I once had 1800 chess books before I sold off about 600 of the least-good ones and doubles (I used to buy entire collections from people, so you get some stuff you do not want).

I know an IM friend of mine has thousands of books, and that Karpov is said to have a massive library (although I cannot find confirmation of this, or how many), but who has the largest library of chess books?

Even the top few would be interesting to me.

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    I found an article from 2010: maxeuwe.nl/index.php/activiteit/columns/… in which it is said that the largest private Dutch chess book library has about 25,000 books (back then). So that's an opening bid. – RemcoGerlich Nov 23 '19 at 18:51
  • @RemcoGerlich that is a good answer. I am also interested in who has the biggest library in English since it is my native language, if you have any idea about that. – PhishMaster Nov 23 '19 at 20:33
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    The library likely contains English books as well; one of the photos shows one. I'm Dutch, but most of my chess books are in English as well. – Glorfindel Nov 23 '19 at 20:49
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    The Cleveland Publid Library is said to have one of the largest collections of chess literature in the world in its John G. White Collection. – bof Nov 23 '19 at 22:10

According to Wikipedia:


The three significant public chess libraries are:

The John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at Cleveland Public Library has the largest chess and draughts [chequers for those in the US] library in the world, with over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 bound volumes of chess periodicals. It was started with the donation of a quarter of a million dollars and 11,000 books from John G. White's private library upon his death.

The Chess & Draughts collection at the Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana (part of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands). The second largest public chess collection in the world is built on the donations of the private chess libraries of Antonius van der Linde, Meindert Niemeijer and G.L. Gortmans. It contains about 30,000 books.

The M.V. Anderson Chess Collection held at State Library Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) is the largest public chess collection in the Southern hemisphere. This contains in excess of 12,000 books and many journal and newsletter titles. Additional titles are added each year. It is based around M.V. Anderson's personal collection of 6700 volumes donated between 1959 and 1966.


Grandmaster Lothar Schmid of Bamberg, Germany reportedly owned the world's largest private collection of chess books and memorabilia. In 1992, Hooper and Whyld stated that Schmid's chess library "is the largest and finest in private hands, with more than 15,000 items". In 2008, Susan Polgar stated that Schmid "has over 20,000 chess books". Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam states that Schmid "boasts to have amassed 50,000 chess books.

David DeLucia's chess library contains 7,000 to 8,000 chess books, a similar number of autographs (letters, score sheets, manuscripts), and about 1,000 items of "ephemera". DeLucia's library contains such items as "a 15th-century Lucena manuscript, score-sheets ranging from Fischer's Game of the Century against Donald Byrne to all the games of the 1927 New York tournament, eight letters by Morphy, over a hundred Lasker manuscripts, Capablanca's gold pocket watch, [and] the contract of the 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort world championship match". Ten Geutzendam opines that DeLucia's collection "is arguably the finest chess collection in the world".

Former World Champion Anatoly Karpov has a large chess stamp collection. He has a private chess library of over 9000 books.

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    Wow, I did not even know there was such a Wikipedia article. +1 for now, but I am likely to accept that answer soon. – PhishMaster Nov 24 '19 at 15:21
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    Thank you. That article, alone, was worth asking the question, and accepting your answer. I love chess books, and that led me to other reading about chess libraries that was enjoyable. – PhishMaster Nov 24 '19 at 15:46

Some good stuff about chess libraries but let's face it, the great libraries are hundreds of kilometres/miles away from where many of us live. I collect and have seen the M.V. Anderson Chess Library in Melbourne Australia 4 times over 30 years and examined the websites of Cleveland and The Hague. Trouble is many books are kept in storage offsite and one needs days notice to get to them. No random browsing works now, though still pleasant. Libraries are good to use but the pressure of time is always there. The SLNSW has a 1 hour time limit on computer research. Bit sad but life. It is good to write articles based on one's library and great when it can be uploaded onto Edward Winter's 'Chess Notes' or Karel Mokry's site. One feels that progress is being made.

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