Just over a year ago we published a tournament report on the 1975 Irish Championship which was much enhanced by material provided by joint winner Alan Ludgate. At that time 11 games were available, 8 of those featuring Ludgate, and we can now provide a further three found in Cyril Hardiman’s Sunday Independent chess column.
The introductory post on the Championship pointed out the prevalence of the Modern Defence in the available games. As it happens two of the three additions also feature that opening: McGuinness – Cummins from Round 2 (which won the Best Game prize) and Crowe – Cummins (Round 6).
Here’s the third “new” game:
Brian Denny – Arthur Pinkerton
1975 Irish Championship, Dublin
Round 2, 13th July
Source: Sunday Independent, 2nd November 1975 (page 14)
with annotations by “a leading Irish player.” [Play through the game]
“If instead White plays 22.Bxe8 then 22…Qh2+ 23.Kf1 Qxh3+ 24.Ke2 (24.Kg1 Bh2+ 25.Kh1 Bf4+ wins the Queen) 24…Qxg4+ and White is under considerable pressure” – Sunday Independent. [The only move that seems to give White a fighting chance is 22.Nf3 covering the h2 square and forcing either an exchange of Queens or the Black Queen off the b8-h2 diagonal. DMcA] 22…Qh2+ 23.Kf1 Bf4! White resigned.
After 23…Bf4 the Sunday Independent gave the following winning variations:
“If 24.Qc3 – White does not seem to have much alternative – then 24…e3!! and White’s position is split apart, e.g.
(a) 25.Re2 Qh1 mate
(b) 25.fxe3 Bg3!
(c) 25.Rxe3 Bxe3 26.fxe3 Qh1+ etc.”
[In variation (c), 25…Rxe3 is perhaps a more visually entertaining finish. If 26.fxe3 again 26…Bg3 wins. DMcA]
The championship was held at the New University of Ulster in Coleraine (now “Ulster University at Coleraine”), from July 17-25, 1976. It was sponsored (for the first time ever for an Irish championship, according to the tournament book), with a first prize of £150, about equal to £1,000 today.
The event drew an excellent turnout of 28 players, including the defending joint champions Eamon Keogh and Alan Ludgate, the 1974 champion Tony Doyle, and five out of the six-man squad announced a few weeks earlier for the Haifa Olympiad.
The clear favourite was Bernard Kernan, who was the player on form, having lost just two games in Ireland over the previous twelve months, winning the Oireachtas Championship, the Mulcahy Memorial and the Cavan Open, and finishing as highest placed player as equal second, ½ point behind Tony Miles, at the Dundrum International Open.
From the outset Kernan led, and after round six he was a full point clear of the field. But then he wobbled. The diagram shows the position after Kernan’s 27th move in his round 7 game against Michael Littleton. Littleton now played 28. f4. What do you think of the resulting position and how would you evaluate the chances?
Littleton – Kernan, Irish Championship 1976 Position after 27… Re8-e6
After this loss, Kernan and Littleton shared the lead with 5/7, with six more players just half a point behind. Kernan beat Tony Doyle in round 8, while Littleton drew with Ludgate. Heading into the last round, Kernan led with 6, followed by Littleton on 5½, followed by six players on 5: the defending joint champions Keogh and Ludgate, Paul Delaney, Ray Devenney, the Leinster champion (undefeated in this event) Denis Healy, and the London player Richard W. O’Brien.
If Kernan had lost and Littleton had drawn in the last round, there could have resulted a 5-way tie for first, the largest ever. (And this is not even counting Ray Devenney, whose duties as a church minister prevented him from playing in the final round, who might have made it a 6-way tie.) In the event, though, Kernan as White agreed a quick draw with Ludgate on board 1, and Littleton as Black agreed an even quicker draw with Denis Healy on board 2, leaving 21-year-old Bernard Kernan as Irish champion for the first, and as it turned out the only, time.
We’re fortunate that the organisers put together a tournament book including all but a handful of games. For some reason only four games appear as of today in the ICU games archive, and no games appear in any of the commercial databases. Many thanks are due to Alan Ludgate, who provided a copy of the tournmanet book plus all his scoresheets, and to David McAlister, who provided a pgn file including all games from the tournament book plus one extra game.
The game in the last post was far from Boris Spassky’s last interaction with Irish chess. In March 1991 he visited Ireland and gave two simuls, in Dublin and Kilkenny. The Kilkenny event was part of the club’s celebration of its 21st birthday.
