Club Venue: Ducklington Village Hall, OX29 7UX

 

Oxfordshire

Chess Association

 

 

 

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Division 1 and Frank Wood trophies 1992/1993

 

1992/1993 trophies.

Left to right back: Geoff Tustian, Tim Headlong, Mike Truran,

Richard Haydon, Nick Jones, Arthur Mushens.

Left to right front: Derek Edwards, Danny O'Byrne, Denny Woodward (landlady of the Plough),

Howard Searle, Keith Broome, Robin Reeves.

 

Trophies 1992/1993. Witney 1 team.

Left to right back: Nick Jones, Richard Haydon, Danny O'Byrne.

Left to right front: Mike Truran, Alec Toll (captain), Tim Headlong.

 

1992/1993 trophies. Witney 2 team.

Left to right back: Derek Edwards, Howard Searle.

Left to right front: Keith Broome, Geoff Tustian, Robin Reeves, Arthur Mushens.

 

Witney club members 1992/1993.

Left to right: Howard Searle, Richard Haydon, Tom Craig, Alec Toll,

Richard Dixon, Danny O'Byrne, Arthur Mushens.

 

Frank Wood Shield final Witney 1 vs Witney 2, 11 May 1993

 

Frank Wood Shield final Witney 1 vs Witney 2 11 May 1993 (Plough Inn, Witney).

Keith Broome (standing) watches the games. Mike Truran (in white shirt) plays Arthur Mushens (yellow shirt). Tom Craig (white shirt to right of Mike) plays Howard Searle (in far right corner).

Tim Headlong (with beard) plays Geoff Tustian (in red/orange top).

Danny O'Byrne plays Robin Reeves (right foreground).

Vacant board: Alec Toll (probably in the loo) vs Keith Broome (waiting for him to return). (match card)

 

Frank Wood Shield final Witney 1 vs Witney 2 11 May 1993 (Plough Inn, Witney).

Left to right, front to back: Howard Searle, Arthur Mushens, Tom Craig, Mike Truran, Richard Haydon, Tim Headlong, Derek Edwards, Geoff Tustian, Danny O'Byrne, Robin Reeves.

Alec Toll probably still in the loo; it looks like Keith Broome has joined him. (match card)

 

Frank Wood Shield final Witney 1 vs Bicester 14 May 1992.

 

Witney 1 play Bicester in the Frank Wood Shield final.

Rodney House Civil Service Sports and Social Club, Bicester on 14 May 1992.

Left to right: Alec Toll, Tom Craig, Richard Haydon.

 

14 May 1992 at Bicester.

Richard Haydon (right). Tom Craig (left) looking a bit less pleased with himself by now (but he still won)..

 

Witney 1 play Bicester at Rodney House, Civil Service Sports and Social Club.

Bicester on 14 May 1992 in the final of the Frank Wood Shield.

Left: Howard Searle (playing 1. d4 followed by 2. e3 even then).

Right: Arthur Mushens writing down his move.

 

Witney 1 play Bicester in the Frank Wood Shield final.

Rodney House, Civil Service Sports and Social Club, Bicester on 14 May 1992.

Richard Haydon (left) deep in thought. Tom Craig (right) playing against Nick Hepworth

(Bicester captain) looking pleased with his position already. (match card)

 

14 May 1992 at Bicester.

Alec Toll (foreground) deep in thought. No wonder if he's playing the Dutch.

Howard Searle's left arm (back left).

Arthur Mushens (centre background). Richard Dixon (right background).

 

14 May 1992 at Bicester.

Arthur Mushens (left), Richard Dixon (right).

 

14 May 1992 at Bicester.

Richard Dixon looking pensive.

 

 

Oxfordshire Chess Association - Match Card

 

Event: Frank Wood Shield final

Date Played: 14th May 1992

 
Bd

Team: Witney 1

Result

Team: Bicester

Col  
1

Richard Haydon

½ ½

?

W  
2

Tom Craig

1 0

Nick Hepworth

B  
3

Alec Toll

1 0

?

W  
4

Richard Dixon

1 0

?

B  
5

Arthur Mushens

1 0

?

W  
6

Howard Searle

½ ½

?

B  
 

Final score:

5 1      

 

 

Oxfordshire Chess Association - Match Card

 

Event: Frank Wood Shield final

Date Played: 11th May 1993

 

Bd

Team: Witney 1

Result

Team: Witney 2

Col  
1

Mike Truran

1 0

Arthur Mushens

W  
2

Tom Craig

½ ½

Howard Searle

B  
3

Richard Haydon

1 0

Derek Edwards

W  
4

Tim Headlong

1 0

Geoff Tustian

B  
5

Alec Toll

1 0

Keith Broome

W  
6

Danny O'Byrne

1 0

Robin Reeves

B  
 

Final score:

5½ ½      

 

 

 

 

Thursday 9 September 1993:

 

CHESS CLUB FLYING HIGH

 

Witney's champion chess club is expecting an upsurge of interest in the game over the next few weeks. The world chess championship is being held in Britain with the first British challenger in over a century, Nigel Short, taking on the Russian Garry Kasparov. During the showdown, the Witney club is holding its annual meeting. It is keen to recruit new local talent, particularly youngsters.

 

The club is flying high after winning the Oxfordshire league for the second successive season. In the knockout Frank Wood Shield Memorial Trophy, again for clubs in the county, it was a case of Witney v Witney as the first and second teams reached the final. The club's captain, Mr Alec Toll, said: "There's a massive surge of interest in the game and we are going from strength to strength." The first team won the knockout final, played on a handicap system to assist weaker teams. In the league it won 13 and drew one of its 14 matches, ending up well clear of its nearest rival Oxford University Pawns.

