Wolverhampton Chess Club History

 

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Wolverhampton Chess Club History

 

Articles from the Wolverhampton Chronicle 1895 mention the re forming of Wolverhampton Chess Club and the texts imply an even earlier existence of Wolverhampton Chess Club.
One of the most historic years in Chess was 1895. This year wasn't only historically significant for the purposes of this History section but also a major world Chess event. In this year a super tournament took place at Hastings. This occasion saw a gathering of the most powerful chess players of the day including World champions. Emmanuel Lasker, Harry Nelson Pillsbury, Mikhail Chigorin, Siegbert Tarrasch, Wilhelm Steinitz, Curt von Bardeleben, Joseph_Henry_Blackburne, Henry Bird, Adolf Albin were a few of the now famous, outstanding players of the era some of who's masterpieces are revered to this day. Perhaps this monumental event in the summer months of 1895 inspired and helped to play a part in the revival of Wolverhampton Chess Club in this year.

On Wednesday 28 November 1895 a piece in the Wolverhampton Chronicle. "A preliminary meeting of chess players was held at St John's Clergy-house, Bond Street on Friday night with the subject of endeavouring to re-form the old Wolverhampton Chess Club. There were present Rev. J Roberts, Messrs. Johnston, Dr Helas, E Hands, Fras. H Hinde, H J Doughty, Fellows Kinvig, Westworth, Whitehouse &c. - Mr Johnston was elected as chairman, and stated that although an old member of the late club, he had not anticipated being asked to take the chair." He was exceedingly pleased to find that an effort was being made to revive the old chess club, as he thought that a town of 85,000 surely ought to find sufficient players to form such a club." The new chairman went on to state during the past few days he'd looked up some of the old members and was gratified to find the "spirit of chess" was only dormant in the town and not defunct and with a little effort from the gentlemen present might rise the club like a phoenix out of the ashes of its old existence.


The piece goes on and mentions Mr F H Hinde moving the first resolution, "That it is desirable to re-form the Wolverhampton Chess Club,"
Rev A Penny consented to join the club and said he'd be willing to accept the office as president. Mr E Hands Secretary, Dr Helas treasurer and Messrs Johnston, Hough, Dr Green, F H Hinde, Kinvig, Dr Grout and the Revs J W Wilkinson and J Roberts were elected on the committee. A sub-committee was elected to select suitable rooms and the meeting was adjourned until Thursday next at the Star and Garter hotel.

The next meeting took place at the Star and Garter hotel on the Thursday and was well attended. The object of discussion and purpose of the meeting was how to restart the chess club. Mr Johnston chair stated that the committee appointed at the last meeting had inspected several rooms. After discussion it was agreed that the Star and Garter Hotel company offer of a room be accepted. Play soon resumed in the large number 8 room. It was decided the club would commence Monday next and that the club nights would be Monday's and Friday's.
As for the Star and Garter venue, the hotel was built in about 1815 and stood as the town’s main hotel of that era. A prestigious, prominent building situated on the East Side of Victoria Street, Wolverhampton opposite to where Beatties is now. The building occupied the site of a half timbered house where in 1642 King Charles I sheltered during the Civil War, and the hotel's name originates from this. Research indicates that the hotel was extensively modified in 1836, closed in 1961 and was demolished in the late 1960's due to plans to build the Mander Centre.

Wolverhampton Chess Club has been based at a number of locations within Wolverhampton. At this current research stage various venues have came to be known. In the period 1926-1929 meetings were held at 33 St John's Street and Mr A Hinde was club Chairman. In 1930 the club's annual meeting was held at 100 Lord Street and again Mr A Hinde was elected as Chair. The club then met twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. Committee meetings were sometimes held at Mr Norman's office (Hon Secretary) 45 Queen Street.

Mr Hinde appears in the minute book a lot and clearly was a key member as Chair for a number of years. Mr Hinde was last in the chair Sept 28 1931 and then the minute book states he was no longer able to attend. Mr Hinde's successor would be Mr Aston who became Chair Sept 28 1933 and at which time committee meetings moved again to 3 Lichfield Street. Lady members had to pay 10/- and a husband and wife would pay £1.0 Od. In the following year the minutes from Sept 27 1934 mention that the club had suffered a financial loss. The rent had increased from 10 shillings a week to £1. Subscriptions were raised to compensate and members were asked for donations.
March 29 1937 Mr A E Bowen was elected as Chair and he suggested that the secretary write to the town authorities to engage a room for meetings at the new public Hall. Meetings were held at St Mark's Road in the interim.

