Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:59 pm

"I presume that Whitby was a Festival organised by Wood at which Morry was arbiting."

I seem to recall (and I may be thinking straight this time) "Chess" gave a lot of favourable publicity to Whitby, so probably organised by BH.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by John Upham » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:50 am

CHESS & Bridge are offering for download the first ever issue of CHESS :D



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CHESS, Volume 1, Number 1, September 1935
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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:02 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:09 pm
I presume that Whitby was a Festival organised by Wood at which Morry was arbiting.

I think Whitby was locally organised by the Akeroyd family and others with BH present as a player. Morry was certainly there as an arbiter. In the only time I played there he contrived to give me in the first week of an eleven round tournament, four Blacks, one White and a bye.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Leonard Barden » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:27 pm

I can't vouch for later years, but the first or second Whitby Festival in 1955, in which I played, was certainly organised by CHESS and had a big report in the folowing issue of the magazine. The first CHESS festival was in Cheltenham 1953 (I played there, too) but then it moved north.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:53 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:27 pm
I can't vouch for later years, but the first or second Whitby Festival in 1955, in which I played, was certainly organised by CHESS
I thought the story was that after BH established the concept of two week tournaments that weren't the British Championship, that local organisers in Whitby carried on when BH wanted to move elsewhere. In later years, Whitby was back to back with Southport and immediately preceding the British Championship Congress. You thus had a six week summer circuit.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Reg Clucas » Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:45 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:07 pm
Long time subscribers will remember a period when more than one issue of CHESS contained a reference to its having been delayed by industrial action.

Then one issue came with an insert, "To Our Readers", which had clearly been put into the envelopes out of sight of his now unionised staff. Unless my memory is at fault, BH described one of his employees, "G", as a communist agitator.
Yes, I remember that. I no longer have any magazines from that era, but BHW said that he had actively encouraged his staff to join a union. Unfortunately one person made it his own personal crusade to complain at the least excuse, getting people to walk out due to trivial things like not enough towels in the washroom, etc.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:19 pm

LIke Paul, I really got into chess when a new teacher came to our school who revived the chess club by handing out copies of CHESS to pupils aged 11-13. He knew that young teams had an advantage in the Sunday Times Schools competition.

It's possible (I don't have sources to check) that Whitby was BH Wood's festival one year (or more), and in 1964 the British Championship was held there. I think I went to Southport twice: once for a week and once I played the 11-round open.

At least one summer in the 1960s it was possible to play chess for seven successive weeks at the seaside (British Ch, Whitby, Southport and - probably not in that order - followed by one week in Paignton) but the most I managed was three (for financial and other reasons, being a student then).

On Marek's question, for a few months in 1972 I was a member of the Birmingham University CC after leaving Oxford. The club was only in the second division of the league so I didn't get to play against the stars of the region. Perhaps the only time I visited Sutton Coldfield was when BUCC was planning a two-day rapid tournament and I went to ask BH if we could borrow equipment for the event, which he was happy to lend.
CHESS was based at the railway station then; he showed me around and I bought a couple of books while I was there.

Earlier that year BH drove me down to Caerphilly for a weekend tournament that Peter Clarke was running, but BH got word that Marjorie was unwell and he went home on the Saturday morning. That was fortunate for me in that I managed to win the event in his absence, but unfortunate in that there was no way to get back to Birmingham on the Sunday evening.

The last time I met BH was perhaps the 1975 Jersey Open in St Helier, which he won. He always seemed to be the same. I finished second after a draw with Dr Aitken and a win against Dave Rumens in the last round. The vagaries of the Swiss draw meant I didn't play BH, and in fact we never played a game. That Jersey Open was also the first time I met Nigel Short and his father. I don't recall what Nigel scored; he was just short of his 10th birthday.
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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:03 pm

John Upham wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:50 am
CHESS & Bridge are offering for download the first ever issue of CHESS :D
untitled_11.jpg
You have to pay for it though......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by MSoszynski » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:08 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:03 pm
John Upham wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:50 am
CHESS & Bridge are offering for download the first ever issue of CHESS :D
untitled_11.jpg
You have to pay for it though......
If I can find six florins, I'll subscribe for the entire year.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by James Pratt » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:54 pm

BH would give his staff jobs then go and do them himself. Some tolerated this (Fox and Escott): most couldn't. I have this from Basman but I am sure others have echoed this in my hearing. When eventually he left, he thought he might appear on occasion - I had this from PH Clarke, his son-in-law - but he was mistaken and, of course, things got shunted down to Headington and Maxwellville, Paul Lamford at the helm. I had but slight dealings with BH but always liked him.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Reg Clucas » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:27 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:07 pm

Then one issue came with an insert, "To Our Readers", which had clearly been put into the envelopes out of sight of his now unionised staff. Unless my memory is at fault, BH described one of his employees, "G", as a communist agitator.

I would be interested to know whether anyone here still has a copy of this document, or knows of its being available in any chess library. I would like to think that a copy is being or will be preserved for posterity somewhere.
The April 2021 issue of Chess has an article by Ben Graff in which he shows a photo of the document - not readable in the photo but he obviously has the original.
Screenshot from 2021-04-08 14-25-58.png
Screenshot from 2021-04-08 14-25-58.png (402.19 KiB) Viewed 314 times

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:31 pm

I wonder if the workforce might have had a different point if view to Wood's. I guess we will never know, and Graff certainly doesn't ask.
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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:05 pm

I note that some late-70s issues of Chess were printed "out of house" - I wonder if that was industrial dispute related.
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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:54 pm

Reg Clucas wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:27 pm
David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:07 pm

Then one issue came with an insert, "To Our Readers", which had clearly been put into the envelopes out of sight of his now unionised staff. Unless my memory is at fault, BH described one of his employees, "G", as a communist agitator.

I would be interested to know whether anyone here still has a copy of this document, or knows of its being available in any chess library. I would like to think that a copy is being or will be preserved for posterity somewhere.
The April 2021 issue of Chess has an article by Ben Graff in which he shows a photo of the document - not readable in the photo but he obviously has the original.
Screenshot from 2021-04-08 14-25-58.png
You're talking of an era when the print unions, notably NGA and NATSOPA if I remember correctly, considered they were in such a strong position that their members could do more or less what they liked. Prime example was Fleet Street. Then computer setting came along and the game changed.

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Re: Remembering BH Wood MSc FCS OBE (13-vii-1909 04-iv-1989)

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:00 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:05 pm
I note that some late-70s issues of Chess were printed "out of house" - I wonder if that was industrial dispute related.
Indeed it was. If I remember correctly. Wood states in "To Our Readers" that the Federation of Master Printers had advised him to "settle" the dispute by closing down his in house printing operation, ostensibly on age and health grounds, and to make the staff redundant.
JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:31 pm
I wonder if the workforce might have had a different point if view to Wood's. I guess we will never know, and Graff certainly doesn't ask.
We may indeed never know what the workforce felt at the time. However, one of the reasons why I was - and still am - trying to locate the document is that I would like to know what you made of it.

I suspect that my sympathies would lie more with Wood than with you, but I would be interested in your thoughts nevertheless.

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