Yorkshire Chess History
1888: British Chess Association Meeting, Bradford
held at the Alexandra Hotel, 40 Great Horton Road, Bradford,
from Monday 6th August to Monday 20th August 1888
The intermittent tournaments of the British Chess Association were held outside London only twice, at Bradford in 1888, and at Manchester in 1890.
The BCA had managed to run tournaments in only nine the twenty-six years from 1862 to 1887, all in London. The BCA was directly descended from the original Yorkshire Chess Association. After a while this had been expanded to become the Northern & Midland Counties Chess Association. Obviously, there were people who missed the former local YCA with its meetings which were normally confined to the county, so the spirit of the original YCA was reactivated in the form of the overtly parochial West Yorkshire Chess Association, the original YCA having been primarily West Riding-based. The N&MCCA then went on to expand further to become the national Chess Association, later prefacing the epithet “British”. This worked well for a while, but from 1862, however, the BCA held all its tournaments in London. This desertion of the chess-players outside London was the main justification for the formation of the Counties Chess Association from a second Yorkshire Chess Association which had evolved from Skipworth’s North Yorkshire and Durham Chess Association, and which in the eighteen years from 1870 to 1887 ran seventeen tournaments, only one of which was in London!
The BCA decided in time to try alternating the venue of its tournaments between London and the “provinces”, perhaps in an attempt to court the “provincial” amateurs. However, finding organisations outside London who were willing and able to run the BCA tournament was difficult. The 1888 congress would perhaps accurately be said to have been run by the YCCC on behalf of the BCA, rather than by the BCA.
That the BCA tournament came to Bradford was due primarily to the endeavours of Isaac McIntyre Brown in his capacity as secretary of the Yorkshire County Chess Club, and of Bradford Chess Club. Quite were the idea of the BCA congress originated, with the Yorkshire County Chess Club or the Bradford Chess Club, isn’t clear, but the approach to the BCA was made by the YCCC rather than Bradford Chess Club.
A YCCC committee meeting called to discuss the matter on 30/12/1887 at the Exchange Café, Market Street, Bradford, decided that a sub-committee should be formed to investigate the possibility and raise money, and decided:
It was also decided that YCCC should contribute £25 (to add the above £100) to the prize fund.
Bradford Chess Club decided initially to contribute £2 2s to the congress fund, and went on to appoint the above-mentioned sub-committee to investigate feasible arrangements for holding the event in Bradford. This committee included Alderman Frederick Priestman, Henry Muff, “Delius”, William Cole Ferrand, Robert McCheyne Macmaster, Peter Tarbet Macauley, Henry Glaser, William Groux, William Pollard Byles, Robert Whitaker, William Bell, Thomas Lumb Hameyer, Thomas Arnaud Guy, L. Brooke, John Anthony Guy, “Miller” (= Charles Augustus Müller?), Lionel Henry Browne, John Edmund Hall, Henry Clarence Padgett, Joseph Algernon Woollard, John Gorell, Hartwig Cassel and Antonio Fattorini.
The venue for the tournament was the Alexandra Hotel, Great Horton Road, Bradford, of which the manager was one Carlo Fara. A suite of rooms was to be used for different tournaments at the event. The larger room appointed for the Masters’ event had ample room for spectators as well as players. Ropes to keep back spectators at a distance from the players were provided by W. & J. J. Haweridge, athletic outfitters.
The hotel, which was located at the west corner of Great Horton Road and the east end of Randall Well Street, was designed around 1877 by local architects Andrews and Pepper, and was completed in 1879, and soon became Bradford’s leading hotel. It was stone-built in what was then a modern Italian style. The grand central hall had a floor-area of nearly two thousand square yards. It was particularly suited to an international event in that it boasted that several languages were spoken by the proprietor and staff.
The hotel was originally owned by a company, but Carlo Fara bought it from that company in 1889. It closed as a hotel in the 1970s, and became the Alexandra Annexe to Bradford College. In 1989, however, the building was deemed unsafe, was vacated by the college, and was finally demolished in 1993. The site now serves merely as a car park.
The Alexandra Hotel, Great Horton Road, Bradford
The Meeting to Decide the Programme
The event was planned as an “international” one, being the about the sixth international tournament of the BCA, after 1862, 1872, 1883, 1885, and 1886, which were all in London. The BCA congresses of 1866, 1868-9, 1870 and 1887 did not boast international tournaments.
