History

The West London Chess Club was founded in 1893 by the Reverend James Thomas Chipperfield Chatto (MA)[. It appears to have had a shaky start: On 26th September 1893, a new club calling itself the Hammersmith Chess Club was reportedly formed from the remnants of the West London Club then in April/May 1896, the club changed its name back to West London Chess Club at a general meeting chaired by Dr. Thornton. The vote was unanimous and as far as records show, the name has remained since. J.T.C. Chatto also produced the Amateur Chess Magazine from 1872 onwards -nearly 10 years before the arrival of the BCM. He left the club at the end of May 1897 [to become the Vicar of East Kennett in Wiltshire, then in 1900 he became the rector of Blunston St. Andrew (slightly further north) until his death in 1907. He retained the Presidency until 1898, when it was taken over by Mr Atherley-Jones QC MP. Other founding members were Mr. W.E. Blunt (Vice-President), C. Woollacott and K. Arnst who were also strong players for the club at this time.

With the membership of P.W. Sergeant, R.P. Michell and Ralph the club elevated itself to become one of the top clubs in London. By 1898, the club had won its way into division A of the London League. The club was again fortunate when the North Kensington Chess Club disbanded and some of its top players joined West London, adding 5 strong players to the team lineup (including their top player) Then during World War II very few clubs remained open, but thanks to the determination of the officers, West London persevered and invited players from other clubs to play. This brought more strong players to the club, including the likes of Jacques Mieses, Vera Menchick, Sir George Thomas and briefly, Capablanca. In February 1944, the British Women's Champion Elaine Saunders joined the club and for a short time, the Women's World Champion, British Champion and London Champion (Mdlle. Amez-Droz) were all members at the same time.

The club has had its ups and downs over the century and during that time, records and other important sources of information have gone missing. The current club committee are putting effort into reconstructing as much of WLCC's history as possible. The intention is to have all the material displayed on this Web site. If you have any books, magazines, papers or other material that mentions West London Chess Club, please notify the club secretary. Back-issues of the British Chess Magazine and BCF Yearbooks are likely to contain some relevant information. We are also looking for match results prior to the year 2003.

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Andy Hayler,
9 Sep 2014, 09:21
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