Yorkshire Chess History



George Beach,  Rev. George Cope Beach,  George Lewin Beach,  Thomas John Beach











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


George Beach

George Cope Beach

Thomas John Beach


1852, Oldbury, Worcs.



1878, Cheadle, Staffs.



27/05/1916, Tynemouth









14/12/1936, Macclesfield, Ches.



21/04/1961, Duston, Northants.



04/01/1990, Merseyside









Chess-players George Beach, M.A., L.L.D, the Rev. George Cope Beach, M.A., and Thomas John Beach (B.A./M.A.) belonged to three successive generations of the same family.  George Beach (senior) was a schoolteacher; George Cope Beach was a cleric, while Thomas John Beach (usually known as “John” rather than “Thomas”) was a schoolteacher.


By the nature of their professions, these three and their families moved round the country with their jobs.  George Cope Beach was active as a chess-player in Yorkshire while rector of St. Martin’s, Micklegate, with St. Gregory’s, York, from 1919 to 1938, while John Beach (“T. J. Beach”) was active in Yorkshire at least up to leaving Leeds University.


Non-Chess Life


George Cope Beach’s parents were George Beach M.A., L.L.D. (born 1852, Oldbury, Worcs., birth registered Q3 1852 at Bromsgrove) and Kezia Beach (née Hartwell, 1852/53, Tipton, Staffs.).  The couple had married in 1874 and had at least the following three children:


Elizabeth Ettie Beach

born 1875/76, West Bromwich, Staffs.

George Cope Beach

born 1878, Cheadle, Staffs.

Mary Beach

born 1879/80, Cheadle, Staffs.


Eldest child, Elizabeth, may have been named after her father’s sister, her aunt Elizabeth.  The place of birth of the younger two was Cheadle, Staffordshire, about 8 miles east of Stoke-on-Trent, not Cheadle, Cheshire.  Census ages imply George Cope Beach was born 1878 or 1879, but his birth was registered in 1878, pinning the year down.


George and his wife were both schoolteachers, once the children got old enough, seemingly working together, at least latterly, at the same school.  The 1881 census found the couple living with the three children at the Boys’ National School’s House, Cheadle, Cheshire.  George was a “Teacher of Public Elementary School”.  Kezia will have been looking after the children, of whom only 5-year-old Elizabeth was old enough to be a scholar.


The 1891 census found the family of five, with one servant, living at 2 Stanley Terrace, Crompton Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire.  Both George and Kezia were now described as certificated teachers, presumably at a different school than before.  Of the children, seemingly only 12-year-old George C. Beach, was a scholar.  Venn tells us George Cope Beach attended school at Macclesfield; this was presumably the one where his parents taught.


On 30/08/1896, George Cope Beach was admitted as a pensioner to Magdalene College, Cambridge, matriculating in 1897.  He got his B.A.in 1900.


The 1901 census found the family living at Mayfield House, [277] Peter Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire.  Daughter Elizabeth was not listed at home, but her namesake, father George’s unmarried sister, Elizabeth Beach (born 1850.51, Oldbury, Worcs.) was living with them “on her own means”.


George Cope Beach at this stage had no occupation as he was steering his future towards priesthood.  His working career, according to Venn, quoting Crockford, was as follows:



made deacon


made priest, at Norwich


curate, St. Peter’s, Ipswich, Suffolk


“Held other curacies.” [seemingly in the same area]


chaplain of Chell workhouse, Staffs.


curate, [Holy Trinity church,] Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne


organising secretary of Dr. Barnado’s Homes in the diocese of Newcastle and of Durham


rector of St. Martin’s, Micklegate, with St. Gregory’s, York


vicar of Moulton, Northants.


The marriage of George Cope Beach to Winifred Gertrude Lewin was registered in the third quarter of 1908, at Ipswich, Suffolk.  They had at least the following two children, quite probably more:


George Lewin Beach

born Sep/Oct 1910, Tunstall, Staffs.

Thomas John Beach

born 27/05/1916, Tynemouth


The 1911 census found parents George and Kezia Beach, without any children at home, living at [Mayfield House,] 277 Peter Street, Macclesfield.  They were recorded as having had three children of whom only two remained living.  As Mary seems to have been one of her father’s executors, it follows that daughter Elizabeth was the one who had died by the time of the 1911 census.  George and Kezia were jointly described as managers of Christ Church School, Macclesfield, and on the Macclesfield Education Committee.