The one-day 1888 YCCC annual meeting for tournament play, where its Class A (championship), Class B and Class C tournaments would commence, had been scheduled for 28/01/1888, in Sheffield, but had been postponed due to a smallpox epidemic in Sheffield. Two options were to cancel the event, or hold it in another town. Nothing definite had been decided at first, but after plans for holding the BCA congress in Bradford started to crystalise, the idea of running the YCCC events alongside the BCA events arose. Thus, it was decided that the Yorkshire County Chess Club’s Class A (championship), Class B and Class C tournaments should be run alongside the BCA tournaments in Bradford, which constituted a deviation from the normal format of initial rounds played at a one-day meeting, followed by games of later rounds being played individually, as, where and when was agreed by the players concerned.
On Thursday 23/02/1888, the British Chess Association secretary, Leopold Hoffer, met the committee of the Yorkshire County Chess Club to draw up the programme for the congress, with Henry Hoyer Waight (Halifax) presiding. Other committee members present were Thomas Young Stokoe (Leeds), James Samuel West (Leeds), Isaac McIntyre Brown (Leeds), Arthur Welsh Common (Halifax), William John Eggleston (Dewsbury), Seth Ward (Dewsbury), William Rea (Wakefield), Hartwig Cassel (Bradford), C Padgett (Manningham) [presumably Henry Clarence Padgett] and William Bell (Manningham).
I. M. Brown read out a letter from W. & J. J. Haweridge, athletic outfitters, of 29 & 32 Darley Street, Bradford, offering a prize for the Yorkshire County Chess Club’s Class C tournament. Also, Antonio Fattorini, on behalf of Fattorini & Sons, watch manufacturers, of 27 Kirkgate, Bradford, and 28 Westgate, Bradford, offered a prize for the Yorkshire Championship. These two offers were accepted with thanks, and it was decided to make efforts to secure a prize for the Yorkshire Class B tournament.
The schedule of tournaments was finalised as the following 7 tournaments, and also an International Problem-setting tournament. Interestingly, the Masters’ Tournament was at this stage optimistically being described as “The championship of the world, open to masters of the first magnitude” but the notion of it being the championship of the world was dropped in time. Clearly, although there was then neither an “official” world championship nor a world chess organisation to organise such a competition, neither the British Chess Association nor the Yorkshire County Chess Club could claim the authority to assume the role of awarding such a title as Chess Champion of the World!
The funding provided by Bradford Chess Club, raised within Bradford, eventually totalled the £100 target, while the YCCC itself initially coughed up a further £25, which was later increased to £35. Funding from Yorkshire thus totalled £135, and Leonard Hoffer said the British Chess Association would add an equal amount, making a guaranteed sum of £270.
It was decided, again with questionable authority, that the hon. secretaries of the BCA and YCCC should have exclusive right of publishing the games played at the congress!
A congress (pre-event) management committee was elected as follows:
Alderman Frederick Priestman (chairman, Bradford), Isaac McIntyre Brown (hon. secretary, Leeds), Henry Hoyer Waight (hon. treasurer, Halifax), Hartwig Cassel (Bradford), Arthur Welsh Common (Halifax), Thomas Arnaud Guy (Bradford), Thomas Holliday (Huddersfield), Charles Augustus Müller (Bradford), James Rayner (Leeds), and James Samuel West (Leeds).
The British Chess Magazine advertised at one stage that the event would take place in July, though that proved not to be the case.
The event was to run from Monday 6th August to Saturday 18th August 1888, though, in the event, the Tennyson Tournament continued to Monday 20th August 1888. The different sections’ details were as follows.
1) (International) Masters Tournament
each player playing each other player once;
entry fee £2, and deposit £5;
a prize fund totalling £230;
further, the entrance fees were to be “divided amongst the non-prize-winners, according to Berger’s system”;
time limit: 20 moves per hour, time being kept by “special stop-clocks”;
times of rounds to be as follows:
2) Amateur Championship Tournament for the “Newnes” B.C.A. Challenge Cup (presented by George Newnes, M.P., first contested in 1886)
open to amateurs of the B.C.A. or of the Y.C.C.C.; starting on the evening of Tuesday 07/08/1888, but with no fixed schedule for games, as many were participating in more than one tournament;
entry fee 10s., and deposit £1 10s.,
(of which neither was required of the previous year’s champion);
monetary prizes to be as “cash or objects of art”, as the winners desired.
3) The “Tennyson” competition
open to members of the professions: Church, Law, Medicine, Army, and Navy [accountancy seems also to have been admitted];
1st prize: autographed copy of the complete works of Alfred Lord Tennyson, donated by the poet, who was Poet Laureate and President of the B.C.A.;
starting Wed 8th August, one round per day.
