Editor: Dr Tim
© Dr Tim Harding
5 October 2021
Volume 16 of Quarterly for Chess History included a highly favourable 10-page review of Tim's history of correspondence chess by the journal's editor Dr Vlastimil Fiala. Download in PDF.
The book is published by McFarland and available through usual chess outlets worldwide. The ISBN (for orders through bookshops) is 978-0-7864-4553-0.
The book was short-listed for the English Chess Federation's 2011 Book of the Year award. The citation read as follows:
Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland 1824-1987 Tim Harding McFarland pp433 £34.95
Based on his doctoral thesis and subsequently expanded into this book Harding has produced a comprehensive history of a facet of chess playing which has its own set of values and leading exponents. The book is well illustrated with pictures and documents from the past and as always with McFarland beautifully printed. A fascinating insight into the past, particularly before 1900.
Some critical responses in the press and on the Web:
Review by James Pratt at British Chess Magazine:
We hope all readers will equip themselves with this excellent tome. Quite in the league of Forster's Amos Burn, we heartily recommend this detailed history.
BCCA review by Neil Limbert:
This book is simply excellent! It is a repository of facts and other information gleaned from meticulous research using primary sources of material where possible such as manuscripts, newspaper columns, books and other articles. The book also contains over 180 annotated games and, above all, a well-written wonderful story that should gladden the heart of any correspondence player...
Review by Carl Portman at Carl's Planet:
I can only imagine the amount of time and care that author Tim Harding has expended on this historical work - for that's what it is... Each chapter reveals priceless information and the reader won't fail to be engrossed in developments as the decades unfold... Highly recommended *****
Review by Prof. Nagesh Havanur at chess.com:
This scholarly work is the result of prodigious research over years. It's replete with cross tables, extensive notes and a detailed bibliography. Now dear reader, don’t let that intimidate you. If you are an avid reader of chess history, your mind would soak in the atmosphere of a bygone era, and , especially, if you are an Englishman or Irishman, you would enjoy this book, remembering the jolly old days of your forefathers. If you are none of these, don’t worry. Sit back and enjoy the games. They are beautifully annotated...
Chess Cafe review of the book:
The instant appeal of Tim Harding's new book, Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland, 1824-1987, is that it is about amateur players; some like me, some miles above me in ability, but still the common bond of a love for what Harding calls an "intellectual sport." In fact, I think one can go so far as to say that this book is a celebration of what great things even amateur players can accomplish in chess; while the elephants drink, the rest of us gnats can bathe.
Review on the 'Atlantic Cable' historical website:
While the book is primarily aimed at chess players with an interest in the history of their game, it also provides much ueful information to historians... shows in each period how new technologies were adopted.
Iain Mackintosh in Scottish Correspondence Chess:
Tim's style is a marvellous blend of assiduous research and the journalist's eye for a story... Over the 153-year time-span of the book, changes in lifestyle and culture plus the impact of major wars and new technology are woven into the story... No dull history here; every chapter is full of fascinating personalities and happenings!