Yorkshire Chess History

 

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1920: Reshevsky in Leeds

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Samuel Reshevsky was the son of a Polish Jew who, prior to the First World War, had been a cloth manufacturer at Ozorkow, near Lodz, Poland.  He had been taught chess by his father, and the boy’s prodigious development soon led to him being taken on a chess-playing tour of Europe, including Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, The Hague, Antwerp, Brussels and Paris.  Then, in August 1920 he visited London, where he played 20 players simultaneously, winning 18 games and drawing 2.

 

In late August 1920, the Reshevsky family took the opportunity of visiting a friend of the father who was living in Harrogate.  Then, on Monday August 30th, they went to Leeds, where hurried arrangement where made for 8-year-old Samuel to give a simultaneous exhibition there, and so it was that on Tuesday 31st August, at the Queen’s Hotel, Leeds, starting at the young Reshevsky took on 15 “crack local players”, of who A Illingworth (the first to lose) seems to have played two games, with the following results to Reshevsky:

 

Opponent

 

Reshevsky’s Result

A Illingworth

 

win

G Pollard

 

win

J R Deacon

(Bradford)

win

J Rosenberg

(Canada)

win

G E Beaumont

 

win

H Haigh

 

win

R H Taylor

(Birmingham)

win

J S Capper

 

win

H V Purcell

 

win

H L Spears

 

win

J B Oates

 

win

W Flint

 

win on adjudication

J W Naverton

 

draw on adjudication

J Croysdale

 

draw on adjudication

A Illingworth

 

draw on adjudication

S Leader

 

loss on adjudication

Those with no geographical attribution appear to have been Leeds players.

 

Play took about 4 hours, whereafter 5 unfinished games were adjudicated (by whom?), and the young Reshevsky was apparently loath to concede draws in the three games so adjudicated, claiming he could win them (as quite possibly he would have done!).  Reshevsky was reported as playing 15 games, winning 11, drawing 3, and losing 1, yet the list of results in the Yorkshire Post of 02/09/1920 included 16 games.

 

The Yorkshire Evening Post’s claim that S Leader was counted among the top 6 players in Yorkshire was misguided.  (His 4 games for Leeds in the 1919-20 Woodhouse Cup were on boards 8, 6, 8 and 9 respectively.)  The opponents had been rustled up at short notice, and the YEP’s description of them being “crack local players” was also debatable, as only 4 of them had played in the Woodhouse Cup of 1919-20.

 

Reshevsky apparently had 2 brothers and 3 sisters, all of whom were of average intelligence, lacking Samuel’s unusual abilities.

 

The spelling “Reshevsky” is of course an Anglicised version of the Polish original, which was being represented in the newspapers at this time as “Rzeszewski”.

 

 

 

Created

21/01/2021

Stephen John Mann

Last Updated

21/01/2021