NEWS AND RECENT RESULTS
LISBURN BLITZ & BULLET CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019
Saturday 23 February 2019, 10:45am to 3:45pm
This will be our first chess tournament in the city of Lisburn. The blitz is 7 rounds with 10 minutes each on the clock. The bullet tournament is 6 rounds with 1 minute each on the clock for all the moves. Please visit the tournament page by clicking HERE
GROOMSPORT RAPIDPLAY 2019
Groomsport Parish Halls
Thursday 21 February 2019, 7:45pm to 10:45pm
This is a night-time rapidplay tournament scheduled during school mid-term to allow as many children and teenagers to participate in the event. It is 15 minutes each over 5 rounds. Please visit the tournament page by clicking HERE
ARMAGH RAPIDPLAY 2019 - FIDE RATED
The Royal School Armagh
Saturday 30 March 2019
FIDE rated. In a continuing drive to reach beyond the Belfast metropolitan area, we are looking forward to holding our first ever rapidplay chess championships in Armagh this Spring. The event is is kindly sponsored by The Royal School Armagh who are providing us with excellent facilities for the tournament. Please visit the tournament page by clicking HERE
NEWRY RAPIDPLAY 2019
Sean Hollywood Arts Centre, Newry
Saturday 2 February 2019
We were excited to launch the first ever rapidplay chess championships in Newry, acting as a celebration of the recent affliation of the Ulster Chess Union [UCU] with the Irish Chess Union [ICU]. Press attended the event along with representatives from the UCU and ICU. The tournament was held in the Bell Gallery on the first floor of the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre and was kindly sponsored by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. 52 players attended the the tournament, travelling from all across Ireland. Congratulations to the 10 prize-winners, a full list can be found on the tournament page HERE
Sunday 28 January 2019
Each quarter we will compare FIDE and UCU ratings to tie in with the UCU rating lists published every 3 months in January, April, July and October. Please visit the page by clicking HERE
BANGOR JANUARY BLITZ 2019
Groomsport, County Down
Thursday 24 January 2019
Congratulations to the 6 prize-winners at the Bangor January Blitz 2019: Champion Brendan Jamison (6/6), 2nd Richard Proctor (5/6), 3rd Owen Wilson (4/6), Top Teenager Adam Rushe (3.5/6), Top Child Player Ben Toogood (4/6) and Top Newcomer Callum Magennis (3/6). For further info please visit the tournament page by clicking HERE
WILLIAMSON SHIELD 2019
Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast
Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 January 2019
Congratulations to the 7 prize-winners at the Williamson Shield which was held at the Maynard Sinclair Pavilion over the weekend of 19th to 20th January. Gabor Horvath was crowned champion with an undefeated run of 5.5/6, only drawing one game to Mark Newman. Meanwhile, Paddy Magee won the Intermediate, also delievring an impressive 5.5/6. Assistant Arbiters Adam Rushe and John Bradley worked alongside Chief Arbiter Brendan Jamison, while Adrian Dornford-Smith expertly directed the 6 live boards. For a list of all prize-winners please visit the tournament page by clicking HERE
HONORARY LIFE-TIME MEMBERSHIPS AWARDED
Methodist College, Belfast
Saturday 12 January 2019
Congratulations to Geoff Hindley and James Fairley, today they were both awarded Honorary Life-time Membership of the Ulster Chess Union for devoting so much time and resources to Children's Chess for over a decade. The development of youth chess is one of the top priorities of the UCU and we are grateful to all volunteers who help in this field. Children are the future of chess...
