The Arthur Pinkerton Story

An autobiographical sketch

I first became interested in chess shortly after starting at Queen's. At that time in the Old Students Union, a few chess sets were always available and being used in the smoking room. At first I played draughts, but the best draughts player was also a keen chess player and I soon got to know several of these players and watched the games. Most of these players were not members of the QUB Chess Club, but there were some reasonable players. I then got Golombek's book "The Game of Chess" and having read it I felt ready to start playing.

The following summer (1957), my brother David was home on sick leave from the Royal Navy and he had learned to play chess, so after some searching we managed to find a chess set, and played quite a bit, teaching each other. When I returned to Queen's after the summer, the chess club was running a recruiting drive, under Alan Russell, who was as well as being the best player was a good organiser as well. There were inter faculty matches, and also a handicap tournament which I won at my first attempt. I was classed as a "C" player, the third of the five categories. I also made the second team. At that time the strongest players were Russell, AJ Evans, Stephen Johnston, Ken Glass, Neil Glass and Tom Alcorn. After Evans, Russell and Johnston had left Ken Glass was made team captain and he played himself Bd 1, his brother 2, Alcorn 3 and myself 4 although Alcorn was the best player.

Having left Queens I had a spell of two or three years with no chess except for an odd skittle game in the Union. When I joined CIYMS around 1961 there was a very old fashioned regime under Mr Thomas, with all the first team composed of older players, Kearney, Steen, Herbie Graham, Torney and Eddie Thomas himself. The second team comprised a strong group of young players, James Johnston, E Crilly, Eddie Whiteside, Tom Campbell, Larry Graham, Frank Green, most of whom were better players than some of the first team. The best player by some distance in the first team was Kearney but he died around 1963/4. The best of the young players were Eddie Whiteside and Larry Graham, but they soon moved to Queen's. Frank Green, who was a civil servant, was posted to Enniskillen and lost to chess. I soon started to make a mark in CIYMS winning the Ulster Intermediate and the Williamson Shield, which guaranteed me a place in the first team. Some new very strong players appeared notably Moles and Henry, and Torney and Herbie Graham who were being pushed out of the first team, left the club to start a new club in the YMCA, which was very short lived. CIYMS was, for a short time, joined by Matt O'Leary, the runner-up in the 1966 Irish Championships. We won a memorable match against Queens, who had McGrillen, McCurdy, Graham, Whiteside, McAleavy and Kevin James, whilst CIYMS lead with Moles, O'Leary, Henry and myself. These were the two strongest club teams in Belfast up to that time, and would have given any later teams a run for their money. Other strong contemporary players were Noel Mulholland of Old Campellians and Paddy Mulgrew of St Pauls. The best player in the Belfast Club was George Boyd, but he was already past his best as a player. Mr Cootes joined CIYMS around 1966 and soon became a player to reckon with.

When I joined Fisherwick, I think in 1967-68, the club was being strengthened by a number of good schoolboy players and was putting a team into the first division for the first time. These young players included David Wilson, Willie Collins and John Nicholson all from MCB. In retrospect my move to Fisherwick was very fortunate as with the onset of the troubles in 1969 most of the Belfast Clubs had closed, but there were new clubs in Ballyclare, Bangor and North Belfast (which had no connection with the present North Belfast Club).

I have won the Williamson Shield a number of times, the dates are on the shield. I have won the Ulster Intermediate three times. After the first win, I did not enter this again for many years as the rules did not allow former winners to enter, and I could only enter again when entries were subjected to an upper grading limit and my grading had fallen sufficiently. I also won the Irish Intermediate (Under 1900) in 1992 and 1996. I was also equal first in the Galway Open in 1977, being somewhat lucky to avoid the strongest opposition. The tournament included all the strongest Dublin players. My best performance in the Ulster Championships was in 1974, when after sharing first place in the Belfast section with Martyn Mathews on 7/9, beating Devenney, Whiteside and Mark Orr, I lost In the play-off to Eugene O'Hare but beat the eventual winner Adrian McDaid and finished equal second with O'Hare on 11/2. My best performances in the Irish were in 1966 and 1970. In 1966 I had three wins, four draws and one loss. My draws were against M. Littleton, the defending champion Wolfgang Heidenfeld, Brian Kerr who was in the 1966 Olympiad team and J. B. Tomson who was fourth in the 1965 Irish. One of my wins was against Herbert Boyd the current Ulster Champion. John Moles won the event with 61/2 and O'Leary was second on 6. In 1970 I had 3 wins,4 draws and 2 losses. I lost to Paul Henry who won the tournament, but I drew with the two runners-up and most satisfying was against John Moles who had been belittling my play for most of the tournament, and when he only finished 1/2pt ahead of me he looked rather shamefaced in the closing stages, when other players came to look at the game.

