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Chess world champion checked in
1:12pm Friday 18th May 2012 in Looking Back
THURSBY is a family name steeped in the history of Burnley.
The Thursby baronetcy was created in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee honours list in 1887 and elevated Colonel John Hardy Thursby, who lived at Ormerod House, Higher Red Lees, and was the High Sheriff of Lancashire.
Only he and his son, John Ormerod Scarlett, and his half- brother George James, held the title.
John junior was president of the British Chess Federation for 15 years, and was also one of the founding fathers of the East Lancashire League.
He was instrumental in bringing some world-class players, such as Emanuel Lasker, to Burnley.
He was world champion at the time and he pitted his wits against the best players from Burnley and Colne, who called themselves the Allies of Burnley.
Sir John also aided another good player, Mr J Blackburne, who came to the Mechanics Institute in the late 19th century to give a display of blindfolded chess against six sighted opponents.
This tradition carried on even after his death when, in 1920, Polish grand master Akiba Rubinstein gave a simultaneous display against 22 local players – losing only one game.
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