Wexford/Drogheda June Congress

The Drogheda June Congress is on this weekend. This competition has a unique structure of 6-player all-play-alls and a long history: this is the 24th of the series in Drogheda, in an unbroken sequence from 1990, and it had previously run from 1971 to 1988 in Wexford while the organiser Andrew Thomson lived there.

David McAlister has compiled lists of winners down the years on his Irish Chess History web site: see the Drogheda and Wexford web pages. Unfortunately very few games are available: I have five from the 1974 event that I’ll upload soon.

In the meantime here’s a photo from the 1972 event, just the second in the series. This is from the Drogheda C.C. web site (“History of the June Congress“, 7 July 2011): see the comments there for discussion of who everyone is. I must admit I had exactly the same first impression as Seán Terry: the moustached fellow second from right in the front row is exactly how I remember Paul Wallace; but apparently it’s not him?


Can anyone help with the remaining identifications?

Update, June 5, 2013: David McAlister provides significant new information (see the comments). With this, it seems we can update the identifications (new information in bold):

Front row: Mick Keeshan, Michael Littleton, Art Coldrick, Maurice Kennefick, unknown, Alexander Münninghoff (Netherlands), (T.? or Alar?) Alan Puhm (Canada).

Second row: Gerry Murtagh, Brendan Ryan, Dorren O’Siochru, Andrew Thomson, Bill Ross.

Third row: Peter Kelly, Aileen Noonan, Jim Hackett or A. Johnston (Dublin), Hussain Baher, A. Johnston (Dublin) or Jim Hackett, Paul Wallace.

Back row: Michael O’Briain, Richard Dale, TBA Seán O’Donnell, Elaine Foley, Tony O’Byrne.

(Update, June 18, 2013: Tony Bent fills in another piece of the puzzle (see comments) by identifying Seán O’Donnell of Portlaw, Co. Waterford. (Added to the list above.))

(Update, September 21, 2013: Dan Scoones adds a correction (see comments): it’s Alan Puhm.)

Here’s the cover of the Euwe biography (later, translated version), and the 1977 photo of Alexander Münninghoff (see David’s comment). I’m convinced!

Euwe_Munninghoff_coverA Munninghoff photo

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6 Responses to Wexford/Drogheda June Congress

  1. David McAlister says:

    The caption given to the photograph at the Drogheda CC website gives only five names for the seven people on the front row:
    Mick Keeshan, Michael Littleton, Art Coldrick, Muninhen, Pumh.

    “Muninhen” is actually the Dutch chess-player and journalist Alexander Münninghoff, author of an excellent biography of World Champion Max Euwe, originally published in 1976. The English translation was published much later in 2001 and the photograph of the author on its back cover (clearly dating much closer to 2001 than 1976) looks like an older version of this “Muninhen”. However I have been able to trace a photograph of Münninghoff from much nearer the time of Wexford 1972 at this Dutch website: http://www.anp-archief.nl/page/90677/nl [Scroll down the page and you will come to the likeness on the right hand side.]

    The man with the beard in the middle of the front row is the Cork player Maurice Kennefick, who played for Ireland in the 1970 and 1976 Olympiads. I have been able to confirm this by looking at a photograph in the UCU Archive taken at the 1970 Irish Championship.

    So this would make the front row:
    Keeshan, Littleton, Coldrick, Kennefick, unknown, Münninghoff, Pumh. The unidentified woman is perhaps accompanying Münninghoff rather than being a player in the Congress.

  2. Sean Coffey says:

    From that photo alone, I’m convinced!

    Münninghoff is also listed in the results, and I see that in sixth place was “T. Puhm (Canada)”. So could this be the “Pumh” on the Drogheda site, at the right in the front row? I think it must be. The only near-match I can find is Alar Puhm, a Canadian player who moved to France in the early ’70’s and played for France in the 1974 Olympiad: see http://cdje13.free.fr/Memoire/Puhm/AlarPuhm.html. Could that photo be the same person as the one in the Drogheda photo? Hmm, … not sure. The initial doesn’t fit but that could be a typo.

    But then the players in the A section are all in the front row, and are conveniently standing in the order in which they finished. Could the same be true of the other rows? With the aid of a clipping from the Irish Press, 10 June 1972 p. 15 (thanks David: you have excellent files!), it seems it must be. But in section C, third place went to “A. Johnston (Dublin)”, whereas the player third from left in the photo is given on the Drogheda site as “Jim Hackett”. Perhaps they’re not standing in strict finish order in that row? Or could Johnston indeed be third from left, and the player fifth from left (“TBA”) might be Hackett?

    The winner of section B is given by the Irish Press as “G. Murtagh (Dublin)”, whereas the Drogheda site gives “Gerry Murphy”. Newspapers have been known to get names wrong but I think “Murtagh” is more likely here.


  3. Sean Coffey says:

    After looking at Seán Terry’s comments on the Drogheda site, I have to dispute one of his statements and I’m not sure of another. I’ve always seen the name “Dorren” O’Siochru, not Doreen. Certainly Doreen is a more common name. And I suppose it’s possible the sources I’ve seen are wrong (sources copy from each other so errors can propagate). But “Dorren” seems much more likely based on what I know.

    Also I’ve seen both “Keeshan” and”Keesham” and don’t know which is correct. I’d vote for “Keeshan” because I’ve never heard of anyone with the name “Keesham”. Though certainly Seán Terry could be right: sometimes the less common way is more likely. (Lectio difficilior potior.)

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  5. Tony Bent says:

    The unknown man in the back row between Richard Dale and Elaine Foley is Sean O’Donnell from Portlaw Co Waterford. He was a member of Waterford Chess club for many years in the sixties, seventies and eighties.

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