The next AGM would be held at a new headquarters in Lichfield Street and took place Oct 11 1938. It's noted that the three Lightning tournaments were won by Mr A J Butcher. The minutes for this year go on to state the Chair Mr Bowen said that greater interest must be shown in club tournaments as many games were not played. Those who played must make every effort to complete their games. It seems Mr Butcher was possibly one of Wolverhampton Chess Club's strongest players in our history. In the Fifth Staffordshire Chess Congress held at Northicote School, Bushbury during the Whitsun of 1969: Alf Butcher played a young A J Miles and beat his Keres Attack with fine Sicilian play. This was Miles' only defeat and A J Miles became Britain's first GM. Mr A J Butcher didn't know then that he'd be amongst those to be reminisced more than several decades later by Nigel Cook who reminisced whilst chatting to current club member Keith Bate in 2006 about other older club members such as Holt, Field Hyde and Alf Butcher who was a club champion before the second World war. Nigel Cook will be mentioned later.
The club secretary's report of 1939 says the club won the championship in Division 1 of the Birmingham and District Chess League without losing a match! (6 wins, 3 draws.) It had been 9 years since Wolverhampton had won in 1904 and 1928. Despite their victory however disappointment is expressed due to losing to Walsall in the Hickman Cup. Several new members joined the club this year.
Wolverhampton Chess Club closed during the second World War from August 1939 until September 4 1945. On this September date the club reopened. The club secretary Mr Boyden was still serving in H. M Forces.

This time heralded a new era where the club would next reside for almost 35 years September 1945 until February 1980 meetings were held at the Vine Hotel, 186 Stafford Street. Nowadays local people are more familiar with the Varsity pub that's opposite the Hog's Head pub that is where the Vine Hotel used to be. Several elderly citizens of Wolverhampton who've helped with research have spoken of the George Hotel being opposite the Vine Hotel many years ago. The Chess club certainly had a long period at the Vine. A personal recollection from Phil Porter reminiscing about the Vine Hotel days. "I think in 1963/1964 and I remember the club room was home to the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) with all its paraphernalia. It felt a strange room! I believe I went to arrange a game against one of its players as opposed to play in a match."
Mr Hallmark was the new Chairman appointed Sept 3 1946 at the AGM and the minutes for this record that Wolverhampton won the Hickman Cup and the Championship of Division 3 in the Birmingham and District Chess League. Treasurer Mr Aston reported in hand of £15-£16-4, and exclaimed that this was very good indeed. Most of this though was to be spent on new equipment owing to increased membership.

The minutes of September 9 1946 say it was decided to purchase the magazine 'Chess' for the club each month and a copy of B H Wood's 'Easy Guide to Chess' for the club library.
1946-1947 The Secretary's report reports excellent attendance despite the appalling weather and mentions a visit 25 Nov of the International Master Imrie Konig. The master won 22 games, drew 8 against club members on this evening.

In the minutes of September 9 1947 one issue was the matter of giving weaker players more opportunity to raise the standard of play. There was also an ongoing discussion regarding the purchase of clocks out of club funds. It was finally decided to purchase 2 clocks at £6.7.6 each but it was a club rule that players could use clocks if they wish but if his opponent refuses to play with it he thereby forfeits the game.

In 1948 the club decided to give prizes for the best individual score in league chess. A few games were played at the YMCA Dale End but this wasn't too successful as the venue was already booked on some of the nights that Wolverhampton wished to play there.
Sadly in April 1951 the President, Mr Barker died and Mr Aston was elected to the post.
September 11 1952 at the AGM club Chairman Mr Hallmark came up with the idea of entering the Wolverhampton Chess League for publicity purposes. It was decided to try this for a season. Tournaments were being poorly supported so it was felt something new had to be tried. For this cause a Swiss tournament was planned but this failed so a Ladder competition was tried instead.
September 8 1953 The Wolverhampton League purchased clocks. Clubs were loaned 3 each at a charge of 2/6 per clock. Wolverhampton won the Wolverhampton and District Chess league Division 1 champions for 1953-4.

September 14 1954 Mr Hallmark passed on the role of Chairman to Mr J C Williams. A notice to advertise the chess club would be put up in the local library and the Express and Star. It was decided to stay at the club's present venue, the Vine Hotel. It's noted that the refreshments provided at the Vine Hotel were 'excellent'. An additional personal reflection here from a current club member who joined the club in 1970, Keith Bate recalls playing upstairs at the Vine Hotel and that the room was cold during Winter months and quite dingy.

The following year's AGM held on September 13 1955 saw the resignation of Mr J C Williams and Mr J Holt took on the role of Chair for this year. At the meeting it was said that there was not enough social life or activity among members and so a suggestion was made to meet up for a dinner. Mr Weir, owner of the Vine Hotel allowed free summer use of the place and it was agreed to send a letter of thanks to him.

In 1959 Mr Priest became Chairman and two years later as of September 19 1961 club room charges doubled on a directive from Springfield Brewery. Subscriptions increased accordingly. Wolverhampton became Division 1 champions of the Wolverhampton and District Chess league for 1960-1. Mr Bert Priest was a longstanding club member who donated a large trophy when he could no longer attend. This trophy is now awarded to a club member annually who's done most for the club and shown great enthusiasm toward Chess.

