Winter League Round 6
The home of chess in Galway
Just under a hundred players took part in the 2017 Galway Congress. The numbers were reduced a little as inexplicably the Leinster Schools Chess Association chose to schedule its finals on a date that clashed, thus depriving many of the most active juniors in Leinster of the opportunity of playing in one of Ireland’s leading tournaments. There was also a comparatively small field in the Masters section, despite it being very strong at the top with two GMs and three IMs. Nevertheless, the hundred who did play seemed to enjoy themselves, and the building work in the hotel was scarcely noticeable: if we had known that the resulting disruption would be so insignificant, we wouldn’t have compensated by reducing the entry fees!
The prize winners were
Masters: First: GM Oleg Korneev (Spain); Second: IM Alex Lopez (Ireland); Third equal: GM Alex Baburin (Ireland) and IM Craig Pritchett (Scotland); Grading: Peter Cafolla; Connaught Champion: FM Philip Short
Major: First: Christopher Young; Second equal: Anastasia Mohylna, James Danaher, Robert Murtagh, Jason Rawlinson, James Naughton; Grading Prize 1: Adam Murphy (also second equal); Grading Prize 2: Eoin Hunter
Minors: First: Hugh O’Connor; Second equal: Aidan O’Sullivan, K S Gopal, Dylan Murphy; Grading Prize 1: Andrejs Kozlovs (also second equal); Grading Prize 2: Jack McIntyre.
A fuller report, plus photos, can be found under the Congress 2017 link above.
On Friday the 3rd of March, the Bridge Club Galway played host to the 4th edition of the Connaught Cup .. here is a link for the full results .. many of the players involved will be in action again next w/e in the Galway Congress !
The largest contingent of Galway players for some years headed down to Bunratty to play in the 2017 Bunratty Chess Festival.
The strongest two performances were by Galway residents Philip Short, who scored 3½ points out of 6 in the Masters section, which secured 15th place (one place ahead of Grand Master and previous world title contender John Speelman!), and Wade Courson, who is new to Galway and did us proud with 4/6 in the Challengers and eleventh place. Others in the Challengers section were club regulars Jason Rawlinson, Zalan Nemeth, and Denis Ruchko, who each scored 3 points, and David McCann and Pete Morriss, who both finished on 2½.
In the Major section, our best performer was Andrew Barber, with 4 points and 15th place. Paul Ward scored 3½, David Baird 3, Kevin Fitzpatrick 2, and Oisin Hodgins, playing in his first tournament, 1½.
In the Minor section, Alan Delahunty came seventh equal with 4½ points, with Kynesha Ryder close behind on 4 and Bill Delee just behind her with 3½.
Apologies to anybody who hasn’t been mentioned: get in touch and you will be added in!
There were rather fewer players in the February blitz, held on Thursday 23 February, than there have been over the past few months; nevertheless, many exciting games were played and there were some unexpected results. The grading prize went to Kynesha Ryder, for the second time in three months, with an excellent 4 out of 6. Second place went to Denis Ruchko, with 4½, while the winner, for the second month in a row, was Pete Morriss with 5½ points out of 6. Pete dropped his half point in a wild game with Denis in which he was a piece down for most of the time, before recovering to reach a won ending which he then threw away. Denis’s chances were rather spoiled by losing in the first round to Kynesha, whilst Kynesha dropped points to last month’s grading prize winner Gopal and also Zalan Nemeth, with whom she shared third place, whilst beating fourth seed Jason Rawlinson as well as Denis.
The January blitz, held on Thursday 26th, was won by Pete Morriss, on 6/7 (losing only to December’s winner, Fintan Hegarty). Second was the reigning Winter League champion, Carlos Silva, on 5½ – losing to Pete, and drawing with Denis Ruchko after a long rook and pawn ending which Carlos managed to hold a pawn down; Carlos also beat Fintan in the last round, thereby ensuring that Fintan didn’t retain his title. The Grading Prize went to the ungraded K.S. Gopal, who scored an excellent 4½.
The 2017 Galway Chess Congress will be held in the Menlo Park Hotel on the weekend of 10th to 12th March. There are three sections, which cater for everybody from Grand Masters to beginners. Full information, including how to enter, is available at the Galway Congress 2017 tab, above.
w/e 6th – 8th Jan .. The Mulcahy Memorial Competition in Cork .. The tournament report can be found on icu.ie
Congratulations to Zalan Nemeth (a recent winner in Kilkenny) who scored with 4/6 against avg. rating of 1850. And to Denis Ruchko who was on 4/5 going into the last round, but came up against a very strong IM (Alex Lopez) to finish on 4/6 .. both gaining more valuable rating points.
Our Christmas blitz tournament saw the largest attendance at the club for several years, including some past members who hadn’t been seen for far too long: it’s amazing what the offer of mince pies can do! The surprise winner was Fintan Hegarty who, although rated in the lower half, scored an outstanding 6/7. He started by beating top seed Brendan Buckley; lost in round 2 to club founder Ronan Duke, who showed he is not out of practice despite not playing for several years; and then scorched through the field with five straight wins. Second equal, with 5/7, were Denis Ruchko, Brendan Buckley, Jason Rawlinson, and Fintan’s younger brother Conall Hegarty. The grading prize, for the best performance by a player in the lower half (who does not also win the tournament!) was won by young Kynesha Ryder on 4/7, doubtless the first of many prizes for her.
There was another good turnout at the November blitz on the 17th. The winner was Jason Rawlinson, who led all the way, finishing on 6½/7, conceding his one draw to Denis Ruchko. Second was Conall Hegarty on 6; his game against Jason was long and exciting, in which both players had to make full use of the five-second increment, until eventually Jason’s queen proved to have too many tricks for Conall’s rook and minor piece. The prize for the best ungraded player went to Oisin Hodges with 4 points; he tied for this honour with Paraic O’Reilly and Jonathan Klein, but had a much better tie-break, as he had played most of the strongest players, and also beat the top seed.
Half a dozen club members went to Limerick to play in the Limerick Congress over the bank holiday weekend. We came away with two prize-winners in the under-1400 section: David Piercy came third equal with 4 points out of 6 (a steady two wins and four draws) whilst Zalan Nemeth also came third equal (also undefeated) and in addition won the under-1050 grading prize because of his better tie-break. David and Zalan played each other in round 5, and the game was, of course, drawn.
In the Open section, Pete Morriss and David Baird both scored 3½ points, Denis Ruchko 3, and Kynesha Ryder 2½. Denis and Kynesha’s performances were both particularly outstanding: Denis had two fine wins against players rated 1900 or more, and finished with a rating performance over 200 points above his initial rating; whilst Kynesha, despite being the lowest-rated player in the field, more than held her own in her games, including gaining a draw with an opponent rated more than 1000 points higher than her. Denis and Kynesha are two juniors who are improving rapidly; Denis already has an impressive string of achievements to his name, and there is little doubt that Kynesha will soon be following suit.