British Championship, Oxford 1910

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1246
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:38 pm

I'm working on a Britbase file of the games of the 1910 British Championship in Oxford (15-26 August 1910). So far I have collected 28 of the 66 but am reasonably confident of finding a few more as I've yet to make a pass through regional newspaper archives, plus the Manchester Guardian (thanks, incidentally, to Roger Watson, for telling me how to register via Manchester Central Library in order to gain free access to this superb resource). I have also created stubs for the remaining 38 games. Hopefully I have the dates and round numbers right (all checked via the Times online archive). Many thanks to those who have sent me games.

Here is the current working copy of the file: http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/191 ... iewer.html

I have not put any links to it from elsewhere on the Britbase site so this is currently an EC Forum exclusive! I've put the link here so that those interested can see what I have (and haven't got) and generally proof-read.

I was tempted to give this thread the header "Alas Smith and Brown". The 1910 BCF Congress had two prominent Smiths and two Browns. Messrs SF Smith and FS Smith both played in the championship proper. Thankfully the Times reports took to referring to SF (Stephen Francis) Smith as "Dr Smith", with the occasional references simply to "Smith" being FS Smith. All that remains to find are FS Smith's forenames. We know he was a member of Oxford City Chess Club. And I am aware I'm not the first person to raise the Smith conundrum here...
Gerard Killoran wrote:As for S. F. Smith and F. S. Smith, don't get me started!
... so I turn the problem over to Richard 'Whichnamefinder General' James in the hope that he will come to the rescue, as he has done so many times before.

The Browns are less of an issue on this occasion as Fred Brown played in the Championship and Frank Brown in the Major Open. At least I like to think it's not a problem: please tell me if you think different.

Other names to be teased out: E Funk and APT Kerr (both Major Open). And a middle name: John A Lewis (championship). One other name issue: thanks to an excellent biography written by Brian Denman, we know the full name of William Alfred Paley Hughes, but for ChessBase player indexing purposes I'm never quite sure whether to treat the surname as "Paley Hughes" (hyphenated or unhyphenated) or "Hughes" (treating "Paley" as the last of his middle names). Any advice on this? I have similar misgivings about other double-barrelled chessists.

I noticed, incidentally, that the special guest giving out the prizes at the 1910 BCF Congress finale was the Rev. William Archibald Spooner, warden of New College, Oxford. (See the Times, 29 August 1910). I'll leave it to the forum to concoct possible spoonerisms that he might have said to Atkins on presenting him with the Championship trophy, but, be warned if you do: you run the risk of seeing your composed words quoted as fact by those of the chess writing fraternity who prefer not to spend their afternoons combing through online archives.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:49 am

Here's something to get you started

The unsourced game Yates-Colman can be found at {Source: Yorkshire Post Saturday, August 27, 1910}

For identification clues, The Falkirk Herald, Wednesday September 7, 1910 gives:
Miss Ruchon - St. Leonards
E Funk - London
APT Kerr - Birmingham
John A Lewis - Liverpool

A game from the main event:



Two games from the Women's Championship




Brian Denman
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:02 am

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Brian Denman » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:50 am

I am not a biographical expert like Richard seems to be, but I believe that Ruchon was Miss Alice Grace Ruchon, born Hackney 1876, died Bexhill 1948. She was a member of Hastings CC for some time.

User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1246
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:18 am

Many thanks, Gerard.

A few matters arising:

Richard James thinks APT Kerr was Alexander Parker Thomas Kerr, born 1887 near Bristol. His family moved to Birmingham then he moved to London. He married in 1911 but Richard couldn't find a death record, suggesting that something may have happened to him in WW1.

"Miss Ruchon": female names are even more infuriating than male ones in old chess reports as they often leave out initials altogether, or else provide the husband's initials after the 'Mrs'. This unusual name seemed to be very good news for name-hunters and indeed it was... until it turned out there were three Miss Ruchons in St Leonards on Sea (all daughters of French-born John Ruchon 1844-July 1910, who was also a chess player). Mary Elizabeth Ruchon b 1874, d 1952, Alice Grace Ruchon b 1876 d 1948, Emily Maud Ruchon b 1877 d 1943. All three were unmarried at their deaths and all three lived and died in the general area of Hastings. I think Alice Grace might have preferred her middle name Grace - I've seen a 1929 advertisement for a dogs and cats holiday home at her Hastings address (55 Priory Avenue). There are a lot of references to 'Miss Ruchon' playing chess in Hastings from the 1920s to the 1940s but never more than one Miss Ruchon in team lists, so we can perhaps deduce that only one of the three sisters played in competitions. And there are references after 1943 (the year Emily died) so Emily Maud can probably be eliminated from our enquiries.

