[Home]McKintyre, James Henry Simeon

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J.H.S. McKintyre is one of the most well-known names in Mornington Crescent of the 20th century. Unlike his contemporaries, however (Ruttsborough, Trellis, Ould, Favisham) his repute does not lie in his genius or tactics, nor in his outrageous character. He was a quiet, modest man, whose playing career, covering some forty-five years, was one of little consequence. Indeed he frequently failed to even qualify for major tournaments, and was seldom seen past the third round. He did, however possess an amazing ability to defy the laws of Network Physics and pull off ridiculously complex moves.

Born in Bracknell, Berkshire, on the 4th August 1919, McKintyre always gravitated towards London, and became interested in MC at the age of fifteen, when he accidentally stumbled across the IMCS HQ while lost in London one day. Young McKintyre entered many competitions but was frequently outplayed by the straight-network type of play that had yielded so many champions. He began to study value-based play and used his mathematical strengths to try to outmanoeuvre his opponents.

He soon realised that the theories which surrounded value-play were not entirely comprehensive, as it had always been thought. There were, he discovered, anomalies in values which appeared when certain game conditions were satisfied, or, in some cases, seemingly randomly. He began to study these anomalies and came up with a theory of 'pits'. At first, he submitted the theory as a suggestion that value theory should be looked at again and that his 'pit' calculations could help formulate a new values Codex to iron out the problems that many value-players were having. As he looked closer, however, he found that he could use these 'pits' in his play, to extraordinary effect.

He first tested this in a World Championship Match in 1952. Martha Jameson had McKintyre on his knees: knipped at Amersham with only 3 puce podumes and falling LV meant that MC was imminent. McKintyre had spent 15 minutes with his Fronsky Diagram and was running out of ideas when he saw that something strange had happened in Quadrant 3. The line faltered, seemingly leaving an LV pocket from which he could start a cascade on Jameson's podume stack. Recognising a 'pit' he probed further and returned to the table to deliver a crushing blow to Jameson: Straddling at Euston, he reversed Jameson's driveback of 3 moves earlier and shot down the district line to Richmond, catapaulting Jameson to East Ham. Any analyst will tell you that this is not possible without inducing 3rd level strick on the entire network, yet McKintyre managed to exempt Quadrant 2, leaving him free to romp home. The victory was sensational, and although he did not defeat Hans Thomas Grenz in the next round - despite winning several of the individual games of the match from equally unlikely positions - he ensured his place in MC history.

MC Player, the following month, ran the article "James McKintyre and his Incredibly Flashy Moves", which MC players now use as a title for a game to celebrate his style. Throughout the rest of his career, McKintyre made many of these ridiculous moves, although unfortunately the 'pits' which precipitated them did not occur often enough for him to win a tournament. He died, on 6th February 1989, aged 69. A note on his bedside table in hospital read "Tried to counter the snoods and half-twist to Lancaster Gate - one flashy move too many".


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Last edited March 31, 2007 8:55 pm by Simons Mith (diff)