Game 24

As promised on the front cover above, the tournament bulletin of the 1974 Mulcahy Memorial contains inter alia the game-scores of 99 encounters from the tournament – approximately three-quarters of the games actually played.

However, only 98 of those games have found their way into the digital databases. So what happened to Game 99 or, using the numbering in the tournament book, Game 24?

The answer appears to be that whoever put together the original digital database was flummoxed by a typographical error in the bulletin, and left the game out.

So here is my reconstruction of the game with a suggested correction for that typo.

Laurence Roche (White) -v- Seán Galligan (Black)
Mulcahy Memorial, Cork, December 1974 (Round 2)

[Play through the game in Chessbase Reader]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Ngf3 Nf6 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.Nb3 Bd6 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Bg5 Rc8 12.c3

In the tournament book, the next moves are given as 12…P-QR3 13. B-R4 P-QN4 14. B-N3 B-B1 15. N-B5 N-B4 16. N/3-Q4.

The difficulty with this sequence is that on Black’s 14th move, the Bishop cannot go back to its original square because there is a Rook there; also White’s 15th move would require two hops of either Knight.

So we need to insert a Black Rook move and a White Knight move to make the game-score work. There is more than one way to achieve this, but I have chosen the most likely move order.

12…Re8 13.Nbd4 a6 14.Bh4 b5 15.Bg3 Bf8 16.Nf5 Nc5 17.N3d4 g6 18.Ne3 Bg7 19.Qc2 Nfe4 20.Rad1 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Ne4 22.Ne2 b4 23.Rxd5 Qb6 24.c4 Nxf2 25.Rxf2 Rxe3 26.Kf1 Rce8 27.Rd7 Qe6 28.Rfxf7

28…Qxf7+ 29.Rxf7 Kxf7 30.Nf4 Re1+ 31.Kf2 Bd4+ 32.Kf3 Rf1+ 33.Kg4 h5+ 34.Kg5 Bf6+ 0-1

The tournament was won by the Scottish player Ian Sinclair.

