The Durban Chess Club was founded in 1893, making it one of the oldest chess clubs in South Africa. Here is an article written by Mervyn Millar that appeared in the March 1974 issue of the "Durban Chess Club Bulletin". As mentioned in the article, the first club president was Harry Escombe, although Escombe (1838-1899) was more famous for his legal work, becoming Attorney General of Natal, as well as being the second Prime Minister of Natal.

Statue of Harry Escombe near Durban city hall

I have compiled the following list of club presidents from December 1952 onwards from old Durban Chess Club annual reports and AGM minutes:

Dec 1952 to Dec 1954 F C Bartholomew
Dec 1954 to Mar 1955 F B van Asperen
Mar 1955 to Dec 1955 F C Bartholomew
Dec 1955 to Dec 1958 M Kolnik
Dec 1958 to Dec 1959 W H Hart
Dec 1959 to Dec 1960 M Kolnik
Dec 1960 to Dec 1963 G S Wallis
Dec 1963 to Dec 1963 R Levy (died in office)
Dec 1963 to Dec 1966 L F Draper
Dec 1966 to Dec 1967 A Goodfellow
Dec 1967 to Dec 1968 K Barsdorf
Dec 1968 to Dec 1969 M Kolnik
Dec 1969 to Dec 1970 J C T Blackburn
Dec 1970 to Dec 1971 M Kolnik
Dec 1971 to Dec 1974 E K Churton
Dec 1974 to Dec 1978 M M Millar
Dec 1978 to Dec 1979 N B Spracklen
Dec 1979 to Feb 1980 J E Fick
Mar 1980 to Dec 1980 M M Millar
Dec 1980 to Dec 1983 J J van den Berg
Dec 1983 to Dec 1986 P Terblans
Dec 1986 to Dec 1989 P C Wild
Dec 1989 to Dec 1990 D R Turner
Dec 1990 to Jul 1991 G Robertson
Jul 1991 to Dec 1991 D E Cruise
Dec 1991 to Dec 1992 B B Medway
Dec 1992 to Dec 1993 J J van den Berg
Dec 1993 to Dec 1994 N D Gallo
Dec 1994 to Dec 1997 C J Brouckaert
Dec 1997 to Dec 2002 L C Courtois
Dec 2002 to Dec 2011 P A Dankelmann
Dec 2011 to D Rooplal

Quick quiz: How many (future) club presidents can you find in this photo taken in 1956?

Durban team at the inter-provincial, Ladysmith 1956 (photo courtesy Stephanie Churton)
From left: Brookes, Earp, Levy, Van Voorst, Boulle, Miller, Claudius; Front: Wallis, Churton

Home Page | Natal Champions | Durban Champions