Yorkshire Chess History



The West Yorkshire Chess Association











Made in Yorkshire



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In 1852, the original Yorkshire Chess Association had changed in nature by being expanded into the Northern & Midland Counties Chess Association.  Beneficial though this a may have been for the wider chess-playing community, it meant that for the members of the clubs formerly making up the Yorkshire Chess Association their cosy local organisation had been destroyed.  There were many who would have preferred that a separate new regional organisation be formed, retaining the Yorkshire Chess Association as it was.


The 1856 annual general meeting of Huddersfield Chess Club was held on 29th March 1856 at the Imperial Hotel, 45 New Street, Huddersfield.  It was at this meeting that action was initiated to resurrect the Yorkshire Chess Association which had since evolved into the Northern and Midland Counties Chess Association.  This may have been precipitated in part by the fact that no arrangements were in place for a Northern and Midland Counties Chess Association meeting to be held in 1856.


As a result, a meeting of delegates from the Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield Clubs was held at the room of the Leeds Chess Club in Greek Street, on the afternoon of 17th May 1856, with Robert Cadman of Leeds in the chair.


William Ledgar Robinson of Wakefield read a paper on the formation of a West Yorkshire Chess Association.  After this reading there was agreement to five proposals being put forward for approval by a general meeting, to be held at Leeds on the 21st of June.  One of the proposals provided for the initial membership to consist of four specific clubs: Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds and Wakefield, the founding clubs of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, the spirit of which was being reincarnated.


An interesting feature of the handwritten minutes of this preliminary meeting in May 1856 is the fact that, in the first proposal, the writer originally wrote “West Riding”, then crossed out “Riding” and put “Yorkshire”.  There is a suggestion here that there may have been uncertainty as to whether the association was being targeted at the West Riding as a whole, including Harrogate and even Ripon in the north, and Sheffield and Doncaster in the south, or was being targeted at the much tighter, more densely populated area of the clothing district of the Riding.


The proposals were adopted and the West Yorkshire Chess Association thus came into being.


Pragmatic though the limitation to “West Yorkshire” may have been, it created a nomenclatural vacuum which caused some friction later on when the Rev. Arthur Bolland Skipworth chose to assume the name “Yorkshire Chess Association” as the banner under which he organised tournaments.




Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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