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Irish arbiter at Olympiad

Congratulations to FIDE Arbiter Colm O Muireagain who will be on the team of match arbiters for the Chess Olympiad at Chennai (which starts on 28 July). Colm was the tournament director at the Sligo congress earlier this summer.

This will give Colm an excellent opportunity to work with a team of very experienced officials and earn a norm towards the International Arbiter title.

At present Ireland has only two active International Arbiters. FIDE Arbiter, a title introduced a few years ago, is the level of many active Irish arbiters including ICU tournament director Ivan Baburin who runs most of our principal events including the national championships next month. FA Tim Harding was chief arbiter for the 2022 Irish Women's Championship, however.

At present Ireland has very few active and resident arbiters (the chess equivalent of referees) with the FA and IA titles. We do have a few inactive IAs who earned the title before the FA was introduced, but they would have difficulty resuming activity because of the many rule changes and new expectations of arbiters that FIDE has introduced in recent years.

We need more qualified active arbiters to run tournaments and the return of OTB tournaments to (we hope) something approaching the 2019 level provides opportunities to gain experience and earn arbiter titles.

The ICU began working towards correcting our arbiter shortag shortly before the Covid pandemic hit the country.

Early in 2020, Gonzaga College in Dublin hosted (early in 2020) a training seminar for chess arbiters. This was attended by 16 people from six federations and run by Alex McFarlane of Scotland, who is a member of the FIDE's Arbiters Commission. At the end of this intensive event, nine participants passed the exam, earning one of the norms required to become a licensed FIDE Arbiter.

Subsequently the FIDE Council meeting in June approved the award to Tim Harding of the title FIDE Arbiter. Since then, I.C.U. Treasurer John McMorrow has also become a FIDE Arbiter, having attended an online seminar during the Covid lockdown.

ICU chairman Desmond Beatty announced at the Irish championships earlier this month that another arbiter seminar is planned.

Andrew O'Brien is the latest Irish official to obtain a FIDE National Arbiter license. He is now on his way to earning the FA qualification. James Forde is another recently qualified National Arbiter who has already earned at least one tournament norm towards the FA title as well as passing the arbiter exam.

The other Irish-based arbiters who passed the seminar exam in Dublin in February 2020 were (in the order listed by FIDE): Simon Lawrence, Mark R. Watkins, Gerard MacElligott, and Vjekoslav Novak (a Croatian resident here).

The others on this list require tournament norms to become licensed NAs but the Covid-19 pandemic means they have not had much chance to earn them. Hopefully it will be possible for at least some of these arbiters to earn NA and FA norms at tournaments in the next 12 months.

The current (11 July 2022) list of active licensed arbiters for Ireland is as follows, ordered first by title and then alphabetically. (Arbiters described by FIDE as inactive are not included.)

International Arbiters: Gerry Graham, Ted Jennings.

FIDE Arbiters: Ivan Baburin, Tim D. Harding, Rory Delaney, John McMorrow, Pete Morriss, Colm O Muireagain, Ruth Redmond, Brian Scully.

National Arbiters: Vincent Bissett, Adrian Dornford-Smith, Pat Fitzsimons, James Forde, Richard Gould, Ross Harris, Brendan Jamison, Andrew Kildea, Neal Kirby, Paul McKeown, Gabriel Mirza, Mark Newman, Andrew O'Brien, Kevin O'Flaherty, Pat Scanlan, Herbert Scarry, Peter Scott, Stephen Short, and Pat Twomey.

There is more information for arbiters on Tim's personal arbiter page.

Back to our main page of Irish chess news.

For further information on Irish chess, including ratings, how to join, a tournament calendar and a list of officials, please see the Irish Chess Union website.