Yorkshire Chess History



Whitby Congresses of 1956 to 1969











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



The “Chess” Festivals run by B. H. Wood of Chess Ltd., Sutton Coldfield, where held in Cheltenham in 1953 (the 1st), Skegness in 1954, in Southend in 1955, and then in Whitby in 1956.


Any congress organiser knows life is easier usually if you stick to the same venue from year to year, and this might have been part of the reason B. H. Wood stuck with Whitby as the venue for his “Festival” for four years in a row.  However, for his 1960 Festival, B. H. Wood elected to move the venue to Eastbourne.  As people had got used to the idea of an annual Whitby Congress, members of Whitby Chess Club rose to the challenge, and initiated a continuation of the “Whitby Congress” series.


The four “Chess” Festivals held in Whitby were treated as 1st to 4th in the numbering used for the follow-up, locally organised Whitby congresses.  Indeed, when the British Chess Federation chose to hold the British Championships in Whitby twice in the 1960s, the local organisers simply stepped aside for a year and included the BCF events in the numbering of successive annual Whitby Congresses.


The main local organiser was Dr. F. B. Akeroyd (the “Ake” being pronounced as the monosyllabic “ache”).


The first two locally organised events were those of 1960 and 1961, numbered 5th and 6th in the overall series.


The British Championships of 1962 were originally due to be held in Bath, but the Bath Assembly Rooms were being restored, and it materialised that the premises would not be ready in time, so Whitby was chosen as the replacement venue for the 1962 British Championships, which so became the 7th Whitby congress in the overall series.


The local organisers served up the 8th Whitby Congress, that of 1963.


The British Championships retuned to Whitby in 1964 (when Mike Haygarth won the Championship), and this event was thus the 9th Whitby Congresses in the overall numbering system.


Thereafter, the local organisers were on their own, and they ran the 10th to 14th Whitby Congresses, i.e. those of 1965 to 1969.


Thereafter the series ceased.  However, eight years later, in1977, nearly 20 miles further south along the coast, there started up the series of annual Scarborough Congresses.




Stephen John Mann

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