Scottish Boys' Championship

The very successful Edinburgh Ladies' Chess Club organised a Girls' tournament, which ran between 1927 and 1938.

Perhaps embarrassed by this, the Scottish Chess Association began a Boys' event in 1931. It was a struggle to secure entries in the early years of this competition, as can be seen from some of the reports below. (The worst example being 1936.)

Things slowly improved after WWII, and it is interesting to note with regards to the 1968 event that the recently formed Scottish Junior Chess Association thought that 14 entrants was disappointing!

1931 A. G. Burnett Other players: L. Gordon, J.C. Neil and A. Shepherd. All four were from Edinburgh.

Scottish Boys' 1931
1. A.G. Burnett
2. L. Gordon
3. J.C. Neil[l]
4. A. Shepherd

1932 A.A. Thomson (after a play-off with M.D. Thornton). Other players: G. Duffus; J. Lindsay Kerr (Glasgow); A. G. Burnett (Edinburgh); W. Donald; K. Malcolm; R. M'Cheyne; T. M'Cheyne; J. Orr (Paisley).

In 1932 Mrs Margaret Gibson offered a trophy in memory of her late husband William Gibson. This became the trophy for the Scottish Boys' Championship.

1933 A.G. Burnett and A.A. Thomson (Shared) There were only these two players in the event. They played a match of eight games, resulting in an equal score. It was suggested that they be entered as joint holders of the Gibson Cup, a trophy presented to the Scottish Chess Association by the widow of William Gibson, a nine-time Scottish champion.

1934 A. G. Burnett (after a play-off with A.A. Thomson). The same two players as in the previous year came out on top with 5 points each. This time, it was decided that the tie should be played-off, and Burnett, with the white pieces, won the deciding game. Other players: R. Brown and N. Roy Grist.

1935 No competition?

1936 G. Will The event was 'held' in Edinburgh as part of the 49th annual congress of the Scottish Chess Association, which opened on December 30, 1935. The Glasgow Herald of Saturday, December 28, 1935 reported that the Boys' Championship and Gibson Cup "are taken by George Will, Glasgow, the only player to enter."

1937 Gerald Piercy (sometimes incorrectly shown as Piercey). Initially, there were three entries for this event, the other being G. Will and J.P. Herd. Herd withdrew, resulting in the two remaining being placed in the Minor Tournament of the SCA Congress, held in December 1936 and January 1937. Later in the year, the contest was resolved with Piercy winning. (It is not clear if it was just between him and G. Will.) Piercy attended Shawlands Secondary School in Glasgow.

1938 Gerald Piercy There were three participants, the others being G. Hogarth and R.A.L. Finlay, both of Edinburgh. The holder, G. Piercy, easily retained the title with four wins (double round).

R.A.L. Finlay of George Watson's College, Edinburgh.
Photo: Dundee Courier, 16 April 1938, p6.

1939 Gerald Piercy (after a play-off with G.D. Campbell). Other entrants were J. Semple, J.R. Mackenzie, C. Milne, A Murphy and G. Milne.

1940-45 No contest

1946 U. Jackson There were only four entries for this year's event, held at the Christian Institute in Glasgow. Uriah Jackson, a pupil at Queen's Park School and Griffin CC member and Ian Middleton tied for first with 5 points each from six games (double-round), followed by Allan Sinclair with 2 points and John A. Jackson (no relation to the winner) with 0. U. Jackson won the play-off match Middleton 2½-1½.
The photo below shows John Jackson (in kilt) playing Uriah Jackson. In the background, Ian Middleton (with scarf) is playing Allan Sinclair.
Photo courtesy of John Jackson.

1947 I. Middleton Seven players took part, with Ian Middleton of Aberdeen winning the decisive last round game against J.A. Jackson of Glasgow. The SCA Year-Book for 1948 gives the scores as Middleton 5½ points, ahead of Jackson 5, I.C. Kirkwood 4½, Roy Smart 3, D. Smart 2, D.Rrennie 1 and W. Beharrie 0. The last named player lost three games by default. The BCM 1947, p 183 states there were eight players, and shows a different point score for the leading players. Perhaps a withdrawal is the reason for the conflicting scores.

