Do we have examples of recorded chess games from 1600 or before? A game where all the moves were written down. It would be interesting to see such a record.

This question was inspired by Was not chess notation an earlier sort of Cartesian Coordinates? on History of Science and Mathematics Stack Exchange. (There it is asked whether chess notation may have influenced Descartes' coordinate system work; but that is not my question here.)

2 Answers 2


Here is a list of such games at chessgames.com.

Of course, you can't blindly copy them; the oldest one is a fictional game from a poem and some aren't complete games. But it should give you a start ...

  • 1
    Interesting. The links I find there show the games written in modern notation. I would like to see a document from that time showing the moves in the game. Jan 23 at 18:35
  • 2
    Those can (sometimes) be found by Googling the player names, though I didn't do a thorough search yet.
    – Glorfindel
    Jan 23 at 18:37
  • Your third and final link to the poem actually shows the moves in the game in a really descriptive notation. Jan 24 at 12:20

Besides Murray's History of Chess (already referenced), you may also try:

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games (by Levy and O'Connell) tried to reproduce all known chess games before ... was it 1800? As it was intended for modern readers, it uses modern notation, but most scores have a source reference, which you might be able to trace -- though I suspect many go to Murray's manuscript notes. (Don't rely on its index, though.)

It is also a question of how you define 'chess' and 'game'. You might be defining it in a way that limits your inquiry already from the start. Several early manuscripts on chess problems have 'notation' but not for complete games. You can find the Bonus Socius collection in Murray, for example, (also in van der Linde) and there's at least one modern reproduction of the original manuscript, in case you want to go at that level. But you should have at least some facility for reading medieval latin or french for that.

And I'm sure there are Arabian manuscripts as well, though those are outside my sphere of interest.

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