19th Century

In The Beginning: 1840’s to 1899

There has been a Chess Club in Maidstone since at least the 1840’s, as evidenced in the book ’Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland 1824-1987’ by Tim Harding, which refers to a correspondence match between Maidstone and Rochester, being played in 1844. An article was also published in the ‘West Kent Guardian’ dated 21 June 1845, which referred to another game of chess between the Maidstone and Rochester clubs, which was the third game played between these two.

Another article published in the ‘The South Eastern Gazette’ dated 10 July 1882, referred to a game of chess between the Maidstone and Gundulph (Rochester) Clubs.

The ‘Chess Player’s Annual and Club Directory’ for 1891 refers to the Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club as having been formed in 1879. The original venue was the Church Institute, Union Street, Maidstone. A list of Club Champions exists for the years 1880 to 1932.

A long-standing member of note was Mr J. Oxbrow, who won the Club Championship in 1881 (jointly with Mr E. Sharp & Mr Russell), 1882, 1887 (jointly with Mr C. F. Stedman), 1890, 1891, 1894 (jointly with Dr. J. E. Meredith), 1896, 1898, 1899, 1901 & 1902.

During the 1880’s there was also a Chess Club at the Liberal Club in Stone Street. The Chess Master and Author H. E. Bird gave a simultaneous display there on one occasion, and when the division of the Liberal Party on the Home Rule question took place in 1886, several members of the Chess Club who had adopted the Liberal Unionist view left the Club in Stone Street and joined the Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club.

An article published in the ‘The Morning Post’ dated 16 May 1887, referred to a match between Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club and Canterbury Chess Club. Another match was reported on 31 October 1887, when ‘The Morning Post’ published the following:

‘An interesting match took place on Wednesday at Maidstone between Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club and the Gundulph Chess Club, Rochester, resulting in a victory for the former by one game, the final score being – Church Institute, 11½; Gundulph, 10½.’

In 1887 and 1888, the President of the club was Mr John Hodgson.

On 20 February 1888, ‘The Morning Post’ published the following:

‘At a meeting of the Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club last Tuesday, the President (Mr J. Hodgson) presented to Mr C. F. Stedman, on behalf of the members, a handsome set of Staunton chess men and board, together with a book containing a list of the subscribers, on the occasion of his leaving the town and as a token of their regard and esteem.’

Also in 1888, a simultaneous display was given by Mr Joseph H. Blackburne (one of England’s leading players, who later on played & lost to Emmanuel Lasker in 1892 for the World Champion title), which was reported by ‘The Morning Post’ on 14 May 1888:

‘Mr Blackburne paid a visit to the Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club on Wednesday and played 24 games simultaneously, of which he won 20, lost 2, and drew 2. The two successful players were the President (Mr John Hodgson) and Mr J. H. Biggs, and the two who succeeded in drawing were Captain Godfrey and Mr G. F. Whiteman.’

On 26 November 1888, ‘The Morning Post’ reported:

‘On Tuesday a match was played between the Maidstone Chess Club and the Gundulph Chess Club, Rochester, at the Church Institute, Maidstone, resulting in a victory for the latter by a majority of one game.’

In 1889 the President was Rev. Canon Searth, followed by Mr John Hodgson in 1890. Also in 1890 matches were being played between the City of London Chess Club (second team) and the Kent County Chess Association. The Kent team included representatives of Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Dover, Folkestone, Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Chatham, Rochester, Gravesend, Woolwich, Lewisham, and Lee. Their leader was the Rev. L. W. Lewis, of Rochester (after whom the Lewis Cup is named).

In 1891 the club met at 86 Week Street, Maidstone on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 7.p.m. There were 40 members and subscription to the Institute varied from 8 shillings to £1 1 shillings. Chess players are listed as paying one shilling, though presumably one also had to pay for membership to the Institute. President of the chess club was J. Hodgson and the Secretary J. Oxbrow is listed as living at 40 King Street, Maidstone.  

On 11 March 1893, ‘The Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald’ reported that thirty-two children of the Maidstone Union Workhouse participated in three games of chess played on the floor of the dining–hall, with the children acting as living pieces, between Mr Bates, deputy clerk v the master, Mr Moys. The children were artistically and characteristically attired and went through their duties with becoming decorum and evident pleasure, as they preferred another game to going to bed. The games ended in favour of Mr Bates. There were a number of ladies and gentlemen present some of whom remarked that if similar occurrences were more frequent there would be less inclination of the general public to imagine that all workhouses are semi-prisons.

On 24 July 1893, ‘The Morning Post’ reported the death of Mr John Hodgson:

‘Mr E. Goodwin writes: - “It is with deep regret I have to inform you of the death of Mr John Hodgson, of Maidstone, which occurred unexpectedly at his residence on Tuesday last. He was an enthusiastic chess player, and had done more to encourage the game in this neighbourhood than any other individual. He always took a special delight in assisting beginners, many of whom owe to him their knowledge of the game. His loss will be keenly felt by a large circle of chess players, as, besides being President of Maidstone Church Institute Chess Club he was a well-known member of several London and provincial clubs,. He commenced to solve the Morning Post problems as far back as No. 36, and continued to do so, with few intermissions, up to the time of his death, having on more than one occasion been successful in solving all the problems during the year”. We fully sympathise with the regret expressed by our correspondent. Mr Hodgson was a member of the British Chess Club, and his loss will be deeply felt in London as well as in Maidstone.’

