James Ernest Manlove

Winner of the club championship in 1903, 1904 and 1905.

Dr J E Manlove

By Brian Denman

James Ernest Manlove was a well-known London chess player before he moved to Hastings. In 1896 he won the prestigious Lowenthal Cup at the St George’s CC.

He moved to Hastings in 1901 and soon made his presence felt at the chess club. He won the club championship three times on the trot from 1903-05 and this meant that the trophy, on which names had been entered back to 1893, became his own personal property. He was very proficient in games which involved gambits and the Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 13.1.1906 reported that the club trophy for the gambit competition had also fallen permanently into his possession as he had won the event for three consecutive years.

Now that two of the club’s trophies were in his hands, it might seem certain that he was the strongest regular player at the club. However, there was not much in it between his standard and that of Horace Cheshire. Cheshire does not seem to have entered the club championship at this time and in the other main event of the club, the Chapman Cup, he seems to have at least held his own with Manlove. Cheshire was an acknowledged end game expert and played some very sound chess, while Manlove seems to have been an altogether more aggressive player. Manlove could produce some brilliant combinations on occasions and some of his games were relatively short. In 1904 he showed his ability in a match in which Hastings played the powerful City of London CC. Playing on board one, he defeated the strong player Paul Leonhardt in that match.

Manlove played for Hastings until 1907, but hardly ever for Sussex. The only game that I can find of his representing the county came in 1902, when he played on board three against Kent at Hastings.

The Hastings and St Leonards Observer of 28.3.1908 commented on the fact that Manlove was not available for a match against a strong London side. This suggests that he was still living in Hastings, as does the fact that he was a surprising entrant for the county championship in the 1908-09 season. Even by 1914 he may still have been in the county. The West Sussex County Times and Standard of 3.1.1914 lists a number of strong players who would not be eligible for a county handicap competition and Manlove’s name is included in the list.

In 1920 Hastings set out on a motoring tour of the country. They played a strong London team in the capital and included amongst their ranks a few guest players. Manlove was probably one of these and he played on board four in the match.

In a 1928 medical directory his address is given as 114, Gloucester Place, London, W1

He died in the June quarter of 1947 in the Southwark Registration District of London, at the age of 82.

Est. 1882