(1862 - 1937)

no photo available

Samuel Chard was born in London in the middle of 1862. He emigrated to Durban in 1885, where he joined the Berea Chess Club and won some tournaments there. Some years later, Chard was present at the meeting held on 18th August 1893 in the "Barrow Green Cafe" in West Street, where it was decided to form the Durban Chess Club. The Berea Chess Club then presented all their equipment to the newly formed club.

The first tournament attracted 47 entries, including Chard, who was knocked out by Harry Escombe QC, the eventual winner. By 1895 the Durban Chess Club had nearly 100 members, and Chard has the honour of being the first club champion.

Chard is not a common surname, and it is likely that Samuel Chard was related to Lieutenant John Chard V.C. (the hero of Rorkes Drift in 1879). The 1881 English census shows that his widowed mother was the Lady Principal of a college in the Hammersmith district, and one of his sisters was a teacher, so it is perhaps not surprising that Chard became involved in education. He was a master at the Berea Academy, before moving to the Musgrave School. Then in 1910 he became the owner and Headmaster of the Hill Crest School (in what is now the town of Hillcrest) which employed several full-time teachers. However, the school closed when Chard retired in 1922.

There is quite an amusing anecdote about Chard in the book "Sonatas In Chess" by Donald McIntyre. Problem 114, composed by Lucas Bull in August 1925, was set for the delectation of his friend Chard, who "liked problems full of timber". McIntyre went on to say that Chard was once described as Natal's slowest player, to his great indignation!

From my research analogue chess clocks were not introduced until 1883. Before that they used hour glasses, which were stopped by turning them on their side. Flags to indicate a loss on time were only invented in 1899. The Durban Chess Club's first chess clocks arrived from England in March 1899, just in time for the 1899 South African championships, which were held in Durban. They were a great novelty at the time!

It seems that Chard was largely inactive over the board, preferring to play chess by correspondence, although he did play in the South African championships on 3 occasions, namely Durban 1899 (12th), Johannesburg 1903 (7th) and Durban 1924 (8th).


The only game by Chard that I could find was his win against Moxham & Murray. The score is from Len Reitstein's book "A History of Chess in South Africa". Reitstein notes that J T Moxham and Gordon Murray were farmers in East Griqualand, and the game was played by correspondence about 1919:

[Event "Correspondence"] [Site "South Africa"] [Date "1919.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Chard, Samuel"] [Black "Moxham & Murray"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0-0 dxc3 8.Qb3 Qf6 9.e5 Qg6 10.Nxc3 Nge7 11.Ba3 0-0 12.Rad1 Re8 13.Bd3 Qh5 14.Ne4 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.f4 Qe6 17.Qa4 Nc6 $6 (17...Bb6+) 18.Ng5 Qe3+ 19.Kh1 h6 20.Rf3! Qb6 21.Bh7+ Kh8 22.Qc2 $2 (22.Bb1 $1) 22...Nd8 $2 {this protects f7 but allows a nice finish} (22...hxg5 $1 23.Bc5 Nb4 $1 {getting 3 pieces for the Queen was better}) 23.Bg8 $1 g6 24.Bxf7 Nxf7 25.Nxf7+ Kh7 (25...Kg7 26.f5 $1 d5 27.Bc5 $1 $18) 26.Nd6 $1 cxd6 27.f5 d5 28.fxg6+ Kg7 29.Rf7+ Kg8 30.Qf5 1-0

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