Category Archives: Munster

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.
17…Bc4+
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
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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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The return of the Munster Championship

In recent years the Munster Championship has led a rather sheltered life, often not seen out or disguised inside another tournament. However, earlier this year the Munster Chess Union announced the return of its Championship as a stand-alone event. On the weekend of 18-20 September 2015 it was duly held as a FIDE-rated, 5-round Swiss at the West County Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare.

The provincial championships started their days as “closed” events, players requiring to be born (or resident) in the province to be eligible to enter. That tradition has been diluted over the years – the Leinster Championship had become an “open” event even before its incorporation in the Malahide tournament while this year the Ulster Championship was opened up to outsiders – Munster player Rory Quinn (although not eligible for the title) carrying off first-prize. After being incorporated in the Mulcahy Memorial for the past three years, the 2015 Munster Championship reverted to being a closed event, entry restricted to players originally from, or resident in Munster for at least one year – although some of the official pre-tournament publicity could have mislead you. Entry to the supporting Under 1500 Championship was open but the title and Joe Browne Cup could only be won by a Munster player.

It was no doubt gratifying for the MCU organisers that the 2015 entry list included the current joint Irish champion, Philip Short, plus the aforementioned Rory Quinn and Paul Walsh, both three-time winners. The Congress is well-served by post-event commentary – the MCU’s own website has a photo-report, runner-up Rory Quinn gives his personal take at the Ennis CC blog while Sean Coffey at IRLchess has a comprehensive round-up on the weekend’s proceedings. So, rather than attempt a pale imitation of that reportage, I will instead point readers in the direction of our Munster championship page which is not only updated with the 2015 final standings but also has significant additions and revisions about previous Championships.

 

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Munster League 1947-1948

In my recently added page on the Munster League Division 1, I indicated that the Munster Leagues in their present form of a single province-wide League seem to date from season 1987-1988. For many years previously they had been played in regional sections with winners playing off for the title. However when the Munster Leagues were first played 67 years ago, the format was remarkably similar to the current set-up, albeit on a slightly more modest scale.

For the inaugural championship four teams entered with six players per team. The away team received the White pieces on the odd-numbered boards and there was to be a 3 hour playing session with unfinished games to be adjudicated. The three rounds of competition were scheduled as follows:

Round 1 (to be played by 13th December 1947)

Cork CYMS (Home) -v-  Bellevue (Cork)
Limerick (Home)  -v-  Kilfinane

Round 2 (to be played by 11th January 1948)

Kilfinane (Home) -v-  Cork CYMS 
Limerick (Home)  -v-  Bellevue 

Round 3 (to be played by 1st February 1948)

Cork CYMS (Home) -v-  Limerick
Bellevue (Home)  -v-  Kilfinane 

Play in the first two rounds was completed within the time allowed and such was the impact made by the new tournament that the Cork Examiner was already predicting it would become an annual event.

Round 1

Limerick       5.0-1.0 Kilfinane
A. Bourke        1-0   P. Hennessy
G.A. Lynch       1-0   V. Condon
J.E. Hayes       1-0   J. Hanley
P. Hayes         1-0   J. O'Regan
C. Quinn         1-0   W. Lundon
L. Despard       0-1   J. Finn

Bellevue       3.5-2.5 Cork CYMS
J. Ambrose       =-=   C. O'Leary (adj)
A. Martin        1-0   J. Gilroy
J. Casey         1-0   M. O'Shaughnessy
E. Keniry        0-1   D. Heelan
M. O'Halloran    1-0   M. McNally
A. McM. Kavanagh 0-1   D. O'Sullivan

Round 2

Kilfinane      3.5-2.5  Cork CYMS
J.J. Ryan        0-1    C. O'Leary
V. Condon        =-=    D. Heelan
J. Hanley        1-0    J. Gilroy
P. Hennessy      0-1    M. McNally
W. Lundon        1-0    M. O'Shaughnessy
J. Finn          1-0    D. O'Sullivan

Limerick       3.5-2.5  Bellevue
A. Bourke        1-0    J. Ambrose
G.A. Lynch       =-=    A. Martin
J.E. Hayes       1-0    E. Keniry
P. Hayes         =-=    J. Casey
C. Quinn         =-=    F. O'Halloran
P. McEvoy        0-1    P.B. Kennedy 

At opposite ends of the team lists in the Limerick-Bellevue match were two future Irish champions: Austin Bourke had already carved out a strong reputation, having played for Ireland in the 1935 Olympiad in Warsaw. He would go on to win the 1951 Irish Championship. On the other hand, 18-year-old Paddy Kennedy was taking his first steps at this level but he beat Bourke to the Irish title when winning in Galway with a 100% score only 18 months after his board 6 outing here.

Going into the final round, Limerick had scored four match points, with victories over Bellevue and Kilfinance, with these two equal second, having both beaten Cork CYMS.

With both Cork teams at home for the final round of matches, the opportunity was taken to make this something of a gala occasion. At 7.30pm on Saturday 31st January 1948 all four teams sat down in the Scala Restaurant in Cork to decide the destination of the title before “a big gathering of chess enthusiasts” (Cork Examiner). The chess adminstrators were busy too – the Munster Chess Union AGM was held alongside the 64-square action.

Round 3

Cork CYMS      3.0-3.0  Limerick
C. O'Leary       0-1    A. Bourke
M. McNally       =-=    J.E. Hayes
D. Heelan        0-1    G.A. Lynch
D. O'Sullivan    1-0    P. Hayes
M. Hegarty       =-=    C. Quinn
M. O'Shaughnessy 1-0    L. Despard

Bellevue       3.5-2.5  Kilfinane
A. Martin        0-1    J.J. Ryan
J. Ambrose       1-0    V. Condon
E. Keniry        =-=    J. Hanley
J. Casey         1-0    W. Lundon
F. O'Halloran    0-1    J. O'Regan
P.B. Kennedy     1-0    J. Finn

When the smoke of battle had cleared, Cork CYMS had finally put a point on the board by holding leaders Limerick to a drawn match but this was enough for the North Munster team to claim the title. Bellevue edged past Kilfinane to take the runner-up spot in the final standings.

Final standings
                 P  W  D  L     Points    Pts    
1. Limerick      3  2  1  0  11.5 -  6.5  5
2. Bellevue      3  2  0  1   9.5 -  8.5  4
3. Kilfinane     3  1  0  2   7.0 - 11.0  2
4. Cork CYMS     3  0  1  2   8.0 - 10.0  1

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Munster competitions

Rory Quinn has advertised the new Munster Chess Union website at his Ennis CC blog. To celebrate this new arrival, I have started adding to the Provinces page some of the official competitions organised by the MCU and various regional associations within Munster.

At this point in my research, there are still quite a number of gaps. In particular, I have not yet had any opportunity to look at Jim Olney’s long-lived chess column in the Cork Evening Echo. Hopefully publishing what I have gathered to date will produce some useful feedback.

For the moment I have put up three events:

I hope to add a page too on the North Munster Championship fairly soon.

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