This article is based on information sent by Martin Smith who is a blogger on chess history on the Streatham and Brixton Chess Blog and is currently doing some research into chess and the Bloomsbury group - Virginia Woolf and friends.

You may know that she and her husband Leonard lived at Monk’s House in Rodmell in the 1920s through to when he died in the 1960s (though she had died in the 1940s). He has found a reference in Virginia Woolf’s diaries to Leonard being invited to join Lewes Chess Club in 1921 by a local doctor Herbert Vallance of 23, High Street, Lewes (a footnote in her diary says he was in practice until WW2). Martin Smith would like to know whether Lewes Chess Club or anyone in the Mid-Sussex Chess League area has any records of either Leonard Woolf, or more likely, Dr Vallance, in connection with the club.

The invitation to join is mentioned by Virginia Woolf in her diary for 17th August 1921. Although it doesn’t say explicitly that Leonard accepted the invitation, the entry goes on “ ...I [i.e. Virginia] should very much like to attend myself.” Unrelated perhaps but also from that year the Sussex Agricultural Express of Thursday 21 March 1921 contains the following report under the heading ‘Lewes Chess Club’: “Mr H. E. Dudeney presided at the annual meeting of the above club. The offer of a room by the Y.M.C.A. Committee, in the Association’s new premises, was accepted. Mr Dudeney was re-elected President, the Rev. E. Griffiths and W. J. Chandler Vice-Presidents, Dr. H. Vallance Treasurer, Mr. F. F. Grant Secretary. Messrs. H. Vinall and A. J. Conyers and Miss W. Crewe were elected to the Executive Committee. The accounts for the year showed a balance in hand.”

If anyone has any information on this topic it would be gratefully appreciated. Please forward responses to the Secretary of Lewes Chess Club, contact details on the Clubs page. If you are digging around the Blog, you might be interested in the sequence under the History index that starts here and continues here