Yorkshire Chess History
1887: Yorkshire v Lancashire
played in the Alexandra Hotel, Bradford
on Saturday 18/06/1887,
over 50 boards.
The 80-board matches Yorkshire-Lancashire in 1883 and Lancashire-Yorkshire in 1884 were not to be repeated, it seems (at least not at a single venue), as this, the next Yorkshire-Lancashire match, was arranged to be over “only” 50 boards. The possibility of massive final totals, like Lancashire’s 93 in 1883, was further prevented by there being only one game to be played per board. Thus the team totals would be out of 50, rather potentially out of anything from 80 to 160.
The date fixed for the match was the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. It was hotter than usual for the time of year, to the extent that the playing conditions were less than perfect from that point of view.
Bradford’s Hartwig Cassel was the primary organiser of the arrangements in Bradford on the day. An innovation in this match was the use of clocks, presumably furnished by Antonio Fattorini. Two or three of the clocks apparently failed to work, either due to the heat or lack of experience of the operators.
There was initially a reception, attended by about 100 people, in the council room of the Town Hall, hosted by Bradford’s Mayor for 1886-87, Alderman Angus Holden. After refreshments at the reception, the company removed to the Alexandra Hotel, where the play was to take place.
Play commenced at 3.15 p.m. Isaac McIntyre Brown was the official score-keeper. The first game to finish was Cohen-Cassell, which was drawn at 3.40 p.m. The second result was Amos Burn defeating Edward Freeborough on board one. At 5.00 p.m. the score was 7-6 in Lancashire’s favour. By 5.30 p.m. the gap had widened to 11-8. By the cessation of play, the gap was back to one, with a score of 14½-13½ in Lancashire’s favour, which 22 unfinished games left for adjudication. In is write-up in the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement of 25/06/1887, James White expressed the view that the playing session was too short, resulting in too many games needing adjudication.
Adjudications, done there and then at the end of play, were carried out by Amos Burn, R. K. Leather and N. T. Miniati of Lancashire, and James Rayner, Edward Freeborough and Hartwig Cassel of Yorkshire. The final score was a 26-24 win to Lancashire, which represented an acceptable score for Yorkshire as compared with the final scores in the match of 1883 and the match of 1884.
After the match, a dinner was given at the Alexandra Hotel for about 120 players, organisers and friends. The chair was occupied by Alderman Priestman, who ascribed to radical improvement in Yorkshire’s performance to the formation of the Yorkshire County Chess Club.
As ever, there was no indication in the reported results of who moved first. It may be that players tossed separately on each board for first move.
@ indicates result by adjudication of unfinished game.
“W. Gledhill, Leeds” playing on board 37 for Yorkshire may conceivably have been 33-year-old Walter Gledhill who was, however, resident at Burley-in-Wharfedale at the time and not noted as a Leeds player, and meritorious of a higher board, surely. “W. Gledhill” was a common enough name.
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann