Celtic Triangular 1981-1984

Olimpbase, the encyclopaedia of team chess, has recently added to its vast archives the Celtic Triangular tournaments of 1981-1982 and 1983-1984. In both series there were three rounds with Ireland, Scotland and Wales each taking it in turns to host one of the rival teams. Matches were double round affairs with six male boards and two female.

The main source for the material at Olimpbase are the reports here and here on the Chess Scotland website, which are in turn taken from the original reports in the official Scottish Chess magazine. There is additional information from the British Chess Magazine – however it also came from Scottish sources and therefore Olimpbase is less well served by contemporary reports on the Ireland-Wales encounters. In particular, although four game scores are presented from their match in the 1st series, even bare results from the other 12 games are missing. From the 2nd series, one game score has been found but the results from the other 15 games are absent.

Fortunately we are in a position to fill in the blanks. Olimpbase indicates that, in the 1st Celtic Triangular, the Round 2 Wales-Ireland match was played in Gwbert. To this we can add the precise venue was the Cliff Hotel and that the match was played on the Halloween weekend of 31 October and 1 November 1981, just two weeks after the Round 1 Scotland-Wales encounter.

   1st Celtic Triangular 1981-1982 Round 2

   Wales               10.5-5.5  Ireland

1. Howard Williams     1-0  1-0  Paul Delaney
2. George Botterill    1-0  1-0  Philip Short
3. John Cooper         1-0  1-0  Anthony McCarthy
4. Stuart Hutchings    =-=  =-=  Tony Doyle
5. Iolo Jones          =-=  1-0  John Delaney
6. Phillip Cunningham  0-1  0-1  Eugene Curtin
7. Jane Garwell        1-0  1-0  April Cronin
8. Debbie Evans        0-1  0-1  Ann Delaney

Moving on to the 2nd Celtic Triangular, Olimpbase reports that the Round 2 match between Ireland and Wales was played February 1984 in Cork. We can add the precise dates were 18 and 19 February and the venue was Lee Maltings, UCC.

   2nd Celtic Triangular 1983-1984 Round 2

   Ireland           6.5-9.5   Wales

1. David Dunne       =-=  =-=  George Botterill
2. Philip Short      0-1  0-1  Howard Williams
3. Colm Barry        0-1  =-=  John Cooper
4. Paul Wallace      =-=  =-=  Iolo Jones
5. Eddie O'Reilly    =-=  0-1  Paul Lamford
6. Pat Carton        0-1  1-0  Phillip Cunningham
7. April Cronin      1-0  1-0  Jane Garwell
8. Suzanne Connolly  0-1  =-=  Debbie Evans

Olimpbase has gathered together nine games from the two series. As it happens, all of these feature Irish players but only seven are to be found in the ICU Database. The extra two games are Morrison-Orr and O’Reilly-Bryson from the Scotland-Ireland match that concluded the 1983-1984 Celtic Triangular. However we can also add the return game between Bryson and O’Reilly.

Douglas Bryson (SCO) – Eddie O`Reilly (IRL)
2nd Celtic Triangular, Round 3.2
Edinburgh, 4th March 1984

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qf3 e5 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.f5 0–0 11.0–0–0 Qa5 12.Bc4 Bb7 13.g4 d5 14.g5 dxc4 15.gxf6 Bxf6 16.Rd6 Rfd8 17.Rxf6 gxf6
According to O’Reilly, here White had only used 10 minutes and was 1 hour ahead on the clock.
18.Bh6 Kh8 19.Qg3 Rg8 20.Qh4 Qd8 21.Ne2
 White had intended 21.Rd1 Qe7 22.Rd7 but now saw that 22…Rg1+ forces off Rooks. (O’Reilly)
21…Qe7 22.Ng3 c3 23.Kb1 Ba6 24.Nh5 Rab8
My computer engine suggests 24…Rg5, which would seem to end the attack. All White can do is get his sacrificed exchange back with 25.Bxg5 fxg5 but after 26.Qe1 cxb2 Black should win.
25.b3 Rg2 26.Nxf6 Bd3

After 26...Bd3

After 26…Bd3

This loses the game. Instead 26…Rbg8 draws. (O’Reilly) Accepting the Bishop sacrifice with 27.cxd3 would however have given Black the win after a follow-up Rook sacrifice on b3.
27.Bg5 Rxb3+
If White accepts the Rook sacrifice with 28.axb3, then 28…Bxc2 leads quickly to checkmate. However by declining it with
28.Ka1
it was Black who had to resign with checkmate inevitable. 1–0
[Click to replay the full game.]

Contemporary Irish sources:
1st Celtic Triangular:
Irish Times 5 xi 1981; Sunday Independent 18 x 1981, 20 xii 1981.
2nd Celtic Triangular:
Irish Times 8 ii 1984; Sunday Independent 5 ii 1984, 26 ii 1984, 18 iii 1984, 25 iii 1984.

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2 Responses to Celtic Triangular 1981-1984

  1. Pingback: Daily Chess News Links June 7, 2014 | blog.chesscafe.com

  2. Martin Crichton says:

    “Moving on to the 2nd Celtic Triangular, Olimpbase reports that the Round 2 match between Ireland and Wales was played February 1984 in Cork. We can add the precise dates were 18 and 19 February and the venue was Lee Maltings, UCC..”
    Yes I was there and seen the games…showing my age now 🙂 There were very few spectators there but at the time I was very big into chess and opportunities to see international chess locally were few and far between so it was great to see the match.

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