Darnall and Handsworth Chess Club was formed amongst a handful of friends back in August 1985. We started out at the aptly named King's Head pub in Darnall, fielding a single team in the Sheffield and District Chess Association's fourth division. Rapid progression up the division saw the club reach the first division by 1988. A similarly rapid expansion in membership meant that the club was able to run a second and third team in the same league. At its height, the chess club had about thirty members.
By early 2000, times changed and the club was reduced to about a dozen members due to players moving on, such as Matthew Cooper. He was an early club member and is currently working in Dubai. The club just had a single team and started yo-yoing between two divisions. The club also changed venue to Darnall Liberal Club and we stayed there for five years until it was shut down. We actually lost all of our equipment (sets, boards and clocks) when they shut down and we had to build up again by moving to Handsworth WMC. Interestingly Handsworth WMC used to have a team in the S&DCA back in the 1930s. A second place division three 2014/15 season will see the club play in division two.
Coinciding with a new change of venue to Stradbroke Community Centre, the club celebrated its 30th anniversary with a match of 'Past and Present' players against a 'Rest of the World' side, over thirty boards. The event organisers searched for ex-players to invite. In total, about eighty players have played for the club in the last thirty years. The international theme of the anniversary was not restricted to the 'Rest of the World' side. Tomas Plachetka used to play for us in 1993 whilst he was a post-graduate student at Sheffield Hallam University. He flew in from Slovakia especially for the event. Another overseas player who is now playing for us is Aram Ter-Gevorkian. He is originally from Armenia and recently moved to Sheffield from Greece.
Due to the successful celebrations Darnall and Handsworth Chess Club is gradually building up new members again and is fielding two teams in the Sheffield and District League. We have also just beaten Chesterfield A team, who won the Richardson Cup last season. If you would like to get involved with our club, please feel free to contact Geoff Brown.