SIMUL MATCH WITH GABOR HORVATH (2252)
Groomsport, County Down
7:45pm to 10:45pm on Thursday 10 January 2019
Bangor Chess Club held a simul match against 12-time international chess champion Gabor Horvath, from Hungary. He is the current Ulster Blitz Champion and has a FIDE rating of 2252. Gabor won 19 games and drew 3. He was totally undefeated across the 22 boards. Stephen Cullen, Peter Wilson and James O'Fee all secured draws, with the latter also claiming the title of 'Last Man Standing'. Of the four females competing, 18 year old Rachel Eachus from Mallusk survived the longest, while 13 year old Callum Magennis from Regent House Grammar School was the best school-boy after the others were eliminated. For further info, please visit the event page here
NEW YEAR RAPIDPLAY 2019
Groomsport, County Down
7:45pm to 11pm on Thursday 3 January 2019
Bangor Chess Club attracted 44 players to a new year's rapidplay on Thursday 3rd January 2019. For a list of all 14 prize-winners please click here
GM Luke McShane (2664) will take on 30 players in Belfast on Thursday 21 February 2019
GM LUKE McSHANE v BELFAST
Annual Grandmaster Simul
6:45pm to 11:45pm on Thursday 21 February 2019
We are delighted to announce that English GM Luke McShane (2664) from London will be duelling with 30 of our local chess players in an exciting simultaneous match on Thursday 21 February 2019. So far, 25 players have won tickets for the event. For further info please click here: 2019 SIMUL
Brendan Jamison delivering an opening lecture at Strand Chess Club on Sunday 9 December 2019
COACHING ON CHESS OPENINGS
Bangor Chess Club at Groomsport Parish Hall
8 to 9pm on Thursday 20 December 2018
Brendan Jamison will deliver a special demo board lecture in Groomsport on Thursday 20th December. The coaching session will focus on openings and will run from 8 to 9pm. It is free entry. Brendan will discuss opening theory with strategic plans for White and Black. He will ask questions to the group as he works through each opening to keep the session engaging and interactive. Brendan will also distribute hand-outs at the end of the coaching session which covers all the opening variations discussed. The coaching is specifically geared towards players rated under 1200, unrated or just beginning their chess adventures with a basic knowledge. The attendees will range from children aged 10 and above, teenagers and adults. New chess players are always welcome to attend Bangor Chess Club and see if they enjoy it. This is a great opportunity to visit the club during a non-league week as it’s a very relaxed environment and any new players can become a member in 2019 if they wish to attend regularly.
Groomsport Parish Hall, 30 Main Street, Groomsport, County Down, BT19 6JR
Left to right: Rapidplay Champion Robert Lavery, 2nd Place Danny Roberts, Junior Rapidplay Champion John Sweeney, Junior 2nd Place Adrian Gilmore, Top Female Clare Finnegan, Under 600 Grading Prize Winner Katy Thornton and Under 1050 Grading Prize-Winner Paul Anderson
OMAGH RAPIDPLAY 2018
Christian Brothers Grammar School, Omagh
November 24, 2018
ULSTER MASTERS 2018
Bowling Club at Pavilion Sports Grounds, Stormont Estate, Belfast
November 10-11, 2018
BANGOR BLITZ CHAMPIONSHIP 2018
Parish Hall, 30 Main Street, Groomsport, County Down
November 1, 2018
During the free week in the league over Halloween break, Bangor Chess Club held their annual Blitz Championship with 34 players. Congratulations to Champion: Danny Roberts (10.5/12), 2nd Place: Brendan Jamison (9.5/12), 3rd Place: Steven Eachus (9.5/12), Top Bangor Player: Albert McCarter (7.5/12), Bangor Junior Champion/Under 1500 Grading Award: James Wong (7/12), Top Teenage Player: Adam Rushe (7/12), Under 1000 Grading Award: Michael Wong (6/12), Top Child Player: Adam Fitzsimons (6/12), Top Female Player: Skyla McConkey (2.5/12) and Best Newcomer: Gary Zachary (5.5/12). For tournament info and photographs visit the event page HERE
Portrush Atlantic Hotel, County Antrim
October 12-13, 2018
At the Portrush Atlantic Hotel, a mini chess festival took place at the beautiful North Coast of Northern Ireland. Featuring a simul, rapidplay and blitz, you can find the report and photos on the event page HERE
ULSTER CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018
Europa Hotel, Belfast
August 25-27, 2018
The 2018 Ulster Chess Championships were once again kindly sponsored by the Europa Hotel, one of the leading luxury hotels in Belfast city centre. We had 57 entrants spread across 3 divisions. Congratulations to the new Ulster Champion Thomas Donaldson (1891) (5/6), who delivered beautiful attacking chess to inspire all the spectators, both in the room and those watching the live games online. For the full report with all the winners, please CLICK HERE
STRAND CHESS CLUB ANNUAL AWARDS 2018
Strand Arts Centre, East Belfast
April 29, 2018
It has been an epic first season for Strand Chess Club, winning the Senior and Junior sections of the Ulster Team Rapidplay Championships, followed by winning Divisions 3 and 4 in the Belfast and District Chess League. Meanwhile, Strand 1 and Strand 2 also exceeded expectations in Division 1 by finishing in 2nd and 3rd place respectfully. Many players also scooped league board prizes which will be presented at the UCU AGM in June 2018. On Sunday April 29, Strand's annual awards ceremony celebrated all of the team awards over the past season and also 8 individual trophies and medals for 'Player of the Season', 'Most Improved Player', 'Best Newcomer' and 'Performance of the Season' for best victory in each of the Strand teams. For a list of all the prize-winners, please CLICK HERE.
Geoff Hindley (left) presenting the special plaque to David McAlister
HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP AWARD
Presentation to David McAlister
April 22, 2018
At the Ulster Rapidplay Championships on Saturday April 21, the Ulster Chess Union presented David McAlister with an 'Honorary Lifetime Membership Award' for decades of voluntary service to Ulster Chess and Irish Chess, through extensive writing on chess history, reporting results, controlling over 100 tournaments and serving for 12 years as President of the Ulster Chess Union.
Brendan Jamison states that "David will be greatly missed when he moves to live in Scotland this summer. A true gentleman with an inspirational amount of passion for our local chess community, he set the foundations for so much of the success we currently enjoy in our expanding chess scene. A living legend with super high intelligence, strong interpersonal skills, perpetual level-headedness and a great sense of humour, and all of this combined with superb historical knowledge of Ulster Chess and Irish Chess. He has contributed so much time and energy since the 1970s and has influenced generations of chess lovers. David first won the coveted 'Silver King' in 1973 as captain of the QUB Division 1 team. He went on to win it three more times, in 1979 with CIYMS, followed up in 1992 and 1994 with Newtownards Chess Club. David is held in the absolute highest regards and we wish him every success as he begins this new chapter of his life. Hopefully David will return every now and again to play in some of our major Belfast events in the years ahead."
ULSTER RAPIDPLAY CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sponsored by Falls Bowling Club, Belfast
April 21, 2018
42 players travelled to Falls Bowling Club on Saturday April 21 for this year's Ulster Rapidplay Championships in West Belfast. Both sections offered a very high standard, with Nikhil Joshi crowned Ulster Rapidplay Champion and Colin Burcombe scooped the Intermediate Championship. For further info please CLICK HERE
Thursday April 19, 2018: Live radio inteview with Nigel Blair on Belfast 89FM to promote the Ulster Rapidplay Championships at Falls Bowling Club
NEW CHESS CLUB IN LISBURN
Supported by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
April 18, 2018
ChessNI is delighted to announce the arrival of a new chess club at the public library in Lisburn City Centre which will launch on May 5, 2018. Neil Gardner will be running the club every Saturday from 11am to 1pm. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to experienced players. Location: Lisburn City Library, 23 Linenhall Street, Lisburn, BT28 1FJ.
APRIL 2018 RATING LIST PUBLISHED
The highest rated active players in Northern Ireland
April 1, 2018
The beginning of April welcomed the release of the new rating list, published by Ratings Officer Robert Lavery. This is always an exciting peep into the ups and downs of local players to see who is progressing up the rating table and which clubs are rolling out the strongest players!
