Upcoming Events for Galway Chess Club
June 18th: Casual meeting in Monroe’s from 8pm.
The home of chess in Galway
July’s blitz, like June’s, had fewer entries than normal – quite possibly because the spell of unusually dry and warm weather did not break until the day after the one we had picked for our tournament, which was a shame. Although few in number, the participants were an interesting mix of regulars, newcomers, and returnees, unlike in June, which had consisted mainly of regulars. At the final reckoning, the tournament was won by a multiple previous winner, Jason Rawlinson, who beat everybody to record seven straight wins. Second equal were tournament organizer Pete Morriss and David Cunningham on 5½ points (drawing with each other, both losing to Jason, and beating the rest). David Cunningham also won the rating prize, by a very long way, as the other eligible players all came equal on 1 point. This was David’s first Galway blitz, though last month he won a rating prize and the under-12 prize in the Galway Rapidplay (scroll down for a Report, and also a picture of David receiving one of his prizes from – perhaps fittingly – Pete Morriss) and a few weeks prior to that he had come first in the Irish under-10 championship. So David is on a roll, and deservedly so judging by the standard of play he showed in this blitz tournament, in which he beat several much higher-rated and more experienced opponents.
Our July Blitz Tournament will be held on Thursday 18 July, upstairs in the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road, starting at 7.45. As usual, there will be seven rounds, at a speed of 5 minutes for the game plus an increment of 5 seconds per move, so we would expect to finish at about 10.30. We will provide all equipment; there will be an entry fee of €5, and any money left over after we’ve paid for the rent of the room will be returned in PRIZES! Visitors to Galway are very welcome to enter – as are Galway residents, of course.
The surprisingly hot weather was perhaps responsible for the small turnout at our June Blitz tournament, held on Thursday 27th, though it did mean that the standard was a bit higher than it has been in some other months. No-one had a higher standard than Denis Ruchko, who beat everybody to finish clear winner with seven points out of seven. Second equal, a long way behind, were Brendan Buckley and Jason Rawlinson, with five wins and two losses (Brendan winning their individual game). The rating-prize, which was set at under-1500 this month to reflect the higher standard and absence of our usual ‘tail’, was won by Ger Abberton, with 3 points.
Our next blitz tournament will be on Thursday 27 June at 7.45 p.m., at our usual venue of the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road – we meet in the room at the top of the main flight of stairs. There will be seven rounds, at 5 minutes per player for the game, plus 5 seconds extra for each move; so the expected finishing time is about 10.30 p.m. We provide all equipment. There will be a €5 entry fee to cover the rent of the room, with everything left over returned in PRIZES. Summer visitors to Galway are very welcome (this is a good place to hide from the rain ..).
This year’s Galway Rapidplay attracted a total of 49 entries, which is the highest number we’ve had, at least since we resurrected the Rapidplay in 2013.
With that number of players, it took a while for the top players to meet, but after four rounds there were only two players on maximum points and they were the top two seeds: Colm Daly and Rory Quinn. However, well positioned just half a point behind were the very talented young siblings Tarun and Trisha Kanyamarala (aged just 14 and 13), who had dropped their half-points when they had a quick draw with each other in round 3. In round 5, Colm beat Rory, and both Kanyamaralas also won with black against higher-rated opponents, setting up the pairings in round 6 of Tarun against Colm, and Rory against Trisha. These games were both won by white, the crucial top game being particularly hard-fought. That left Tarun in the lead going into the last round, half a point ahead of Colm and Rory, who had now been joined on 5 points out of 6 by Darragh Moran and David Cormican, both of whom had made late surges. (Darragh’s only loss was to Colm in round 2, whilst David’s loss had been to third seed Ciaran Quinn.) In the final round Colm duly beat David fairly quickly, but the top-board game between Tarun and Darragh proved to be a real struggle, reaching a complicated position when Tarun gave up his queen for rook, piece and pawn. This game continued long after all the other games had finished, eventually ending in a draw.
So first place was shared between Colm Daly and Tarun Kanyamarala, with third place also being shared half a point behind (after Rory surprisingly lost his last round game) by Darragh Moran and Trisha Kanyamarala. Tarun Kanyamarala thus becomes the youngest-ever winner of the Galway Rapidplay, beating Conor O’Donnell’s record of winning aged 16, in 2015. Note that three of the four prize-winners are juniors, thus continuing the fine performances by Juniors shown in the Galway Congress in March.
