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Alex Lopez wins Mulcahy Memorial

Two tournaments were held over the past weekend (9-11 February). IM Alex Lopez won the Mulcahy Memorial in his home city of Cork with a score of 5.5/6.

80 players competed in a single section and there was a six-way tie for second prize on 5/6.

Nearly a hundred players competed in the 7-round UCD charity rapid-play on Sunday 11th, held for the benefit of the Dublin Simon Community. Rapidly improving teenager Gavin Sheehan won outright with 6.5 points. The tournament included many unrated players but also a group of strong experts. The top seed, Irish FM Zalan Nemeth, finished in a large tie for second after being held to a draw by Gavin Sheehan (who also scored 6/7) and earlier by Tim Harding.

The previous weekend, 3 players shared first on 4/5 in the second Sligo Masters at Enniscrone: James Naughton, FM Oscar Culbeaux Tello (Mexico) and IM Oleg Gubanov (Ukraine). Two titled English players were in the list but FM Jonathan Pein withdrew after losing to young Irish players in rounds 1 and 3 while GM Daniel Gormally was absent for reasons unknown to us and defaulted his first round game.

The Gonzaga Masters, at the end of January, also ended in a 3-way tie between GMs Ante Saric, Daniel Howard Fernandez and Matthew Turner. There is a report on the ICU website.

Special congratulations to Kevin Burke who won the second (Championships) section outright with 5.5/6 and to the joingt winners of the Challengers section. These events are always very competitive.

Next up in the Irish chess calendar is the Ennis Congress which be held on the coming weekend, 16-18 February.

New Year began with a bang at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, where several events were played. Apart from the usual Leinster Juniors, there were the Irish 50+ and 65+ championships, a 7-round international open and a blitz tournament on the final evening, Sunday 7 January. A similar programme is planned for the same venue in the days leading up to Easter.

Congratulations to Jonathan O'Connor who won the 50+ title for (we think) the third time and to Gerry O'Connell who survived a round six loss to win the 65+ title for the first time. FM Zalan Nemeth won the FIDE-rated Open with 6/7 and Oleg Artemenko (Uzbekistan) won the blitz tournament.

FM Tom O'Gorman, just back from Samarkand where he creditably represented Ireland in the World Rapid and Blitz championships, finished third in the blitz.

The calendar on the Irish Chess Union website shows a very busy programme of tournaments coming up between now and Easter, both in Dublin and around the country.

Please read our page for chess arbiters. This has just been updated with the names of recently qualified FIDE and National Arbiters. It is good to see many new names on the list but Ireland urgently needs female arbiters now. The postponed Ntaional Arbiters course is now due to be held in April; see the ICU calendar for details if you are interested.


Calling senior players

Plans are firming up to send Irish senior teams to the World Senior Championships in Krakow, Poland, at the start of July. It is hoped to have at least two teams in the 65+ championship and at least one in the 50+. There is also a slight chance of sending a 65+ team to the European event in Slovenia in May.

See our Senior calendar for more details of these events, and contact ICU webmaster Jonathan O'Connor if your rating is at least 1700 and you wish to be considered for either event. You must have been born not later than 31 December 1974 to be eligible (or 1959 for the 65+ teams).

An under-strength Irish 65+ senior team competed at the World Senior Team Championships, which were held in North Macedonia over 9 rounds last autumn, but we hope in Krakow to at least match the good showing our teams made at the 2022 European teams in Dresden.

Please see our seniors news page for more information about tournaments for the over-50s.

A similar programme to early January's events is planned for Easter including a new event, the Dublin Seniors. However, the ICU programme for the 2024 Irish Championships does not include a Senior event, though that had been mooted. Maybe it is not too late to organise one if the Easter seniors is well supported.


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.

Some other Irish websites:

Irish chess history and news site

Chess discussions on

Irish Correspondence Chess Association

Bunratty Chess Festival