SHEFFIELD Chess History



1866: Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club Annual Meeting

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The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent of 1st February 1866 reported on the annual general meeting of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, held on 29th Tuesday January, 1866, as follows:

THE SHEFFIELD ATHENAEUM CHESS CLUB. – The annual general meeting of this club was held on Tuesday, in the clubroom of the Athenaeum.  The report having been read and adopted, the President, G. S. Taylor, Esq., gave an account of the correspondence which had passed between this and the Huddersfield Club, relative to the challenge which that club had received from the Sheffield Athenaeum Club to play a return match.  It appeared that in consequence of having lost two or three of its members, and of the disinclination of those remaining to play in matches, the Huddersfield Club had declined to accept the Sheffield Challenge.  Much disappointment was felt by the Sheffield players at not having been afforded the chance of retrieving their defeat of last year, and there was a very general expression of regret that chess at the Huddersfield Club had “fallen to so low an ebb.”  Dr. J. C. Hall tendered to the members present a set of Staunton chess-men to be played for in a handicap tournament; his offer was thankfully accepted.  The following gentlemen were appointed officers, viz. : - G. S. Taylor, Esq., president; J. Greening, Esq., vice-president: Mr. J. J. Champion, secretary (elected in place of Mr. G. B. Cocking, who had held the post for twelve years, and whose resignation was accepted amid manifestations of great regret); Messrs. Cockayne, Latham, Mort, and Rowbotham as members of the council.


The expressed resentment regarding Huddersfield Chess Club might have gone no further, but one of John James Champion’s first actions as secretary was to send a copy of the report to the Chess Player’s Chronicle, for publication therein.  Accordingly, the Chess Player’s Magazine, 1866, page 92, published the report almost verbatim, prefaced with the introduction, “We have been requested by the honorary secretary of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club to publish the following extract: -”.


That’s when a spot of trouble between the Sheffield Athenaeum and Huddersfield Chess Clubs started.


The “Cockayne” who was appointed to the committee was most probably William Cockayne, junior.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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