The 1911 census listed George Cope Beach and wife Winifred Gertrude Beach living with first-born George Lewin Beach, and one servant, at 41 Salisbury Gardens, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  George Cope Beach was described as a clerk in holy orders at Holy Trinity Church, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


George Cope Beach became rector of St. Martin’s, Micklegate, with St. Gregory’s, York, holding that post from 1919 to 1938.  Lists of Yorkshire Chess Association Vice-presidents, place him in York up to 1937-38 season at least, but in 1938-39 he is listed as secretary and treasurer of the Northamptonshire Chess Association, with his address given as Moulton Vicarage, Northampton.


Thomas John Beach went to Leeds University around 1937.  It appears he then went straight into the Royal Air Force, as in the immediate post-war period he was described in a report on a simultaneous display he gave in Northampton as “Ex-Squadron-Leader T. J. Beach”.


Brothers George Lewin Beach and Thomas John Beach both became schoolmasters like their paternal grandfather.


Thomas John Beach married seemingly in 1948, his wife’s maiden name apparently being Garner.  In 1954 he lived at 92 Gainsborough Avenue, Maghull, 8 miles north of Liverpool.


The death of Kezia Beach, aged 76, was registered in the first quarter of 1929, at Macclesfield.  George Beach (senior) died on 14/12/1936.


The death of a George “Lewis” Beach is recorded in the death index as having been registered in the fourth quarter of 1987, at West Bromwich Staffs.  This looks rather like George Cope Beach’s first son with his middle name spelt incorrectly,




George Beach, M.A., L.L.D, retired schoolmaster of 256 Park Lane, Macclesfield, Cheshire, died on 14/12/1936.  George Cope Beach and Mary Beach were executors of his will.


The Rev. George Cope Beach of 10 East Park Parade, Northampton, died 21/04/1961 at St. Crispin Hospital, Duston, Northamptonshire.  Administration of his will was granted to George Lewin Beach, schoolteacher.  He left effects of £812 12s 1d.


Thomas John Beach died at home on 04/01/1990, the death being registered at Sefton, South, Merseyside.


Chess Activity of (Dr.) George Beach (senior)


George Beach (senior), often known as “Dr. Beach”, being a doctor of letters rather than medicine, was for many years one of the strongest players in North Staffordshire, Cheshire and Lancashire, according to Batley [1], who incidentally incorrectly described him as a barrister, perhaps reading too much into “L.L.D.”


He apparently would take on an opponent with himself playing blindfold but his opponent having sight of the board.  This is evidenced by a game, G. Beah (blindfold) v. F. Elliott, played thus at Cheadle Chess Club, on 15/08/1881, published in the chess column of the Sheffield & Rotherham Independent of 28/06/1884.


An arbitrary instance of him playing for Cheshire is provided by a match in (April?) 1891, at Manchester, between Manchester Chess Club’s second class players and a Cheshire county side, Dr. Beach beating J. W. Hayes on board 1.  Manchester “seconds” won 7½-5½.


Chess Activity of (Rev.) George Cope Beach


The Rev. George Cope Beach had no memory of learning the moves of chess or receiving lessons therein.  He played in his first match at the age of eleven, in about 1889, for Macclesfield versus Crewe, winning his game.  By the age of fourteen he had risen to board 2.  He lost only three games for Macclesfield in the eight years in which he represented them.


At the age of fourteen, in about 1892, George Cope Beach beat his father George Beach (senior) in a game, the conclusion of which got published in the chess press and was reproduced in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star of 20(or 13)/03/1937:


Black: George Beach (father of White)

White: George Cope Beach, age 14 (son of Black), to move


White continued

1. b5


(1. ... Bxb5 allows 2. Qa8 mate,

while if 1. ... Rd8 then 2. Qa3 wins.)


2. Rxa6


(2. Qa3 also wins, but not so fast.)


2.    ...




