Archive Page

This page records the dates of changes made to the Knight's Tour Notes website, and gives a biographical account of the compiler's work.

Record of Changes


A Biographical Note

I have been interested in questions related to the geometry of the knight's move since the early 1970s. I did part of a mathematics degree course in 1960-61 but failed to complete it due to illness, and my attention then turned to mathematical recreations which I had discovered in books such as those by W. W. Rouse-Ball, Maurice Kraitchik and H. E. Dudeney. My fascination with the subject was also enhanced when I discovered the Fairy Chess column run by Anthony Dickins and later Cedric Sells (now Cedric Lytton) in the chess problem magazine The Problemist, which also included generalised knights, known as leapers (which are also mentioned briefly in Kraitchik's Mathematical Recreations).

Some of my results on knight's paths, particularly concerning Angles and Free Leapers, began to appear in my little magazine Chessics which began in 1976 and ran until 1987, and subsequently in my larger magazine The Games and Puzzles Journal which ran 1987-89 and 1996-2001 and online 2001-2006. Some also in Variant Chess magazine. These are all now available online or as PDF downloads.

During the Chessics period, which I produced mainly while I was working in the Publications Department of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in Rugby, I did a lot of research into the past work on knight's tours by visiting libraries (principally the British Library in London and the university libraries in Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge) and also corresponding with overseas libraries (principally the Cleveland Public Library, Ohio, USA and the Koninklijke Bibliotheque at the Hague in the Netherlands) who were generous in providing photocopies. Correspondence with individuals (particularly Ken Whyld and Donald Knuth) was also productive.

Three issues of Chessics numbers 22 "Notes on the Knight's Tour", 24 "Theory of Leapers" and 26 "Magic Tours" published in 1985-86 summarised the results of my researches, and in 1990 I circulated a draft Bibliography of the subject to selected correspondents. In 1991 I was also given access to some previously unpublished manuscripts by H. J. R. Murray held by his daughter. These are now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, along with his other unpublished material.

I had planned to publish a book on the subject but having taken a course in 1999 on the use of HTML was instead able to set up the Knight's Tour Notes website (which was at http://www.ktn.freeuk.com) on a dial-up provider. However after a change to broadband connection I no longer had dial-up access and so was unable to update the site, and in any case I was intentionally taking a break from knight's tour studies.

The KTN website on freeuk then (19 February 2011) vanished into the ether, so this section on my www.mayhematics.com website was set up as a new home for my study of Knight's Tours. A thorough revision of the pages was undertaken at the start of 2013, though there are still some subjects not fully covered. I believe it is still the leading source of accurate information on this fascinating subject.

I am now (March 2014) making an effort to produce a book containing most of the significant material. Where there is too much to include in the book reference will be to this website. I'm continuing to work on this book (March 2015). As at February 2017 it is taking the form of three volumes each of around 260 pages.