NORTH CIRCULAR CHESS LEAGUE
The Kirby Cup
On the 20th June 1962 Ted Kirby put to the NCCL committee the idea of an tournament for the best individual player. He promised a silver cup for the winner. The committee decided that it would be called the Kirby Individual Trophy (even so it has been known as the Kirby Cup ever since) and would take the form of a knockout competition restricted to players who had played 6 or more games in league matches the previous season. The entrance fee was set at 2/6. Each round would be on a set date, moving around the various clubs in the league (if a player was unable to make a certain date they would be able to avoid a default by arranging to play the game before the date).
This proposal was taken up at the AGM in September. The meeting expressed "sincere gratitude" to Ted Kirby for his generosity. Mr. Keay was the organiser.
Nineteen entries were received for the first year. At the end of the year the competition was in credit at £1/2/6 after the purchase of two trophies for the winner and runner-up to keep. It was agreed that in the following year the previous winner and runner-up would be seeded and that the preliminary or qualifying round be restricted the "weaker" players.
The first winner was Ron Banwell of Islington CC [at the moment I do not have the name of the runner-up].
Two players were eliminated from the 1963-64 tournament for not having played enough games. This left twenty-one players. This year the champion was Mr. Daniel Wright [the minutes book says that "two spinners were purchased]. Mr. Keay resigned as organiser and was replaced by John Cotterell.
Not much is written on the 1964-65 competition other than that Daniel Wright retained the title. He was not present at the AGM and the trophy was collected by Ron Banwell on his behalf.
The final of the 1965-66 season was between Ron Banwell and Daniel Wright with Banwell regaining the title. For the second year running the champion was unable to attend, this time Mr. Camp collecting the trophy. It was decided to lower the eligibility of entry to four games in the previous season covering both the league and cup matches.
In 1967 the Banwell/Wright hegemony was broken when Brian Zietman of Alcazar took his first Kirby title beating John Cook. A further change on the entry conditions was taken up with players graded under 150 not having to had played the four games in the previous season.
The 1968 tournament was won by John Cook of E.R.D.E who defeated John Smith of Enfield. Entries must have been a problem as John Cotterell appealed for more entries (£2/10/0 had been raised in entry fees).
In 1969 John Cotterell said that the tournament had gone of well but still needed more players. The title was regained by Brian Zietman who defeated Colin Moore of Enfield Grammar School. Brian continued the tradition was not being able to attend the AGM to collect his trophy, but in his case he had a good reason; he had emigrated to Israel.
1970 brought a second title to John Cook when he defeated John Stainton of Alcazar. John Cotterell made his annual appeal for more players.
John Cook won his third championship in 1971 when he defeated Dr Norbert Uri in the final. For the next season entry to the tournament would be 15p.
1972 brought a much increased entry (possible forty as the accounts show £6 in entry fees). Cliff Chandler took his first title defeating Hector Lawrance in a final played after the AGM. John Cotterell stood down as the organiser and his efforts brought a "hearty vote of thanks". He was replaced by William Elton. Cliff Chandler later went on to become the British correspondence champion.
The final in 1973 saw Cliff Chandler retain the tile by defeating John Cook (who accepted the trophy on behalf of Chandler). The entries had fallen this season to twenty five and the tournament had made a loss. It was decided to raise the entry fee to 20p.
1974 saw another drop in entries down to twenty four. Graham Lee of Wood Green took his first title defeating David Browning of Enfield in the final. This year the Kirby cup was unavailable at the AGM.
1975 saw Terry Turner defeating Eric Poupard in an all E.R.D.E final. No other details are recorded for this season.
1976 saw an increased entry of twenty and Richard Lobo of Wood Green defeated Damien Treanor of Muswell Hill in the final. It was decided that in future the tournament be open to any bona fide member of a NCCL club. Again the Cup was not available for presentation and the meeting asked Henry Callaghan to look into this.
Entries in 1977 rose to twenty eight. At a committee meeting the financial position of the competition was discussed and it was decided to raise this at the forthcoming AGM. Graham Lee won his second title beating John Capes in the final. The Secretary was in favour of winding up the tournament. The entry fees had raised £5.60 but the expenditure was £11.84. Hector Lawrance that its counterpart in the Barnet League was free to enter. Instead the meeting decided to double the entrance fee to 40p. Graham Lee suggested that a plate tournament be organised for first and second round losers. It was left to William Elton to decide on this.