3. Qa8+




4. Nb4+




5. Nc6+


winning Black’s queen


George Cope Beach’s first county match was at the age of fourteen, in about 1892, playing for Cheshire versus Staffordshire.  Regarding this match Batley quotes him as saying, “I was rather frightened to find that my position in the team was at board 6, but I won my game against one of the leading Burslem players.” [1]


From 1897 to 1901 he represented Cambridge University regularly.  He was instrumental, with H. E. Parks, in forming a Magdalene College Chess Club, which in its second year reached the inter-collegiate final, when it lost to Trinity College. [1]


George Cope Beach eventually represented Cheshire, Norfolk, North Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Northumberland, not losing in a county match until Yorkshire v. Northumberland in 1936-37 season, at which stage he decided to withdraw from county chess. [1]


He was a vice-president of the Yorkshire Chess Association, at least in 1937-38 and 1945-46.


On arrival in Northamptonshire we see him immediately becoming secretary and treasurer of the Northamptonshire Chess Association for the season 1938-39.  By 1945-46, he was no longer secretary and treasurer, but was a vice-president.  For 1947-48 he was listed as county match captain for Northamptonshire.  He was also then secretary of Northampton Chess Club.  For 1949-50 he was president of Northampton Chess Club.


While a member of Northampton Chess Club he was the 1944-45 winner of the Church Trophy, the tournament for which is (and presumably was then) a 10-minute tournament played in a single evening. [2]


He played board 1 for Northants. in the 1946-47 Counties Correspondence Team Championship.  In 1948-49 he was on board 2.


While in York, the Rev. George Cope Beach represented York in the Woodhouse Cup, and participated in the internal events of York Chess Club, being holder of the Morrell-Rowntree cup for the club championship as at March 1937.  Rev. George Cope Beach promoted chess in York and more widely by conducting a chess column in the Yorkshire Evening Press, and by giving simultaneous displays in York schools as well as other places including Scarborough College. [1]


Chess Activity of Thomas John Beach


“T. J. Beach” or “John Beach” as he was known, became a prominent figure on the national chess scene.


As earlier as 1933-34 we find “J. T. Beach” playing near the bottom of a York Woodhouse Cup team while the Rev. G. C. Beach was playing near the top of the team.  This looks rather like 17-year-old T. J. Beach with his initials the wrong way round due to the writer concerned knowing he was called “John”.


While at Leeds University he played for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup, and during this period he won the Yorkshire Championship of 1936/37.


He was listed as a Vice-President of the Yorkshire Chess Association for the season 1937-38, an honour then accorded the reigning Yorkshire Champion for the ensuing season.


In 1945 we find what looks like our man losing to Tartakower in a match between British Forces and French Forces.


He became a recurrent participant in the British Championship of the post-war era, participating in those of 1957, 1959, 1960 and probably others.


He authored, or co-authored at least one chess books for beginners:

Learn Chess: A New Way for All was co-authored with C. H. O'D. Alexander, was published in two volumes in 1963, volume 1 subtitled First Principles, and volume 2 subtitled Winning Methods, and was later published as one volume, seemingly under the title Learn Chess: A Complete Course.


His main contribution to chess was perhaps the promotion of a junior chess congress in Liverpool, which in its time was the largest of its kind in the country.


The first instance of this junior event was organised by Liverpool Chess Club in conjunction with the local Schools Chess League, and was held at Liverpool Collegiate School, Shaw Lane, Liverpool, from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th April 1952, when there were 148 participants.  The event was opened by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Alderman Vere E. Cotton, who expressed the hope the event would become a regular annual one.


The third occurrence ran at the same venue from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th April 1954, and had 338 entries drawn from 38 of Merseyside’s 400 or so schools of all types, and the event was held to be the largest chess congress of any kind in the country at the time.  T. J. Beach was tournament director in 1954, and was very probably in that post from 1952.


Chess Activity of George Lewin Beach


This schoolmaster brother of T. J. Beach is not very obvious as a chess-player, but a certain “G. L. Beach” was the organiser of the 8th YCA Schools’ Jamboree on 13/11/1971, at St. Michael’s College, Leeds.  This looks very much George Lewin Beach in action.



References, apart from those stated or implicit:

1 Article by Bill Batley on chess career of Rev. G. C. Beach of York in Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, 27/03/1937.

2 http://www.northants61.freeserve.co.uk/nccchurch.html





Copyright © 2013, 2014 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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