1948 J.A. Jackson and I.C. Kirkwood (Shared) Played in two sections, each with six entrants.
Section 'A'
: John A. Jackson 4; Roy Robertson 4; Robert Donald 3; Gilmour Kerr 2; Malcolm Stuart 1; R.W. Watkins 1.
Section 'B': Ian C. Kirkwood 4½; Robert J. Ross 3½; James Allan 3; Alistair Gilvray 3; Derek Nimmo 1; Brian Mahoney 0.
A tie match of 3 games was played between Jackson and Kirkwood, resulting in one win each and one draw. Therefore, they were declared joint champions.

The photo below shows John Jackson with the trophy. Photo courtesy of John Jackson.

1949 James W.S. Allan (Girvan) Five players took part, including two with the same name. James Allan from Girvan (3½) won ahead of James C. Allan from Glasgow (3). Other scores: Ian C. Kirkwood 2½; Gilmour Kerr 1; R.A. Donald 0.

The Scotsman of 24 June 1950, p 5, reported that James W.S. Allan "is this year's dux of Girvan High School. He gained the prize in mathematics, science, and English. He is a son of Police Inspector and Mrs R. Allan, Constabulary House, Girvan."

James C. Allan of Shettleston, Glasgow
The Press and Journal, 16 April 1949, p. 4.

1950 J.J. Marsh There were ten entrants. Marsh scored 7½/9 to win ahead of R. Brown 7; M. Fallone 6½; J. C. Allan 6; F. Nicholson 4½; A.D. Bain, G.W. Kerr, and J.A. Paton all with 3; D.G. Weir 2½ and I. Morton 2.

1951 F.G.H. Nicholson There were only four entrants this year. Nicholson and D.G. Weir tied with 4½ points each, ahead of J. C. Allan (3) and G. Walker (0). Nicholson won the play-off.

1952 I. Morton Played in two sections. Section 'A': G.W. Kerr 6½; R. Smeeton 6; W. McLaughlin 5; D.G. Weir 4½; D. Kinsler 3; J. Allan 2; B.J. Roche 1; R.G. Falconer 0. Section 'B': I. Morton 5; M. Fallone 5; G. McGowan 4; J. McCurley 4½; E. Smeeton 4; J. McBrearty 2; J. Logue 1½; D. Black 1.
Iain Morton must have been declared the winner of his section, for it was he who played off against Kerr to take the title.

1953 W. McLaughlin who won all his games against the other four competitors R. Smeeton, M. Fallone, T. Gilligan and D. Foggie.

1954 No tournament? No mention of a Scottish Boys' Championship in the BCM and Chess.

1955 G. Dickson There were only two entries, so a match was played for the first three wins. George Dickson of Edinburgh beat Andrew Nicol of Aberdeen in straight games.

1956 No tournament?

1957 G. Bonner Six players took part, Gerald Bonner winning all of his games. J. Garland scored 4, D.R. Thomson 3, G.R.B. Skinner 2, J.E.R. Campbell 1 and J.G. Thomson 0.

1958 G. Bonner and D.R. Thomson (shared) Again there were six entrants, and again Gerald Bonner came out on top, though this time he had to share the top spot with Derek Thomson, both scoring 4½ points. They were followed by G.R.B. Skinner 2½, M. Ogston 2, G. Maxwell 1 and J.G. Thomson ½.

1959 A.H. Brown (after winning the play-off against M. Ogston).

1960 A. M. Davie There were six entrants to this year's competition, all of them living in the east and north east of the country. The event was held in Aberdeen. Four players scored 3 points: Davie, T. Cowling, F. Johnstone and P. Taylor. They were followed by M. Robinson with 2 and B. Morgan with 1.
Alexander Davie of Dundee won the play-off, defeating all of his opponents.

1961 K.B. McAlpine (after a play-off). McAlpine and last year's winner A.M. Davie tied with 7 points each from their 9 games.

1962 A.M. Davie Alexander Davie, winner in 1960 and losing finalist in 1961, wins again with a score of 7½/9.

Alexander Davie at Whitby, 1962.
Photo: Chess 1962, page 357.

