1913: Problems



The advert opposite was unearthed by Devon Archivist Dave Beckwith, and appeared in the " Exeter Illustrated Official Guide to the City Of Exeter 1913 " published by the Official Information Bureau for the City Council.

Bob Jones cites the Year Book of Chess 1913 which confirms the details; that is, the club was open 12 hours a day, 6 days a week!  

How to Compose a Problem   by Mr. W.H. Gundry  

Chess players who occasionally glance at problems have an idea that it is very easy to "knock off" a position fit for print. But should they ever attempt to compose one themselves they will find that innumerable difficulties and pitfalls will beset them. All the various defects such as "duals", "triples" redundancy of pieces, and the like, have still to be battled with, even when the composer has got his problem radically sound. In fact, it is not too much to say that years of patient endeavour are required before a man can make a good problem. Even long experience does not make it certain that a composer can, within a given time, produce an artistic work. As with poetry, so it is with chess composition. Sometimes the author can create rapidly and successfully; sometimes, on the other hand, he labours slowly and with difficulty. The pieces seem "possessed"; they appear to have a perverse faculty for thwarting the composer's best intentions.

So much for the inevitable toil which awaits anyone who tries to make problems. We now turn to the more interesting question, How to begin. What is the first step? The answer is simple enough. You must have an idea to work upon. By "idea" we mean a position exemplifying some neat point in chess play. For example, we are often struck by some position in a game, where, perhaps, mate is given by a piece itself en prise to one of the hostile forces. Something, however, prevents the mating pieces from being captured. In such a position as this we have the germ, the idea of the problem. Or it may be that the germ does not lie in the final position, but rather in the second move (especially if the problem is a three-mover). It may have occurred to us that a difficult problem could be made by devising an artful second move, and by allowing the key move to be comparatively commonplace. For instance, it would add to the difficulty of solving a problem if the second (White) move, instead of being, as usual, an attacking one, gave the Black King more liberty than it had before. Here then is another "germ". We construct a position such that White's second move allows the Black King to get to some square which he could not previously reach.

It may be as well to point out that these ideas are seldom, if ever, original. How could they be? Check from a piece en prise, check by promoting a Pawn to a Knight, check by sacrificing a Queen — all these moves occur again and again. They are common property. Any composer can, without fear of being charged with plagiarism, use them as a basis for his work. In problem tournaments it has long been recognised that real originality must not be expected. The prize goes to him who most cleverly represents or reproduces some neat idea.


Farnham, Haslemere and Hindmead Herald, 1st October 1904


Problem from Devon &Exeter Gazette

Dec 1 st 1903

by W.H. Gundry


(From Gazette Solving Competition 1903)





Problem Tourney No. 1, specially composed for the "Gazette" by Mrs. W.G. Baird:—

"Do not see my fair rose whither. "

"Richard II., v.  1. 

"For nothing this wide universe I call,

Save thou, my rose: in it thou art my all. "

Sonnets 109, 13. 

R — O — S — E

In each problem White is to play and mate in two moves in its own division. 

King's Rook Devon and Exeter Gazette

Tuesday 2 October 1906



Solutions p.

The Royal Game of chess has many ardent supporters in the city.  Financially, the Exeter Chess Club is in a very flourishing condition, and the membership is numerically very good.  The annual meeting of the Club was held the other day at the Barnfield Hall, and officers were elected for the ensuing year.  An excellent programme is in the course of preparation under the direction of Mr. W.H. Gundry, the hon. treasurer and secretary, and there is every prospect of a successful season

Devon and Exeter Gazette , 29 Sept 1903. 


Below will be found the players in the third Devon vs. Kent correspondence match (...) I am asked to call attention of Devonians to the necessity of not only using their best powder, but to keep it dry; this is necessary, for last year's match was lost by Devon, seemingly through the carelessness of four players, each of whom lost his game by sending an impossible move.  This style is very much to be deprecated when the honour of the county is at stake.  In the words of a schoolmaster I say, "Please see that it does not happen again. "

Queen's Knight" Western Morning News , 29 October 1903. 



    Mr. Thomas Winter Wood Picture and biographical details from British Chess Magazine , June 1905, p.230.  



Thomas Winter Wood died aged 87 in 1905; he was the father of Mrs. W.G. Baird, and the brothers Carslake and E.J. Winter Wood.


The Devon 'champion of club champions' Cup was donated by Thomas Winter Wood; the cup for the individual championship of Devon was donated by his son E.J. Winter Wood


The Exeter and Plymouth Clubs also met for the third time in the Devon County Cup competition.  After a keenly-contested match, in which the play was far more even than the scores indicate, the Exonians scored a decisive victory.  Scores:

Exeter Plymouth

Rev H. Bremridge 1 P. Motley 0

H. J. Stretton 1 N. A. Prettyjohn 0

G. F. Thompson 1/2 W. Howard 1/2

W. H. Gundry 1 Colonel Bennett 0

Rev. H. M. Bleby 1 Rev. J. J. Smith 0

A. L. Noake 1 E. B. Clarke 0

51/2 1/2

The Rev. H. Bremridge entertained the members to tea, which was supplied by Murch, Goff and Co. , of the Cathedral Yard. 

Devon and Exeter Gazette, Monday 1 October 1906


    Rev. H. Bremridge Picture and biographical details from British Chess Magazine , August 1913, p.320.  


Rev. Henry Bremridge was the founder and first hon. Secretary of the Devon County Chess Association. He died in 1913 aged 58.


Bremridge was born in Morchard Bishop, Devonshire. The BCM records that although he was a member of Oxford University Chess Club he did not take up the game seriously until 1896.


The Cup we play for in the first division of the Devon leagues bears the name of Rev. Bremridge.




From a reliable source, I hear that Mr. Blackburne expresses the opinion that taking "en passant" is doomed as a chess move. He believes that when the British Chess Federation has time to see to it, this particular move will be removed from the orthodox ones.

Western Morning News, 12th October 1904


Solutions to problems:

Gundry 1.Rf1 d5 [1...Ke4 2.Be6 f5 (2...d5 3.Re1#) 3.Re1#] 2.Nd4+ Ke4 [2...Kg5 3.Bxf4#] 3.Rxf4#

Baird R : Bb7; O : Ng8; S : Qa2; E : Qg2

Legacy nid: