Yorkshire Chess History



1880: Edmund Thorold visit to Hull











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Edmund Thorold’s Visit to Hull Church Institute Club, 16/01/1880


 It is known that Edmund Thorold made a number of chess-related visits to Hull, after he’d moved to the West Country.


The Bellman, a weekly magazine published in Hull and distributed mainly in Hull and Grimsby, carried a chess column edited by James Crake.  The issue of 17th January 1880 contained the notice (which seems like an “advance” notice published after the event):

“Edmund Thorold, Esq., at the Church Institute, Friday 16th January 1880.  Play, against all comers from 5-30 to 9 p.m.

The third visit of Mr Thorold has been looked forward to with great interest by the Hull players, and full particulars will appear in the Bellman of the 25th inst.”


The Bellman of 25th January 1880 accordingly contained the following.

“The visit of E. Thorold, Esq., to the Church Institute on Friday the 16th inst, attracted a large number of lovers of the game, the commodious Chess Room being crowded during almost the whole of the evening.  Many players who wished to engage the distinguished amateur were, therefore, obliged to defer the pleasure of an encounter until Mr Thorold’s returns to Hull.  The team opposed to the single player comprised [means included] about half-a-dozen Members of the Withernsea Club who, on the whole, acquitted themselves with great credit, the President and Secretary, Messrs H. H. Ayre and R. Clamp, in consultation, leaving a perfectly even game, while Messrs J. Young and H. Ayre defended themselves against Mr Thorold’s own attack in the Allgaier very skilfully up to a certain point, although before they were obliged to leave their renowned opponent had got the thin end of the wedge inserted.  Mr Hart conducted his partie with ability until he made a somewhat hasty move which his experienced adversary at once took advantage of.  The hardest fought contests were those with Messrs Downs, Hurtzig, and Freeborough, the latter coming out of the struggle with a piece ahead and a won game, and in the case of the first named, the result would probably have been the same.  Messrs Farrow and Philip also scored their games, although the former may congratulate himself on an escape from what appeared at one time to be almost certain defeat.  The other resignations were from Messrs Godfrey, Pulsford, Sadler, Thompson, De Meeres, Walton, and Nettleship, while the games not concluded with Messrs Clarke, Hewett, and Simpson were more or less in Mr Thorold’s favour.  Of the remaining contests unfinished those with Messrs Nichol and Baker, in consultation, and Little were tolerably even, but Mr Stonehouse had a slight advantage in position.  The total score made by the single player was 9 won and 3 lost games, 9 being unfinished for want of time.  The marvellous rapidity of Mr Thorold’s play is a remarkable feature in it, it being supposed that he averaged over two hundred moves per hour during the contest.  It is probable that his extreme good nature and courtesy were taken advantage of in respect to the number of his opponents, but the great anxiety evinced by the local amateurs to avail themselves of this opportunity of a little practice with so finished a player must be the Hon. Secretary’s [J. Crake’s] excuse for thus so heavily taxing Mr Thorold’s powers.  Physical exhaustion would readily account for the few slips made during the four hours[’] rapid play, and we believe that the single player, owing to an attack of cold, was not in such good trim as, no doubt, he would have wished.  A cordial vote of thanks, proposed by Mr W. W. Bean and seconded by Mr H. Dixon, was carried with great acclamation, and indeed the Hull players were greatly indebted to Mr Thorold for having, at no small amount of inconvenience, paid them the honour of a visit.  The latter[,] in reply, expressed a hope that he might enjoy the pleasure of having another similar  contest during the course of the present year.  Mr Thorold is entered for the chief competition at Boston, and won the first prize at the last Meeting of the Counties Chess Association held in London in 1878, from several of the strongest amateurs of the day.


Hull Church Institute was situated on Albion Street as were some similar institutions.


Results, as seemed to be implied by the report, treating Thorold as white in each game though that is not stated, would seem to be:

E Thorold 0-1 E. Freeborough 1

E Thorold 0-1 G. W. Farrow 2

E Thorold 0-1 R. H. Philip 2 (champion of Hull Church Institute CC)

E Thorold 1-0 Hart [Thomas Gedney Hart]

E Thorold 1-0 G. B. Godfrey 2 (president of Hull Church Institute CC)

E Thorold 1-0 E. Pulsford 1

E Thorold 1-0 Sadler

E Thorold 1-0 Thompson

E Thorold 1-0 De Meeres

E Thorold 1-0 Walton

E Thorold 1-0 Nettleship

E Thorold ?-? A. C. Hurtzig 1 & 2, outcome unclear, probably lost by Hurtzig

E Thorold ?-? J. Downs 1 & 2, outcome unclear, prob. unfinished, in Downs’s favour

E Thorold -v- J. Young & H. Ayre (consulting?), unfinished but in Thorold’s favour

E Thorold -v- Clarke 2 [Charles George Clarke], unfinished but in Thorold’s favour

E Thorold -v- Hewett, unfinished but in Thorold’s favour

E Thorold -v- Simpson, unfinished but in Thorold’s favour

E Thorold -v- H. E. Nichol 2 & Baker (consulting), unfinished but tolerably even

E Thorold -v- H. H. Ayre 3 and R. Clamp 3 (consulting), unfinished in equal position

E Thorold -v- D. Little 2, unfinished but tolerably even

E Thorold -v- H. Stonehouse 2, unfinished but in Stonehouse’s favour


1  member of Hull Chess Club

2  member of Hull Church Institute

3  member of Withernsea Chess Club ?

(Memberships based on teams they played for and club AGM minutes).





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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