In 1893 Mr H. Stanford joined the club, and won the Club Championship in 1910 & 1918. He went on to play in the winning County Cup team in 1920, became Secretary & Treasurer in 1932, became President in 1939, and was commemorated in 1947 with the naming of the Stanford Cup.

In 1895, a simultaneous display was given by Mr Isidor Gunsberg (another of England’s leading players, who had played & lost to Wilhelm Steinitz in 1890 for the World Champion title), which was reported by ‘The Evening Telegraph and Star’ on 15 March 1895:

‘IS THIS A RECORD

Mr I. Gunsberg played simultaneously against 22 members of the Maidstone Chess Club, at Maidstone, the other day. After two hours‘ play the single player had succeeded in winning every game. In the two hours Mr Gunsberg made about 600 moves that is at the rate of 10 each minute. This reads like a record.’

Whilst it was well known that Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club promoted the Great International Tournament in August 1895, one of the patrons was Maidstone Chess Club. Players in the tournament included both Mr J. H. Blackburne & Mr I. Gunsberg.

The first ever match between Hastings and Maidstone Chess clubs was played in 1895 over 20 boards.  Hastings secured a victory by 11½ to 8½.

In 1895, the strongest Maidstone player was probably Mr Edward Goodwin. Living some distance from Maidstone he was not able to attend the Club frequently, but he won the Championship on 1895 and played at top board in matches for some years.

On 1 February 1896, ‘The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer’ reported that next Wednesday, a match will be played ‘between the Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club and East and Mid Kent, 50 a side.’ This was subsequently won by Hastings. At the close of play, the score was 25½ to 22½, with two games still undecided. Maidstone players were: Goodwin (board 13), Betts (board 15), Hughes (board 16), Canon Searth (board 29) & Colonel Gully (board 31).

On 21 November 1896, a correspondence match was played between Sussex & Kent, as reported by ‘‘The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer’, which included two representatives from Maidstone Chess Club; Mr J. Oxbrow played on Board 5, and Dr. J. E. Meredith was on Board 7.

In the Autumn of 1895 Mr G. A. Youngman joined the Institute Chess Club, becoming Secretary at the beginning of the century for about 5 years. He went on to win the Club Championship in 1908, 1914, 1917 & 1920. Also he played in the winning County Cup team in 1920 & 1924, and became a leading spirit of the club for approximately 40 years.

The first recorded game involving a Maidstone player was published by ‘The Hastings and St Leonards Observer’ on 5 March1898, between Col W. Gully (from Maidstone) and G. A. Herington (from Hastings).

Interestingly, there was a ladies team at Hastings Chess Club, as reported by ‘The Morning Post’ on 13 February 1899:

‘The Hastings Club contested two matches at Ashford on Wednesday, the ladies playing a return match with Biddenden, and the rest of the Club being represented by a team which met the Maidstone Club. Unfortunately three of the ladies did not arrive, and the games were forfeited to their opponents, who had travelled to Ashford to meet them. Notwithstanding this handicap the ladies scored five out of the seven games actually played, a very creditable performance, which made the match a draw. Meanwhile against the Maidstone team Hastings was winning one game after another in decisive fashion. After some adjudications the result was a win for the seaside club by 14 to four. Hastings has now played 13 matches this season, winning 10, making two draws, and losing only one.’
 

Early Twentieth Century

Early Twentieth Century: 1900 to 1924

The annual match between Hastings and Maidstone was reported by ‘The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer’ on 17 February 1900:

‘This annual match was played at Ashford Institute on Wednesday evening last. The travellers were favoured by better weather than has hitherto attended this out match. Hastings were represented by a fairly strong mixed team, whilst Maidstone put forth the best strength they could muster. The strong and steady play of our Club members soon manifested itself, and after a pleasant, but rather one-sided, match, the score was 13 to 4 in favour of our Club.’

and again the following year (as reported by ‘The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer’ on 30 March 1901):

‘A match was played on Wednesday, at the Institute, Ashford, between the Maidstone Chess Club and a team of Hastings players of varied strength, which were selected so as to make a fairly even match. The train times did not allow of a protracted contest, and after three hours’ play, some few games had to be adjudicated, giving the result:- Hastings 12; Maidstone 8.’

The second recorded game involving a Maidstone player was published by ‘The Hastings and St Leonards Observer’ on 15 March 1902, between J. Oxbrow (from Maidstone) and H. F. Cheshire (from Hastings).

The Kent Association of Working Mens Clubs organised an ‘Indoor Games Competition’ which included Chess, as reported in the ‘The South Eastern Gazette’ dated 22 March 1904, where in the Southern Division, Wateringbury were to play “Brewer-street”.

On 26 February 1907, ‘The South Eastern Gazette’ reported on the County Cup match between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, and also on a Kreigspiel Tourney (which was won by A. C. Waterman).

On 23 July 1912, ‘The Devon and Exeter Gazette’ (hardly a local paper) reported:

‘Mr S. W. May has won the Championship of the Maidstone Chess Club. The same player was also successful the previous year.’

During the 1914-1918 War, when the Church Institute was taken over by the Military, the Chess Club was provided with a room in the Maidstone Club in Earl Street through the intervention of the late Alderman Wm. Morling, who had been a prominent member of the Liberal Chess Club previously mentioned.

Soon after the end of that War a large influx of young members took place, among them Messrs. C.G. Spicer and W. B. Robinson. Other strong recruits were Messrs. J. P. Ingram, H. F. Reed, and G. E. Wilcox; the membership of the Club increased to over 50.