Whilst on the topic of trophies. The Bidgood Cup originates from Mr .H O Bidgood. In 1962 Mr Bidgood acted as president for a while. National Chess Week moved from the end to the start of the season November 5-10.

Three years later Mr Bidgood passed away and so September 7 1965 Mr Field Hyde became Chairman and held the post for one year until 1966 when Mr Boyden was elected as Chairman and was said to be a real gentleman. In this year the A team were just above half way in the 1st Division but the B team were relegated to Division 2.

Sadly in the January of 1967 club member Clive Cook died at the age of just 31 in an accident returning from an away match to Dudley B. Clive's death left 4 children aged a few months to five plus his wife. Nigel Cook fractured his skull in this accident and wasn't able to attend his brother's funeral due to this. This accident must have been felt as a great shock and an ever sad tragedy. At the funeral Norman Boydon a former club secretary was a pall bearer. Nigel Cook said that his brother Clive was a much stronger player than himself and that his brother taught him some moves.

Clive Cooke's younger brother Nigel originally joined the club in the early 1960's and became club secretary a few years later and A team captain from the early 1970's. This captain Nigel Cook played with Alf Schroeder who now plays for Bushbury, John Fellows and Dave Guest amongst others. Nigel was banished to the proverbial doghouse while secretary for buying a demonstration board without permission from the committee and especially Mr. Holt.

May 1970 Mr Holt became chairman. At this AGM it was stated in the minutes that Wolverhampton Chess Club formed in 1897 and had been meeting at the Vine Hotel since September 1945.
At the AGM May 6 1971 a discussion took place related to whether to hold club nights on Tuesdays or Thursdays. It was agreed to meet on Thursdays.

The minutes of the AGM held May 18 1972 state that the club is one of the oldest in the area.
At the following year's meeting of May 24 1973 held at the Vine Hotel it's mentioned the year was unprecedented in the club's history. The subscriptions alone were £74.05. The secretary said that the Fischer Spassky match had a positive effect on chess in Wolverhampton and Ian Lister age 11 was runner up in the Lightning Tournament. Ron Whittingham reminisced in 2007 about this epic match and said you couldn't buy a chess board or chess set from Wolverhampton in 1972 due to such interest. Nigel Cook exclaims that "After the Fischer Spassky match in 1972,the Vine was so crowded that there was not enough space to accommodate those who wanted to play and join."

In 1975 Sadly Mr Holt had died that year and Mr John Wyer took the Chair. His wing attack was legendary! The minutes of 1976 show that club was still the Vine Hotel and as for the further year of the minutes book this will be confidential due to the 30 year rule.
Also in 1976 the club invited the first British Grandmaster Tony Miles to give a simultaneous display at the club.. This event was held at the John Thompson social club 12 Oct 1976 as so many people wanted to play the great man. The Express & Star of Oct 13 1976 feature the event it's stated "Chess wizard Tony Miles "wiped the floor" of the cream of Wolverhampton's players all at the same time. The article mentions 34 players but the total was actually 35 according to a club newsletter. All 35 of Wolverhampton Chess Club member's participants were beaten by Tony Miles GM. One of our players managed a near draw but eventually lost so Miles won all 35 games. At the time Miles was the youngest Grandmaster at 21 years old.

An interesting fact is that at one point in the club's history, its meeting night had to be changed due to the bell ringers practicing at nearby St Peter's Church. Club members found this surplus noise very distracting while playing chess!

After almost 35 years of meeting at the Vine Hotel the club moved in the February of 1980 to the Old Town Hall, Red Lion Street and then the Sir Tatton Sykes from May 1981 until July 1981.
The Wulfrun Centre just next door to the Mander Centre would be where the Chess Club would be situated for a number of years from July 1981 to September 1989. Wolverhampton Chess Club was based at the Gondolier pub in Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Centre long before Wolverhampton became gained city status. A few senior players often reminisce about the Gondolier era.
In September 1989 the club moved again to the MEB club and relocated to the Fox Hotel in December 1994 for a relatively short period.

In June 1995 the Club was based at The Clarendon Hotel, near Tettenhall, Chapel Ash for a number of years. The playing venue was on the first floor so stairs had to be traversed to get to the playing area.
In the summer of 2004 Paul Walters joined whilst the club met at the Clarendon. A personal recollection of Paul Walters: My first visit to the Chess club was a bit daunting. The room was very warm. It was a pleasant Summer's evening. Some of the windows were open and there was a distinct, characteristic smell of chess boards and pieces; the sort of aromas that instilled feelings of excitement and an uncanny sense of the pressure of competition.

