Winner of the club championship in 1919.
By Brian Denman
Alfred George Ginner was born at Hastings on 11.1.1871. He was a grandson of Will Ginner, J.P., who had been the Mayor of Hastings four times. Alfred Ginner was educated at Chatham House, Ramsgate and in his early business life he worked for Arthur Bray, a house agent and auctioneer. Subsequently he branched out himself in the same trade. At some time he became a Fellow of the Auctioneers’ Institute and passed the direct Fellowship Examination. In 1909 he was elected a Councillor for the St Clement’s Ward and in about 1910 he was president of the St. Clement’s Ward Conservative Association. Later in 1914 he was appointed as representative for the Holy Trinity Ward. He was clearly a person of local importance, as a biography of him appeared in a volume called ‘ Sussex in the Twentieth Century’ (1910), which was discovered by Chris Ravilious. He retired from his business at the start of World War I and bought the Creamery Restaurant in Robertson Street. He had previously served with the 1st Sussex Artillery at Brighton, the 2nd Kent Artillery at Woolwich, and the 2nd Cinque Ports Artillery at Hastings, but it appears that he did not fight in the war. He retired from his position on the Council in October 1921, being succeeded by H E Dobell.
In 1897 a chess column commenced in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer with Frederick Womersley as the editor. Ginner’s name is mentioned in that year, though he may have become a member of the Hastings CC a little before that. He gradually improved his game with the club and in the 1901-2 season he represented Sussex in a correspondence match against Wiltshire. In the period before World War I he made some other appearances for the county, though he was not a regular player. He was the club’s secretary from about 1912-19, a very difficult period for the local players (in the past he had been the treasurer of the club and we know that by the time he had died he had become a vice-president of the club). In 1919 he won the club championship and became the first holder of the new championship cup. In 1921 he played more times for Sussex than in any other year and he represented the county in the national semi-final match against Yorkshire played in London. Yorkshire, who had F D Yates and H E Atkins on the first two boards, proved too strong for Sussex, but Ginner held his own on board 15 to obtain a draw. Early in 1922, as the Hastings CC prepared to move to the new premises at 7 Carlisle Parade, Ginner made a donation to help with the redecoration of the property.
He died suddenly on 9.4.1922 at the age of 51. Though he had had previous heart trouble, it was not expected that there was an immediate serious health problem. He had been connected with several local philanthropic and charitable institutions. He was an ardent churchman and churchwarden at St Clement’s Church, Halton, and represented the parish on the Diocesan Council. In 1899 he had played in at least one chess match for the Hastings Church Institute team. Another hobby of his was shooting.
After his death his wife presented a trophy for the Hastings Boys’ Congress. The winner of the competition held the cup for a year and this practice continued after the Rodney memorial board was created in 1932. In the mid 1950s the British Chess Federation took over the running of junior competition and the trophy may have then been returned to the club. It would be interesting, however, to learn for certain what happened to the cup.
Below are three of Ginner’s games: