Galway win Connaught League 2012

The talented (and handsome!) Galway team that played the final

Galway Chess Club has won the Connaught Chess League by beating the combined Castlebar/Westport team 3.5 to 1.5 in a tight final match played in NUIG on Sat, 21st July 2012.

The Connaught League is split into North and South Connaught divisions. The title is decided by the final match between the two division winners. This year North Connaught consisted of Manorhamilton, Castlebar/Wesport (or “CastleWest”) and Ballina while South Connaught had Galway NUIG and Ballinasloe. The league website is

Below is a report from Galway team captain Paul Ward:

In round 1 we played Ballinasloe with our team of 4 players against the 5 players from Ballinasloe yet we stil won a tight match 3.5 to

1.5 thanks to wins from Felix on board 1, Paul on board 2, Ger (debut in the league) on board 3 and a nice draw for Amos (also debut) on board 4.

We were due to play NUIG in the next round but unfortunately Fintan had to withdraw the team, so we were through to the semi-final against Ballina.

We beat Ballina 5-0! thanks to wins from the very strong Joona on board 1, Indy (who also played for Galway last year) on board 2 and wins for the three amigos Felix, Paul and Ger on boards 3,4 and 5.

This set up a repeat of last year’s final against Castlebar, who have now included Westport in thier ranks. The Galway team was Joona on board 1, David Path on board 2, and once again the three amigos Felix on board 3, Paul on board 4 and Ger on board 5 (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!).

Based on ratings, Galway had the advantage but we were black on three boards so a close match was expected and it was tight and tense in all games. Joona as black, won probably the most important game against the Castlebar number 1 Joe McDonnell, a very tactical c3 sicilian.

David (Path) as white beat David Baird by breaking through on the queenside in a tough battle.

The always solid Felix drew as black against the equally solid Eamon, team captain and main organisor of the league.

I beat John Hensey’s pirc defence in a tight game until it exploded into life after a central pawn break resulted in John losing the exchange of knight for rook and the attack on his king was too strong to stop.

Ger, who surprisingly played a Caro Kann against 1 e4, went up a pawn early against Michael O’Donnell but left a big hole on d6 for Michael to dominate with his knight and dark bishop and Ger finally lost a very tactical and interesting game.

So after the dust had settled, Galway were crowned the 2012 Connaught League Champions and keep the trophy until next year’s league. see the photo attached.

Thanks to all who have given up their time, assisted and played so well in this year’s event. Thanks to Castlebar/Westport for another entertaining final, plus all the work from Eamon in setting up the league.

Anyone who is interested in representing the Galway team in next year’s event can contact me. Maybe one year we could even enter two teams from the Galway club.

all the best, Paul Ward

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  • Upcoming Events for Galway Chess Club

    Casual meetings every Tuesday in Monroe’s Tavern from 8pm, and the calendar for official club events (which take place every Thursday upstairs in the Bridge Club on St. Mary’s Road) is detailed below:

    5th – Coaching – 20:00
    12th – Winter League Rd 3 – 19:30
    19th – Christmas Blitz & Close – 19:45
    9th – Re-opening blitz 19:45
    16th – Winter League Rd 4 – 19:30
    23rd – Rapidplay – 20:00
    30th – Coaching – 20:00
    6th – Winter League Rd 5 – 19:30
    13th – Rapid – 20:00
    20th – Blitz – 19:45
    27th – Coaching – 20:00
    5th – Winter League Rd 6 – 19:30
    12th – Rapid – 20:00
    19th – Blitz 19:45
    20th-22nd Galway Chess Congress
    26th – Coaching – 20:00
    April (TBD)


  • Club Competitions

    Galway Winter League standings:

    Name Rating Points
    David Andreu 1800 2
    Pete Morriss 1821 2
    Denis Ruchko 1989 2
    Jason Rawlinson 1683 2
    Johannes Hertel 1989 2
    Paul Ward 1466 1.5
    Diego Rodriguez 1880 1.5
    James Blackwell 1079 1
    Andrejz Kozlovs 1559 1
    Michael O’Donnell 1654 1
    Conor Monaghan Browne 500 1
    Eamonn Abberton 1482 1
    Oisin Hodgins 800 1
    Andrew Finnerty 1292 1
    Bill Delee 1043 1
    David Cunningham 898 1
    Pete Donlon 844 1
    Yaron Bachrach 1400 0
    Andrew Barber 1395 0
    Scott Reilly 798 0
    Gerard Abberton 1354 0

    Monthly blitz winners:

    Month Winner Grading Prize
    November Brian Gallagher Ger Abberton
    “Halloween” Jason Rawlinson/Johannes Hertel Hamza Celik
    October Jason Rawlinson Brian Gallagher
    September Pete Morriss James Sharkey
    August Zalan Nemeth Paul Ward
    July Jason Rawlinson David Cunningham
    June Denis Ruchko Ger Abberton
    May Pete Morriss Andrew Finnerty
    April Zalan Nemeth
    March Zalan Nemeth Andrew Finnerty
    February Pete Morriss Yuliya Makarenko/ Shane Murray
    January Zalan Nemeth Brendan McNelis