Jewish Chess Club, Glasgow
The Glasgow Herald chess column of
June 5, 1926 (p4) reported that a Jewish Chess Club had recently been
formed in the city. Mr D. Lewis was the hon. secretary.
The newspaper's chess column of Saturday,
October 9, 1926 referred to the newly formed club, which already had
60 members, indicating that it would open for play the following day
at 10 Bridge Street. The Scottish Champion, James McKee was scheduled
to give a simultaneous exhibition.
club's members quickly showed their ability by winning the
Spens Cup at their very
first attempt. They defeated Perth 5½-1½ in the final at Perth 22
March 1927, thereby gaining promotion to the Richardson Cup the
following season. The team members were:- J.K. Harris,
Dr J. Fine, A. Levy, A.J. Levine,
C. Hochfield, A. Klibanski and
The club's first Annual General Meeting took
place on 19 May 1927. The championship cup was won by A. Felber, and
S. Elkin won the minor championship. The office-bearers elected were:-
President: A. Levy, LLB
Secretary: J.K. Harris
Treasurer: C. Speculand
committee of seven.
The club's second season 1927-28 opened with a
24-board simultaneous display by David Joseph, a strong player from
Manchester. He won 23, losing to J.K. Harris.
The club then proceeded to confirm their
strength by winning the 1st Division of the Glasgow League and
reaching the final of the
Richardson Cup. It would have been a sensation if they had won the
premier team competition at their first attempt, but even with the
returning David Joseph on top board, they were unable to succeed
against the experienced Edinbugh CC.
Later, the club withdrew from team events
because of the necessity of playing on Saturdays.
Jewish Institute in South Portland Street was officially opened on
Sunday, 23 June 1935 by Isaac Wolfson. Extensive renovations had been
carried out on the building, formerly the MacNicol Memorial Church,
that adjoined the synagogue. The premises consisted of recreation
halls, a ballroom and billiard room, together with a library and a
Likely because of these facilities, the Jewish
Chess Club was revived and they took part in the Glasgow League and
Spens Cup in season 1935-36.
The season opened with a simultaneous display
by W.A. Fairhurst on 7 November. Against 22 opponents, he score 20
wins, one draw and one loss (to Mr J.I. Levine).
The club reached the final of the
Spens Cup in 1938, losing
to Stockbridge. However they won the competition in season
1938-39 by defeating
On the morning of
Friday, 21 July 1939 fire broke out at the institute. The caretaker,
Adam Cunningham, along with his wife and sister-in-law, managed to get
to the roof where they were spotted and rescued. There was extensive
damage to the institute, but the fire service managed to confine the
dame to these premises. The Scotsman, reporting on 22 July
1939 (p11), stated: "Among the articles saved from the blaze were some
20 silver trophies."
However, the Spens Cup trophy disappeared, and
the aftermath is explained in an
Glasgow League Success
season 1952-53 the Jewish Institute CC won the 1st Division of the
Glasgow League. Some of the team members were:
Dr M. Rose;
R. Spencer; S. Levart;
E. Knopfler; L. Delkin; J.
Goldin; M. Borkovsky and A.
Max Pavey, who came to Scotland to
study medicine in 1938, played for the Jewish Institute CC in the
Spens Cup during his short stay.
The club hosted simultaneous displays by
Keres, Koltanowski and
Herald chess columns: 25 May 1927, p6; 13 November 1935, p11.
Archivist/Historian, Chess Scotland