Following the enforced break for the First World War, the next article was published by ‘The Courier’ on 12 November 1919, concerning the Kent County Championship Tournament. Maidstone entries included:

M. Wilson, T. M. Fenwick, G. A. Youngman & F. A. Richardson.

and followed it by their report on 16 January 1920, which stated that in the First round, F. C. Dundock (Ashford) defeated M. Wilson (Maidstone). Also included was comment on the Kent County Cup:

‘Sections I and II – The Maidstone and Chatham Clubs have agreed to decide the East Kent Semi-Final by the best of three matches. In the first game, played on January 3rd at Maidstone, the Chatham Club was weakly represented owing to illness and the holidays, and suffered a severe defeat.’

The final score was: Maidstone 7½: Chatham ½’

On 7 May 1920, ‘The Courier’ reported on the Kent Cup Tournament:

‘The outstanding game at board 5 in the Final tie between Bromley and Maidstone has been awarded a win for Mr Youngman (Maidstone), so the Maidstone Club win the match by 5-3, and the Cup for the first time in their history. We congratulate them upon their excellent form.’

and also included some local Club News:

‘Maidstone        - The Club Championship has ended in a win for Mr G. A. Youngman

Broadstairs       - The Secretary of the local Club writes hopefully of the prospects of holding a successful Congress in the town next Easter.’

As a member of the Kent County Chess Association, we played for the ‘Club Challenge Trophy’ (now commonly known as the County Cup), which has been run since 1889.
 
Maidstone won the County Cup (for the first time) in 1920, beating Bromley in the finals 3-5 @ Bromley on 21 April 1920.
Bromley v Maidstone
J Raoux 0 1 L. C. G. Dewing
J. A. Graham 0 1 F. A. Richardson
Mrs. Holloway ½ ½ C. G. Spicer
S. J. Holloway 1 0 H. Ransom
E. B. Puckridge 0 1 G. A Youngman
R. H. Dickenson 0 1 M. Wilson
W. H. Powell 1 0 H. Stanford
C. E. Puckridge ½ ½ T. M. Fenwick
 
It was also reported in the Kent County Chess Association Year book for 1920 -21 that the Maidstone Club ‘is the oldest in the county’.

On 18 June 1920, ‘The Courier’ reported on a correspondence match between Kent and “National News”:

‘Mr W. G. Goble (Maidstone) has drawn with Mr Bothwell at board 25.’ 

On 30 July 1920, ‘The Courier’ reported:

‘We much regret to notice the death of Major-General C. E. Cumberland, C.B. an Indian Mutiny veteran, and a keen supporter of Maidstone Chess Club for many years.’

On 10 December 1920, ‘The Courier’ reported on a Kent Cup Tournament, Section II, which was played at Maidstone. The final score was: Maidstone 4½: Chatham 3½. Also included was comment on a proposed ‘World’s Record Chess Match’:

A match has been arranged between Kent and Surrey, to take place on Saturday April 16th 1921 at the Central Hall, Westminster. Four hundred players will compete - 200 a side. All members of the Kent County Association are asked to reserve this date, as the full strength of the County will be required.’

On 17 December 1920, ‘The Courier’ reported on the County Championship Tournament:

‘First round results:- F. C. Bundock beat G. A. Youngman (Maidstone), and M. Wilson (Maidstone) beat G. Wicker (West Malling).’


In 1921 Mr C.G. Spicer first won the Club Championship. He repeated his success in 1923, 1926, 1928, 1929 (jointly with Mr W. B Robinson), 1930 (jointly with Mr W. B. Robinson), 1931, 1932 (jointly with Mr W. B Robinson), 1933, 1934, 1937 (jointly with Capt. L. Hammond R. N.), 1938, 1939, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1950, 1952 & 1958. Also in 1921 the constitution was amended to permit ladies as members, the first being Miss M.A. Hughes.
 
On 30 June 1922, ‘The Courier’ reported on a correspondence match between Kent and Philatelists. The latest results included that H. Stanford (Maidstone) has drawn at board 10.

On 9 March 1923, ‘The Courier’ reported on the Kent Cup Tournament:

‘Section II – In this Section Maidstone are winners with three wins and one draw.’

and followed it up by their report dated 8 June 1923, concerning the Kent Cup Semi-Final, played at Tunbridge Wells, between Tunbridge Wells and Lewisham St. Mary’s. The final result was: Tunbridge Wells 3: Lewisham St. Mary’s 5.

‘This success places Lewisham St. Mary’s in the Final with the Maidstone Club.’

On 28 December 1923, ‘The Courier’ reported:

‘Mid-Season Review.

o   In the Kent Cup Tournament, matters are not very far advanced in Section 1. Canterbury being ahead. In Section II. Maidstone have scored against both Rochester and Chatham Institute Clubs. In Section III…

o   The County Championship Tournament is shaping for the third round as follows:

§  C. G. Spicer (Maidstone) v H. W. Bryceson or G. G. Homan

§  W. M. Brooke (Tunbridge Wells) v A. G. Hargreaves or G. A. Youngman

§  Mrs Holloway (Bromley) v H. Storr-Best (Sydenham)

§  E. A. Coad-Pryor or C. H. Taylor or J. B. Shaw v L. W. Dodds’

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the second time) in 1924. The team consisted of: L. C. G. Dewing, F. C. Bundock, F. A. Richardson, C. G. Spicer, J. P. Ingram, W. B. Robinson, G. A. Youngman and H. J. C. Malins.

