Maidenhead Junior Chess Congress

A short history, published on the occasion of the 25th Annual Congress

(With additional results covering congresses up to 2013 included)

by Nigel Dennis and Roger Brugge,

July 2013


In 1972 the historic encounter took place between Bobby Fischer (USA) and Boris Spassky (USSR) for the FIDE World Championship title. Worldwide interest on chess followed and chess clubs greatly increased their membership. Maidenhead Junior Chess Club was set up at that time - it met weekly at the High Street Methodist Church Hall in Maidenhead. A couple of years later the club decided it had sufficient members to set up a congress during the Easter holidays.

The first congress was for children aged under 13. There were few 13-17 year old chess players around Maidenhead, as they had not had the benefit of the Junior Chess Club during their early years. Each year the age range of the Congress was increased until it catered for all players aged under 18.

After 1983, when there were over 200 entries, the Junior Chess Club lost the use of its premises and the Congress continued, during the Easter holidays, without the support of a local junior chess club. In the early years the Congress purchased chess equipment and later, as funds became available, trophies for the section winners. Names were engraved on the trophies - currently these are:- Under 18 (Bruton), Under 13 (Bristow), Under 12 (Dennis), Under 11 (Brugge) and Under 9 (Foister).

Mike Bruton started the congress and was in charge for the first ten years. Earlier, he had started the Maidenhead Junior Chess Club and organised it throughout its time at the High Street Methodist Church Hall. He is now a Councillor for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Pam and Mike Foister were involved in the organisation of the Congress for some ten years while son Steven was winning the trophies (or trying to). Many others have helped on Congress days with the playing sessions and in other supporting roles - far too many to mention although without them the Congress could not have been held over the years.

This short history, published on the occasion of the 25th Congress, lists all the section winners and shows how some of them have gone on to play at the British Championships.

Some of the tabular information was extended in May 2006 and July 2013 to cover the congresses up to that of 2013.

Congress Secretaries

1975 Dr M. J. Bruton
1976 - 1977 Mrs M. Campbell
1978 - 1988 Mrs P. Foister
1989 - 2013 Dr R. Brugge

Congress Venues

1975 Methodist Church Hall, Maidenhead
1976 - 1994 Desborough School, Maidenhead
1995 - 1996 Altwood School, Maidenhead
1997 Desborough School, Maidenhead
1998 - 2002 Altwood School, Maidenhead
2003 - 2007 All Saints Junior School, Maidenhead
2008 - 2012 Ridgeway School, Maidenhead
2013 Claires Court School, Maidenhead

Number of Entries

The following table shows the number of entries for each year. In the early years the majority of entrants were from Berkshire, the remainder being mostly from Buckinghamshire with a few from Oxfordshire. The entries for 1981 - 1983 were well ahead of other years with 1983 having the most entries (208).

A steady decline in the number of entries from Berkshire took place over ten years from 163 in 1982 to 34 in 1992. Fewer schools were running chess clubs, children were taking part in other activities with less chess played, and families were travelling away from home during school holidays. However, a greater willingness to travel brought more entries from other parts of the south of England, particularly in the under 9 and under 11 sections.

Entries in the under 13 and under 18 sections, though, remained well below the level of earlier years. The British Chess Federation Junior Squad were holding their annual event over a weekend close to the date of the congress, and organising training events and trips abroad during the Easter holidays. However, The Royal Grammar School, Guildford, has brought a group from the school to the under 13 and under 18 events every year since 1983.

The number of entries in the Maidenhead Junior Chess Congress, 1975-2013:

Year Total number of entries Berkshire entries Number from other counties
1975 80 70 10
1976 127 110 17
1977 161 137 24
1978 155 139 16
1979 150 115 35
1980 138 106 32
1981 202 160 42
1982 207 163 44
1983 208 143 65
1984 177 111 66
1985 134 75 59
1986 140 76 64
1987 153 89 64
1988 154 68 86
1989 125 46 79
1990 136 52 84
1991 121 47 74
1992 87 34 53
1993 93 37 56
1994 101 47 54
1995 101 35 66
1996 75 27 48
1997 92 32 60
1998 115 37 78
1999 105 28 77
2000 68 20 48
2001 111 30 81
2002 80 31 49
2003 93 45 48
2004 82 26 56
2005 72 25 47
2006 50 25 25
2007 46 19 27
2008 69 22 47
2009 54 19 35
2010 46 15 31
2011 62 26 36
2012 55 26 29
2013 76 31 45

One day sections were held from 2011. Players taking part in two one day sections have been counted as one player entering.

