John Jenkins/Jenkin

6 October 1850, Lochgoilhead, Argyllshire - died ?

His death details have yet to be ascertained.

From Cleveland Public Library, Special Collections.

  • Associated with Glasgow Chess Club, including as Treasurer and Vice-President.
  • Glasgow CC champion in 1872, 1873, 1878 and 1882.
  • Member of the Glasgow CC team (with John Crum and Sheriff Spens) that played a two-game correspondence match against Copenhagen CC in 1879 (Glasgow lost both games).
  • Edited a chess column in the Weekly Star (transferred to the Glasgow Weekly Herald in 1872).
  • Became the editor of The Chess Player's Chronicle in early 1876, though only for a few months.
  • 3rd place in the 1875 Counties Chess Association Championship in Glasgow (1. Fisher 2. A. Burn)
  • 1st place in the 1877 Counties Chess Association Championship in Birmingham.
  • West of Scotland Challenge Cup holder 1880.
  • Played for thr West against East of Scotland 1872, 1876, 1880, 1881. He was also on the 1882 team, but he was withdrawn (along with Spens and Mills) because the East had insufficient players, three Dundee represenatatives having failed to appear.

Jenkin was also a capable player of 'blindfold' chess. On Wednesday, 12 January 1876 he played seven such games simultaneously at the Helensburgh Chess Club. Play commenced at seven o'clock and lasted till near midnight. Jenkin scored wins against James Cramb, Brash, Coates and W. Orr, lost to Fullarton and Phillips, with his game against Maclean abandoned as a draw.

Jenkin is also associated with the formation of a West of Scotland Chess Association:-

Westminster Chess Club Papers, 1 Nov 1876, p 123.

Our subject's birth name was registered as Jenkins, but Jenkin also appeared in official documents and chess articles. His name was shown as John Jenkin in regard to his chess column in the Glasgow Weekly Herald.

1851 census - Jenkin
1861 census - Jenkins, 24 Salisbury St, Glasgow, visiting nephew.
1871 census - Jenkins, 30 Houston St, Glasgow, commercial clerk.
1879 - Rules and Alphabetical List of the Members of the Glasgow Chess Club - Jenkin, Rosebank Cottage, Helensburgh (12 Campbell St.)
1881 census - Jenkins, 12 Campbell St, Helensburgh, brewer's agent.

Business Problems

It appears that Mr Jenkins was involved primarily with grocers' shops, but in the Glasgow Post Office Directory for 1881-82 he is shown as an agent for Ind, Coope, & Co, Brewers. By this time his home address was Hopetoun Villa, Bearsden (Chapelton Avenue). 

In April 1881 he applied for a grocer's licence for a shop at 160 Main Street in the Anderston district of Glasgow.

In April 1882 he applied for liquor licences for shops at 229 Dumbarton Road and 2 Corunna Street, both Glasgow.

However, apparently all was not well in his business and personal life, for in 1882 he resigned his position as chess columnist at the Glasgow Weekly Herald (the role would be taken on by Sheriff Spens) and his Estates were sequestered on 25 August 1882 by the Sheriff of Lanarkshire and put up for sale. An examination in bankruptcy was supposed to take place on 22 September before Sheriff Murray, but Jenkins failed to appear and a warrant was granted for his apprehension.

Land and Water of 5 August 1882, reporting on the change of editorship, said that Jenkins had moved to Edinburgh. However, when his mother, Janet (Jessie) died 7 March 1883 at Craigenbay, Lenzie, the death was reported by the lady into whose care she had been placed, Mrs Marie McDiarmid, not by her son. However, someone placed a death notice in the Glasgow Herald on 10 March 1883.

Jenkin/Jenkins disappears from chess news after 1882. Nothing is known about what he did thereafter and his date and place of death has not yet been identfied. However, the Edinburgh Evening News of 20 April 1892 (p4) referred to him as 'the late Mr J. Jenkin.'

Other sources
Unpublished History of the Glasgow Chess Club.
Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland, 1824-1987
, by Tim Harding. McFarland, 2011.
Glasgow Herald, 14 January 1876, p. 4.
Land and Water, 5 August 1882.
The Edinburgh Gazette, 29 August 1882, p659.

Alan McGowan
Archivist/Historian, Chess Scotland

updated 10/8/2020