Final Crosstable

No Name          Total  1    2    3    4    5    6  

1  Sinclair, I   5.5   28:W 43:W 12:W  7:W  8:W  2:D
2  Kernan, B     5     18:W 38:D 31:W 14:W  7:W  1:D
3  O'Sullivan, E 4.5   44:W 14:D  9:W  5:D 16:W  4:D
4  Healy, D      4.5   29:W 25:W 23:D  6:D 15:W  3:D
5  O'Brien, J    4      6:D 20:W 17:W  3:D 12:D 10:D
6  Wallace, P    4      5:D 11:W 16:D  4:D 33:W  8:D
7  Galligan, S   4     46:W 24:W 22:W  1:L  2:L 12:W
8  Noone, J      4     42:W 17:D 13:W 23:W  1:L  6:D
9  Healy, H      4      0:W 13:D  3:L 18:D 25:W 23:W
10 Kennefick, M  4     27:W 12:L 11:D 26:W 30:W  5:D
11 Brennan, J    4     32:D  6:L 10:D 36:W 35:W 13:W
12 Devenney, R   3.5   34:W 10:W  1:L 29:W  5:D  7:L
13 Muldoon, P    3.5   37:W  9:D  8:L 38:W 22:W 11:L
14 Kennedy, J    3.5   35:W  3:D 38:W  2:L 19:L 31:W
15 Penny, L      3.5   26:L 40:W 21:W 37:+  4:L 22:D
16 Short, J      3.5   43:D 32:W  6:D 25:W  3:L 18:D
17 Dillon, P     3.5   33:W  8:D  5:L 24:L 39:W 30:W
18 Nolan, R      3.5    2:L 30:D 39:W  9:D 34:W 16:D
19 O'Briain, M   3.5   40:W 22:L 33:D 20:W 14:W 24:-
20 Short, P      3.5   41:D  5:L 42:W 19:L 38:W 28:W
21 Casey, G      3.5   22:L 45:W 15:L 42:D 32:W 29:W
22 Matthews, M   3     21:W 19:W  7:L 28:D 13:L 15:D
23 Moroney, J    3     39:W 26:W  4:D  8:L 24:D  9:L
24 Roche, L      3     30:W  7:L 28:D 17:W 23:D 19:-
25 O'Connor, E   3     36:W  4:L 41:W 16:L  9:L 38:W
26 McCarthy, A   3     15:W 23:L 29:L 10:L 44:W 34:W
27 Cahill, J     3     10:L 28:L 46:W 34:L 40:W 35:W
28 Blair, D      2.5    1:L 27:W 24:D 22:D 29:D 20:L
29 McCarthy, P   2.5    4:L 36:W 26:W 12:L 28:D 21:L
30 Sheehan, J    2.5   24:L 18:D 43:W 31:W 10:L 17:L
31 Fitzgibbon, W 2.5   47:+ 41:D  2:L 30:L 42:W 14:L
32 Lynch, P      2.5   11:D 16:L 44:W 33:L 21:L 39:W
33 Gibson, J     2.5   17:L 34:W 19:D 32:W  6:L  0: 
34 Collins, T    2     12:L 33:L 40:W 27:W 18:L 26:L
35 Flynn, R      2     14:L 44:W 37:L 41:W 11:L 27:L
36 Moroney, S    2     25:L 29:L 45:W 11:L 41:W  0: 
37 Alfred, J     2     13:L 46:W 35:W 15:-  0:   0: 
38 Coveney, M    1.5   45:W  2:D 14:L 13:L 20:L 25:L
39 Hinds, D      1.5   23:L 42:D 18:L 43:W 17:L 32:L
40 Clarke, S     1.5   19:L 15:L 34:L 46:W 27:L 41:D
41 Myers, T      1.5   20:D 31:D 25:L 35:L 36:L 40:D
42 Scanlon, J    1      8:L 39:D 20:L 21:D 31:L 45:-
43 Byrne, P      1     16:D  1:L 30:L 39:L 46:D  0: 
44 O'Shea, M     1      3:L 35:L 32:L 45:W 26:L 46:-
45 O'Sullivan, T 1     38:L 21:L 36:L 44:L  0:W 42:-
46 Shorten, T    .5     7:L 37:L 27:L 40:L 43:D 44:-
47 Ireton, T     0     31:-  0:   0:   0:   0:   0: 

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Plunkett Trophy update and 1935-6 game

I have added considerably to the Plunkett Trophy page and it now has a reasonably complete listing of results.

Richard Archer holds the record for the most Plunkett titles – eleven. The last of those titles, in the 1934-5 renewal, was a shared victory with Austin Bourke, then rising star of Munster chess and future Irish Champion.

The game below was played in the following season’s competition.

Austin Bourke -v- Richard Archer
1935-6 Plunkett Trophy, 27.11.1935
Source: Evening Echo, 11th April 1936, page 7

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d5
“Played occasionally by Bogoljuboff. Requires expert handling, otherwise results, as in this game, in White’s complete domination of the centre and the game.” – Bourke
3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.e4 Nb6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be3
“This and the next move are aimed against allowing Black to free his game by . . .c5.” – Bourke
6…N8d7 7.Rc1 c6 8.Bd3 Be7 9.f4 Nf6 10.h3 Bd7 11.Nge2
“Better was 11.Nf3 – Bourke
11…Rc8 12.0-0 a6
Overcautious. Why not 12…c5 ? – Bourke

After White’s 13th move

“No doubt, premature, since it gives Black much needed space in the centre. However, Black must Castle on the King’s side, and this opens the way to a King-side attack.” – Bourke
13…exf5 14.exf5 Nbd5 15.Bf2 Nb4 16.Bb1 Nbd5 17.Ng3 0-0 18.Nh5 Nxh5
“Expecting 19. Qxh5 Nf6. White’s next move comes as a surprise.” – Bourke
19.Nxd5 Bg5
“Fatal. Much better 19…Nf6 ” – Bourke. The recapture 19…cxd5 may be better still.
20.Qxh5 Bxc1 21.f6

