Chess Research Database

Updated twice a year ↓

Despite the wealth of research available on the topic of chess, a comprehensive and systematic review of chess-related academic articles has yet to be conducted. By this motive, the database was created by Seyhan Nisel, curated by John Foley and made easily searchable by Alexis Harakis to provide a comprehensive and structured resource for researchers, educators, players and enthusiasts in the chess community. It is a collection of chess-related academic articles, containing essential information for each publication. It serves as a rich resource to facilitate research, analysis and understanding of the academic literature related to chess, covering various aspects such as game strategies, psychology, cognitive development, artificial intelligence and interdisciplinary connections.

Users can filter and search the database based on their research questions. Using keywords allows them to identify relevant publications and uncover trends, patterns and relationships within the field of their interest.


Seyhan Nisel is a professor of Decision Sciences at the School of Business Administration, Istanbul University, Turkey. Her primary fields of research are data analysis, spreadsheet modeling, performance measurement and ranking, multi-criteria decision-making in business, simulation and optimization, and sports analytics. She is also a member of the Educational Advisory Board of ECU since 2017.

The work on the database started with an extensive search for chess-related academic articles across various databases, including ISI Web of Science, ScienceDirect, Proquest, EbscoHost, Emerald, Ingenta, Taylor & Francis, InderScience, and Google Scholar. The process involved identifying relevant publications, extracting pertinent information such as article title, journal title, authors, publication year, keywords, abstracts, and the number of citations, and organizing this data in a structured Excel format.

In order to conduct a comprehensive literature review of chess studies, I have established a set of research criteria. The time frame for the review spans from the year 1832 up to 2022, ensuring a thorough historical analysis. The review will solely consider articles published in peer-reviewed, indexed academic journals, which guarantees a high standard of quality in the selected research. Additionally, all included studies must be written in the English language. Lastly, this literature review aims to be all-encompassing by examining studies from various areas of chess research, thereby providing a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

I encountered challenges when searching for chess-related articles in academic databases. The primary issue arose when using “chess” as a keyword, as numerous irrelevant studies appeared due to the various meanings associated with the abbreviation of the term “chess” This made it difficult to efficiently identify and compile articles specifically related to the game of chess. To overcome this situation, all abstracts (approximately 4,000) and, in some cases, the full text were meticulously examined to ensure the inclusion of only chess-related articles.

It is very wonderful to see that, drawing from the abundant research articles, besides being a game that is thought to foster analytical skills, concentration, and strategic thinking, chess has inspired a multitude of disciplines, demonstrating its extensive appeal.

For instance, in mathematics, it has contributed to combinatory and graph theory. In computer science, chess algorithms have advanced machine learning and optimization, leading to applications in healthcare, finance, and transportation. Chess has also influenced psychology and neuroscience, offering insights into cognition, decision-making, and neural processes related to expertise development. In the medical field, chess has been employed as a therapeutic tool, benefiting individuals with mental health and neurological challenges. In law, the strategic nature of chess has been utilized as an analogy for negotiation tactics and conflict resolution. Chess has even further impacted management and organizational studies, with its principles of strategy, planning, and resource allocation being applied to improve decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership skills. Ultimately, the widespread impact of chess across multiple disciplines emphasizes its enduring importance and the extensive lessons it provides.

The database’s role in fostering interdisciplinary research and collaboration lies in its ability to reveal connections between chess and various fields, such as psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and education. By providing a comprehensive resource, the database can encourage researchers from different disciplines to explore new areas, identify potential collaborations, and uncover innovative applications of chess principles and strategies in their respective fields.

Access the full text of any article in the database using the following methods:

Smart Lookup:

In Excel, right-click the article name and select “Smart Lookup.” This feature will search the internet for relevant information, including potential sources for the full text.

Google Scholar:

Search for the article name on the Google Scholar website (scholar.google.com), which often provides links to full-text versions available through institutional databases, research repositories, or publishers’ websites.

Institutional Access:

Researchers affiliated with academic institutions or organizations may have access to full-text articles through their library’s subscription to various databases and e-journals.

Research Repositories:

Check open-access research repositories, such as arXiv, SSRN, or ResearchGate, where authors may have uploaded the full text of their articles.

Author Contact:

If all else fails, consider reaching out to the authors of the article directly via their institutional email or professional social media profiles, as they may be willing to share a copy of their work.

Consider the following factors to find the most relevant and influential research in the field of chess:

Number of citations:

Articles with a higher number of citations in Google Scholar are likely to be more influential and widely recognized within the field. This can serve as an indicator of the article’s quality and impact on the research community.

Journal reputation:

The reputation and impact factor of the journal in which the article is published can also provide insights into its quality. Journals with a higher impact factor are typically more selective and publish research that is considered to be of greater significance.

Author credentials:

The authors’ academic background, affiliations, and publication history can help researchers gauge the credibility and expertise of the researchers involved in the study.

Methodology and rigor:

By examining the article’s abstract or full text, researchers can assess the soundness of the study’s methodology, the rigor of the analysis, and the validity of the conclusions drawn. Well-conducted studies with robust methodologies are more likely to be of higher quality.

Peer reviews and expert opinions:

Researchers can also consult peer reviews, editorials, or expert opinions related to the article to gather additional insights into its quality and significance.