 

Mid Twentieth Century

Mid Twentieth Century: 1925 to 1949

In 1929 Mr W. B. Robinson first won the Club Championship (jointly with Mr C. G. Spicer). He repeated his success in 1930 (jointly with Mr C. G. Spicer), 1932 (jointly with Mr C. G. Spicer), 1935, 1940, 1943, 1946 (jointly with Mr A. H. Knight), 1948 & 1949 (jointly with Mr A. H. Knight).

By about 1930 the post-war urge had subsided and membership was on the decline. At the Annual Meeting in 1932 it was decided to remove from the Church Institute with a view to the formation of a MAIDSTONE CHESS CLUB. This decision was carried out a meeting held at the Royal Star Hotel on the 21 October 1932, when the following appointments were made: - President and Chairman, Mr H. Ransom, Match Captain, Mr C. G. Spicer,

Secretary and Treasurer, Mr H. Stanford, Committee, The fore-named with Messrs. C. W. Arthur, A. E. Cozens, W. B. Robinson and Capt. H. S. Knowles. Quarters were arranged at the Royal Star Hotel where the Club has met continuously (until 1965). Matters were greatly facilitated by a generous gift of boards and pieces by the President. Twenty Members were secured during the first season mostly from the parent Club, a valuable addition being Capt. L. Hammond R. N., who became a source of strength to the ’Cup’ team and soon made his presence felt in the Club Championship competition. Mr C. G. Spicer reached the final of the Kent Individual Championship, resigning after three drawn games.

Maidstone won the Lewis Cup (for the first time) in 1933.

In 1937 a serious loss was sustained by the Club through Mr H. Ransom’s retirement from the Presidency in 1937 (a post he had held since 1932), on his removal from Maidstone. He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Club and a chess board and set were presented to him.

On 15 April 1938, ‘The Dover Express and East Kent News’ reported that Maidstone beat Dover 5½-2½ in the County Cup semi-final. {Final won by Lewisham St. Mary’s}.

On 22 September 1939, ‘The Dover Express and East Kent News’ reported (in light of the Second World War having started) that ‘The Kent County Chess Association has suspended all activities for the present, such as inter-club and county matches.’

In 1946 Mr R. A. Barrand was the County Individual ‘Minor’ Champion.

In 1947 Mr J. A. Riccomini was the County Individual ‘Intermediate’ Champion, and Mr E. F. Clifford was the County Individual ‘Minor’ Champion.

In November 1947, the Stanford Cup Championship Trophy was created to commemorate the fifty years playing membership of their esteemed President H. Stanford. It is awarded to the Club Champion.

On 26 March 1948, ‘The Dover Express and East Kent News’ reported that the Kent Junior {now re-named Stevenson} Cup semi-final, between Dover and Maidstone, was played at Ashford on Saturday last, and after a very keen struggle Maidstone won by one game. {Final won by Lewisham St. Mary’s}.

In 1948 Mr J. C. Baxter was the County Individual ‘Intermediate’ Champion.

In 1948 Mr C. G. Spicer relinquished the post of Match Captain (a post he had held since 1932). He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Club.

On 16 February 1949, ‘Chatham Standard’ published a Kent County Cup game (played on 29 January 1949), between Rochester (W. W. Hunt) and v Maidstone (C. G. Spicer) at Maidstone: board 1, which we lost.  

On 25 March 1949, ‘The Dover Express and East Kent News’ reported that ‘In the semi-final round of the Kent Junior Cup, Dover lost to Maidstone, at Ashford on Saturday, 6-0.’

Maidstone won the Stevenson Cup (for the first time) in 1949.

The first winners of the Stanford Cup (in 1949) were A. H. Knight & W. B. Robinson (jointly).

Late Twentieth Century

Late Twentieth Century: 1950 to 1974

On 10 April 1954, ‘The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer’ published a correspondence game (started November 1953; completed April 1954) between Maidstone Chess Club and Hastings Chess Club.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the third time) in 1956. The team consisted of: E. V. Scott, R. A. Barrand, C. G. Spicer, W. B. Robinson, J. D. Small, H. F. Reed, J. A. Riccomini and S. Harnett.

In 1961, a simultaneous display was given by Leonard Barden (former British Champion), against 23 members of Maidstone Chess Club. He won 19, drew 2 and lost 2.

On 3 October 1961 at the AGM, Martin Wood was presented with the Stanford Cup, as Club Champion. He was the youngest ever winner, aged just 17 {Martin also won in 1962}. Also the Reynolds Cup (which is awarded by the Match Captain to the person who, in their opinion, has been most successful when playing for the Club) was first awarded to Mrs H. Wilding. Whilst the original trophy was a set & board (which have now been sold to provide a valuable boost to the club’s funds), it is now a cup. Mr F. J. Reynolds joined the club around 1948, and in 1957 he presented the club with 14 wooden match boards and sets, which he made by hand.

An “Open Night” was held at the Royal Star Hotel, Maidstone in November 1962 (as part of National Chess Week, November 4th - 10th), which included a simultaneous display by Chairman, Mr R. A. Barrand. Note that 35 people attended, and the following year, 18 new members joined!

At the 1963 AGM, Mr R. Jolley said that after three years as Secretary, he did not wish to stand for re-election because he was getting married at the end of the year. Mr O. J. Fox (who was already the Treasurer) was elected the new Secretary (he held both positions until 1973).

During the 1963 National Chess Week, which commenced 28 October, Mr H. D. Hancock (Club champion) gave a simultaneous display against 25 opponents. He won 3, drew 13 and lost 9.

Maidstone won the Stevenson Cup (for the second time) in 1964, beating West Wickham by 3-2.