In the Summer of 2004 during August the club moved to a different part if the city. Relocated to The West End, Working Men's Club, Merridale Street West.
This venue was more spacious than the previous. Sometimes very warm when the heaters are on full pelt during cold spells.

At the AGM of May 2006 a detailed proposal was put forward by Paul Walters to build a club website. This was well received and work commenced. By June 1 the club website had been pretty much built and began to grow bigger as it became ever more developed.

The following year of 2007 was an historic year of achievement for the club. Our A team captained by Peter Thompson became BDCL Division 2 champions for the first time anyone could remember. In the Wolverhampton League, our WDCL Div 1 the A team narrowly missed out on becoming champions and had to settle for close 2nd place due to a slightly lower board count than Warley Quinborne The C team were strong contenders for promotion but breaking rule 5g adversely affected promotion prospects. 0Woverhampton A also won the trophy section on home ground in the WDCL League Lightning tournament. The C team narrowly missed out on 1st place too. Also achieved 2nd place in the Cannock and Dudley leagues. That’s not all. Wolverhampton also won the Walrus trophy for the first time in our 3rd year of participation. The icing on the proverbial cake came when Staffordshire Chess Association awarded Wolverhampton as Chess Club of the year.

The club forged onwards with intrepidation. In 2007/8 a number of players became unavailable, Tomasz Sygnowski and Kelvin Jones left the area and so did Rob Parker as of mid July but Peter Broomhall, Keith Bate, Peter Hubbard and Gordon Sands all returned to the club. The BDCL A team initially struggled but learnt to swim with the bigger fish in Division 1 and did a little more than survive despite Tomasz Sygnowski's' return to Poland. The BDCL A finished just below mid table. The WDCL A team achieved joint 3rd on equal points with Stourbridge A. The club's Dudley league team only conceded 1.5 points from 7 matches and lost the 8th match at home playing Mercia. All season the team had 90% performance until the last match. This year Paul Walters decided to work out comprehensive club statistics upon reading many of Pat Walkins minutes and seeing the detailed stats the club used to have in excess of 30 years ago.

In 2007/8 none of our teams excelled in the WDCL Lightning tournament held at our club 24/04/08 but Paul Walters scored 5 out of 6 from 4 wins, 2 draws and achieved joint 1st place in the individual tournament. In game 6 Paul believed his first place was safe and agreed a draw against fellow club member Steve Wilson. The WDCL B and C teams both faced relegation from Division 2 and 3 respectively but neither team were actually relegated. The C team scored 9 match points and were undefeated at home against strong teams. The B team scored just 4 points from 4 match draws. The Walrus event was held at Wolverhampton Chess club 22/05/08 and we won this prestigious trophy for the 2nd consecutive year by scoring half a point more than Walsall Kipping, Rushall came 3rd. The AGM of 2008 was held May 8 and had good attendance. A lot was discussed and a main topic was to whether to continue counting default games particularly when calculating stats and allocating prizes. The club voted to continue counting default games. Paul Walters distributed the club newsletters Issue 3 that included comprehensive club statistics and he received 3 trophies. The W N Boydon Trophy jointly awarded to Frank Wood and Paul Walters for scoring 7.5 points each, also Paul was awarded The Millennium Cup for achieving 66% in all leagues and The Bert Priest Trophy for contributing most to the club and for maintaining the club's website. The Chair Frank Wood gave praise for the website which was unusual for an AGM. Rob Parker received the Merit cup and Blitz trophy, Bob Khoshnevis runner up.

In mid July 2008 Rob Parker left the area and so a new member Peter Broomhall took on the role of arranging events and tournaments. By late July Ladder tournament rules had been drafted and this new ladder competition was launched at our club after an absence of more than 30 years. An all play all cross table chart was also produced 31/07/08 for a forthcoming slow club championship.
Gordon Sands captained the Wolverhampton Summer League to victory in the Summer of 2008. The B team achieved wins of 5-0, 1-4, 3.5-1.5 and needed a draw at Walsall Kipping to win the Wolverhampton Summer League Division 3 South. The team did just this and drew against Walsall 10 July 2008. Overall the B team scored 75% performance.

The full championship winning team: Richard Dawson, Bob Khoshnevis, Peter Hubbard, Barry Lewis, Rob Parker, Gordon Sands, Paul Walters. Gordon Sands was officially the Best player Division 3 South for scoring 3.5/4 points. The draw came against Darren Bell of Rushall.
Our Summer League A team captained by Frank Wood won their final match of the season by beating Rugeley 4-1. The A team finished the season on 10 points. 07/07/08 Summer league A team lost at Rushall 4.5-0.5, 03/07/08 drew at Stafford, 26/06/08 beat Northfield Checkmates 3-2 and 04/06/08 Wolverhampton A beat Bushbury B Away 1.5-3.5.