The “Ruskin” competition
1st prize: autographed copies of his own works donate by John Ruskin, a Vice-President of the B.C.A.
Championship of Yorkshire
Players’ Tournament (Yorkshire)
Players’ Tournament (Yorkshire)
Run-Up to the Event
A meeting of the Executive Committee was held at the Exchange Café, Bradford, on Saturday 14/07/1888, for the purpose of making the draw for the order of play in the various sections, and to finalise the programme for the opening ceremony. In the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement of that Saturday, late entrants to the three Yorkshire competitions were encouraged as follows:
We would suggest to any would-be competitor who has missed forwarding his name in time to at once send by telegram to the hon. sec. (Mr. I. M. Brown), the Exchange Cafe, Bradford, up to 3 p.m. this afternoon, as, there being a meeting of the Executive Committee at that place, Mr. Brown will be there.
The same Leeds Mercury article, after explaining that Blackburne’s current ill health might preclude his participation, went on to discuss entrants to the Masters’ Tournament as follows:
Captain Mackenzie is already with us, and there is expected from America Major Hanham. Messrs. Bird, Burn, Blackburne, Gunsberg, and Mason are also expected to contest in the honour for England, and probably also the Rev. A. B. Skipworth. France sends De Reviére [sic – meant Riviére]; Herr Max Weiss represents Austria; Dr. Noa, from Hungary; and Dr. Schallopp is the German representative. New York was anxious to be strengthened by Eugene Delmar being present at the Congress, and the chess players of that city were willing to defray his expenses. Mr.Delmar has been obliged to decline the honour owing to business and domestic arrangements.
In the event, Major Hanham, De Riviére, Noa and Schallopp didn’t materialise. Other foreigners who might have been hoped might participate in the Masters’ Tournament were Steinitz, Winawer, Fritz, and Englisch. Indeed, only four foreigners were present, Mackenzie (America), Taubenhaus (France), von Bardeleben (Germany) and Weiss (Austria). The other fourteen were all from England; of these, Skipworth retired, as he often did, this time after 6 rounds.
As regards the Amateur Championship, not all entrants are definitely identified below, but it appears that entries from outside Yorkshire was very limited in number, and by no means sufficient to justify the tournament being regarded as a plausible Amateur British Chess Championship. Equally, entries to the Tennyson and Ruskin tournaments were mainly local, though they were not limited to Yorkshire participants.
Nevertheless, entries were more in number than there had been in a BCA congress since that of 1883, so in those relative terms the event was a success.
The event was opened shortly after 2.00 p.m. on Monday 06/08/1888 by the Mayor of Bradford, Alderman John Limber Morley, who commented, amongst other things, that the number of entries was more than there had been in a BCA congress since 1883. Play started at 2.30 p.m.
The Executive Committee overseeing things during the event consisted of Leopold Hoffer (hon. sec. BCA), Isaac McIntyre Brown (hon. sec. YCCC, Leeds), Hartwig Cassel (Director of Play, Bradford), Henry Hoyer Waight (hon. treasurer YCCC, Halifax), L. H Browne (Bradford), James Samuel West (Leeds) and Charles Augustus Müller (Bradford).
The Playing Committee consisted of the members of the Executive Committee except for West and Müller. At least one Playing Committee member was to be on hand at any time during play, and their decision in questions of fact in the event of a dispute was to be final.
The best day-by-day press coverage was that provided by the Bradford Observer. Their chess correspondent, Herr Hartwig Cassel, was on location as an organiser, while one of the players, Joseph Algernon Woollard, was on the staff of the paper (and was to take over as chess correspondent in about a year’s time). There was a detailed report each day, apart from Sunday, from Tuesday 07/08/1888 to Tuesday 21/08/1888.
For the Leeds Mercury, James White provided similar daily coverage, but of a lower standard, suggesting he was not present and was dependent on information replayed to him by others. Full information as to initials and localities of some players was noticeably lacking in the Leeds Mercury. Such information was furnished adequately by the Bradford Observer.
BCA secretary Leopold Hoffer was chess correspondent of the London Standard, so presumably there may have been a daily report in there.
The British Chess Magazine gave coverage which was necessarily much less detailed.
Both the Bradford Observer and Leeds Mercury put “Rumball” for “Rumboll” throughout. The BCM correctly put “Rumboll”. Arthur Rumboll was born at Ramsbury, Wiltshire, in 1837, and died in the Bath area in 1901. He lived in the southern part of Bath.
