universities defeated the American universities in their 5th annual cable match by the score of 3.5 to 2.5.

In April 1903, USA won the 8th cable match with a 5.5 to 4.5 score. The USA was represented by Pillsbury, Barry, Hodges, Marshall, Hymes, Voigt, Newman, Delmar, Howell, and Hellms. The UK was represented by Lawrence, Blackburne, Mills, Atkins, Bellingham, Trenchard, Michell, Jacobs, Gunston, and Hooke.

From 1904 to 1906, cable matches were halted due to the Russo-Japanese war, which made arrangements for the cabling too difficult.

In July 1904, Honolulu played a wireless chess match with Hilo. (source: Honolulu Evening Bulletin, July 21, 1904)

In September 1904, the American transport liner Minneapolis played a wireless chess match with the Holland-American liner Ryndam. The game ended in a draw after 4.5 hours of play. Many of the passengers on both ships were betting on the game as to who would be the winner, hoping to meet and settle their bets in New York, but the outcome of the game made this unnecessary. (source: New York Evening World, Sep 5, 1904)

In September, 1904, Admiral Caspar Goodrich (1847-1925) and the officers of the United States cruiser New York played a chess game by wireless telegraph with Captain Hubbard and the officers of the cruiser Boston. The game was finally won by the players on the Boston. (source: Los Angeles Herald, Oct 2, 1904)

In 1904, the annual interstate telegraph match between the Melbourne Chess Club in Australia and the New South Wales Chess Association was cancelled because the Australian postmaster general claimed he could not spare the time since the telegraph lines were jammed from increased activity due to rates being recently reduced. In the early days of cable matches, the telegraph companies were very glad to allow chess matches as good advertising.

By 1905, telegraph cable companies refused to handle and sponsor chess games over cable, giving the reason that their services were always rendered as a loss. In the early days of cable matches, the telegraph companies were very glad to avail themselves of the means of advertising that these chess matches afforded. The rates were not considered important, and there was always room for chess matches on days like Friday and Saturday. The hope of future matches relied on Deforest or Marconi wireless telegraphy.

In July 1905, a game of chess was played by wireless between the Carpathia and the Baltic in the Atlantic Ocean. The game ended in a draw after 30 moves. (source: Lasker's Chess Magazine, Vol 2, 1905, p. 152).

In 1905, a telegraph match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club and the Chicago Chess and Checker Club. Emanuel Lasker was the referee and adjudicated the unfinished games. Than Manhattan Chess Club won 9 to 7.

In 1906, the British Correspondence Chess Association was formed. Its original name was The Capital and Counties Correspondence Chess Association. It was the first successful British correspondence organization, and it still exists.

From 1906 to 1910, a series of Anglo-American University matches were held and played by cable.

In 1907, UK won the 9th cable match with a 5.5 to 4.5 score.

In 1908, USA won the 10th cable match with a 6.5 to 3.5 score.

In 1909, Princeton played a wireless chess match with players at the Brooklyn navy yard. (source: New York Tribune, March 14, 1909)

In 1909, Great Britain won the 11th cable match with a 6 to 4 score.

In 1909, the Correspondence Chess League of Greater New York was formed. The Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA) was founded in 1917 with the merger of other correspondence leagues.

In 1910, Princeton played Penn State in a wireless chess match, which may be the first intercollegiate wireless chess match.

In 1910, Great Britain won the 12th cable match with a 6.5 to 3.5 score.

In 1910, the first wireless telegraph match between ocean-going ships was played. Passengers of the King Friedrich August steamer played a match against passengers of the Principessa Mafalda. The game was drawn after 31 moves. The increasing distance between the ships made continuation of the game too difficult.

In 1910, the Zealandia was the first Australian owned ship to be fitted with wireless telegraphy. Soon after Zealandia began operating across the Pacific, the wireless operator began engaging in a long-range chess match with the Union Line passenger steamer Makura as the two liners were crossing the Pacific in opposite directions. (source: Across the Pacific: Liners from ANZ to North America, by Peter Plowman, p. 102, 2010)

After 1910, communications by what had been called "Hertzian waves" was being referred to as "radio," and the term wireless telegraphy was replaced by "radiotelegraphy."

