Prize-winners: Left to right: Jonathon Peoples (Under 1800 Grading Prize), Stephen Rush (2nd Place), Chris Armstrong (Under 1450 Grading Prize), Cathan Gormley (Ulster Intermediate Champion), William Storey (Intermediate 2nd Place), Thomas Donaldson (Ulster Champion), Gatis Barbals (Ulster Junior Champion - joint winner), Paddy Magee (Ulster Junior Champion - joint winner) and Naoise Brownlee (Under 800 Grading Prize)


August 25-27, 2018



Europa Hotel, Belfast

Arbiters: Ross Harris and Brendan Jamison

57 entrants. 3 sections. 6 rounds, 2 per day. Time control: 90 + 30 second increments


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 at ulsterchess.net. Second place went to Stephen Rush (1903) (4/6) and the Under 1800 Grading Prize was awarded to Jonathon Peoples (1650) (4/6) who played far beyond his rating.

The intermediate section saw a tremendous run from two of our youngest rising stars, both students at QUB, Ulster Intermediate Champion Cathan Gormley (1364) (5/6) and Michael Sheerin (1493) (4.5/6), with the latter finishing in third place, only losing in the last round to William Storey (1348) (4.5/6) who claimed second place on tie-break. The Under 1450 Grading Prize was awarded to Chris Armstrong (1408) (3/6).

The junior section saw two players dominate all others, clashing in an epic round 6 battle! Newcomer from Fruithill Chess Club, Gatis Barbals (===) (5.5/6) was crowned the Ulster Junior Champion, while Paddy Magee (1292) (5/6) ended in 2nd place in the competition but went home with the highest TPR of the section with an impressive 1878.

UPDATE: Gatis Barbals scored highest number of points with 5.5/6 but had only lived in Northern Ireland for 8 months proir to Ulster Junior Championship. Paddy Magee finished second in competition with 5/6 but was the highest placed finish by a player who has lived in Northern Ireland for more than 12 months. Therefore Gatis Barbals and Paddy Magee share the title of Ulster Junior Champion 2018.

Despite taking a bye in Round 3, Cathal Murphy (1351) still managed to finish in 3rd place, just missing out on a prize by half a point. The Under 1150 Grading Prize went to Tyrone Winter (1115) (4/6). Returning veteran Philip Morrison (986) (3.5/6) scooped the Under 1000 Grading Prize and newcomer Naoise Brownlee (===) (4/6) delivered an excellent performance to walk home with the Under 800 Grading Prize.

It was wonderful to see so many children and teenagers competing across all three sections of the tournament. Notable results came from ten year olds Taufik Kamal (===) (2.5/6), Dexter Harris (960) (3.5/6) and 17 year old Adam Rushe (1048) (4/6), all delivering impressive wins against adults in their section. The youngest competitor was nine year old Adam Fitzsimons (825) (2/6) who continues to grow in strength each year. Our oldest competitor, 80 year old John Phillips (1427) (2.5/6), a retired doctor from Enniskillen, still proved a formidable force for younger players in the Intermediate Section. Meanwhile the Over 1700 category saw 17 year old Alex Goss (1731) and 15 year old Daniil Zelenchuk (1755) both apply pressure on former champions, with the latter ending the tournament on 3.5/6 and definitely has a trajectory towards claiming the Ulster Championship in the near future!


Ulster Champion Thomas Donaldson (left) shaking hands with Tournament Director Brendan Jamison



Senior section: Mark Newman (left) v Ross Harris

Nearest table on right: John McKenna and John Phillips

Junior Section: Adam Rushe (left) v Damien Delaney

Junior Section: Paul Anderson (left) v Martin Kelly

Senior section: Mark Newman (left) v Stephen Rush. Behind: Steve Scannell (left) v Alex Goss

Tournament Director Brendan Jamison (left) with Martin Kelly (middle) and Cathal Murphy (right)

Senior section: Steve Scannell (left) v Thomas Donaldson

Senior Section:


Ulster Champion: Thomas Donaldson (1891) (5/6). Awarded perpetual cup + £150


2nd Place: Stephen Rush (1903) (4/6) £100 Prize


Under 1800 Grading Prize: Jonathon Peoples (1650) (4/6) £70 cash prize



Intermediate Section:


Ulster Intermediate Champion: Cathan Gormley (1364) (5/6) Awarded perpetual cup + £100


2nd Place: William Storey (1348) (4.5/6) £80 cash prize


Under 1450 Grading Prize: Chris Armstrong (1408) (3/6) £40 cash + £30 GM Simul ticket for 21 February 2019



Junior Section:


Ulster Junior Champion: Gatis Barbals (===) (5.5/6) Awarded perpetual cup + £100


2nd Place: Paddy Magee (1292) (5/6) £70 Prize


Under 1150 Grading Prize: Tyrone Winter (1115) (4/6) £30 cash + £30 GM Simul ticket for 21 February 2019


Under 1000 Grading Prize: Philip Morrison (986) (3.5/6) £30 cash + £30 GM Simul ticket for 21 February 2019


Under 800 Grading Prize: Naoise Brownlee (===) (4/6) £30 cash + £30 GM Simul ticket for 21 February 2019


2018 Ulster Champion Thomas Donaldson










Chess Northern Ireland

Director: B. Jamison © 2016-2019