The William Wilson Cup

William V Wilson 1844-1922

W.V. Wilson was born in Ireland and came to Brighton about twenty years later. He started to play regularly in the Public Chess Room about 1880 and gained the reputation of being a very strong player, winning the county championship for the first of several times in 1883. He became the first person to win the trophy on three occasions and was allowed to keep the cup, which is the one still presented today.

He was a contemporary of Henry Butler, and the pair were the two strongest Brighton players of the period. However, by the late Victoriam period he seemed to start to lose some of his interest in the game. It is also believed that he took exception to the fact that the new county trophy should belong permanently to the Association. His appearances became less frequent, though he did help Sussex to win the Southern Counties Championship in 1895. He made a brief return to regular chess after World War I before suffering a stroke. He died in 1922 at the age of 78.

The Wilson Cup

The Wilson Cup

In 1922 the Wilson Cup was presented to the Sussex Chess Association by an anonymous donor in memory of the chess career of William Wilson. This was to be contested by the older boys in Secondary Schools in Sussex, while the Butler Cup was to be fought out by a younger age group.

The inscriptions on the trophy indicate it’s history. On one side it is first inscribed “Brighton Chess Club – Championship Cup, 1887”; and on the reverse, “Sussex Chess Association Wilson Cup – 1922”.

It is now held by Sussex Junior Chess and awarded annually to the winning school in the Under-18 section of it’s inter-schools cup competition.


1887 H W Butler
1888 H W Butler
1889 W V Wilson
1890 H Erskine
and finally won by W V Wilson 1892

“This cup having passed into the possession of The Sussex Chess Association , is in accordance with the wishes of Mr W V Wilson, now a permanent Senior School Trophy for the County.”

1923 Brighton Municipal Secondary School for Boys
1924 Brighton Municipal Secondary School for Boys
1925 St Leonards Collegiate School
1926 Hastings Grammar School
1927 Hastings Grammar School
1928 Hastings Grammar School
1928 – 29 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1929 – 30 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1931 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1932 Rye Grammar School
1933 Rye Grammar School
1934 Rye Grammar School
1935 Worthing High School for Boys
1936 Worthing High School for Boys
1937 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1938 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1939 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1940 – 46 No Contest (WW2)
1947 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1948 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1949 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1950 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1952 Bexhill Grammar School
1953 Varndean School Brighton (Boys)
1954 Hove County Grammar School
1955 Steyning Grammar School
1956 Varndean
1957 Varndean
1958 Varndean
1959 Hove Grammar
1960 Hove Grammar
1961 Hove Grammar
1962 Hove Grammar
1963 – 66 Varndean
1966 – 67 Chichester High School
1967 – 68 Varndean
1970 Hove Grammar School
1971 Varndean Grammar School
1972 Hove Grammar School
1973 Varndean Grammar School
1974 Varndean Grammar School
1975 Varndean Grammar School
1976 Varndean VI Form
1977 Varndean VI Form
1978 Hastings Grammar School
1979 William Parker
1980 William Parker
1981 William Parker
1982 William Parker
new tier
1987 Oathall
1988 Varndean VI Form
1989 Christ’s Hospital
1990 Christ’s Hospital
1991 Blatchington Mill
1992 Christ’s Hospital
1993 Beacon
1994 Christ’s Hospital
1995 Christ’s Hospital
1996 Christ’s Hospital
1997 Bexhill College
1998 Bexhill College
1999 Christ’s Hospital
2000 Christ’s Hospital
2001 Dorothy Stringer
2002 Dorothy Stringer
2008 Christ’s Hospital