Yorkshire Chess Association





Secretaryship for Junior Chess

in the past


This is the webmaster’s own view of things based on records.  Readers may remember things differently.  Some may appreciate it.  The plan is to follow up with a view of the school-based junior chess scene of 60 years ago (WIP), for comparison with the present.




A recent development relevant to the YCA AGM is interest being shown in promoting junior chess again through the YCA and the possibility of a new YCA Secretary for Junior Chess.  (The present incumbent is understood to be standing down.)


The YCA had only two Secretaries for Junior Chess over the 42-year period 1971 to 2013, the first from 1971 to 1991, and the second from 1991 to 2013.  Both operated as they each thought fit without involving the broader YCA in any decision-making process as far as I am aware.


There are some junior activities written into the YCA Rules, specifically age-limited individual championships.  There are other activities not specifically provided for by any Rules which nevertheless naturally fall to the junior secretary of a county organisation, such as internal junior team competitions and entering county teams in external inter-county events.  There are some organisational opportunities within a wider region which fall less clearly to any county organisation, such as inter-county team competitions within the Northern Counties as a whole and regional stages of the UK Chess Challenge as it is now called.


When Alan Coupe formally stepped down from the junior secretaryship in 2013, he continued, outside that context, with running a Yorkshire UKCC “Megafinal” and some other things.  Some activities hitherto undertaken by holders of the YCA post seem to have been assumed by others for a while after Alan stopped.


The YCA Junior Chess secretaryship was left vacant at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 AGMs.  Thew wider membership of the YCA was obviously able to see there was a vacancy, but nobody showed interest in taking it on.  (Too big a job?)  In 2016, Peter Cloudsdale and Phill Beckett were jointly appointed to the post, which may have led to the formation by Peter of the White Rose Junior Chess Academy mentioned below.  The post was nearly left vacant again in 2017, but, as nobody else showed any interest, Noel Stewart took on the post, much on the basis that anything he did in the post could not be worse than having a vacancy.  Noel continued, mainly helping at events run by others, in 2018 and 2019, but is understood now to be standing down.


The job of running Yorkshire-wide junior chess is an onerous task, especially for only one person, and a network of organisers could more easily shoulder such a job.


The Northumbria Junior Chess Association, covering Northumberland, Tyneside and Co. Durham, was formed and registered as a charity in 1995.  As this was initiated largely by Paul Bielby, a past (1960s) YCA Secretary for Junior Chess, there could be a message for Yorkshire here.


The Job of YCA Secretary for Junior Chess in the Past


The activities undertaken by YCA Secretaries for Junior Chess, long past and recent, have been:



Conducting Yorkshire Junior Chess Championships.

In earlier times there were no separate age categories, but later on a system of Under 18, Under 15, Under 12, Under 9 and Girls U-18 categories was introduced.  These events were probably last run in 2012-13.

There were trophies for all these events; the writer collected them from Blackburn Junior & Infant School to convey to the new YCA Secretary for junior Chess back in 1991.  The whereabouts of these trophies is now uncertain.

YCA Rules C1 to C3 constitute formal provision for the above competitions.


Conducting a Yorkshire School Team Jamboree.

Since about 1946 there was a Yorkshire Schools’ (team) Jamboree responsibility for which was evidently assumed by the YCA in 1964, lasting into the 1970s and possibly 1980s.  This event will have folded after the collapse of organised inter-school team chess after a teachers’ strike, or else after the retirement from teaching by the organiser.

There had, of course, been local school chess leagues at some time in the past in Sheffield, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Bradford, York (probably the last to fold), Hull, and presumably also in Leeds.


Running Yorkshire Teams in events of national organisations.

Typically, Yorkshire teams were entered in the National Youth Chess Association’s inter-county jamborees for Under-18, U-16, U-14 and U-12 categories, and the English Primary Schools’ Chess Association inter-county jamborees for U-11 and U-9 categories.

The YCA as such ceased running these teams after 2012-13.

Although Alan Coupe stepped down from the post of YCA Sec. for Junior Chess in 2013, he retained managership of the U-9 & U-11 teams, with Ian Hemingway running the U 12 to U-18 teams and John Hipshon the Girls’ teams.  Yorkshire last participated, it seems, in 2014-15.


Running a UK Chess Challenge Megafinal in Yorkshire.

After stepping down from the YCA, Alan Coupe continued with this for a while.  After that the present writer even got roped in to control one in Rotherham.  Currently John Hipshon is running it.  (Next one is 12/06/2022 at York.)


Running an Under-18 Team in the NCCU’s Pennine Shield

This event was initiated by Bradford player Gary Kenworthy in 1998, since when it has been run annually except in 2010/11, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2019-20 and 2020-21.  Past overall organisers from Yorkshire have included Gary Kenworthy, Ihor Lewyk, Alan Coupe, Andrew Wainwright and Peter Cloudsdale.  Ben Rich was reportedly lined up for 2020-21, but Covid intervened.  So, Yorkshire taking turns at overall organisation comes into things.


Providing Nominations for School Chess Awards

These opportunities rotate round the counties of the NCCU, there being the BCET award and the NCCU award.  These are channelled through the YCA.


There is no specific provision within the YCA Constitution and Rules for any of the above activities except Rules for the Junior Championships (1).


Item 2 relied on the underpinning prevalence of inter-school team chess which is now largely lost.


Such things as 3 and 4 above have been undertaken off the post-holder’s own bat and own initiative, without them being proposed to any YCA AGM or the Executive, so far as I know, and not while I was YCA Hon. Sec.  To that extent they do not “belong” to the YCA, though they have been done by the YCA Sec. for Junior Chess.


Items 5 & 6 fall to the YCA as an affiliate of the NCCU.


Of course, the above can be changed for the future.


Other Organisations and Activities


Events organised by the Yorkshire Junior Chess Association hitherto have seemingly been limited to one-day rapid-play (OTB) events (going on-line during Covid restrictions but now OTB again).  This is run by John Hipshon with assistance from others at events.


The White Rose Chess Academy set up by Peter Cloudsdale aimed at training events has been wound up as much as anything due to Peter’s age.


Individuals have long been acting privately as chess coaches in schools, Mike Denison, Graham (“Nick”) Nixon and Paul Blackman being examples from the past.  More recently this has assumed an organised basis in the form of Chess in Schools and Communities, of which Dan Staples is the Yorkshire area co-ordinator.


The Northumbria Junior Chess Association, covering Northumberland, Tyneside and Co. Durham, was formed and registered as a charity in 1995.  As this was initiated largely by Paul Bielby, a past YCA Secretary for Junior Chess, there could be a message for Yorkshire here.


Organisations organising rapid-play or standard-play junior events at a national level are:




UK Chess Challenge, “Sunday Times” as was

School Team Championship

National Youth CA

Assoc. Team U‑12 championship


Assoc. Team U-14 championship


Assoc. Team U-16 championship


Assoc. Team U-18 championship

English Primary Schools’ CA

County Team U-9 championship


County Team U-11 championship


Individual U-9 championship


Individual U-11 championship

English Chess Federation

Individual U-8 Championship


Individual U-10 Championship


Individual U-12 Championship


Individual U-14 Championship


Individual U-16 Championship

English Junior Coaches & Organisers’ Assoc.

Individual U-8 Championship

(recent invention)

Individual U-10 Championship


Individual U-12 Championship


Individual U-14 Championship


Individual U-16 Championship


Individual U-18 Championship


Individual U-20 Championship