Liverpool Chess Club is a diamond hidden deep in the history of the city of Liverpool today which was once a colossus in the world of chess and of grand significance amongst Liverpool’s elite and upper classes of the 19th Century.
The picture above is from 30th November 1889 at Liverpool Chess Club in City Buildings on Eberle Street, Liverpool showing JH Blackburn playing blindfold against 6 members of Liverpool chess club
BackRow: Mr Harris, Mr B Barber, Rev H.H.Higgins, Mr C.H. Cox, Mr Formby, Mr A Burn, Rev J.Owen, Mr J.Gallagher, Mr Wellington, Mr Kaizer, Mr J Lister, Mr Ellis, Mr Powell
Front Row: Mr R.K. Leather, Mr A Meyers, Mr W.Clissold, Mr H Bennett, Mr G Whitehead, Mr Charney, Mr Howard, Mr J.H.Blackburne, Dr Sinclair
Although founded on 15th December 1837 in the Lyceum building in Bold Street, there are records which demonstrate that chess was prominent in Liverpool long before this. The Liverpool Mercury newspaper ran a chess column to meet the demand in Liverpool from at least 1815 and there are records of a match between Liverpool and Manchester Chess Club in 1822.
The club is one of, if not the oldest existing chess club in the England today although a number of other clubs were founded before 1837. In 1892 Liverpool was seen to be the largest chess club in the world with 150 members most of whom were Liverpool’s gentry, business men, doctors, lawyers, clergy and politicians.
Throughout its existence Liverpool Chess Club has boasted many world class players who have played on the highest stages of chess in the world. From Amos Burn who was ranked world number 2 in 1876 behind William Steinitz through to recent decades where the likes of John Littlewood and Gerald Abrahams and many others were well known contenders throughout the chess hierarchy.
Such has been the reputation of the club throughout its existence that it has managed to attract visits from many of the world’s greatest names in chess from Harawitz, Steinitz, Blackburne, Bird, Lasker to Keres, Botvinnik, Spassky, Smyslov and Tal.
JS Edgar – Club Librarian for many years has written a book on the history of Liverpool Chess club from 1837 to 1892. The book (pictured below) can be viewed by clicking on the JS Edgar Book link below . There is a copy of the book in the club library today
Liverpool Chess History Links can be viewed here
19th Century Players
20th Century Players
21st Century Players