Wilfred Hugh Miller Kirk

Thanks to Brian Denman for this article

Wilfred Hugh Miller Kirk was a strong player, who was a member of the club in the last few years of his life.

He was born at Wellington in Somerset on 18th May 1877. By the time of the 1891 census the family had moved to London and Wilfred was still a teenager, when he became a clerk in the Civil Service. He married in 1899 and later in 1934 a second time after a divorce.

In 1904 he took part in the first British Chess Federation Congress at Hastings when he entered the second class event. He competed in other BCF congresses, when he played in stronger competitions. Perhaps his best result in external tournaments was at the Hastings Victory Congress in 1919, when he came first in the 1st Class ‘C’ event. He scored 9.5 points out of 11 and defeated future world champion, Max Euwe, in their individual game.

For many years he was the secretary of the Civil Service and Municipal Chess League. He won the Middlesex Championship in 1920 and the Surrey Championship in 1912 and 1926. He played on board one for Surrey in the national counties’ final against Lancashire in 1926, losing against Victor Wahltuch. In 1929 he was invited to take part in the British Championship at Ramsgate, but here he struggled scoring two points out of eleven.

In 1937 he retired from the Civil Service and about a year later moved to Hastings. His arrival certainly strengthened the team as probably only Arthur Winser and Edward Jackson were stronger players. However, it was not long before the war against Germany started and relatively few club fixtures could be arranged thereafter. Hastings found periodic opposition in matches against Eastbourne, Bexhill and Brighton. Also the club continued to arrange internal competitions and the new Anslow Cup came into operation. Kirk was invited to play in the Hastings Premier event of 1939-40. Because of the war the tournament was not as strong as usual, but he did quite well scoring three points out of seven.

In 1945 Kirk was appointed to a position as assistant secretary and it was probably in this same year that he also became treasurer. He agreed to be the main organiser of the 1945-46 Christmas Congress, which was a success. However, a few months later he had to have a serious operation as a result of appendicitis. He died on 12th June 1946 at the age of 69.

He was a good tennis player and also liked cricket. He took an interest in the welfare of the blind people in the convalescent home at Quarry Hill, St Leonards.

I enclose the scores of a couple of his games:

Blake,JH – Kirk,WHM [C26]

City of London CC Championship, 20.01.1920

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 c6 5.Qe2 0–0 6.Nf3 d5 7.Bb3 Bg4 8.Bg5 d4 9.Nd1 h6 10.Bd2 Nbd7 11.h3 Be6 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.0–0 Qe8 14.Nh2 Nh5 15.g3 Ndf6 16.Ng4 Bd6 17.Kg2 Qg6 18.f3 Nh7 19.h4 Rf7 20.Ndf2 Kh8 21.Nh3 N7f6 22.Rf2 Raf8 23.Raf1 Nd7 24.Rg1 Kh7 25.Kf1 Be7 26.Ke1 Nxg3 27.Rxg3

Bxh4 28.Nxh6 Qxg3 29.Nxf7 Rxf7 30.Qf1 Rxf3 31.Ng5+ Bxg5 32.Qh1+ Bh4 “and wins”. Source: The Observer of 8.2.1920. 0–1


Anslow,GE – Kirk,WHM [D66]

Eastbourne v Hastings board 1 Eastbourne, 06.04.1940

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d5 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 0–0 7.Rc1 c6 8.Bd3 Re8 9.0–0 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nd5 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Qd2 N5f6 13.Rfd1 e5 14.Ng5 Rf8 15.Nge4 Nxe4 16.Nxe4 exd4 17.Qxd4 Nb6 18.Bb3 Bg4 19.f3 Be6 20.Bxe6 Qxe6 21.b3 Nd5 22.Rd3 Rfe8 23.Nc5 Qe7 24.e4 Nf4 25.Rd2 Rad8 26.Qc3 Qg5 27.Kf1 Rxd2 28.Qxd2 Rd8 29.Qc2 Nxg2 30.Qc3 Nf4 31.Kf2 b6 Source: Sussex Daily News of 11.4.1940. Played at Eastbourne. 0–1

Est. 1882