At the Wolverhampton Summer League Awards and Quickplay 07/08/08 at Wolverhampton Chess Club our winning team were awarded Wolverhampton Chess Club the division 3 South Trophy and team individual trophies were well received. Wolverhampton hadn't been Division 3 South champions since 1994. On this evening there was more success as two Wolverhampton Chess Club members achieved top acclaim in the Quickplay. The same two players who'd excelled during the Winter season to share the W N Boydon trophy. Paul Walters of Wolverhampton won the U110 section with 4.5 points out of 5. Conceding just 0.5 points in round 5 to A Hussain of Warley Quinborne who shared =2nd place with Bob Brodie of Bushbury. Paul Walters' draw was controversial as he actually had checkmate in 2 but the offer came under severe time pressure and after countering a very strong attack by Hussain.
Frank Wood won the Major (110+) section with Alf Schroeder of Bushbury 2nd place runner up. Peter Broomhall and John Wakelam did the pairings and helped organise the evening with Barry Lewis.

The Express & Star were approached to cover the club's Summer successes and arrangements were made for most of the Summer League B team to be present at the club for a publicity photograph Saturday 09/08/08. The photo shoot went well and as well as Wolverhampton Summer league shield members bought their individual trophies. The feature and photograph appeared in the Express & Star 11/08/08 on page 15. The picture looked splendid and featured Gordon Sands, Paul Walters, Peter Hubbard, Bob Khoshnevis and Barry Lewis; the vast majority of the team with the exception of Richard Dawson who was an holiday and Rob Parker had moved away.

Sadly Peter Broomhall left Wolverhampton Chess Club early in the Winter season. Keith Bate organised a Christmas Blitz tournament on Thurs 18 December 2008 and the event was well attended. Martin May won, with Frank Wood runner up and Keith Bate in 3rd place. An enjoyable evening.

Peter Thompson resigned his BDCL A captaincy and Frank Wood temporarily took over until the AGM. With both A teams being short of players and more matches to plan than the previous year the club felt the strain. The BDCL A conceded penalty points but were probable relegation candidates without the penalties. The BDCL A team were relegated in 2008/9 to Division 2. The WDCL B team were also relegated. The WDCL C team were in the relegation zone with a couple of matches in hand. One crucial fixture would be against Rushall. Whichever team lost would probably be relegated! We managed to beat Rushall and jumped to 3rd place with 11 points. Rushall were relegated despite notching up a respectable 10 points.

With one more match to play at home against St George's a match draw would have resulted in a 3 way tie for 2nd place. Our C team did beat St George's after a tense board 3 game was drawn by Richard Dawson. So, with 13 points the C team clinched 2nd place promotion to WDCL Div 2.
Wolverhampton also won the Pittaway Cup and performed well in every match. The final against Halesowen was played at Stourbridge Chess Club. Our team were out graded and short of players but we managed to fill each board and win the Final despite a 2.25 point handicap. Considering the generally  bad season we'd had these triumphs were impressive ones and seemed to signify a golden chink of light.

16/04/09 WDCL C team gain 2nd place promotion spot in WDCL Div 3! The final match of the season bought St George's to us. The visitors shared joint 3rd place with us and a match win for either team would earn promotion. Our board 2 had a bad game and lost. Our boards 4 and 5 won and our captain on board 1 drew after the demise of an apparently superior position. Richard Dawson on Board 3 declined an early draw and with the score at 2.5-2.5 with the game looking drawn our player offered the draw again. This longest game of the match was drawn after an epic tense battle. With a 3-2 Score Wolverhampton won the match and have gained 2nd place promotion from Division 3! So, with our WDCL B being relegated and our WDCL C team being promoted at least our club still have teams in Divisions 1 and 2. Well done everyone! Particularly Richard, Dawson, Peter Hubbard and Steve Wilson for achieving so many wins. Our boards 1 and 2 Gordon Sands, Paul Walters, Colin Haughton and Brian Walker have also scored valuable points to secure match draws and wins. Special praise to our captain Gordon Sands too for leading the team to promotion success in an ever stronger Division 3.

Claudio di Thomaso had been Cannock League captain for two winter seasons. Sadly, Claudio left our club at the end of the winter season to return to Italy.

23/04/09 Pittaway Cup the Final! Halesowen had a 2.25 point headstart due to being in a lower division. Their team were strong though and have recently gained promotion to WDCL Div 1. Our team were 5 regular players short so we knew we'd have a battle on our hands. Despite being outgraded Wolverhampton achieved an amazing and historic victory playing Halesowen at Stourbridge.22/04/09 Very well done to our team and acting captain for the night Martin May and also to Captain Mike Townsend for steering Wolverhampton to victory! Also well done to Halesowen for doing so well and reaching the Pittaway Cup Final.

