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If you are not a Chessgames Editor but would like to participate in the process, you may volunteer by emailing Please describe your skills and resources as a chess historian, database expert, etc. You must be proficient at the English language.


Congratulations on being chosen to help administrate the database of chess players and their games, and thank you kindly for volunteering for the job. Your generous contributions will help provide a better free resource to the worldwide chess community.

This document is an outline of the responsibilities and conventions used to fill in the player biographical information, tournament information, and to make changes to game and tournament data. Please refer to this when you have a question, and if the matter still is unclear, contact us directly at

Be sure to check this page periodically for changes.


As a Chessgames Editor, when you visit player pages from now on you will see a form entitled the Administrative Player Editor. This form can be found at the bottom, below the kibitzing. If you have information to contribute about this player, here is where you supply it. Simply fill out the form and press 'Update Player Information.' Your changes will take effect immediately, and you've just made the database that much more valuable.

Likewise, you will now see a form at the bottom of game pages, called the Administrative Game Editor. This form will allow you to update vital information on specific games, such as the exact date it was played, and the round number.

Recently we have added similar functionality to tournaments, although at the time of this writing (October 2012) it is very new and restricted only to certain historical tournaments. It is not yet to be used for recent "homepage" tournaments.


Let's first discuss editing games. At the bottom of each game page, you'll see a form that looks something like this:

Game Editing Form

In the example above, the fields for "Event", "Site", "Date" are "Round" are visible. Because the round number is not provided in the PGN, a question-mark ("?") appears in that field. You can replace such question-marks with real data, or correct information that you otherwise know to be inaccurate. When you are done making changes, push the button labeled Update Game Information and your changes are instantly accepted.

If you know some of the facts and not others, it's perfectly acceptable to update the information you know and leave the rest alone.

Accidentally swapping the month and day around is a common mistake. Always keep in mind that we use YYYY.MM.DD notation for all database purposes. (Remember, "month in the middle".)


Chessgames maintains a table of chess events with some 100,000 records. Unfortunately, the data are often inconsistent, incorrect, or simply missing. For instance: one may see the same event labelled as "US-Ch 56/57" in one game, "USA Championship 1956" on another, and even as "?" elsewhere. The "Site" tag can be equally unrealiable. This is not only a problem for chess historians, it also prevents Chessgames from providing an intelligent kibitzing area for important events.

To remedy this daunting problem, the tireless efforts of our Chessgames Editors sort matters out using a powerful three-step process that we call "Tournament Induction":

  1. Game collections are created which contain all of the games of a tournament/match, inasmuch as possible. Often the collection creator will make a small article about the event. At the bottom of appropriate game collection pages, a link will appear in blue, which allows you to nominate the collection for induction. [More info: FAQ: What are Game Collections?]

  2. These collections are now nominated for induction into the database as a full-fledged kibitzable tournament. The one who nominates it (often, but not always, the owner of the collection) will now have to answer some important questions regarding the formal name of the event, its location, and more.

  3. Now the voting begins! At our Game Collection Voting Page all votes (either "Aye" or "Nay") are tallied for each nomination. If the nomination receives an overwhelming majority of "Aye" votes, the collection will be inducted into the tournament database.
This is a tedious but rewarding project. As a Chessgames Editor, you may participate in any or all of the above three phases. Your efforts will not only help improve the data but also create social resources where people can discuss these great historical events from bygone eras.

Even if you don't participate in the process above, there is always a demand to update tournament information on historical tournaments which have already been inducted. You can do this in the window labelled "ADMINISTRATIVE TOURNAMENT EDITOR" at the bottom of any such tournament.

TIPTIP: You can see the latest tournaments inducted by Chessgames Editors scrolling to the bottom of our New Tournaments Page. You can see all tournaments, combined and chronological, at our Tournaments Index.

NOTENOTE: Unlike most Chessgames Editor functions, the tournament induction process is relatively transparent. This means that if you participate, you will lose a certain degree of privacy: your collections, nominations, votes, actions, date of actions, comments, and numerous other details may become available to other Chessgames Editors and the general public. This is intended to keep the nomination/voting process open and honest.


