SHEFFIELD Chess History

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Narrative: 6) 1945 to 20nn: The Modern Era

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After the Second World War, chess activities in Sheffield resumed, and continued much as they had done in the past.


The secretary had died in the war, and the S&DCA minutes books went astray as a result.


Bill Batley had died, though not directly as a result of the war.  That meant his chess column was not resumed.  Sheffield never again experienced the same level of chess-journalistic fervour which in many ways had carried on the spirit of James White’s column in the Leeds Mercury, and Joseph Algernon Woollard’s column in the Bradford Observer and perhaps excelling them.


For the S&DCA the main changes throughout this period have been ones of scale.  The “league” expanded to five divisions, then it dropped back to four, returned to five, then back to four.  A secondary repêchage competition was introduced in the team-knockout.  The number of teams entered in Yorkshire Chess Association team competitions has increased, but then fell back again to three.  Meanwhile a rating-limited “400 League” was formed, in effect replacing the fifth division.  Such volume measures of activity suggest that while in other associations activity has decreased in the last decade, in Sheffield no such reduction was been experienced, merely the usual ebb and flow of things.


The Covid-19 epidemic caused a cessation of over-the-board chess all over the country.  Sheffield embarked on on-line league play, and the long-term future is, at the time of writing, unclear.


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