Warley Quinborne Chess Club 


Here is a very brief history of the club that I hope will be expanded on and filled in with more detail..

Warley Quinborne started in the late 1970s when Warley merged with  Quinborne Chess Club. Warley itself prior to the merger was know as Smethwick chess club. The longest serving club member who originally belonged to Smethwick is our Treasurer Brian Whitehouse. Andy Southall, Mike Doran and Simon Smith are the three other premerger club Warley members. Premerger Quinborne players still at the club are Alan Burnet and club President John Pakenham. (Are Alan or John able to othe info about Quinborne Chess Club ?)

Warley Quinborne has known many good servants  now passed on. Dave Rowe was club secretary for many years. A club trophy is named in recognition of his many years of hard work. A true servant of the club. Arthur Evans was a club benefactor, team captain and very longstanding member. Mike Fox , author of the "The Complete Chess Addict" was another distinguished member who gave up a lot of time for the Checkmate club and the development of young players. The club was also associated with Britian's first Grandmaster Tony Miles who would often frequent the club. (Omission of any other notable members can be corrected. When I first joined Warley I remember my first AGM with old school miltary types as club officials. Brian Whitehouse often mentions a Mr Bant. It would nice to flesh this page out with those worked for the club before.  There was a player Ken Lloyd who played for the club ? Perhaps Brian can give this and other info - Simon Smith)

Update. Since posting this page Alan Burnett emailed me with information. I'm not sure what direction to go with this  history section yet, however I wiill post his email to me and we'll take it from there:

"Hello Simon,
John Fahy spoke to me about a website you are creating for the chess club and asked me to provide you with some history with regard to the Quinborne Chess Club.

I joined The Quinborne club in 1975 . At the time it was a small , friendly, well run club. I had not been there quite twelve months when I was approached to become the club's new secretary. You may recall, I remained secretary after the merger of the two clubs until Glen Windows took on the task. My knowledge of the old Quinborne club is not good , all I can tell you is that it was established in 1950. It may have been members of the Harborne Chess Club needing a new venue and having to adopt the name Quinborne.

When I took the job as secretary, the club was struggling for members and although the catchment area was good and we were able to attract good players , some moved to other clubs so they could play in higher divisions. In early 1977 David Rowe contacted me to ask whether or not Quinborne C.C. would have any objections to Warley C.C. using the same venue. The end result was a merger of the two clubs offering two nights a week with no increase in membership fees. The notable Quinborne player at the time was John Hawthorne just 12 or 13 and promising to be a very good player. The new club started off very well , we attracted good players from clubs such as, Birmingham C.C. and Bham. Uni.  the late George Hill was one. We were even able to recruit a Spanish IM for a short period, and new members arrived to fill the lower divisions. We became one of the largest clubs in the B&DCL.  

In the early 1980's David Rowe entered the club for the British National Team Tournaments and in 1986 we won the intermediate grade. This is all from my memory , it maybe worth contacting Glen Windows , he was good active member during the early years
Kind regards

As a further note, Alan mentioned that he remembers the very strong chess player Bernard Cafferty gave a simultaneous display at Quinborne Community centre in 1975 to commemorate twenty five years. So Quinborne centre may have been built in 1950. In any case the Quinborne club arose from the old Harborne club. 

An Interesting Email from Peter Hughes on the old Warley and Smethwick Chess Club !
Hi Simon

After our chat at WQ I have been thinking about the history of Smethwick/Warley CC where I was a member from 1962 to 1976 meeting throughout at Bearwood Road school in Ethel Street. I joined on leaving school and found a younger teen Brian Whitehouse already in the first team.

We only played in the Birmingham league and had 2 teams in division 3. As now, those teams had to contest the first match and I beat club stalwart Bill Bant. That gave an inflated impression of my strength and for years I laboured in divs 2 and 3 when I should have been playing lower.

I would never have dared use first names to address the senior members including Len Albini (club hon sec. for years) and Charles Lea who I think was a founder member of the club in about 1920. Younger members of course used first names and the oldies tried to move with the times. For years Mr. Albini called me Pat !!

Talking of moving with the times, a majority of members thought they were doing that when they voted to change the name of the club to Warley following local authority changes in 1974 (?). I was born in Smethwick and spoke passionately at the meeting to keep the name. To this day we know where Smethwick is but Warley is little more than a name for administrative purposes.

A youth club sometimes met in an adjoing room and suddenly pop music of the time would blare out to disturb the peace of a chess match. I loved to hear Neil Sedaka, Helen Shapiro, Bobby Vee etc but the oldies puffed away on their pipes in disgust. Yes, most of us smoked at the board but as far as I know it was only tobacco.

All the members were male until the arrival of a young Patricia Wheeldon who caused quite a stir and no doubt a few mating threats.

Mr. Albini worked for Midland Red and had a free pass for those buses which at that time had to charge premium fares within the city boundary. The story goes (but please check this with Brian) that when teams travelled by bus L.A. insisted on using Midland Red at extra cost to the others.

I stopped playing after moving to Shirley with a young family in 1975. At that time four of the first team were young men - Andy Southall - Mike Widboar - Mike Doran and Brian whitehouse. On re-joining in 2007 (WG at the Reds) imagine my amazemnet when I saw in the first team four old men- Southall - Widboar - Doran and Whitehouse. What stamina !!

When I left, the old guard were becoming less active and Dave Rowe was showing the skills which would take the club and the league forward and make him a legend in local chess.

Simon, hope this helps. I would be pleased to try to answer any questions you may have.


Peter Hughes

Club secretary John Fahy has forwarded this email to me about our Spanish IM of a few years ago from Stewart Fishburne of Halesowen Chess Club.


I suspect your Spanish IM was Javier Sant, who came to Birmingham briefly in the late 1970ís/early 1980ís. He was a friend of WQ club member, and former BU club member, Paul Raynes. Paul studied Spanish at BU (1974 to 1978) and in his year abroad (a standard part of the degree course in those days) went to Salamanca where he met Javier.



Andy Southall receives the Dave Rowe trophy from Dave's long term partner Pauline Woodward:

Dave Rowe on holiday in Turkey. Dave was secretary for many years, a well liked gentleman who worked hard for the club and was highly influential in the chess community generally. As a young teenager I - Simon Smith - recall a hand written letter from him in the 1970s explaining where and when the club met after my sister Mary made an inquiry on my behalf.