In 1978 Kevin Clark of Wood Green beat John Cook. Sixteen players entered meaning the tournament again ran at a loss - £6.40 entry fees against £10.96 out goings.
The entries for 1979 was a mere twelve or which five were from Muswell Hill, two each from Chingford and Barnet and one from Wood Green. The committee recommended to the AGM that the competition be discontinued for the next season and looked at again in twelve months time. Tim Martin of Muswell Hill beat club colleague Gareth Wayte in the final. The AGM decided to give the tournament one more try and dropped the entry fee.
This obviously worked as thirty entered the 1980 tournament. This year the champion was David Oliver who beat Adam Diamond, again both of Muswell Hill. The free entry fee was carried over.
In 1981 William Elton again raised the idea of "resting" the tournament due to apathy among the clubs and players. Twenty three players had entered and John Cook won his fourth title after a gap of ten years when he defeated Terry Turner in the final.
In 1982 the committee decided the discontinue the tournament because of the poor support it received. Sixteen players had entered this season and in a repeat of the previous year's final John Cook again defeated Terry Turner. The AGM decided that the tournament be run on a zonal basis subject to a minimum entry of sixteen and that the entry fee be resurrected to £1.
In the end only three players entered the 1983 tournament which was cancelled for the first time in its twenty year history. It is interesting to note that the 1983 accounts say that the League spent £6.80 on trophies for a tournament that was not held.
The trophy lay in limbo until a committee meeting in July 1985 when it was mooted to resurrect the tournament again. It was decided to retrieve the cup from John Cook. A new organiser would be needed to be found. No mention was made of it at the AGM.
Again bringing the tournament back was mentioned in the committee meeting in 1986 if the interest was there. But at the AGM no one came forward to organise it. It seems that after the AGM Maurice Culpan decided to bring it back but the 1987 competition only attracted an entry of ten (at the next AGM a number of clubs said that they had no knowledge of the tournament being held). One suggestion discussed was to run it as a swiss tournament with a time control of forty minutes each on the clock. Another suggestion at the AGM was that it should be awarded to the best game. The future of the tournament was again referred back to the committee for discussion. This season’s tournament was eventually won by Mr. R.Clark beating Les Foster in the final.
The 1988 competition attracted an entry of four and finished before the 1987 tournament and was won by Alan Calder of Waltham Forest who beat Mr. N.Beard. The committee decided to keep trying and issue entry forms at the AGM and try to ensure an entry of at least sixteen.
In 1989 Paul Badger of Barnet won by beating defending champion Alan Calder. Pat Wilkes suggested that it should be converted to a tournament for match captains but the meeting decided that this was not plausible. Mr. B.Howard said that maybe a prize might attract an increased entry. At the AGM Maurice Culpin said that since the tournament had been brought back three years earlier interested had again waned and it would not be run for the 1990 season. Suggestions for another competition for this trophy were asked for.
In 1990 Pat Wilkes again raised his idea of running the tournament for captains and if possible renaming it "Captains Cup" was rejected again by the committee who felt that if the tournament was to be run it should be open to all and that it would be wrong to rename it. However at the AGM it was decided to give it a try but the name should remain the same.
In 1991 all captains bar one had entered the Kirby Cup and it had been won by Tryfon Gavriel of Barnet. It was suggested that an entry fee of £1 be levied for the next year’s tournament.
In 1992 David Cutmore of Wood Green defeated Gary Cook of Beckton Rooks. There was a suggestion at the AGM to somehow handicap the stronger players but nothing came of this.
Gary Kenworthy of Powdermill won the 1993 tournament defeating defending champion David Cutmore in the final. It was after the AGM that the original trophy was lost. It seems to not have survived the trip from the hall to the car park and has never been seen again.
In 1994 Neil Rughwani of Edmonton won the Cup though only the base was available at the AGM. Powdermill were prepared to replace the Kirby Cup.
As the trophy was lost no tournament was run in 1995. Roberto Waldteufel volunteered to run the tournament for the 1996 season but nothing ever came of this.
After the success of the 40th anniversary congress the idea was suggested that if another congress could be organised then the highest scoring NCCL registered player would hold the cup, but alas another congress was not held.
After a proposal at the 2001 AGM the tournament has been resurrected under its original idea of an individual championship of the League. The format was changed to make each round a match played over two half-hour games with blitz play-offs if needed. Caius Turner of Powdermill became the first Kirby Cup Champion for eight years when he defeated John White of Barking in the final.
Since then, the lack of interest has returned and the Kirby Cup has again been shelved.