1963 P.M. George Held in Glasgow, the event attracted six entries. The winner, Peter George, scored 4½/5 ahead of G. Hay 3, J. Brown 2½, J. Allan 2, W. Mallone 2 and F. McKenna 1.

1964 W. Kelly Twelve players made their way to Edinburgh this year, although none was from the Dundee or Aberdeen areas. The event was organised as a six round Swiss tournament, Kelly winning with a score of 5 points, ahead of J.M. Allan 4½, A.H. McIntosh 4, S. Hamilton 3½. Five players scored 3 points: J. Findlay, R. Forrester-Paton, J.A. Kay, J. Kennan and A. Taylor. The remaining scores were R. Gunkel 2, D.A. Brown and D. Dodds, both with 1.

1965 A. Taylor Eleven players took part in a seven round Swiss event. Allen Taylor of Rutherglen Academy was the winner with 6 points, drawing with R. Carden and A.M. Wallace and winning the others. Next was R.D. Waugh (Edinburgh) with 5½, J.M. Allan and R. Carden 4½, E. Cameron and A.M. Wallace 4, J.A. Kay and W. Leithead 3, D. Bogie, C.J.A. JOnes and B.G. Whyte 2½.

1966 R.D. Waugh The event was held in Falkirk and had ten entrants. The winner's score was 7½/9, made up of six wins and three draws. Then followed C. Chisholm 7, E.D. Gibson and C.J.A. Jones 5, G. Pyrich, S.G. McIntyre and E.S. Cameron 4½, K. Mitchell and T. Hamilton 3 and L.S. Young 1.
From SCA Bulletin Nr. 20 - "During the tournament Waugh, who was under the impression that he was in the Scottish Glorney Cup team, learned that he, in fact, was not and to overcome this and still win the tournament is an impressive performance from one of our top juniors."
The same publication considered the entry to be low, particularly because of the proximity to Glasgow.

1967 E. Holt and D.T. Marr shared the top spot with 5 points from seven games in a Swiss event of thirteen players. Others: C. Campbell, C.J.A. Jones and K.A. Mitchell 4½; T. Kinninmont 4; I. Brodie, E.S. Cameron and I. Mullen 3½; I. McNab 3; A.J.D. Baruch and P. Walsh 2½; R. Davidson and D. Heron 1½.

1968 D.J. May Fourteen players took part in a seven round Swiss system. All had qualified in competitions held during the previous year by the Scottish Junior Chess Association. Douglas May of Edinburgh won with 5½/7. Donald Smith, also of Edinburgh, scored 4. Others: A. Dawson and P.M. Giulian 4½; I. Wallace, I.B. Williamson and D. Findlay 4; C.J.A. Jones and R. Duffner 3½; D.C. Bentley and J. Taylor 3; M. Tyre 2 [Malcolm Tyre defaulted three games due to illness]; P Walsh 1½; R. Craik 1.
The SJCA managed to attract entries from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire.

1969 I. Sinclair Iain Sinclair, a Paisley schoolboy, took first place with 6 points from seven games.

1970 D. Itcovitz Ten players took part in the seven round Swiss system tournament, won by David Itcovitz of Edinburgh with a score of 5½. He was followed by G.W. Sharp and J. Rennie 5; A. Radlow 4; D.G. Sweeney 3½; R.R. Duffner 3; W.A. Marshall and A. Young 2½; J.C. Alexander and G. Brown 1½.

Scottish Boys' Championship 1970
Front, left to right: John Rennie, David Itcovitz, ?, ?
Middle, l-r: Richard Duffner, Graham Sharp, Andrew Young, Alan Radlow
Back: Bill Marshall, ?
Photo: JBW Robertson

1971 S. Balmer This was the first ever Open Boys' Championship, 18 Scots competing with juniors from England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. P. Waters of England came first with 6½/7, a full point in front of the Dutch player H. Koopman. Steven Balmer of Edinburgh finished third with 5/7, thereby becoming Scottish Boys' Champion.

1972 T. Donohue There was no Open tournament this year, the event reverting to a more 'normal' format. The entry was strongly criticised by the SCA Bulletin, which pointed out that despite " estimated 4,000 schoolboys playing chess an entry of only ten (not one of these ten even being in the Scottish Junior Team) must be a national mockery." There was clearly friction between the SCA and the SJCA.