AWARDS AT BELFAST SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
Lanyon North, Queen's University, Belfast
March 27, 2018
The 20 round Belfast South tournament culminated at the end of March after an enjoyable 5 months of classical chess. Brendan Jamison (1808) was crowned champion, with Ting Yan Lee (1492) in second place. Grading prizes were awarded to David Ruben (1591), Cathal Murphy (1363) and Joshua Leslie (1136). For final standings please CLICK HERE
BELFAST versus BERLIN
Students' Union, Queen's University, Belfast
March 27, 2018
On Tuesday 27 March, an exciting international chess match was played at Queen's University, Belfast, when our top youth players competed against 11 teenagers from Germany. For details of the match please CLICK HERE
WILLIAMSON SHIELD 2018
Students' Union, Queen's University, Belfast
March 23-25, 2018
Congratulations to the 16 prize-winners at this year's Williamson Shield competition which ran over three days with a total of 6 rounds of classical chess. Nikhil Joshi (2046) was crowned Champion with 5/6 and Adrian Dornford-Smith (1102) won the intermediate section with the same undefeated score of 4 wins and two draws. For details of all the winners please CLICK HERE
BUNRATTY INTERNATIONAL CHESS FESTIVAL 25TH ANNIVERSARY
County Clare, Ireland
February 23-25, 2018
For results and prize-winners from the 32 players from Northern Ireland who competed at this year's Bunratty, please click here
RUSSIAN WGM DINA BELENKAYA SIMULTANEOUS
Good Shepherd Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Thursday February 22, 2018
Congratultions to WGM Dina Belenkaya from Saint Petersburg who scored 25.5 in a 30 player simultaneous in Belfast. After five and a half hours, 4 victors emerged, Gareth Annesley, Ross Harris, Nial Troughton and Michael Sheerin (now his third GM simul victory in a row!) and Brendan Jamison held Dina to a draw. Meanwhile Edward Khanzharov was awarded the title of 'Last Man Standing'. For more info about the event please click here
ULSTER TEAM RAPIDPLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Saturday February 3, 2018
Congratultions to Strand 1 who have been crowned the 2018 Ulster Team Rapidplay Champions. Meanwhile Bangor scooped the Intermediate title and the teenage team of Strand 3 won the Junior section. To find out more and view images from the event please click here
A NEW YEAR'S HEALTH CHECK: IS OUR CHESS SCENE EXPANDING?
Wednesday January 3, 2018
Brendan Jamison analyses the current membership levels of chess clubs across Northern Ireland and discusses where chess has contracted and expanded...To read the article please click here
PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2017
December 31, 2017
Congratulations to the award winners at the Player of the Year competition. It has been an exciting 12 months of accumulated awards which has produced our 9 winners through a grand-prix point scoring system. To visit the result tables, please click here
Ulster Blitz Champion 2017: Nikhil Joshi (right) as he collects his prize from Arbiter Damien Cunningham
ULSTER BLITZ CHAMPIONSHIP 2017
Ballynafeigh Bowling Club, Ormeau Road, Belfast
December 30, 2017
On the same day as Magnus Carlsen won the World Blitz Championships in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile back in Belfast, 28 competitors fought it out for the Ulster Blitz Championship. Congratulations to Nikhil Joshi (2103) for winning the tournament and also well done to the other 4 prize-winners: 2nd Place: Stephen Morgan (1714), 3rd Place: Sergio Esteve-Sanchez (1863), 4th Place: Thomas Donaldson (1761) and the Under 1200 Grading Prize: Dexter Harris. To visit the tournament page with full results, please click here
MEGA MATCH CHAMPIONSHIP 2017
Queen's University, Belfast
December 19, 2017
The two largest clubs in Northern Ireland held a 24-player battle with classic time controls of 3 hours per game. To read the complete report with full results, please click here
All the prize-winners: Left to right: Anthony White (on behalf of James White), Ciaran Rowen, Champion Nikhil Joshi, Dmitry Zelenchuk, Junior Champion Adam Rushe, Aaditya Singh, Niall Troughton and John Bradley.
OMAGH RAPIDPLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017
Christian Brothers Grammar School, Omagh
November 25, 2017
A fun-filled day of speed chess as two new champions were crowned. Congratulations to Nikhil Joshi who won the Senior Championship with 5.5/6 and Adam Rushe won the Junior section with the perfect score of 6/6. To view a complete list of all prize-winners, please click here
PRESIDENT OF FIDE MEETS WITH BELFAST YOUTH CHESS AMBASSADOR
15 November 2017
All the prize-winners: Left to right: Mark Newman, Alex Goss,Stephen Rush, Daniil Zelenchuk, Robert Lavery, Cathal Murphy, Adrian Dornford-Smith, Paul Anderson and Adam Rushe.