All-Play-All Sections

From 1977 to 1991 All-Play-All sections were held for the under 18, under 15 and under 12 age groups. The stronger players were invited to play at a slower rate of play and usually played over four days. The other Congress sections were held over three days (under 18 and under 13 Swiss sections) or two days (under 11 and under 9 sections).

The All-Play-All sections gave the players valuable playing experience towards participitation in adult congresses, but as entry numbers dropped the sections became impracticable, By then, the BCF Junior squad was providing the best players with a tournament during the Easter holidays.

When it ran, the under 18 section had 6 or 8 players, the under 15 section 8 or 10 players and the under 12 section 10 or 12 players (once 8 players). The winners were as follows (a gap indicating no tournament that year):

Under 18Under 15 Under 12
1977 Jeremy Hart, Maidenhead
1978 Stephen James, Camberley Timothy Lawrence, Winnersh
1979 Kevin Beedle, Chesham Martin Alster, Iver Heath Stephen Bird, Yateley; Alexander Buckland, Maidenhead
1980 Kevin Beedle, Chesham Brian Church, High Wycombe Mark Seymour, Charvil
1981 Kevin Beedle, Chesham Jonathan Beedle, Chesham Mark Seymour, Charvil
1982 Stephen Piercey, Maidenhead Alexander Buckland, Maidenhead Christopher Doe, Bourne End
1983 Simon Knight, Burnham Andrew Melvin, Maidenhead Steven Foister, Maidenhead
1984 Alexander Buckland, Maidenhead Steven Foister, Maidenhead Martin Faulkner, Wokingham
1985 Simon Duck, Wokingham Stephen Warry, Wokingham Nicholas Brisbourne, Gerrards Cross
1986 David Lee, Abingdon Thomas Townsend, Earley; Nicholas Brisbourne, Gerrards Cross Simon Ansell, Oxford
1987 Simon Ansell, Oxford Neil Anderson, Farnborough; Christopher Blake, Southampton
1988 Ali Shahrukhi, High Wycombe Neil Anderson, Farnborough
1989 Lucy Smith, Oxford
1990 James Cobb, Swindon Charles Cobb, Swindon
1991 Ashley Cox, Maidenhead; Peter Hamborg, Twyford

Swiss section tournament winners, 1975 - 2010

Under 18 Under 13 Under 11 Under 9
1975 D Seawert, J Stanton T Aston, M Kendall M Gerrard
1976 S James A Clayfield, J Watkins D Hallett
1977 G Tubb S Lockwood, R Jobbons J Willder
1978 M Cogan, M Johnstone, R Lockwood, D Mander P Ball D Burns, S Maidment M Seymour
1979 I Conway, R Lockwood T Freeman R Meacock, K Nevols, A Sharpe C Lindsey
1980 I Conway S Knight, P Ash, P Evans B Collins, P Utting, L Huxley S Foister
1981 I Smith R Meacock C Doe, M Eastgate S Follett
1982 P May, P Bennet P Masters F Lilley, C Forbes G Warren
1983 D Hallett W Asghar, S Hopewell M Faulkner J Hastings, D Woods
1984 N Wood M Ball P Golding, N Brisbourne D Woods
1985 S Roberts S Follett (under 14 section) N Mallen M Mumford
1986 S Roberts J Hastings Jason Lee A George, S Crawford-Phillips
1987 S Foister N James I Edwards D Clifton
1988 T Townsend, M Anderton M Bryant A P George J Conlon
1989 S Foister J Cobb C A Cobb A Edmans
1990 S Hampton N J Harmer A P Mills L McShane
1991 E D Savory, A P George G S Reyatt K D Smallbone, M P George L J Debbage
1992 M Houska M P George A Huntley L J Debbage, R Pike
1993 M Houska J Houska R Pike, L J Debbage M Broomfield
1994 J Houska R A Hogg J J Foster, I Houska, C J Milton, R D Knight, E Cormack, R Scott J Fish
1995 E Dearing, J Houska, M C Campbell J J Foster D Kay, M Broomfield T Thiruchelvam
1996 D A Gold M Bovey C Hansell J Ridout
1997 M Broomfield A Smith C Hansell J Zhang, J Hillman
1998 K B Nicholas C Hansell, D Bareham G P Morris D J Hall
1999 A Thorpe D W-L Howell S Pozzo, J D W Hall J Peet
2000 C M Linford M Harborne J T Peet E Geidelberg
2001 C M Linford D Barraclough S Barraclough L Martin
2002 C Kay, M Harborne H Kingston L Martin P Butler
2003 M Harborne M Amery P Williams G Tunstall
2004 P Williams R Coats D Chan J Holland
2005 S Cairns D Chan G S Tunstall N Pillai
2006 S Cairns J Adair R White R Zhang
2007 J Adair J Holland R Zhang, P A Archer-Lock D Redman
2008 F Ynojosa R Fitzgerald M Cleeves D Redman
2009 R Jain, J Holland, T Fitzgerald A Harris V Lee, P Waddingham R Wong
2010 M Oliver A Zhang T Slade

