Darcy Butterworth Kitchin
Winner of the club championship in 1899..
(The information below was supplied by Brian Denman)
Darcy Butterworth Kitchin was born in the September quarter of 1863 in the Martley Registration District (I believe that Martley is in Worcestershire) and he died on 9.4.1939 in the Poole Registration District. He was a member of the Brighton CC in the 1896-97 season and in 1897 he won the West Sussex Queen. He moved to Bexhill (probably in 1897) and was elected into the Hastings CC at a commitee meeting on 20.9.1897. He stopped playing for Hastings after his successful season, 1898-99, when he won both the Hastings and Sussex Championship. From a reference in ‘Who Was Who’ (1929-40) we know that he wrote a book about sailing in the Solent in 1898, another on Bergson for Beginners in 1913 and ‘Days of My Youth’ in 1936. His hobbies are listed as yachting, golf and motoring and he lived in the Bournemouth area. He went to Harrow and then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a B.A. in the Classical Tripos in 1884. He added to this in 1890 with an M.A. In 1899 he founded the Public Schools’ Year Book and was its editor for 14 years.
Chris Ravilious managed to get a read of Kitchin’s autobiography and said that it was rather a dull book. It may have been the case that in those days people were more willing to write about their life experiences than in the present age. Nowadays those who write autobiographies are more likely to be controversial characters like Geoff Boycott or Sir Alex Ferguson. I suppose that an autobiography in which nothing exciting happens might be boring. From the book we are informed that Kitchin learnt chess at Harrow but did not take it seriously there or at Cambridge. In fact, he gave it up at Cambridge, because it absorbed so much of his time. When he won the Sussex Championship, he admitted that he lunched on stout and oysters, while his opponents drank tea and were very nervous. He seems to have had a very laid back attitude to life. He married in 1899, but parted from his wife in less than a year. He admitted that it was not his nature to respond to his wife’s wish to dramatize life. He knew that if he carried on playing chess, he would have been expected to play on board one for Sussex and Hastings and he was not prepared to give the extra time for study. Kitchin is photographed in his autobiography sailing and mountaineering and in other pursuits. He claims to have not played another game of chess for 30 years after his double success in 1899, but that is not entirely true. He played in a special match for Hastings against Brighton in 1904 and in that same year we find him playing for Suffolk v Sussex in a correspondence match. I noted in the British Chess Magazine for 1932 that he and his brother, E H Kitchin were listed as playing for Dorset.