Yorkshire Chess History

 

Contents:

1884: Bradford v Wakefield, match by telephone

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Sheffield Sub-Site

 

Played on Monday, 29/09/1884,

at Bradford and Wakefield Chess Clubs,

over 8 boards, 1 games per board.

 

The Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement of 04/10/1884 carried an account of what was probably the first chess match in Yorkshire to be played by telephone.

 

The driving enthusiasm for the idea will have been that of Hartwig Cassel, secretary of the Bradford club, but its implementation was doubtless greatly facilitated by the fact that a member of Bradford Chess Club, a certain Mr. George Henry Swithenbank, a was an employee of the National Telephone Company.  Whether the idea originated with Herr Cassel of with Mr. Swithenbank is not recorded by the Mercury.

 

A telephone line to the playing room of Bradford Chess Club, in the Exchange Café, had to be laid on specially.  From there the line was connected to Leeds, and thence to Wakefield, making the length of connection about 25 miles as opposed to the travelling distance of about 15 miles.  The line reportedly served well, with no interference or interruption.

 

Mr. Swithenbank acted as “umpire” (or “runner”) for Bradford at the Wakefield end, while Herr Cassel performed the same function for Wakefield at the Bradford end.

 

Play commenced at 6.30 p.m.  The first result came at 8.30, with the victory of Müller over Powell.  The next result came at 9.30, when Day beat Onions.  When played ceased at 11.00 p.m. (rather late to have been getting the train home) one unfinished game was left over for third-party adjudication.  That game excluded, the score stood at 5-2 in favour of Bradford, who therefore were assured of winning the match.

 

At the close, the respective club secretaries, Cassel and Rea exchanged, congratulations, concluding with a vote of thanks to the general manager of the National Telephone Company, Mr. Chambers, and the company’s manager in Bradford, Mr. Coleman.

 

The Mercury reported the match results as follows:

 

 

Bradford

 5‑2 

Wakefield

1

R. M. Macmaster(W)

½-½

J. W. Young

2

G. F. Onions

0-1

S. Day

3

C. D. Knapton

1-0

W. Ash

4

T. Spencer

½-½

W. Rea

5

S. Hudson(W)

@

W. Schofield

6

C. Müller

1-0

W. Powell

7

J. Woollard

1-0

G. H. Bays

8

G. Scholt

1-0

J. Reyner

(@ denotes unfinished game for adjudication; see below)

 

The identities of the players appear to be as follows:

 

As Reported

Full(er) Name

Bradford

 

R. M. Macmaster

Robert McCheyne Macmaster

G. F. Onions

George Frederick Onions

C. D. Knapton

Charles Demain Knapton

T. Spencer

Thomas Spencer

S. Hudson

 

C. Müller

Charles Augustus Müller

J. Woollard

Joseph Algernon Woollard

G. Scholt [sic]

Gustav Adolphus Schott

Wakefield

 

J. W. Young

John William Young

S. Day

Samuel Day

W. Ash

William Ash

W. Rea

William Rea

W. Schofield [sic]

William Ryder Scholefield ?

W. Powell

 

G. H. Bays

George Henry Bays, jun

J. Reyner

James Reyner

 

The position left for adjudication was as follows:

 

Black: W. Schofield (Wakefield) – to move

White: S. Hudson (Bradford)

 

Though a piece down, White claimed a draw, presumably on the basis that it is somewhat difficult for Black to constructively enter White’s position with his pieces.  In view of this, having the move, Black might consider 40. … g4, with a view to playing his knight to g5.  If 41. Nxg4 then 41. … Be2 42.Nf6+ Ke7 43. Ng8+ Kf8 44.Nf6 Ng5 45. Kd2 Kf7 still leaves thing unclear, as, after 46.Kxe2 Kxf6, White’s outside passes pawn ties down a piece, while the White king threatens to invade, if allowed.  Alternatively, 41. Kd2, to prevent 41. … Be2, and if Black invades with his knight, then his h-pawn is in danger of falling.  It’s clear why Black hoped for a draw.

 

The Leeds Mercury report gave the games from board 1 and board 5.

 

 

Created

18/04/2014

Stephen John Mann

Last Updated

18/04/2014