Finally I found the clincher, from the Hastings and St Leonards Observer:
Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 1 January 1949 wrote: A long-standing member of the Hastings C.C. died on Sunday [26 December 1948] in the person of Miss A. G. Ruchon of De la Warr-road, Bexhill. She was aged 72. She was an active supporter of the club in many ways. The funeral at the Borough Cemetery on Wednesday was attended by Mrs. Robinson, Messrs. F. W. Boff, W. G. Watson and A. J. Mackenzie, representing Hastings C.C.
So I'm going to go with Alice Grace Buchon for her 'chess name'.

EDIT: And just as I was about to press the 'send' button, Brian trumps my ace! Thanks, Brian.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:31 am

I had a real problem with F.S. Smith, I thought I had cracked it with a report in Jackson's Oxford Journal (Saturday, October 21, 1899) of a simul given by Blackburne in the Temperance Hotel (how ironic for JHB), Banbury where one of his opponents was F. S. Smith of Oxford and a Mr. Frank Smith of Oxford was named as one of the organisers. But were they the same person?

I couldn't get any further with newspapers and chess magazines and so tried Alden's Oxford Guide of 1909 and got this result

THE CREAMERY CAFE,
23, CORN—MARKET STREET, OXFORD,
ESTABLISHED 1889
(Open 8.30 a.m. till 10.0 p.m.)
HIGH-CLASS REFRESHMENTS
AT
POPULAR PRICES.
Speciality: REAL CREAM ICES.
Head Quarters Oxfordshire Chess Association.
F. S. SMITH, Proprietor.


Bingo! But no first names given. I then remembered that some trade directories were available online and found the following in Kelly's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1907...

Cornmarket Street, 23
Smith, Frank Scuse, confectioner


http://www.islandguide.co.uk/genealogy/john-gillett.htm
Frank Scuse Smith (1874-1934; died Wycombe)

I think he's our man.

Richard James
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Richard James » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:30 pm

Brilliant research, Gerard.

I'd also come across Frank Scuse Smith in BMD and census records but couldn't find anything to link him to chess. His occupations (dairyman, café proprietor) were perhaps not what you'd expect from a prominent chess player in those days. He was the secretary of Oxford Chess Club as well as playing on a high board for his county.

However, the genealogy site you linked to, which I'd also found, may have his date and place of death incorrect. There are death and probate records online for Frank Scuse Smith who died in Loughborough on 26 March 1943. Probate was granted to his widow, Margaret Emma Smith, which was indeed the name of his wife.

Rev JF Welsh, who played in the 1st Class B tournament, has a Wikipedia page here. Was his opponent the famous James Mortimer?

Richard James
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Richard James » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:44 pm

There's an obituary for Dr Robert Dunstan in the Western Morning News 30 November 1927.

He was born in Liskeard, Cornwall in either December 1848 or January 1849 (I don't as yet have the exact date) and died in London after an operation in November 1927. As his death was registered in Brentford I'd guess he died in West Middlesex Hospital.

You'll find an online biography on the excellent Keverel Chess website here.

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:02 pm

I believe J F West was partly responsible for the early death of Wilfred Palmer as he encouraged him to go out to Trinidad and Tobago where he contracted a fatal illness. Charles Sherrard died prematurely in similar circumstances in Cairo. Hector Shoosmith was another casualty, but died in a less exotic location - Ramsgate. All three competed at Southport 1905 and were dead by the ages of 39 to 41.

Richard James
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Richard James » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:23 pm

My best guesses for some of the other players. It seems that neither Sullivan nor Hammond used their middle names in the chess world.

P Sullivan:

Patrick Humphrey Sullivan (Greengrocer) 25 Sep 1879 Northfleet/Gravesend, Kent-(Sep) 1971 Dartford, Kent. His location was given as Northfleet in the earliest records, then Dartford so this seems to fit in.


C Hammond:

Cecil Perfect(!) Hammond (Insurance inspector) 1870 (London)-5 Jun 1947 (Battle, Sussex).
Two clues: played for Essex before moving to Lewisham, also played for Insurance. A member of Lee Chess Club. Lived in Leyton in 1901 and in Lewisham in 1911.

http://www.hammondfamilyhistories.co.uk/c.html


TJ Edwards

Haven’t got very far with him. Almost certainly Thomas as most ‘T’s were in those days. Bristol player, active about 1898-1911, first at a local club, then at Bristol Chess Club. There’s a Thomas J Edwards on the 1901 census who lives in the right area of Bristol, aged 20, a newspaper clerk, widowed mother a Professor of Music. In the 1891 census his family was in Wales, his father a commercial traveller. So it might be him, but who knows? I have yet to find him in the 1911 census.