In 1911, UK won the 13th cable match with a 6 to 4 score. Britain, having won three matches in succession, took permanent possession of the silver Newnes Cup, offered in competition by Sir George Newnes (1851-1910) several years earlier. The cable matches ended after this match.

From 1899 to 1903, there were Anglo-American University cable matches between Oxford and Cambridge and Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia University. A second series of University matches was held from 1906 to 1910. The last in a series of cable matches between the universities occurred in 1924. In 11 matches, the British universities won 4, the American universities won 4, and they drew 3 times. In 1907, Capablanca played for Columbia University and drew his game on board 1 against H. Rose of Oxford.

In 1911, two games of chess were played by wireless telegraphy between two liners in the Atlantic Ocean, the Briton and the Medric. Each won a game. Among the players on the Briton was Rear Admiral (later Vice-Admiral) Sir Paul Warner Bush (1855-1930), commander-in-chief, Cape of Good Hope Station. (source: The Washington Post, Feb 5, 1911).

In 1912, the vacuum tube oscillator (Armstrong or Meissner oscillator) radio transmitter was invented, which made radiotelephone (sound) transmission possible.

In May 1915, the chess club of Ohio State University played a wireless match with the University of Michigan. The game ended in a draw. (source: Detroit Free Press, May 23, 1915)

In 1915, chess was being played between French and German soldiers in their trenches. The moves were announced by megaphone.

In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, private radiotelegraphy stations were prohibited and chess could not be played over these private stations.

In 1919, a telegraph match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club in New York and the Capital City Chess Club in Washington, DC. On hand in New York was New York Mayor John Hylan. For Washington DC, Supreme Court Justice Mahlon Piney served as referee. Direct telegraphic communication had been established between the two clubs, with two operators at each end, so there might be no clogging of the wires between the incoming out outgoing messages. The Manhattan CC won the match, scoring 6-4, after 12 hours.

On April 14, 1920, a shortwave radio match between Washington DC and Chicago was played. It was the first recorded long-distance radio chess match. The moves in Washington DC were telephoned from the Capital City Chess Club to the United States naval laboratory wireless operator in Arlington, Virginia, and relayed to an amateur's station in Evanston, Illinois, then relayed to the Chicago Chess Club. Edward Lasker (1885-1981) played for Chicago and Norman Tweed Whitaker played for Washington DC. 25 moves were played in almost 3 and ½ hours. The contest closed according to an agreed time limit. Jose Capablanca was to adjudicate the game. (source: Chicago Daily Tribune, April 16, 1920, p. 8 and The Wireless Age, Vol 20, June, 1920 and The Washington Herald, May 28, 1920)

In 1920, a chess match between a city in Holland and Berlin was played by wireless telegraphy. (source: New Science and Invention in Pictures, vol 8, 1920).

By the 1920s, there was a worldwide network of radiotelegraphic stations, plus extensive use of radiotelegraphy for playing chess around the world. The transmission of sound (radiotelephony) began to displace wireless telegraphy, making possible of playing chess through radio broadcasting. Wireless telegraphy was still popular for chess enthusiasts.

In the 1920s, Maurice Kuhns (1859-1949) devised a special cable code for the transmission of chess moves. It was called the Kuhns Cable Chess Code and was used in the 1926 London-Chicago Inter-city cable match and the 1927 London-New York cable match.

In the 1920s, amateur radio (commonly called "ham") operators communicated their chess moves through Morse Code.

In April 1921, Edward Lasker, on board the steamship Olympic, played a wireless match against 3 players on the steamship Adriatic. Only 16 moves were made before communications was lost.

In February 1922, New York University played a radio chess match with Princeton. It was the first intercollegiate radio chess match of its kind. (source: New York Evening World, Feb 11, 1922, p. 4)

In 1922, a radio chess match between a group of players in Wisconsin and a group of players in Minnesota was held.

In the May 1922 issue of Illustrated World, there appears an article called "Playing Games by Radio" by Windsor Kay. It mentions how you can test your skill at chess with your opponent miles away. The article describes how you can use the radiophone or the usual spark transmitter of dots and dashes (Morse code). The article had a picture of a lady, Miss Rosaline Kendall of New York, playing chess by radio. She was one of the contestants in a chess game between New York and Chicago (source: Vancouver Daily World, mar 28, 1922).