After White’s 21st move

“Qxh7 mate must be prevented, and 21…g6 is no better.” – Bourke. After 22.Ne7+ Kh8 White can crash through with either 23.Bxg6 or 23.Nxg6+.
22.Ne7+ Kh8 23.fxg7+ Kxg7 24.Bh4 f6 25.Nxc8
” 25.Rxf6 Rxf6 26.Bxf6+ Kxf6 27.Qxh6+ Kxe7 28.Qg7+ gives a draw by perpetual check, but White still plays to win – and nearly loses.” – Bourke
25…Bxc8 26.Rf4
Of course, as Bourke pointed out, if Black takes the Rook, then White mates with Qxh7. However, Black is not obliged to capture and White loses most of his advantage. Instead 26.Rf3 with the idea of Rg3+ would have been decisive.
26…Rf7 27.Re4 Qd5 28.Qf3 Bf5 29.Qg3+ Bg6 30.Kh1 Qc4 31.Kh2 Qd5 32.Kh1 Qd7 33.a3 Qd5 34.Re8 Qxd4 35.Ba2 Bf4 36.Qg4 h5 37.Rg8+ Kxg8 38.Qxg6+ Kh8 39.Qxh5+ Rh7 40.Qg4 Rg7

After Black’s 41st move

If 41.Qc8+ Kh7 42.Bb1+ Rg6! ” – Bourke. This indeed only leads to a draw if White now captures the Rook with his Bishop. However, instead 43.Qg4! exploiting the pin would have secured victory for White.
41…Rh7 42.Qg4 Rg7 and the players were content with a repetition of moves. 1/2-1/2

Bourke went on to win the title outright that year, finishing just a half-point ahead of Archer.

[Play through the game in CB Reader] – Please ignore the English flag against Archer’s name – ChessBase generated it automatically, because they already have an English player named Richard Archer, born 1969. If it is possible to replace it with an Irish flag, it is unfortunately beyond my technical competence.

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Ferdie O’Halloran: winner’s medal for An Tóstal Open 1955


Pádraig Mac Cárthaigh sent this message to Irish Chess History recently.

J.F. O’Halloran, whom I knew and who was a lecturer in Civil Engineering in UCC, died just last year, 2021. I have a photo, kindly sent to me by his family, of the rather impressive looking An Tóstal plaque which he was presented with for 1st place in the 1955 Open championship. I would be happy to forward the photo.

I got in touch with Pádraig, and now with the kind permission of Ferdie’s son, Richard, I am delighted to present an image of this historical artefact.

Pádraig also provided me with this link to Ferdie’s death notice. Following up all the information he provided, for which many thanks, I found a photograph of Mr. O’Halloran on the University College Cork Alumni and Development Facebook page, posted September 20, 2016:


The first An Tóstal Open was held in 1953 and an International Masters event was added in 1954. In 1955 the Congress was held in Cork from the 12th to 19th May and there were two tournaments – the International Masters and the Open – and simultaneous displays were given afterwards by some of the foreign players. The annual events continued until 1957 when they culminated in the holding of the West European Zonal, part of the qualification process for the World Chess Championship. Further details are at our An Tóstal page.

The 1955 International Masters and An Tóstal Open were both 8-player all-play-alls. With the help of contemporary reports in the Cork Examiner, I have been able to piece together O’Halloran’s progress.  He opened with a victory over L. Brady and in round two  “had his second successive win, beating B. Desmond convincingly.” His third round game against Hilda Chater, the octogenarian Irish Ladies’ Champion, was adjourned with him having the advantage of two connected passed pawns on the queen’s wing. This proved sufficient to score the full point. D. Meaney defaulted their round 4 game and in the next round “J.F. O’Halloran had a lively win over J.H. Audley.”

