Yorkshire Chess History



1867: North Yorkshire & Durham Chess Association, 3rd Annual Meeting, York











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North Yorkshire & Durham Chess Association

Annual Meeting

De Grey Rooms, York

21st to 25th October 1867


If we count the Redcar tournament of 1865 as the first annual meeting of the retrospectively named NY&DCA, then this was the third annual meeting.  In any event, it was the third successive annual event organised by the Rev. A. B. Skipworth in Yorkshire.


Change of Venue


There were possibly a number of reasons for moving the venue from Redcar to York.


The local catchment area of Redcar was, as the name suggests, North Yorkshire and County Durham.  However, the formation in 1866 of a Northumberland and Durham Chess Association weakened Skipworth’s attraction for the players of County Durham.  The hardened non-local faithful, on the other hand, were drawn largely from the other two Ridings and the North Midlands.  Accordingly, a move south to York, would most probably increase the event’s attractiveness to players in such areas.


Another of Skipworth’s underlying idea was probably a developing objective of expanding his “empire” in the way which the original Yorkshire Chess Association had successfully expanded to the Northern & Midland Counties Chess Association and ultimately the British Chess Association.  Skipworth had quite possibly already planned to assume the name “Yorkshire Chess Association” for his chess meetings.  There was also the question of whether the British Chess Association would adequately serve “provincial” players, or even continue to exist!


Preliminary Notices


Notice was given of the impending meeting in the Chess Player’s Magazine of 1st September 1867 as follows:

North Yorkshire and Durham Chess Association. – the next meeting of this society will be held in York during the week commencing on October 21st.  The first class tournament will be open to all provincial amateurs.  The value of the first prize will be at least £10.  Other smaller prizes will be offered.  Further particulars may be obtained of A. Ball, Esq., Hon. Sec., York, and Rev. A. B. Skipworth, Treasurer, Bilsdale, Northallerton.


The issue of 1st October 1867 elaborated as follows:

North Yorkshire and Durham Chess Association (additional particulars since our last number, p.288). – The meeting will be held at the De Grey Rooms, York, under the presidency of the Lord Mayor.  The first prize in Class I. will be of the value of £10; in Class II., £5, not in money.  The various classes are open to provincial amateurs.  Friday, October 25th, will be specially devoted to day tournaments, to suit the convenience of visitors unable to be present more than one day.


The De Grey Rooms were, and still are, on St. Leonard’s Place, York.  (Click here for a photograph of the De Grey Rooms.)


The Event Itself


The report in the Whitby Gazette of 2nd November 1867 described the meeting as being of the “Yorkshire Chess Association” (forestalling a later announcement in the Chess Players Quarterly Chronicle Vol.1, 1868, p.24 et seq.), giving the following results of tournaments:


Class I


M. E. Werner (Bradford), winning £10;



Walter Grimshaw (Whitby).




Class II


Walter Grimshaw (Whitby), winning £5;



Thomas Fieldsend (Bradford).




Class III


Miss Chaddock [Cheshire];



John Newton [York].


After listing these results, the Chess Players’ Quarterly Chronicle Vol.1, 1868, p.24 & 25 announced:


In accordance with the suggestion of several leading Chess players of the West Riding, this Association is hereafter to be called




as combining the strength and representing the interests of the three Ridings, and holding its Meetings in the county town.  The next Meeting of this Association is to be held in York during the latter part of August during the present year.


In reality, this assumption of the role of representing Yorkshire chess as a whole was far from welcomed by the broader membership of the West Yorkshire Chess Association which had been formed in 1856 to continue the activities of the original Yorkshire Chess Association formed back in 1840 after that latter had metamorphosed in stages into the British Chess Association.  Subsequent use of the name “Yorkshire Chess Association” by Skipworth’s organisation lasted two years, whereafter the organisation became a nation-wide one, as the original Yorkshire Chess Association before it had done, and called itself the “Counties Chess Association.”


Dramatis Personae


Most of the players mentioned above are covered in the “People” section (click on the hyperlinked names).  More enigmatic, however, is “Miss Chaddock” from Cheshire.  Without an initial, identifying Miss Chaddock is difficult, there having been a number of people meeting this description.  Nevertheless, there is one family which, by its relative economic standing and supply of daughters, looks a likely candidate.  This is the family of 69-year-old Elizabeth Chaddock which the 1871 census represented as living at Old House Green, Odd Rode, Cheshire.  The family consisted of mother Elizabeth, three unmarried daughters, and three servants.  The whereabouts of the father isn’t too clear.  The three daughters, all born in Congleton, were:

Isabella Chaddock

born 1838/39

Sarah Hope Chaddock

born 1841/42

Lucy Ely Chaddock

born 1844/45


Was one of these the chess-playing Miss Chaddock of Cheshire?  (There are other possibilities, albeit less convincing ones.)


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