Yorkshire Chess History

 

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1865: Huddersfield – Sheffield Athenaeum Match

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In the winter of 1864, the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club issued a challenge to Huddersfield Chess Club to contest a “home-and-home” match”, i. e. one match with one club at home, and one match with the other club at home.  The first such match was played against Bradford, resulting in a win for Bradford.  Subsequently, a 12-board match against the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club took place in two parts, the first on 23/11/1865, at Huddersfield, and the second on 03/12/1865, at Sheffield.

 

The Leeds Mercury of 06/12/1865, page 3, carried a report, probably penned by John Watkinson, which commenced as follows:

 

MATCH AT CHESS BETWEEN HUDDERSFIELD AND SHEFFIELD.- Not dispirited by their recent defeat by the Bradford club, the Huddersfield Chess Club has already entered the lists against the powerful club at the Athenaeum, Sheffield, and this time their efforts have been crowned with success.  The first part of the match was played at Huddersfield, November 23rd, and the concluding portion at Sheffield, on Saturday last, December 3rd.  The players were paired according to their relative strength, so far as this could be ascertained, and each couple contested three games.  The stakes were a £5 5s. set of Staunton chess-men of the best African ivory.  The score at the termination of the match gave to Huddersfield 16 games, and to Sheffield 9.  Five games were drawn, and as at this point the Huddersfield club had a majority of the games, the remainder, six on number, were abandoned.  We understand this is the first match that the Sheffield club has ever played, and although at present they are perhaps scarcely equal in strength to the Huddersfield and Bradford clubs, yet we have no doubt that in a short time they will take a front rank among the Yorkshire chess societies.

 

There followed the moves of a game form the match, between Watkinson (White) and Latham (Black), and, finally, the results, as follows:

 

TOTAL SCORE OF THE MATCH

HUDDERSFIELD.

 

 

SHEFFIELD.

Drawn

Aban’d

J. Watkinson

2

 

Latham

1

-

-

G. Brook, junior

2

 

Mort

1

-

-

Dr Scott

0

 

Cockayne

2

1

-

D Marsden

1

 

Greening

1

1

-

J R Robinson

2

 

Dr Hall

0

-

1

J Eastwood

2

 

Bennett

0

1

-

A Campbell

1

 

Jackson

2

-

-

J Finlinson

1

 

Davy

0

1

1

J H Jonas

2

 

Cocking

0

-

1

F Schloesser

1

 

Taylor

0

-

2+

W J Miller

1

 

Champion

0

1

1

- Senior

1

 

Pearson

2

-

-

 

__

 

 

__

__

__

Total

16

 

 

9

5

6

 

 

Without clocks such matches frequently resulted in abandoned games, due to lack of adequate time.  Sometimes on-the-spot adjudications took place, but in this case simple abandonment was necessary in six games.

 

The Chess Player’s Magazine, 1865, p 29 carried a report which was evidently based on that printed in the Leeds Mercury, but changing the basis of scoring on a given board, claiming that on a given board, “the victory to be decided by the winning of the first two games, and the club which wins the majority of the games to carry off the honours.”  Though expressed a little differently, the game results at each board given by the two reports, and the players’ names, were in agreement.

 

Both reports offered no explanation as to how colours were determined, or indeed whether White always moved first.  One assumes such things alternated from one game to the next on a given board.  It appears that in some systems colour and move remained unchanged after a draw.  Colour and move in the first game on a board might have been determined by lots, independently for each board, or else alternating down the board order.  Such things were far from standardised in the early years.

 

It appears from the Leeds Mercury report that the “Total Score of the Match” represented the combined results of games played both on 23/11/1865, at Huddersfield, and on 03/12/1865.  The Chess Player’s Magazine seems to have regarded the quoted results as being those at Huddersfield on 23/11/1865, stating that a return match, in Sheffield, was to be held on Saturday 03/11/1865.  This appears to have been an understandable misinterpretation of the circumstances.

 

The Chess Player’s Magazine’s report concluded with the following paragraph.

We are gratified in observing that the Sheffield amateurs took up the challenge of their opponents so spiritedly, and that out Huddersfield friends continue to maintain their well-deserved positions, which we believe to be in a great measure due to the valuable services of their honorary secretary, Mr. J. E. Watkinson.

 

Presumably “Mr. J. E. Watkinson” meant “Mr. J. Watkinson”.

 

The person submitting the report to the magazine was most probably John Watkinson, and in any event was clearly a Huddersfield person, as initials are given for most Huddersfield players, but the Sheffield players have only their surnames.  One feels Watkinson would have submitted full initials had he known them.

 

The identities of the players concerned would appear to be:

 

Huddersfield players:

 

J. Watkinson

John Watkinson

G. Brook, junior

 

Dr Scott

Dr William Scott

D Marsden

David Marsden

J R Robinson

John Russell Robinson

J Eastwood

 

A Campbell

Archibald Campbell

J Finlinson

Joseph Henry Scott Finlinson

J H Jonas

 

F Schloesser

 

W J Miller

William John Clarke Miller

- Senior

 

 

 

Sheffield players:

 

Latham

Thomas Staniforth Latham

Mort

Henry Leonard Mort

Cockayne

(five players called Cockayne)

Greening

Joseph Greening

Dr Hall

Dr John Charles Hall

Bennett

 

Jackson

either E F Jackson or Arthur Jackson

Davy

Henry Davy (or possibly Arthur)

Cocking

George Bailey Cocking

Taylor

George Stopford Taylor

Champion

John James Champion

Pearson

Henry William Pearson

 

 

Created

25/04/2012

Copyright © 2012, 2014 Stephen John Mann

Last Updated

06/05/2014