PRESIDENT 1973 - 1994
Long before the time of being President of Chesterfield Chess Club in the early pioneering days of 1950's, played a large role as the President and the League Captain of the Derbyshire County Chess Association. During home Club matches, Joe use to take along his own chess set, board and clock, placing chess in Derbyshire on the map. Joe first captained the Derbyshire County Chess Team in the year 1952 at the 'Pier point Restaurant' on Midland Road, Derby. The site now been demolished and is part of the Post-Office block. Since retiring as Captain of the County Chess team in the year 1975, Joe suffered a mild heart attack. He fortunately recovered from his set back and kept himself busy by being the Secretary and Treasurer of the County Chess League.
Apart from the County matches, Joe had an incredible record for the Chesterfield 'A' Team. His first recorded game was played on Monday the 25th, of November 1935, when he beat Mr H.Golding of Derby Chess Club. Thirteen years later, he progressed to board one position in the 1948 Sheffield Richardson Knock out final, when he drew against Mr Siddall from Southey Chess Club, dated 1948. That victory gave Chesterfield 'A' Team the Richardson Trophy for the second year in succession. In the same year Joe became the Club Captain of Chesterfield 'A' Team and remained so until 1972, a span of 24 year.
After 22 years of intensive competition, in the Chesterfield Chess Club Championship, during which Joe often came second, he finally beat his rival, Mr D.Saunderson, to clinch 1955 Chess Club Championship.
In the 1951 Annual Chess Bulletin, Joe was described as 'an enthusiastic, zealous, strong, distinctive styled player, who is at his best with close positional games where, with his insight into positional motives, he is not afraid to sacrifice to gain the overwhelming position'. This was demonstrated in the game which won the 1971 annual Best Game Award in the Chesterfield Chess Club.
Joe Hooton's contribution to the game of chess and, more specifically, to Derbyshire County Chess and Chesterfield Chess Club was and is much appreciated. Joe Hooton's 1971 immortal game can be viewed in the 'games department'.
For your Amusement
A Chess Fantasy-or-The Awful Fate of an Eminent Problemist!
"Nasty looking fellow "he thought" re minds me of that chap who swindled me out of my last match game".
In due course the Demon tempted him with untold riches if he can fulfil a certain task. namely to solve achess problem, that is if he knew anything about chess, the Demon asked casually. "I know bit about it and
I will have a go" said our artful problemist, solutions to all kinds of problems rushing through his head like jet planes! All was duly signed and sealed and then the Demon laid the problem before our Eminent Problemist,
with a devilish chuckle.
Our Eminent Problemist grabbed it and with his eyes starting out of his head, saw the fatal words under the
Mate in the Square Root of Minus One.
As he gazed at it in terror the Demon's laughter grew louder and Lauder and Lauder until with a frightful shriek our Eminent Problemist awoke with the alarm clock bell ringing in his ear!!! 'Nugh said. (G.P.)
Joe Hooton's Diaries
(Continued From Pre History Page)
The guys kicked off 4.5-3.5 at YMCA Fargate, Chesterfield's winners being Doug on top board, and new on 8, Stephen Tatlow, who scared me a few years ago with a Latvian Gambit in one of his last games, for Doncaster against Sheffield. Sadly Steve died recently, a lovely man and a formidable player - his career with us began with seven straight wins. Second and fourth of these were against Hillsborough, otherwise a bogey team: wins by Allen, North and our old friend Ray Trigg saw them draw twice with Chesterfield in the League and eliminate them from the Richardson in the first round.
Battling on in the League, Chesterfield finished fourth, the University winning and their B team (!!) second. The great thing about the League now is its competitive nature - back then they must have felt like hobbits against cave trolls. If it was hard for Chesterfield, spare a thought for Thorncliffe, who went down 7.5-0.5 to Joe's men, and vanish from these annals. The thought occurs that - if they lost like that to us - they probably set out for Sheffield University and were never seen alive again. Never mind the A Team, Harry Lamb headed University B, and I recall him being graded 200 just a few years later. Still, unlike Paul Blackman (1-0 v Jack Enion 28/03/63) he did at least lose to the Chesterfield man, in this case Doug Saunderson.
In Derbyshire things were a bit easier, the team beating Buxton, British Celanese (Rob Sutcliffe & Ray Gamble again), Bemrose and Derby. They probably finished second, the score against Rolls Royce being known to me and hereby hushed up. Last sight of the season was Leslie Calvert, stood by the side of the road in Ripley vainly asking an ambulance man the way to Derby's venue. It'll be on the internet, Les!
John Fryer is still making a huge contribution, teaching youngsters with SASCA. Back then he was one himself, welcome aboard the Chesterfield history, John, and a winning start v Steve Tatlow in the season's opener. 4 each Chesterfield - YMCA Fargate. The Y had another incarnation as YMCA Central, and this too is a team packed with familiar names: MP Littlewood, Roger Hoole, Pete Swanson.
And a retrospective roll out of the red carpet for a key member of the current Chesterfield outfit, and the first of our present day players to appear: board 5 for the YMCA was Martin Howard. 4.5-3.5 to the opposition, Martin a winner v Cecil Lewis.
The long night of University domination brightened a little in Sheffield this year. 3-5 defeat was at least honourable, and the third place finish an improvement. University B were crushed, our side including D Skibinski, sole winner of a Junior league team which went down 11.5-3.5 to the club grown ups this year. And in the Richardson, wins over Kimberworth and Woodseats saw Chesterfield in the final. That win over Kimberworth was especially impressive, as Blackman and co mounted a real challenge to the University this year. It went all the way to a play off, where sadly for neutrals, Kimberworth came unstuck. The University won the double, 4-2 v Chesterfield in the Richardson Final at Woodseats. Aylwin Hobson got our win; Joe claimed draws on all three adjudicated boards...and got zilch.
Victory at last in Derbyshire. The chaps squeezed out their nemesis Rolls Royce 3.5-2.5, thrashed Buxton and Rolls Royce B 5-1 apiece, and cleaned up with wins over Derby and Bemrose School. Ray Gamble beat Doug to lead Celanese to a draw and eventual second, but the only other points lost were in a surprise home defeat by Burton Grammar School. So Botvinnik succumbed to Petrosian, and Rolls Royce yielded their throne to Chesterfield. How long could Sheffield University hold out?
A lacuna, as we used to say in Latin studies. The notebook for 64/5 is being hunted by trained archaeologists.
The next season opened at Pitsmoor (5.5-2.5) and the personnel were much the same. Princep, Wheeldon, Saunderson, Hooton seems the preferred order; last year being the only one of the decade when Saunderson didn't win the championship. Second match was a loss to Rotherham, where young Paul Blackman had already risen from eighth to second board. And so proceded a brief season of seven matches, all for double points; three wins, four losses for 6th place in a league of 8. The club had the distinction of being the only winners against University B, who won the league well ahead of their "A" team, joint 4th - go figure, as they say across the pond. The team lost on board count to the YMCA (Gurnhill, Hoole, Fryer and Swanson) and were out of the Richardson in the first round.
So the glory years were far behind them in Sheffield; but in Derbyshire a different tale. Six teams competed, and a narrow loss to Rolls Royce meant little, as the guys beat everyone else to win the League again.
...and post script!!
Many thanks to our old friend Geoff. He's nearly achieved his ambition of playing in the Davy for fifty years, and he's very kindly sent us a game from the other end of his career. As an infant prodigy, he brought down one of Chesterfield's legendary titans:
G Frost,Y - J H Wheeldon,C [E14]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.e3 b6 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.d5 exd5 7.cxd5 d6 8.e4 g69.Bf4 a6 10.Bd3 Bg7 11.Qa4+ Qd7 12.Qxd7+ Kxd7 13.Ng5 Rf8 14.0-0 h6 15.Nf3Nh5 16.Bd2 Kc7 17.a4 Nd7 18.Rfc1 g5 19.b4 Ne5 20.Nxe5 Bxe5 21.bxc5 bxc5 22.Rab1 Nf4 23.Bf1 Rfb8 24.a5 Bc8 25.Na4 Rxb1 26.Rxb1 Rb8 27.Rxb8 Kxb8 28.Nb6 Ng6 29.Nxc8 Kxc8 30.Bxa6+ Kb8 31.Bb5 Ne7 32.g3 f5 33.f3 fxe4 34.fxe4 Nc8 35.Kg2 Kb7 36.h4 gxh4 37.gxh4 Bg7 38.Kf3 Ne7 39.Kg4 Ng6 40.h5 1-0
and a pretty good effort from the youngster you'll surely agree...4.e3 must have persuaded Jack that White didn't fancy challenging the Benoni with d5 - and then Frost played it once the Black queen bishop was none too well placed on b7...I also liked the way that, after securing the passed a pawn, he didn't push it. Jack resigned when it looked like he'd be faced by a passer on the h file as well!
