The History of Urmston Chess Club


The formation of Urmston chess club in 1894 was inspired by Dr. Quayle who became President and by H. W Carruthers who became secretary.

H. W Carruthers was a strong player who won the 1901 club championship with a score of 6 wins, and 2 draws ahead of H. W Hart and W. H Carruthers. It is likely that the club closed down during the first world war and it may not have resumed activity for some time. A set of rules in the Urmston archives says “Founded 1938”.

1960s - 1980

In 1946 N. Coleman chaired the meeting that restarted the club after the second world war. The club advertised in local newspapers and decided to enter one team in the Manchester chess league for 1946 – 1947. B. H Wood’s “Chess” magazine reported in November 1946 that the club was meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays in a local café. As well as Manchester League chess members played in a postal chess league and a club handicap tournament for the J. H Barrow trophy donated by Mr and Mrs Butler in memory of a recently deceased member. The Urmston club does not appear on the list of clubs affiliated to Lancashire Chess Association until the 1948 – 1949 season, when E. Foster was the secretary but consistently supported Lancashire after that season when A. Owen, A. Tann and V. Holt all put in stints as club secretary. The club had some successes in the Manchester League winning “C” Division in 1953 and 1976 and the Wahltuch trophy in 1971.

1980s - 2000

Players at Urmston in the 1980s including J. Hill, B. Skuse, P. Wheldon, I. Pendlebury, R. Moscrop, P. Furlong, J. Hopkins, D. Brent, C. Woolley and his father R, Woolley. A major individual success was achieved by Phillip Wheldon in the 1983 Blackpool Open chess Congress where a draw with Jeff Horner in the last round made them joint winners with 4.5/out of 5 points. Phillip had a magnificent hat trick of victories over Flear, Britton and Plaskett. This was the year that Plaskett scored an amazing victory in a very strong tournament in Paris with 8 out of 9 points and a rating of over 2700 only normally reached then by Kasparov and Karpov.

One sad event in the 1990s was the death of Vernon Holt in 1994. Vernon had played for the club since the 1960s and had been the leading organiser. Peter Furlong took over as Chairman from Vernon during this year which marked the centenary of the club. To celebrate the centenary there was a simultaneous exhibition by Jeff Horner, 27 wins, 2 draws and one defeat. The loss being to teenager Richard Belcher.

Three players who emerged in the early 1990s were David Shaw, Dennis Owen and Glyn Morris. All three would have a huge input in the future successes of both the first and second teams in the years that followed David Shaw produced a very good performance by winning the British U – 18 championship in 2001 with a score of 8.5 out of 11. This achievement enabled him to play in the 2002 British championship in which he scored 5 points out of 11. Dennis Owen produced another solid Urmston performance by scoring 4 out of 9 points in the Liverpool FIDE Individual Championship in 2007. Glyn Morris won the Urmston club championship in 2000 by beating Dennis Owen in the final by 2 – 1 over three games.

2000s - Present Day

The Urmston pool of players in the 2000s were K. Smallbone, G. Morris, P.Wheldon, I . Pendlebury and D. Owen, with experienced support from Denis Horton who won the Blackpool Major 2007 with 4.5 out of 5 points. Other players were J. Hopkins, A. Smith, K. Johnstone, J. Royle, G. Nightingale, G. Smith and B. Thomas and potential in T. Pliunkett P. Shaughnessy and T. Morris.

This group of players nearly won the top “A” division of the Greater Manchester Chess and District League in the season 2008 – 2009 with the recent return to the club of J. Hill under the astute captainship of Denis Horton. Urmston first team did the double that season of finishing runner up in the League and Reyner Shield cup to 3cs 1 st team.

Another group of Urmston players won “B” Division in 2012 – 2013 winning all their matches with 18 points from nine matches. The players were A. Ashton, S. Jones, K. Smallbone, D. McCarthey, P. Wheldon, R. Burgin, D. Owen , C. Ashton, J. Hopkins, D. Horton, J. Pendlebury and this team was captained by John Reyes. This group of players may have won “A” Division this particular season but were relegated from “A” Division in 2011- 2012 season so had to play in “B” Division.

More recently the club moved to Urmston Sports Club in 2021. Urmston chess club are always looking for new chess players of all strengths of play.