Yorkshire Chess History

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Narrative: 15) The Counties Chess Association











Made in Yorkshire



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At the 1869 meeting of Skipworth’s “Yorkshire Chess Association” it had been announced that the 1870 meeting would be held at Scarborough, but after that there was a change of plan, and susequent annual chess meetings organised by the Reverend Arthur Bolland Skipworth, starting with that of 1870, were run under the banner of the Counties Chess Association.


The CCA was set up as a national organisation, to which extent it could be seen as clashing with the pre-existing British Chess Association.  It differed from the British Chess Association, however, in holding its events in towns around the country, whereas the BCA limited its venues to London.  The CCA thus catered for the “provincial” amateur in ways which the BCA didn’t, which was argued by some to be a failing of the BCA, and was definitely at variance with the spirit of the earlier organisations from which the BCA had evolved.


The CCA also differed from the BCA in that, until its twilight years, it held events every year, but for the occasional hiccup.  Meetings of the BCA, however, came round relatively infrequently, rarely two years in a row, and often with long periods of inactivity.  The BCA held 13 events during the 31 years 1862 to 1892, roughly one event every two-and-a-half years on average.


In reality, the activities of the two organisations were complementary.


From 1891, a series of tournaments was started in the vicinity of Llandudno, called the Craigside Tournaments.  Skipworth, who was by then into his 60s, clearly viewed the Craigside tournaments as in the spirit of the CCA as opposed to the BCA.  In 1891 to 1893 there were both CCA and Craigside event.  Then the Craigside events continued on their own, and were seen as to some extent a continuation of the CCA’s activities.


The last CCA tournament was that of 1893, at Woodhall Spa.  The Reverend Arthur Bolland Skipworth died on the 27th of November 1898, so finally closing the curtains on the Counties Chess Association.


Dates and venues of successive Counties Chess Association events were as follows:

1870, Newcastle-u-T

1871, Malvern

1872, Malvern

1873, Clifton (Bristol)

1874, Birmingham

1875, Glasgow

1876, Cheltenham

1877, Birmingham

1878, London

(1879, no event)

1880, Boston

1881, Leamington

1882, Manchester

1883, Birmingham

1884, Bath

1885, Hereford

1886, Nottingham

1887, Stamford

1888, venue ?

(1889, no event)

1890, Cambridge

1891, Oxford

1892, Brighton

1893, Woodhall Spa



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Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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