And so we come to the last of our precious notebooks. The season kicked off with 6-2 v Barnsley and - over to Derbyshire - 4.5-1.5 v Bemrose School. The first big test was expected to be Hillsborough, played at the Brown Cow (anyone know it?) on 18th December. Norman Littlewood didn't make it on time to be the opposition board one, which was fortunate for Joe's crowd because CR Gurnhill and MP Littlewood were there. Doug Saunderson's win v Gurnhill set up a win by 4.5-3.5. So a good start, but not followed up. Barnsley got revenge on board count in the Richardson, and three defeats followed in the Davy, all by 3-5. But at last - cause for fanfare!!
We have a game! and here it is! from a score sheet book of Joe Hooton's, lovingly preserved by George Peters in memory of his old club captain. And it's well worth a look, not least because Joe's young opponent remains one of the brightest ornaments of Yorkshire chess:
Davy League, 25.2.69; Chesterfield v University A. White: David Adams. Black: Joe Hooton.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Qc7 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. a4 ("?" comments Joe, but it's a well known and enterprising line) cxd4 9. cxd4 Nb4 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxd7+ Kxd7 12. 0-0 Nxc2 13. Rb1 a5 14. Rb5 b6 15 Ng5 Ke8 16. f4 g6 17. g4 (young Adams plays this attack with such energy IMHO) h6 18. Nf3 (how he must have wanted to play 18. Nxf7!? Kxf7 19.f5) ... Ne7 19. Rf2 Rac8 20. Bb2 Ne3! 21. Qb3?? Nc4?? - oh Joe! Qc1+ was a queen sac with inevitable mate - why does David Adams never give me these chances? - 22. Nd2 Nxb2 23. Qxb2 Rb8 24. Nf3 Kd7 25. Rc2 Nc6 26. Qb3 Rhc8 27. Qa3 Rb7 28. f5! gxf5 29. gxf5 Rg8 + 30. Kf2 Qb8. And here this exciting game was, disappointingly enough, adjudicated. Joe claimed a win, based on his extra pawn, but the adjudicator was having none of it, and modern computer analysis backs that up. My silicon chum gives White a small advantage, and I must say I wouldn't fancy playing Black from here against an aggressive youngster.
Thereafter, Chesterfield hammered Rotherham and Southey, to finish a respectable 4th out of 8, behind University, YMCA and Hillsborough. They carried almost all before them in Derbyshire, conceding just one draw in winning that League.
...and a very welcome proof arrived that people actually read this website! Our old friend Mike Alderson - now of Belper - sent this game from 68/69. Take it away, Mike! and he writes as follows....
Derbyshire League 14.12.1968
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd3 c5 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Qxd7 7.e5 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 c4 9.Qg4 g6 10.Bg5 Qa4 11.Qd1 h6 12.Bh4 Ne7 13.Bf6 Rg8 14.Bxe7 Kxe7 15.Qb1 b5 16.Qb4+ Qxb4 17.cxb4 Nc6 18.c3 a5 19.bxa5 Rxa5 20.Ne2 Rga8 21.Nc1 b4 22.cxb4 Nxb4 23.Kd2 Nxa2 24.Rxa2 Rxa2+ 25.Nxa2 Rxa2+ 26.Ke3 Ra3+ 27.Kd2 Rd3+ 28.Kc2 Rxd4 29.Re1 Rd3 30.Re2 Ra3 31.Kb2 Rb3+ 32.Kc2 f6 33.f4 Ra3 34.Kb2 Rb3+ 35.Kc2 f5 36.g3 d4 37.Rd2 d3+ 38.Kc1 Kd7 0-1
If David had gone for Black's colander-like kingside instead of swapping queens, the outcome may have been different. 42 years down the line, I still don't know how to play the French without ending up with such weaknesses.
Lost on site
Who's to say what might have happened had it not been for Mike Alcock's ill health? He's led us heroically against the top guns for some years now; I did my best like Aragorn without Gandalf, and thanks to the folks for their support. Good results again for Mike Johnson, Andy Mort, Martin Howard and Dave Andrews; this was a team nobody could take lightly. Steve Bracey remains a dangerous opponent for anyone, and Steve Housley really made a breakthrough; his new grade of 165 represents a rise of 20 in recent seasons and the winning percentage was Kasparovian. The bottom end was too tough for most as usual, with George helped out by a variety of players; I recall Tim scoring the vital point at Barnby Dun.
