Monday, 15 July 2019

From the Archives - Part 10, 1993-96

Kenilworth's answer to War and Peace continues.

October 1993 - KCC has a grip on the reins of power in the Leamington League. Tony Russell is the Treasurer; Roy (no kidding!) is not only Secretary, but also the BCF delegate; Bruce is the representative to Warwickshire Chess Association; Bernard is Grader; Ed is the Congress Organiser; Alistair is the Fixtures Secretary and Joe is one of the 2 Vice-Presidents. So 8 positions for us - and 4 for everybody else in the League.

Important information is to hand regarding the Michael Adams simultaneous display. It was indeed organised by the LDCL, with more than 40 participants. The GM's fee was £330 and it had cost another £166.50 to hire the venue. Which may have been the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The League made a loss of £209.42 on the event, which suggests that the board fee was set way too low!

Looking at the list of venues for the 1993-94 season, not a single club was playing in its current location. Of the 10 member clubs, 3 (Chipping Campden, National Grid and Alcester) have subsequently bit the dust.

November 1993 - Very sad news. Our former Chairman, Geoff Temple, who was also one of the club's original members, has died.

May 1994 - We now have 3 internal club tournaments, though this was never even mentioned at the previous AGM.  D. McKenzie is the first winner of the new Kenilworth Trophy with Tony King 2nd and Mike Whatson 3rd. Joe Soesan wins the Tilley Trophy yet again (Bernard 3rd =), while the Soesan Trophy is a great triumph for Bruce who scores an unbeaten 5/6 to finish a full point clear. Chris scores 2.5 and Roy 1.5.

September 1994 - Its AGM time - but we have no record of the meeting! There is clearly a Secretarial vacuum. At least the accounts for the 1993-94 season have survived, and they show a return to profitability, as Geoff King is able to report a surplus of £7.86, even after we have made a £20 donation. To someone. It transpires that the previous year, the club had spent £10 on the President's Evening. This is confusing, as we don't have a President. Anyway, this year it cost us nothing. Our accumulated surplus now stands at £138.56.

May 1995 - The LDCL AGM is held on May 11th at the Sports and Social Club. Nine current Kenilworth members are in attendance, while there is also an appearance by the founder (in 1945)  of our predecessor, the Kenilworth Chess and Draughts Club, Mr Stanley Gibbins together with his wife Hilary. (It subsequently emerges that Olton CC was also formed in 1945. I wonder what the significance of that year could have been?) Mr Gibbins was also the prime mover in the establishment of the LDCL in 1949, and at least one of our current members (Mr Pink) knows that the award for the best percentage score by an LDCL player each season is the Gibbins Trophy.

While the Committee continues to be dominated by KCC members, our influence is on the wane, since Bernard resigns as League Grader due to pressure of work. I always thought they said, "If you want something doing, ask a busy man"? Anyway, Bernard is succeeded by John Naylor. I wonder how that went? The fact that Bruce soon takes over the role may give us an answer.

The first edition of The History of the Leamington League had been produced by Colin Searle, and each club had received a copy. Where is ours now, I wonder. It's not in the files, and I've never even seen it! The League has ambitions to host the British Championships in 2000, to mark 75 years since the event was held in Leamington Spa. I confidently predict that nothing will come of this!

A Fourth Division is to be introduced to the League in the 1995-96 season.

The prizes were presented by Mr Gibbins who then gave an address to the meeting.  He had started playing chess at work in 1942, when he would play his colleague Mr Butt every day. He then started playing twice a week against a Mr Altey of Bertie Road, who recommended him to join Leamington Chess Club (several of us have made that mistake!) where he met a Mr Wallace, another Kenilworthian. who he played at home every Thursday. These 4 men formed the nucleus of the newly formed Lockheed Chess Club. When running the Leamington League, he reported results to 7 local papers! He sent results to his future wife in Barnsley, where she typed them up and returned them in time to be in the papers each Wednesday.  His own departure from the League had been due to work commitments with Lockheed as a draughtsman. He had then moved to Liverpool and Derby to work in the defence industry. His last chess appearance had been at the British Lightning Championships, held in Leamington in 1963. The Kenilworth Chess and Draughts Club had folded after the death of Tom Lee. (The Coventry League at one time played for the Tom Lee Memorial Cup.)

Congratulations to Roy on a really splendid record of the meeting in his role as Secretary - but its very frustrating that we learn of the founding of Lockheed Chess Club, but not the Kenilworth Chess and Draughts Club!

August 1996 - Bruce is now the League Grader, although he is seemingly confused about the date, as he sends out a letter dated August 15th 1995, which from the content must have been August 15th, 1996! The highest graded player in the League is Paul Johnstone of Stratford at 202, followed by Phil Holt (Olton) 190 and Russell James (Rugby) 188.

Here we take a small break for a game played five years earlier between myself and the League's highest graded player, when we were both resident in south London.

I'm rather impressed with how good I was in those days!

In the KCC list we find the first mention of one Andrew JD Baruch(184) who managed to play 1 game for the club that season. Not much changes then! The other active club members are:-

Steve Burnell          160
Joe Soesan              160
George Richards     149
Alistair Dawson      148
Matthew Collinson 142
Steve Booth            139
Tony Russell           139
Peter Bartlett           138
Bernard Rogers       136
Jamie Williams       131
P Baker                    119
Tom Swallow          105
Anthony Hitchins    101
Roy Watson             101
Bruce Holland         100
Tom Dobedoe           98
Chris Aldridge          96
D McKenzie             92
Robert Meteyard       92
Geoff King               87
Tony King                85
Mike Whatson          82
Paul Marsh               54
Simon Whatson        50

Caspar Hitchins
Simon Kermode
Tim Ranger

Well, we've now stuttered up to 1996, but it might be quite difficult to get much further (try not to cry, please), as the club records have already started to fall into a state of disarray. So it's quite possible that the next instalment will have to be the last. Still, at least this will leave a massive "information black hole" for the club's next historian to research!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thanks for the history. I have fond but faint memories of my days playing for Kenilworth travelling around Warwickshire. I recall some of the names in the players list. - Jamie Williams