Five straight wins had placed O’Halloran in a strong position to win the Open but his biggest test was now upon him. His next opponent was Cornelius (Con) O’Leary, who only the previous month had won the Championship of Cork for the sixth time. Furthermore O’Leary had to that point only dropped a half-point.  Ferdie rose to the challenge: “With a magnificent attacking game against C. O’Leary’s French Defence, J.F. O’Halloran had his 6th successive win to leave him clear winner with one round to go.”

Con O’Leary playing in the 1950 Irish Championship in Belfast (courtesy of the Ulster Chess Union Albert Long Collection)

The Open Championship had been secured. In the final round Ferdie completed a full-sweep but only after his most difficult game of the tournament: “J.F. O’Halloran had a further win in the final round to finish off with full points, a remarkable performance. His opponent, M. McNally, had a huge advantage from the opening, but gradually frittered it away, eventually losing the ending.”

The contemporary reporting of the 1955 An Tóstal Congress only refers to the event O’Halloran won as the “An Tóstal Open” so the wording on the plaque, as seen in the close-up below, is intriguing.


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OTB chess returns with the Irish Championship

For five months, in common with the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown restrictions meant there was no competitive over-the-board chess in Ireland. Thanks to the remarkable efforts of the Irish Chess Union and the local organisers, a COVID-19 Government compliant tournament for the Irish Championship took place at Coláiste Éanna from 1st to 9th August. Tom O’Gorman became one of the youngest title-winners, scoring 7 points from his 9 games, finishing a half-point ahead of Sam Collins, Colm Daly and Conor O’Donnell.

Final standings have been added to the Irish Championship page.

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2018, 2019 and a New Year Resolution for 2020

My previous post is now just a speck in the rear-view mirror so I thought it was time for another. All the major tournaments for 2018 and 2019 have been added to the appropriate pages, so I am up-to-date – a bit like a broken clock that tells the correct time once every twelve hours!

So my New Year resolution is to keep the updates to a more regular basis (ideally shortly after each tournament). Also, for non-contemporary tournament additions, which had previously been added silently, I now intend to signpost any significant changes by adding a Comment – I have done this very recently for the Ballyfermot Open and the first series of the Mulcahy Memorial and these can be seen in the “Recent Comments” widget in the left-hand sidebar. I hope that’s a bit more user-friendly.

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Updates and additions

This month I have updated the various tournament sections with results from 2016 and 2017. I am hoping to keep up-to-date in future and results for the first events of 2018, including Gonzaga, which finished yesterday, have also been added.

In the Restricted section I have added a number of Senior events:

The recent increase in age-restricted events for older players will continue with the Irish 40+ Championship in the ICU’s 2018 Easter Festival.

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Easter Rising Golden Jubilee Tournament

In 1966, over the weekend following Easter Sunday, University College Cork Chess Club hosted a tournament to commemorate the Easter Rising 50 years on. With the University closed for two of the days of the tournament, the event took place at the Helm Hotel in Crosshaven. The event attracted a small but select field of twelve for a five-round Swiss.

The tournament schedule had two games on both Friday 15th and Saturday 16th April, starting at 9.30am and 3.00pm (four hour sessions) with adjournments to be played in the evening.

Donal Deiseach won both his games on the Friday and was the sole leader by a half-point going into Day 2. He ended Saturday on 3.5, with his closest pursuers Noel Mulcahy, Eamonn Keogh, Maurice Kennefick and Brian Canton a full point behind. The reigning Irish champion Michael Littleton had drawn all four of his games and so was out of contention for the tournament win.

Deiseach’s only draw was this this exciting encounter against Mulcahy on Day 2.

