SHEFFIELD Chess History

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Narrative: 4) 1908 to 1925: Stewardship of Sheffield Chess Club

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Under the stewardship of Sheffield Chess Club, day-to-day chess affairs continued as normal.  This was the period when most of the important trophies, or their original predecessors, were introduced.  In other words it is the period when a Sheffield and District Chess Association, broadly as we know it now, came into existence, even though the Association as an organisation was dormant!


1908 saw the introduction of the Davy Trophy for the winners of the inter-club team competition which had hitherto been “for honour only”.  1913(?) saw the introduction of the T. W. Ward trophy for the Sheffield Individual Championship, now reborn as the G. W. Moses Trophy.  1915 saw the introduction of the Weston Trophy for minor clubs and second teams, without any promotion and relegation operating between the two competitions.  1919 saw the introduction of the Bruce Trophy to replace the T. W. Ward trophy which had been won outright by G. W. Moses.


An important event during this period was of course the First World War.  On very many sporting trophies around the country there is a gap during the periods of world wars, when those trophies were not contested.  Thanks to cafe premises owned by the Davy family being made available for matches, the Davy Trophy competition and the Sheffield Championship continued through the years of the First World War.  In this respect Sheffield chess seems to differ from many (most?) chess competitions, and sporting activity generally.


The First World War seems to have brought about the end of an era with the apparent end of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, which had continued to exist at least to 1912-13, though it did not, seemingly, ever compete as a club in the Sheffield & District Chess Association’s competitions.  Chess was now a much more egalitarian activity, if that’s the right way of putting it.  The relatively-common working man was now actively involved in club chess.


Most of the period is documented by Bill Batley’s chess column in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, from 11/03/1912 to 03/07/1916.


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Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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