Yorkshire Chess History

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4th Annual Meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association









Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


George Hotel, Huddersfield,

Wednesday, 08/11/1843


The following is a transcription of the report in the Wakefield Journal of Friday 17th November 1843.  [Text in square brackets inserted by writer.]




On Wednesday week, the annual meeting of this association was held at the George Hotel, Huddersfield.  Chess playing commenced at 10 o’clock, and the attendance of players was so great as to occupy three of the rooms in the second story [sic] of the hotel.  The following players honoured the present anniversary:-

The Right Honorable the Earl of Mexborough, who on this occasion had done the association the honour of presiding.

Mr. Francis and two Messrs. Hoffmeister from Hull.

Messrs. Newham, Neuberg, Dobson, and Smith, from Nottingham.

Mr. Maw, from Crowle, in Lincolnshire.

Rev. W. Blow, Goodmanham [near Market Weighton, E. Yorks.].

Messrs. Rhodes, Cadman, Brown, France, and Richardson, from Leeds.

Mr. Ainley, Bingley.

Rev R. Garvey, and Messrs. W. Robinson, E. Shepherd, A. Shepherd, Walker and Wilson, from Wakefield.

Messrs. F. W. Cronhelm, Forbes, Brierley, Hervey, Allen and Boyd, from the Halifax club.

Mr. Marsden, treasurer of the Huddersfield Chess Club; Mr. Parratt, secretary (to whose vigorous exertions much of the éclat of the anniversary was owing), and J. C. Fenton Esq., the Rev. J. R. Oldham, Capt. Stanton and Messrs. Brierley, Mann, Kilner, Dewhirst, J. Brook, Barker, J. Clay, W. H. Kaye, C. S. Floyd, W. Stables, Pritchett, Freeman, Eddison, C. Atkinson, J. Swift, Welsh, Boscovitz, Clough, Horn, Starkey, T. P. Crossland, Thomas Battye, George Kinnear, and J. Armitage.


At one a lunch was provided, at which the combatants at the mimic tournament refreshed themselves for further fights; and playing was then resumed, and maintained until darkness blended the colours of the competing armies into one undistinguishable grey.  The more eager players, however, maintained their play by candlelight, until dinner was actually upon the table; and then left the boards with the consolation (if we may parody a well known couplet) that

“They who fight and pains to eat,

Fight the better when they meet.”




At five o’clock the assembled chess-players ceased for a time the prosecution of their amicable wars, and sat down to the enjoyment of a dinner which combined at once every delicacy of the season and every art of the cook.  Mr. Wigney if anything exceeded all his former efforts in this department; and we need not add that both his enterprise and the viands he had provided on the occasion had full justice done to them.


The Earl of Mexborough occupied the chair, supported on the right by the Rev. J. R. Oldham (who returned thanks.)  Mr. Francis occupied the vice-chair; and in that office rendered very efficient support to the noble chairman.  The cloth having been drawn, and a rich dessert laid upon the table,


The noble Chairman proposed “The Queen,” observing that as chess-players they all knew that without a Queen they could do nothing.  The toast was given with three times three and one cheer more.


The Chairman next gave “The Queen Dowager.”  She had long played a good game, he said, and he trusted it would be a many years ere she was checkmated.


Mr. FRANCIS gave “The Yorkshire Chess Association, and long-continued prosperity to it.”  The toast was drunk with three times three and one cheer more.


Mr.Parratt, secretary of the Huddersfield club, said that he had been deputed by the President to call on the Rev. J. R. Oldham for the next toast.


The Rev. Gentleman, on rising, said he felt it the greatest possible pleasure and privilege in having had the toast confided to him – a toast which he felt assured they would welcome with eagerness.  It was the health of the noble Earl who occupied the chair.  (Loud cheers.)


The toast was then given by the Vice-President; and drank [sic] with the most hearty enthusiasm; three time three being followed by a tremendous “one cheer more.”


The noble Earl, in returning thanks, said he could assure them that he did not know anything which had given him greater pleasure than to have it in his power to meet them on that occasion.  It had very seldom fallen to his lot to have had the honour to preside over meetings such as the present.  He had often presided over meetings where a great deal of nonsense and conviviality had gone forward; - (a laugh) – but now he had the pleasure of presiding over a meeting where intellect was a little called into operation.  (Applause.)  It was well known to many of the gentlemen whom he then saw around him, that he was no maker of speeches.  That was totally out of his usual way of life.  But he always felt, when present among a body of gentlemen who received him in a kind and hospitable way, that it was his duty to do everything he could to please them.  (Applause.)  He had always been an ardent lover of chess; but unfortunately never could get beyond mediocrity.  He began when a boy at school but was always beaten; he then became a pupil of the greatest man – Mr. Sarratt – who ever took chess in hand; but whose precepts did not, as they ought to have done, make him a great player.  It was pretty well known he could only play a very bad game; - (no, no) – but he had that day had a satisfaction which he should not soon forget.  He had been pitted against one of the best players in that room or in England, without knowing it, and had been enabled to play three games against him for a considerable length of time, though of course he lost them all; - (laughter) – but he did think had he paid a little more attention to the second game he should have had a chance of winning.  (Renewed laughter and applause.)  But as usual he was too volatile to make any great improvement; but if he could, through life, do sufficient to please those around him and to be useful to them, depend upon it, it was everything he wished.  (Loud applause.)  Many persons were much more able than he was to be of service to their country; but not one had their country more at heart; - (applause) – and he did not think he could show it better than presiding at a meeting like the present.  When he saw around him gentlemen from all stations in life, happy to meet him as he was happy to meet them, and if he could by any means promote so delightful, perfect and intellectual a game as Chess, he did say that he had one great satisfaction, that he could go home to his bed and say at least “I have not idly spent this day.”  (Applause.)  The sooner they got back to fighting again the better, - (laughter) –and he should therefore conclude with thanking them, and with expressing the hope that the Yorkshire Chess Association would be a model for other counties to follow, and that Chess Associations would make much many better players than there now are, though he did not believe that there was any country in which there were so many good players as Great Britain.