In time a tournament book was produced by the British Chess Magazine (of which I. M. Brown was manager at the time), containing about 50 games from the Masters’ Tournament.
1) In the Masters’ Tournament, the Rev. Arthur Bolland Skipworth withdrew after six rounds, and his games were excluded from the final scores. He was apparently ill, and the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement of 18th August 1888 was somewhat scathing in its comment when announcing the retirement: “We can scarcely admire the judgement of Mr. Skipworth when he decided to join in such an arduous undertaking as playing in an international tournament while very unwell.” In the same article, James White notes, “Mr. Blackburne is evidently feeling the results of his illness to which we referred a fortnight ago.” Blackburne was 11½ years younger than Skipworth, so perhaps better able to cope with the strain. Both were playing due to enthusiasm for chess rather than for the good of their health.
The comfortable winner was Isidor Gunsburg, winning 12, drawing 3, and losing only to Edmund Thorold. Local Bradford player John Edmund Hall performed respectably, given the strength of the tournament, scoring wins over Locock, Thorold and Lee, besides managing a draw with third-placed von Bardeleben. This was the eponym of the “Hall” Variation in the Centre Game, which he played during the tournament. The result table was as follows:
“t” denotes a win/loss on time; Gunsberg was easily winning at the time.
Rev. Skipworth withdrew after six rounds, and his results were not counted. His £3 deposit was divided amongst those whom he had played against: Owen, Burn, Taubenhaus, Locock, Mackenzie and Mason.
The £36 collected in entry fees was divided among the non-prize-winners, as follows:
* sharing £6 12s 4d in respect of 7th place, which the two shared as well as sharing 6th prize.
Locock qualified to participate by virtue of being winner of the Amateur Championship in 1887.
2) In the Amateur Championship, where very few participants were from outside Yorkshire, the winner was Guest of London, just half a point ahead of G. A. Schott of Bradford, who won their individual game. The following was played between two local players:
British Chess Association Congress 1888, Bradford
British Amateur Championship
Charles G (Leeds), Black: Macmaster, RM (Bradford),
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. d3 d6 5. c3 Bg4 6. h3 Bxf3 7. Qxf3 a6 8. Ba4 Nf6 9. Be3 Ba7 10. Nd2 b5 11. Bc2 h6 12. Nf1 Ne7 13. Ng3 d5 14. O-O d4 15. Bd2 O-O 16. Rd1 Qd6 17. a3 c5 18. cxd4 cxd4 19. Qe2 Nh7 20. f4 f6 21. Bb3+ Kh8 22. Rc1 Rc8 23. Qg4 Nf8 24. Nh5 g6 25. fxe5 Qxe5 26. Nxf6 Rxc1 27. Bxc1 Rc8 28. Bxh6 Bb8 29. Bxf8 Qh2+ 30. Kf2 Qg3+ 31. Qxg3 Bxg3+ 32. Kxg3 Rxf8 33. Rf3 and Black resigned
Reports tended to refer mainly to surnames, so some guesswork is needed in identifying players. The result table was as follows:
3) The Tennyson Tournament for the professions was won by R. M. Macmaster of Bradford. Entrants were as follows:
The Bradford Observer listed “J. M. Brown (Leeds)” as an entrant, but he didn’t feature among the subsequent results.
Though listed before the event as an entrant, Skipworth doesn’t get listed in the result table, so he had presumably withdrawn, as he did in the Masters’ Tournament.
Results recorded by the Leeds Mercury prior to 20/08/1888 were as follows:
The remaining games where due to be played on 20/08/1888. It appears Cadman may have withdrawn, as he had 5 unplayed games at this stage. The remaining outstanding games would require just the two more sessions available in the playing schedule. All results of those last two rounds, to be played 20/08/1888, are not to hand.
For some time Hussey had apparently been the favourite to win, but it was Macmaster who eventually won.
4) Entries for the Ruskin Tournament, for those engaged in the arts, sciences and literature, stood at first at just four: E. P. Featherstone (the second initial “P” looks spurious), George Adolphus Schott (science student), James Samuel West (former engineering student) and A. Guest. To these were added Eliza Mary Thorold, Rev Arthur Bolland Skipworth, and Robert McCheyne Macmaster, whose qualifications for the “arts, sciences and literature” category were less tangible. The draw for the first round was made as follows: West v Scott, Thorold v Skipworth, and Guest v Featherstone, with Macmaster getting a bye. This was to have started on Friday 10th August, but by that time Skipworth had withdrawn from the Masters’ Tournament, and the decision was made to abandon the Ruskin Tournament due to too few entries.