Spassky was undefeated across the two events, scoring +24 =1 -0 in Dublin and +22 =8 -0 in Kilkenny, conceding draws in Kilkenny to Seán Bradley, Liam Brady, Maurice Buckley, Trevor Hunter, Fergal O’Dwyer, Paud O’Reilly, Ciaran Sharkey, and one other.
Maurice Buckley has provided a copy of his scoresheet, signed by Spassky and complete with photo of simul in progress, for which many thanks.
Alan McGowan, ChessScotland’s historian, has sent the photo above, for which many thanks.
The third World Junior Championship was held in Antwerp, from July 21 to August 9, 1955. Ireland’s representative was Dónal Déiseach of Clontarf C.C., then Armstrong Cup and national club champions, and in round 1 he was drawn against the favourite and eventual winner, IM (!) Boris Spassky. The photo is from Schach-Echo, no. 16, August 20, 1955, p. 253.
The format featured three preliminary all-play-all groups of 8 players, from which 10 players qualified for an all-play-all final, and the remaining 14 played a ‘match classification pool’ 9-round Swiss event. Déiseach, the youngest player, had a rough event, losing all 7 games in his preliminary pool and his first 5 games in the consolation tournament. This must have been very demoralizing; it’s a credit to his resilience that he won two of his last 4 games.
Incidentally, OlimpBase has relatively recently branched out into covering individual tournaments, and it now has a very fine complete history of the World Junior Championship, from its inception in 1951 to the present.
Here’s another game of Maurice Kennefick’s (missing up to now from the ICU games archive) from the inaugural West of Ireland Open in 1976. (This series of events was held in Galway from 1976 to around 1980.)
CHESS (Sutton Coldfield) had a report (vol. 41 (nos. 749-750), July 1976, pp. 337-8):
“The enterprise of Galway’s Frank Monaghan initiated an open week-end six rounder in Galway, May 21-23.
After 3 rounds E. Keogh and A. T. Ludgate, joint Irish champions, led on 100% together with J. J. Walsh and E. Hall. Keogh then beat Hall to take over sole leadership because Walsh and Ludgate drew. Keogh kept the lead by beating D. Flannery in rd. 5, but blundered to lose in rd. 6 letting Ludgate, Hall, and J. F. Gibson into a quadruple tie with him for first place.
“Over 50” competed.”
The report had all or part of six games. One of these was David Flannery (Cork) versus Kennefick.
“Before the game Flannery stated that he had never beaten Kennefick. The controller told him this was his chance: “Maurice may be a big name in Cork chess—but nobody knows him here in Galway!”
Flannery – Kennefick, West of Ireland Open 1976 Position after 21… Qxc6
In the diagrammed position White is completely tied up. The immediate problem is that 22… d5 will win the knight, and there seems to be no good way to meet the threat. The continuation was 22. c3 bxc3 23. bxc3 d5 24. Rc1 (‘?’ CHESS, without suggesting an alternative) 24… dxe4 25. dxe4?! (but 25. cxd4 Nxg3 26. hxg3 Bxd4+ is also hopeless) 25… Nxg3 (25… Qxe4 26. cxd4 Nxd4 is even more convincing) 26. hxg3 Ne6, and Black duly converted his material advantage.
The games archive has been updated with Irish games from approximately the last six months of The Week in Chess, and sundry other sources.
The tournaments covered include the Batumi Olympiad & Women’s Olympiad, the European Club Cup 2018, the World Youth Championships 2018, the 4NCL (including all games from rounds 1-7 in Gonzaga’s run in Division 2 (not in TWIC)), the World Senior Championship, the World Youth U16 Olympiad, the Hastings Masters 2018-19, the Sir Patrick Moore Cup 2018, and the 3rd International ChessMates Tournament that concluded today in Paris, for 670 games in all.
The report on the Bunratty Masters 2019 mentioned in the last post had only the 36 games that were available from live boards. The organizers have now made available the full set of 151 games (excellent job; I hope this policy catches on) and the report has been updated accordingly.
Since the event, many excellent photos have been made available: Ioana Miller took 57 photos of rounds 1-4 and 14 photos of rounds 5 & 6; Fiona Steil-Antoni took 128 photos of the event.
The diagram is from Artola Pola – Voiteanu, round 5.
White, possibly seeing that after capturing he will queen first, continued 53. Nxe3??, but after 53… Kxe3 54. h7 d2 55. h8=Q d1=Q+ 56. Kg5 Qg1+ the exchange of queens was forced and he was lost.
The right way was 53. Kg5! Nxc4 54. h7 d2 55. h8=Q d1=Q 56. Qa8+ or 56. Qh4+ (or even 56. Qe8+, to do it the hard way), drawing.