Maidstone v West Wickham

H. F. Reed ½ ½ C. Harding

E. W. Baker ½ ½ A. K. Manning

T. J. Cooper 1 0 J. D. Baxter

D. Wigg 1 0 E. C. Gordon

P. G. Sussman 0 1 J. Y. Skinner

On 23 October 1964, it was reported by the ‘Kent Messenger’, that J. D. Small had relinquished the post of Match Captain (which he had held since 1956), on his recent marriage and subsequent moving away from the town centre. John Small first gets a mention in 1949, when he won on Board 1 in the Stevenson Cup match v Dover, then in 1956 he played on Board 5 in the winning County Cup team. In 1961 he beat Leonard Barden in his simultaneous display, and is last mentioned in 1965 when he won on Board 3 in a County Cup match v Tunbridge Wells.

During the 1964 National Chess Week, Mr H. D. Hancock (Club champion) gave a simultaneous display against 13 opponents. He won 8, drew 3 and lost 2.

The Club Champion in 1965 was Mr H. D. Hancock.

By 1966 the club had a new venue at the Bridge House Hotel (now Broadway Shopping Centre), Broadway, Maidstone. The new Club Champion was Mr E. J. Smith, who gave a simultaneous display against 12 opponents. He won 3, drew 4 and lost 5. However, shortly afterwards Ewart Smith left the area, to take up a year’s teaching appointment in the Midlands. In November 1966, he was replaced on top board by the arrival of M.P. Cook from Portsmouth, who went on to be Club Champion in 1967, 1968, 1969, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 & 1980 and County Individual ‘Open’ Champion in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 & 1980.

In October 1969, in order to lure more chess enthusiasts, an Exhibition was held at the Corn Exchange, Market Buildings, Maidstone when Mr M. P. Cook gave a simultaneous display against 16 opponents. He won 14, drew 1 and lost 1.

Maidstone won the Stevenson Cup (for the third time) in 1970.

Also, by 1970 the club had a new venue at the Old Palace (now Archbishop's Palace), Bishops Way, Maidstone. The Club Champion in 1970 & 1971 was Mr D. H. Young.

In 1972 the Club Champion was Mr M. B. Flannery.

End Twentieth Century

End Twentieth Century: 1975 to 1999

 
On 17 November 1978, it was reported in the ‘Kent Messenger’ that Maidstone Chess Club member Simon Taylor, 13 (the Kent Under 14 champion), is among the team meeting Russian Alexander Kotov, on Sunday. The grandmaster will be playing the 12 games simultaneously.

Bob Lane (who joined the club in 1976) became Treasurer in 1979 (and currently still holds this post). On 30 October 1979, it was reported in ‘The Gazette’ that membership rose to 60 last season after an average of about 45 in the previous five years. The club’s youngest player is David Alizade, 10, and one of the club’s oldest players is the President, Mr H. Francis Reed M.B.E., 79.

Mr J. A. Dodgson joined the club in 1980. At that time, the club championship had four qualifying sections or ‘preliminary groups’. Mr A. Chan won Group ‘A’ with 6/9; Dave Tame won Group ‘B’ with 6½/8; Simon Taylor won Group ‘C’ with 6/6; John Dodgson and Hugh Tassell jointly won Group ‘D’ with 6½/7 (John winning the playoff). In the Final, John won with 3/3, and consequently became Club Champion in 1981. John also won (jointly) the Club Championship in 1982.

The Players Trophy was donated by Alan Beesley as a parting gift to the club in 1982 (the event is a 5-round Swiss tournament, and entry is by invitation). The first winner was Mr C. I. Howell. Chris also won in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 (jointly with Mr D. A. Wood), 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1999. Additionally, there is the Players Trophy Qualifier, which is awarded to the “B” player with the best result in this tournament. The earliest recorded winner is Mr J. M. Allan in 1993. In 1982 the Club Champion was Mr C. I. Howell (jointly with Mr J. A. Dodgson). Chris also won in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1994. Additionally Chris was March Captain from 1982 to 1996.

In 1984 the club had a new venue at the Old House At Home PH, 10 Pudding Lane, Maidstone, before moving again in 1985 to The Fishers Arms PH, 22 Scott Street, Maidstone.     

The Reed Memorial Shield (which is awarded to the highest scoring ‘B’ player champion in the Club Championship), was created in memory of Mr H. F Reed M.B.E., who joined the club in 1919; was Club Champion in 1924; played on board 6 in the winning County Cup team in 1956; was President by 1961 (which he retained until at least 1979). In his will, he left a legacy of £200 to the club, which in 1988 was used to purchase the Reed Memorial Shield (replacing the Reed Cup). The first winners were Mr J. R. Wood & Mr P. J. D. Taylor.

In 1985 the President was John Fox (also known as Mr O. J. Fox), and the Secretary was Peter Eldridge.

In 1986, Simon Bibby became the first player from the club to be selected to play for England (in the U11’s team).