Editing players is much more complex than editing games or tournaments, due to the richness of biographies and the sheer number of fields available to edit. The rest of this document will cover some of the finer points of player editing, including good biographical practices and even some grammar tips.


This field is the country in which the player was born. In some cases, the country of origin might not be on the pulldown list, especially in cases where the country no longer exists (Prussia, Bohemia, USSR, etc.). In such a case, please contact us and we will update the country list.


If the player is/was of a different nationality than above, fill in this field. In most cases this should be left blank.


Either "M" for male, or "F" for female. This field is not optional, but it defaults to "M". For female players, please do not forget to set the gender field to "F".

Computer chess engines may be designated as either gender, at the whimsy of the programmer. Therefore Fritz is male, while Rybka is designated as female.


The date of the player's birth is described in YYYY.MM.DD format. For example, March 9th, 1943, would be 1943.03.09. If only the year is known, fill in zeros for the month and day, for example 1873.00.00. Below are some examples of the right ways, and the wrong ways, to enter dates. Never enter dates as you see in the right hand column below; they may look sensible, but they are not in the proper format.


  RIGHT                      WRONG!
  1943.03.09                 1943.3.9
  1985.12.29                 1985-12-29
  1967.10.20                 1967/10/20
  1863.00.00                 1863.??.??


As above, but this field contains information on the day that the player passed away. In cases where the player is still alive, or if the date is not known at all, leave this blank.


The FIDE Number field accepts a number (usually between 6-8 digits) which is the ID number of that player at FIDE. Of course, this field only applies to modern players listed in the FIDE database. The site has a look-up feature where you can find a player's FIDE number if you know their name, and vice versa.

This field is very useful for our database purposes, but optional. If you don't know a player's FIDE number or are unclear about it, just leave it blank.

Please note that this field can only possibly apply to modern players.


This is the largest area of the player's information record, used to provide a short biography of the player.

The following guidelines should be used when constructing a biography:

  1. The ideal bio begins by stating the player's full name, the exact location of birth, and at least the year of birth. For example: Boris Vasilievich Spassky was born January 30, 1937 in Leningrad, USSR.
  2. Very important events in the person's life should be listed even when not chess related. For example: As a child, in 1943, he escaped from the siege of Leningrad by the Nazi forces in World War Two.
  3. Highlight all important achievements by the player: earning titles, best tournament results, and of course champion status. It's very good if you can describe the very first significant chess accomplishment as a way to begin the biography. For example: In 1955 he won the World Junior Chess Championship and became a grandmaster, and in 1956 tied for first place as Soviet Champion, becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the candidates round.
  4. We want to keep the biographies positive, so emphasize successes and achievements. We do not believe that it is possible to be truly objective in writing, and so if we should have any bias at all, we want to "err on the side of being positive". For the few people in our directory that history has deemed to be truly loathesome, a statement of the cold facts of the situation should be demonization enough.
  5. Stick to the facts, and don't mention anything uncertain, opinionated, or controversial. For example, do not assert that Alekhine was an alcoholic, or that Morphy had a fetish for ladies' shoes. If you're not 100% sure about a fact, don't list it.
  6. While it's important to stick to the facts, a little editorial commentary makes the bio much more enjoyable and readable. For example, Spassky's style of play can be described best as lively and adaptable; this produced many brilliant victories.
  7. Unless the cause or circumstances of the player's death were unusual, don't mention it in the bio. For example, "Sadly, personal problems led him to take his own life in Tallinn in 1999." is acceptable. On the other hand, "He died of heart disease at the age of 84." is not necessary.
  8. Accomplishments outside the chessboard may be added if they are interesting and significant. For example, it's appropriate to mention that Taimanov was a pianist, or that Waitzkin was the subject of a major Hollywood motion picture.
  9. Keep the entire biography terse, but appropriate for the importance of the player in questions. For most players, one or two short paragraphs is the ideal length. For extremely important players, a long page may be required.
  10. For most chess authors, it will be impossible to list their output with any accuracy and still keep the biography terse. Therefore you should summarize their literary career and only highlight the most important works.
  11. Care should be taken to use proper spelling and punctuation. Below are some grammar/spelling guidelines:
    1. Do not use incomplete sentences!
    2. Avoid abbreviations. However, the following abbreviations are acceptable:
      1. Countries like the USA, the UK, and the USSR.
      2. Chess titles like GM, WGM, FM, IM, WIM, NM, etc.
    3. Capitalize Championship and Champion when used in phrases like World Championship or Estonian Champion.
    4. Do not capitalize chess when it's not part of a title of book, tournament, etc. The same goes for the words master and grandmaster.
    5. Use American spellings for words like color and center.
    6. Do not use shorthand, such as "b/c" meaning "because". Do not use the ampersand (&) as a replacement for the word and.
    7. For readability and consistency, whenever proper English indicates that a comma is optional, you should lean towards using the comma.
    8. Never use apostrophes to create plurals. For example, it is correct to write "He beat many GMs in the 1960s." and a double-mistake to write "He beat many GM's in the 1960's."
  12. If you mention another player in the bio, you should insert a link instead of the player's name, so that it becomes automatically hyperlinked. Sometimes this should be done for games and tournaments as well. However, don't link to any player more than once in the same bio; e.g. if you link to Botvinnik, do it the first time he is mentioned, but not on subsequent references. (See Kibitzing Tips for more information.)