Tom Donohue was first with 6 points, followed by J. Blake and S. Gillam 5½; G. Hood and K. Ross 3½; P. Lloyd 3; J.M.F. Dorward 2½; W. McRae and G. Rae 2; A. Brooks 1½.

The SCA Bulletin Nr. 32 pointed out that Donohue gained automatic entry into the 1973 Scottish Championship proper and stated "The new ruling for entry into the Senior Tourney will surely affect the entries for future Boys' Championships, especially when only 16 places are available!"

1973 T. Donohue The SCA Bulletin Nr. 34 reported: "After the 1972 Congress, the Scottish Junior Chess Association formulated new proposals and reached agreement with the Scottish Chess Association on important changes designed to raise the standard and status of this event. The initial response was encouraging."

There were 23 entries, Donohue retaining the title he won the previous year with a score of 6 points. He was followed by S. Gillam, D. Kilgour, M. Joyce and G. Hood with 5; G. Wilkinson, I.G. Dron, A. Muir, M. Chalmers, D. Paterson and M. Pinder 4, and twelve others.

1974 E. Perry There were 24 entries in a seven round Swiss system event. Perry was undefeated and won with 6 points, followed by W. Buchanan, G.G. Hood and J. O'Neil with 5; G. Morrison and T. Upton 4½; T. Curran, D. KIlgour, G. Moultrie and K. Ponting 4, and fourteen others.

1975 A.J. Muir Andrew Muir wins with 6/7 in a Swiss event with 18 entrants. He was followed by G. Moultrie 5½; W. Buchanan, I.D. Crorie and C.J. Morrison 4½; I.L. Lamont and I. Matthew 4; A. Coffey, C.A. McNab, K.M. Ponting and A.D. Conkie 3½, and seven others.

SCA Bulletin Nr. 39 reports in detail on the event, which had some interesting moments: Muir received a free point when Crorie overslept; Moultrie had three successive whites, and then faced Muir with the black pieces, losing a crucial game, and Kilgour and Scholes were expelled from the event after 6 rounds for playing 5 minute chess with the congress clocks.

1976 W. Buchanan and A.J. Norris shared the championship with 5½ points. 3-4. C. Dixon and P. F. Maiolani 5.

1977 C.A. McNab There were 16 entrants, although one withdrew. Colin McNab took 1st place with 6 points. There followed P.F. Maiolani 5½; C.S.M. Thomson 4½; M.L. Condie, C. Dixon, D. bennett and D.M. Livie 4, and eight others.

1978 M.L. Condie and A. Sutherland 5 points: T. Milligan 4½; D.G. Byrne 4; D.J. Bone 3½; A. McLennan 3; M.J. Melville & A.C. Morrison 1½. [BCM 1978, p 466.]

1979 D. Duncan 8½/9; 2-3 M. Melville & A. Mitchell...[BCM 1979, p 547.]

1980 S.R. Mannion 7½. A nine round all-play-all. Others: J.G. Motwani & A.G. Wright 6½; P.C. Driver & S. Munro 6; A.W. Andrew 4½; R.M. Lothian 4; A.J. Mitchell 3; J. McTaggart 1; D. Stewart 0.

1981 A.J. Hunter 5½. Seven round Swiss with 22 players, one withdrawing after 4 rounds. D. Griffin, D.D. Grossett & A.W. Minnican 5; D.D.A. Lawson 4½; M.R. Burgess, R.M. Lothian, A.J. McClelland & J-R. Riise 4.

1982 M.R. Burgess & C.J. Gibson 5½; Eight players, all-play-all. R.M. Lothian 5; G.S.S. Fyfe 3½; P.C.D. Driver 3; I.M. Jamieson 2½; P.D.J. Hampton 2; M. Dickson 1. The SCA Bulletin reported that a play-off would be arranged.

1983 N. Farrell ahead of 2nd. D. Lawson, =3rd. M. Plummer, M. Fraser & I. Jamieson.

1984 D.F. Bain, A.S. Greig & D.S. Farrell 5; J. Grant, I.D. Mackay & S.G. McQuillan 4½; 18 players, 7 round Swiss. The play-off was held in Tillicoultry on January 11 and 12, 1985.Duncan Farrell defeated both opponents to take the title.