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the fourth time) in 1988, beating Gravesend by 3½-2½. The team consisted of: M. D. Sadler, I. R. Watson, D. A. Wood, M. P. Cook, A. I. Armstrong, Dr. K. J. Verney, C. I. Howell and P. J. O’Donovan. Note that Matthew Sadler became an International Master in 1988, a Grandmaster in 1995, and British Champion in 1995 and 1997 (jointly with Michael Adams), and last played for the club in 1998. Mr I. R. Watson (as a Maidstone player) was the County Individual ‘Open’ Champion in 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998. (N.B. As a Canterbury player, Ian won in 1981 and 1986). Also in 1988 the Club Champion was Mr I. R. Watson (jointly with Mr P. J. O’Donovan). Ian also won in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 (jointly with Mr D. A. Munford), 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2014. In the National Clubs Championship 1988 ‘Major’ we won the Plate. Chris Howell played in the 1988 Folkestone Congress. Subsequently, in the September 1990 issue of ‘Chess Moves’ published by the BCF, John Littlewood’s game of the month was between Chris Howell (Maidstone) and Ron Pearce (Swindon), when Chris lost (game plus commentary published). In 1988 the Secretary was Stephen Webb.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the fifth time) in 1989, beating Gravesend by 3½-2½. The team consisted of: M. D. Sadler, I. R. Watson, N. I. Fox, M. P. Cook, S. J. Pullinger, C. I. Howell, Dr. K. J. Verney and A. I. Armstrong. In 1989 the Reynolds Cup was won by Paul O’Donovan, who scored 12 points from 15 games. A newsletter ‘Maidstone Chess Club’ (No. 1 in 1989, and No. 2 in 1990) was published, edited by Nicholas Mackett and Chris Howell. Newsletter No. 1 includes the score of the County Cup game, played in the final on Board 1 @ Dartford in May 1989, where I. R. Watson (from Maidstone) beat IM N. R. McDonald (from Gravesend).

Maidstone Chess Club organised Congresses (with Open, Major, Minor and Junior sections), from 1990 to 1999.

Maidstone II won the Lewis Cup (for the second time) in 1991.

In 1992 Maidstone was now a sufficiently strong club, that we entered 2 teams in the County Cup. The first team won the County Cup (for the sixth time). The team consisted of: M. D. Sadler, C. G. Ward, C. M. Cooley, I. R. Watson, A. I. Armstrong, C. I. Howell, M. P. Cook and D. A. Munford. Note that Chris Ward became an International Master in 1990, a Grandmaster in 1996, and British Champion in 1996. He last played for the club in 1998. Also in 1992 the club moved to a new venue at the Maidstone Leisure Centre, Willow Way, Maidstone.

In 1993 Maidstone was still a sufficiently strong club, that we again entered 2 teams in the County Cup. The first team won the County Cup (for the seventh time), beating Charlton on board count. The team consisted of: M. D. Sadler, C. G. Ward, C. M. Cooley, I. R. Watson, C. I. Howell, P. J. O’Donovan, J. M. Allan and S. J. Pullinger. Maidstone V won the En Passant Cup (for the first time) in 1993, beating Charlton. Also, we participated in the European Club Cup in 1993 @ Barcelona, Spain on 1-3 October. The squad consisted of Chris Ward, John Emms, Chris Cooley, Ian Watson, Chris Howell, Paul O’Donovan, Lyndon Gurr, Jeffrey Titmas and Paul Fenn. We beat Bohemians Prague (Czech Republic champions), and finished 6th out of 8 in our group. Mr I. R. Watson gave a simultaneous display at Maidstone Leisure Centre on 22 September 1993.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the eighth time) in 1994. The team consisted of: A. S. Ivanov, C. G. Ward, J. M. Emms, I. R. Watson, N. F. Dickenson, S. Bibby, C. I. Howell and M. E. Taylor. Note that Alexey Ivanov was an International Master; he last played for the club in 1995. Also John Emms became an International Master in 1990, and a Grandmaster in 1995, and last played for the club in 1995. Maidstone IV won the Stevenson Cup (for the fourth time) in 1994, beating Kilndown. In the National Clubs Championship 1994 ‘Major’ we won the Plate, beating Prescott and Knotty Ash by 3½-1½. Also, we participated in the European Club Cup in 1994 @ Eupen, Belgium on 14-16 October. The squad consisted of John Emms, Chris Ward, Ian Watson, Neil Dickenson, Simon Bibby, Chris Howell, Paul Fenn, Jeffrey Titmas, Marcus Taylor and Jeremy Knowles.  We started well with a win against the Danish Champions Aarhus, helped by crucial wins from Dickenson and Fenn. This was only the second time an English team had won a round in the European Cup, and Aarhus were the victims the other time as well.  Round 2 brought the inevitable: Bayern Munich (Germany), with 2500-ish GMs at the bottom end.  Emms and Ward drew with Hubner and Yusupov but it was downhill from there.

Maidstone III won the Lewis Cup (for the third time) in 1995, and Maidstone VIII won the Tom Fuller Cup (for the first time), beating Sidcup 1 on board count. In the National Clubs Championship 1995 ‘Rapidplay’ final, we beat Warwick University by 3½-4½. At the AGM, held on 20 September 1995, it was noted that the President, Dave Tame (who was a member of the club from 1957 to 2004) would stand down next year. We participated in the European Club Cup in 1995 @ Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic on 15-17 September. The squad consisted of Matthew Sadler, John Emms, Chris Ward, Alexey Ivanov, Chris Cooley, Ian Watson, Steve Giddins, Neil Dickerson, David Powell, Paul O’Donovan and Chris Howell. We beat Lyon (France) in Round 1 by 6-0 (by default). In Round 2 we lost to Rishon-le-Zion (Israel) by 1½-4½. In the 3rd place play-off, we beat Tampere (Finland) by 3½-2½, and finished third (at the time, the best ever finish for a British club)!

