Lesters Trophy

The Lesters Trophy was first held on the evening of December 17th, 1986. The idea was to provide an extra-curricular outlet for players whose primary source of backgammon competition consisted of lunch-time sessions at the computing department of Rolls-Royce at Patchway, Bristol (see DPS Backgammon).

The event -- jointly run during its early history by Phil Charlton and Ian Tarr, and since 2000 solely by Ian (although Dave Pym played his part in founding the competition) -- was staged at Lesters Club (hence the name of the competition) in Worrall Road, Clifton, Bristol, as were three further tournaments. But sadly the club was closed, prior to demolition, and new venues were sought and found: The Revue Club, Q's Snooker Club, Vales Club, the Avon County Social Club, the Bristol County Sports Club, where we first arrived in June 1997.
From 2015 Thursday tournaments moved to the Rainbow Casino, while the Bristol County Spirts Club still hosted Monday events.

Over the years the event subtly changed. The Rolls-Royce factor was always prevalent in the early years, with current and former RR players winning every one of the first 26 tournaments.
Bizarrely the pendulum then swung in totally the opposite direction, when the next seven events were all won by "outsiders", until Charlie Hetherington restored RR and EDS pride by winning Lesters XXXIV, the first tournament where "outsiders" actually outnumbered the RR/EDS contingent.

From day one, the tournament was always a straight knock-out event, with all matches prior to the final being played to 7 points. The final, which is often held over because of time constraints, was traditionally an 11-point affair, but has more recently reverted to 7 points.
Entry fees, originally 10 and more recently 15, were traditionally shared by the two finalists. In 2000, coinciding with the linkage of the competition to the Bristol Open Grand Prix and the Intermediate Grand Prix, the fee was raised to 20, with just 1 levied from this to contribute to prizes for the eventual grand prix winners.
Otherwise the existing format of the competition was faithfully maintained, except that -- from 2002 -- there were four tournaments each year.
Then, starting with Lesters LVIII in March 2006, a further change was made. In an attempt to counteract dwindling attendances at Lesters events, the decision was made to make it a two flight competition, just like the other eight annual grand prix events.

The sad passing of one of the founder members of the Lesters Trophy, John Chidgey, was commemorated by the provision of a special trophy. The "John Chidgey Cup" is awarded to the winner of each December Lesters tournament. John won the Christmas event in 1995.

More recently, two other trophies have been purchased to commemorate others who have passed on.

Our main venue since 1997, the BCSC, purchased a Shield in memory of former BCSC chairman Samuel Mead in 2007, and players contributed to a further trophy in memory of Sarah Rosich in 2008.
These trophies are now the reward for the winners of, respectively, the March and June Lesters events.

Lesters Trophy history
Diary of events
Bristol Open Grand Prix
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