Noel Mulcahy – Donal Deiseach
Easter Rising Golden Jubilee, Cork, 16.04.1966
Play through this game in CB Reader

Position after White's 12th move

Position after White’s 12th move

Deiseach can (and does) win a pawn here with 12…Bxc4 13.Re1 Be6 14.e5 and then proceeds to sharpen things up considerably with a Bishop sacrifice 14…Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Qc5+ 16.Kf1 Ng4 17.Qd2
Over the next few moves Deiseach probably does not find the best way to follow up his typically dashing play. We offer some tentative computer-assisted analysis.
Best seems to be 17…Nxh2+ 18.Ke2 Qxe5+ 19.Ne4 (if 19.Kd1 Bg4+ 20.Kc2 Bf5+ 21.Kd1 Qxg3 and Black must be winning here, e.g. 22.Rxe8+ Rxe8 23.Kc1 Re1+ 24.Nd1 Bg4) 19…Qh5+ 20.Kf2 Ng4+ 21.Kf1 Rb5 with a strong attack.
18.bxc4 Rxb2
Again best seems to be 18…Nxh2+ 19.Ke2 Qxe5+ 20.Be4 (The idea behind opening up the b-file is revealed here. White cannot protect his g-pawn with 20.Ne4 because of 20…Rxb2-+) 20…f5 21.Kd1 Qxg3 and Black still has good compensation for the sacrificed material. Probably the most solid continuation now for White is 22.Re3
(The other main candidates are two Bishop moves, both of which lead to positions with chances for both sides: either 22.Bxf5 Qf3+ 23.Re2 Rxe2 24.Qxe2 Rxb2 25.Qxf3 Nxf3 26.Kc1 Rh2 27.Bxd7 Nd4 where White will still find it difficult to unravel; or 22.Bd5+ cxd5 23.Qxd5+ Kh8 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Qxd7<=>)
Paradoxically best here may be to offer a Queen exchange: 22…Qd6 (after 22…Qh4 23.Bd3 Ng4 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Kc1 Black’s attack is in danger of petering out) 23.Qxd6 cxd6 24.Kc2 fxe4 25.Rxe4 Rf8 with roughly equal chances.
19.Qxb2 Nxh2+ 20.Ke2 Rxe5+ 21.Be4 f5 22.Kd1 Ng4 23.Bd5+
White decides to return some material. 23.Bd3 forcing an exchange of Rooks was the cold-blooded way of going for a win.
23…cxd5 24.Rxe5 Nxe5 25.Qe2
Now, with time pressure almost certainly an issue, the players settle for a perpetual.
25…Qg1+ 26.Qe1 Qd4+ 27.Qd2 Qg4+ 28.Qe2 Qd4+ 29.Qd2 Qg1+  1/2-1/2
[Source: ICU Newsletter, June 1966]

The fifth and final round was fixed to start at 11.00am on Sunday 17th and the leading pairings were:

Eamon Keogh  (2.5) -v- Donal Deiseach    (3.5)
Noel Mulcahy (2.5) -v- Maurice Kennefick (2.5)
Brian Canton (2.5) -v- Michael Littleton (2.0)

Here is how those encounters played out.

Brian Canton – Michael Littleton
Easter Rising Golden Jubilee, Cork (Round 5), 17.04.1966
Play through this game in CB Reader

Position after White's 22nd move

Position after White’s 22nd move

Littleton won a pawn here with 22…Nxb4 and Canton’s position went downhill very quickly after 23.Bd2
Instead 23.Rxb4 Rxc3 24.Bxh6 Bxh6 25.Qxf6 Rxd3 26.Nf5 Bf8 27.Qg5 and at least White has some play for his pawn minus.
23…Nc2 24.Ne2 Nxe1 25.Rxe1 b4 26.Bxh6 Bxh6 27.Qxf6 Bg7 28.Qxd6 Rc1 29.Qxd7 Rxe1+ 30.Bf1 b3 0-1
[Source: ICU Newsletter, June 1966]

Noel Mulcahy  – Maurice Kennefick
Easter Rising Golden Jubilee, Cork (Round 5), 17.04.1966
Play through this game in CB Reader