Other prize-winners were as follows. Because of the high number of entries, we provided two grading prizes, instead of the advertised one. The prize for Band A (1000-1599) was shared between David Cormican and Lukasz Daros, on five points. Band B (under 1000) was also shared, this time a three-way tie between David Cunningham, Oscar Roe and Scott Reilly on three points. The Junior Prize, which can be won alongside other prizes, was predictably won by Tarun Kanyamarala; and an additional under-12 Junior Prize was shared by David Cunningham and Oscar Roe.
Full standings and a cross-table of results are available here.
The first blitz tournament of the summer was held on 23 May in the Bridge Centre. It was won, fairly convincingly in the end, by Pete Morriss, who scored 6½ points out of 7. His one draw was against Ger Abberton, who was first equal with Pete with three rounds to go, but then fell back and his challenge evaporated. There was a tight contest for second place, which ended in a four-way tie, on 4½ points, between Kynesha Ryder, Fintan Hegarty, Brenden Buckley and Jason Rawlinson. Kynesha Ryder had the slightly better tie-break, and so pipped the others for the cash prize that is a feature of our summer blitzes. The under-1300 rating prize was won deservedly by Andrew Finnerty, who also won in March, on 4 points.
Our next blitz tournament is on Thursday 23 May at our usual venue of upstairs in the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road (opposite St Mary’s School). Start time will be 7.45 p.m.; the tournament will end about 10.30. There will be seven rounds, and in each game you will have 5 minutes plus 5 seconds a move to make all your moves. We will provide sets and clocks, so all you need to do is bring yourself (and preferably some chess-playing friends as well). As this is out of season, there will be a charge of €5 to cover the cost of renting the room, with any money left over being returned in prize money. Yes: PRIZE MONEY!
This year’s Galway Rapidplay will take place on Saturday 8 June, at the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road, Galway. (For the location of the Bridge Centre, see here.) The format will be seven rounds, with each player having 15 minutes to make all their moves, plus an extra ten seconds for each move. The event will start at 11 a.m. (prompt!), and we expect that it will finish by 7 p.m. To enter, email your name and details to us at galwaychess [at] gmail [dot] com by midday on Friday 7th, and pay the entry fee of €15 on arrival between 10 and 10.45 a.m.. Full information about the tournament is available in the Rapidplay 2019 tab above.
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and sandwiches and other nourishment will be available to purchase at the venue.
We are looking forward to seeing you – if you have any queries please do ask us.
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There were 12 attendees at our April/End of Season blitz. This made an all-play-all rather tricky, but by taking 30seconds off the clock after each round, we managed to squeeze all the games in. The beautiful crosstable is below, whence you can see that in first place was Zalan with 10.5/11, having conceded a draw only to Big Andy; in second place was Jason with 9/11, losing only to Zalan and Johannes; and in third place, with 8.5 points was newcomer Johannes.
There will continue to be monthly blitzes, weekly meetings from 8 on Tuesdays in Monroe’s, and the annual Galway Rapidplay will take place on June 8th, so keep your calendars free.
Watch this space!
127 people played in the 2019 Galway Congress, which was well up on the numbers the last time the event was held two years ago. It was also one of the most international we have had, as players came from Latvia, Germany (several), Sweden, and England, as well as from the North. We again demonstrated that chess appeals to all ages: the oldest player was a few months under 80 and the youngest just two months over 7. We also seem to be good at introducing people to organized chess, as thirty entrants were playing their first-ever rated games (nearly a quarter of the total). Most of those thirty joined the ICU because of the Galway congress, so the ICU got a lot of new members thanks to us. The one disappointment was the relatively small field in the top section: 14, plus a visitor – the ICU Ratings Officer, as it happened – who kindly stepped in as a filler for one game. We have tried a number of inducements to attract stronger players – such as offering free entry and inviting foreign GMs and IMs – but, like many Irish tournaments in recent years, we have only managed to attract a small fraction of the sixty or so Irish-based players rated over 2000. If we knew what we could do to attract more, we would certainly do it.
Despite the relatively small field, the Masters section saw probably the outstanding performance of the weekend, by the convincing winner, sixteen-year-old Henry Li, who had already won the tournament with a round to spare after five straight wins (including one against International Master Vladimir Sveshnikov); he eased up in the last round and conceded a draw to Grand Master Alex Baburin, to finish on 5½ points. Henry thereby becomes the youngest-ever winner of the Galway trophy, beating by over three years the previous record which was held by Gawain Jones. Since Gawain is now firmly established in the top hundred in the world, Henry has the prospect of an outstanding chess future ahead of him if he can continue to better Gawain’s achievements.
Second equal, a long way behind on 4 points, were top seed Vladimir Sveshnikov from Latvia and Galway’s Denis Ruchko, whose result in any other year would have been the most noteworthy: Denis, at not yet sixteen, is even younger than Henry and was rated second to last in this section; he played all the top players in the event, drawing with both IM Sveshnikov and GM Baburin, whilst his only loss was against Henry Li after a rather wild game.
There were two rating prizes for which those rated under 2000 were eligible. Denis Ruchko was the clear winner here, but under the rule that one can only win one prize (the one of higher value) he had to be content with ‘only’ getting the shard second prize. Therefore the first rating prize went to Brendan Ruane from England, who scored 3½ points, and the second to Darragh Moran on 3.
The Major section (1200-1800) also had a clear winner: Khai Asyraf (as he is known in Galway, or Muhammad Khairil Asyraf Khairil Annuar, as he is more formally known to the ICU) had assured himself of at least first equal with a round to go after five straight wins, and secured first place by agreeing a fairly quick draw in the last round. It has been a very good couple of months for Khai: he won the Bunratty Major (1200-1600) section last month with a faultless six wins from six, and has also ensured that he will be the new Galway Winter League champion, again with a round to spare after winning his first six games in that tournament. So that is a cumulative record this year of seventeen wins, one draw, and not one loss.
There was a four-way tie for second place between thirteen-year-old Leon Putar, Jason Harris, Leo Phelan, and Dara Murphy, all on 4½ points. In this section there were five rating prizes in two bands. In Band A (1400-1599), in which there were two prizes, three players tied on 4 points so this had to be resolved by tie-break: Galway’s Jarek Wieczorek came out first, and Joe O’Hanlon second, whilst Lara Putar unfortunately narrowly missed out on a prize – but as she is only twelve, we are sure that her time will come, and probably very soon. Band B (1200-1399) was won by Jason Harris who (unlike Denis in the Masters) received the rating prize as the more valuable; second prize in Band B went to by Phillip Foenander, who just pushed Ruairi McKenna-Carroll into the third prize on tie-break, both scoring 3½ points.
The Minors section (under-1200) was the most closely fought of all three, and resulted in a tie for first place between eleven-year-old Atharva Paibir and thirteen-year-old James Crowley, on 5½ points. The Hugh Finan Memorial Trophy went to Atharva on tie-break; he was also the youngest tournament winner this year, and probably the youngest ever, although unfortunately we do not seem to have kept a complete record of the ages of past winners. Third prize was shared between three Galway players on 5 points: Joshua Sawantawadi, Zoran Dragic (who were both also eligible for a rating prize, and so received that) and eleven-year-old Andrew Finnerty, who, at ten days younger than Atharva, was the youngest prize-winner this year (and maybe youngest ever). Andrew, like Henry Li and Khai Asyraf, was leading the tournament outright after round 5, with five wins; but unlike the others he couldn’t secure the draw he needed in the last round, being beaten by the eventual winner Atharva Paibir.
In this section there were seven rating prizes, to reflect the large number of entries. The rating prize in Band A (800-999) went to thirteen-year-old Ritvik Trehan, who edged out the oldest player in the tournament, Maurice Coveney, on tie break, after they had both scored 4½ points. (It would have been symbolic if we had had the youngest-ever and oldest-ever prize-winners in the same section this year, but alas it didn’t quite work out like that.) Band B (700-799) was won by Zoran Dragic, who as mentioned above also came third equal. In Band C (rated under 700) there was a tie on 3½ points between three very young players, which had to be resolved by the tie-break: Charles Ridgway (who is not yet 13) came out ahead of fourteen-year-old John Carton and Diana Bueckert (even younger at not yet 11). In Band D (unrated, and playing in their first tournament) there were three prizes to reflect the large number in that category, and, perhaps surprisingly in view of what has just been reported, juniors did not win any of them: first prize went to Joshua Sawantawadi, who came third equal on 5 points, which is an excellent result in his first tournament; second prize went to Pranav Verma who scored 4 points (both Joshua and Pranav are students at NUI, Galway and have been lured into playing in chess tournaments by the NUIG Chess Club); and third prize went to Daniel Van Tonder with 3½ points, who very narrowly edged out Mohamed Ameer (another NUIG student) on the second category of tie-break.
So overall this tournament will probably be remembered as a very good one for Ireland’s juniors in general, and Henry Li in particular.
Full results – standings and cross-tables – for all three sections can be found here. The tournament has already been rated by the ICU, and the gains and losses of rating points can be found on their website: Masters, Major, Minors. We will put up photos of the prize-winners, and some games from the top section, shortly.