 

The new season, which starts this month, sees the beginning of a new era as the club moves from its venue of the past 15 years at the Plough Inn, Witney High Street. The annual meeting is at the new home, the Normandy Room at the Langdale Hall, Witney, on Thursday, September 16 at 7.30 pm. Mr Toll said: "New players are especially welcome, be they experienced or novice, old or young. We are hoping on non-match nights to provide coaching sessions for beginners, and if there is sufficient interest we will put out a third team in the league, starting in the fourth division, to give new players a taste of competitive chess."

 

If the world title, which started on Tuesday, turns into a thriller and catches the public imagination the club could well be in for an injection of new blood.

 

Anyone wanting further information about the club can contact Mr Toll (0993 771678) or the secretary, Mr Mike Robins (0865 300718).

History of Witney Chess Club by Mike Truran

 

 

Recently I had the good fortune to spend some time with Keith Broome and discuss the origins of Witney Chess Club. For those of you who don’t know, Keith is our longest-serving member and, although he doesn’t get to the club now as often as he used to (crib apparently taking up his Monday evenings these days), he still takes an active interest in club affairs and our juniors in particular as well as coaching the juniors at Ducklington School along with Charlie Manning and myself. Keith was awarded honorary life membership a couple of years ago in recognition of his services to the club over the years, including spells as captain and treasurer. Keith went to Henry Box School, where he was taught chess by Otto Singer, an Austrian maths teacher who was also a member of Oxford City Chess Club. Mr Singer obviously had a good memory – when Keith bumped into him on the train when he was in his 40s he recognised him immediately!

 

Although I have drawn a blank so far in trying to locate any Oxfordshire Chess Association records which might have helped with the history of the club, Keith did tell me that Witney Chess Club was formed in the late 60s when the old Saddlers Arms club at New Yatt folded. A lady called Sally was apparently the landlady, but when she had to give up the pub (her health having been affected by the smoking) the new landlord had no interest in having chess players around and asked them to move on. Some things never change! Sally was apparently a good player in her own right, playing for the Saddlers Arms team when it was in Division 1 of the Oxfordshire League. Keith tells me that Sally was the first good player he ever beat, and even then he took six months to do it! Keith himself only played one game as a stand-in in Division 1 (which he remembers he lost). Other club members at the time included Charles Fox (an RAF officer) and Jim Samworth (who lived in Aston and worked for the telephone company).

 

 

When the players were forced to look elsewhere for accommodation Dave Crumpler, who used to keep the Globe Cafe in Corn Street (now a Chinese takeaway), offered them premises. This turned out to be a short-lived arrangement, and so they moved to the Eagle Vaults (Keith has a note in one of his diaries that the club was playing there in 1974) and subsequently in the Ivy League Cafe in Market Square (now Smarts), where the club was playing in 1977. Mrs Smart, who ran the restaurant, had a son called Robin who used to play chess for the club as well. The club stayed at the Ivy Restaurant for many years, growing to the stage where it was able to run two teams and eventually four teams in the Oxfordshire League. One of Keith’s memories is of John Nunn giving a simultaneous display at the Ivy League Cafe (apparently wearing Jesus sandals, although I have no idea why that particular aspect of John’s attire has stuck in Keith’s memory!). Keith is still proud of the fact that he managed to check the great man. Predictably, only one person drew; Keith can’t now recall his name, but it certainly wasn’t him though! Keith also has a note in his diaries of two jumble sales in 1975 (Langdale Hall, 2 pm start on Saturday! – Keith’s diaries are obviously very precise in such matters). These raised a tidy sum of money for the club, which was short of cash at the time; the club had a very low annual subscription with a weekly charge, but if members didn’t come to the club on the night they didn’t pay the charge. Is there a lesson in there somewhere for the English Chess Federation’s current funding review?!

 

The move to the Globe Cafe of course wasn’t the end of the club’s peregrinations, with subsequent moves to the Plough in 1982, where the club stayed until 1993. The club then moved to the first floor of the Corn Exchange when the landlord gave up the Plough and the new landlord gave the club notice, and then on to Langdale Hall before finishing up at its current location in Ducklington Village Hall. Club stalwarts over that time that Keith remembers particularly (and will be known to many of you) were Arthur Mushens, who was a warrant officer in the RAF and ran the RAF chess club before moving to Witney Chess Club (maybe Alec Toll can fill in some more information about Arthur’s career in the RAF?), Geoff Tustian, a farmer who joined the club when the club at Chipping Norton folded but who died at quite a young age, Mike Robins, a teacher who lived in Standlake and who finally had to give up chess because of worsening eyesight, and Doug Reed, who Keith reckons would now be in his 90s. During this time Keith remained active in club affairs, running the third and fourth teams and acting as treasurer before Howard Searle took on that particular role. One of Keith’s memories as a committee member is of attending a meeting at the home of another committee member who was already in a hilarious condition at the start of the evening and proceeded to share his home made wine with other committee members over the course of the evening. I’m sure you’re reassured that your present committee members are such a sober lot.

 

If any of you have any historical records about the club I would be very glad to hear from you. In the apparent absence of any Oxfordshire Chess Association records from the early years, information about the history of the club is still very incomplete, and it would be great if we can collectively fill in some more of the missing parts.

 

 

 

 

© SC

 

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