Florence Hutchison Stirling

Born: 1858, London - Died: 6 May 1948, Burntisland, Fife, Scotland

The name is sometimes shown as Miss F. Hutchison Stirling (and Hutchison-Stirling). The family name is shown as Stirling on both the birth and death records.

Florence was one of five daughters and two sons of James Hutchison Stirling (1820-1909), medical doctor and philosopher, and Jane Hunter Stirling (née Mair).

Her father's work and philosophical interests to him and the family to France (where several children were born) and Germany. Later, the family lived at 3 Wilton Terrace in Kensington, London, where Florence was born in 1858. A few years after the move was made to a home halfway between Edinburgh and Portobello.

Florence showed an aptitude for chess around the age of eight or nine, reaching such a level that her father, who had an interest in various board games, stopped playing with her ('had to give up chess - she beat me so').

Miss Stirling was a member of Edinburgh Ladies' Chess Club, and supported the activities of the Scottish Ladies' Chess Association, founded in 1905, winning the championship trophy on five occasions, including the first three years of competition.

Scottish Ladies' Champion 1905, 1906, 1907, 1912 and 1913.

Cranston Trophy winner 1905 (this competition for representatives of ladies' clubs).

Played for the Scottish Ladies' Chess Association team in the Spens Cup finals of 1912 and 1913.

Miss Stirling played in several British Ladies' Championships; in the 1913 event she finished 1st= with Mrs Moseley and Mrs Stevenson, but lost the play-off. (Mrs Moseley won.)

There were five Scottish entrants in the Ladies' championship at the 1920 British Chess Federation Congress in Edinburgh; Miss Stirling, Mrs Ritchie, Miss Forbes, Miss E. Gibb and Miss Gilchrist, all in the back row.

She also played in the 1923 British Ladies' Championship (as did two other Scottish ladies, Miss Gilchrist and Mrs Brockett), held as part of the British Chess Federation Congress at Portsmouth. She annd Miss Gilchrist tied for 2nd-5th places with 7/11, two points behind the winner, Miss Price.

During the congress, on Saturday 18 August, Alekhine gave a simultaneous exhibition on 37 boards, scoring +26, =11. Miss Stirling was one of those who drew.

Alekhine - Miss F.H. Stirling
Portsmouth 1923 (simultaneous display)
King's Indian Defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 c6 7.O-O d5 8.cxd5 cxd5 9.Bf4 a6 10.Ne5 e6 11.Rc1 Nfd7 12.Nf3 Nb6 13.b3 Bd7 14.Qd2 Nc6 15.Bh6 f6 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.e4 Ne7 18.e5 Nc6 19.exf6+ Qxf6 20.Rce1 Rae8 21.Ne5 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Qe7 23.Qd4 Qd8 24.f4 Nc8 25.Rc1 Qb6 26.Qxb6 Nxb6 27.Kf2 Bc6 28.Ne2 Nd7 29.Nd4 Nxe530. Ke2 Ng4 31.Nxc6 bxc6 32. Rxc6 e5 33. Rc7+ Kh8 1/2-1/2
Glasgow Herald of 29 September 1923, page 4.

Played for Edinburgh Ladies' CC in Spens Cup finals of 1920.

In 1925 Miss Stirling (and Miss M.D. Gilchrist) were the first women to compete in the main Scottish Championship, as opposed to the separate tournament for ladies. Miss Stirling also played in the 1927 event.

Miss Stirling competed in the first Women's World Championship, held in London in 1927 alongside the FIDE International Team Tournament (Olympiad). She scored 4/11.

Miss Stirling died at the Orcadia Nursing Home, Burntisland, Fife, her usual residence being 30 Howard Place, Edinburgh.

Birth and death records.
James Hutchison Stirling; his life and work,
by Amelia Hutchison Stirling (1912), pp. 136 & 288.
British Chess Magazine 1920, p. 277 (photo); 1923, p. 330

Compiled by: Alan McGowan