1840 - Opening moves?

Notice was given in local papers by Henry Gilbert Cutts, Hon. Sec. (b. c. 1818, Sheffield; d. [apparently] 1866, Buenos Aires) of the 1840-41 opening meeting of Sheffield Chess Club, to be held on Friday, 11/09/1840.

1841 - Yorkshire Chess Association begins...

with the presence of Sheffield players.

18/01/1841 (Monday) Sheffield players at the first YCA meeting, at Scarbro’s Hotel, 15 Bishopgate Street, Leeds, were “Deakin” (unidentified), “Greaves” (possibly James Haines Greaves, later of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club), “Lewis” (presumably the following John S. Lewis), and “Linley” (unidentified).

I am very grateful to Steve Mann for passing me all these nuggets
extracted from his enormous mine of historical information about chess in Yorkshire (BL)

04/09/1841 (Wednesday) Notice of the 1841-42 opening meeting of Sheffield Chess Club, on Wednesday, held on 08/09/1840, was given in local papers by John S. Lewis, Hon. Sec. The venue was again not mentioned.

08/11/1841 (Monday) Sheffield players at the second YCA meeting, at Corn Exchange Rooms, Upper Westgate, Wakefield, were “Lewis” (presumably the above John S. Lewis), “Linley” (as before), “Parker” (possibly Elliott Parker or “G Parker”, both later members of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club) and “Piper” (possibly Rev. Henry Hunt Piper, of Norton).

1844 James Wilson Rimington-Wilson (b. 18/05/1832, Broomhead Hall, Bradfield, near Sheffield; d. 25/11/1877, Broomhead Hall), a chess-playing member of the local landed gentry, living at Broomhead Hall (now demolished), was listed as a subscriber to Leeds chess-player R.A. Brown’s book on problems etc. He crops up as a supporter and player of chess a number of times in the 1860s.

1847 The Sheffield Athenaeum Club was formed in 1847, the first general meeting being on 07/04/1847. On 22/11/1847, a chess club was formed, open to members of the Sheffield Athenaeum Club; thus came into existence the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, as a chess club within a gentlemen’s club. This chess club lasted into the 1900s, and prior to the turn of the century was the strongest (and sometimes perhaps only) chess club in Sheffield. The earlier Sheffield Chess Club was now, seemingly, defunct.

1849 Not long after the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club was formed, a confusingly similarly-named organisation, the Sheffield Athenaeum & Mechanics Institution was opened in 1849, with its own chess club, the Sheffield Athenaeum & Mechanics Institution Chess Club, which in 1851 was renamed, due to the splitting up of the parent organisation, the Sheffield Lyceum Chess Club, only to disappear in 1854 when the parent Lyceum closed.

28/11/1857 (Saturday) One Sheffield player attended the second meeting of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, at the Music Saloon, Wakefield, namely “Thorald” of Oxford, meaning Edmund Thorold (b. 08/09/1832, Barnby Moor, Notts; d. 19/06/1899, Bath), whose parental home was in Sheffield, but was then or recently at Oxford University.

1857 (December) Edmund Thorold, now returned from Oxford University to Sheffield, along with Edmund Octavius Gilpin (b. 13/11/1831, Bristol; d. 11/07/1909, St. Albans) and Charles Birchall (b. 26/10/1824, Leeds; d. 1894, Reddish/Stockport), formed a second Sheffield Chess Club. This club seems to have lasted into a second season (1858-59), but it may have folded after its second season, as co-founders Thorold, Gilpin and Birchall were all members of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club by 1859, and further reference to this second Sheffield Chess Club are at best elusive.

1847 to 1883 The Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club assumed the role of representing Sheffield to the outside world, arranging simultaneous displays by masters of the day, playing matches, over the board and by correspondence, with teams from outside Sheffield. It also hosted annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, in Sheffield, in 1863, 1868, 1875 and 1880. However, other clubs began to spring up, not all details yet being to hand.

1872 St. Peter's Club was formed in 1872 “for the convenience of tradesmen and clerks”, and occupied premises at 81 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, on the corner with Arundel Street (now Arundel Gate), near where now is the Lyceum Theatre. An associated St. Peter’s Chess Club was formed, seemingly in 1873. It became the Arundel Chess Club in 1881, due to organisational changes of the parent body.

03/03/1883 By this time chess clubs in Sheffield included Arundel (formerly St. Peter’s), Sheffield Athenaeum, Rotherham, St. George's, Thorncliffe (at Ecclesfield), Walkley, and Wesley College. Chess was also strongly promoted in Sheffield Blind School. Further afield in South Yorkshire (then still in the West Riding, of course), there were clubs at Barnsley, Penistone and Doncaster. The patriarchal Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, in conjunction with the Arundel Chess Club, decided it was time to form an association of clubs within Sheffield, to assume the role of representing Sheffield chess as a whole. Accordingly, the Sheffield & District Chess Association was formed on 03/03/1883, at a meeting held at the Maunche Inn, Sheffield.

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