Friday, 21 June 2019

From the Archives - Part 5, 1983-85 - KCC in Crisis!

Is there no end to this historical excursion? Apparently not! Its Part 5, and we still have decades to go!

September 1983 - the Club has 16 members who reside as follows:-

Kenilworth         9
Coventry            2
Leamington        2
Radford Semele 2

That only adds up to 15, of course. Our 16th member, Barry Ades, does not have an address, but can be contacted by calling Coventry Police Station and asking for the Cell Block! Hopefully he did not live there.

Anyway, good to see that Radford Semele is still a hot bed of chess!

October 1983 - Ed Goodwin wins the LDCL Individual Tournament. In an all-Kenilworth final he beats KCC Chairman, John Rowley, 3-1.

April 1984 - The Club has organised an internal competition in two all play all sections of 8. In the top group, Ed wins the Tilley Trophy with 6.5/7, ahead of Joe Soesan on 5. Bernard scores 3, but only played 6 games.  The B section, for the Soesan Trophy, sees a tie between Bruce and Dave Tilley with 5/7. There is to be a play off (which Bruce wins!). Chris finishes close behind on 4.5, while Roy scores 4.

And Ed is top-dog in the LDCL Individual (again!) as well, beating Andy Price 1.5-0.5 in the final.

May 1984 - The A team finish 3rd in Div 1 behind Leamington A and Evesham. The B team are 7th, well clear of Alcester in bottom place. The C team is 4th of 5 in Division 2. We were knocked out of the KO Cup in the semi-final by Leamington. The Leamington League lost a friendly against the Worcester League, but managed a first win for some time against the Coventry League.

September 13th 1984 - What is it with these September AGM's?? Far too late in my opinion. 11 attend. The 3 usual suspects are all there, as are Roy and Joe Soesan. Ed sends his apologies. Bernard reports that room rent had gone up from £3 per night to £4 and that two clocks had been purchased as replacements for two that had broken down. (They didn't make things to last in those days, did they?) Nevertheless, income was up to £211.16 and we had made a surplus of £33.79. The balance at the Coventry Building Society now stood at £82.42. That's what you get when you put a professional in charge of the money!

Bad news on the competitive front, though, as we are forced to drop our B team from Div 1 to 2, and our C team from Div 2 to 3. The C team will be juniors only for home games! John Rowley steps down as Chairman, and is replaced by Geoff Temple. But the real power doubtless remains with Bruce and Bernard!

The meeting agrees to buy another clock and it is to be one of the new battery type. Call us cutting edge Kenilworth! Only 4 members helped out at the Carnival, so just £3 was raised, making it unlikely we would participate in 1985. In a major development, the club is to enter the National Club Major in 1984/85, with Bruce as Captain. Bernard and Chris are also in the squad. There is a tantalising reference to possible international competitions, but nothing specific is mentioned.

October 1984 - The LDCL Teams are formed. A first mention of Adam Collinson, who is part of the C team. He goes on to have a peak grade of 225 in 1997!!

May 1985 - The A team finishes second, 2 points behind League champions Leamington A, while the B and C teams each finish 4th in Divs 2 and 3 respectively. We went out in Rd 1 of the KO Cup to Stratford.  Joe Soesan wins the LDCL Individual, beating Rob Gill in the final. Ed's defence of his title ends early at the hands of Colin Searle. Joe also wins the Tilley Trophy, beating Ed in a play off after they finish tied with 5.5/6. Bernard scores 3; Bruce 2 and Chris 0.5. Adam Collinson gives  a sign of things to come by scoring 6/6 to win the Soesan Trophy, with Roy fourth on 3. But who is Brian Perry, who scored 3/3 (including a win over Adam) but then seemingly withdrew? Good league performances from some of our current members - Bernard 12.5/19; Roy 11.5/17 and Bruce 7/17. But I'd better not mention Chris's 2.5/14! In the National Club Major, we beat Rugby in Round 1; sailed through Round 2 (bye!); and then bit the dust against Cowley in Round 3.

September 5th 1985 - AGM time, and only 7 people attend, including a first appearance by future Leamington stalwart Steve Burnell. A hushed crowd (well, more of a huddle, really) hears the Treasurer (Bernard, of course) report a loss of £64.41 for the year (possibly the first ever) with our balance now down to just £18. Membership and attendance had both fallen, while expenditure had clearly got out of hand - new scoresheets had been ordered for goodness sake! What were they thinking of??

The club is in financial crisis and there is a massive difference of opinion over the future fee structure. Geoff King and Bernard want a flat fee of £1 per attendance at the club, while Steve B and Bruce want a £5 membership fee, plus 50p for each attendance, including away matches. This is incendiary stuff, and the meeting votes for Bruce's proposal. This is a massive rebuff for the Treasurer, and I strongly expect him to walk away from KCC for good after what was in effect a vote of no confidence. Mark my words, you won't be hearing any more about Bernard Rogers in Kenilworth Chess Club! A successful Bruce/Bernard proposal to charge juniors 30p per night hints at a rapprochement, but I'm not convinced. I'm still expecting Bernard to leave for good. Trust me, he'll never feature in the records of KCC again.

But no, I'm completely wrong! A few minutes later Bernard is re-elected as (a lame duck) Treasurer, with massively reduced authority after his resounding defeat by the Holland power bloc on Kenilworth's night of the long knives. Bruce stays as Secretary (but clearly club top dog now in my eyes!) and Roy achieves high office for the first time when he is appointed C team captain.

And it appears that we are finally fed up with the never-ending room hire increases at St Francis Church, and the AGM decides to approach the Working Mens Club as a potential new venue.

And bad news from the Leamington League, where Barford, one of the founder members, withdraws as its small membership cannot cope with a massive rise in room hire.

I have to say, the club records for these years are exemplary. Many thanks and congratulations to Bruce for this impeccable administration. And I'll try not to keep you waiting too long for part 6 of this series. No doubt you are just as anxious as me to discover whether the club will survive its financial meltdown and arise, phoenix like, from the ashes.

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