The AGM 2008/9 held 22 May 2009 wasn't as well attended as previous years. Newsletter issue 4 was distributed and detailed club statistics were included. Max Wooton and Steve Wilson had achieved excellent scores in the Wolverhampton league but Max clinched the W N Boydon trophy with an impressive 12 points boosted by 2 Pittaway Cup wins. Richard Dawson achieved the highest Winter league percentage and Barry Lewis became the first member to be awarded the Bert Priest Trophy 3 times. Peter Hubbard was awarded the new All play all trophy. Martin May achieved the acclaim of Blitz champion but wasn't present.

Subscriptions had to be increased due to an increased room hire charge. After some discussion the club decided to reduce our two BDCL teams to just one team. The third WDCL team also ceased. Hence, for 2009/10 the club would have just one BDCL team in division 2, two WDCL teams in divisions 1 and 2, two teams in divisions 2 and 3 of the Dudley league and one Cannock league team. These team changes were due to diminished club membership and logistical constraints.
There was some Summer excitement as since Winter behind in the scenes much organising had been taking place for our chess club to be at the Wolverhampton Show Sat 11 & Sun 12 July 2009 at Wolverhampton's West Park. The publicity officer felt a long standing club such as ours should have a presence at our city show. After much organising and a few sub-committee meetings we were all set for the Wolverhampton Show. Many emails were exchanged to various parties. Ray Dolan Publicity officer for Staffordshire Chess Association also offered to support our club at the event as a county rep. This support was welcomed.

The Wolverhampton Show proved to be a huge success and the consensus was a very good idea,

One the hopes of our presence at our city show was to gain new members. This goal was achieved as Wolverhampton chess club gained two new members as a result of the show and much public interest.

A Great and enjoyable evening 04/03/10: A well attended event and very enjoyable evening. Congratulations to Dave Wightman for achieving 1st place with 5/5 and to Peter Jones runner up. A batch of players came joint 3rd with 3/5. Well done to all and thank you to all who turned up to Steve Wilson (organiser) and much gratitude to Peter Broomhall.

28/04/10 Last week we had a fantastic Pittaway Cup victory. This week we had our second Cup Final. Barry led his intrepid team to Stafford to play Cheddleton & Leek in the Jackson Cup County Final. Alas we didn't win. Dave Wightman won, Gordon Sands drew. Well done team on getting to the Final and for battling so hard in the Final.

Write up coming soon. Thank you to Stafford for hosting and well done to Cheddleton & Leek on their victory.

17/05/10 Rushall retain the Walrus. Well done Rushall and to other competing teams Walsall Kipping and Wolverhampton. An exciting night similar to Eurovision but better. Mike Townsend, Dave Wightman, Bob Khoshnevis, Steve Wilson won their games and Martin May drew to give us 4.5 points. Walsall Kipping 5, Rushall 5.5.

The following year wasn't a spectacular year in WDCL but Wolverhampton became champions of the Dudley league Div 2 in April, WDCL Humphreys Cup winners. Actually the club had two finals to play on two consecutive nights. Humphreys Cup final at Bshbury followed by Walrus Cup on the following evening. On both nights Paul Walters was the last man playing and the match success depended on a win. In the Walrus Cup Paul Walters had less time and holding onto a tricky position. Activity and a tenacious counter attack secured the Walrus Trophy with our highest ever score. These 3 accolades weren't our only successes of 2011. On the same evening of the Walrus Cup Dave Wightman battled against Dave Pritchard in the Rock Cup final. The Rock Cup was shared jointly as the rematch was drawn.

In the July of 2011 Wolverhampton Chess Club exhibited at the Wolverhampton Show for the third successive year. Another popular and very successful even which was widely supported by the club with extensive club member participation.

Paul Walters became joint WDCL webmaster. Wolverhampton had no less than 4 WDCL Rock Cup Entries in 2011/2012. Dave Wightman, Frank Wood and Robert Marshall all became Semi finalists and Robert Marshall made the Final after beating last years joint winner Dave Pritchard. Gordon Sands became a Bidgood Cup Semi Finalist.

29/08/11 Our Assistant Secretary John Wakelam resigns after an amazing 25 years service at Wolverhampton Chess Club. All the best for the future John. You will be missed.

Walrus Full Scores

Wolverhampton Retain the Pittaway Cup!

Writeups courtesy of Captain Mike Townsend (Captain) and Dave Wightman playing his Pittaway Cup debut match.

For the second year in succession Wolverhampton has won the Pittaway Cup!  

In a nerve-jangling finish last night at Bushbury Wolverhampton held on to beat Stourbridge 5 1/2 - 2 1/2.  This was the minimum required to win on the night as Stourbridge started with the great advantage of a 2 1/4 point handicap.  Just 1/2 point less (e.g. 5-3)  and Stourbridge would have won.  After early wins on Boards 1 and 2 and a spate of draws and one loss on the middle boards, it came down to the last two games and the last few minutes on the clock on Boards 7 and 8.   With Wolverhampton leading only by 3 1/2 - 2 1/2, we had to win both boards.  While Peter Pearson-Jones converted an ending with rooks where he was a minor piece ahead in his last few minutes, Mike Griffiths on Board 7 had a complicated ending with bishops and knights which looked probably drawn with best play. However, with each player down to the last minutes and seconds, Mike found the right line to win a pawn and reach a won position at which point his opponent lost on time.  Relief all round … and congratulations to the team on this successful defence of "our" cup!

