Sir William Dupree Under 13 Chess Championship 1978

25th September 2021

Sir William Dupree Under 13 Chess Championship 1978

In 1933 Col Sir William Thomas Dupree left a large sum of money in his will to be used for young chess players in Brighton and Portsmouth.

Junior competitions were held once a year in those towns and in Brighton the first prize was £100, a remarkable sum in those days.

The Charity Trust Fund has some additional information on this, which states:

"To promote and pay the expenses of a chess tournament for the encouragement of chess playing to be competed in annually by boys or young men up to the age of twenty one years resident in the city of Portsmouth"


I would say that maybe this would have been better with an initial smaller amount, increasing each year as in the 1930's this was a huge sum, but as the years passed this would have been eroded by inflation.

I think the can aptly be seen from the details posted by Brian Denham on the ECF forum with regards to the passing of R.H.Storr-Best which I produce below. Hugh played in the Portsmouth league for a long time and I played him in 2001 when he was 83, but still graded ECF 148.

"I am sorry to have to report that Hugh Storr-Best passed away on 24th October at the age of 96. He had been born on 11th October 1918 in Brighton and came from a chess-playing family. His father, John, won the Brighton CC Championship on three occasions and played on a high board for Sussex while his uncles, Lloyd and Harold, were very strong Kent players. In one county match between Sussex and Kent played on 15th December 1934 there were no fewer than six members of the family in the teams, although none of them recorded a win!

In 1933 following a legacy by Col. Sir William Dupree a boys’ tournament was started in Brighton which offered remarkable prizes to the winners. Hugh competed in this and in the four seasons from 1934-35 and 1937-38 he won prize money of £194.7s.6d. This was a large sum of money in those days and is put into perspective by the £70 annual salary Hugh received when he started as a junior insurance clerk in London in September 1936. Not long after his move to London he sought to improve his play by having lessons from Vera Menchik. At that time before her marriage she lived in Bayswater in London with her sister and mother. Hugh also joined the Metropolitan CC and played some games in the London League.

When the war came, Hugh worked for nearly four years at an Army pay office at Sidcup. He played very little chess in this period, but, when hostilities ceased, he became a member of the London Insurance Club and it seems that he played for this club for about fifty years.

In 1961 Hugh married Julia and started a family living near Tunbridge Wells. I also believe that he came to live at Whitchurch near Oxford before moving eventually to Petersfield. He won the championship of the Hampshire club several times and also competed in the Portsmouth League. I believe that he later joined the Emsworth CC.

I knew him for about twenty years and he was always very polite, friendly and gentlemanly."

R Hugh Storr-Best - English Chess Forum (

See the Argus for a picture which likely includes Hugh from the 1936 Dupree, again which originates from Brian Denham and I include below.

Chess photo showed pupil players in 1936 | The Argus

Dupree 1936

I am sure some of the Hampshire Chess Archives / Portsmouth players will know more about the Trust Fund and the tournaments, but the Trust Fund was certainly being used to fund tournaments up to 1978 which is when this tournament took place and 67 juniors played over 6 rounds for a number of prizes. 

1978 Sir William Dupree Under 13 Tournament

With 67 under 13 participants which I presume all were from the Portsmouth area this was a very large tournament. Peter Wells already graded 155 would have gone into the tournament as favourite, but two draws in rounds 3 and 5 (which looked like it was a half point bye?) meant his score of 5 points was half a point behind Philip Spurgeon who won his first 5 games and drew with Gary Scotney in the 6th round. 

Philip Spurgeon was also successful in the Southsea 1975 and 1976 tournaments, but I have not found anything else of his chess exploits? Please do update if you have any details?

As well as Peter Wells and Gary Scotney, Jeffrey Baille and Robert Wilson also scored 5 points and shared 2nd place. Both of these were graded well under 100 ECF and although Junior Grades can be misleading, these were excellent results.

Michael Vernon and Trevor Ruff, who have both featured in a number of the local tournaments at this time won the Under 12 and Under 11 prizes respectively, both scoring 4 and a half points. The Under 10 prize was shared by James Langford, Andrew Daley and John Foster with 3 points.

There does not see to be any girls in this tournament, so I would have thought there were other tournaments as well as the under 13 one? I have based this on most of the other tournaments having a number of girls or separate girls tournaments - but will see what I can find out from the Archives or update if anyone has additional information?

A bit tricky to get the Excel crosstable in one, so I have split into three pictures. But if you want to see in more detail, download the Excel crosstable in the Download section at the bottom of the article.


I have located a photograph from the 1973 Sir William Dupree Chess Tournament, which the chess Director was Wilfred Pattern a very well known and strong Portsmouth Player.   

Sir William Dupree Tournament 1973