In June 1922, a radio chess match was played between E. T. Gundlach on the steamship President Taft and Edward Lasker at the Chicago Chess Club. It was billed as the world's first radio chess match between land and sea. Lasker won the match. (source: The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 7, 1922, p. 11 and The Courier-Journal, June 8, 1922)

Radio broadcasting began at Haverford College in 1923, when AM station 1150 WABQ was built and launched by its 15-member Haverford Radio Club. They soon began conducting chess matches by wireless using Morse code. Initial matches were with other colleges in the United States.

In 1923, Mr. B.G. Laws (1861-1931) used the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) to broadcast a lecture on chess. His lecture was entitled "The Art of Chess Problem." This may be the first time that radio was used to popularize chess.

In April 1923, the moves of the Frank Marshall vs. Edward Lasker US championship match were broadcasted by radio. It was the first time that a serious chess match was broadcasted by radio.

In May 1923, two steamships, the SS Western World out of New York and the SS American Legion out of Argentina, 6,000 miles apart played a game of chess by wireless radio. Each ship had a three-man team. (source: Oakland Tribune, May 29, 1923, p. 9 and Schenectady Gazette, Aug 2, 1972, p. 16)

In December 1923, a Minneapolis radio station broadcasted a talk on chess by E. E. Munns. He gave a short discussion on the theory of the game.

In 1924, the Haverford College Radio Club (1150 WABQ-AM) in Pennsylvania played a wireless chess match with the College of the City of New York (CCNY). (source:

In March 1924, the Western Union Telegraph Company opened the first direct cable between London and Chicago.

The August 1924 issue of Popular Mechanics described a radio match at sea.

In December 1924, Haverford College in Pennsylvania (college broadcasting station 3BVN) played an amateur radio chess match with Oxford University in England (private station G-2NM). It was the first international chess match by amateur radio and was reported by the American Radio Relay League. The communication was maintained by radio telegraphy on 85 meters, despite heavy static. However, a week later, the Postmaster General in England declined to give permission for Oxford to play chess by amateur wireless telegraphy. The Postmaster objected on the ground that permits are granted to amateurs, subject to the condition that messages shall be sent only to stations which are actually cooperating in experiments. The Postmaster General ruled that the exchange of messages relating to a chess match was not regarded as a bona fide experiment. (source: New York Times, Dec 10, 1924, p. 1 and New York Times, Dec 22, 1924, p. 2)

In 1925, there were at least two stations in Germany (North German Radio) that were giving chess talks and lessons over the radio. In one broadcast, commentators debated whether chess was an art, a science, or a game. They also broadcasted classes for beginners as well as general news about chess.

In 1925, Vera Menchik and Mr. Samuel Tinsley of the Times gave lectures on chess over the BBC.

In 1926, Haverford College in Pennsylvania played an amateur radio chess match with the University of Paris. The broadcasting and receiving station used in Franc was L'Intransigeant (F-SER), at wavelength from 90 to 100 meters. Broadcasting and receiving at Haverford College was Stations 3ZG and 3OT, operating on a 40-meter wavelength. (source: The New York Times, Jan 17, 1926, p. 1)

In May 1926, the Shanghai chess club defeated the Manila chess club in a radio match over shortwave. (source: Indiana Gazette, May 28, 1926, p. 1)

In 1926, Vera Menchik won a girls' tournament at the Imperial Chess Club and gave the results in a 10:30 pm BBC broadcast.

On November 6, 1926, a cable chess match between London and Chicago was held.

Between 1926 and 1931, London played 5 cable matches against 4 US cities. This series of cable matches was known as the Insull Trophy series.

In 1926, London beat Chicago in a telegraph match, scoring 4-2.

In December 1926, the first international radio match between Argentina and Uruguay took place between the Club Gimnasia y Esgroma de Rosario and the Uruguayan Chess Federation in Montevideo. The match lasted nearly 24 hours. (source: Horacio A. Nigro Geolkiewsky of Montevideo, Uruguay). Also see Ajedrez por radio, una historia concisa.

