Silent Years: An Autobiography with Memoirs of James Joyce and Our Ireland

By J. F. Byrne | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Lecture on Spinoza

IN THE AUTUMN of 1902, I was invited to join a chess club which had been formed among patrons of the Dublin Bread Company restaurant ( DBC) in the splendid new building erected by that company on O'Connell Street--a building, by the way, which was occupied by the rebels in the 1916 uprising, and was utterly demolished by the British during their infamous and wholly unnecessary artillery bombardment of Dublin City. In this new Sackville Chess Club I quickly became a top chess player; and during several years won as many first-prize gold medals. In a few months, this new chess club proved by far the strongest in the Dublin area, winning the Armstrong Cup, and retaining it year after year, against the best competition from many other clubs, including the Dublin University (Trinity College) Chess Club; the Dublin Chess Club; the Blackrock Chess Club; the Clontarf Chess Club, and occasionally others. The teams of the clubs competing for the Armstrong Cup consisted of eight players and almost invariably I played first board for the Sackville. The best club in point of playing ability among our opposition was the old-established Dublin Chess Club. But the club which the members of the Sackville Club liked best to meet was the Dublin University Club, particularly during the period when "Tony" Trail was Provost. Harry Thrift, a Fellow of Trinity and professor of mathematics, usually played first board for this club. Harry had acquired a reputation as a player, and he undoubtedly was a good, and a gentlemanly, player. I enjoyed having him for an opponent.

I have said that the Sackvillians enjoyed most the encounters

-178-

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