Brian Denman is renowned in Sussex chess circles, not just as a strong player, but as a chess historian extraordinaire!
Born in Sussex in the late 1940’s, Brian rose to prominence as a member of the highly successful Hove Grammar School team of the early 1960s. He won the Southern Counties Under-14 Championship in 1962 and the Dupree Senior in 1963 and 1964. His first victory in an adult competition came in 1963, when he won the West Sussex Queen. In 1964 he shared first place in the British Under-18 Championship at Whitby and in 1965 reached the county championship final, losing by two games to one against Professor D.B. Scott. In the following year he again reached the final and defeated Michael Bulford in a match in which both contestants were aged 17. After coming equal first in the British Under-21 Championship he set off for Lancaster University.In the next four years he played relatively little competitive chess, though he came first equal in the Hove Congress in 1970. In 1971 he went to live in Scotland and in the summer of 1972 came second equal in the Scottish Championship. He also came equal first in the chess festival at Southport. He was selected as a member of the Scottish squad for the Olympiad held at Skopje in Yugoslavia.
Returning from Scotland in 1973 he played in the British Championship at Eastbourne the same year and the also at Brighton in 1980. He also represented Brighton and Sussex in external matches. In 1979 he won the county championship, and the Brighton Chess Club championship.
Brian’s first love is history but he continues to be a formidable opponent in the Mid Sussex League.
The Brian Denman Cup
In 1986 Brian donated some money to Sussex Junior Chess which went towards a trophy for young players. This was first presented at the 1987 Sussex junior congress, which in those days was held annually at the Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton. It is now awarded by SJC at the Weald Congress to the top performing Sussex Under-14 player.