Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The CCLA Record

The CCLA Record, (Official Organ of The Correspondence Chess League of Australia) was launched in August 1948 and ran for 39 volumes to 1986 when it was succeeded by The Australian Correspondence Chess Quarterly in 1987.

Although this national chess magazine had been running for over 20 years by 1968, surprisingly, it is not recorded in Douglas Betts' Bibliography. The magazine is recorded in Lusis, A206, and also in De Felice's Chess Periodicals, No. 457. Naturally, this is recorded in The Chess Literature of Australia and New Zealand by John van Manen, Sydney 1978, (No. 74), and fuller details are given in the much enlarged 4th edition of this work*, updated by Bob Meadley and Paul Dunn, published by the Ken Whyld Association in 2011, (No. 425). 

Several years ago I acquired 17 assorted issues of this quarterly periodical, from Clive Lane, the Australian chess book dealer, and the shipping costs were more than the cost of the magazines. Clive Lane traded as Fischerbooks but is no longer in business.

My copies cover the period from 1963, volume 16, to 1976, volume 28, and throughout this period the President of the Correspondence Chess League of Australia was C. J. S. Purdy, whose Chess World headquarters were used as a clearing house for the League's activities. The editor of The CCLA Record from August 1963 to February 1964 was Mrs F. A. Purdy, who I believe was Cecil Purdy's daughter-in-law.

The contents were a mixture of correspondence chess news, both national and international, annotated games, tournament announcements and results, rules, letters etc. The early 1960's magazines variously had  8, 12 or 16 pages but this increased to 24 and then 32 pages in the 1970's.

Membership numbers of the CCLA were regularly published in The CCLA Record and these provide a striking example of the effect that Bobby Fischer had on the popularity of chess worldwide during the 1960's and 1970's. In July 1963 membership numbered 781 and bumbled along below 900 until the late 1960's. However, by March 1973, following the Spassky-Fischer world championship match, membership had more than doubled to 1,977, but later slipped back to 1,392 in March 1976.

The August 1963 edition announced that two tournament books were nearing completion, both based on the Australian correspondence championships. However, it appears that neither was published.

The Games Section was often sparse, occasionally only one game would be included. November 1963 presented three, including the following miniature between M.Newman and W. Megier, which is annotated in rhyming couplets by the winner Maurice Newman, who manges to squeeze in Morphy, Lasker and Keres:

The May 1976 magazine gave details of all past winners of the Australian Championships from 1938 up to 1972.

This seems to be a scarce magazine with only limited availability. The National Library of the Netherlands has some issues from volumes 4 to 6, one issue of volume 22, and a run from volumes 25 to 30. The Cleveland Public Library appears to have no copies, but The M. V. Anderson Chess Collection in the State Library of Victoria has a complete set.
* The Chess Literature of Australia and New Zealand, 4th Edition is a very attractive book giving, not only full details of all known chess literature up to 2009, but a fine Tribute to John van Manen by Bob Meadley, followed by A Trip through Bob Meadley's Chess Library with many wonderful illustrations and descriptions of scarce chess publications from Down Under.

                                       © Michael Clapham 2017

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