Monthly Archives: September 2011

Brian Tomson 1942-1986

This article, co-authored with David McAlister, appeared in the Irish Chess Journal, August 2011, pp. 14-16. (Adapted in very minor ways for this post.) ICJ issues are available on the ICU web site, with the current issue restricted to ICU members and back issues available for all.

From a player profile in a 1971 Australian magazine:

“Brian Tomson is a lecturer in English at the University of Newcastle. Before coming to Australia he had gained fourth place in the Irish National Title, played for Oxford University and represented Ireland in an international universities tournament played in Europe against top class competition including the crack Russians. He modestly stresses the fact that the Irish team finished in last place on this occasion.”

These matters are all relative and your mileage may vary, but I’ll admit that these achievements sounded quite respectable to me (SC). But the name was entirely unfamiliar. No such name appeared in the ICU web site’s tables for Irish championships in the 1960’s: the closest was a “J. Thomas” who was listed as finishing 4th-6th in the 1965 championship—and that didn’t seem all that close. OlimpBase listed a “J. Tomson” as playing board 3 for Ireland in the 1967 Student Olympiad at Harrachov (then Czechoslovakia), and the same name appeared in the lists for the 1966 Irish championship. The final piece of the puzzle came from an article from the Ulster Chess Union Yearbook, in which Arthur Pinkerton recalled drawing with “J. B. Tomson” in the 1966 championship, and the mystery player stood revealed as J. Brian Tomson.

(The ICU report on the 1965 championship has been corrected accordingly.)

Brian TomsonA University of Newcastle web site had much further information, including collected correspondence and the information that he was a problemist, and had edited the problem column for Chess in Australia from 1984 to his death.

He had even published a book, Fifty Chess Problems, privately printed, and only 7 copies. Continue reading

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Ulster Championship 2011

The 2011 Ulster Championship featured two innovations. The event was FIDE-rated and time increments were used for the first time in any Ulster tournament. Tournament reports have been posted on the Championship itself (confined to players rated over 1700) won … Continue reading

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Ennis Congress 2011

In these days of doom and gloom, when many long-established events are suffering through low attendances, it’s great to see excellent turnouts at relatively new events. The Ennis Congresses, now in their 5th year, are highly successful, and are very … Continue reading

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Irish championship 2007

The 2007 Irish championship featured the largest field ever, 52 players, including 4 grandmasters, a major turnaround from the previous year’s turnout of just 12. The primary factor in the change was generous sponsorship from Island Oil & Gas, and … Continue reading

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“Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland, 1824-1987” shortlisted for ECF Book of the Year

The English Chess Federation has announced the shortlist of four books for its highly prestigious Book of the Year award, and Tim Harding’s book, with much of interest to Irish chess history, has very deservedly been selected as one of … Continue reading

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City of Dublin IM norm tournament 2011

The recently concluded City of Dublin IM norm tournament has been added to the tournaments page. 1st Sam Collins, all 45 games. No IM norms, unfortunately, with Stephen Brady missing out by ½ point, but some very interesting and entertaining … Continue reading

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