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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Francis Sheehy Skeffington
Simul, 20b (1903) (exhibition), Sackville CC, Dublin IRL, Sep-19
Scotch Game: General (C44)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-16-21  Jean Defuse: ...

Tim Harding: <'A Game of Historical Interest'>

In September 1903, Blackburne paid a visit to Dublin and played exhibitions at several clubs. According to the (Dublin) Saturday Herald (the weekend edition of the Evening Herald), of 24 October 1903, the following was: 'A game (one of 20 played at once at the Sackville Club, 19th September, 1903, when Mr. Blackburne won 17 and drew 3) in which Mr. F. Sheehy-Skeffington introduced a novelty at the 3rd move.'

Francis Skeffington (1878-1916) was a left-wing journalist and pacifist who was well known to the young James Joyce, and had a falling-out with him, as a result of which he is portrayed as a character called MacCann in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

In the summer of 1903 he changed his name to Sheehy-Skeffington when he married Hannah Sheehy (1877-1946), also a pacifist and left-wing activist whose father had been a Member of Parliament. So he had only married and changed his name a few weeks before the game below was played.

While trying to organise a group of followers to prevent looting during the Easter Week rising in 1916 (on 25 April) he was wrongfully arrested, used as a ?human shield? and later unjustly killed by British soldiers.

The officer responsible (actually an Irishman) was a Captain J. C. Bowen-Colthurst. A cover-up was attempted, but because Hannah Sheehy-Skeffington had powerful connections in the Irish parliamentary party, the case was investigated and some of the truth came out. There was some question of whether Bowen-Colthurst could be put on trial for murder; eventually he was, but found to be insane...

Source: The Kibitzer 135 -


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Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
the (Dublin) Saturday Herald of 24 October 1903
from Publications by Year and Unconfirmed Source 19 by fredthebear
Tim Harding: 'A Game of Historical Interest'
from Anderssen - Blackburne - Charousek - Fredthebear by fredthebear

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