200 years ago today, on the 29th November 1812, a small group of pioneering chessers established the Hereford Chess Club, one of the earliest provincial clubs in the country. So Happy Birthday, Hereford!
|Thanks to Sarah Skelton and Catherine Willson |
at Herefordshire Museum Service for their help creating the display.
Not surprisingly the present Hereford Chess Club can't trace an unbroken line back 200 years to 1812, there have been fits and starts along the way. But by co-incidence the present incarnation of the club is exactly 50 years old this year. So, here's a second Happy Birthday, Hereford!
The club is planning a series of events to mark both anniversaries, including an internal club tournament played in the Museum under the watchful gaze of Thomas Leeming and other six founder members.
|Roger Aris and Steve Katona warm up (with Leeming's painting in the background) |
for the Hereford Chess Club 50th Anniversary Tournament.
Collectors of chess memorabilia are even now beating a path to Hereford in the hope of laying their hands on one of these:
|We've been waiting for it for 200 years... |
(And thanks again to the Hereford Museum Service for their indulgence)
The Leeming series sparked a thread (initiated by Ray Collett of the MCCU) on the English Chess Forum about early chess clubs, which in turn prompted Tim Harding to write an article here which puts the significance of the Hereford picture in context. See also Richard Tillet's recent mini-series on another early, and shortlived, chess club at Brasen Nose College in Oxford.