James Alexander Porterfield Rynd

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James Alexander Porterfield Rynd (1846–1917) was Dublin born chess player and lawyer.

He was born on 6 April 1846 the son of Dublin solicitor James William Goodlatte Rynd[1] and Isabella Susannah Stephens Rynd. Porterfield Rynd's uncle (his fathers half brother) was Dr. Francis Rynd the inventor of the hollow needle syringe. His cousin Maria Rynd was first lady of Bolivia in 1879.

He won the Irish Chess Championship competition in 1865 was run under the auspices of the Hibernia Chess Association a forerunner of the Irish Chess Union. This Tournament was run alongside an international chess tournament in Dublin.[2]

Porterfield Rynd's birth date is often listed incorrectly as 1855 this has led some books to cast doubt on his claim to the Irish championship in 1865, such as The Guinness Book of Chess Records by Ken Whyld.[3] But further articles and his obituaries discount this and state he was born in 1846 and died aged 71 in 1917.[4]

He was accepted as the Irish Chess Champion until 1885 when a tournament was hosted by the Irish Chess Association to find an Irish Champion, Rynd did not play in this tournament. Rynd won the title again in 1892. Porterfield Rynd held an LLB, in 1869 he entered the King's Inns, Dublin, and was called to the Bar in 1874.[1] On 7 September 1869 he married Anna Cranwill and on 9 October 1873 his first child was born: Kenneth Arly Rynd.[5]

Easily the most colourful personage in the place was Porterfield Rynd, one of the ablest members of the Dublin bar—a man who, if he had been half as devoted to the drudgery of work as he was to the allurement of play, could easily have attained the highest honours in the judiciary.[6]

He was a member of Clontarf Tennis and Chess Club, and played many sports in his youth. Rynd was a member of Dublin Chess Club and played in the first ever Armstrong Cup, the oldest Irish league competition. He briefly wrote a column for the Irish Sportsman and Farmer.

In the 1890s Porterfield Rynd edited a chess column which regularly appeared on the back page of the Saturday issue of Dublin's Evening Herald.[7] He was not burdened with modesty and the title Irish Champion appears beside his column.

He died in Dublin on 17 March 1917, his obituary was in the Irish Times of Monday 19 March 1917, RYND – 17 March 1917 JAMES ALEXANDER PORTERFIELD RYND, Barrister-at-Law, in his 71st year, and there was also an obituary in the Belfast Newsletter 22 March 1917.


Porterfield Rynd was a Unionist and produced pamphlet of his thoughts on the subject in 1906 for the Irish Unionist Association. [8]

A letter of Rynd's outlining support for the unionist cause are contained in letters to Bonar Law,[9] to whom the Colourful Rynd was described as being a confidante.[10] Rynd was also associated with the Dublin Liberal Unionist Association, serving as its chairman.


  1. ^ a b King's Inn's Barristers, 1868–2004, edited by Kenneth Ferguson, 2005
  2. ^ Porterfield Rynd 1846–1917 by David McAlister and Richard Forster (June 2000)
  3. ^ Page 103, The Guinness Book of Chess Records by Ken Whyld Guinness 1986
  4. ^ Obituary J.A. Porterfield Rynd, The Irish Times, Monday 19 March 1917
  5. ^ The Last Homecoming of Mars The Kibitzer by Tim Harding 2006
  6. ^ CHAPTER FIVE Congress v. House of Commons at Chess, Silent Years: An Autobiography with Memoirs of James Joyce and Our Ireland. Contributors: J. F. Byrne – author. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Young. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1953. Page Number: 48.
  7. ^ The Porterfield Rynd Affair by J. Roycroft January 2002
  8. ^ Irish Unionist policy: Being the " Declaration of policy " tendered, and the speech thereon delivered in Dublin on 19 October 1906, at the opening ... of the Dublin Parliamentary Debating Society by J. A. Porterfield Rynd (1906)
  9. ^ "Evidence of sympathy of the British working man to the Ulster opposition to Home Rule" from J.A. Porterfield Rynd, Grosvenor Hotel, Manchester. BL/26/5/44 28 July 1912
  10. ^ The Stranded Tribe by Kenneth R. Dodds 2012.