History

The tournament began life in the Pump room at Leamington Spa over the Easter weekend of 1934. Originally known as the Leamington Easter Tournament, it was the first major international competition outside London.

Organised by Birmingham Fencing Club, the tournament was comprehensive and included individual and team competitions at all weapons as well as a social gala occasion on the Saturday evening. It has continued as a major fencing event ever since with the exception of the Second World War and one year when the World student games were held in the UK. It has attracted leading fencers from the UK and many other countries including teams or individuals from Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, Portugal, USA, China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Australia and Canada.

The tournament moved to Birmingham University in 1975 and has taken place there most years since. The most notable exception was in 1992 when it was the first sports event in the newly opened National Indoor Arena.

After moving from Leamington, the tournament was managed by the West Midlands Region of the BFA supported by members of local clubs but the historic ties with BFC have remained.

This is a popular event still attracting many overseas visitors, particularly from Europe, as well as UK national fencers and is on the International Calendar as a Grade B event.

Visitors to the tournament can now enjoy Birmingham City Centre and the surrounding area with it's varied cultural and leisure opportunities during the Easter weekend.

In 2004, Dr. Graham Ayliffe, past winner of the Men's Epee and current president of BFC, celebrated over 100 years of BFC and 70 years of the Tournament with the publication of a book detailing the history of Birmingham Fencing Club and The Tournament and including many historic pictures. Copies are available at £3.50 each from Mike & Joan Whitehouse (Details are on the contacts page.)