Upcoming Events for Galway Chess Club
June 18th: Casual meeting in Monroe’s from 8pm.
The home of chess in Galway
The March blitz, held on Thursday 28th March, saw all the prizes won by junior members of the club. Zalan Nemeth repeated his feat from January of coming first with seven straight wins, and the runner-up was Denis Ruchko on 6 points. The under-1300 rating prize was more closely contested, being won by Andrew Finnerty, who scored 2½ points despite having to leave after only five rounds; his rivals could not close the gap, taking points off each other to all finish on 2 points from their seven games.
Our next blitz tournament is on Thursday 28 March at our usual venue of upstairs in the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road (opposite St Mary’s School). Start time will be 7.45 p.m.; the tournament will end about 10.30. There will be seven rounds, and in each game you will have 5 minutes plus 5 seconds a move to make all your moves. We will provide sets and clocks, so all you need to do is bring yourself (and preferably some chess-playing friends as well).
Last weekend a good contingent of Galway players took part in the Bunratty Congress – the largest and most prestigious in Ireland.
Our star performer was undoubtedly Khai Asyraf, who won the Major section (1200-1600) for the second year in a row. Last year he won five games and drew one, and then had to win the title in a blitz play-off with the person he had drawn with; but this time he won with six straight wins, finishing a clear point ahead of the field. It is very rare for anybody to win a Bunratty section in consecutive years, and it is also very rare to win a section with 6/6, so Khai may well have achieved a unique feat.
Second in this section was Andrejs Koslovs, who lost to Khai and won his five other games; Andrejs would doubtless have won the Galway Player of the Tournament award in most other years. Last year Andrejs came (joint) third in the Minor section (under 1200); it is a huge step up from the under-1200 to under-1600 section, so to dominate it the way that Andrejs did in his first year is remarkable.
Other results were as follows.
The very strong top section (over 2000) contained two players who have been members of Galway Club in the recent past, but have had to leave Galway in search of employment elsewhere. Gabor Horvath scored an excellent 3 points, only being beaten by the very experienced Grandmaster Bogdan Lalic and Irish number two, International Master Sam Collins; and Gerardo Artola scored a highly commendable 2 points.
In the second section (1600-2000), our best performer was Keegan O’Mahoney, on 4 points. (Keegan has also left Galway to work elsewhere but as he joined the club earlier this season he is still technically a member.) Michael O’Donnell was next best with 3½ (which gained him quite a few rating points), Denis Ruchko and Pete Morriss both got 3 points, and Jason Rawlinson 2½ .
In the Major section (1200-1600), in addition to Khai and Andrejs, Paul Ward scored 4 points and Ger Abberton 2½, both gaining rating points in so doing.
Finally, in the under-1200 section, Bill Delee came seventh with 4½ points (becoming yet another Galway player to gain a lot of rating points), Andrew Finnerty, David Piercey, and Ian Finnerty all scored 3½, Zoran Dragic 2½, and Marek Fijalkowski 2.
The next tournament is the Galway Congress, when hopefully even more Galway players will shine.
The February blitz, held on Thursday 21st, was again marked by the absence of our long-standing regulars; indeed, the only such people present were our ever-enthusiastic juniors, and the ever-diligent organizer. Maybe holding it the day before the start of Bunratty proved not to be a very bright idea. Fortunately there were a fair few newcomers (and relatively new comers) so that the numbers were just about respectable. Just to show that the juniors don’t yet have it all their own way, the tournament was won by Pete Morriss with seven straight wins. Our juniors came second, third, fifth and sixth – the interloper being our star junior of some fifteen years ago, Dara Murphy. The best of the juniors on the night was Denis Ruchko, who came second with 5½ points. The rating prize was awarded to the highest performer who does not yet have a rating, and was shared by Yuliya Makarenko and Shane Murray on 3 points.
The January blitz saw the absence of several regulars (who presumably should now be called irregulars) but the numbers were much the same as usual thanks to several newcomers, which was good to see and we look forward to them soon becoming regulars (or irregulars). The results were eventually very similar to those we had seen in November, though this time Zalan Nemeth went one better than his November performance, by scoring seven straight wins to be the clear winner on 7 points. Second, again, was Brendan Buckley on 5½, losing to Zalan in round 3 in the crucial game and then being held to a draw by Pete Morriss in the last round. The grading prize (1300 and under) was won by newcomer Brendan McNelis with 3 points; to win a prize at that level in one’s first tournament is unusual, so Brendan clearly has considerable potential which we hope to see develop in the club.
Our first blitz tournament of 2019 will be on Thursday 24 January, at our usual venue of upstairs in the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road (opposite St Mary’s School). Start time will be 7.45 p.m.; the tournament will end about 10.30. There will be seven rounds, and in each game you will have 5 minutes plus 5 seconds a move to make all your moves. We will provide sets and clocks, so all you need to do is bring yourself (and preferably some chess-playing friends as well).
Galway Chess Congress will take place at the Menlo Park Hotel, from Friday 22nd March to Sunday 24th March 2019. You can enter here. Full information about the tournament, including information on which section you can enter, times of the rounds, tournament rules, and information about local accommodation is available here .
We look forward to seeing you at the Congress. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line, either to the website or direct to our email address: galwaychess [at] gmail [dot] com.
There were fewer players than we expected at the Christmas blitz, held on Thursday 20 December – which meant that those of us who were there ate more mince pies than was good for our waistlines. But they were very enjoyable at the time, as was the chess. The eventual winner was Pete Morriss, with 6½ points out of 7 (drawing with Denis Ruchko, and winning the rest); second was Zalan Nemeth on 6 points (losing to Pete and winning all his other games); and the rating prize was won by Andrew Barber, on a highly commendable 4 points. The award for the best seasonal costume was won by Yuliya Makarenko by a mile, and the important one for the player who brought the best mince pies was shared between Kynesha Ryder and Paul Ward.
That concludes our activities for this year. Seasonal greetings to all our members (and readers), and remember that your New Year’s resolution should be to play more chess at Galway Chess Club in 2019.
Our last blitz tournament of 2018 will take place on Thursday 20 December, in our usual venue of the Bridge Centre (upstairs), St. Mary’s Road. Start time 7.45; expected finishing time about 10.30. There will be seven rounds you will have to make all your moves in 5 minutes per game plus 5 seconds a move. We provide sets and clocks. Newcomers are welcome. No entry fee; no prizes – but rumour has it that there will be (edible) seasonal goodies on offer instead.
After that, the club will close for a short christmas break, reopening early in the new year.
Galway Chess Club’s November blitz tournament was held on Thursday 22nd. The tournament was a near-reprise of September’s, in that before the half-way stage it had become a two-way contest between Zalan Nemeth and Brendan Buckley. But whilst in September Zalan had lost in the first round (to James Blackwell) before powering through the field to finish first equal on 6 points, this time Zalan went one better (or a half better) by drawing in the first round (against Ger Abberton). Brendan, on the other hand, scored win after win until the showdown with Zalan occurred in round 4, in which Zalan was again victorious. The two players then opened up an increasing gap between them and the rest of the field by winning all their remaining games, so that at the end the winner was Zalan Nemeth on 6½ points and second Brendan Buckley on 6. The grading prize saw three eligible contestants each finish on 3 points: Andrew Barber, Andrew Finnerty and Ger Abberton; the tournament organizer considered that if it was necessary to resolve this tie, the nod should go to Ger, in recognition of his success in being the only player in the whole field to avoid defeat against Zalan, but as there was no need to split the tie, the prize should be shared between all three.