Yorkshire Chess History
Wilfred Colin Evans
The parents of Wilfred Colin Evans, known familiarly as “Colin” rather than “Wilfred”, were John Evans (born 1860/61, Selattyn, Shropshire, a village 3 miles NW of Oswestry) and Mary Ann Evans (née Williams, born 1866/67, Pendleton, Lancashire) (2). This couple had at least the following five children, all born at Rhosymedre, about half a mile from Ruabon (Rhiwabon in Welsh), Denbighshire (modern Clwyd), about five-and-a-half miles SW of Wrexham:
Our man was thus born 16/01/1909 (3) at Rhosymedre (2 & 4), and his birth was registered in the first quarter of 1909 at Wrexham (1).
He moved to Sheffield around 1919 (4).
The 1911 Welsh census found the parents and the above five children living at 88 Rock Road, Rhosymedre, Ruabon, Denbighshire, with Mary Ann Evans’s widower father, Thomas Williams (born 1838/39, Cefn Mawr, a stone’s throw from Rhosymedre). The father, John Evans, was a general labourer working for Denbigh County Council. Colin was recorded as two years old.
By 1932, Colin was living in Sheffield. Kelly’s Sheffield & Rotherham directory of 1932 listed “Colin Evans” living at 30 Belgrave Square, in the Highfield area of Sheffield. A list of Sheffield chess officials appearing in the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 04/11/1933 listed him as Sheffield & District Chess Association’s assistant secretary, at 30 Belgrave Square. By 1935 our man was being listed more precisely, as Wilfred Colin Evans, clerk, 30 Belgrave Square, Sheffield 2. This listing continued through to Kelly’s of 1940.
Kelly’s Sheffield & Rotherham directory of 1941 listed Wilfred Colin Evans at a new address, 62 Northcote Road, Sheffield 2, where he remained at least until 1945, as this was the address given for him as the secretary of the Sheffield & District Chess Association for 1945-46.
Around 1946 he moved to his final home, 2 Brecks Lane, Rotherham, where he was listed as Sheffield & District Chess Association secretary for 1946-47. Behind the house were large greenhouses in which he grew produce which he offered for sale.
The death of Colin Evans, aged 87, was registered in the first quarter of 1996, at Rotherham (3).
Colin Evans learnt to play chess at the age of about nine, from an uncle, and played initially with his brothers. (4)
He got involved in Sheffield chess at the age of about 16, playing for St. Peter’s (Abbeydale) in the Church of England Social Clubs League. He then played for Hartshead Friends in the Sheffield Social Clubs league, winning the championship of that club in 1928, beating E. King in the final.
Within the Sheffield & District chess Association, he played a little in early 1927 for Woodseats Friends. He then played for Hartshead Friends in the Weston Trophy, in 1927-28. Then for 1928-29 he returned to Woodseats Friends until relocating to Button Lane, Woodseats consciously broke up its dominance of the Davy Trophy etc by exporting players to other clubs.
In 1928 he was the losing finalist in the Sheffield Championship Class “B” tournament. He first won the Sheffield Championship in 1933, but then not again until 1947. Thereafter he won it in 1950, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1965, 1968. He thus won it eight times in all.
On Friday 10/11/1933, in his capacity as Sheffield Champion, he went with a group of Sheffield chess-players to visit the newly-formed Worksop Chess Club. He gave a 20-board simultaneous display.
In 1934, when the winners of the Sheffield & District Chess Association’s Davy Trophy, Button Lane, played The Rest of the league in a post-season eleven-board friendly, Colin Evans for Button Lane defeated A. Y. Green on board one. All the other Button Lane players lost.
He played for Sheffield’s I. M. Brown team from 1927-28 to 1930-31, but then started playing in Sheffield’s Woodhouse Cup team.
He appeared regularly on board one or two of Sheffield’s Woodhouse Cup team in the early 1930s, moving down the board order to 3, 4 or 5 by the mid-1930s, as the team got strengthened.
He won the Yorkshire Championship in 1945-46.
He played on board 1 for Yorkshire in the 1946-47 BCF County and District Correspondence Championship.
In 1929 he became the Sheffield & District Chess Association’s assistant secretary. He was the secretary of the Sheffield & District Chess Association for 1945-46 and 1946-47 and possibly other seasons.
In the latter part of his life, though no longer playing competitively himself, he ran the Sheffield Championship tournaments for a number of years.
(1) Births index
(2) 1911 Welsh Census
(3) Deaths index
(4) Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 29/12/1933
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information