Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chess' Family Tree–Memphis Chess Club

Moments, Movers, Motivators, Maintainers in the Memphis Chess Club

by Dwight Weaver

Presented here are links and comments regarding bits of history concerning some of the Memphis Chess Club's officers from its inception, demise, and resurrection.  As time permits, I will add to this post when important events occur.

"Rocky Hill Castle"Childhood home of D.D. Saunders in Lawrence County Alabama

 Rabbi Jacob Joseph Peres, 1st Secretary of the Memphis Chess Club in 1877

Dudley Dunn Saunders, again, President of the second incarnation of the Memphis Chess Club in 1901, following Harry Nelson Pillsbury's simultaneous chess exhibition, according to the Commercial Appeal May 11, 1901

  Hardwigh Peres, Memphis Chess Club Officer in 1901

Dr. Henry Posert, President of the Memphis Chess Club in 1907, and brother-in-law to Jacob Peres.  In that same year, three World Chess Championship games were played in Memphis, TN. 

Bradford B. Jefferson was President of the Memphis Chess Club following the departure from the Business Men's Club in 1934.  In later years, the club was pretty much nonexistent, except for James A. Wright, who in the early 1950's, would on occasion meet with Mr. Jefferson for a friendly game in downtown Memphis as told by Mr. Wright himself to Mr. Weaver around 1987.  By best estimates, in Mr. Jefferson's prime, he was rated somewhere around 2450, because of the comparison rating of whom he had defeated in the 1914 U.S. Open, Edward Schrader and a Mr. George Wolbrecht.

James Alfred Wright, became President of the third incarnation, or resurrection, of the Memphis Chess Club in 1956, following Max Mueller, President of the Club in 1955, of whom I have no information.  

"Iron Jim" in 1975

Gary M. Pylant has the distinction of being the last of the old-guard Memphis Chess Club Presidents, in 1974, before the club restructured and incorporated the following year and became Memphis Chess Club Inc, a 501 (c) (3) organization.

Gary Pylant in 1975
In 1975 James C. Little became the President of the Memphis Chess Club whereby he assisted in giving the club its non-profit status and was directly responsible for manufacturing the club's now famous banner, bringing to Memphis many Grandmasters (for promotion of the game in open public simultaneous chess exhibitions at malls and area schools), and organizing two U.S. Junior Invitational Tournaments at the University of Memphis.

Jim Little in 1975

Dwight Keith Weaver became President of the Memphis Chess Club from Oct. of 1986 thru1988; he then compiled much of the club's forgotten history, resurrected the club's annual printed tournament calendar, advertised the club weekly in the Neighbor's section of The Commercial Appeal, and created a membership phone directory.  Mr. Weaver moved the chess club to a central location on Kimball Ave. where the club remained and prospered for many years.

In 1987 Dwight Weaver is holding the 1st Western Open (U.S. Open) Trophy
showing winners from 1900-1914, won and retired by Bradford B. Jefferson in  Memphis, TN.

Allan Bogle, Memphis Chess Club President in 2004, according to club lore, during its politically tumultuous times, maintained the organization's traditional focus on the club's older chess players.

Allan Bogle in 2010

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