Merseyside is the ‘New kid on the block’ as far as the Northern Counties of England are concerned and that fact is used here as a reason for such a short narrative.
The Merseyside Chess Association was formed in 1977 with the agreement of all counties of the NCCU, a few years after the Boundary Commision changes of 1974/5. Paradoxically, although Merseyside is the youngest County it boasts the oldest continuous Chess Club in the WORLD, and is now approaching its 160th birthday. That club of course is the Liverpool Chess Club. During the last century many world class players visited the club and there exists much literature on their performances there. Sadly it is quite a while since they have had anyone of such standard visiting them but I assure you nowadays they have some very good players of their own.
The original idea of a Northern Chess Association had been put forward in 1883 during a Liverpool v. Manchester chess match. And board one for Lancashire in the first ever NCCU County match in 1901 was Dr. J. H. Shaw of Liverpool, the then Lancashire champion. Early century Lancashire teams were made up exclusively of Liverpool and Manchester players. Statistically, because of the youth of the Merseyside Chess Association, there is not a great deal of success to offer since 1977 so anyone wishing to bathe in the glory of any Liverpool history must turn to the records of Lancashire where the seeker will find many many references to the part Liverpool played during the last hundred years of chess playing.
However three high points do stand out: Merseyside have remained competitive in the U125 and U100 sections, winning the 1989 U125 NCCU title and the 1999 U100 final. And Merseyside showed that it must only be regarded as a sleeping giant by taking the U175 title for the one and only time in their history in 1998. With just a few more enthusiastic volunteers like Jim Moran to promote their county at NCCU level, the county could stake its rightful place at the forefront of the NCCU.
Another such enthusiast upon Merseyside has been Joe Dilworth. For congress players Merseyside threw open the doors of the famous Grand National premises at Aintree which Joe has hosted very successfully for several years. This was at a time when many Congresses were declining so it was a welcome change to see a new one on Merseyside.
We wish the NCCU a very happy and successful centenary celebration and good luck for the next 100 years