Maidstone V won the En Passant Cup (for the second time) in 1996, beating Charlton V by 3½-2½, and Maidstone VII won the Tom Fuller Cup (for the second time), beating Danson II by 3½-½. In the National Clubs Championship 1996 ‘Rapidplay’ we won again, beating Keynsham by 7½-½. The new President in 1996 was Chris Howell. We participated in the European Club Cup on 30 August to 1 September 1996 in Thessaloniki, Greece. In Round 1 we played the hosts Dei Makadonias-Thrake (Greece), winning 3½-2½. In Round 2 we had the misfortune to draw the eventual winners, the all-GM New Siberia (Russia) team, losing 4½-1½. In Round 3, we then beat Allschwil (Switzerland) 3½-2½ in the third-place play-off. We therefore repeated last year’s performance by coming third. In the London Junior championships held in December 1996, Peter Titmas won the Under-12 tournament with scores of 8½/9.

Maidstone V won the Harvey Cup (for the first time) in 1997, beating Rainham IV (the team consisted of: Steve Mills, Peter Titmas, David Ho, Len Hammond, Amir Habibi and Hamid Habibi. Steve and Amir won; Peter, David and Len all drew and Hamid lost). In the National Clubs Championship 1997 ‘Open’ we won the Plate, beating Atherton by 3½-2½.

In 1998, it was reported in the ‘Kent Messenger’ that Maidstone Chess Club member Thomas Sharp, aged 10 competed against 16 youngsters (aged up to 18) in the Saitek UK Chess Championship staged at Olympia, London, and was presented with £200 by TV Gladiator Scorpio. On 24 April 1998, it was reported in ‘Kent Messenger’ that a simultaneous display was given on 8 April 1998 by former British Chess champion Matthew Sadler, who played 13 members of Maidstone Chess Club games simultaneously, and managed to beat them all in a tournament lasting an hour and a half. It was also reported that Maidstone Chess Club have about 50 members, including three Grandmasters and two International Masters. In the 1998 County Cup, Maidstone again put out 2 teams. In the finals, Maidstone won the County Cup (for the ninth time), which was played @ Sevenoaks, where we beat Charlton. The team consisted of: M. D. Sadler, C. G. Ward, I. R. Watson, N. F. Dickenson, C. M. Cooley, C. R. Chandler, C. I. Howell and M. D. Noakes. On 12 May 1998, it was reported in the ‘Maidstone Borough News’ that Maidstone Chess Club member Nicholas Atkins, aged 12, took part in a national chess championship organised by the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools. The new President in 1998 was Ian Watson. We participated in the European Club Cup in 1998 @ Bred in Holland on 18-20 September. The squad (as Invicta Knights Maidstone) for the preliminary rounds consisted of Matthew Sadler, Jon Speelman, Chris Ward, Neil McDonald, Andrew Ledger, Daniel Gormally, Neil Dickerson, Ian Watson, James Vigus and Chris Cooley. We finished second in our group, our best ever result! On 27 October 1998, it was reported in ‘The Times’ that David Howell, aged 7, had won a game in the 1998 Maidstone ‘Open’ Congress, organised by Maidstone Chess Club, and published the game.

In the 1999 County Cup, Maidstone again put out 2 teams. Maidstone won the County Cup (for the tenth time), which was played on 30 May @ Sevenoaks, where we beat Lewisham. The team consisted of: N. R. McDonald, I. R. Watson, C. R. Chandler, C. M. Cooley, N. F. Dickenson, C. I. Howell, L. R. Gurr and D. H. Powell. Note that Neil McDonald became an International Master in 1986, and a Grandmaster in 1996. He last played for the club in 2002. Maidstone II won the Lewis Cup (for the fourth time) in 1999, beating Rainham (6-0 by default). This was because the Rainham team decided that they'd rather watch Gillingham play Manchester City at Wembley in the Football League Second Division playoff final. Gillingham were 2-0 up with 8 minutes to go but eventually lost on penalties.
Honorary Life Membership awarded to Matthew Sadler, Christopher Ward and Michael Cook. Lastly, a new Players Trophy (to replace the original from 1982) was donated by Chris Howell and Ian Watson.

 

Early Twenty-first Century

Early Twenty-first Century: 2000 to 2013

In 2000, Maidstone again put out 2 teams in the County Cup, but neither got to the final. Maidstone III won the Lewis Cup (for the fifth time) at Sevenoaks on 21 May 2000, beating Beckenham & Bromley by 1½-4½.

Lewis Cup Final: Beckenham & Bromley v Maidstone
O. J. N. Cooley 1 0 D. R. Heath
Default 0 1 A. N. Kissoon
F. Percival ½ ½ T. T. Goodwin
R. B. Hobell 0 1 P. M. Titmas
A. V. H. Sands 0 1 R. E. Lane
A. H. Heard 0 1 S. C. Mills
Totals: Beckenham & Bromley 1½ Maidstone 4½

Also Maidstone VII won the Tom Fuller Cup (for the third time), beating Charlton 1-3.

Tom Fuller Cup Final: Charlton v Maidstone
J. E. Smith ½ ½ D. Creasey
A. D. Reuter ½ ½ B. F. Stock
D. Wood 0 1 H. Habibi
C. Cheeseman 0 1 K. E. Dale
Totals: Charlton 1 Maidstone 3

The Club Champion was Mr D. A. Munford (jointly with Mr I. R. Watson). David also won in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013. The Junior Cup (awarded to the best performance by a player under 14 years) was last awarded in 2000 to Alvin Kissoon.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the eleventh time) on 20 May 2001 @ Sevenoaks, beating Beckenham & Bromley (on board count).

