Galway Rapidplay 2019: Report

This year’s Galway Rapidplay attracted a total of 49 entries, which is the highest number we’ve had, at least since we resurrected the Rapidplay in 2013.

With that number of players, it took a while for the top players to meet, but after four rounds there were only two players on maximum points and they were the top two seeds: Colm Daly and Rory Quinn. However, well positioned just half a point behind were the very talented young siblings Tarun and Trisha Kanyamarala (aged just 14 and 13), who had dropped their half-points when they had a quick draw with each other in round 3.  In round 5, Colm beat Rory, and both Kanyamaralas also won with black against higher-rated opponents, setting up the pairings in round 6 of Tarun against Colm, and Rory against Trisha.  These games were both won by white, the crucial top game being particularly hard-fought.  That left Tarun in the lead going into the last round, half a point ahead of Colm and Rory, who had now been joined on 5 points out of 6 by Darragh Moran and David Cormican, both of whom had made late surges.  (Darragh’s only loss was to Colm in round 2, whilst David’s loss had been to third seed Ciaran Quinn.)  In the final round Colm duly beat David fairly quickly, but the top-board game between Tarun and Darragh proved to be a real struggle, reaching a complicated position when Tarun gave up his queen for rook, piece and pawn.  This game continued long after all the other games had finished, eventually ending in a draw.

So first place was shared between Colm Daly and Tarun Kanyamarala, with third place also being shared half a point behind (after Rory surprisingly lost his last round game) by Darragh Moran and Trisha Kanyamarala.  Tarun Kanyamarala thus becomes the youngest-ever winner of the Galway Rapidplay, beating Conor O’Donnell’s record of winning aged 16, in 2015.  Note that three of the four prize-winners are juniors, thus continuing the fine performances by Juniors shown in the Galway Congress in March.

Other prize-winners were as follows.  Because of the high number of entries, we provided two grading prizes, instead of the advertised one.  The prize for Band A (1000-1599) was shared between David Cormican and Lukasz Daros, on five points.  Band B (under 1000) was also shared, this time a three-way tie between David Cunningham, Oscar Roe and Scott Reilly on three points.  The Junior Prize, which can be won alongside other prizes, was predictably won by Tarun Kanyamarala; and an additional under-12 Junior Prize was shared by David Cunningham and Oscar Roe.

Full standings and a cross-table of results are available here.


Scott, Oscar and David receiving their grading prize

Lukasz and David receiving their grading prize

Darragh receiving his 3rd place prize

Trisha receiving her 3rd place prize

Colm and Tarun sharing 1st place.

May Blitz Results

The first blitz tournament of the summer was held on 23 May in the Bridge Centre.  It was won, fairly convincingly in the end, by Pete Morriss, who scored 6½ points out of 7.  His one draw was against Ger Abberton, who was first equal with Pete with three rounds to go, but then fell back and his challenge evaporated.  There was a tight contest for second place, which ended in a four-way tie, on 4½ points, between Kynesha Ryder, Fintan Hegarty, Brenden Buckley and Jason Rawlinson.   Kynesha Ryder had the slightly better tie-break, and so pipped the others for the cash prize that is a feature of our summer blitzes.  The under-1300 rating prize was won deservedly by Andrew Finnerty, who also won in March, on 4 points.

Next Blitz tournament: Thursday 23 May

Our next blitz tournament is on Thursday 23 May 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).  As this is out of season, there will be a charge of €5 to cover the cost of renting the room, with any money left over being returned in prize money.  Yes: PRIZE MONEY!

Galway Rapidplay: Saturday 8 June 2019

This year’s Galway Rapidplay will take place on Saturday 8 June, at the Bridge Centre, St Mary’s Road, Galway. (For the location of the Bridge Centre, see here.) The format will be seven rounds, with each player having 15 minutes to make all their moves, plus an extra ten seconds for each move. The event will start at 11 a.m. (prompt!), and we expect that it will finish by 7 p.m.  To enter, email your name and details to us at galwaychess [at] gmail [dot] com by midday on Friday 7th, and pay the entry fee of €15 on arrival between 10 and 10.45 a.m..  Full information about the tournament is available in the Rapidplay 2019 tab above.

Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and sandwiches and other nourishment will be available to purchase at the venue.

We are looking forward to seeing you – if you have any queries please do ask us.

Colm Daly2236
Rory Quinn2138
Ciaran Quinn2055
Johannes Hertel1989
Tarun Kanyamarala1986
Brendan Buckley1951
Jacob Flynn1943
Dara Murphy1907
Conall Hegarty1821
Trisha Kanyamarala1761
Jason Rawlinson`1741
Phillip Foenander1710
Kenneth Higgins1657
Leon Putar1651
Christopher Armstrong1593
Fintan Hegarty1591
Joe McDonnell1569
Slavko Putar1568
Andrejs Kozlovs1559
Zoran Dragic1524
David Cormican1504
Paddy Divilly1503
Andrew Barber1395
Lukasz Daros1321
Aoife Castle1265
Andrew Finnerty1182
Hamza Selman Celik1148
James Blackwell1079
John O'Dowd1074
Bill Delee1042
John Bourke946
Seán Durnin934
Ian Finnerty907
David Cunningham880
James Mulvey873
Yuliya Makarenko772
Sumanth Shindgi758
Szymon Wegrzyn734
Scott Reilly666
Morgan O'Loughlin639
Oscar Roe636
Aleksandr Mc Aleer247
Ben Arthur
Richard Casserly

End of Season Blitz

There were 12 attendees at our April/End of Season blitz. This made an all-play-all rather tricky, but by taking 30seconds off the clock after each round, we managed to squeeze all the games in. The beautiful crosstable is below, whence you can see that in first place was Zalan with 10.5/11, having conceded a draw only to Big Andy; in second place was Jason with 9/11, losing only to Zalan and Johannes; and in third place, with 8.5 points was newcomer Johannes.

There will continue to be monthly blitzes, weekly meetings from 8 on Tuesdays in Monroe’s, and the annual Galway Rapidplay will take place on June 8th, so keep your calendars free.

Watch this space!

Galway Chess Congress 2019: Report

127 people played in the 2019 Galway Congress, which was well up on the numbers the last time the event was held two years ago.  It was also one of the most international we have had, as players came from Latvia, Germany (several), Sweden, and England, as well as from the North.  We again demonstrated that chess appeals to all ages: the oldest player was a few months under 80 and the youngest just two months over 7.  We also seem to be good at introducing people to organized chess, as thirty entrants were playing their first-ever rated games (nearly a quarter of the total).  Most of those thirty joined the ICU because of the Galway congress, so the ICU got a lot of new members thanks to us.  The one disappointment was the relatively small field in the top section: 14, plus a visitor – the ICU Ratings Officer, as it happened – who kindly stepped in as a filler for one game.  We have tried a number of inducements to attract stronger players – such as offering free entry and inviting foreign GMs and IMs – but, like many Irish tournaments in recent years, we have only managed to attract a small fraction of the sixty or so Irish-based players rated over 2000. If we knew what we could do to attract more, we would certainly do it.

Despite the relatively small field, the Masters section saw probably the outstanding performance of the weekend, by the convincing winner, sixteen-year-old Henry Li, who had already won the tournament with a round to spare after five straight wins (including one against International Master Vladimir Sveshnikov); he eased up in the last round and conceded a draw to Grand Master Alex Baburin, to finish on 5½ points.  Henry thereby becomes the youngest-ever winner of the Galway trophy, beating by over three years the previous record which was held by Gawain Jones.  Since Gawain is now firmly established in the top hundred in the world, Henry has the prospect of an outstanding chess future ahead of him if he can continue to better Gawain’s achievements.

Second equal, a long way behind on 4 points, were top seed Vladimir Sveshnikov from Latvia and Galway’s Denis Ruchko, whose result in any other year would have been the most noteworthy: Denis, at not yet sixteen, is even younger than Henry and was rated second to last in this section; he played all the top players in the event, drawing with both IM Sveshnikov and GM Baburin, whilst his only loss was against Henry Li after a rather wild game.

There were two rating prizes for which those rated under 2000 were eligible.  Denis Ruchko was the clear winner here, but under the rule that one can only win one prize (the one of higher value) he had to be content with ‘only’ getting the shard second prize.  Therefore the first rating prize went to Brendan Ruane from England, who scored 3½ points, and the second to Darragh Moran on 3.