5) The Amateur Championship of Yorkshire was won by C. G. Bennett of Leeds.
Round 1, played on Tuesday 7th August 1888:
colours not known
Round 2, played Saturday 11th August 1888, starting at 3.00 p.m.:
The final was played after the close of the BCA Congress. The game, with Bennett playing White, started on the evening of 29th August 1888, at the Sun Inn, Shipley. The game was adjourned at 10.30 p.m., Woollard as Black sealing his 42nd move. Play was resumed the next day at 8.15p.m., and, after a further two hours’ play, Black resigned on the 56th move:
The following was played in round 2:
British Chess Association Congress, 1888, Bradford;
Yorkshire Championship; ??/08/1888
White: West, JS (Leeds), Black: Bennett, Charles G (Leeds),
1. c4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. d4 Bb4 5. Bd3 O-O 6. Ne2 b6 7. b3 Bb7 8. f3 Nc6 9. Bb2 Ne7 10. a3 Bxc3+ 11. Bxc3 Ng6 12. Qc2 Nh4 13. Ng3 Qe8 14. O-O-O a5 15. e4 f4 16. e5 Ng4 17. Bxh7+ Kh8 18. fxg4 Nxg2 19. Nh5 Ne3 20. Qe2 Kxh7 21. Qd3+ Qg6 22. Qe2 Bf3 23. Nxf4 Bxe2 24. Nxg6 Kxg6 25. Rde1 Rf2 26. g5 Raf8 27. h4 Ng2 28. Reg1 Bd3 29. h5+ Kh7 30. g6+ Kg8 31. Bd2 Rf1+ 32. Kb2 Rxg1 33. Rxg1 Rf2 34. Kc3 Be4 35. Bg5? Rc2#
6) The Second-Class Players’ Tournament (Yorkshire) was won by L. H. Browne of Bradford:
Results of round 1, played Wednesday 8th August, were:
* Leeds Mercury gave “C. Croft”, Bradford Observer gave “N. Croft (Burley)”, British Chess Magazine gave “W. Croft, Burley-in-Wharfedale”
** Leeds Mercury gave “W. Cary”, Bradford Observer gave “N. Carey (Bradford)
Results of round 2, played Saturday 11th August, starting at 3.15 p.m., were:
The final result was:
7) The Third-Class Players’ Tournament (Yorkshire) was won by T. L. Hameyer of Bradford.
Results in round 1, played Wednesday 8th August, were (without colours being inferable):
Round 2, played Saturday 11th August, starting as 3.30 p.m.:
Round 3, Saturday 11th August, starting as 3.30 p.m.:
Final Round, Friday 17th August, starting 7.0 p.m.:
Apparent identity of Third Class entrants:
The identity of “Sapira Cohen”, often just “Cohen” is unclear. There was in following years an “S Cohen” playing for Leeds, who was presumably the same person, but “Sapira” is elusive in conjunction with “Cohen”.
8) Consultation Game
On the second Monday, a consultation game took place between Bird and Blackburne of England, as White, and von Bardeleben and Weiss of Germany, as Black. Frederic Hyman Lewis had previously offered a prize of ten guineas for the winners of such a game, though the participants hadn’t been decided when the offer was made. The game was as follows:
British Chess Association Congress 1888, Bradford; Consultation Game
White: Bird, Henry E. & Blackburne, Joseph H.,
Black: Bardeleben, Curt & Weiss, Max,
20/08/1888, starting 11.00 a.m.
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. c3 e6 7. Nh3 Bd6 8. Be2 Ne7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nf4 Nd7 11. Nxg6 Nxg6 12. Bd3 Qh4 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. f4 g5 15. Ne4 Bxf4 16. Bxf4 gxf4 17. Rf3 g6 18. Rh3 Qe7 19. Qg4 Kg7 20. Rf1 Rh8 21. Rxh8 Rxh8 22. Qxf4 e5 23. dxe5 Nxe5 24. Nf6 Nd3 25. Qd4 Qe5 26. Qxd3 Qxh2+ 27. Kf2 Kxf6 28. Ke1+ Ke7 29. Qe4+ Kd8 30. Qd4+ Kc8 31. Rxf7 Qg3+ 32. Qf2 Re8+ 33. Kd2 Rd8+ 34. Kc1 Qd6 35. Qf1 draw agreed.
Stephen John Mann