Yorkshire Chess History

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Narrative: 9) Birth of the West Yorkshire Chess Association











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


In 1852, the original Yorkshire Chess Association had changed in nature by being expanded into the Northern & Midland Counties Chess Association which ran two-day (later three-day) events held much further afield than the confines of the cloth-weaving and rhubarb growing area of the West Riding of Yorkshire.  It might have suited most West Yorkshire players if a separate new larger organisation had been created.  As it turned out, the West Yorkshire players’ cosy local organisation had been hijacked by the wider world.


The 1853 N&MCCA meeting had been held in Manchester, which was not too far away.  The 1854 meeting was held in Liverpool, which was somewhat further.  Then, the 1855 meeting was held in Leamington.  Enough said.


So, in 1856, when the N&MCCA failed to hold a meeting for some reason, a meeting of delegates from the Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield Clubs was held at the room of the Leeds Chess Club in Greek Street, on the afternoon of 17th May 1856, with Robert Cadman of Leeds in the chair.


William Ledgar Robinson of Wakefield read a paper on the formation of a West Yorkshire Chess Association.  After this reading there was agreement to five proposals being put forward for approval by a general meeting, to be held at Leeds on the 21st of June.  One of the proposals provided for the initial membership to consist of four specific clubs: Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds and Wakefield, the founding clubs of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, the spirit of which was being reincarnated.


An interesting feature of the handwritten minutes of the preliminary meeting in May 1856 is the fact that, in the first proposal, the writer originally wrote “West Riding”, then crossed out “Riding” and put “Yorkshire”.  There is a suggestion here that there may have been uncertainty as to whether the association was being targeted at the West Riding as a whole, including Harrogate and even Ripon in the north, and Sheffield and Doncaster in the south, or was being targeted at the much tighter, more densely populated area of the clothing district of the Riding.


Pragmatic though the limitation to “West Yorkshire” may have been, it created a nomenclatural vacuum which caused some friction later on.


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Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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