Founding of the Vancouver Chess Club

Various entities have held the name 'Vancouver Chess Club' through the years, some more successful than others (for one of the unsuccessful ones see this page). There have been chess clubs in Vancouver since at least the mid-1890s, but the first one of substance came into being in early 1913, in response to a letter published in the chess column of the Daily News Advertiser. This newspaper was a major Vancouver daily which ceased publication in 1917; the chess column ran for just over two years, from February 1913 to March 1915. The very first column contained the following letter:

"Mr. B.A. Yates of South Vancouver has written to the chess editor, asking him to use his influence with a view to forming a chess club in this city. Mr. Yates wonders why it is a town of this size should be without a chess club. The chess editor will be glad to receive any communications on the subject." [Daily News Advertiser, 2 February 1913]

The identity of the chess editor is never revealed, but there is some evidence to suggest it was Yates himself. He was certainly an important figure in Vancouver chess circles at the time, and more on his life can be found here. A chess club duly came into being, as described in subsequent columns:

"If I remember correctly, there was a similar movement started about three years ago. Mr. Brydon-Jack was, I believe, elected president, a meeting was held in the basement of the Carnegie Library, but somehow the matter fell through." [T.J. Corley, Daily News Advertiser, 16 February 1913]

"I was present at a meeting held in the Carnegie Library basement in December, 1910, probably the one referred to in your column. A committee was chosen to search for a suitable playing room and report, but as far as I am aware no other steps have been taken and presumably the committee is still searching." [Alfred Evans in Daily News Advertiser, 2 March 1913]

"By the kind permission of the National Loan & Investment Company a meeting was held in one of their offices last Wednesday to discuss the formation of a chess club. It was resolved to hold a further meeting in the smoke room of the Cabin Cafe next Tuesday, 18th inst., at 8 o'clock, principally to discuss the future home of the club. The organizers hope that all those interested will kindly attend." [Daily News Advertiser, 16 March 1913]

"The meeting that took place in the Cabin Cafe to form a chess club met with a very satisfactory response, between thirty and forty members being enrolled, and no doubt there will be many others who will join when it is better known. Anyone wishing to become a member kindly send his name to the secretary. The following rules were drawn up: Vancouver Chess Club, season 1913-1914--President, B.A. Yates; vice-president, A. Stevenson; honorary secretary and treasurer, A. La C. Evans; committee, T.E. Pouris, A.Fraser.

"The club has started a tournament to get some idea of the relative strength of its members. It is to be hoped that players will make an effort to get through their games as soon as possible. Players to play two games with each opponent." [Daily News Advertiser, 20 April 1913]

"The tournament, to give some idea of the relative strength of the players will, to all intents, be practically finished in about another fortnight, at which time this column will be discontinued for the summer months. The winner is sure to arise from the following: B.A. Yates (best average at present), R.C. Dickson, P. Fraser, Marchant." [Daily News Advertiser, 15 June 1913]

The club flourished, and indeed was the predominant Vancouver chess club until the formation of the City Chess Club in 1946. Various sources from the 1950s mention the VCC as being founded in 1911; this seems to be inaccurate, unless there really was a club meeting regularly at the Carnegie Library pre-1913 which has not come to light. Coincidentally, the Diamond Jubilee Tournament in 1973 was held to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the BCCF, but contemporary accounts place that event in 1916; perhaps confusion between 1913 and 1916 developed in the minds of the participants in later years.

Here are the games from the inaugural tournament that were published in the Daily News Advertiser chess column:

Dickson,R - Yates,B [B01] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.d4 c6 6.Nge2 Bf5 7.Be3 e6 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Ng3 Nb6 10.Bb3 Bg6 11.Re1 Bb4 12.Bg5 Nbd5 13.Nxd5 Bxe1 14.Nxf6+ gxf6 15.Qxe1 fxg5 16.Qe5 0-0 17.Re1 Re8 18.Ne4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 Qe7 20.h4 h6 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.Qg3 Qf6 23.Re5 Kf8 24.c3 Ke7 25.Rxg5 Kd7 26.Bc2 Rh8 27.f4 Qh6 28.Rg7 Raf8 29.b4 Qh1+ 30.Kf2 Qc1 31.Bb3 Qd2+ 32.Kg1 Rh1+ 33.Kxh1 Qc1+ 34.Kh2 Rh8+ 35.Qh3 Qxf4+ 36.Rg3 Rxh3+ 37.Kxh3 Qh6+ 38.Kg4 f5+ 39.Kf3 Qd2 40.Rg7+ Kd6 41.Rxb7 Qxc3+ 42.Ke2 Qxd4 43.Rb8 Qe5+ 44.Kf3 Qe4+ 45.Kf2 e5 46.Rd8+ Kc7 47.Rf8 f4 48.Re8 Qxb4 49.g4 Qd2+ 50.Kf3 e4+ 51.Rxe4 Qh2 52.Rxf4 "and after fifty more moves was given up as a draw." -

