Scottish Championship 1935

The following reports are from various newspapers that covered the championships. Apart from details being given in the regular weekly columns, additional reports were filed during the week of the event. Some reports have been abridged.

Glasgow Herald, Saturday, April 20, 1935 – regular weekly column (edited by D.M. MacIsaac)

The 48 th annual congress of the Scottish Chess Association opens on Monday in the Education Offices, 21-22 Union Terrace, Aberdeen , when the Scottish and the Scottish Ladies' Championship tournaments will be played. This is the first time the event has been held in Aberdeen , but the enthusiastic support of the Bon-Accord CC has been rewarded with good entries, and a successful meeting is assured.

On Monday at 2.30 the annual meeting of the Association will be held. On the following afternoon a lightning knock-out handicap will be played, for which entries will be received at the congress. Two rounds of the tournaments will be played each day, from p a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 5.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

There were ten entries for the championship, but illness has caused the withdrawal of T.R. Harvey, Islay and Bon-Accord CC, and J. Creevey, Aberdeen . As has been known for some time, the holder, W.A. Fairhurst, will not defend his title, as he is to play in the premier tourney at Margate .

The eight who will play are:—Miss M.D. Gilchrist, J.M. Aitken, R.F. Combe, Dr R.C. Macdonald, J.B. McGibbon, W.R.D. McNaughton, G. Page and L.N. Ponce. An unusually interesting contest should take place on account of the quality of the players. It is many years since a Scottish championship was played where the odds were so much against a correct guess as to who should win.

  The Competitors

The most interesting entry is that of Dr Macdonald, Inverness , who returns to the fray after a lapse of a few years. Dr Macdonald was champion in 1901, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1927, and 1928. The only other previous winner taking part is G. Page, Edinburgh, who was champion in 1925. Miss Gilchrist, Edinburgh , is woman champion of Britain . W.R.D. McNaughton, formerly of Perth CC and Central CC, has made good scores in previous tournaments, but has not competed for several years.

Of the younger players only L.N. Ponce competes for the first time. Mr Ponce, who is the Ecuador consul in Glasgow , was champion of Quito in 1930. J.M. Aitken, Lochgelly, plays top board for Oxford University . R.F. Combe had the valuable experience of playing for Scotland in the team tournament at Folkestone, 1933, but has had little practice since then because of his studies at Aberdeen University. J.B. McGibbon, who entered the front rank of players about two years ago, gives Fairhurst a harder game than any local player.


Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday, April 23, 1935, p9.
Standing, from left: unknown; Combe; unknown; Aitken; Ponce.
Seated: McNaughton (left) v Page (round 2).
The pairing in the Women's Championship in round 2 were:
Mrs Mill-Mrs Brockett
Mrs Ritchie-Miss Kessen
Miss Crum had a bye.

Aberdeen , Monday

A disappointment was the non-arrival of Dr R.C. Macdonald, the veteran Inverness player and six times Scottish champion in the past, whose game in the first round was scored by default to his opponent, J.M. Aitken.

The annual meeting of the Association, held in the afternoon, appointed as president Professor Barger, Edinburgh , and accepted an invitation from Edinburgh CC to hold the next congress at their rooms at a date to be arranged later.

  Aberdeen , Wednesday

The withdrawal, on doctor's orders, of R.F. Combe and notice of withdrawal from Dr R.C. Macdonald led to both players' scores being cancelled. [Combe had completed only his 1 st round game, a draw, and had two unfinished games.] This gave J.M. Aitken, who is leading, a bye, but he kept first place with 2½ points out of a possible 3.

 From the Aberdeen Press and Journal, Friday, April 26, 1935

Mr Aitken, of Lochgelly, Fifeshire, is the new Scottish chess champion.

Scottish ch 1935 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1. J.M. Aitken 1 1 1 1 ½
2 G. Page 0 1 ½ ½ 1 3
3. J.B. McGibbon 0 0 ½ 1 1
4. L.N. Ponce 0 ½ ½ ½ 1
5. Miss M.D. Gilchrist 0 ½ 0 ½ ½
6. W.R.D. McNaughton ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1

 The Scottish Chess Congress at Aberdeen was brought to a close yesterday forenoon when three games remained to be played.

In the Scottish Championship, Miss Gilchrist who, incidentally, is the British ladies champion, faced Mr Page, the champion of 1925. Mr Aitken and Mr McGibbon, neither having previously won, apposed each other in the deciding game. Mr Aitken, however, only required to draw to become holder of the trophy. Naturally, this game created most interest among the spectators, the other game fixing, at the best, the second and third prize-winners. [There is a little more to it than that; if McGibbon had beaten Aitken, and Page had defeated Miss Gilchrist, there would have been a triple tie for first place. A.McGowan .]

…Mr Aitken, playing carefully and defensively enough to get the draw he needed, gradually established a superiority in position and, having a pawn to the good, by way of material advantage, brought about Mr McGibbon's resignation…

Miss Gilchrist and Mr Page, after playing nearly eighty moves, each agreed a draw, and the chess congress came to an end.

Mr Aitken, the Scottish champion, is a B.A. of Oxford, and besides having obviously a strong natural gift for the game, owes perhaps a considerable amount of his skill to the practice he gets among the strong English players.

His father is Church of Scotland minister of Lochgelly, and Mr Aitken has resided there for nearly twenty years, but has played no club chess in Scotland . He is, however, captain of the Oxford chess team.

Winding-Up Dinner

A pleasing climax to the Congress was reached at the Athenaeum Restaurant, where Dr R.F. Twort, the president—who is also president of the Bon-Accord Chess Club—entertained the players to an informal dinner.

The doctor presided over a party of twenty-six, who enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The champions were toasted in a humorous speech by the chairman to which Mr Aitken and Miss Crum [who won the Ladies' championship] responded, and a varied programme was engaged in.

The players all agreed that Aberdeen had made the Congress a notable one.


At the dinner given in the Royal Athenaeum, Aberdeen, by Dr R. Twort. Seated, l-r: J.M. Aitken (Scottish Champion), Miss Crum, and Dr Twort.
Standing: far left is possibly McNaughton; far right is Ponce, third from right is Page, and next to him may be McGibbon.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, Friday, April 26, 1935, p8.

Compiled by:
Alan McGowan
Historian/archivist, Chess Scotland

Updated 30/4/2020