Castlebar 1969

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Basic data

Castlebar 1969
Full tournament name Castlebar Chess Festival international tournament
Dates August 24-31, 1969
Town Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Venue Royal Ballroom
Tournament Director Chris Shouldice
Players participating 19
Games played 63
Competition format 7-round Swiss
Tie break None
Time control Unknown
Sponsor Castlebar Chamber of Commerce
Games available 61
Missing data, etc. Scores of Ryan-McCurdy (Rd. 5) and Patterson-Schnegelsberg (Rd. 7)
References Sources and notes. If you have any other documents, reports, references, biographical information, annotations or (in particular) photos, please .

Tournament review

"The Castlebar Chess Festival


The Chamber of Commerce of the small town of Castlebar (Co. Mayo) hit upon the splendid idea of promoting its image by a chess festival consisting of an open international tournament coupled with a living chess display. For the latter they acquired the services of former British Champion, Cork-born International, C. H. O'D. Alexander, who reproduced his wall-known sacrificial win against Szabo (Hilversum, 1947) on the green of the Castlebar Mall, in an attractively-mounted spectacle, the most impressive performers in which were four beautiful horses doing duty as knights—one white, one grey and two black. The display was given on three separate nights\&\#8212;including both Sundays—and by the time the third performance was on, one of the intelligent black steeds, obviously realizing that his side was always losing, tried to save the black army by skilfully severing the microphone over which the moves were announced from its wires when, after capture, he was led off the battlefield.

The tournament (August 24th to 31st) attracted an interesting and, by Irish standards, extremely strong field, including Robert Hübner of Western Germany, five young Danish players including former champion Brinck-Claussen and this year's championship dead-heater Moegens Moe; Dr. Aitken. many times Scottish champion, and Wade, Reuben, Blackstock as well as "the Pritchards" (travelling by horse-drawn caravan) from England. The Irish contingent was unfortunately much smaller than could have been expected. The final result of the 7 round Swiss contest was as follows: First prize (£75) R. Hübner, with 6½ points; second prize (£60) M. Moe, with 5 points; third and fourth prizes shared (£37 10s. each) B. Brinck-Claussen and R. G. Wade, with 4½ points each; fifth and sixth prizes shared (£6 each) Dr. J. M. Aitken, W. Heidenfeld, B. Kernan, N. J. Patterson and S. Reuben, with 4 points each. Thus everybody who managed to beat a 50 per cent score shared in the prize money. The remaining scores were: Blackstock, Grabow (Denmark), Ericson* (Denmark) and Mrs. Elaine Pritchard* 3½ each: Pritchard, McCurdy* and Schnegelsborg* (Denmark) 3 each: Brennan* and Burke* 2½ each; and Ryan* 1½. Players marked * gained 1 point as a result of having the bye. It will be seen that only three of the 19 players neither gained a prize nor had the bye (Blackstock, Grabow, and Pritchard).

The uneven number of competitors was the most lamentable feature of the event, for under the system adopted (the bye receiving a point for his efforts) this tends to play ducks and drakes with the early pairings. In a big field, with plenty of players available for pairings of ANY standard. this does not matter much, but in so small a field the system can lead to some curious "happenings". Thus the tournament winner, after his first-round win, was paired with Ryan in the second, the latter, as the most lowly-graded player, having been given the bye in the first round. Some of the unfortunate effects of the bye in so small a field could be minimized by keeping the scores after each round in percentages and scoring the bye as zero, and one may hope that in case of need in future this more sensible system will be adopted. That it by no means does away with all the possible "happenings" MIGHT have been shown in the last round: if Mrs. Pritchard had won her completely won position against Wade in the penultimate round, Blackstock would have had the last-round bye instead of her, and with the scoring as close as it turned out to be, the bye would have shot him up into the prize list! It would be a good idea if next time—Castlebar promises to be an annual event—the Irish Chess Union would have a stand-by available who would enter the lists in case of an odd number of competitors and be prepared to help with the running of the event in case of an even number of players.

H\übner was far and away the most polished player on view. He was in danger only against Wade (see appended game) and showed high-class technique all through the tournament (at its best perhaps in the ending against Pritchard). Wade, fresh from his runner-up position in the British championship, was solid without being very forceful. His miss against Hübner was compensated by his escape from the clutches of Elaine Pritchard. The Danes—all of them, including the non-prize-winners—played tough and interesting chess, Moe causing the sensation of the tournament by starting with a loss to 13-year old Irish schoolboy Bernard Kernan. The latter, still quite unimpressive in the Irish championship in July, seems to be improving by the week if not the day: he was undoubtedly the find of the tournament, also beating Schnegelsborg and effortlessly holding the draw against players of the class of Patterson and Blackstock, while Brinck-Claussen, against whom he ultimately lost, was greatly impressed with his imaginative defence in what seemed a hopeless position. It is worth mentioning that of the five players on the 4 points mark, the youngster had about the hardest field to meet.

Pritchard was the unlucky player of the tournament. Early wins made him meet a strong field (including Hübner, Wade, Patterson, Aitken, and Reuben): losing his last three games he dropped back completely, allowing his better half to pass him in the final round.

One hopes to feel that the visitors enjoyed themselves, will spread the good news and reward the efforts of the enterprising Festival crowd by returning in ever-increasing numbers in the years to come. Full marks, too, to the pleasant and considerate tournament director, Chris Shouldice, of the Irish Chess Union."

Interesting games

The youngest participant springs a major surprise:
         Kernan, Bernard – Moe, Mogens      1-0

The tournament winner's hardest game:
         Wade, Robert G. – Hübner, Robert      ½-½

If only all Petrovs were like this:
         Wade, Robert G. – Pritchard, Elaine      1-0

A crushing win for the King's Indian:
         Reuben, Stewart – Hübner, Robert      0-1

Good Evans:
         Pritchard, Elaine – Brennan, John      1-0