Yorkshire Chess History

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Narrative: 12) North Yorkshire & Durham Chess Association











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


After being curate at Croxby in Lincolnshire from 1857 to 1860, the Reverend Arthur Bolland Skipworth moved to be vicar of Bilsdale, North Yorkshire.


After the British Chess Association’s enterprising London tournament of 1862, the organisation took a long time to gather up enough energy for another event.  Thus the series of near-annual tournaments of the N&MCCA and the (British) Chess Association, eight tournaments over eleven years, ground to a halt.  This may have been what prompted the ABS to organise a tournament locally in his back yard.


In 1865 the Rev. Skipworth lived at Bilsdale Parsonage in the Cleveland Hills.  Not very far to the north were Middlesbrough and the seaside resort of Redcar.  He picked the latter as the location for a chess tournament he ran from 14th to 16th September 1865.  In terms of the strength of the entries, it was not a very significant tournament, but it was a success in that it showed the venture was workable, and it formed the start of something much greater.


Skipworth ran a second Redcar tournament from 6th to 11th August 1866, heralding it as a meeting of the North Yorkshire and Durham Chess Association, which was thus born.  This second Redcar tournament attracted an encouragingly stronger entry.


This second Redcar tournament had been preceded some months earlier by the first meeting of the Northumberland and Durham Chess Association, held on Easter Monday and Tuesday, 2nd and 3rd of April 1866, at the Central Exchange Hotel, Newcastle.  This rather called into question the validity of Skipworth’s adoption of the name North Yorkshire & Durham Chess Association for his own organisation, and may have contributed to the decision to move to York.


The next meeting organised by Skipworth was held in York, on 21st October 1867, still under the NY&DCA banner.


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Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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