J.C. Hickey

The answer to Sunday’s puzzle is John C. Hickey.

I said it was a hard puzzle, and indeed I’ll bet most readers will be unfamiliar with the name. But he had quite a distinguished career in both over-the-board and correspondence chess.

(a) He was Irish correspondence champion four times, in 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1950 (year championship ended). He also won national championships in over-the-board chess, though not the Irish championhip: he spent the years 1949-1960 in Singapore, and was Malayan champion in 1951 and 1957, and Singaporean champion in 1952, 1957 (j.), and 1958.

(b) The Dublin zonal in 1957 had two Irish players, Dónal O’Sullivan representing Ireland and C.H.O’D. Alexander representing England. This fell during Hickey’s time in Singapore, and he played instead in the Baguio City zonal, December 22, 1957-January 4, 1958, finishing 5th-6th out of 6 with 3/10 (+3 =0 -7). (The reference gives “J. B. Hickey” but based on other sources that’s a misprint.)

(c) He also played over-the-board chess in Ireland before, during, and after his stay in Singapore. The Irish Times of October 4, 1974 previewed the new Armstrong Cup season: “The other promoted teams, Phibsboro, augmented this year by the inclusion of J. C. Hickey a finalist in the recent City of Dublin championship, Sandymount, and Ierne will also be ambitious to justify their inclusion in the top section.”

The photo is taken (with permission, for which thanks) from Olimpiu Urcan’s web site Chess: A Singapore Column, items 817 (puzzle) and 824 (solution).

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