Mike Townsend

The final was billed on here as a Mega Final. Stourbridge a club with many strong/high grades and newly promoted to WDCL Div 1 as Champions of the lower division. Wolverhampton had a +2.25 handicap due to being in a higher division. Winning would be a hard task.

Mike Townsend and John Mangdwende were first to win on boards 1 and 2. Both have great seasons and will have higher grades next season.

Frank drew on Board 3 then  Martin drew on Board 6.  This put us 3-1 up quite early.  Peter Jones was a piece up on Board 8 so Dave Wightman agreed a draw thinking that we were on course for the silverware, but then the drama began.  Max was unable to recover from being a pawn down on Board 5 and the score was suddenly 3.5-2.5.  We needed to win on Boards 7 & 8 to retain the title and Mike Griffiths then went a pawn down on Board 7.  The pressure built steadily as the clocks ran down until Peter secured the win on Board 8 with some accurate play in a difficult ending.  Mike recovered the pawn, and then captured a troublesome passed pawn to go a pawn up with just a bishop left each.  Finally, after a tense 20 minutes of manoueuvring, he broke through and was about to wreak havoc on his opponents remaining pawns when the Stourbridge flag fell and the Trophy was ours for the second year in a row.
So, a great result on a dramatic evening. 

Thank you to Mike Townsend and his expert captaincy on accomplishing a victory in another high calibre Final! Also thanks to the Icelandic volcano for filling the sky with ash and keeping our Board 1 and team captain firmly in the country on the night of the match and to Bushbury for hosting, and to Stourbridge for making it a terrific contest.  Good luck to them in the first division next year.  Can we make it a hat-trick?  Only time will tell, but the evening was a great advertisement for chess.

The answer to the hat trick question as in 2010/11 Division 2 side Kidderminster beat us with the aid of a 2.25 point handicap. We did better in the Humphreys Cup though, beating Halesowen, Lichfield. Two away matches. The final was hosted by Bushbury. Gordon Sands had been undefeated in Humphreys Cup but lost his game in the Final. Barry Lewis drew and Paul Walters and Steve Wilson won their games. Hence, Wolverhampton the WDCL Humphreys Cup(U130) 2010/11.

The next evening Wolverhampton hosted and participated in the Walrus Cup. A great night and just like the previous night Paul Walters is last man playing. He's down a pawn behind on the clock against a player he's never beaten. Oblivious to the scoreline Paul Walters wins and so Wolverhampton clinch the Walrus Cup and 2nd trophy in 2 nights!

Wolverhampton also become Dudley League Division 2 Champions with Richard Dawson as captain.

 

2011/12 Continued ..

Keith Bate long standing former member of Wolverhampton Chess Club and A team captain makes it onto TVs toughest quiz.

Mastermind News: BBC2 8pm Friday 9 December is the date for Keith Bate's appearance!

Our chess club hasn't got any Grandmaster level players yet but Keith Bate will have the opportunity to gain the BBC's Mastermind title! Keith Bate sailed through the auditions and shall be on the prestigious Mastermind programme which was recorded in May 2011. In December Mastermind will be shown on BBC2. Keith will be answering questions on his specialist subject of " the life and chess career of Tigran Petrosian World chess champion 1963-1969" Best of Luck to you Keith and well done on making it onto one of hardest and most challenging quiz shows around!

 

Some Good and not so good news: 10/02/11: Our WDCL A team did well last night against Lichfield's top flight. Phil Porter achieved one of the 5 draws against higher grades. Unfortunately Phil Porter tripped and fell just as he was leaving the chess club room.

Phil Porter has broken his hip from the fall. We all wish him well and hope for a speedy recovery. Please email webmaster or phone Barry for more news and for visiting details.

Dave Wightman

Trophy & Cup fixture announcements:

We're through to 2 Finals: Jackson trophy final is against Cheddleton & Leek Wed 28 April 2010 at Stafford Chess Club.

Pittaway Cup Mega Final: Last year our team travelled to Stourbridge to play a strong Halesowen side who'd just been promoted from WDCL Div 2 to 1. This year we play last year's Pittaway Cup Final hosts Stourbridge. This year Stourbridge A have also been promoted from WDCL Div 2 to 1. Last year our team lacked some of our regular A team players. This year's Pittaway Cup Final may be a titanic battle. Can Wolverhampton retain the Pittaway Cup? April 21 2010 Bushbury Chess Club is a date for your chess diaries. May the Best team win!