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 dxc4 8.Qxc4 Nbd7 9.0-0 Nb6 10.Qe2 Bd6 11.e4 Bc7 12.Bg5 Qd7
Black’s situation is a little unpleasant already and for the next few moves he dithers, although it is not easy to suggest a good plan. Perhaps it was time to try active counter-measures with 12…h6 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3 Nh5 15.Bxc7 Qxc7 16.g3 0-0-0 although after 17.a4 White’s chances are still to be preferred.
13.Rad1 Qc8 14.Rfe1 Nbd7

Position after Black's 14th move

Position after Black’s 14th move

15.d5 e5 16.Bxf6 gxf6
After 16…Nxf6 17.d6 and Nxe5 is decisive – J.J. Walsh.
17.Nh4 c5
If 17…0-0 18.Nf5 Kh8 19.Qh5 Qe8 20.Rd3 Rg8 21.Qxh7+ and wins – Mulcahy.
18.Nf5 Rg8 19.Qh5 Nf8 20.d6 Bb8 21.Nd5 White must be winning here but now 21…Rg5 hastens the end.
22.Nxf6+ 1-0
[Source: Irish Times, 13th May 1966]

Eamon Keogh – Donal Deiseach
Easter Rising Golden Jubilee Cork (Round 5), 17.04.1966
Play through this game in CB Reader

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Be3 0-0 9.f3 a6 10.a4 Qc7 11.Qe2 Na5 12.Ba2 Bd7 13.Rfd1 Rac8 14.Qf2 Qb8 15.g4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Rxc4 17.Nde2 b5 18.axb5 Bxb5 19.Rd2 Rfc8 20.Rc1 Be8 21.Nd1 Qb7 22.Ng3 Ba4 23.Bd4

Position after White's 23rd move

Position after White’s 23rd move

If Black intended meeting 23.b3 with 23…Bxb3 because the c-pawn would be pinned, then White could in turn have countered with 24.Rb1 pinning the Black Bishop against his own Queen. After 24…Rb4 25.Rxb3 Rxb3 26.cxb3 Qxb3 White would have won a piece for two pawns.
23…Nd7 24.Ne3 R4c6 25.b3 Bb5 26.Rcd1 a5 27.g5
Keogh offers a pawn to open up lines to the Black King. After Deiseach declines with 27…Nc5 the White attack just keeps coming anyway.
28.Nh5 Bf8 29.Ng4 e5 30.Qh4 Nd7 31.c4 exd4 32.Nhf6+ Nxf6 33.Nxf6+ gxf6 34.gxf6 h6 35.Rg2+ Kh7 36.Qg4 1-0
[Sources: Irish Times, 28 April 1966 and ICU Newsletter, June 1966]

The final round results had produced a triple-tie for first on 3.5 points. Tie-break order, if the usual system had been used, would have been Mulcahy (10.00), Keogh (9.50) and Deiseach (7.75). The organisers had however decided in advance not to use a tie-break because of the shortness of the tournament and therefore the prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd were shared equally. There was still a trophy to be handed out and after that most random of methods, a toss, it went to Keogh.

Final standings
1=3. D. Deiseach, E. Keogh, E.N. Mulcahy 3.5/5
4. M. Littleton 3.0
5=7. B. Canton, M. Kennefick, L. Spillane 2.5
8=10. L. Brady, J. Lacy, J. O’Brien 2.0
11=12. B. Desmond, W. Ireton 1.5

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Irish Intervarsity Championship

On Saturday 2nd April 2016 a Championship inaugurated as long ago as 1948 was revived. At University Cork 24 players competed in an Individual Intervarsity Championship won by Hugh Doyle. Keegan O’Mahoney, who finished as runner-up has a report at the ICU website. So this seems like a good time to put up a page detailing the history of  all the Inter-University Individual Championships.

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County Tipperary Open and Thurles Chess Club

In recent years, the growth of the internet has meant that nearly every tournament has some sort of presence there. Sometimes these events are better advertised in advance than reported afterwards. Even when the results are made available, it’s best to catch them quickly as some websites don’t archive their articles (and indeed the same URL may be overwritten year upon year). However, the rating databases of the Irish Chess Union and Ulster Chess Union provide a (hopefully) permanent record of tournaments nowadays.

