Heidenfeld-Reilly, Irish championship 1964

No sooner had the last post been published, with its statement that only one game was available from the 1964 Irish championship, than David McAlister emailed to say that he had a second in his collection, and a significant one too: it’s the crucial Heidenfeld-Reilly clash in round 4 that effectively decided the championship.

We’re still not sure what the original source is, but this game matches the contemporary descriptions given in newspaper reports. One puzzle from the reports was that one claimed that Reilly had the advantage at the adjournment, but that Heidenfeld won a pawn a move after the resumption and the game a few moves later. Even in those days, without the aid of computers, it seemed surprising that a player of Reilly’s strength and experience could go wrong so soon after an adjournment.

The game score makes it clear that Reilly’s advantage at the break was solely in material terms: he was dead lost, and indeed the only slight surprise is that he bothered resuming.

Heidenfeld-Reilly, Irish championship 1964The critical point came a little earlier, in the diagrammed position, with Black to play.

White had been pressing earlier but Black would now hold some advantage after 36… Qd5. Instead Reilly played the tempting but dangerous 36… Rd1+?, and after 37. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 38. Kh2 followed with the decisive error 38… Ra1? (instead of 38… Rd8, say, when it seems White holds a slight advantage in complications). There followed 39. Qd4! Ra4 40. Qd8+ Qc8 41. Qd6+ Ka8 42. Qc7, where the game was adjourned, with the weakness of the back rank spelling doom for Black.

While Black had some chances, all in all the impression given is of a deserved and reasonably convincing win by Heidenfeld, and in turn this means a deserved and reasonably convincing championship

[Click to replay the full game.]

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