To get us started, I found this article in the Aberdeen Evening Express for Wednesday 18 August 1954.
I wonder if competitors were allowed to bring in their own food...CHESS EXPERTS' FOOD COMPLAINT
A PROTEST by competitors at the British Chess Congress at Nottingham University against what were referred to as student-like regulations and a lack of food was described to-day by Dr William Neil, warden of the Hugh Stewart Hall, as a “storm in a teacup".
Last night a deputation from the competitors asked Dr Neil for more food to be served, and in greater variety, and for more flexible meal times. Over 100 of the competitors are staying at the Hugh Stewart Hall. Dr Neil stated to-day that “all differences and difficulties" had been dealt with already. All the arrangements and meal times we made at the request of the congress organisers, and we have done everything possible to meet their wishes.
"It Is most unfair to make these complaints within a few days of the congress starting without giving the management a chance to sort things out. I have the same food as that served in the dining hall and I find nothing to complain about. Any shortage of food is due to misunderstanding on the part of the staff. The University cannot offer the same variety and choice as a hotel." A number of conferences had been held at the University this year and “without exception there has not been the slightest trouble or complaint from them. What the competitors are expecting is not what we were asked to provide. We have done our best to meet every legitimate request."
Miss D. Colmer, London, a competitor who organised a petition and was a member of the deputation, said—"I felt very strongly about it, particularly the scarcity of food and the lack of variety. I now feel that improvements will be made."
Deirdre Colmer (1912-68) was a regular competitor in British Ladies' Championships of that era and a match captain of the Queen's Gambit club. I think she was a civil servant. Her obit appears on page 286 of the 1968 BCM.
Does Leonard Barden remember this food controversy at Nottingham 1954? It was the year he shared the title with Alan Phillips.