County Cup Final: Beckenham & Bromley v Maidstone
IM D. W. Gormally ½ ½ GM N. R. McDonald
P.P. Taylor 0 1 C. R. Chandler
N. S. W. Alfred 0 1 I. R. Watson
A. J. Bigg 1 0 D. H. Powell
I. Snape 1 0 P. D. Fenn
M. R. Ruston ½ ½ R. E. Lane
Totals: Beckenham & Bromley 3 Maidstone 3

The team consisted of: N. R. McDonald, C. R. Chandler, I. R. Watson, C. M. Cooley, C. I. Howell, T. T. Godwin & R. E. Lane. Also Maidstone won the 2001 Summer Quickplay on 18 February 2002, beating Tunbridge Wells 9½-6½. David Heath became Secretary in 2001, a position he still holds in 2016.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the twelfth time) at Sevenoaks on 19 May 2002, beating Lewisham 4-2. The team consisted of: N. R. McDonald, I. R. Watson, C. R. Chandler, C. I. Howell, D. H. Powell, D. A. Munford, P. M. Titmas & P. D. Fenn. Also Maidstone won the 2002 Summer Quickplay, beating Hastings 11-5.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the thirteenth time) at Sevenoaks on 18 May 2003, beating Lewisham 3½-2½. The team consisted of: C. R. Chandler, I. R. Watson, D. H. Powell, C. I. Howell, M. R. Taylor, A. M. Stille, D. A. Munford & T. T. Godwin. Mr C. R. Chandler was the County Individual ‘Open’ Champion in 2003, 2005 & 2009.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the fourteenth time) at Sevenoaks on 16 May 2004 @ Sevenoaks, beating Lewisham 3½-2½.

County Cup Final: Maidstone v Lewisham
M. R. Taylor 0 1 J. Naylor
I. R. Watson ½ ½ A. L. Mack
C. R. Chandler 1 0 A. M. Harakis
D. H. Powell 1 0 G. Botley
B. Beavis 1 0 M. M. Robertson
R. E. Lane 0 1 C. B. Rice
Totals: Maidstone 3½ Lewisham 2½

The team consisted of: M. R. Taylor, I. R. Watson, C. R. Chandler, D. H. Powell, B. Beavis, R. E. Lane, P. M. Titmas & A. M. Stille. Mr M. R. Taylor was the County Individual ‘Open’ Champion in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013.

In 2005 Anthony D Gregory was the Kent U-14 Champion, and Michael Turner the Kent U-12 Champion.

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the fifteenth time) in 2007 at Dartford on 20 May 2007, beating Beckenham & Bromley 5½-½. The team consisted of: C. M. Cooley, I. R. Watson, C. I. Howell, O. Gill, D. A. Munford, D. R. Heath, C. R. Chandler & R. E. Lane. Also, Maidstone IV won the Harvey Cup (for the second time), beating Petts Wood II 3½-2, (Maidstone incurred half-point overgrading penalty).

Maidstone II won the Lewis Cup (for the sixth time) in 2009 at Dartford on 10 May 2009, beating Rainham I by 3½-2½.

Lewis Cup Final: Maidstone v Rainham
P. A. Talsma 0 1 M. R. Taylor
C. I. Howell ½ ½ D. J. R. Barnes
O. Gill 1 0 E. Samaras
D. A. Munford 1 0 T. H. Stonehouse
D. R. Heath 0 1 A. C. Waters
I. J. Clark 1 0 B. Morrison
Totals: Maidstone 3½ Lewisham 2½

Also, Maidstone V won the Harvey Cup (for the third time), beating Petts Wood II by 3½-2½.

Harvey Cup Final: Maidstone v Petts Wood
J. M. Allan 0 1 S. Finlay
B. Beavis 1 0 G. H. Turner
R. C. Fenn 1 0 J. D. Burrell
G. E. Hollands 0 1 E. Isted
D. Creasey 1 0 P. Jones
B. F. Stock ½ ½ P Easthope
Totals: Maidstone 3½ Lewisham 2½

Additionally, the Len Hammond Memorial was created in 2009 in recognition of a well-liked member of both Maidstone & Snodland Chess Clubs, and involves an annual friendly match between Maidstone & Snodland. We beat Snodland in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013.

Maidstone VI won the Tom Fuller Cup (for the fourth time) in 2010 at Dartford on 9 May 2010, beating Weald of Kent III (on board count).

Maidstone won the County Cup (for the sixteenth time) at Dartford on 12 May 2013, beating Beckenham & Bromley (on board count).

County Cup Final: Beckenham & Bromley v Maidstone
I. L. Snape ½ ½ M. R. Taylor
J. E. Duggan ½ ½ C. R. Chandler
M. Prizant ½ ½ A. Mayhew
R. Shiatis 0 1 P. A. Talsma
J. N. Briggs ½ ½ I. R. Watson
R. P. Selway 1 0 D. A. Munford
Totals: Beckenham & Bromley 3 Maidstone 3

The team consisted of: M. R. Taylor, C. R. Chandler, A. Mayhew, P. A. Talsma, I. R. Watson, D. A. Munford, D. R. Heath & R. E. Lane.

Also, Maidstone V won the Harvey Cup (for the fourth time), beating Snodland II by 1-5.

Harvey Cup Final: Snodland v Maidstone
David Fowler ½ ½ Bob Lane
David Lettington 0 1 Barry Beavis
Matt Gazes 0 1 Alan Riddoch
Neil Miners ½ ½ Ian Clark
Will Patch 0 1 Brian Stock
Default 0 1 Douglas Smith
Totals: Snodland 1 Maidstone 5