In May 1927, a 12,000-mile wireless radio match was played between the London House of Commons and the Australian Parliamentarians in Canberra, Australia. The match ended in a draw. The Duke of York made the opening move in Canberra and Prime Minister Baldwin made the first move in London. (source: The New York Times, May 10, 1927, p. 38 and The Winnipeg Tribune, May 10, 1927)

In 1927, London beat New York by 4-2 in a telegraph match.

In 1928, London was leading Washington, DC by 3-2 in a telegraph match, but there was a dispute about the bottom board. The matter was referred to FIDE and the match was annulled.

In 1928, the National Chess Federation organized a Radio Chess League.

In 1929, Dr. Norman Shaw of McGill University, Montreal issued a challenge to play a radio match with Frank Davies, physicist of the Byrd expedition in the Antarctic, a distance of 11,000 miles.

In 1930, London drew with Washington DC in a cable telegraph match, with the score of 3-3.

In 1930, a radio match was played between a chess club in Los Angeles (headed by Herman Steiner) and a chess club in Rosario, Argentina. It was the first time an international radio match was contested between teams of four players. Two amateur radio stations, owned by T. E. La Croix of Long Beach and Dr. Adolfo Elias of Rosario, were used for the communication. (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 1, 1930, p. 27 and North Adams Transcript, Apr 10,1930)

In the 1930s, crews in the lighthouses of the mid-Atlantic coast played "Radio Chess" with the crews of other lighthouses. Two crews tried to checkmate each other while the rest listened in and planned their turns at play. (source: Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast)

By the 1930s, the teleprinter was being used as an electromechanical typewriter. Soon, there was a global teleprinter network, called the "Telex network," using radio signals. Routing and encoding messages, including chess moves, was done by short wave transmissions. Radio waves in the shortwave band can be reflected or refracted from a layer of electrically charged atoms in the ionosphere. Using shortwave radio meant transmission to great distances around the globe.

In 1931, London beat Philadelphia in a cable telegraph match by 3.5 to 2.5.

In 1931, a wireless chess match was played between Sydney and Melbourne Universities. Sydney won the match. The students claimed that is was the first inter-state and the first inter-university chess match ever played by wireless. (source: Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 3, 1931)

In March 1934, Alekhine was interviewed on a radio in Holland, just before he was to give a simultaneous blindfold exhibition.

In 1934, the first chess match ever staged in Ohio over a shortwave radio set was played by Victor Alderson and Homer Lawrence. (source: Mansfield News-Journal, Mar 2, 1937)

In 1935, Alexander Alekhine gave a radio broadcast a day before his world championship match with Max Euwe.

In 1936, several broadcasters in Nottingham, England arranged to interview Max Euwe, Jose Capablanca, and other chess players during the Nottingham International tournament.

In 1936, Ajeeb, the automaton, owned by Jess Hanson and Frank Frain, toured the United States to sponsor a radio set, one to be given free to any winner against Ajeeb. Ajeeb never lost a chess or checkers game during that tour. (source: article on Ajeeb in The Oxford Companion to Chess).

In 1937, the Palestine chess championship results were announced on the radio. It may be the first radio broadcast about chess in Israel or Palestine.

In 1937, radio station KQV, an AM station in Pittsburgh, broadcasted the Radio Chess Club in the evenings.

In the late 1930s, Hermann Helms was the first to broadcast chess games and matches over the radio (WNYC).

In 1938, Alekhine was interviewed by the BBC (see

In 1938, the Dutch radio broadcasting company AVRO (Algemene Vereniging Radio Omroep) sponsored AVRO 1938, in which the world's best eight chess players competed. It was the strongest chess tournament held up to that time. The joint winners were Paul Keres and Reuben Fine, followed by Botvinnik, Alekhine, Euwe, and Reshevsky.

In 1938, the BBC challenged its listeners to a game of chess.

In 1938, the BBC did a brief interview with Alekhine. He said that he never looked back on a game or a match, but was trying all the time to see how he could improve his play.

