Daly-O’Connor, Irish championship qualifier 1986

In 1986 it was decided to make the Irish championship a 10-player invitational all-play-all. There was also a separate qualifying tournament that decided at least some of the places (one?). In the last round Colm Daly (White) and Jonathan O’Connor met, with Jonathan on 4½/5; I’m not sure what Colm’s score was.

Daly-O'Connor, Irish championship qualifier 1986
Daly-O’Connor, Irish championship qualifier 1986 (6)
56. ?

It was an odd game. Jonathan gave away an exchange for no particular reason (19 … Qf6?) and was dead lost. In the diagrammed position, White, to move, can finish off nicely via 56. Nxf6! Bxf6 57. h5, e.g., 57. … Be7 58. hxg6 (and if 58. … Nh6, 59. Qxf7+! is quickest). Instead Colm blundered with 56. h5?, and after 56. … Ng5 57. h6+ Kh8 compounded the error with 58. Qg3? Nxe6, losing. Instead 58. Bxg8! would have kept him in the game, e.g., 58. … Nxf3+ 59. Rxf3, when 59. … Kxg8 60. Nxf6+ is about equal. Thus it was that Jonathan qualified for the 1986 championship proper.

[Click to replay the full game.]

(The source is a collection of almost four hundred of Jonathan’s games from 1978 to 1996 that he gave me some considerable time ago, for which many thanks.)

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5 Responses to Daly-O’Connor, Irish championship qualifier 1986

  1. There was a report on the 1986 Irish Championship Qualifying Tournament in Rookie’s Irish News chess column of 7th May.

    The qualifier was held at Gonzaga College, Dublin from 25th to 27th April. Leading scores were:
    1. Jonathan O’Connor 5.5/6
    2. Niall Carton 5.0 (first two qualified)
    3=5. Colm Daly, David Houston, Kevin McHugh 4.5

    Rookie provided a win from the other qualifier:
    Niall Carton (White) – Adrian McDaid (Black)
    1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 a5 7.a4 d5 8.0-0 Bg7 9.Re1 c6 10.Nbd2 Na6 11.Nh4 c5 12.c3 cxd4 13.cxd4 Nb4 14.Nf1 f5 15.Bg5 Be6 16.Nf3 Qd7 17.Qe2 0-0 18.h4 Nc4 19.Rac1 f4 20.g3 fxg3 21.fxg3 Nxb2 22.Rc3 Nc4 23.N1h2 Rac8 24.Rec1 Nb6 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Rxc8+ Nxc8 27.Bd2 Qc6 28.Ng5 Bf5 29.Qf3 h6 30.Bxb4 Qc1+ 31.Nf1 hxg5 32.Qxd5+ e6 33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Bd2 Qc6 35.Qxg5 Nb6 36.h5 gxh5 37.Qxh5+ Kg8 38.Qxf5 1-0

  2. Jonathan O'Connor says:

    I think the scores are wrong. From what I remember, Colm only needed a draw to qualify. I needed a win. So that would mean Colm was on 5/5 going into the last round, and I was on 4.5.

    Maybe Colm lost on tie-break to Niall.

    • Sean Coffey says:

      It’s possible that Colm would have needed only a draw to qualify even if he had been on 4½ going into the last round, if he had a better tie-break than you, for example.

      Niall Carton’s only loss was to you, in round 4 (an interesting game that I’ll upload soon). He must have won all his other games, and so couldn’t have played Colm (who dropped at most ½ point up to the last round).

  3. Colm Daly says:

    Jonathan is correct I was on 5/5 and needed only a draw to win the event and Black gave me the exchange from a bad position. I somehow have a painful memory of self destructing and suffering a traumatic loss. Jonathan could hardly believe it and was actually very gracious and sympathetic in victory. There was a big crowd around and it was a pretty sensational and dramatic game towards the end, featuring mutual time trouble.

    As for the qualifying for the Irish ch part, yes I recall that back then corruption or incompetence (of a petty sort) was worse, or at least standard, than in subsequent years, and I was cheated out of the qualifying place.(Whats new eh?) I think they gave my place to Conor O Shaugnessy in the end, not sure exactly as it was 30 years ago, but I do recall there was some “funny business” that went on at the time.

    Oddly enough I didn’t care that much at the time. Considering how young I was and the promise I showed, it was just another shameful but typical example of skulduggery and incompetence that went on back then.

    Believe it or not , though I spent far too much time and energy fighting against the nonsense within Irish chess, things did get better, and while often a case of two steps forward and one step backwards. Back then things were really much worse than they are now. Though the 2014 Olympiad proved that incompetence and or corruption- for want of a better word- was still possible within Irish chess, as David FItzsimons was disgracefully not selected for the Tromso Olympiad (He had played in 2010 {done ok- nothing special} and declined a place in 2012 owing to work commitments, but should have been selected in 2014 and astoundingly wasn’t.

    Point being, that he never offended a fly and it made no difference to the way he was treated and because he never made a fuss about it, hardly anybody knows or cared about it.

    After years of fighting and highlighting the wrongs of team selection myself, things had greatly improved to the extent that it is very hard to point to a case of wrong selection of players in nearly two decades. Shenanigans in 2010 (corrected in time for the event) and Tromso 2014 being isolated cases.

    Although paradoxically back then we also had a far more healthy chess scene in terms of active strong players – and players generally.

    Or at least for those who had not left Ireland. I left Ireland in 1988 for a year after I won the Irish Open ahead of Dunne, Delaney (J), Short (P) Ludgate and many others in a field of many strong players, with a nice last round win with Black against Eddie O Rielly. I can recall not being able to sleep the night before (preparing ideas) as I had expected to play Alan Ludgate as Black in the last round and had been looking at so many lines to keep the position sharp against his English opening. So when Alan Ludgate was paired against David Dunne instead and I got Eddie O Rielly who also played the English, I was pretty happy.

    Eddie was a very prominent player for a period and he beat me the first three times we played, but thereafter once I beat him once, I beat him every time after, and he hated playing me. I do recall an amusing moment when April Cronin came up to Eddie after the game to offer her commiserations but not any congratulations to me which is odd when you consider that I had not only won the game but also the tournament outright. I was 19 at the time! Funny thing that some things you don’t forget, even 30 years later!

  4. Colm Daly says:

    “After years of fighting and highlighting the wrongs of team selection myself, things had greatly improved to the extent that it is very hard to point to a case of wrong selection of players in nearly two decades. Shenanigans in 2010 (corrected in time for the event) and Tromso 2014 being isolated cases.”

    As regards that comment I am obviously not going as far back as 2000 which was easily one of the most odious and corrupt selections in Irish chess that I can recall- it too was corrected after I an others wasted a lot of time and energy. But don’t take my word for it!

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