An Armstrong Cup record?

In the last post I mentioned that the 1984-85 season has been up to now one of the most mysterious of all Armstrong seasons. David McAlister’s full roll of honour at contains only the name of Dundrum as the winning team—and even there his only source was myself. I played on that team but had only the haziest of recollections of the season. No reports appeared in Fiacla Fichille, and none in the Irish Times either. Even J.J. Walsh’s scorebooks, an invaluable resource for virtually any other season from 1951 to his retirement, showed nothing for 1984-85: he seems to have taken a break from the game for that one season.

So it was quite a find when John Gibson produced the full set of player cards for that season. With these, the full winning team in board order, and including everyone who played any games that season, was Seán Coffey, Kevin McHugh, John Griffin, Eric McMahon, Brian MacRéamoinn, Brendan Lyons, David Drakeford (capt.), Ivan Gormally, and Paul Fallon.

Our captain David Drakeford had a particularly good season. Here’s his player card:

David Drakeford Armstrong Cup record 1985

So that’s 10/10. Furthermore, this was in the brief era when the Armstrong was held in two stages: two qualifying groups of six teams, followed by a championship section of six teams and a relegation section of six teams. The championship section thus formed a sort of ‘super-Armstrong’ and made very high scores even harder to achieve.

10/10 scores in the Armstrong must be rare. But there’s another unusual aspect to the team’s record, for which David as captain deserves credit: the winning squad used a total of 9 players all season, and even then the reserve Paul Fallon played only two games. And in addition the team conceded no walkovers or defaults. This must also be a candidate for an all-time record for the Armstrong.

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4 Responses to An Armstrong Cup record?

  1. Pingback: Daily Chess News Links August 27, 2014 |

  2. Gerard MacElligott says:

    Elm Mount won the Armstrong Cup in the 2009-10 season. They only used one substitute all season. And that substitute was only used in 1 game:

    • Sean Coffey says:

      Impressive! And that’s for an 11-game season too, rather than the 10-game season that was in operation between 1979-80 and 1984-85. And you conceded no walkovers either.

      In 1984-85 there was also Dundrum ‘B’ in the Armstrong, which would have greatly restricted the availability of subs, and I see that there was an Elm Mount ‘B’ in 2009-10.

      • Martin Crichton says:

        Thats a great score…. I played David in the London leagues in the early noughties. Game ended in a draw…from memory it was an exchange Alekine and I missed my chances.
        Good to see David is making a return to chess after a 3 year absence…
        from the ECG database:
        Drakeford, David : grade history List Standard Rapidplay Grade
        Jan 2013 172 E 172
        July 2012
        Jan 2012
        July 2011 141 E 141
        July 2010 153 E 153
        July 2009 151 D 151
        July 2008 148 D 148
        July 2007 153 E 153
        July 2006 154 D 154
        July 2005 165 D 165
        July 2004 169 D 169
        July 2003 172 D 172
        July 2002 167 D 167
        July 2001 164 E 164
        July 2000 167 E 167
        July 1999 164 E 164
        July 1998 160 E 160
        July 1997
        July 1996 162 E 162
        July 1995 168 D 168

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