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 April Blitz, held on 19 April, proved to be a triumph for youth. The winner was the youngest player, fourteen-year old Denis Ruchko, who swept all before him, winning all seven games. And second was the second-youngest, Kynesha Ryder, who is sixteen, and scored 5 points out of 7. (The oldest entrant was third, but there are no prizes for being third.) Kynesha’s performance was particularly noteworthy as, in a strong field, she was eligible for the grading prize; despite the standard rule that the grading prize is not given to anyone who wins a place prize, she was awarded the grading prize as well, in recognition of her achievement. Which is not to take anything away from Denis – who is also the current holder of the Galway Winter League title, and the (adult) Connaught champion) – who was simply in a league of his own.
This month’s Blitz tournament will be held on Thursday 19 April. (Please note that this is not the date originally announced, which was 12 April; unfortunately we have had to postpone it for a week. Many apologies.) As usual, it will be held in Galway Bridge Centre (upstairs), starting at 7.45, and will consist of 7 rounds, finishing about 10.30. All equipment will be provided. Non-members are welcome, as well as club members.
Congratulations to both Denis Ruchko & Andrejs Koslovs, long time friends they were winners at the Connaught Senior Chess Championships. Denis is Senior Champion and Andrejs is the Intermediate Champion of Connaught.
Also this week-end (just down the road) the Irish junior Championships are being held in Co. Clare .. anyone wishing to join the boys in Shannon .. click here for details.
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.