Swiss section tournament winners, 2011 - 2013

Under 18 (2-day) Under 12 (1-day) Under 11 (1-day) Under 10 (1-day) Under 9 (1-day)
2011 R Starling, P Waddingham D D'Souza-Eva H Phillips M French C McLaren
2012 K Dixit R Bennett, T McLaren A Smailes C McLaren B Pastukhov
2013 H Anbukumar E Bains-Gillespie B Pastukhov, E Bains-Gillespie P Isaksen M Miller

The Team Tournament

The Team tournament was started in 1989 as a means of encouraging participation in the Congress by school chess team players, and a means whereby players of all ages could compete with each other. In 1989 the top four scores by players in the same school over their first 9 rounds played were added together to give the team score. Competitors playing in less than 9 rounds had their scores adjusted pro-rata. In 1998 the number of qualifying rounds was reduced to 6, reflecting the shortening in length of some of the sections, and the event is now for teams of three players.

The tournament enables many players, not just the eventual section winners, to play games that can have a bearing on the outcome of a competition. It also enables the youger players to compete against the older ones on an equal footing.

Team tournament winners, 1989 - 2009:

1989 Holmer Green Combined School, Bucks.
1990 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
1991 Royal Grammar School, Guildford; Dolphin School, Hurst, Berks.; Holmer Green Middle School, Bucks.
1992 Holmer Green Middle School, Bucks.
1993 Dolphin School, Hurst, Berks.; Gateway School, Great Missenden, Bucks.
1994 Royal Grammar School, Guildford; Beenham Primary School, Reading; Hamilton County Combined School, High Wycombe
1995 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
1996 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
1997 Garden Suburb Junior School, London NW 11
1998 Dr Challoner's Grammar School, Amersham; Garden Suburb Junior School, London NW11
1999 Frideswide Middle School, Oxford; Lethbridge Junior School, Swindon
2000 Garden Suburb Junior School, London
2001 Commonweal School, Swindon; Hamilton County Combined, High Wycombe
2002 Hamilton County Combined, High Wycombe; St. Nicholas School, Hurst
2003 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
2004 Hamilton Primary School, High Wycombe
2005 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
2006 Hamilton School, High Wycombe
2007 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
2008 Royal Grammar School, Guildford
2009 Ridgeway School, Maidenhead


The Congress is grateful for support from The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (and Berkshire County Council until 1998) for making contributions towards the cost of room hire, and to the family of the late Henry Benedictus for providing the school tournament prizes since 1992.

Henry Benedictus

Henry Benedictus lived in Cookham and worked in the sports trade in London. His first chess club was Marlow but, after he retired early, he spent more time playing for Maidenhead. He also played for Berkshire and won The Cadogan Cup for the County Individual Championship in 1959. He was elected a County Councillor, became Chairman of Berkshire County Council Education Committee and was President of Maidenhead Chess Club until 1972.

Last updated 13 July 2013. This page is maintained by Roger Brugge