Yorkshire Chess History



1872: West Riding Chess Club Meeting











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


The Leeds Mercury of 17/06/1872, page 8, contained an enigmatic allusion to the “West Riding Chess Club”:


CHESS CONTEST AT WAKEFIELD.- On Saturday afternoon the members of the West Riding Chess Club met at the Strafford Arms Hotel, Wakefield, and played several well-contested games.  The meeting, which was largely attended, for the most part by gentlemen from Leeds and the vicinity of Wakefield, partook of the nature of a private gathering.


So, what was the “West Riding Chess Club”?  A simplistic guess would be that this was a misrepresentation of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, yet that body met only annually, usually in April or May, and the 1872 meeting had already taken place at Leeds, on 11/05/1872.


The most likely answer is that a group of players had pursued the idea of holding meetings which were in the nature of chess club meetings, but drew attenders from a wider area than a club meeting did, and met more frequently than the West Yorkshire Chess Association.


As those attending were primarily from Leeds or the Wakefield area, it seems the idea probably originated within the Leeds and Wakefield chess clubs.  Since the author of the above article (probably James White, of Leeds Chess Club, in the opinion of the present writer) betrayed no knowledge of, or interest in, the background to this meeting, then it seems most likely that the primary drive behind this (new) organisation came from Wakefield rather than Leeds.


Further references to the West Riding Chess Cub are limited, so it presumably fizzled out, but it may be that more information on the subject lurks in the darker recesses of the Wakefield Express.


The 1867 West Riding v North Riding Match was portrayed by the Chess Players’ Quarterly Chronicle was being contested by the “West Riding Chess Association” which is part way between the (mythical?) “West Riding Chess Club” and the long-established “West Yorkshire Chess Association”, so maybe this match was another manifestation of the elusive, short-lived West Riding Chess Club.





Stephen John Mann

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