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James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd and Kenneth Arly Rynd











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James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd


06/04/1846, Dublin



17/03/1917, Dublin



Non-Chess Life


James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd was the fourth (at least), it seems, in a patrilineal line of an Irish family where each generation bore the basic name “James Rynd”, with middle names which increased in number by one from each generation to the next;

1 -his great-grandfather was the basic James Rynd (born 15/10/1748; died 16/10/1814), who married (amongst others) Mabella Goodlatte (born 1774/75, who bore

2- his grandfather, James William Rynd, who married Jane Milliken Buchanan, who bore

3 -his father, solicitor James William Goodlatte Rynd (baptised 09/02/1825, the British Chapel, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France; died 19/09/1877, Sandymount, Co. Dublin), who married Isabella Susanna Stephens, who bore

4 - James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd.


The date of birth of James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd gets quoted as 06/04/1846.  Age in census returns and at death place his birth as occurring from 03/04/1846 to 17/03/1847, in the city of Dublin.  This assumes the 1901 census overstated his age by 1 year, which is clearly the case.


The name by which the chess-player was known evolved over time.  The list of those on the committee formed to arrange an international chess congress in Dublin in the summer of 1865 included “Alexander Rynd”, who may have been James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd, though his being not yet 19 years of age casts some doubt on this idea; it may have been an uncle, or even his father using his second forename who was on the committee, though Alexander certainly played in Tournament III of the event.  When games he played against H V White were reported in The Field of 01/02/1868, his name was given as “J Alex Rynd”.  All this would be consistent with his father being known as “James” and he himself being known consequently as “Alex” or “Alexander”.  When another two games, this time against G F Barry, were published in the The Field of 06/06/1868, his name was given less committally as “J A Rynd”.  Clearly he was “Alex(ander)” at this stage, there being no mention of “Porterfield” as adopted later.


On 07/09/1869, “James Alexander Rynd”, son of James Rynd, married Anna (aka “Annie”) Hester Cranwell, daughter of Thos. Smith Cranwell, at St. Mary, Dublin.  The couple had three children, including:


James Goodlatte Rynd

born 04/07/1872, Dublin, Ireland

Kenneth Arley Rynd

born 09/10/1873, Donnybrook, Co. Dublin, Ireland


In the two birth registrations the parent were named as “James Alexander Rynd” and “Annie [née] Cranwell”.


The other child may have been Maria Annie Rynd, who was daughter of “James Rynd” of 38 Kildare Street, Dublin, and was buried at the age of 6 on 15/04/1876, at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.  If this was the other child, then she would seem to have been conceived out of wedlock.


In December 1869, “Mr J A Rynd” was mentioned as secretary of the City and County of Dublin Chess Club.


In advance notices of the Dublin Chess Tournament of 1872, he himself, as tournament secretary and treasurer, gave his name as “James Alexander Rynd”.  Also, “W Rynd, Esq.” was listed as being on the General Co-operative Committee, he perhaps being a brother, or even his father.


In 1874 he was called to the Irish Bar, as the terminology has it.  His ensuing professional career as a barrister seems to have minimised the realisation of his full potential as a chess-player.


At the time of his death, father James William Goodlatte Rynd, and his wife Isabella Susanna Rynd, were resident at 54 Serpentine Avenue, Sandymount, Co. Dublin.  Probate records indicate they had at an earlier period been resident at 9 Capel Street, Dublin.


In 1885, as an attender of the first annual meeting of the Irish Chess Association, he was listed as “Porterfield Rynd”.  It is unclear here whether “Porterfield” was being use as a forename, to distinguish him from his son listed as “Kenneth Rynd”, or whether “Porterfield Rynd” was mistakenly being treated as a double-barrelled surname.  As his son’s surname was given as just “Rynd”, it follows logically that “Porterfield” was being used as a forename.


The Irish divorce index for 1886 lists “Rynd, James Alex’r Porterfield Kenneth v R. Annie Hester and Tweedie[?] Robert”, the latter being, one imagines, cited as co-respondent.  This is one of the few references to the chess-player’s full name.


In 1892, a chess column was started in “The Dublin Evening Herald”, and the Nottinghamshire Guardian of 30/04/1892 named the editor of the new column as “Mr J Porterfield Rynd”.  It seems Rynd had decided “Porterfield” sounded more distinguished than “Alexander”, and was adopting it as his main forename, creating, if not encouraging, the idea of a double-barrelled surname.


In 1893, it was announced that anticipated entrants to an amateur event to be held in Cambridge included “Messrs. Blake, Gunston, Loman, the Rev. J. Owen, Porterfield Rynd, and the Rev. A. B. Skipworth”.  This rather suggests the writer thought “Porterfield Rynd” was a double-barrelled surname.


Irish census data prior to 1901 are for the most part not available on line, but the 1901 census makes it clear that the chess-player’s mother was not a party to the adoption of “Porterfield” as the main forename to be used, assuming it was she who supplied the information.  The 1901 census listed widowed Isabella Rynd as head of the Rynd household in Dawson Street, Dublin.  Her son was named as James Alexander Rynd, a 55-year-old, Dublin-born, widowed barrister, with no reference to “Porterfield”.  Whether Alexander was widowed or in fact divorced is a question which occurs to one.  His age was most probably actually 54.


