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"CHESS NOTES" for the Portsmouth Evening News

For many, many years, Jack (JEC) Grant used to write a weekly column titled “CHESS NOTES” for the Portsmouth Evening News / Evening News). The original notes for numbers 1 to 85 (6th September 1976 - 13th November 1978) which were passed to the Newspaper are included in the Hampshire Chess Archives.

I am not sure if No. 1 was the first one or how long these were published but I am scanning the ones I have and will add below. March 22 2022 - 5th and final (for now) batch added.

The structure of "Chess Notes" was normally split into three sections:

  1. Portsmouth / Southampton League

  2. County Updates

  3. Grading / Game

These are a fascinating insight into local chess in this period including snippets from AGM's, League and County results, player grades and charity events.  I hope you enjoy reading through these as much as I have. For the games these are sometimes positions, so a bit of work re-creating these from the position detailed (no diagram in the notes!) is required. Also the games are in descriptive notation, rather than than algebraic.

I would like to add a profile on Jack Grant in the future. There may be additional information in the archives, but I am sure local players will know more than I have, so welcome any information you have.

  1. Chess Notes 1 to 19 - Sept 1976 / Jan 1977

  2. Numbers 20 to 39 - Jan 1977 / Aug 1977

  3. Number 40 to 59 - Aug 1977 / Jan 1978

  4. Number 60 to 79 - Jan 1978 / Oct 1978

  5. Number 80 to 113 - Oct 1978 / Jun 1979

Chess Notes - Index and 1 to 19 - Sept 1976 / Jan 1977


Chess Notes - 20 to 39 - Jan 1977 / Aug 1977

Chess Notes number 20 to 39, including numerous Portsmouth and Hampshire League results, County Matches and Junior competitions which includes the West of England Junior Jamboree. In addition the results of an inter league Portsmouth vs Southampton match, played over 36 boards is detailed in no 26, with various prominent players participating. 

Number 38 details the Gosport's Club Tournament which was a 8 round Swiss with 23 participants and Fareham had 46! players in their club tournament which is recorded in no 39.


Chess Notes - 40 to 59 - Aug 1977 / Jan 1978

Chess Notes number 40 to 59. Highlights include the infamous display by Fareham Chess Club over a week in Fareham Shopping Precinct. The normal Hampshire and Portsmouth League details and Hampshire County Matches are included. The Portsmouth Individual Tournament proved to be popular with 32 entries, which was probably a record at that time. There is also news on a Isle of White vs Shetland Islands telephone match (no. 55) which took over five and a half hours to complete due to transmission issues. We obviously have it a bit easier these days playing on Lichess and other sites.

In number 58 the game Newbury - Gibson is given with the following comments: "The following game between M.L. Newbury and D. Gibson from the match Fareham A v Cosham A was recorded by another Fareham member who said that because he found it so exciting, he could not take his eyes off it." 

This peaked my interest, so I have input the game into Chessbase from the old descriptive notation and made available here. As detailed this is a fascinating game from two long standing local players, Martin Newbury has been active since he was a junior and probably played for the County over 200 times and many of these on the top five boards.


Some of the material is not as clear, with a bit of ink bleeding over time, but on the whole I think everything is readable.


Chess Notes - 60 to 79 - Jan 1978 / Oct 1978

Chess Notes number 60 to 79. Highlights include details on the Portsmouth Chess Congress (no 62), early details on future IM Paul Littlewood playing in the Portsmouth League (graded 215). Interestingly the Portsmouth Individual Championship (no 72) had a play off between 2 players who would later become a GM (Peter Wells) and IM (Paul Littlewood) respectively. The other player was D.Smith. Peter Wells would only have been 13 years at the time, so no surprise that Paul at 22 and only a few years before he won the British Championship won his four games against the other two players. 

Number 75 details the four final division tables, with 26 teams participating, Fareham had 6 teams in the league. The game where Arthur Brameld beat Paul Littlewood is included in Arthur's games in his profile.


Some of the early ones are a bit unclear, but for the majority they are fine.


Chess Notes - 80 to 113 - Oct 1978 / June 1979

Chess Notes number 80 to 113, which are the last ones I have from the Hampshire Chess archives, although this continued to be published for many years. It goes without saying that if you have any copies of the other ones please let me know.

Details on the Hampshire League, the start of the "Ruth Rose Cup" (for best performance for players over 60 in the Portsmouth League), Portsmouth League information, Portsmouth Congress and numerous Junior competitions are included in this batch.

I have added quite a lot of information on the Portsmouth Junior stars of this time, but I noticed that in number 88 that a Portsmouth Schools vs Southampton Schools ended with a 15 - 5 (with 1 adjudication) to Southampton. Although I don't have much information it does seem that Southampton also had an impressive junior presence at this time? 

More details on the IOW playing in a inter island telephone contest, which was sponsored by Lloyds Bank. It seems the IOW won their first match, but no further details on if they won through to the final.