The semi and final of the Richardson were both nail biters well worth comment. In the semifinal at The Abbey, Woodseats correctly figured that IM Ledger was a fair bet on board one and took a voluntary Black. This left them needing to lose by one on the remaining five to go through on board count. Martin Howard was our lone winner 'til the last seconds, when, at the end of a thrilling game, Geoff Frost's flag fell as he was about to demonstrate that Steve Housley's rook pawn and wrong coloured bishop were only going to draw. This looked good for a cause celebre, but Woodseats at once took the view that you have to demonstrate before the flag falls that you know this easiest of defences, and conceded; a memorable piece of sportsmanship. The final was almost as close, Rotherham Juniors being the opposition. Wins for Steve Housley and Martin again; the third point from Steve Bracey; but, repeating my semi final exploit, I was outplayed in the ending by Peter Shaw and Andy went down to rising star Xi Yang Guo. Cue Mike Johnson's first ever win against Paul Blackman, after many years of trying; and a good win too - looked a cert early on, Paul wouldn't lie down; the advantage seemed to vanish and then Mike came through in the ending. It's not easy to win anything in Sheffield these days; we should be really proud of the Richardson Cup.
Derbyshire was a similar story: this we'd won the previous year, but without Mike Alcock it was much tougher going and we finished second behind the Breadsall crew. Fine battle though.
The Association's combined team has been one of the very strongest in Yorkshire for a long time now. Recently we've missed out on the Woodhouse Cup by narrow margins, to Hull and York. This time stellar teams were put out: IM Ledger and numerous Nomads: Nelson, O'Driscoll, Hamm, the brilliant junior Vasli; names to remember in years to come. Jeremy Hamm was captain and organiser, and found time to score 11/11 OTB; he's plugged away for some years now in this competition and thoroughly deserves this historic trophy and the thanks of our club and the whole association.
As a regular member of this winning outfit, our club president Mike Johnson, and filling in occasionally, Andy Mort and Dave Latham. Obviously lots of folk have won this trophy in its history of more than a century, but I can't imagine any of them finding our current team easy meat.
Couple of pleasant social events: the celebration dinner for the winning of the Woodhouse and the Sheffield - Manchester match, which we play every few decades. DL.
The year began with four very welcome comebacks: Mike Alcock was back from a year out with illness and people from Barnsley to Rolls Royce will have been glad to see that; Hubert Mossong was going to be living nearby for almost the whole season, to scare almost as many. Emma and David Bentley were back. Emma was to play many a fine game for both teams, and made the Times with a splendid victory against none other than Otto Hardy, our club champion of the 50s and still playing for Leicestershire. Her dad's impact was even more immediate: putting an end to years of fumbling and footling he set up this website on the day he arrived!
So some very strong sides could be fielded: we occasionally turned out four boards averaging over 180 in Derbyshire. The rest of the league went down fighting and some of them fought very hard, but the League was regained, the cup was won for the first time; the jamboree was retained, and Mike Alcock won the county championship. The sort of results them of 1950 would have recognised.
In Sheffield it didn't go quite so well; our eventual fourth was no better than we'd managed the year before with a weaker team. It might have been a bit higher had earlier results persuaded us to pull out all the stops, but Nomads cleaned up yet again, testament to the strength of that club. Sheffield A retained the Woodhouse and our people played a decent part in that.
Steve Bracey's B team played some good stuff, and were rewarded by hanging on in the third division after a bit of a relegation dogfight.
And we moved venues. The Spital ran into difficulties and closed, reopened, closed. We're now at The Three Merry Lads, of course, and apart from it being a bit far out for folk from the East of town, it goes well enough; certainly the sort of place I'd enjoy even without the chess, the gods forfend.
Almost every player at the club featured in the winning squad, but this is the history section so let's leave it with a mention of some who link us to the heroic days of old. Andy Mort, who'd been around on and off for 35 years without previously taking part in a championship winning team; Mike Alcock, familiar as team mate and opponent from the 60s; Martin Howard, first mentioned here in '64; Mike Johnson, who'd sat at the feet of Joe Hooton as a youngster, now the club president. To these players, Joe and Doug and the rest are not names in a history, but the companions and team mates of youth..and the double success was all the more valued, in that we emulated their achievement while they were still figures of living memory.