Yorkshire Chess History



York (“Ebor”) Chess Club











Made in Yorkshire



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The first recorded organised chess in York was probably the North Yorkshire and Durham Chess Association’s annual meeting of 1867.  That was followed by meetings in 1868 and 1869, under the name of the Yorkshire Chess Association, though that organisation was not the original Yorkshire Chess Association, nor the present one.


Having three such annual meeting in succession is likely to have simulated interest in chess in York.  Whether there was already a chess club in York at that time is unclear; write-ups seem not to mention anyone present, such as Alfred Ball, as being president or secretary of York (or Ebor) Chess Club, though there had certainly been an “Ebor Chess Club” in 1860, as that club’s name was given when the blind Lancashire player, “Mr. Lumbley”, visited York on his tour of Yorkshire, giving four-board simultaneous displays at various locations.


The York Herald of 09/05/1874 reported on the Ebor Chess Club’s “first meeting at the Queen's Hotel, Micklegate,” which seems to mean they had just changed their meeting room to the Queen’s Hotel.


This old chess club in York was alluded to when in 1894, it was claimed a strong chess club existed in York “nearly 30 years ago”.  The Yorkshire Herald and York Herald of Saturday 6th January, 1894, page 8, carried as article which commenced as follows:



The members of the above club met at the North Eastern Hotel, Tanner Row, York, their new quarters, for the first time on Thursday night.  The handsome and commodious rooms placed at the club’s disposal by Mr. Halliwell, will, it is believed, resuscitate the interest in the grand game in the city of York.  Nearly 30 years ago a very strong club existed in York, and it is hoped under the present auspicious circumstances to emulate, if not surpass the strength of the old club.  For the members’ entertainment it was arranged that Mr. H. Jackson should play simultaneously against all comers.  He was opposed by 11 players, the result being that the single player won nine games and lost two.  The winners were Mr. Jolly and Mr. Shanks.  [etc.]


In view of the implied praise given in 1894 to the old York/Ebor chess club of the 1860 which leads one to guess that it was the same Ebor Chess Club which in effect hosted those chess meetings organised by the Rev. A. B. Skipworth, in 1867, 1868 and 1868.  The tone of the above article rather suggests the Ebor Chess Club of the 1860s and 1870s lapsed, to be revived in the 1880s or 1890s.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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