CLUB HISTORY


Beginnings

Lanark Chess Club is one of the oldest of Scotland's chess clubs, having been in continuous existence for more than sixty six years. The Club was founded on 10th November 1944 when a group of about 15 people who were interested in chess met at the Bonnington Hotel in the town. This inaugural meeting was chaired by Dr. D. V. Maxwell Adams, who was elected the Club's first President. The annual subscription was set at 5 shillings (25 pence)!

By the Club's first AGM on 23 March 1945 it had 26 adult members and 7 junior members. At that meeting a decision on a proposal to purchase equipment (members had been bringing their own boards and sets) was deferred until chess equipment, which was expensive and in short supply because of the war, became cheaper and more plentiful.

The members of the Club's committee for the 1950-51 season bought and presented a cup to the Club, which became the club championship trophy. The cup is still played for today, some 60 years later.

W A Fairhurst visit

A highlight of Lanark Chess Club's early years was a visit by W. A. Fairhurst, 11 times Scottish chess champion (the most often any player has won the event) and once British chess champion, who gave a simultaneous display on 18th October 1946, winning all 18 games played.

Competitions

The Club played its first match in February 1945, a friendly against the chess club from the nearby town of Biggar, which Lanark narrowly won by 4 points to 3.

In 1947 the Club played two matches against German prisoners of war, suffering heavy defeats on both occasions.

Lanark Chess Club was a founder member of the South Lanarkshire Chess League, which was set up in 1950, and is the only one of the original clubs still in existence. The club has won the Lanarkshire League on several occasions, most recently achieving a 'hat trick', winning in 2008, 2009 and 2010, then adding a fourth consecutive win in 2011.

The Club has played in many competitions over the years including the Spens Cup and the Campbell Rosebowl, winning the latter in 2005. In 2005 we decided to play in the Scottish National League and joined in Division 3, winning promotion to Division 2 in 2008 but, sadly, being demoted again in 2010.

The Club's most successful years so far were probably in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some young members from that period went on to become strong players and one served Scottish chess as International Director and the international team's non-playing captain.

60th Anniversary - Paul Motwani visit

The club celebrated its 60th anniversary on 1 May 2004 when, mirroring the Fairhurst event, GM Paul Motwani, undoubtedly the outstanding Scottish player of his generation (Scotland's first grandmaster, 7 times Scottish champion, runner up in the 2003 British Championships, World under 17 champion in 1978) came to Lanark to give a talk and play a simultaneous exhibition. The event was held in the Memorial Hall and was formally opened by South Lanarkshire Council's Depute Provost Mary McNeill. Paul played 27 club members and guests, and won all of the games!

The Future

At 65+ years of age and with some good junior players, Lanark Chess Club is looking forward with confidence to many more years as the centre for chess in the district.