In April 1939, three University of Illinois "hams" from station W-9201 defeated members at station W-9YB at Purdue, in a wireless telegraphy chess match. (source: Daily Illini, April 23, 1939)

On February 23, 1941 a radio broadcast called "The Chess Club Murders" was aired. A triple murder occurs at the chess club and The Shadow checkmates the killer.

In March 1941, the first radio match of any consequence was played between the chess clubs of Moscow and Leningrad.

During World War II, no postal chess play was allowed between civilians and servicemen in the United States and Canada. Soldiers overseas were not allowed to play postal chess due to censorship restrictions.

Capablanca gave chess lectures over the radio during World War II.

In 1945, an inter-base radio chess match was being played at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, Antactica. However, the match has to be abandoned as a cat knocked over the chess board. (source:

In 1945, the first International Radio Chess Match was held. From September 1 to September 4, 1945 one of the most historic chess matches took place. It was the USA vs USSR radio telegraphy chess match. The 10 leading masters of the United States played the 10 leading masters of the USSR for chess supremacy. The match was announced in August 1945 for the benefit of Russian war relief. It was to be a four days' radio match between 10 selected chess players in the United States and the Soviet Union. The chairman of the organizing committee was investment banker and chess patron Maurice Wertheim (1886-1950). W.W. Lancaster served as vice chairman. Joseph E. Davies (1876-1958), former Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1937-1938), was one of the major sponsors of the event. Other sponsors included New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947) and New York senator James Mead (1885-1964). J.N. Derbyshire, head of the British Chess Federation, acted as official referee for the match. The Soviet match committee proposed Derbyshire as the referee, who was accepted by the USA team. The match was played by radio (using the Mackay Radio & Telegraph Company) starting at 10 am EST, and was a double round robin. The time limit was 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours and 16 moves per hour after that. The Udeman Code was used for transmitting the move messages. It took an average of 5 minutes to transmit a move. The US team played in the ballroom of the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York, using giant wallboards to reproduce the play for the spectators. The Soviet team met at the Central Club of Art Masters in Moscow, 5000 miles away. Mayor LaGuardia made the opening move for the USA team. US Ambassador Averill Harriman officiated at the Moscow end. Fred Reinfeld and Edward Lasker announced the moves to the audiences. Ken Harkness was the match director. The match was historic in that it was the first international sports event since the outbreak of World War II. Also, never before had teams representing the USA and the USSR competed against each other. It was the first match to be played by radio telegraphy. Up to that time it was the most widely publicized event and the greatest spectacle in the chess history of the United States. This was also the debut of the USSR in a sport. Never before had the USSR played another country in any form of sport. All records for attendance were broken by both sides. In the US, over 1000 spectators watched the match from the Grand Ballroom of the Henry Hudson Hotel. The spectators were also entertained with exhibition games, lectures, demonstrations and other features. The same numbers of spectators watched the match in Moscow. Movie audiences in every theater of the Soviet Union saw films of the match. During the match 2,163 messages were sent by radio telegraphy. USSR won the match by the overwhelming score of 15 1/2 points to 4 1/2 points. All the proceeds of the event went for therapy equipment used in the treatment of wounded Russian and American soldiers. At the conclusion of the match, a plaque was formally presented by Chairman Wertheim to the Soviet Consul General, Pavel Mikhailov (who doubled as the controller of military intelligence for the NKVD). The concluding ceremonies were opened by Grace Moore (1898-1947) of the Metropolitan Opera Company singing "The Star Spangled Banner." Others on the program included actor Sam Jaffee (1891-1984) and Pulitzer Prize journalist Leland Stowe (1899-1994).

In June, 1946, the first radio match between Great Britain and the Soviet Union took place. The USSR easily won (18-6) with players like Botvinnik, Keres, Smyslov, Boleslavky, Flohr, Kotov, Bronstein, Boleslavsky, Lilienthal, and Ragozin.

In other radio matches in 1946, Australia beat France (5.5-4.5), and Spain beat Argentina (8-7).

