In Samuel Beckett and the Armstrong Cup, I thought I had made an original discovery of Samuel Beckett’s career as a chess player, as chess players would understand the term, in the form of an Armstrong Cup scorecard from the 1925-26 season showing him as playing for Dublin University.
I should have known it wouldn’t be as easy as that. The article Harry Vandervlist, “Beckett, Duchamp and Chess: A Crossroads at Arcachon in the Summer of 1940“, Caliban: French Journal of English Studies 33 (2013) pp. 173-182, says that
“Beckett also took an active part in chess matches with the college 8, playing at number 7 for a couple of years”
citing James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (New York: Simon & Schuster 1996) (quotation marks in the article). That book happens to be in my local library, so I’ve requested it and will take a look at what else he says, if anything.
However I’ve found three new scorecards, all from the 1924-25 Armstrong season. Again from An t-Óglách (vol. 3, no. 3, January 31, 1925, p. 16), we have the first Dublin University–National Army G.H.Q. match of the season, played at Griffith Barracks on Tuesday, January 20, 1925:
and from the same journal, vol. 3, no. 6 (March 14, 1925), p. 16, we have details of the return match, played at Trinity on Tuesday, March 10, 1925:
In addition, the Irish Times, December 15, 1924 p. 4 had the scorecard of the Blackrock–Dublin University match played at the Carnegie Library, Blackrock the preceding Saturday:
|A. A. MacDonogh||0 – 1||A. Spiro|
|R. T. Varian||1 – 0||S. G. Eliasoff|
|J. Gerrard||1 – 0||A. Sachs|
|C. Pearson||1 – 0||S. B. Weinberger|
|W. Crawford||1 – 0||E. J. Weinberger|
|P. J. Gillespie||1 – 0||M. F. Meade|
|E. Russell||1 – 0||K. B. Cockle|
|H. F. Penrose||0 – 1||S. B. Beckett|
|6 – 2|
Clearly Beckett played on various different boards, including some well higher than 7. However Blackrock was a much stronger team than National Army G.H.Q., so Dublin University may have fielded a weaker team for the Army matches.