The Bronowski Trophy Competition
In the early 1960s, Dr Jacob Bronowski presented a trophy – a silver knight mounted on a plinth – for annual competition by the champion teams of the principal central London business house leagues: Banks, Civil Service, Commercial and Insurance. The first competition was won by Inland Revenue in 1964 and the trophy has been competed for annually ever since.
In the 1973/74 season the format changed in that, instead of being competed for by the champion team of each league, matches were played between teams representing each of those leagues. Teams under this new format were initially of 20 boards, so many more players became involved with Bronowski fixtures. The first winner of the Silver Knight under the new format was Civil Service.
In 1997, the competition received a makeover: a Constitution was adopted for the first time, creating an organising Committee, the competition Rules were revised and the trophy was refurbished, including the addition of a second plinth, shown in the picture, which enabled the engraving to be brought up to date. The Central London League Chess League joined the competition in the 1996/97 season, making five teams. However, the following season Civil Service dropped out (an unconnected development!) returning the competition to the former number of four teams. This was a great pity because the 96/97 competition benefited from the extra team and was one of the best contests.
However, the competition could not escape the general trend over the last 30 years, of a reduction of support for Club activity in general, and company-related chess activity in the City in particular, an effect which has become more acute in recent years. Board numbers were reduced to 16, in 1999-2000, to 14, in 2005-06 and to the current 12, in 2008-09.
Recent years’ competition details can be accessed by the Records tab above, together with a table giving all the winners of this prestigious trophy.