The 1901 census listed 29-year-old son, Kenneth Rynd, living with his 32-year-old wife Barbara Rynd and only child, 1-year-old Dublin-born son Jocelyn Rynd, at 2.2 in Katherine Terrace, Botanic Road, Glasnevin, Dublin and also (for reasons not evident) at 709 Killeen Road, Dublin, where a servant was also listed (perhaps suggesting this was the main or only residence).  In both returns Kenneth was recorded as being a journalist.


From round about now he seems to have devoted himself to political campaigning of one sort or another.


With Sir H Kimber MP, he wrote to the Times in December 1904 on the subject of “Population as a basis of Redistribution”.


An obituary said he spent much of his time in the last part of his life in England, in connection with the Irish Unionist Campaign.  He appeared as “J A P Rynd”, usually with the tag “(Dublin)”, at Unionist meetings in Nottingham on 12/10/1906, in Barrow-in-Furness on 11/01/1910, in Llandudno on 12/01/1910 and in South Islington on 14/01/1910  He was one of the lesser speakers at a Unionist demonstration in Hull, on 06/06/1914, against the UK government’s use of force in Northern Ireland to suppress demonstrations against the idea of Irish Home Rule.


The 1911 census listed “James A Rynd” as a 64-year-old barrister living with widowed sister, 47-year-old Janie Adelaine Murray, at 8 Ardenza Terrace, Dublin.  He was further described as married, and as having been married for 41 years and having had 3 children of whom only one was still living (which was Kenneth), but he had no stated occupation.


The 1911 census listed “40”-year-old son, Kenneth Rynd, living with his “40”-year-old wife Barbara Rynd and only child, 11-year-old son Jocelyn Rynd, at 29.1 Claremount Road, Dublin.


On 12/12/1911, “J A P Rynd (Dublin)” attended a meeting in Luton of people voicing opposition to mooted disestablishment of the church in Wales: in a word, antidisestablishmentarianism.  The Rynds were recorded as Church of Ireland in the census returns.


A question which arises is whether he was for a brief period staying in Harrogate in 1915, as a chess-player called variously “J P Rynd” and “P Rynd (Harrogate)” is recorded as playing for Yorkshire on 27/03/1915.  Did the former Irish Champion really play in a match for Yorkshire ?!?




James Alexander Porterfield Kenneth Rynd died on the morning of 17/03/1917, in a Dublin nursing home.




There are references both to the father and son playing chess, but there was also a presumably-related “W Rynd” with an interest in chess, as “W Rynd, Esq.” was listed as being on the General Co-operative Committee of the Dublin Chess Tournament of 1871.


At the international tournament in Dublin in 1965, Tournament III was “open to amateurs who have been bona fide residents in Ireland for 12 months prior to 1st September, 1865”.  This was won by James Alexander Rynd, who so came to be regarded as the amateur chess champion of Ireland, which unofficial title he is generally regarded as holding for roughly 40 years.


In 1868, “J Alex Rynd” played a match with H V White, the winner to be the first to win 5 games.  (2 of the games in The Field).


In 1869 was mentioned as secretary of the City and County of Dublin Chess Club.  Later, the club planned a Dublin Chess Tournament in September 1871, and James Alexander Rynd was the Hon. Sec. of the Managing Committee of the event.


The at first Irish Chess Association annual meeting, on 03/10/1885, “Porterfield Rynd” was one of the major figures present.  There followed a 5-player, all-play-all-twice event which was won by W H K Pollock, with “Porterfield Rynd” finishing second.  As this was not billed as an Irish championship, Rynd continued to be regarded as Irish amateur champion, as Irish-connected Pollock was not Ireland-resident.


From now on he was to the chess world known usually as “Porterfield Rynd”, or “J. Porterfield Rynd”.


In 1886, “P Rynd” finished last out of 10 players in the Counties Chess Association congress in Nottingham, from 3rd to 9th August.  He scored three draws (v. Gunsberg, Hanham and Thorold), losing the other games.


“P Rynd” played on board one for Ireland in the 1888 Yorkshire v Ireland correspondence match, scoring a win and a draw against James Rayner.


Porterfield Rynd reportedly briefly retired from chess on health grounds in 1889, and so did not play in the 1889 Irish Chess Association meeting in Dublin.  Son Kenneth Arly Rynd, however, played in the Handicap Tournament, finishing 3rd out of 8.  Kenneth had been mentioned in connection with the 1885 meeting.


In January 1892, the Irish Chess Association held an Irish Championship event which was won by Porterfield Rynd.


In 1892, “Mr J Porterfield Rynd” started a chess column in “The Dublin Evening Herald”.


Porterfield Rynd won the 1893 Craigside Tournament with 8 out of 8.


In the 1894-95 5th Craigside tournament at Llandudno, Porterfield Rynd came last out of 7, beating the Rev. J Owen, but losing his other games.


The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser of 29/03/1915 recorded “J P Rynd” playing for Yorkshire against Lancashire on 27/03/1915.  The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 29/03/1915, however, recorded this player as “P Rynd (Harrogate)”, so unless the ex-Irish Champion was on a political activism trip to Harrogate at the time, this was probably not he.  However, no “P Rynd” of Harrogate is evident in other chess records.






Copyright © 2020 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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