De Loughrey Memorial 1978

Desmond de Loughrey died on the 20th April 1977. He played on four Irish Olympiad teams between 1958 and 1968 and was also President of the Irish Chess Union for a number of years in the 1960s. The ICU decided to inaugurate a tournament in his honour. Its then President, Eugene O’Hare, who had competed with de Loughrey in the 1962 and 1964 Olympiads, had the novel idea of making the memorial tournament an all-Ireland knock-out handicap team championship. In late 1977 a prospectus was issued looking for teams to enter. The nature of the handicap was based on grading differential; for example, a team with an overall rating of 400 points less than its opponent received an extra point. Matches were to be 8 players a side. The closing date for entries was the 7th December. By early January 1978, there was concern about the number of teams putting themselves forward, with none at all from Munster, and the entry date was extended. The reminder seems to have done the trick – by mid-February the initial pairings had been announced and although the entry was a relatively modest 17, the participating teams came from all over Ireland. There was one preliminary match which produced something of a surprise when Dublin held Collegians over the board and went through on handicap. In the first round proper the operation of the handicap system made itself felt with two teams, St.James’s A and Malahide, going though to the next round despite losing on ordinary game points.

Preliminary Round
Dublin         4.0-4.0  Collegians

First Round
City of Derry  3.5-4-5  Kilbarrack
Dundrum          W-L    Dublin
St James's A   3.0-5.0  Galway
Yellow House   8-0-0.0  West Finglas
Phibsboro      6.5-1.5  Wicklow
Fisherwick     5.0-3.0  Ierne
Sandymount     6.0-2-0  Malahide
St. James's B    L-W    South Munster

In the quarter finals normality was restored with the four teams winning their matches over the board advancing to the semi-finals without handicap points interfering.

Quarter finals
Dundrum        4.5-3.5  Kilbarrack
Yellow House   7.0-1.0  St. James's A
Phibsboro      5.5-2.5  Fisherwick 
South Munster  7.0-1.0  Malahide

In the semi-finals South Munster had a crushing victory over Phibsboro while the other match was tied and “Yellow House won through on tie-break rules” according to the report in the Sunday Independent – making it a little unclear whether this was on the handicap or just some ordinary tie-break rule.

Yellow House   4.0-4.0  Dundrum
South Munster  7.5-0.5  Phibsboro    

The final was held at the Crofton Airpot Hotel, Dublin. The finalists were very different in character. South Munster was not a club in the conventional sense but a conglomerate representing the South Munster Chess Association. The Rathfarnham-based Yellow House was a “mere” Leinster Division 2 team – but do not let that fool the reader. Yellow House had won the Heidenfeld Trophy in 1978 to qualify to compete against the big battalions in the 1978-1979 Armstrong Cup (when it subsequently finished second) and had recently won the Leinster Chess Union’s (non-handicap) knock-out championship, the Branagan Cup. Looking at the names of the players involved, despite the strength of the South Munster squad, it seems remarkable that Yellow House enjoyed the advantage of four handicap points in the final. Despite a valiant effort by the South Munster players in winning the match over the board the handicap proved too much for them.

Yellow House 3.0 - 5.0 South Munster
(Yellow House won 7.0-5.0 on handicap)

Yellow House           South Munster
Colm Barry        =-=  Colm Quigley
Denis Healy       0-1  Maurice Kennefick
Hilary Healy      0-1  Anthony McCarthy
Eamon Martin      0-1  Orison Carlisle
Ciaran Scollard   0-1  Kevin James
Denis McLaughlin  =-=  Tom O'Shea
Kevin McCarthy    1-0  John Butler
Ray Grimason      1-0  Maurice Coveney 

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