Yorkshire Chess History
1st Annual Meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association
Scarbro’s Hotel, 15 Bishopgate Street, Leeds
The first meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association was held at “Scarbro’s Hotel”, Leeds, on Monday 18th January 1841. Scarborough’s Hotel, aka the King’s Arms, was at 15 Bishopgate Street, according to White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, wherein the proprietors were given as Sarah and Charles Scarborough. Parson’s General & Commercial Directory of Leeds, 1826, listed Henry Scarborough as the proprietor. It is now known as the Scarbrough Hotel (thus spelt), and is a stone’s throw from the railway station, being visible from the approach road thereto.
There were said to be nearly fifty attenders of the meeting. The Leeds Mercury listed 47 names, so that list must have been nearly complete if not actually complete. There were two guests from Liverpool Chess Club, but the others were drawn mainly from the membership of the Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Halifax Chess Clubs. There were also players from Bradford and Sheffield, though there seem not to have been clubs in existence in those towns at that time.
The meeting was presided over by James Milnes Gaskell, Esq., M.P.
The guests from Liverpool were Augustus Mongredien and Gustave Christian Schwabe, the president and secretary, respectively, of the Liverpool Chess Club. These two appear to have travelled by rail from Liverpool to Manchester, whence, as Medley tells us, they travelled the remaining forty-five miles or so to Leeds, through snow, by the post coach.
Of the chess played, we know Augustus Mongredien played a number of games with John Rhodes, who was then secretary of Leeds Chess Club, and with Robert Cadman of Leeds. James Milnes Gaskell is recorded as having drawn a game with Gustave Christian Schwabe.
The Chess Player’s Chronicle, Vol. I, page 53, published one of the games, introducing it as follows:
The game itself was as follows:
As things turned out, the Chronicle seems not to have published any more games from the meeting.
The following are the attenders listed by the Leeds Mercury, along with the writer’s opinion as to the identity of those so listed.
# in column 1 denotes this was only attendance at such a meeting
Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann