The home of chess in Galway
Apologies for the delay in making the announcement – the Galway Chess Congress will not be running this year. We will hope to see you all in 2019!
The March Blitz, held on Thursday 15 March, had the lowest turnout for a couple of years – perhaps either because of the proximity to Patrick’s Day, or because it was arranged at very short notice. But, with eight participants and the prospect of seven rounds, at least the organization was easy, as it could be played as an all-play-all. This added to the excitement, as, by chance, the two leaders didn’t meet until the final round, when Jason Rawlinson, who had led throughout, lost to Pete Morriss, who thus overtook him to win, with 6 points out of 7. Jason was second, with 5½. The grading prize was won yet again by Andrejs Kozlovs, who scored 4 points, including a comprehensive win against the eventual winner.
The March Blitz tournament will be this Thursday, 15 March, in the Bridge Centre, St. Mary’s Road. Start time 7.45. Same format as before.
A sizeable contingent from Galway played in the Bunratty Congress last weekend, and most turned in good results.
The best performance was undoubtedly that of Khai Asyraf, in the Major section (1200 – 1600). Khai scored five wins and a draw; the draw was against Dayna Ferguson, who also won her other five games, so the two of them tied for first place. At Bunratty when there is a tie there is a blitz play-off for the title, so Khai had to play Danya in front of a watching audience of perhaps a hundred critical chess players. Undaunted, Khai won an excellent game, with a slashing sacrificial attack. At the prize-giving ceremony, Grand Master Raymond Keene described Khai’s game as of higher quality than the blitz play-off for the Masters title between Grand Masters Gawain Jones and Sergey Tiviakov – which is high praise indeed. So Galway has produced yet another champion (with a little help from Kuala Lumpur, where Khai was until six months ago).
For a long time it looked as if there would also be a Galway winner in the Minor section (under 1200), when Andrejs Kozlovs started out with five straight wins, putting him in outright first place with one round to go. Unfortunately he had a mishap in the last round, losing a won position against the eventual winner, and so Andrejs had to settle for third prize. Nevertheless, to win any prize at all in a section with so many strong and under-rated juniors is an outstanding achievement.
Khai and Andrejs were our two prize-winners, but there were more excellent results that didn’t quite win a prize.
In the Challengers section (1600 to 2000), Denis Ruchko scored 4½ points, coming forth equal, and thus just missing out on an overall prize (as there were only prizes for the top three) and also on a rating prize (on the narrowest of tie-breaks). Our other entrants also all did well and finished above their expected placing: Zalan Nemeth finished with 4 points, and Jason Rawlinson and Pete Morriss both scored 3½.
In the Major section, there were other good results in addition to Khai’s. Noteworthy here was Andrew Barber, who went through the tournament undefeated on 3½ points; Paul Ward also achieved the same score. Even more worthy of praise was Kynesha Ryder, who scored 3/6, despite being the lowest-rated player in the section. The rating points gained here should consolidate her in over-1200 sections from now on – and then it’s just a matter of continuing to climb. Eamonn Abberton also finished on 3 points, recovering from a somewhat ropey start. Ger Abberton, on the other hand, started strongly, but it seemed to go to his head as he only managed 2 points; it didn’t help that he came up against his brother in the last round.
In the Minor section it looked at one point as if we might have two prize-winners as in round 5, when Andrejs was winning on top board, Bill Delee was on board two. Bill, however, faded a bit on the Sunday, ending with a creditable 4 points but out of the prizes. Also on 4 points was Ian Finnerty, who, like Andrew, had the achievement of going through the tournament undefeated. Other Galway players in this section were Marek Fijalkowski who hasn’t played for a while but came back strongly with 3½ points; Zoran Dragic (playing in his first weekend tournament) who finished comfortably with 3; and Andrew Finnerty, who started with two fine wins, but then unfortunately couldn’t add to his score.
If there’s anybody else I’ve carelessly left out, please email us or post here and we’ll include you here.
The latest of our monthly blitzes took place on Thursday 22 February. The star performer on the night was undoubtedly James Blackwell, who started as one of the lowest rated entrants, but finished third, with 4½ points out of seven, having played – and mostly beaten – all the strongest players in the tournament. Indeed, he was first equal with two rounds to go, but couldn’t quite maintain that position, and so had to be content with the grading prize. The overall prize was shared by two players on 6 points: Alex Drimbarean (who lost to James and won all his other games) and Pete Morriss (who lost to Alex).
Secondary School champions this year are St. Geralds, Castlebar .. for full report and to see where our Galway teams placed (including final league tables) click .. here!
The next monthly blitz tournament will be held on Thursday 22 February at our normal home upstairs at the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road. Start time 7.45. As usual there will be seven rounds, at a playing speed of 5 minutes per player per game, plus each player gets an increment of 5 seconds per move. We are looking forward to seeing newcomers and olds hands alike.
Our first blitz tournament of 2018, held on Thursday 25 January, saw some familiar names from 2017 collecting the prizes. The winner was Jason Rawlinson, who scored 6 points out of 7 (Jason lost only to Khai Asyraf, who was playing in his first Galway Blitz; but Jason demonstrated that he has learnt how to beat all the regulars by winning all his remaining games – so Khai needs to get his wins in before Jason rumbles how to beat him as well). Second, for now the fifth month in a row, was Pete Morriss on 5½ – he won in January and February 2017, but has obviously forgotten since then how to actually win these tournaments. The grading prize was won again by November’s winner, Andrejs Kozlovs; this is probably his last chance to get the coveted grading prize, as we expect his grade to soar after his next graded tournament in Bunratty next month.
Our first blitz tournament of 2018 will be on Thursday 25 January. It will be the usual format: seven rounds at a time rate of 5 minutes per player for the game plus 5 seconds increment per player per move. It will also be the usual time and location: 7.45 p.m. in the Bridge Centre (upstairs), St Mary’s Road. All equipment is provided by the club, so just bring yourself – and all your chess-playing friends. Non-members are welcome to play as a trial introduction to the club; members are also welcome, of course.
We held eleven monthly blitz tournaments in 2017 – there wasn’t one in May, as there was the Rapidplay tournament instead. In all, 42 different people played in at least one tournament; just two played in all eleven. There were eight different winners of the tournament (including ties); repeat winners were Brendan Buckley and Jason Rawlinson (both three times) and Pete Morriss (twice). There were nine different winners of the grading prize; the only repeat winner was Kynesha Ryder, who won three times. The person who scored the most points overall during the year was Pete Morriss, largely because he played in all eleven tournaments.
|January||Pete Morriss||Carlos Silva||K. S. Gopal|
|February||Pete Morriss||Denis Ruchko||Kynesha Ryder|
|March||Fintan Hegarty||Denis Ruchko||Kynesha Ryder|
|April||Denis Ruchko||Pete Morriss||Billy Delee|
|June||J. Rawlinson, B. Buckley||Pranav Phatak|
|July||Jason Rawlinson||B. Buckley, F. Hegarty||Zoran Dragic|
|August||B. Buckley, David McCann||Maksym Ruchko|
|September||Jason Rawlinson||A. Jimenez, Z. Nemeth, P. Morriss||James Blackwell|
|October||Brendan Buckley||Pete Morriss||Kynesha Ryder|
|November||Alex Drimbarean||Pete Morriss||Andrejs Kozlovs|
|December||Conall Hegarty||Pete Morriss||Ger Abberton|
Players who scored more than ten points during the year were:
|Points scored||Tournaments played||Average|