Yorkshire Chess History



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The committee making the arrangements for the projected meeting of the Northern and Midland Chess Association in Manchester, in 1857, dropped the geographical prefix “Northern and Midland” from the name of the Association when they advertised the arrangements for the meeting.


The reason for the renaming was essentially that the Association had become broadly nationwide in scope.


Despite the change in name, the practice adopted was of continuing the serial numbering of meeting from the first N&MCCA meeting of 1853.  Thus, the Manchester meeting in 1857 was called, by Medley and others, the fourth meeting.  However, as time went by, committees organising subsequent meetings sometimes lost track of what ordinal number was applicable to their particular meeting, perhaps in part due to unawareness of years in which no meeting took place.


Four Meetings in Five Years


The fourth meeting of the Association (the first in the name of “Chess Association”) was held in 1857, at Manchester.


The fifth meeting of the Association (the second in the name of “Chess Association”) was held in 1858, at Birmingham.


The sixth meeting of the Association (the third in the name of “Chess Association”) was to have been held in 1859, at Worcester, but that meeting didn’t materialise, and so the sixth meeting was held in 1860, at Cambridge.


The seventh meeting of the Association (the fourth in the name of “Chess Association”) was held in 1861 in Bristol.




At the wash-up committee meeting of the Bristol meeting it was decided to hold the next meeting at London, in 1862.  This London meeting was conducted in under the banner of the “British Chess Association”.  Whether adding “British” was decided by the Bristol committee, or whether it was done later by the London committee, is unclear.  Either way, though the change in name was in itself minor, it coincided with London being for the first time the venue of this Association which was the direct descendant, by a series of name changes, of the original Yorkshire Chess Association.


The provincial amateur chess-players now had to wait twenty-six years for the British Chess Association to hold an event outside London.


The reality is that the British Chess Association was now entirely different from what had gone before.  In Yorkshire the vacuum had already been filled by reviving the spirit of original Yorkshire Chess Association in the form of the West Yorkshire Chess Association.  It was left to the early enterprise of the Reverend Arthur Bolland Skipworth to fill the vacuum left in the provinces as a whole with the Counties Chess Association.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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