Paul Henry - Arthur Pinkerton C.I.Y.M.S. v Fisherwick, 1969

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd3 d6 7.Bd2 Nbd7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a3 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 Nc5 11.Qe1 e5 12.Nf3 Nh5 13.Rd1 Bg4 14.Qe3 Qe7 15.Rd2 Nf4 16.Rfd1 Ncxd3 17.cxd3 f5 18.exf5 Rxf5 19.Nd4 Rh5 20.Re1 Qh4 21.h3 Nxh3+ 22.gxh3 Bxh3 23.Qg3 Rg5 24.Kh2 Rxg3 25.fxg3 Qh5 26.Nc2 Bd7+ 27.Kg1 Bc6 28.Rh2 Qg6 0-1

R Woodcock - Arthur Pinkerton British First Class, 1971

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.d3 d6 6.Nge2 e6 7.0-0 Nge7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 Be6 10.Rab1 h5 11.Nd1 Qd7 12.c3 h4 13.f4 Bh3 14.Bxh3 Qxh3 15.Nf2 Qd7 16.g4 exf4 17.Nxf4 0-0-0 18.h3 f5 19.exf5 gxf5 20.d4 fxg4 21.Nxg4 Nf5 22.dxc5 Ne5 23.Nxe5 Bxe5 24.Rf3 Rhg8+ 25.Kh1 Rg3 26.Rbf1 Nxe3 27.Qxe3 Bxf4 0-1

Arthur Pinkerton - W Lavery Galway Open, 1977

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Be3 Nc6 9.Ne2 b6 10.0-0 Qd7 11.f4 Na5 12.Bd3 e6 13.Qd2 f5 14.Ng3 Bb7 15.Rad1 Rac8 16.Qe2 c5 17.dxc5 Bxc3 18.exf5 gxf5 19.Nxf5 bxc5 20.Bc4 Bd5 21.Bxd5 exd5 22.Rxd5 Qe6 23.Qd3 Bd4 24.Bxd4 cxd4 25.Re5 Rc3 26.Qxd4 Qb6 27.Rxa5 1-0

Arthur Pinkerton - Eddie Whiteside Williamson Shield, 1964

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Nxd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Qb3 cxd4 12.cxd4 Nb6 13.Be3 Rc8 14.Rac1 e6 15.a4 Rc7 16.Rxc7 Qxc7 17.Rc1 Qd7 18.a5 Nc8 19.d5 b6 20.dxe6 Qxe6 21.Qxe6 fxe6 22.axb6 Nxb6 23.Rc7 Rb8 24.Kf1 a5 25.Ng5 Bh6 26.Ke2 Bxg5 27.Bxg5 a4 28.Bf6 a3 29.Rg7+ Kf8 30.Rxh7 Nc8 31.Rh3 Ra8 32.Kd2 a2 33.Ba1 Rb8 34.Ra3 Nd6 35.Kd3 Rb1 36.Rxa2 Rd1+ 37.Ke2 Rg1 38.Kf3 Re1 39.e5 Nc4 40.Kf4 Kg7 41.Kg5 Nxe5 42.f4 1-0

P Mulgrew - Arthur Pinkerton Ulster Championship, 1965

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 dxc4 8.Qc2 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 b5 11.Ne5 Bb7 12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.f3 g4 14.Be5 Qe7 15.e4 Rg8 16.Rb1 a6 17.Bxc4 gxf3 18.gxf3 Nxe4 19.fxe4 Qh4+ 20.Qf2 Qxe4+ 0-1

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