Seán made reference in the May 2012 update to Znosko-Borovsky’s simultaneous displays in Armagh and Limerick in December 1926. There is a game dated 1927 between Znosko-Borovsky and O’Hanlon listed in the Games section of the ICU website. It is highly probable that the year given is wrong and that the game was in fact played in the same time period as the Armagh and Limerick exhibitions. The evidence for this is tbat the exact same game was published in the Belfast News Letter chess column for 3rd February 1927, with the following preamble:
“The following very interesting game was played between the Irish champion and E. Znosko-Borovsky during the latter’s recent visit to Ireland. It was a strenuous contest lasting six hours, and 26 moves were played before even a pawn was captured. The finish was carried through in good style. One other game was played, and this the Russian master won in about 30 moves.”
Moreover the timing of the game is of rather larger significance. The 1926 Irish Championship in Belfast (won by O’Hanlon) commenced 6th December. Looking at the timing of the Armagh and Limerick exhibitions the most likely time for the two O’Hanlon – Znosko-Borovsky games is 4th and/or 5th December 1926, immediately before the Irish Championship. Not a bad way to prepare for a championship! O’Hanlon owned a hotel in Portadown at that time, so Znosko-Borovsky probably stayed with him during his time spent in the North.
O’Hanlon, John J – Znosko-Borovsky, Eugene
Ireland (probably Portadown) December 1926
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 d6 7.c3 Be7 8.Re1 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.h3 0-0 11.d4 Nc6 12.Be3 Qc7 13.Nbd2 Bb7 14.d5 Nd8 15.Nf1 Ne8 16.g4 g6 17.Ng3 Ng7 18.Qd2 f6 19.Rad1 Nf7 20.Kg2 Rad8 21.h4 Bc8 22.Nh2 Qd7 23.Rh1 h5 24.f3 Kh8 25.Rdg1 Rg8 26.Kf2 hxg4 (Diagram 1) The first capture and a mistake. Having over the last four moves placed his Rooks on the g- and h-files and tucked his King away on f2, thematic and good for White was 27.h5! One possibility now would be 27…Nxh5 28.Nxh5 gxh5 29.Nxg4 Rg7 30.Rxh5+ Rh7 31.Rxh7+ Kxh7 32.Ke1! and the threat of 33.Qh2 is decisive.
27.Nxg4 Nh5 28.Nh6 Nxh6 29.Bxh6 Qa7 30.Be3 Rdf8 31.Ke1 Bd8 32.b4 Bb6 33.bxc5 dxc5 34.Nxh5 gxh5 35.Rxg8+ Rxg8 36.Qf2 Ba5 37.Bxc5 Bxc3+ 38.Kd1 Qg7 39.Qe3 Ba5 40.Bb3 Qg6 41.Be7 Rg7 42.d6 Kh7 43.Qf2 f5 44.Bf8 Rd7
A mistake, allowing a decisive infiltration by the White Rook. The Belfast News Letter noted that O’Hanlon had expected 44…Qg2. Unfortunately the rest of its note on the move is unclear but the general thrust was that White would still have been better after the Queen move.
Perhaps that is a little optimistic but one plausible variation (though admittedly not forced) is (see Diagram 2) 44…Qg2 45.Rh2 Qxf2 46.Rxf2 Rg1+ 47.Ke2 Be1 48.Rf1 Rxf1 49.Kxf1 Bxh4 50.Be7 Bxe7 (50…Bg3 51.exf5 and if 51…Bxf5 allows a pretty finish with 52.Bc2!) 51.dxe7 Bd7 52.Bf7.
45.Rg1 Qf6 46.Rg5 Rxd6+
46…Qxf8 loses to 47.Rxh5 when Black must give up his Queen to prevent mate.
47.Bxd6 Qxd6+ 48.Bd5 Bd8 49.Qd2 Qf6 50.Rxh5+ Kg7 51.Rg5+ Kf8 52.Qb4+ Ke8 53.Qc5 Kd7 54.Rxf5 Bb6 55.Qxc8+ 1-0