In June 1947, Australia defeated Canada in a radio match. (source: Sydney Morning Herald, Jul 8, 1947)

In July 1947, Britain won a radio match (played by Morse code) against the Pakies Chess Club of Australia. The match, which lasted 2 days, was the longest-range chess match ever played, with 10,500 miles separating the contestants. The players notified their moves through Overseas Telecommunications. (source: The Ottawa Journal, Oct 6, 1947, p. 18)

The first world correspondence championship was delayed by the outbreak of World War II. In 1947, the preliminaries for the world corr. Championship started. There were 78 participants from 22 countries. The tournament ended on March 31, 1953. The winner was Cecil John Seddon Purdy of Australia.

In March, 1948, the Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchange had a radio chess match with 10 players to a side. The Dutch team won. (source: The Kokomo Tribune, Mar 11, 1948)

In 1948, the first Polar radio chess game started between Australian scientists on Heard Island and South Africans on Marion Island, 1,400 miles away. The Australians are studying cosmic rays in the Antarctic, while the South Africans are maintaining a weather station in the Antarctic. (source: Winnipeg Tribune, Apr 26, 1948)

In 1949, the subject of chess sometimes was broadcasted by Kol Israel (Voice of Israel) radio station.

In the 1950s, George Koltanowski made radio broadcasts featuring chess.

In 1952, Ernest Klein of the BBC played a chess game with Olaf Barda of NRK.

In 1952, an article called "Calling All Chess Players" appeared in CQ: the Radio Amateur's Journal. The article pointed out a conspicuous absence of chess players among ham operators, and that chess seemed to have disappeared from the amateur radio world.

In the autumn of 1958, the BBC started a half-hour program on chess. The BBC ran a series called Network Three (now Radio 3) with consultation games that included Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, Max Euwe, Abrahams, Hugh Alexander, Barden, Broadbent, Bruce, Clarke, Fraenkel, Golombek, Haygarth, Kottnauer, Pritchard, Rhoden, Sunnucks, and Wade. All the top English players of the time appeared on the program, playing consultation games and often describing their favorite chess game. The program ran until the summer of 1964.

In 1959, C.H.O'D. Alexander played a game of chess with some listeners over the BBC.

In 1960, Americans, Russians, and New Zealanders were playing chess with each other by radio in Antarctica. Men stationed at New Zealand's Scott Base in McMurdo Sound were playing chess with Russians at the Soviet station of Lazarev in Queen Maud Island, nearly 3,000 miles away. Players at American bases on Ross Island in McMurdo Sound were playing with men at the main Russian base of Mirny on the Queen Mary coast in East Antarctica. (source: Brownsville Herald, Sep 8, 1960, p. 13)

In 1960, Bobby Fischer played chess and chatted on the BBC Network Three broadcast. He teamed up with Leonard Barden and played against Penrose and Clarke. When the studio time ran out, position of the game was given to Max Euwe for adjudication. Euwe declared the game as drawn, but Fischer said it was a win for his team.

In 1962, Bobby Fischer gave an interview over Radio Liberty before departing for the Candidates Tournament. He said that the USA will have a better chess team than the Soviet Union within 5 to 10 years. (source: Chess Review, Aug 1962, p. 227)

In 1964, a radio match between a South African Antarctic outpost and Radio Nederland had to be called off because Moscow radio was jamming their frequency. (source: Holland, Michigan Evening Sentinel, Sep 8, 1964, p. 3)

In 1965, Bobby Fischer participated in the Capablanca Memorial in Havana by way of teletype from the Marshall Chess Club in New York.

On November 22, 1966 a USSR chess program began a correspondence match by telegraph with the Kotok-McCarthy MIT chess program. The match lasted 9 months and was won by the Soviet computer, with 3 wins and 1 loss.

In 1968, Lawrence Krakauer was perhaps the first person to use amateur radio ("ham radio) to play a chess game between two computers. (source: Computer chess via ham radio).

In June 1970, ground control played chess with the crew members of Soyuz 9 (Vitali Sevastyanov and Andrean Nikolayev). It was the first chess game played across space.

In the 1970s, one could play correspondence chess in PLATO System program called ‘chess3.'

On March 23, 1973, Texas A&M and the University of Texas competed in a game of chess over amateur radio. The chess clubs of each school communicated their moves via amateur radio (3.950 MHz SSB and two-meter AM). Texas A&M won the match. (source: WSAC Texas A&M Amateur Radio Club).

