Yorkshire Chess History

 

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1922: Capablanca in Rotherham

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36-board Simultaneous Display by Capablanca,

Town Hall Assembly Rooms, Rotherham,

Thursday, 26th October, 1922,

6.30 p.m.

 

World Chess Champion José Raoul Capablanca visited Rotherham on Thursday 26th October 1922, at the invitation of Rotherham Chess Club.

 

Arrangements were made by A. H. Hunter, secretary of Rotherham Chess Club, and a committee.

 

Capablanca was introduced by Councillor A. R. Habershon, president of Rotherham Chess Club and Mayor elect of Rotherham.  Councillor E. S. Bardsley, Chairman of the committee, explained the conditions of play, which duly commenced at about 6.30 p.m. before an audience of two hundred to three hundred spectators.

 

Capablanca took on, simultaneously, the following 36 opponents drawn from Rotherham, Sheffield, and the district surrounding Rotherham:

 

E. J. Griffith

Rotherham

A. R. Fleming

Rotherham

R. Dewar

Rotherham

W. J. Day

Rotherham

J. A. Macdonald

Rotherham

A. E. Slack

Rotherham

A. R. Habershon

Rotherham

F. R. Brown

Rotherham

S. P. Ludbrook

Rotherham

C. Adams

Rotherham

H. McWhire

Rotherham

C. A. Broadhead

Rotherham

C. J. Beck

Rotherham

J. F. Wilkinson

Rotherham

B. Bennett

Rotherham

J. A. Alderton

Rotherham

A. Hobson

Rotherham

T. Maw

Rotherham

H. H. Clarke

Sheffield

C. R. Gurnhill

Sheffield

C. North

Sheffield

H. F. Rothwell

Sheffield

W. J. Dingley

Sheffield

F. Sheldon

Sheffield

D Letts

Sheffield

J. H. Bruce

Sheffield

Rev. C. E. Hughes

Matlby

W. H. Jones

Swinton

O. Oliver

Rawmarsh

A. J. Rodgers

Parkgate

T. Todd

Dalton

J. W. Haycock

Greasbrough

L. Burland

Wath

E. H. Hayes

Wath

J. E. Pickering

Brampton Bierlow

W. Breislin

West Melton

 

Of the above, Archibald (“Archie”) Robert Fleming was the current Rotherham Chess Champion, P. Dodd was a relative youngster, and W. J. Day was blind.

 

Capablanca’s first victory came after 17 minutes’ play.  Two more followed soon afterwards.  Nevertheless, after three hours play, only nine of Capablanca’s opponent had lost; most of the remainder were of course losing, but hadn’t got round to resigning.  The last two to hold out against the World Champion were A. R. Fleming and J. F. Wilkinson, but they too had lost by 10.30, fifteen minutes before the time set for the end of play.

 

Finally, E. J. Griffith thanked Capablanca on behalf of his opponents and the spectators.  Capablanca replied with a “very interesting little speech” with advice on how to play the game.  Interestingly, in Sheffield back in 1919 Capablanca had said, “I do hope there won’t be any speach making, I’m no good at it.”  [Sheffield Daily Independent, 09/10/1919]  He had presumably had more practice since becoming World Champion.

 

A brief report contained in the Sheffield Daily Independent of Friday 27/10/1922, erroneously referred to the World Champion throughout as “Senor J. P. Capablanca”, with the middle initial incorrect.  Capablanca’s technique, reported the Independent, was “to clear off the pieces and win on the pawns.”  Whilst this is a somewhat crude description, it reflects Capablanca’s teaching about considering how the opening and middlegame impact on the endgame.

 

A fuller report, on which this page mainly draws, was given in the chess column of the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star on Saturday 28/10/1922.

 

 

Created

08/07/2013

Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

Last Updated

08/07/2013