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New season well under way

The 2018/19 season is now well under way with the fourth round of matches in the Leinster Leagues being played this month. The annual Kilkenny congress will be coming up soon.

For full details and reports on recent events, see the Irish Chess Union website.

Meanwhile Ioana Miller has retained the Irish Women's Championship with a 5/5 score.

Irish chess has lost one of its leading figures of the past half-century. FM Philip Short, originally from Cork, died in Galway on 31 August at the age of 58. He was several times Irish Champion, most recently in 2017 (jointly with Alex Lopez) when he made an IM norm. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and the whole Irish chess community.

The Irish Open team at the Batumi olympiad had a somewhat disappointing finish, but achieved two draws against Russia in the second round. The Women's team performed above their seeding.

The 2018 Irish Championships were held in Dublin (3-12 August). IM Alex Astaneh Lopez was the convincing winner of the main event ahead of the largest and strongest field for the event in many years.

There were 36 competitors, including one grandmaster, three other IMs and seven FIDE Masters. (Philip Short scored a creditable 5.5/9 in this, his last tournament.)

There was also a programme of supporting events held over the two weekends with a smaller midweek open. The tournament, moved to August from the normal July dates, was played in excellent conditions at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin under the efficient ditection of Ivan Baburin. It is expectedd that next year's championship will be held at the same venue from 2-11 August 2019 and will attract an even stronger and larger field.

The Ireland 50+ team competing in the World Senior Team Championships in Germany in July had the best performance (final placing relative to initial seeding) of any of the 15 teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales in the two tournaments (50+ and 65+). They were competing in the tournament for players born in 1968 or earlier. The 50+ team therefore won a prize donated by English seniors organiser Stewart Reuben.

The members of the 50+ team were FM John Delaney, Gerard MacElligott (captain), Martin Crichton, Brendan Lyons, and Bernd Thee. The 65+ team (for players born 1953 or earlier) was less successful than in 2016 because it was weakened by the last-minute withdrawal of its second strongest player; it therefore had no reserve and all four players were in action each day. That team consisted of Tim Harding (captain), Kevin James, Matt O'Leary, and Frank McMahon.

Ireland has a new International Master: David Fitzsimons, whose title was confirmed at the FIDE Congress in September. He completed his qualification in the ninth round of the 4NCL in May when he won his game to earn his third IM norm. David had previously reached the 2400 rating threshold.

Some Irish websites

Irish Correspondence Chess Association
Information about international correspondence events for Irish players.
Irish chess forum discussions
On (independent of the Irish Chess Union).
Bunratty Chess Festival
Popular annual Irish chess weekender held each February.
Irish chess history and news site
Irish chess history group coordinated by Sean Coffey.

Leinster Chess Union
(Includes information on the Armstrong Cup and other leagues in the province)
History of Dublin University Chess Club
Article by Dr. Tim Harding
In 2014 the club won Ireland's top chess league (and the world's third oldest), the Armstrong Cup, for the sixth time!

Irish cricket captain and chess player
George Frith Barry, a star of Victorian sport

Further Irish chess links and information may be added later.

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