Bournemouth Chess Club, 140 years old and going strong
Bournemouth Chess Club was founded in 1880, which makes it the oldest chess club in Dorset and it was the only club in the area with 100 members. Its heyday period was between 1880 and 1920.
Emanuel Lasker was a member in the last of these years when he was the World Champion (from 1894 – 1921, the longest ever reign of any World Champion).
Grandmaster Comins Mansfield, a famous chess problem composer, has also visited and may have even joined the club. Current members are still trying to establish when exactly this happened.
In the earlier years Right Hon Judge A W Bairstow was Chairman in 1919 and another notable person was Judge T E Hayden in 1920, There were more colourful members including Captain E C Erskine-Bolst of the Black Watch Regiment in 1918 and later Brigadier General S Muspratt CBE in 1937. The Bournemouth Chess Club’s Minutes book commenced in 1987 and it was kept up to date afterwards by Alf Bullock who was the Club Secretary from 1990 to 2000. Notable Club Champions in date order W H Curtis 1906, 1908. 1913, 1914 and 1916, Dr Neville Hart 1917, 1918. 1919 and 1921, H L Gardener 1927, W H Hooper 1936 and 1937, Phil Ashley Ursell (grandfather of Richard) 1946 and 1950, T H Bumpus 1952, C Foster 1969, H J O Donnell 1976 till 1981, Don K Bevis 1986 till 1994, Tim Lines 1996 to 1999, Dave Burt & John Lowther jointly in 2008 and Alf Bullock 2009. Ladies Champion 1969 to 1970 – L Jaslowizo from Poland.
There were 36 members recorded in 1988 dropping to 25 members in 2000. When Dave Burt ran the club, it played at St Albans church in Charminster Road. The Bournemouth Chess Club did not join the B&DCL until 1970 because it traditionally played only on Mondays afternoons. When funds got a little short there was an amalgamation with Kinson Chess Club, when it moved to the Pelhams Community Centre in Kinson. At this stage Phil Holt and Dave Burt managed the club. Paul Errington took over the running (Chairman) of the club when Dave Burt retired and after several years at Pelhams it moved into its current premises, the Winton Liberal Club during the summer of 2019 and it is now playing all of its chess on Tuesday evenings for the first time in its long history.
Bournemouth Chess Club has won the B&DCL Division One title 5 times, the first time being in 1952!
If you are interested in hearing about the histories of other local clubs then visit Dorset Chess.