Hastings 1895 - H. F. Cheshire

batgirl
batgirl
Aug 22, 2008, 6:17 PM |
2

      The book of The Hastings Chess Tournament 1895 was edited by Horace F. Cheshire.  If his name doesn't ring a bell, it's probably because the reader isn't familiar with English chess around the turn of the 20th century where his name comes up on occassion.

     Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club, a joint venture of two small coastal villages, Hastings and St. Leonards-on-Sea, was founded at a meeting  ". . .held at the Albert Temperance Hotel, Queens Road, Hastings on Wednesday 28th June 1882."  Horace Fabian Cheshire was the first club champion (1883). Five years later the club took up residence at the Queen's Hotel in Hastings.  That was 1887, the second time that H. F. Cheshire won the club championship. He won it again in 1890 and 1894. The Queen's Hotel in Hastings was the venue of the famous 1895 tournament hosted by the Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club.
      Cheshire, who was born in September 1854, becoming the Borough Analyst for Hastings in 1881,  also edited a chess column from 1882-83 in the Hastings and St. Leonards Chronicle. According to The Medical Times and Gazette 1881, "Horace Fabian Cheshire, FCS,  [was] appointed Analyst for the Borough : salary £75 per annum."

     In 1911 Cheshire self-published a book entitled, "Goh or Wei Chi."  This is most intriguing since it puts Cheshire in the forefront of the introduction of Go to England. According to this review of his book on Go:
          Horace Cheshire was a well-known Chess author from Hastings. 
          It seems he started playing [Go] around 1880 and published his book 
          "Goh or Wei-Chi" in 1911. It seems he knew some of the Japanese 
          in the UK and a Professor Komatsubara writes the introduction; 
          also quoted are Chinese sources. It seems also that by 1911 
          Go was played at Hastings Chess Club. He also advertises Go sets 
          for sale and obviously had contacts at the Japanese Embassy. 
          His book is the first substantial English Go book.

Goh or Wei-Chi has 157 pp., 21 diagrams, 4 plates, 12 illustrative games.

Another reviewer claims:
          It is one of the very early works in English that allows the reader
          to actually learn the game. . . The author states that he was
          using Japanese and Chinese sources, which is kind of unusual
          at that time.

That same reviewer continues with this description:
          Horace F. Cheshire [his portrait is shown on the frontispiece],
          "F.I.C., B.Sc., Lecturer to the Japan Society (London), 
          Hastings Chess Club, Turnbridge Wells Chess Congress 1911, 
          Editor of the Hasting Tournament Book 1895, Author of 
          "Sociable Chess", etc."was obviously inspired to this book by a
          demonstration of two "Japanese experts" at the Hastings 
          Chess Club on January 6th, 1911. He mentions that a demonstration
          board on the wall was used there and an exhibition game 
          between the two experts took place on an original Go board 
          (with legs), lent by the Japanese Consul General.

          Remarkably, the author states that he "played this game with
           considerable pleasure for over thirty years" [i.e. since at 
          least 1881. This would make him one of the first Westerners 
          to have actually played Go!]. Nevertheless, being a keen chess
           player, he writes about Go:    "
It perhaps  never will take 
          the place of our evergreen chess with its infinite variety, 
          but it should at least make a very worthy companion
."

The book, Britain and Japan, 1859-1991 By Hugh Cortazzi, Gordon Daniels confirms this demonstration (with a different date) and adds a few more details:
          On 15 March  1911 Mr. Horace F. Cheshire spoke on 
          "The Japanese Game of Go."  He saw no reason why the game 
          should not be played  very generally in Europe.  After the 
          lecture a demonstration game of Go was then  played on 
          the blackboard by two Japanese professors and a Miss Utagawa 
          gave a selection on koto music.


 some background information came from the Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club site