User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1246
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:00 am

Some excellent progress on names and games today. Thanks to Richard and Gerard (who has also emailed me some Major Open games). Having been out and about all day today, I'm about to upload an updated file of 1910 Oxford games, now with full names for most of the competitors.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1246
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by John Saunders » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:11 pm

I've now completed a trawl through the various archives I have online access to, incorporated new games and corrections sent to me by forum members (for which many thanks), included round numbers and dates where I could discover them, added a few notes about the participants, who won the brilliancy prizes, etc, etc.

A reminder of the URL: http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/191 ... iewer.html
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

Tim Harding
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:54 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:I believe J F West was partly responsible for the early death of Wilfred Palmer as he encouraged him to go out to Trinidad and Tobago where he contracted a fatal illness. Charles Sherrard died prematurely in similar circumstances in Cairo. Hector Shoosmith was another casualty, but died in a less exotic location - Ramsgate. All three competed at Southport 1905 and were dead by the ages of 39 to 41.
Gerard, I think "West" must be a typo - or have you have confused the aforementioned Right Rev John Francis Welsh (Bishop of Trinidad 1904-1916) with James S. West (originally of Derby, later of Yorkshire and then Westport in Ireland)?

Shoosmith was in his 35th year when he died according to Gaige.

Charles Hugh Sherrard's birth year isn't in Gaige but I have narrowed it down to the third quarter of 1865 by searches on Ancestry.
Last edited by Tim Harding on Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Tim Harding
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:32 pm

John Saunders wrote:I've now completed a trawl through the various archives I have online access to, incorporated new games and corrections sent to me by forum members (for which many thanks), included round numbers and dates where I could discover them, added a few notes about the participants, who won the brilliancy prizes, etc, etc.

A reminder of the URL: http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/191 ... iewer.html
I see you have now found Blackburne-Brown which unfortunately is not (yet) in my Blackburne biography that is about to be published. Most of my research on these tournaments was done in 2012-14. The Yorkshire Post for 1910 was unavailable when I sought it in the British Library but it recently turned up in the British Newspaper Archive, a few weeks too late to be included as proofs had just been corrected.

In any future reprint the game will be included. The publisher has already remade the page for its archive and I was already intending to post the game on my own website http://www.chessmail.com which I shall do as soon as I have a copy of the physical book in hand.

Of course I knew, and say in the text, that there would be cases like this because BNA's digitisation of post-1900 papers (and digitisation in general) has really accelerated this year, and it's also possible that some missing pre-1900 games will turn up.

You should be able to find also the Brown-Lewis game in the Yorkshire Post, I think of 20 August. Gerard Killoran, who has been researching the Brown brothers for the past year or so with me, found it there and maybe he will post it here later. Some Forum readers may have seen my articles about the Browns, initially at my site but later at the Chess Cafe where it's now only available to subscribers unfortunately. I shall probably do a final version of the article some time in the future.

I am curious to know why in the game Blackburne-Blake you give White's fourth move as 4 c3 (not stating any source). The Manchester Guardian, 20 August, did say this game was a Scotch but I found no further moves and Blackburne very rarely played 4 c3.

Among the non-digitised sources that I did examine were The Oxford Times (a column started specially just before the Congress) and The Field, which is really a must to check for these championships.

The Oxford Times did not have any games from the Championship other than those in your file posted today, though it does have a few games from lower classes. The forenames of F. S. Smith were nowhere stated that I could see, but on 22 October when Smith's games with Blackburne and Brown appeared, he was described as "champion player of Oxfordshire and Oxford City".

I have, I think, managed to reconstruct the finish of Paley Hughes v Blackburne from Hoffer's hints in The Field. It's in the book but I won't post it here as it remains speculative.

The Field did include one Championship game not yet in your file, and quite an interesting one. Here it is:

Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Tim Harding
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:59 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote: Two games from the Women's Championship
The maiden name of Mrs Mary Mills Houlding, who won the Ladies Championship, was said by Gaige to be Palmer.

The Oxford Times of 3 September confirms this, saying she was taught chess by one of her brothers, E. D. Palmer, who won the first class.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Richard James
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: British Championship, Oxford 1910

Post by Richard James » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:33 pm

Tim Harding wrote: The maiden name of Mrs Mary Mills Houlding, who won the Ladies Championship, was said by Gaige to be Palmer.

The Oxford Times of 3 September confirms this, saying she was taught chess by one of her brothers, E. D. Palmer, who won the first class.
Harry M Houlding married Mary A M Palmer in Burrowa, New South Wales in 1885.

There's a biography here written by Gordon Cadden.

Post Reply