Richardson Cup 1977-78

The main talking point of this season's competition was the expulsion of Glasgow University Union for irregularities in their board order in their match against Ayr. This action was taken on the instigation of tournament controller Ken Stewart.

To clarify the Edinburgh-Cathcart result, some details are necessary. After a 4-4 draw, the replay stood at 4½-3½ to Edinburgh, when it was realised that Edinburgh had fielded two players who had played for UDS in this season's Spens Cup. This being illegal, and penalties being laid down, 2 points were deducted from Edinburgh and awarded to Cathcart, thus making the result 5½-2½ to Cathcart.

A replay was necessary in the semi-final between Polytechnic and Glasgow.

There are no relegation playoffs this season as the tournament is to be enlarged to 16 clubs next season.

Round 1 Round 2 Semi Final Final
Bearsden Bearsden 5 Bearsden Cathcart
Giffnock 1 ½
  Edinburgh Cent. (S) 3
Shettleston 3 Edinburgh Cathcart
Edinburgh 5
  Cathcart (S)
Glasgow Univ. (P) Def. Ayr 2 Polytechnic 4/5 Polytechnic
Ayr w/o
  Polytechnic (S) 6
Glasgow Glasgow 5 Glasgow 4/3
Bon Accord ½
  Edinburgh Univ. (H) 3

(P) - Promoted from the previous season's Spens Cup.
(H) - Holders
(S) - Other Seeeded teams

From Scottish Chess No. 49, May 1978: Polytechnic retained their winning side for the final, while Cathcart were 'Watsonless' [W. Peter Watson] in a match that, if for nothing else, was notable for the large number of "Alan's" of various spellings participating. Although Cathcart won the 'Alan-count' 5-1, the chess went the other way with Poly recording their first Richardson Cup win since 1957, and only their 3rd win ever.

1. C.W. Pritchett
R.M. McKay
2. S. Swanson
A. Radlow
3. I.J. Sinclair
A. Grant
4. A. Scrimgour
A. Taylor
5. R. Walker
A. Lamond
6. N. Reid
A. McGowan
7. D. Finnie
A. Shaw
8. E. Gilmour
S. Mitchell

Neil Reid won in about half the required time, and the board 8 draw was just as swift - in time if not in moves. McKay gave up his Queen for Rook and Bishop and a little counterplay in a difficult position, and Swanson-Radlow drew before the customary Radlow time scramble ensued. Sinclair adjourned a pawn up in a Rook ending against Grant. Scrimgour's Benoni was proving a real bother to Taylor. Meanwhile, Walker's Queen was being chased round the board and Alan Shaw had a good but wild position and no time. Taylor resigned. McKay followed suit. Lamond's position deteriorated as the time he'd used for queen-harrying ran short. Sinclair-GRant agreed a draw. Lamond's flag fell. The wildness of Shaw-Finnie increased as the time decreased. Shaw's flag fell. Had he made 40 moves? Reconstruction showed he had, and had a foced win too. It was all over.

The winning Polytechnic team. Back row (l to r) are Craig Pritchett, Eddie Gilmour, Iain Sinclair and Roger Walker. Front row (l to r) Stephen Swanson, Alan Scrimgour, Douglas Finnie and Neil Reid. (larger photo)

Sources: Scottish Chess, Nos. 48 and 49; Iain Sinclair (photo).

Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland