With excellent timing, two magazines have produced a new issue this week, just in time for the Christmas stocking. The first is of course Tony Foley’s Irish Chess Journal. The second, which may not be familiar to Irish readers, is DisinformatorTM, the club magazine of Oxford City C.C., edited by Seán Terry. I came across it for the first time earlier this year, but it has been going since early 1995, now up to issue 41. It’s a substantial magazine that captures very well the atmosphere of club chess, with the subjects of blunders and swindles always hovering in the background, along with what to do when you don’t know any theory, and so on and so forth. Many, many games and all very entertaining.
As I was reading through the back issues, I started to say to myself, “Hmm, this fellow seems to know quite a lot about Irish chess”, with various mentions of the Armstrong, Irish players and clubs, etc. But it still came as a complete shock when I found the game Coffey-Terry from the Armstrong Cup in 1982. My subconscious must have started working on forgetting as soon as the scoresheets were signed, and clearly met with great success as I have no memory whatsoever of this game. It was in issue … well, it doesn’t really matter what issue it was in, the important point is that Seán Terry turns out to be from Ireland, and a veteran of Dublin C.C.
From Disinformator 6 (with permission, for which thanks), and very slightly adapted, here’s an account of the final of the 1977 Branagan Cup, Dublin v. Dundrum, played on the 14th March 1977 in Dublin C.C.’s (excellent) club rooms at 20 Lincoln Place. It comes up in a discussion of blunders and their causes, where he’s discussing various examples of where you forget that later on in an analysis, a piece currently occupying a square will no longer be there. (I used to call these “ghosts”.)
“Playing for Dublin C.C. in the final of the Branagan (knock-out cup) in 1977, I reached the diagrammed position, by which time (a) I was in terrible time trouble and stressed; (b) I had to win, as otherwise the match would be lost on board count. Black had just played Rd1-d2, threatening mate in two, and offered a draw. Notwithstanding the fact that I could see the following (fairly obvious) variations, I accepted!! 37. a3+ Ka5 (37. … Kb3 38. Rc3 mate) 38. Rcc6 b4 39. Rc5 mate, a point which was reinforced seconds later when an exodus of kibitzers descended to demonstrate the forced win.
What decided me against playing 37. a3, and accepting the draw, was not the variation above–I’m not that Irish–but the following analysis: 37. a3+ Ka5 38. Rcc6 Rxb2+ 39. Ka1(?) Ra2+ 40. Kb1 Rxa3, where Black escapes the mate and wins. Of course 39. Ka1 is a ??schlocker?? of a move, but I hadn’t realised that 39. Kc1 was possible: in my mind’s eye, it was still occupied by the rook. Stress had refused to erase the image from my brain. A convincing explanation to me, although my team-mates weren’t all that delighted at the time. [Nor, incidentally, was I. Sorry, JJ.]”
Seán has also provided the full game score, for which thanks also: click to replay.