ULSTER MASTERS 2017
Students' Union, Queen's University Belfast
October 13-15, 2017
A thrilling weekend of chess saw three closely fought sections, with 10 players scooping prizes on the Sunday evening. To view a complete list of all prize-winners and photos from the evnet, please click here
All the prize-winners at this year's Ulster Championships at Europa Hotel, Belfast
ULSTER CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017
Europa Hotel, Belfast
September 2-3, 2017
The over 1700 senior section of this year’s Ulster Championships enjoyed a special international flavour with our favourite American competitors Steve Scannell (1983) and Stephen Rush (1844) joined by newcomers Nikhil Joshi (2103) from India and Sergio Pereira (2001) from Portugal. We also welcomed 3 exceptional young players from the Republic of Ireland, Jonathan Peoples (1757), Peter Carroll (1742) and Alex Goss (1714). Polish FIDE Master Karina Kruk WFM also entered the mix, as did Thomas Donaldson (1753), recently elected Chess Club President at Imperial College London. To continue reading the report please click here
Team Belfast in Saint Petersburg, Russia
SAINT PETERSBURG V BELFAST
The Youth Sports Schools of Kalininsky, Saint Petersburg, Russia
August 18-25, 2017
Mikhail Pavlov and Brendan Jamison arranged a chess match between Saint Petersburg and Belfast. The trip to Russia took place from Friday 18 to Friday 25 August 2017. Team Belfast featured 12 players: Mikhail Pavlov, Brendan Jamison, Ross Harris, Dexter Harris, Adam Fitzsimons, Edward Doak, Dmitry Zelenchuk, Daniil Zelenchuk, Mark Newman, Adrian Dornford-Smith, Barney McGahan and John Bradley. Further information can be found on the International Events Page
During Spring 2017, a series of successful fund-raising tournaments allowed a contribution towards the flight costs for the 4 children travelling to Russia. A total of £600 was split into 4 travel awards of £150 each to Adam Fitzsimons (8), Dexter Harris (8), Daniil Zelenchuk (14) and Edward Doak (17). We then received some additional private donations and a generous £150 business sponsorship from Language Training Solutions which enabled us to contribute towards the child visas which are extremely expensive at £130 each so we greatly appreciate the added help with these costs.
Left to right: Danny Roberts and Joanne Ritchie from Language Training Solutions presenting an award of £150 to organiser Brendan Jamison with two of the children representing Belfast in a chess match against Saint Petersburg in Augsut 2017, 8 year old Dexter Harris and 13 year old Daniil Zelenchuk.
Director of CHESS NI Brendan Jamison states that "we offer our sincere thanks to Daniel Roberts and Joanne Ritchie from Language Training Solutions who share our passion for the educational merits of a cross-cultural chess match in Saint Petersburg, interweaving the role of play and creativity with learning new language skills and improving communication techniques. When chess players from around the world move to Northern Ireland and have little grasp of the English language, many begin their integration process by joining our local chess community. We get extremely excited by players from overseas who join us at Belfast tournaments as they greatly enrich the cultural life of the city. In recent years, we have welcomed players from China, India, Egypt, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and The Phillipines. Hopefully this trend will continue and expand over the next decade as Belfast enjoys a rebirth as a vibrant cosmopolitan city."