In 1973, Radio Atlantis, a Belgium-owned offshore pirated station, was supposed to go on the air on July 15. However, it was discovered that the 773 kHz transmitter crystal had gone missing. It turned out that the crystal was being used as a replacement pawn for the ship's chessboard, and the piece was apparently thrown overboard when a new chess set was delivered, replacing the old chess set. (source: Wikipedia article on Radio Atlantis)

In 1974, an article in Chess Life & Review stated that "...this year, radio matches have really arrived on the campus."

In 1976, London and Belgrade played a chess match by telex.

In 1977, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) organized the first Telechess Olympiad where the game of chess can be played over amateur radio, telephone, or telex. It was won by the USSR, which beat West Germany in the final round, scoring 5-3.

In the 1980s, Vince Luciani of Cologne, New Jersey founded the Chess & Amateur Radio International (CARI) for ham radio enthusiasts (source: The Deseret News, Jan 3, 1983). There were about 200 members around the world. In 1983, he published the bi-monthly magazine CARI News. An article on CARI was written in Monitoring Times, November, 1985. A ham radio chess net was formed in September, 1985 on 14.267 MHz (source: net.chess forum)

In amateur radio, the terms "CW" (continuous waveform) and :Morse code" are often interchangeably. Amateur radio players prefer to play chess on CW, citing the efficiency of the mode and the ability to stay in contact for long periods. The challenge to playing on CW is to avoid mistakes. The CARI members used the letter "R" to distinguish the moves. To send a move, you send RRR, then the move (twice), then another R. To send the first move, such as P-K4 or e4 in algebraic, you would send R R R E4 E4 R. If the opponent hears it correctly, he sends back RR, then the move, then another R. So his confirmation of the moves would be R R E4 R. Finally, if the original sender agrees with the move, he sends another R.

In the 1980s, chess was played by email.

In 1982, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater broadcasted an episode called The Chess Master. An uneventful game of chess with a stranger in the park leads to a world of adventure for an out-of-work advertising agent. The actors included Fred Gwynne, Paul Hecht, and Russell Horton.

In 1985, chess was being played on the ARPANET. I was playing chess by correspondence (email chess) on the ARPANET at from 1985 to 1991.

In 1987, the Usenet newsgroup (tgc) was created. I was active on the Usenet newsgroup and email chess. Other newsgroups were,, and

In 1987, Leisure Linc was an early on-line "internet" company. It had the first national online chess bulletin board system (BBS). The cost was $5 an hour to be online. I was an early member of Leisure Linc.

On January 15, 1992, the first Internet Chess Server (ICS) was set up by Michael Moore of the University of Utah, and Richard Nash. The host,, was accessible through telnet.

In 1990, "The Chess Show" began appearing on public television in Portland, Oregon. Players called in to make chess moves.

In 1993, the BBC covered that Kasparov-Short world championship match at the Savoy Theatre in London.

In 2002, Terence Tiller published Chess Treasury of the Air. The book is a written record of the BBC broadcast programs on chess that ran from 1958 to 1964.

In 2006, Western Union discontinued all telegram and commercial messaging services, thus ending the telegraph era.

In 2008, British Antarctic Survey scientist Ian MacNab, stationed on Adelaide Island, Antarctica, played Boris Spassky, who was in Wales, in a simultaneous exhibition. It was the first time a chess match has been played against the outside world from the region. (source: BBC News, May 26, 2008)

In August, 2008, astronaut Greg Chamitoff, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), played against a variety of ground stations by ham radio. Chamitoff won his game.

In 2011, astronauts Greg Johnson and Greg Chamitoff , aboard the ISS, played chess by ham radio against members of the United States Chess Federation.

In 2013, the BBC Radio 4 started a chess series called Across the Board with interviews and a chess game. Former Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson, president of the English Chess Federation, conducts a series of interviews over a game of chess. Guests have included Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, Hou Yifan, snooker player Steve Davis, boxer Lennox Lewis, philanthropist Rex Sinquefield, military historian Antony Beevor, journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan, former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky.

Ham operators have volunteered and have been playing opponents who are have multiple sclerosis and confined to a wheel chair to keep them mentally occupied. has an International Amateur Radio group, formed in 2010.

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