1985 A.W. Gilfillan 5½; R.J.F. Kynoch & B.S. Noon 4½; G. Morton 4; 12 players, seven round Swiss.

1986 K. Ruxton & A. Gillies 5½/7.

1987 D. Bain

1988 A. Gillies & M.Sanger 3½. Played as part of the Open tournament.

1989 N.A. Bathie & A. Gillies 4½. Again, the event was incorporated in the Open.

1990 I. Gourlay & S. Willetts 4/7. Included in the Open.

1991 M. Russell

1992 S. Willetts


1994 Dunfermline (Pittencrieff Park), 25-27 March. There was a three-way tie between Graeme Robertson (Kirkcaldy), Neil Berry (Edinburgh) and Richard Weston (Dundee). Scottish Chess (June 1994, p. 43) reported that a play-off was necessary to decide the winner, who "will have entry (subject to rating qualification) to the Scottish Championships in Edinburgh in July." Graeme Robertson advises that no play-off took place.

1995 Santosh Umesh 4½/5; Edward Dearing, Alyson King 3½; David Campbell, Stuart Swan, Kieran Arthur 3. The tournament was held 17-19 March in Giffnock, by Glasgow, as part of the Scottish Junior Chess Association Age Championships. (Scottish Chess 138, June 1995, p. 15)


1997 Graeme Plato, ahead of 2nd= David Eynon, Gordon Rigg and Joe Redpath, and =5th Elaine Rutherford and David Sime. The tournament was held at Bell College of Technology in Hamilton, March 14-16 as part of the Scottish Junior Chess Association 'Age Championship'. (Scottish Chess 150, June-July 1997, p. 40)

1998 Andrew Walkingshaw 3½/5; 2nd= Elliot Frew, Joe Redpath, Duncan Grassie 3; 5th= Paul WattGraeme Kafka, Gordon Rigg, Derek McCormack 2½; 9th Adam Hall; 10th Daniel McGowan 1. The Boys' Championship was separated from the Age Championships in an attempt to attract extra entrants. However, difficulties were caused by the need for pupils to study for, and sit, exams at various times. The tournament was held 20-21 December 1997 in the Paisley YMCA. (Scottish Chess 154, February-March 1998, p. 32-33)

1999 1st= David Eynon, David Sime 4/5; 3rd James Parkin 3½; 4th= Graeme Kafka, Gordon Rigg, Joe Redpath 3; 7th= Daniel McGowan, Elaine Rutherford, Andrew Walkingshaw 2½; 10th Peter Alexander, David Logue 2; 12th Graham McKay, Kirsty Stevenson 1½. The event was held 26-27 June in Glasgow. (Scottish Chess 163, August 1999, p. 30)

2000 1st= Joe Redpath, David Sime 4/5; 3rd= Graeme Kafka, Duncan Grassie, Daniel McGowan, James Ross, Christopher Macdonald 3; 8th= Gordon Rigg, Graham McKay 2; 10th= Jimmy Orr, Neil Thomson, Derek Rooney 2; 13th D. Mann; 14th G. Mann. The event was held in Glasgow from 30 June-2 July. (Scottish Chess 169, August 2000, p. 32)

2001 1st= Duncan Grassie, Joe Redpath 4/5; 3rd= Graeme Kafka, Daniel McGowan 3½; 5th= David Grant, Colin Hall, David Sime, Steven Tweedie 3; 9th= Kevin Campbell, Craig Gordon, Graham McKay, Derek Rooney, Neil Thomson 2½; 14th= Iain Cameron, Natalie Donohoe, Gavin Reid, Graham Tyre 2; 18th= Olga Kobets, Marc Paton 1½; 20th Craig Petrie. The event was held in Glasgow on the weekend of 17-19 August. The Girls' Championship was won by Natalie Donohue, whose father, Tom Donohue, won the Boys' Championship in 1972 and 1973. (Scottish Chess 176, October 2001, p. 28)

Alan McGowan
Historian/Archivist, Chess Scotland

updated 30/4/2021