Galway Winter League, Round 1.
Z. Nemeth K. Asyraf J. Rawlinson P. Ward D. Murphy M. O’Donnell P. Morriss D. Piercy A. Kozlovs Z. Drogic A. Barber J. Blackwell I. Danial K. Ryder B. Delee G. Abberton A. Zariq I. Finnerty
The home of chess in Galway
The annual Galway Rapidplay, held on Saturday 26 May, was won convincingly by top seed International Master Álvaro Valdés Escobar, from Chile. Álvaro won his first six games seemingly comfortably enough, before conceding a draw in his final game to finish on 6½ points. In second place was Irish champion Philip Short with 6 points: Philip lost to Álvaro in the tournament decider in round 5, and won all his remaining games.
Whilst the first two places were decided quite early, the contest for the remaining prizes was a fierce one. Eventually they were shared amongst three players, all on 5 points: they were last year’s winner Colm Daly, Galway’s Denis Ruchko (who also won the junior prize for the third year in a row) and John Hensey from Westport (who also won the under-1500 rating prize). The highest placed female player was Kynesha Ryder, for the second year running.
John’s performance was particularly noteworthy: not only did he finish third when seeded 25th out of 31 players, but in the last round he beat an Irish international rated over a thousand points higher than him. Whilst on the subject of giant-killers, mention must be made of Galway’s Zoran Dragic, who was rated flat last (based on a provisional ICU rating obtained in Bunratty) yet nevertheless ended up joint 6th, on 4½ points, beating no fewer than three players nominally rated about a thousand points higher than him.
Full standings, crosstable and photos of prize winners are here.
And here is the happy winner receiving his prize from tournament organizer Pete Morriss.