Evans - NN [C50] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.b4 Be7 6.b5 Na5 7.Nxe5 Nxc4 8.Nxc4 Nxe4 9.d4 d5 10.Ne5 Ng5 11.Re1 Qd6 12.Bxg5 f6 13.Qh5+ g6 14.Nxg6 Kd7 15.Rxe7+ Kd8 16.Bf4 Qb4 17.Bxc7# 1-0

Marchant - Yates,B [B01] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 Bb4 8.a3 Ba5 9.b4 Bb6 10.0-0 c6 11.Ne5 Bf5 12.Na4 Nbd7 13.c3 Bc7 14.Bf4 Nd5 15.Bg3 Nxe5 16.Bxe5 Bxe5 17.dxe5 b5 18.c4 Nf4 19.cxb5 Nxe2+ 20.Qxe2 Bd3 21.Qf3 Bxf1 22.Qxc6+ Ke7 23.Rxf1 Rc8 24.Qf3 Qd5 25.Qxd5 exd5 26.b6 axb6 27.Nxb6 Rc6 28.Nxd5+ Ke6 29.Nf4+ Kxe5 30.Nd3+ Kd4 31.Nc5 Kc4 32.Re1 Rd8 33.Nb7 Ra8 34.Na5+ Rxa5 35.bxa5 Kb5 36.g3 Kxa5 37.Re7 Rf6 "and after many moves a draw." -

Stark,R - Evans,A [C42] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nxe4 4.Qe2 d5 5.Bb5+ Nc6 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Bd6 8.Nc3 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Nxc6 Qh4 12.g3 Qh3 13.Qf3 Bg4 14.Qe3 f6 15.Nxd5 Ng5 16.Qb3 Kh8 17.f4 Rfe8 18.Be3 Nf3+ 19.Rxf3 Bxf3 20.Kf2 Qg2+ 21.Ke1 Qe2# 0-1

Stark,R - Yates,B [B01] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bc4 Bf5 6.Nf3 e6 7.0-0 Bg4 8.Be3 Bd6 9.Be2 c6 10.Ne5 Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Nbd7 12.Rad1 Nd5 13.f4 g6 14.Ne4 Be7 15.c3 f6 16.Nc4 Qc7 17.Bc1 b5 18.Ne3 0-0-0 19.Nxd5 exd5 20.Nf2 Bd6 21.Nd3 h5 22.h3 Rde8 23.Qc2 Rhg8 24.Rde1 Re4 25.Rxe4 dxe4 26.Ne1 f5 27.c4 Re8 28.Qe2 a6 29.cxb5 axb5 30.Be3 Nb6 31.Nc2 Nd5 32.Qd2 g5 33.g3 gxf4 34.gxf4 Rg8+ 35.Kh2 Qe7 36.Qf2 Qg5 37.Rg1 Qxg1+ 38.Qxg1 Rxg1 39.Kxg1 Nxf4 40.Bxf4 Bxf4 41.Nb4 Kd7 42.Kf2 h4 43.Na6 Bc1 44.Nc5+ Ke7 45.b3 Bb2 0-1

Stark,R - Ballard,T [C50] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.d4 Nxd4 6.Nxe5 0-0 7.Bg5 d6 8.Nd3 Be6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.Nxc5 dxc5 11.e5 Qd5 12.exf6 Qxg5 13.fxg7 Qxg7 14.Nd2 Rad8 15.f4 Nf5 16.Qe2 Qd4+ 17.Rf2 Ne7 18.c3 Qd3 19.Qxd3 Rxd3 20.Ne4 b6 21.Re1 h6 22.g3 Nf5 23.Rfe2 Kf7 24.Nf2 Rd6 25.Ng4 Rg8 26.Ne5+ Kf6 27.Nc4 Rc6 28.Kf2 b5 29.Nd2 c4 30.Nf3 Rd6 31.Nd2 Rc6 32.Re5 a6 33.Ne4+ Kf7 34.Nc5 Re8 35.Nxe6 Rcxe6 36.Rxf5+ Kg6 37.Rxe6+ Rxe6 38.Rd5 Rd6 39.Rxd6+ cxd6 40.Ke3 Kf5 41.h3 h5 42.g4+ hxg4 43.hxg4+ Kxg4 44.Ke4 d5+ 45.Kxd5 Kxf4 46.Kc5 Ke4 47.a4 Kd3 48.axb5 axb5 49.Kxb5 Kc2 50.Kxc4 1-0

Yates,B - Dickson,R [C29] VCC Vancouver, 1913

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 exf4 4.e5 Ng8 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bc4 Bh4+ 7.Kf1 Be7 8.d4 g5 9.h4 g4 10.Ng5 Bxg5 11.hxg5 c6 12.Bxf4 Na6 13.Ne4 Nc7 14.Nd6+ Kf8 15.Nxf7 Qe7 16.Nxh8 Ne6 17.Bxe6 dxe6 18.g6 1-0