Browsing MI’s Virtual Archives - Chess Room Visitors Register | Mechanics' Institute

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Browsing MI’s Virtual Archives - Chess Room Visitors Register

Besides its extensive collection of chess literature, Mechanics’ Institute has a large collection of records documenting its chess club activities, including tournament records, photographs, and the Chess Room Visitors Register dating back to 1913, which includes signatures of World Champions from Alexander Alekhine to Boris Spassky.

The Chess Room Visitors Register has been digitized and stored on the Internet Archive. You can browse it from your home computer by clicking on the link below:

•    Chess Room Visitors Register: [1913-2014]

As you digitally flip through the pages, look for the signatures of these notable chess figures (please note that the signatures are not always in chronological order as visitors seemed to sign wherever there was a blank space):


  • Page 1,   Frank J. Marshall - 1st person to sign the register,  US Chess Champion from 1909 to 1936 (7/1/1913)

  • Page 6,   Alexander Alekhine - World Chess Champion 1927-1935 & 1937-1946 (2/27/1924)

  • Page 7,   Susan Polgar - as of 1984, the top-ranked female player in the world (12/23/1986)

  • Page 7,   Mikhail Tal - World Chess Champion 1960-1961 (3/7/1991)

  • Page 51,  H.J. Ralston - editor of California Chess Reporter (2/3/1939)

  • Page 85,  Imre Kӧnig - Hungarian International Master (2/2/1953)

  • Page 125,  John Grefe - 1973 US Chess Champion; International Master (11/19/1965)

  • Page 132,  Irina Krush - 7-time US Women’s Champion; Grand Master (2/7/1999)

  • Page 134,  Anatoly Karpov - World Chess Champion 1975-1985 (2/26/2002)

  • Page 146,  Boris Spassky - World Chess Champion 1969-1972 (9/29/2006)

These are just a sampling of the distinguished individuals who have competed or visited MI’s Chess Room since 1913. Also, there are signatures of the MI Chess directors, MI member players and a host of other esteemed chess celebrities and enthusiasts. If you are a fan of chess and its fascinating history, you’ll find much to ponder in MI’s digitized Chess Room Visitors Register.

Posted on May. 20, 2020 by Diane Lai