The Rev. Mr. GARVEY proposed “The health of the strangers who have this day honoured us with their company.”  He agreed most cordially in all that had fallen from his reverend friend.  He was happy to see so large an assemblage to show his Lordship that they appreciated his kindness in presiding over them.  This was true old English style, and he hoped it would be kept up to the end of the chapter.  The war cry of “Savile to the rescue” would still find many an echo in the cannie [sic] hearts of Yorkshire.  In proposing his toast, however, he would not, if possible follow the dangerous example of his predecessors.  They indeed promised to be brief, but they made as much of it as most counsellors did of their maiden “brief” - (laughter) – with this exception – they spoke a little more to the purpose.  His toast, however, would speak for itself, and when he mentioned the name of Mr. Newham, of Nottingham, whom he believed to be not only the first player present, but out of London, and when he felt Mr. Newham’s followers had tried the strongest of the Wakefield club, and yet the club only came off second best, he thought he ought to speak of Mr. Newham and the strangers he had brought with him with the highest respect.  (Hear and applause.)  At the same time he must admit that he knew just so much of chess as only to be able to appreciate Mr. Newham’s abilities in chess-playing as he could the satellite of Juniper, that is, he could only have a faint glimmering view of them from a great distance.


The health of “Mr. Newham and the strangers” was then drunk; the Noble Earl proposed “the honours,” which Mr. Francis led off and met with a vigorous response.


Mr. NEWHAM returned thanks, expressing the pleasure he always felt in coming to chess meetings. He had attended one of the previous meetings of the Yorkshire Chess Association; and that had created in him such a desire to renew his visit that nothing but ill health had prevented him from attending then Halifax meeting.  Now, however, he had brought with him three other players; he only regretted their numbers were so small.  But this he thought was owing to the season of the year in which the meetings were held; and he therefore begged the committee to consider this hint.  It gave him great pleasure at these meetings to meet with veteran players, men who like the noble Earl and Col. Staunton, had known all the great players of the last century.  (Hear.)  The noble Earl had thrown out a hope that the example of the Yorkshire Chess Association would be followed by other counties.  He would say for Nottingham, that when he and his friends returned they would do their best to establish a Nottingham Union; - (hear) – but he feared they were so situated, not being in the centre of a chess neighbourhood, as not to be able to get up a meeting except they had a sort of pledge or promise from the best Yorkshire players that they would venture to Nottingham.  However, the Nottingham Chess Club would be proud and happy if any of the Yorkshire players would visit their chess assembly for chess, dancing and cards – (a laugh) – on the 7th of December.


Mr. PARRAT said he dare almost guarantee the attendance of all the strong players of Yorkshire in the event of the formation of a Nottingham Union.  Perhaps he was presuming too far. – (Cries of “No, no.”)


Mr. RHODES said he believed he could guarantee an attendance of six from Leeds.  (Applause.)


Mr. CRONHELM – And four from Halifax.  (Renewed applause.)


Mr. SHEPHERD – And I think I may without any presumption guarantee five from Wakefield.  (Renewed applause.)


Mr. FRANCIS - And I think I can without any presumption guarantee one from Hull.  (Laughter and applause.)


The noble Chairman then gave “Mr. Parratt and the Huddersfield Chess Club;” and in so doing said it would be long ere he forgot the hospitality with which he had been received on that occasion.  (Applause.)


Mr. Parratt acknowledged the honour in a brief speech.


Mr. Cronhelm then proposed “The health of Mr. Staunton, of London, and success to him in his combat with M. St. Amant, of Paris.”  [This match was played in Paris from Nov. 14th to Dec. 20th 1843, and resulted in a win for Staunton.]


It was then after some discussion agreed that the next meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association should be held at Leeds in the month of May, on the first Wednesday – the period of the meeting being changed from winter to spring with a view to obtain a still greater attendance of members.


The President at the request of the meeting than [sic - then] sang “Willie brew’d a peck of maut.”


The company then rose and playing was resumed and continued (with a slight interruption for coffee) to a late hour.  Among the games played during the day the following call for especial notice:-


The Earl of Mexborough’s play was worthy of a veteran trained in the campaigns of the great Sarratt.  His Lordship won 3 games, giving the Knight, from a strong Wakefield player.


Mr. Francis, of Hull, won 3 games from Mr. Dodson, of Nottingham, and 2 games from Mr. Cadman, of Leeds; but in a subsequent contest between these gentlemen, Mr. Cadman was the winner.


Mr. Neuberg, of Nottingham, won 1 game from Mr. Shepherd, of Wakefield; and their second game was drawn.


Mr. Wyrill [Wyvill] won 2 games of Mr. Cronhelm and 2 games of Mr. Francis.  In a contest of 4 games with Mr. Edwd. Cronhelm he won 1, drew 1, and lost 2.




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