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International Open in Dublin

Congratulations to the Gonzaga team in the Four Nations Chess League who have qualified for Division 1 next season. This 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 Irish International Open, organised by the Irish Chess Union, was the largest international tournament in Ireland since 1991. It was played in Dublin over nine rounds from 17-22 April, with almost 100 competitors. Hungarian GM Robert Ruck won outright with a score of 7.5/9.

There has been a lot of chat online, and even a report in a national newspaper, about alleged cheating by a low-rated foreign student, who was excluded from this tournament after scoring four points from the first five rounds. The matter is under investigation by the Irish Chess Union, who have taken several witness statements. We expect them to recommend eventually to FIDE that the player and his accomplices be banned for a long period.

No new title norms were achieved, but English FM James Jackson, who finished 9th, gained enough rating points to berak the 2400 barrier and so completed his qualification for the IM title.

The best Irish performance was by IM David Fitzsimons with 6/9. Several Irish players scored 5.5. Sarah Longson (England) was the top woman with 5/9.

Also particularly noteworthy was the 5/9 result by Leon Putar (born 2005) who is from Croatia but will soon be qualified by residence to transfer his registration to Ireland.

Two Irish teams competed in the World Senior Team Championships in Rhodes, Greece, earlier this month, and several members of the two teams made significant rating gains. The 50+ team finished 13th, two places above their initial seeding, after a tough start against second seeds Armenia.

The 65+ also had tough matches early on, meeting France (who eventually won the bronze medal) in round three after two previous defeats. The French morale had evidently been affected by the Notre Dame fire at the start of the event. John Gibson defeated an IM in this match. Our 65+ team performed better in the second half of the event.

CM Gerry MacElligott was head of delegation and captain of the 50+ team. The line-ups were:

50+: FM John Delaney, Paul Wallace, CM Gerry MacElligott, Brendan Lyons, and Gabriel Matthews.

65+: Pete Morriss, Orison Carlile, Jim Murray (captain), John Gibson, and Peter Lynch.

There is still time to express an interest in playing on the Irish teams for the European Senior Team Championships (50+ and 65+), to be held in Mali Losinj, Croatia (an island in the Adriatic) during the last week of September. Full details are now available. Anyone interested in playing should contact the I.C.U. secretary or chairman very soon or add their name to the lists on the ICU website.

Teams will probably need to be finalised during May and the closing date for entries is mid-July. At present the 50+ team looks quite strong but there are some doubts whether a 65+ team will be sent, especially because of the expense and difficulty of travelling to the somewhat inaccessible venue. (Your editor has withdrawn his name as he is now unavailable to travel abroad at that time for family reasons.)

We hope that strong teams can be sent next March to the World Senior Team Championships in Prague.

The National Club Championship was held this year at Gonzaga College over five rounds from 5-7 April, to decide Ireland's qualifiers for the European Club Cup. Gonzaga were the winners with Trinity College Dublin a good second, winning four matches.

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. He is also the new Dublin Blitz Champion.

The Irish Team Blitz Championship was held in central Dublin on Sunday 3 March. The next major event is the Galway Congress from 22-24 March. For details see the Irish Chess Union website. These were just the highlights of the month; the Irish chess calendar is getting very crowded!

Upcoming events in May include the Malahide and Ennis congresses, the last round of the Leinster Leagues (19 May) and a team rapid competition (12 May).

 

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.

 

Some Irish websites:

Irish Chess Union website.
The main place to go all for all information about Irish chess.
Irish Correspondence Chess Association
Information about international correspondence events for Irish players. (Page just updated!)
Irish chess forum discussions
On boards.ie (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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