Please visit our business sponsor's website:
All the prize-winners
CITY OF BELFAST CHAMPIONSHIPS
Students' Union, Queen's University, Belfast
May 6-7, 2017
All the prize-winners
BELFAST RAPIDPLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Good Shepherd Centre, Belfast
April 28, 2017
BELFAST BLITZ AND BULLET CHAMPIONSHIPS
Good Shepherd Centre, Belfast
March 4, 2017
In the Children's Blitz, 15 year old Ciaran Rowan (1038) sailed to victory as he secured the champion's trophy, followed by 8 year old Adam Fitzsimons (702) who won the silver medal for 2nd place. The position of 3rd place was extremely close, with 12 year old Joel McLean (1002) and 8 year old Dexter Harris (874) both level on 5/9 points as they entered round 10 in a final showdown. Both players attacked each other with elegant combinations but in the end Joel lost on time, however, he was commended for an excellent tournament performance. Dexter was awarded a bronze medal for winning 3rd place after a titanic last round battle which impressed all the spectators who encircled the table. Special mention should also go to young primary schoolboy James Fitzsimons (400) for all the joy and fun he brought to the playing room as he competed in his first ever chess tournament. His passion and enthusiasm for the game is definitely infectious!
The Bullet Championships were held as one open tournament with 1 minute on the clock and no increments. Daniil Zelenchuk (1426) was crowned Belfast Bullet Champion 2017 with an impressive score of 7/8. Second place was awarded to fellow Russian chess genius Mikhail Pavlov (1513) for 6/8 and in a similar fashion to his 3rd place in the Blitz, the super strong speed player Modestas Razbadauskas (1678) won the bronze medal with 6/8. Father to the Bullet Champion, Dmitry Zelenchuk (1178) won the Junior Championship with 4/8! In close 2nd was the up and coming teenage chess prodigy Edward Doak (1313) who secured the silver medal. 3rd place was awarded to Bangor Chess Club's mastermind Gary Johnston (1002), his second award of the day. The Children's band was won by Ciaran Rowan (1038) who took the gold medal, followed by Adam Fitzsimons (702) in second place.
This event, coupled with last week's Monster Double Simul Match, raised a total of £450 towards the flight costs for an upcoming Saint Petersberg verses Belfast Match in August 2017. Therefore ChessNI was able to present 3 travel awards of £150 each to 3 of Northern Ireland's most promising young stars, 8 year old Dexter Harris (874), 13 year old Daniil Zelenchuk (1426) and 16 year old Edward Doak (1313). Our sincere thanks to all the participants at these two events, without whom these grants could not have been awarded. Also, a gigantic thank you to the broader chess community who generously donated to this youth fund, in particular Norman McFarland, John O'Doherty and Martin Kelly, all of whom contributed £20 each.
For full list or results please CLICK HERE
Belfast and District Chess Leagues
DIVISION 3 IS WON BY QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY BELFAST
March 2, 2017
Participants, medal winners and joint champions at the Monster Double Simul Match
MONSTER DOUBLE SIMUL MATCH
Good Shepherd Centre, Ormeau Road, Belfast
February 24, 2017
The Double Monster Simul Match saw Mikhail Pavlov (1766) and Brendan Jamison (1743) go into battle against 11 different players. Brendan’s red team faced the Russian opera star; meanwhile Mikhail’s blue team duelled with the sugar cube sculptor.
Zooming about on their wheelie chairs, it was an exciting night where every point would count to decide the winner of the match. Lots of delicious refreshments were also on hand to distract the players from their games! A total of £120 was raised for the worthwhile cause of funding three children to fly to Russia in August for a 4 day chess match between Saint Petersburg and Belfast.
After 3 hours of continuous play, Pavlov won an impressive 8 games, drawing only one against Richard Gould who collected a silver medal award and losing two games to Ross Harris and Daniil Zelenchuk, both of whom won gold medals. The certificate for ‘last man standing’ [L.M.S.] went to Dmitry Zelenchuk. Pavlov’s total score was an incredible 8.5 points out of 11.
Meanwhile on the other side of the room, Jamison picked up 7 wins but drew three games against Mark Newman, Michael Sheerin and Robert Lavery, with all three scooping silver medals. He lost one game to Ram Rajan who won a gold medal for his victory. The certificate for ‘last man standing’ went to Adrian Dornford-Smith for lasting 77 moves. Jamison’s total was also 8.5 points out of 11. And so, after all the intensity of concentration, the high energy leg work to wheel their chairs at high speed around the room, their total focus and dedication in each game, in the end, the two monsters finished equal! Instead of playing a blitz-off, they agreed to share the trophy and were happy to remain ‘Joint-Champions of the Monster Double Simul Match’! A sincere thanks to everyone who participated, the evening was lots of fun and everyone really enjoyed the buzz!