However, ready access to results from Irish tournaments was not always an easy matter. For the chess historian looking for results from bygone years, particularly from more local events, this may well require seeking out snippets of information from often brief newspaper reports and piecing together as much as possible. One such event that falls into this category is the County Tipperary Open Championships, held in Thurles and organised by the local chess club, which was founded in 1972. The tournament series seems to have run between 1979 and 1994. Our page on the tournament gives all the information we have been able to unearth from local newspapers (Kilkenny People, Nenagh Guardian and Sligo Champion) to national dailies (Cork Examiner, Irish Press and Irish Times) as well as the the ICU’s own Irish Chess Journal.


Thurles Chess Club

I came across the photograph above in a post at the Thurles Town Down Memory Lane Facebook page. The four people in the image are Conor Ryan, Peter (O’)Shaugnesssy, Martin Ryan and Anthony Condron. The photograph might well have been taken at the prizegiving at one of the County Tipperary Open Championships. Condron was one of the main organisers of the tournament and the Ryans may be members of the family that provided the perpetual trophy for, and sponsorship of, the Championships.

On a number of occasions the Championships had some sort of maximum rating restriction, but the 1991 and 1992 renewals were unrestricted and attracted players from the upper echelons of Irish chess. However in 1991 the top seeds were surprised by lower-rated opposition. Stephen Morris and Mel Kennedy (O Cinneide) were rated 2156 and 2100 respectively and, as reported in the Sligo Champion, “outrated the rest of the field by a good margin”. In round three Morris had been held a draw by the circa-1900 rated Paul Kiely but then went on to beat Kennedy in the fourth (and penultimate) round. Going into the final round Morris and Kiely led on 3.5, while Kennedy and his Round 2 victim, sixth seed Trevor Hunter (1731), were a half-point behind. In the top board game Morris sacrificed a piece against Hunter but the underdog successfully warded off the attack to reach 4.0 points. On board 2 game Kiely was pressing hard to secure outright victory against the higher-ranked Kennedy but in the end had to settle for a draw and a tied first place with Sligo man Hunter.

In 1992 the organisers attracted a star-studded field with Colm Daly (2290), Stephen Brady (2260), Tom Clarke (2170), Gerard O’Connell (2130) and the returning Morris (now 2119) all competing.  The upsets this time started as early as Round 2 with Brady losing to Ciaran Quinn (1987) and Maurice Buckley (1571) beating Clarke. After three rounds Daly and O’Connell shared the lead with full points. Their Round 4 encounter had a finish well-known in weekenders in the pre-increment days. After a time scramble, O’Connell’s flag fell but Daly had only a lone King left -so the Rules of Chess decreed that the result must be a draw and they remained in the joint lead heading into the final round. Brady and Clarke had recovered sufficiently to be paired with the leaders in the final round.

The two decisive games from the final Round follow below. Playable versions are at my Irish Chess Games website.

Thomas Clarke -v- Gerard O’Connell
Tipperary Open, Thurles (Round 5), 09.02.1992

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 c6 7.Bd3 h6 8.Bf4 Nbd7 9.h3 Nf8 10.g4 Ne6 11.Be5 Bd6 12.f4 Bxe5 13.dxe5 Nd7 14.Nf3 Qb6 15.Qd2 Ndc5 16.Bc2 Bd7 17.f5 Ng5 18.Nxg5 hxg5 19.0-0-0 0-0-0 [O’Connell takes the sting out of Clarke’s kingside pawn roller by also castling queenside. Of course after 19…0-0 Black would be in a lot of trouble after 20.h4] 20.e4 d4 Diagram



