Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Free of charge part 2

Free of charge, it still exists in this era of the internet 3.0 or 4.0 (or which version are we using nowadays?).

You can still find quality however more and more on payment, provided in different formats (see e.g the old sites, of which the historical one of Olimpiu Orcan is a nice example: Another famous example from the stone age of the internet,, which meanwhile can only be accessed for a fee. Before it was a nice collection of articles written by professionals about many aspects of the game, but unfortunately now not anymore available for free. Fortunately I downloaded many articles so I can still access them today.

I am not going to discuss free databases here, they exist in all different sizes and qualities sometimes also including analysis. I also will not talk about free chess-software, also of that you can find many of them and I don't mean hacks but rather good software like arena, scid, and other tools/ apps to work with like making gifs of games (popular at twitter).

In this article I want to give a summary of where you can find on the internet good pdfs with chess-content, just to download legally, so no torrent sites (sooner or later just giving you a virus). I also limit myself to non-interactive pdfs, The advantage of a collection of books on pdf-format is that you can take dozens of them on USB-strick - very handy for holidays: no trunk full of heavy books needed.

About the format I also want to add that pdf is fine but dejavu (djvu) is also popular, as it compress the files a lot. And you can find as much chessbooks in dejavu as in pdf.

The first place to look is naturally google, but a more direct and fully legal place to access chess-documentation is the internet archive (, where you can find a number of interesting pdf books and magazines. It is not a lot but a good start. Anybody interested in American chess-news of 50-60 years ago can download some years of Chess Review. Very nice.

A second address is, where you can download a limited number of pdfs and djvus. No recent publications but it looks all copyright free. The most interesting subcategory seems to be the collection of games, with some less famous work.

A third location is probably less correct : They show some books online but I doubt this is all legal.

Only now you should google the titles of the book so type (or just "schaak", "chess", "ajedrez", "xadrez", "schach", "skak",…) + "pdf" (or djvu) which will give you some hits, likely some fragments of the books will be given free of charge. An exception is, where you can "just" download some pdfs. Or the simple search "schaak pdf" generates the complete "Ome Jan leert zijn neefje schaken".

Related to the fragments: New in Chess has the nice habit to show a number of pages free of charge of each of their books online - a nice balance between free and paid content. Also QualityChess puts similar extracts online - definitely worth a visit. It is not a goldmine, but some scrolling can let you discover some stuff.

Belgian clubs with a lot of content online: here we have to mention CREB ( tabs archives and publications) as somehow the historical database of all what happened about chess in Brussels, Brabant and Belgium. Thanks to a.o. Etienne Cornil you can find a load of interesting information about chess in Belgium for everybody. The other important historical site about Belgium is of course still Belgian Chess History ( - no pdfs but almost all games of Belgian players played in important tournaments/ matches from before the year 2000. But I digress so I go back to the pdfs.

KBSB-VSF members also get via VSF bi-weekly the VSF-magazine online in the mailbox. It is actual news so easy and interesting. No need to search for it. The magazine is a good mix between historical information, game-analysis, announcements and tournament-results. The KGSRL also puts their club-magazine online for many years already, but the games are mostly from grandmasters so less relevant for the clubplayer. Clubs like Jean Jaures, Veurne and Landegem have published some editions online but unfortunately didn't maintain that service. I probably still forget some clubs but this article is not an actual scan of what each club does in Belgium so just summarizes what I have detected in the past online.

Thanks to Rokade Westerlo I discovered, but that is more for chess-historians.

The Netherlands also have a good portion of online content. Maybe the clubmagazine with the best layout is the one of Rotterdam Charlois Europoort ( It is a pity no more recent numbers are added to the archive.

Interesting and still today relevant is the newsletter of the Max Euwe center. It is not clear what the focus is in the articles but many lovely stories can be found (not about Euwe)(

Delft ( also puts their clubmagazine online. A little advice I can give is that many clubs only show the most recent ones (e.g. the last 5) of their clubmagazine but often older ones are still on the server. You can find them by just changing the edition-number (in the case of Delft see link just change 32 to 31 or 33). They remove analysis of games from the online-magazine but you can't get everything for free always. It are just a few samples but Rotterdam I have known from the past, Delft I found immediately with some simple google-search. It also allowed me to find Groningen, Assendelft, Winterswijk...

For lovers of endgames and studies there is Arves allows you to download lots of material.

Netherlands has also some good sites for general information and after some searching also historical documentation: and are 2 sits with a lot of content.

Not on the Internet but something which gets a lot of attention in Netherlands are jubilee-books about the history of a local chess-club - many small and big ones have already created one with mixed results (qua format and content - we are in the Netherlands - often with miserable language). But again I digress...

Swiss: one of the places I like to return is the address of the Swiss chessmagazine (SSZ: years of fun reading (and good for your German, French and even Italian) about 8 editions per year. Swiss is a country with relatively independent federations (like big provinces) each having their own organization - which generates some interesting material. And in recent years Swiss chess has been flourishing - first due to an injection by Kortchnoi, Nemet, Milov and Gallagher, but now also by their own youth (Studer, Jenni, Georgiadis and Bogner).

Germany: the magazine Schach has all their lessons online (more than 100 numbers) see ( This looks useful for teachers. The section is historically grown from a mix of all kind of lessons to a more structured and thematic guide. This is educational for any player. Besides you can also subscribe to the newsletter of the German chessfederation: (, but I didn't do that (already enough mail) so I can't give much feedback about that.

For the magazine of the club of Roeselare De Torrewachters I am busy creating a series about chess in America. I found some good address of the American federations and clubs which contain some interesting files about local and federal level. General rule: the most populated regions have also the best websites to download material.

And I can plagiarize myself (for California): " A summary of the chess-activities can not be done without mentioning the Mechanics’ Institute ( That chessclub is the oldest of the USA (The Kolty chess Club in Campbell is the second oldest of that region) and has in the past organized many tournaments (also for computers). The site - and surely the Chess Room History is definitely worth a visit. But a real goldmine is, with a wealth of old magazines, for free in pdf to download. The best of club- or tournamentreports are that you can replay some games of strong, not grandmasters which otherwise you can't find. Those games are often interesting, well analyzed and are discussing some interesting openinglines and endgames - the reason why there were chosen for publication. Briefly, it is something else than Vlaanderen Schaakt Digitaal.

In this summary I have focused myself on getting easy and quick information taking into account language, relevance, copyright and easy access. People willing to try other languages (Spanish, German,...) should try google ("schach pdf/djvu" or "ajedrez pdf/djvu" which will generate a lot of interesting stuff, not always copyright conform or free of virus I assume). I found a Spanish site with a lot of Spanish and English content but likely not fulfilling all copyright-obligations so up to the reader to investigate.

I didn't want to discuss databases as there are many sources but I make one exception: which has already 600 million (!) games, played on their platform, so mainly blitz. But a blitzgame between grandmasters is still a good game so...

Another site which I found at the very last minute was the one of the chessclub of Tessenderlo (, on which you can find a lot of club-information - the site is maintained already for more than 20 years - quite an accomplishment of the webmaster for sure.


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