For a complete suite of photos from the evening and the results table, please CLICK HERE
Mayor of Ennis, Ann Norton, presents the winning cup to Mikhail Pavlov, Bunratty Challengers Champion 2017
5 NI PLAYERS SCOOP AWARDS AT BUNRATTY INERNATIONAL
Bunratty Castle Hotel, County Clare, Ireland
February 17-19, 2017
35 players from Northern Ireland competed in Bunratty, Ireland's largest international chess festival. There were a total of 333 players across all 4 sections, with the Masters band featuring a wealth of high-profile figures, including Grandmasters Nigel Short, Jonathan Speelman, Mark Hebden, Alexander Baburin and Peter Wells. NI Chess hero David Houston (2219) finished with an impressive score of 3.5/6 in the Masters section of 48 players, in a field completely dominated by GMs, IMs and FMs!
Meanwhile in the Challengers (1600-1999), 83 players fought hard for the trophy and the 600 Euro first prize but it was Northern Ireland's top Russian chess player Mikhail Pavlov (1766) who won the entire section with an outstanding score of 5.5/6 and a tournament performance rating (TPR) of 2157. His phenomenal Round 5 game against WCM Diana Mirza (1854) can be viewed on the Games Archive page. The other notable score in this band was Sergio Esteve-Sanchez (1994) who also remained unbeaten, chalking up three draws and three wins to finish on 4.5/6.
The Major section (1200-1599) saw 13 year old Daniil Zelenchuk (1370) win the Band 1 grading prize with an impressive score of 4.5/6, finishing 5th out of 85 players. He was also the highest scoring NI player in this band. In Round 1 Daniil demonstrated a spectacular win over number 1 seed Jonathan Smith (1585), with a thrilling game of tactical brilliance which was broadcast live across the internet. Unsurprisingly, Daniil's TPR was 1628 and bodes well for his journey towards a 2000 rating in the years to come! Other outstanding performances in this section were by Liam Ferris (1247), Ram Rajan (1368) and John Phillips (1223), all finishing on 4/6, with Phillips scooping the Band 3 Grading Prize.
The Minor section (Under 1200) also saw a remarkable performance by Belfast player Rian Mellotte (987) who won 3rd prize with 5/6, followed closely by Tyrone Winter (944) who claimed the grading prize with 4.5/6. Two other impressive tournament results in this section came from QUB mastermind Chris Roe (1095) and UCU Treasurer Adrian Dornford-Smith (1155), both ending on 4.5/6 and finishing in the top 15 from a field of 117 players! Two other players from Northern Ireland shined through in this section, Ben Campbell (1010) and Iza Bujak (1188), both only losing one game and drawing two, with the pair ending with a very respectable 4/6.
To view a table of how our 35 players performed across each section, please CLICK HERE.
GM Mark Hebden makes his first move on board 1
GM MARK HEBDEN v BELFAST
Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Belfast
February 16, 7:15pm - 12:15am
Congratulations to English GM Mark Hebden for duelling with 31 of Northern Ireland's top players in Belfast tonight. He defeated 26, drew with 2 and lost only 3. The first win of the night was an impressive victory by Modestas Razbadauskas. This was followed by Mikhail Pavlov who cleverly trapped the GM's Bishop and finished with 3 extra pawns in the endgame. Another exceptional performance was delivered by Michael Sheerin who once again beat a GM, only 12 months after defeating GM Simon Williams in February 2016!
Current Ulster Champion Stephen Rush held Hebden to a draw, as did 13 year old Daniil Zelenchuk who played a spectacular game where he won a pawn and took it to an endgame simplification with his pawn and Rook versus the GMs Rook, with the latter defending accurately to hold the draw. The final prize of the night went to Ross Harris as the 'Last Man Standing', gallantly fighting head-to-head with the GM for the last 15 minutes of the match, completing a total of 105 moves!
