NORTH CIRCULAR CHESS LEAGUE
Even though the Capes Trophy was not originally an official NCCL tournament, it has always had very close links with the League and most of its entrants and winners are teams that play or have played in the League.
The competition came about because John Capes was relatively new to chess and had been introduced to 5-minute chess by W.B.Hasse. However the older members of Enfield CC disliked 5-minute chess - too noisy, damages clocks etc. So he organised the Capes Trophy. The first was held upstairs in the George pub (the spiritual home of the NCCL), it attracted eight entries and was won by Finchley. It was never intended to be an annual competition but somehow the tournament has kept going ever since, even during the eight years where John virtually gave up chess! 1984 is the only year where the event wasn't held, due to problems finding a venue. The best attendance has been 27 teams! All the entry fees are put back into prizes and John always hired the venue out of his own pocket.
The distinctive trophy was designed by Henry Callaghan, then Chairman of the League.
At the 50th anniversary tournament John Capes handed the tournament and trophy to the league on the sole proviso that it remains a not-for-profit tournament with all entry fees going back as prizes.
Even though up until his death in the summer of 2013 John played in every event, the only player to do so, he only won it once in 1968.
The members of the Enfield team are (from left) John Capes, John Smith, Percy Scholes and Bill Hartston. The Trophy was not available so Hector Lawrance presents the team with a clock instead.