Wolverhampton off to a winning start at Rushall in the Jackson Trophy competition.

01/07/10 Wolverhampton Chess Club announcement: Summer League Success! 2008 Wolverhampton where Summer League Champions. Our Wolverhampton A team became WSL Div 2 (unofficial) Champions 2010 as of 01/07/10 we made it 4 out 4 and remain unbeaten. There's still 1 match to play but even if we lose our final match we still have enough points to become champions. .

Well done to all our team and to Gordon Sands(captain). The Wolverhampton Summer League Awards & Quickplay night will be the night when all successful teams and players will recieve their acclaim.

Wolverhampton A team were in an unprecedented situation. The results of our final match 1 week later 08/07/10 didn't really matter as even if we lost we'd still be Summer League Division 2 Champions. Our team would try to gain maximum points anyway.

 

08/07/10 Bought an unbeaten team to Wolverhampton. We were ready to begin but the Rugeley Captain Paul Jackson was not happy and expressed his views. He objected to our board 1 player playing board 1 and despite Dave being ungraded said he was too strong for the division. Paul Jackson's tone was confrontational, antagonistic and disruptive. He bizarrely pointed out it was possible for Rugeley to win the league if our player's results were disciounted. It was claimed also that Rugeley had 2 wins and a draw but Paul Walters corrected the Rugeley captain stating they actually had 1 win and 2 draws. Dave Wightman pointed out his last known grade was just 130 . Barry Lewis club secretary and joint Summer league organiser stated that there'd be no way our club would budge on the issue, pointed out our board 1 player's ungraded status and stated that Rugeley themselves some 5 years ago fielded a very strong player Dave Amour in a lower division. Rushall complained but the ruling favoured Rugeley. The debating exceeded 15 minutes and hardly seemed fair. P Jackson played under protest and so did Paul Walters on the basis that the argumentattive tone of Mr Jackson was upsetting, disconcerting and that it would be extremely difficult to forget the bizzare start and play any reasonable chess moves. Clkocks began at 19.46hrs and it was also felt that bringing up such protests and antagonistic views just before the start of a chess match was not the best time and should have been earlier at a time when there'd be minimal match disruption.

Wolverhampton Chess Club writeup

08/07/10 A determined unbeaten Rugeley visit to play Wolverhampton A. Rugeley had 2 match draws and 1 match win but our Wolverhampton A team beat Rugeley and extend their points to a maximum 15. A tense night with an extended bizarre, frustrating, totally unnecessary and disruptive delay at the start due to Rugeley captain's protests and views. Paul Walters also played under protest in view of the disruption at the start and it hardly seemed fair to continue after such distractions at the start. It was extremely difficult to focus on playing a match and playing any reasonable moves was all more difficult due to the delays imposed by the Rugeley captain. Once the match got under way it was a good one. R Dawson dominated as white and built on an early material advantage R v B and was 1 of the first to win. P Walters built on an opening advantage as black and was 19 mins ahead at one stage but a rushed move near time control slowed down the pace and D Tindley's position as white improved. In the dwindling minutes a draw was agreed with the scoreline at 3-1. Our boards 2 and 3 achieved good draws too. Our Ungraded Summer league newcomer Dave Wightman achieved a good win on board 1 and during the Summer league has only conceded a draw to M Sangha graded 143!

Wolverhampton beat Rugeley 3.5-1.5 and thus gained maximum league points.

Alas, P Jackson contacted our webmaster and objected to the tone of the writeup. All but minimal commentary was removed but the writeup is here in our club history.

Wolverhampton Show 2010

07/08/10 Thrilling News: WSL Div 2 championship feature published with colour photo Express & Star : 07 Aug 2010. p4.

05/08/10 After much arranging and a slight delay. Express & Star Wolverhampton Summer League Div 2 success will be featured very soon. Some of our team are on holiday but some of our team posed for photographs last night.

 

Written and compiled by Paul Walters..


References :
1. Wolverhampton Chronicle 1895 Archive.
2: Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society Website (Star and Garter Information)
3. Wolverhampton Chess Club Minute book 1926-1977 (an Archived collection.)
4. Hastings 1895 Chess Tournament, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
5. D W Anderton & G Homer(ed).(1971). Seventh Staffordshire Chess Congress: Spring 1971. p73-4
6. Express & Star article,(13 Oct 1976)
7. Wolverhampton Chess Club News sheets. Patrick Walkins(ed.)
Also reference to Wolverhampton Chess in the Bilston Herald 1872 and other archives that hopefully shall be obtained soon for this site section.

Acknowledgements :
Thank you to Geoff Rosser for supplying the Wolverhampton Chronicle 1895 archives.
Also thanks to B Lewis for helping with the Venue list, and to Keith Bate, Nigel Cook and Phil Porter.

 

   

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