The entire night was extremely enjoyable. The buzz in the air was electric. All the participants were thrilled to have the opportunity to play such a charismatic GM, our sincere thanks to Mark Hebden for all the fun and laughter. For full results and photos please CLICK HERE
9pm at the Chess-athon: Ulster Champion Stephen Rush, Brendan Jamison, Mikhail Pavlov and Ross Harris
24 HOUR CHESS-ATHON
NI Physiotherapy, Newtownards Road, Belfast
February 11-12, 2017
Congratulations to multi-award winning chess champion Ross Harris who has just completed a non-stop 24 hour Chess-athon. He has raised over £700 for a new children's chess club at Strand Arts Centre in East Belfast.
Starting at 8am on Saturday 11th February and continuing right through the night until 8am on Sunday 12th, it has been an exceptional feat of mental endurance. Completing over 100 games, Ross was on top tournament form, winning almost all of his over-the-board matches and drawing just 3. The half points were against current Ulster Champion Stephen Rush, Damien Cunningham and Brendan Jamison.
Epic battles throughout the day included 25 minute games against Dexter Harris, Ram Rajan, Dennis Thorpe, Mikhail Pavlov and several parents at Mark Newman's monthly Children's Chess Competition at Methodist College Belfast.
Generous donations flooded in, with large contributions from Calum Leitch, William Storey, Jason Harris, Patricia Managh, David McAlister, Chris Roe, Neal Lindores, Sergio Esteve Sanchez, Daniil Zelenchuk and Paul Anderson. This wonderful level of support demonstrates the passion we all share for the importance of children as the future of chess. Let us look forward to a new generation of IMs and GMs pouring out of Northern Ireland!
Special thanks should also go to Adrian Dornford-Smith, for not only supporting the event financially, but also for his tech support to ensure live streaming of the games at ulsterchess.net
In the end, Ross completed 21 over-the-board games and 80 online duels. Like all things Ross sets his mind to, it was an overwhelming success. His abundance of positive energy and enthusiasm for developing children's chess is phenomenal. A great inspirational figure in the local chess scene and a hero to all the kids he coaches every week. We salute you Ross, you are a total superstar!
6pm at the Chess-athon: Ross Harris, Blake Harris, Dexter Harris and Brendan Jamison
CHILDREACH INTERNATIONAL CHARITY CHESS TOURNAMENT
Students' Union, Queen's University, Belfast
February 3-5, 2017
Format: 6 round classic
The Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast
January 28-29, 2017
Format: 6 round classic
KIROVSKY NEW YEAR TOURNAMENT
Kirovsky District Chess School, Saint Petersburg, Russia
January 7-10, 2017
Format: 9 round classic
Northern Ireland chess players Mikhail Pavlov and Brendan Jamison travelled to Russia in early January 2017 to play in the Kirovsky New Year Tournament. The Kirovsky District Chess Academy has over 1200 members and the duo played in the highest grading band (Section A) which contained 106 players upto grading 1900. Despite missing the first two rounds because they were flying into the city that day, Pavlov still scored an impressive 5.5/7, winning a trophy for highest placed international player. Meanwhile, Jamison ended on 5/7, the second highest scoring international player, and he was awarded a certificate. For further images please visit International Events Page
LIVE BBC CHESS GAME
BBC Radio Ulster, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast
December 1, 2016
Programme: Good Morning Ulster with Noel Thompson. 7:55am to 9am.
NI Chess player Brendan Jamison was invited onto BBC's Good Morning Ulster Programme on 1st December 2016 to play a game live on air with presenter Noel Thompson. Sadly the BBC anchorman only lasted 6 moves before checkmate! But they also enjoyed discussing the Wolrd Chess Championship in New York which was won by Norwegian GM Magnus Calsen a few hours beforehand after he defeated Russian GM Sergey Karjakin. Jamison also discussed the mental gymnastics of the game in which the brain becomes completely animated, in a similiar fashion to the buzz that athletes enjoy when endorphins are released through exercise. The interview had a wide-reaching audience, and even the social media channels were erupting with commentary, with the highlight coming from esteemed British GM Nigel Short who tweeted about the chess opening played during the BBC interview!
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