Yorkshire Chess History
1904-05: County Matches
Northern Counties Team Championship
Cheshire was paired against Cumberland, winning easily. Yorkshire was paired against Lancashire.
Lancashire had won the previous five Roses matches. Yorkshire had not won since 1899; that was at Huddersfield, and that turned out, seemingly, to be the magic formula!
Northern Counties Championship, First round
played at Huddersfield,
on Saturday, 28/01/1905,
over 30 boards.
Both teams were at almost full strength. T. A. Peck of Sheffield had to stand down from the Yorkshire team at the last minute due to illness. I. M. Brown was captain of the Yorkshire team.
Play commenced at 3.30 p.m. and lasted for four hours. Lancashire scored the first wins, but after Yorkshire had equalised, the running score remained pretty even. After 7 o’clock, as the match entered the home straights, Yorkshire went into the lead, by 8½ to 7½. That was lead increased to 11-8, but a blunder by a Yorkshire player in a winning position then brought the score to 11-9. Thus, at the cessation of play, Yorkshire led by 11 points to 9, and there remained 10 games for adjudication. Yorkshire appeared to have the advantage in five games, a drawing game in one games, and a greater or lesser disadvantage in three games. The other unfinished game was one of those too difficult to access without the burning of midnight oil.
The final score, with adjudication results added, was follows:
An initial report on the match was carried by the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 30/01/1905; adjudication results were in the Leeds Mercury of 11/02/1905.
The result of the other first-round match was Cheshire 12-3 Cumberland. Yorkshire went on to play Cheshire in the final.
Northern Counties Championship, Final
played at the Exchange Hall of Dewsbury Town Hall,
on Saturday, 25/03/1905,
over 25 boards.
The relatively small town of Dewsbury had, perhaps since the late 1890s, been developing an increasingly strong pool of chess players. Not only had it had the confidence to enter the Woodhouse Cup competition of 1904-05, alongside Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Leeds St. Martin, and Sheffield, but it was also pulling its weight, or more than its weight for such a small town, in the Yorkshire County team. It was therefore perhaps a fitting reward that Dewsbury Chess Club’s offer to host the Northern Counties’ final in Dewsbury was accepted.
Both teams were at, or close to, full strength. Yorkshire lacked F. E. Foster (Sheffield) and F. H. Wright (Wakefield), but was otherwise at full strength.
After words of welcome from the Dewsbury Chess Club president, J. Tweedale, play started at 3.45p.m., under a time limit of 20 minutes per hour. Nearly two hours passed before any games were finished, but then L. Denham gained Yorkshire’s first victory, then J. A. Guy also won. Thereafter, Yorkshire’s lead gradually increased until, at cessation of play, at 7.45 p.m., Yorkshire stood 6 points ahead. Most of the games remaining unfinished were agreed drawn by the players concerned, leaving the score at 14½-8½ in Yorkshire’s favour, with too more-complicated unfinished games remaining for subsequent adjudication.
The results, apart from those of the final two adjudications, were as follows:
Yorkshire had won the match, and thereby won the Northern Counties Team Championship for the first time since its start in 1900-01 season.
After the match, J. Tweedale, president of Dewsbury Chess Club, entertained the players with dinner at the Royal Hotel. J. Tweedale took the chair, and was supported by the Mayor of Dewsbury, the NCCU president, A. E. Moore (Manchester), the Cheshire CA president, D. Pennington, the Yorkshire captain, I. M. Brown, the Lancashire captain, James Burtinshaw (with a “t” not a “k”), the Dewsbury Chess Club secretary, H. A. Hughes, M. Oates (Dewsbury - perhaps a cousin or nephew of J. B. Oates), S. Chrispin and J. Watkinson (both Huddersfield), and others.
After the usual toasts, A. E. Moore presented the Northern Counties Championship Trophy, of which he was donor, to I. M. Brown as Yorkshire captain, mentioning that it was the first time he hadn’t presented it to himself as captain of the winning Lancashire team! Mr. Moore went on to express the hope that all the counties in the Northern Union would on time have their names inscribed on it. Given that only four of the seven counties were competing, that was going to take some time.
Yorkshire did not progress to the English Counties Chess Championship, as the newly-formed British Chess Federation had yet to initiated such a competition.
Stephen John Mann