The Major section (1200-1800) also had a clear winner: Khai Asyraf (as he is known in Galway, or Muhammad Khairil Asyraf Khairil Annuar, as he is more formally known to the ICU) had assured himself of at least first equal with a round to go after five straight wins, and secured first place by agreeing a fairly quick draw in the last round.  It has been a very good couple of months for Khai: he won the Bunratty Major (1200-1600) section last month with a faultless six wins from six, and has also ensured that he will be the new Galway Winter League champion, again with a round to spare after winning his first six games in that tournament.  So that is a cumulative record this year of seventeen wins, one draw, and not one loss.

There was a four-way tie for second place between thirteen-year-old Leon Putar, Jason Harris, Leo Phelan, and Dara Murphy, all on 4½ points.  In this section there were five rating prizes in two bands.  In Band A (1400-1599), in which there were two prizes, three players tied on 4 points so this had to be resolved by tie-break: Galway’s Jarek Wieczorek came out first, and Joe O’Hanlon second, whilst Lara Putar unfortunately narrowly missed out on a prize – but as she is only twelve, we are sure that her time will come, and probably very soon.  Band B (1200-1399) was won by Jason Harris who (unlike Denis in the Masters) received the rating prize as the more valuable; second prize in Band B went to by Phillip Foenander, who just pushed Ruairi McKenna-Carroll into the third prize on tie-break, both scoring 3½ points.

The Minors section (under-1200) was the most closely fought of all three, and resulted in a tie for first place between eleven-year-old Atharva Paibir and thirteen-year-old James Crowley, on 5½ points.  The Hugh Finan Memorial Trophy went to Atharva on tie-break; he was also the youngest tournament winner this year, and probably the youngest ever, although unfortunately we do not seem to have kept a complete record of the ages of past winners.  Third prize was shared between three Galway players on 5 points: Joshua Sawantawadi, Zoran Dragic (who were both also eligible for a rating prize, and so received that) and eleven-year-old Andrew Finnerty, who, at ten days younger than Atharva, was the youngest prize-winner this year (and maybe youngest ever).  Andrew, like Henry Li and Khai Asyraf, was leading the tournament outright after round 5, with five wins; but unlike the others he couldn’t secure the draw he needed in the last round, being beaten by the eventual winner Atharva Paibir.

In this section there were seven rating prizes, to reflect the large number of entries.  The rating prize in Band A (800-999) went to thirteen-year-old Ritvik Trehan, who edged out the oldest player in the tournament, Maurice Coveney, on tie break, after they had both scored 4½ points.  (It would have been symbolic if we had had the youngest-ever and oldest-ever prize-winners in the same section this year, but alas it didn’t quite work out like that.)  Band B (700-799) was won by Zoran Dragic, who as mentioned above also came third equal.  In Band C (rated under 700) there was a tie on 3½ points between three very young players, which had to be resolved by the tie-break: Charles Ridgway (who is not yet 13) came out ahead of fourteen-year-old John Carton and Diana Bueckert (even younger at not yet 11).  In Band D (unrated, and playing in their first tournament) there were three prizes to reflect the large number in that category, and, perhaps surprisingly in view of what has just been reported, juniors did not win any of them: first prize went to Joshua Sawantawadi, who came third equal on 5 points, which is an excellent result in his first tournament; second prize went to Pranav Verma who scored 4 points (both Joshua and Pranav are students at NUI, Galway and have been lured into playing in chess tournaments by the NUIG Chess Club); and third prize went to Daniel Van Tonder with 3½ points, who very narrowly edged out Mohamed Ameer (another NUIG student) on the second category of tie-break.

So overall this tournament will probably be remembered as a very good one for Ireland’s juniors in general, and Henry Li in particular.

Full results – standings and cross-tables – for all three sections can be found here.  The tournament has already been rated by the ICU, and the gains and losses of rating points can be found on their website: Masters, Major, Minors.  We will put up photos of the prize-winners, and some games from the top section, shortly.

March Blitz Results

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.

March Blitz: Thursday 28th

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).

Bunratty 2019

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.

February Blitz Results

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.

  • 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