There are two alternate font faces/sizes which can be invoked. This allows you to use small-text, and italicized text. They are accessed by the open and closed bracket character.

  • Single brackets [ ... ]

    This will make the text italic and extremely small. It is the suggested method of including sources at the bottom of a bio. For example, if you write this:

    [source: "Judy, a Forgotten Genius of the 1850s" by Rod Edwards - ]

    it will show up like this:

    source: "Judy, a Forgotten Genius of the 1850s" by Rod Edwards -

    Brackets are not only useful when including sources but also for pronunciation guides, for example:

    Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine [(Al-YOKH-een)] was born in Moscow, on October 31st, 1892.

    shows up like this:

    Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine (Al-YOKH-een) was born in Moscow, on October 31st, 1892.

  • Double brackets [[ ... ]]

    This will simply make the text italicized. It is usually used for titles of books, foreign words, or specialized vocabulary. For example, if you write this:

    Other books include [[Chess Praxis]] which further expounds the hypermodern idea, and the seminal work [[The Blockade]].

    it will show up like this:

    Other books include Chess Praxis which further expounds the hypermodern idea, and the seminal work The Blockade.

    NOTE: It is more proper to use italics when referring to titles of books than to use quotation marks. Placing quotation marks around book titles is typically the method employed when italicized text is not possible. Never use both italics and quotation marks at the same time.

  • Braces { ... }

    This will invoke special characters, usually chess symbols. For example, if you type this:

    Reti's Opening is the opening system characterized by {1.Nf3} and 2.c4.

    it will show up like this:

    Reti's Opening is the opening system characterized by 1.Nf3 and 2.c4.

    This feature should be used sparingly in biographies. More information on special graphical symbols is available on our Kibitzing Help page.

  • Table format table[ ... ]table

    Text encapulated within table[ and ]table will be treated as monospaced plain-text. This is ideal for presenting tabular data where every space and character occupies the same width.

    For instance, if you type this:

     1 Granda-Zuniga  7.5 points (+6, -2, =3)
     2 Timman         7.5 points (+5, -1, =5)
     3 Polgar         7   points (+5, -2, =4)
     4 Shirov         6   points (+4, -3, =4)
     5 Seirawan       6   points (+4, -3, =4)
     6 Huzman         6   points (+3, -2, =6)
     7 Salov          5   points (+3, -4, =4)
     8 Khalifman      5   points (+2, -3, =6)
     9 Morozevich     5   points (+4, -5, =2)
    10 Nunn           5   points (+2, -3, =6)
    11 Piket          3   points (+2, -7, =2)
    12 Van Wely       3   points (+1, -6, =4)]table

    it will show up like this:

    1 Granda-Zuniga 7.5 points (+6, -2, =3) 2 Timman 7.5 points (+5, -1, =5) 3 Polgar 7 points (+5, -2, =4) 4 Shirov 6 points (+4, -3, =4) 5 Seirawan 6 points (+4, -3, =4) 6 Huzman 6 points (+3, -2, =6) 7 Salov 5 points (+3, -4, =4) 8 Khalifman 5 points (+2, -3, =6) 9 Morozevich 5 points (+4, -5, =2) 10 Nunn 5 points (+2, -3, =6) 11 Piket 3 points (+2, -7, =2) 12 Van Wely 3 points (+1, -6, =4)

    N.B.NOTE: This is a somewhat advanced technique which probably will require you to copy-and-paste from an external text-editing application such as "Notepad" to truly master. If you want to experiment with this feature, a harmless way is to test it on the introduction to one of your own game collections. If you are uncomfortable using the table[...]table feature, please leave it to other Chessgames Editors until you gain more experience.

  • Footnotes [(1)] ... [(2)] etc.

    This is not a feature per se, but a clever use of the above features to create numerical footnotes. The tiny text of the single-brackets can be used to make footnotes such as [(1)] or [(2)]. For example, if you write this:

    The Philidor position illustrates a drawing technique when the defender has a king and rook versus a king, rook, and pawn. It is also known as the third rank defense, because of the importance of the rook on the third rank cutting off the king.[(1)]

    [ (1) ]

    it will show up quite nicely, like this:

    The Philidor position illustrates a drawing technique when the defender has a king and rook versus a king, rook, and pawn. It is also known as the third rank defense, because of the importance of the rook on the third rank cutting off the king.(1)

    (1) Wikipedia article: Philidor position

    Please note that unlike Wikipedia, we do not demand footnoted citations for every fact asserted in our articles. However, if an article borrows a great deal of information from a single source, a footnote is required.



If you feel especially motivated, you might want to fill out the biography for the Player of Day when it is missing, or improve it if it exists. All major players will eventually be picked for Player of the Day status, so this is an excellent way to make sure that we don't forget any important players.


Due to the difficulty in keeping the biography database updated, it is our policy to intentionally avoid including things in the biographies that would quickly become out of date.

Current ratings are not necessary - We automatically track the ratings of all major players, including their blitz and rapid ratings. Please do not repeat this information in the biography.

Avoid statements like "the current Dutch Champion" or "top rated player in Brazil" as these could be untrue in the future.

If a player makes a significant achievement (e.g. becoming one of the top 10 players, or winning a major tournament) then it is appropriate to mention this, with a date (at least a year) included.


Treat the work of other administrators with respect, but at the same time, feel free to make improvements. If you see a mistake, by all means, fix it, especially if it is a mistake of a factual nature. If you can add important information to the biography, do so. If you think you can rewrite something so that it reads more clearly, this is also helpful. However, remember that you are changing another person's work, so try to be sure that your changes are clearly improvements.


As a volunteer biography editor, your account is far more powerful than a typical chessgames member; therefore, you must take extra steps to keep your account access limited. You must not give your password to any other user. If you use a computer that other people have access to, you should sign-out of Chessgames every time you leave your terminal. (There is a link that reads 'logout' at the bottom of each page.)

All changes to the database are written to a logfile, including the administrator who made the change. We consult this logfile in rare cases where vandalism is suspected.

If you suspect that another editor is doing something incorrect, counter-productive, or violating copyright laws, please email us at and inform us.


By choosing to volunteer for this job, you do so without expectation of any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the work performed pursuant to this document.

By choosing to volunteer for this job, you agree to allow Chessgames to track and maintain logfiles of your activities on the website, including your IP address.

By choosing to volunteer for this job, you must agree to not knowingly violate copyright laws when supplying us with biographical material. Chessgames reserves the right to delete or alter your work, in part or in whole. You forfeit all copyright protection with regards to work that you provide for this job, even if it is an original creation on your part.

Chessgames Services LLC, 20/20 Technologies, and all officers/employees of either or both organizations, shall not be held liable for any direct or indirect, incidental or consequential damages or losses arising out of this job.

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