SHEFFIELD Chess History



John Robert Clark

Yorkshire Home


Sheffield Home









Made in Sheffield




30/01/1903, Sheffield




1979, Sheffield




Identity of the Chess Player


There were two chess-playing Clark brothers, “H. Clark” (Henry Clark) and his brother “J. R. Clark”.  An article in the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 07/04/1934 gave the age of J. R. Clark as 31 and that of Henry Clark as “not yet 21” (actually 20).  J. R.’s date of birth was thus at some time from 08/04/1902 to 07/04/1903, which pins “J. R. Clark down as John Robert Clark born on 30/01/1903 in Sheffield, rather than John Reginald Clark born on 01/07/1903 in Sheffield, they being the only identifiable candidates.


Non-Chess Life


Assuming the chess-playing “J. R. Clark” was John Robert Clark born on 30/01/1903 in Sheffield, his parents would appear to have been John Henry Clark (born 1866, Manchester; died 1943, Sheffield) and Hannah Clark (born 1872/73, Carlton, Notts.; died 1936, Sheffield) who in the 1911 census were listed lived at 20 Helmton Road, in the Woodseats area of, Sheffield.  Their five children, all born in Sheffield were:


Jane Clark

born 1898/99

Maud Clark

born 1900/01

John Robert Clark

born 30/01/1903

Sam Lindley Clark

born 1906/07

Tom Clark

born 1908/09


Brother Henry wasn’t born until 1913.


The idea that this family was that of the chess-playing Clarks is encourage by the fact that they were resident in Woodseats, the locality where the brothers’ first joined a chess club.  An article in the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 07/04/1934 mentioned four brothers and one sister learning chess in 1930, so perhaps one sister by then had left home.


In 1928 John Robert Clark married Gertrude Mary Gilbert (born 07/09/1902, Worksop) in Sheffield.


In 1939 John and Gertrude lived at 14 Helmton Road, three doors down the road from where his parents had lived.




John Robert Clark died in 1979, in Sheffield.




Four brothers and one sister were interested in chess, learning chess in 1930, though it was only J. R. and Henry who went on to join chess clubs and play competitively.


In 1931 J. R. Clark won the club championship of St. Mark’s chess club.


In 1932 he won the Sheffield Class “C” championship.


In 1933 he reached the semi-final of the Woodseats Friends club championship of 1933, losing to brother Henry who went on to win the event.


In 1934 he won the Sheffield Class “B” championship.


The Clark brothers played for Woodseats Friends in the 1930s, at which time he was a contemporary at that club of Arnold Wistow Jenkinson, Charles Arthur Dixon, Thomas William Crabb and W. Loxley.



Sources include:

Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 07/04/1934, re early chess careers of brothers J. R. Clark and H. Clark.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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