All Blacks whitewash
QUESTION Despite the near 70-year wait for Wales to beat the mighty All Blacks at rugby, did a Welsh town once beat New Zealand?
Four Welsh club sides have beaten the All Blacks.
The last time was when Llanelli rFC, captained by Delme Thomas, beat New
Zealand 9-3 at Stradey Park on october 31, 1972.
Centre roy Bergiers scored the only try, converted by Phil Bennett, and wing Andy Hill added a penalty. Fullback Joe Karam kicked a penalty for the visitors.
Newport rFC beat the All Blacks at rodney Parade on october 30, 1963, by the slender margin of 3-0, thanks to a drop goal by centre John uzzell.
Compared to the star-studded tourists, Newport’s starting XV had just five players with international experience.
It was a tactical masterclass from coach Bryn Meredith, whose game plan was to give the opposing fullback Don Clarke no sniff of an opportunity, either with ball in hand on the counter or with his prolific place-kicking.
It took a heroic effort from the forwards and some clever kicking by fly-half Dai Watkins.
I remember the occasion well because I was with a group of Tredegar Grammar School pupils taken to the match by our wonderful PE teacher, the late Alun Pask, of Abertillery rFC, Wales and British and Irish Lions fame.
The Newport captain was Brian Price, a PE teacher at Tredegar technical school. It was the All Blacks’ only defeat of that tour.
Going back further, Cardiff rFC beat the All Blacks 8-3 in 1953 while Swansea rFC were the first Welsh club side to better them, winning 11-3, in 1935.
Howard Ashton, Blackwood, Caerphilly.
QUESTION Who bombed the neutral Vatican City in 1943?
THE Vatican was bombed twice during World War II: on November 5, 1943, and March 1, 1944.
on the first occasion, the identity of the aircraft has never been established. There were three suspects: the British, Americans or Germans. The Italians had surrendered in September 1943.
The neutrality of the Vatican was recognised, but any airborne attack on rome would run the risk of bombs falling on the Vatican.
A first-hand account of the 1943 bombing was recorded by Monsignor Domenico Tardini, later a cardinal.
He recalled an aircraft circling overhead for at least 30 minutes. A formation of Allied bombers passed close by, then the circling aircraft dropped five bombs and departed. They landed in the Vatican gardens but there were no casualties. one bomb failed to detonate.
No country claimed responsibility for the bombing and both sides accused each other. However, reports of a later confidential conversation between the Chief of Staff to the American Mission to the Holy See, Monsignor Walter S. Carroll, and an unnamed cardinal suggest the aircraft was probably American.
Another report said Italians fighting for Mussolini’s puppet government carried out the raid to silence Vatican radio, which had been critical of Il Duce and the Nazis.
Lost or damaged aircraft needed to return to base and landing a fully laden bomber was risky. The Vatican is only a few miles from the sea and in a blackout, it would be difficult for a pilot to know if he was over a city, the sea or open countryside. Even though it was a clear night, the Moon was in its first quarter. It would have been hard for a crew to distinguish any features in the darkness.
The bombing of March 1, 1944, is clearer cut. The Air Ministry admitted privately to the Vatican that an rAF aircraft had dropped six bombs too close to the Vatican while on a raid to bomb rome.
They fell on the periphery of the Vatican and damaged buildings. A workman was killed and a Dutch cleric was injured.
Bob Cubitt, Northampton.
QUESTION Has there been an intentional illegal move in international chess? What was the penalty?
THERE was a famous example of this in blitz (speed) chess.
The world’s best player, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, was playing russian grandmaster Ernesto Inarkiev in the first round of the World Blitz 2017.
Carlsen gave a check to Inarkiev’s king. Instead of moving the king or capturing the rook (castle), Inarkiev gave a counter check to his opponent’s king. This was illegal, but Carlsen did not claim it and made another move — which Inarkiev claimed was illegal. An arbiter awarded the russian the victory, but was overturned by the chief arbiter, who ruled Carlsen’s last move was not illegal. He invited them to continue but Inarkiev refused, leaving Carlsen as the winner.
A year later, the rules of blitz and rapid chess were amended giving a time penalty for a first illegal move. A second illegal move loses the game.
In 1994, the brilliant ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk played a bizarre, illegal sweeping move with his Queen to protect his King and get himself out of check.
His opponent Zurab Azmaiparashvili stared at the board for half a minute before returning the Queen. A shaken Ivanchuk apologised and resigned.
M. While, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks.