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Weekly Chess Column.

The Plymouth-based Western Morning News carries one of the oldest chess columns in any provincial daily paper. It was started in 1891 and has continued ever since in one form or another, in spite of having shifted for a short spell to another title in the same stable, the Illustrated Western Weekly News.

For the past 55 years it has had just three correspondents: J. E. “Eddy” Jones (1956 – 63); K. J. “Ken” Bloodworth (1963 – 1999) & R. H. “Bob” Jones from 1999.

For all this time, it has reported weekly on the chess activities within its readership’s area, Devon & Cornwall, However, since December 2010, in a cost-cutting exercise and rationalisation, the WMN joined forces with its Northcliff Group neighbour, the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, to produce a weekend supplement in common, called Westcountry Life. Fortunately, they retained the chess column, which means it now gets a much wider readership, and this must be reflected in the scope of what it records. So the activities in Somerset and Gloucestershire must get equal billing, as it were, with those of Devon & Cornwall.

One must hope this experiment will prove successful and continue. We hope chess followers will purchase the two papers in question, at least their Saturday edition, as this is the point of the exercise. However, I have permission to reproduce it on this website for the benefit of those outside the readership area.

To that end, I aim to post it here a day or two after its appearance in the paper.

Bob Jones

WMN & WDP Joint Project.

In the wake of the IT revolution and its effect on news-gathering and dissemination, all newspapers are constantly having to adapt and evolve in order to maintain economic viability. To this end the Plymouth-based Western Morning News and the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, both titles in the Northcliffe stable, are pooling their resources to produce a new 48 page supplement, which will go out with both papers as from 11th December.

The chess column in the WMN is one of the oldest of any provincial daily, having been started in 1891, with the first correspondent being Carslake Winter-Wood writing under the nome-de-plume “Queen’s Knight”. It adopted its present format in 1956 when J. E. Jones of Totnes took it on and concentrated on purely local activity. In 1963 it was taken on by Ken Bloodworth of Plymouth, who wrote it for 35 years before handing on the job to me in 1999. Meanwhile, chess coverage in the WDP has had a somewhat more chequered history (pun intended but unavoidable); a regular column was started in 1965 by R. Myers, quickly followed by C. Welch who continued with it for a decade when it was taken over by A. C. Brown of Westbury-upon-Trym until 1989 when it stopped, and there hasn’t been one since.

Happily, the new supplement will continue with the WMN’s chess column, meaning it will now get a much wider readership, which will include most of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, in fact, most of the area covered by the West of England Chess Union. The implication of this is that the term “local coverage” takes on a slightly different dimension, as it has to try and cover activities in the whole of the West of England, from Penzance to Cheltenham, a mere 220 miles apart. So unless it is to be allowed more column inches, Devon and Cornwall must expect rather fewer mentions in future.

The other side of the coin is that I can now give an airing to activity in the wider readership – providing it is sent to me. So could I ask organisers in these “new” counties to send me details, such as results, game scores, up-coming events etc. and I will do what I can to raise their profile, within the constraints imposed by the Editor.

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