BASINGSTOKE Chess Club is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year with the group turning 125-years-old.

One of the most remarkable characters involved with the Basingstoke club was L C Whetham – who made the unique record of being the youngest and oldest player to win the club championship.

A Silver Rook trophy was donated to the club in 1897 to be presented on an annual basis to the club champion.

The first winner was Whetham who went on to win the competition no fewer than seven times.

However what is remarkable is that his last success was two world wars later in 1960. This means that he must have set the record of being both the yougest and the oldest player to have won the same Club Championship. 

The club still has the Silver Rook trophy in its cabinet, although it is no longer competed for. 

The club is gearing up for the new season and has entered four teams into the Southampton Chess League. 

A number of internal competitions are also currently taking place, these include the Joe French Cup (Basingstoke Individual Chess Champion) and the Charles Henshaw Shield (Club grading restricted competition). Both competitions have received a record number of entrants.

The current Basingstoke Chess Champion is having a very successful year playing at the highest levels in the Chess British Congress circuit.

Steven Jones secured joint-first prizes in the Chess Congress’s at Hull, Blackpool and  Frome.

He has just returned from securing a very creditable sixth place in the Northumberland Masters competing against exceptionally strong players.

He represented Basingstoke in the recent British Championship but secured a slightly lower score than previous times.   

Basingstoke Chess Club meet on Wednesday evenings.

The Junior section runs from 5.30pm to 7pm. The main club meets from 7.15pm onwards. New members are welcome.

The club meet at the Bridge and Chess Club in Sherborne Road.

More information is available at