There is just one month to go before the start of the 9-round international open which the Irish Chess Union is organising in Dublin over Easter 2019, with GM and IM title norm possibilities. There will be 9 rounds in 6 days and also blitz and rapid side-events.
The famous chess writer, grandmaster Victor Bologan, is expected to open the event.
There are now over 80 entries, including 11 GMs and at least 14 other titled players, though not all are yet listed at the chess-results website. This is going to be the strongest chess tournament ever held in Ireland and we hope entries will top three figures eventually.
For full details on this and to enter online, see the Irish Chess Union website. Sponsors MHL Hotels have special offers for overseas visitors.
Congratulations to the Gonzaga team in the Four Nations Chess League who have qualified for Pool C in Division 2, the group from which the four promotion places to next season's top division will be decided. Their chances of promotion gained a big boost today when they resoundingly defeated one of their strongest rivals.
The last three rounds of the 4NCL will be played over the May Bank Holiday weekend. If Gonzaga qualify it will be the first time the top division has featured an Irish team. (Several Irish players have represented English teams and might switch to Gonzaga next year.)
The National Club Championship will be held this year at Gonzaga College over five rounds, from 5-7 April, to decide Ireland's qualifiers for the European Club Cup. Entries are now open on the ICU website.
Congratulations to 16-year-old Henry Li who is Ireland's newest FIDE Master. His live rating passed 2300 only a few days after Henry won the Dublin Rapid Championship held on 10 February, ahead of IM Sam Collins, whom he defeated, FM Conor O'Donnell and other strong players in a field of 52.
The Irish Team Blitz Championship was held in central Dublin yesterday, Sunday 3 March. The next major event is the Galway Congress from 22-24 March. For details see the Irish Chess Union website. These are just the highlights of the month; the Irish chess calendar is getting very crowded!
The Irish 50+ and 65+ teams for the World Senior Team Championships in April (which unfortunately coincide with the Dublin open) are now finalised. CM Gerry MacElligott is head of delegation and captain of the 50+ team. The line-ups are:
50+: FM John Delaney, Paul Wallace, CM Gerry MacElligott, Brendan Lyons, and Gabriel Matthews.
65+: Orison Carlile, Pete Morriss, Jim Murray (captain), John Gibson, and Peter Lynch.
There are still vacancies on the Irish teams for the European Senior Team Championships, to be held in Mali Losinj, Croatia (an island in the Adriatic) during the last week of September. Anyone interested in playing should contact the I.C.U. secretary or chairman. The teams will not be finalised until the organisers publish the full regulations and accommodation prices, which are not expected for another few weeks.
PREVIOUS IRISH EVENTS IN 2019
In the first week of this year, the I.C.U. organised an enormously successful festival of round-robin tournaments, in memory of former I.C.U. chairperson Philip Hogarty who was tragically killed at a very young age in a road accident. The festival included title norm events, and a Swiss-system Senior Championship (50+ and 65+) which attracted 42 entries.
GM Igor Glek won the grandmaster norm tournament with 6/9. The best Irish result was 5/9 scored by Alex Lopez and Sam COllins, who finished joint fourth. The IM norm event was won jointly by FM Michael de Verdier from Sweden (an Irish resident) and IM Andre Greet from Scotland who both scored 6.5/9. Unfortunately De Verdier missed the IM norm by half a point.
The best Irish score was Tom O'Gorman's 5.5 points in fourth place. A very strong blitz tournament on the final evening was won by Irish Champion Alex Lopez on 9/11 ahead of FM Conor O'Donnell 8.5 and three players on 8 points: GM Glek, IM Collins and Killian Delaney.
The Senior tournament was won by Paul Wallace and Gerard MacElligott on 5.5.7; they share the Irish 50+ Champion title. The Irish 65+ title was shared by Anthony Doyle and Tim Harding, who finished half a point behind them along with 50+ age group players, Peter Cafolla, Tim McCarthy and FM Robin Moss (England).
Subsidiary round-robin tournaments, in rating groups, were also run during the week. The nine-round events were won by Luke Scott and Donatas Jocius while the 7-round event for players rated below 1400 was shared by Max Tempany, Arman Arshakyan, and Luke Hayden, who all scored 5.5 points.
Congratulations to young Irish player Conor Murphy who earned a 10-game IM norm (his first) when he finished in a six-way tie for first place at Hastings in early January.
Alex Lopez won the annual Mulcahy Memorial open tournament held in Cork (11-13 January). Sadly the popular Cork chess player G. Gerry McCarthy died a few days later.
Further Irish chess links and information may be added later.
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