My Involvement in Chess

by G. P. Jelliss ©

The following notes are somewhat sketchy, and largely from memory, though I have checked most of the dates. It surprises me how much I have been involved in over the years. Maybe I will find time to fill in more details in due course.

Interest in Chess Problems

My father taught me chess when I was quite young, and we used to play regularly, though I never got round to joining a chess club. My interests turned to mathematics, and mathematical recreations, and it was only around 1970 when I was 30 that I rediscovered an interest in chess, and played unsuccessfully in a few tournaments. Then I noticed an advertisement for The British Chess Problem Society in the BCF Yearbook and was welcomed to the BCPS as a new member in the May/June 1973 issue of The Problemist. The magazine included a fascinating column by Cedric Sells on something called ‘Fairy Chess’. My first chess composition, which appeared in the November/December issue that year, introduced ‘Ski Pieces’. Since then I have continued to compose from time to time, but very irregularly due to other interests and demands on my time. For details of my compositions see the Chess Problems section of this website. A lot of these were composed to illustrate the use of new pieces and rules of my own invention.

Chessics

My interest in Fairy Chess coincided with my attempts to earn a living by setting up as a printer, and the first three issues of my little magazine Chessics were printed by letterpress, which was of course very old technology. I soon went over to photocopying. My increasing involvement with the chess problem world was accelerated by being invited to join the Fairy Chess Correspondence Circle, which was made up of contributors to the old Fairy Chess Review. Later I became for a while BCPS Archivist and an assistant production editor, under the editorship of Colin Vaughan. The end of this period was marked by the T. R. Dawson centenary celebrations and the 1989 BCPS gathering at Bournemouth. Copies of Chessics in PDF form are now available for download from the Publications page.

Variant Chess

The later issues of Chessics turned back towards my previous interest in mathematical recreations, with new emphasis on knight's tours, chesspiece arrangement puzzles and chessboard dissection problems. When Chessics ceased in 1987 the chess problems were transferred to become a section in my new wider venture, The Games and Puzzles Journal, and that in turn was succeeded by Variant Chess which I started in 1990. Gradually however the chess problem section was overtaken by emphasis on the playing of variant chess games. After eight issues I gave up the editorship to Peter Wood who carried the magazine on for the next twelve issues. I took over for another eight issues in 1996 at which time we established the British Chess Variants Society. Subsequently it continued under Paul Byway and John Beasley until the Society was wound up after issue 64 in 2010. All issues of Variant Chess are now available in PDF form from the Variant Chess section of this website.

Hastings Chess Club

When I moved back to Hastings & St Leonards on Sea in December 2008, I considered joining the famous long-established chess club there, and playing in the end of year tournament. However I didn't get round to doing so until the end of 2010, due to involvement in winding up the BCVS.

I am now, in 2012, more deeply involved having been appointed their Web Editor, and have just (August 2012) completed some renovation work on the club's website.