The Kilkenny Masters, which as usual attracted a strong entry from home and abroad, ended in victory for French grandmaster Sebastian Maze, a frequent visitor to these shores. The ICU website has a report from Gerry Graham with pictures and games.
Simon Provoost from the Netherlands won the Major section. Darun Govindaraju won the third section (named for Kilkenny's most famous chess son, James Mason) and Edwin Koreth Joji swept the Challengers with 6/6.
The Congress was supported by sponsorship from CRH.
As the year winds down, there are just a few blitz and rapid events to be played for those who wish to keep in practice and/or meet old friends and rivals.
The New Year will start with a bang at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, where several events are scheduled. Apart from the many sections of the Leinsrer juniors, there will be the Irish 50+ and 65+ championships, a 7-round international open and some supporting events. Details and entries on the ICU website.
An under-strength Irish 65+ senior team competed at the World Senior Team Championships, which were held in North Macedonia over 9 rounds last month. In the last round they lost 1-3 to the higher-rated team from the host country, but Jim Murray won this brilliancy on board 4 against M. Trajkovski:
1. d4 f5 2. Bg5 g6 3. Nc3 h6 4. Bh4 Bg7 5. e3 Nf6 6. Bd3 d6 7. Nf3 e6 8. Qe2 O-O 9. O-O-O c6 10. h3 b5 11. Rdg1 Qa5 12. g4 b4 13. Nb1 fxg4 14. hxg4 g5 15. Bg3 e5 16. dxe5 Bxg4 17. exf6 Rxf6 18. Bf4! Bxf3 19. Qxf3 gxf4 20. Qe4 Kf8 21. Rxg7! 1-0.
The prospects for 2024 FIDE Seniors tournaments are better than this year's, with more accessible venues: the European Senior Team Championships during May in Slovenia and the World Senior Teams to be played in Krakow, Poland, in early July. Let us hope we can plan for strong Irish representation in those congresses.
Any players born 1974 or earlier with ratings over 1800 who may be interested in playing on an Irish team at either of these events should contact ICU webmaster Jonathan O'Connor.
Jim Murray and Patrick Daly were the only competitors the World Seniors individual championships which ended kast month in Sicily. Please see our seniors news page for more information about tournaments for the over-50s.
The Irish Chess Union calendar for 2024 looks very busy with several tournaments planned for the first months of the new year. It starts with a busy programme of events for the New Year including a 7-round international open (no IM norm round-robin this time) and senior tournaments.
A similar programme is planned for Easter including a new event, the Dublin Seniors. The ICU also envisage holding a seniors event on the final weekend of the 2024 Irish Championships to help reduce the numbers entering the Open Weekender which was chaotic this year because the entry was too large.
Also, chess officials please read our page for chess arbiters.
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.