21.e6? [This just loses a pawn for nothing. If White was looking for complications then 21.Qxd4 was a better bet as 21…Bxf5 can be met by 22.Nd5! cxd5 23.exf5] 21…Bxe6 22.fxe6 dxc3 23.Qxc3 Nxe6 24.Kb1 Qc5 25.Qg3 Nd4 26.Bd3 f6 27.Rhe1 Qe5 28.Qe3 Kb8 29.Bc4 Rd6 30.b4 Rhd8 31.Rd3 a6 32.a4 Ne6 33.Rc3 Nf4 34.Rec1 Qd4 35.Qe1 Re8 36.h4 Rxe4 37.Qh1 gxh4 38.Qxh4 g5 39.Qh7 Rd7 40.Qg8+ Rd8 41.Qf7 Re1 42.Rxe1 Qxc3 43.Qe7 Qd4 44.b5 axb5 45.axb5 cxb5 46.Bxb5 Nd3 47.Re2 Qd6 48.Qe4 Qb4+ 49.Qxb4 Nxb4 50.Re6 Rd4 51.Re8+ Kc7 52.Re7+ Kb6 53.Be2 Rf4 54.Re6+ Nc6 55.Re8 Nd4 0-1

Colm Daly -v- Stephen Brady
Tipperary Open, Thurles (Round 5), 09.02.1992

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Bd2 0-0 6.a3 Bxc3 7.Bxc3 Re8 8.e4 d6 9.Be2 Ne7 10.0-0 Ng6 11.Re1 Nf4 12.Bf1 c5 13.b4 b6 14.h3 h6 15.Nh2 Nh7 16.Ra2 The future course of the game shows how significant this move turns out to be. 16…Re6 17.Re3 Rg6 18.Kh1 Ng5 19.h4 Nh7 20.g3 Ne6 21.Bg2 Nd4 22.Re1 Nf6 23.Rg1 Ng4 24.Bxd4 cxd4 25.Nxg4 Bxg4 26.Bf3 h5 27.Bxg4 hxg4 28.f4 [This is a bit risky. White would probably be slightly better after 28.f3 gxf3 29.Qxf3 (but not 29.Rf2 as suggested in the Irish Chess Journal because that loses to 29…Rxg3 30.Rxg3 Qxh4+ 31.Kg1 Qxg3+) ] 28…exf4 29.gxf4 g3 30.h5 Qh4+ Diagram



31.Kg2 Qh2+ 32.Kf1 g2+ [If 32…Qxa2 33.Rg2 Qxa3 34.hxg6 fxg6 35.Rxg3 Rf8! 36.Qg4 Qc1+ 37.Kg2 Rxf4 and White must take the perpetual with 38.Qe6+ (ICJ)] 33.Raxg2 Qxf4+ 34.Rf2 Rxg1+ 35.Kxg1 Qg3+ 36.Rg2 Qe3+ 37.Kh2 Qf4+ 38.Kh3 Re8 39.Qg4 Qxg4+ 40.Kxg4 Re5 41.Rf2 White is threatening Rf5 and is a clear favourite in this endgame. Perhaps because a draw is no good to him, Brady now lashes out in a bid for counterplay, but it probably only makes things easier for Daly. 41…b5 42.cxb5 Rxb5 43.Rf5 Rb6 44.Ra5 Rc6 45.Rxa7 Rc3 46.b5 Rxd3 47.b6 Rb3 48.b7 Kh7 49.a4 Rb1 50.Kf3 Kh6 51.Ke2 1-0

Daly and O’Connell therefore finished equal first on 4.5 and Stephen Morris took third place a half[point behind.

The two games above plus Quinn-O’Connell (Round 3) and O’Connell-Daly (until shortly before the flag fall) were included in the Irish Chess Journal report and have also made their way to the ICU website database.

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Archive section up and running

Our first feature-length historical article is now posted in the Archive section. These articles will be in the form of pdf files and if an article contains game scores, these will be available to play through in a ChessBase reader at my new Irish Chess Games website. If you’re thinking this is bit convoluted – sorry about that, but WordPress has its limitations, and hosting a chess game viewer is one of them.

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