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Sheffield success for Tom O'Gorman

Congratulations to Tom O'Gorman, the 2020 Irish Champion, who has earned his second IM norm in winning the Sheffield International Masters by a clear point (6.5/9). He won five games and drew three but lost to the other Irish representative, WIM Trisha Kanyamarala who earlier this year scored her second WGM norm.

Tom is currently a Oxford student. Last month he won his game in the annual Oxford-Cambridge university match. As Sean Coffey points out at his IRLchess website, this means Tom has scored 4/4 on top board in these matches, only the sixth player to accomplish that feat; three of them were in the 19th century.

The inaugural Trinity College Dublin rapid tournament (7 rounds, FIDE rated) was played ilast Saturday and was very successful, with 83 players in the Open section and 40 in the section for low-rated and unrated players. Junior Cert student Jason Liu shared first with Spanish FM Alvaro Bayo Milagro on 6/7. The top twelve games in the main section were broadcast live in each round. Fiachra Moore and Vincent Lin shared first in the Challengers with 6/7.

My preferred time limit of 15 minutes with a 10-second increment was used (rather than 10/5 as seems to me more popular nowadays in Ireland). The only issue was that, since this invariably leads to some long games that upset the schedule, so the event should have started at 11am rather than 12 noon (more like 12.15 in fact). Several players, including your correspondent, chose to miss the last round because of tiredness, transport or other issues.

This Saturday, 20 April, Ballinasloe Chess Club are hosting a rapid tournament, also using the 15/10 limit but starting at 11am and only over six rounds.

The next major tournament on the calendar is the National Club Championship (26-28 April) for which 14 teams have entered. The Malahide Millennium tournament (incorporating the Leinster Championship) will be played over the May Bank Holiday weekend at a hotel near Dublin Airport. Details of these and other upcoming events can be found on the ICU website.

Irish Chess Union's new-look Easter festival in Dublin proved a considerable success. A pleasing feature was that it attracted a sizeable contingent of club players from Iceland who competed in all the various tournaments.

The 7-round FIDE-rated open featured a wide range of ages and strengths including some titled players including IM David Fitzsimons. The convincing winner was France-based FM Stephen Jessel who scored 6.5/7 (drawing only with Fitzsimons).

Jessel's delicate win when short of time in a knight versus bad bishop ending against FM Colm Daly was particularly impressive. Jessel already has his three IM norms but as yet has not managed to reach the rating requirement, so it is good to see him working his way up again. His unorthodox risky opening drepertoire is probably well suited to this type of event.

There were two seniors tournaments. The inaugural Dublin 65+ Championship had 21 entries and was fiercely contested at the top. The only unbeaten player was 1974 Irish champion Tony Doyle, playing his first tournament in two years, but he conceded three draws.

Doyle's score of 5/7 was matched by three other competitors: CM Gerry MacElligott (champion on tiebreak), Pete Morriss, and Tim Harding who each won four games, drew two and lost one. NM Eamon Keogh was the early leader, winning some nice games, but on the final day he missed a win in a rook endgame against Doyle and was then out-calculated by Harding in a wild middle-game position.

A novelty at the Congress was a 40+ tournament for mature adults who wished to avoid playing juniors, but this experiment will probably not be repeated as the entry was small. FM John Delaney was the convincing winner with 6.5/7.

Rapid and blitz tournaments were also played. Teenage FM Kavin Venkatesan (who will shortly be sitting his Junior Cert exams) shared first with Conor Nolan in the Rapid on Good Friday with 5.5/6. Kavin also led the Blitz after 10 of the 11 rounds but lost his last game to FM Shane Melaugh so finished in a share of third. Melaugh shared first with Oleg Artemenko (Uzbekistan), both scoring 8.5/11.

Please also read our page for chess arbiters. This has been updated with the names of recently qualified FIDE and National Arbiters. It is good to see many new names on the list but Ireland urgently needs female arbiters now. The postponed Ntaional Arbiters course was held on 6-7 April but we don't have any information about how that went.


Four senior teams entered

Four Irish teams have been entered for the World Senior Championships in Krakow, Poland, at the start of July. We will have a record of three teams in the 65+ championship and one team in the 50+ tournament. The top-rated players on the 50+ team are GM Alexander Baburin and FM John Delaney while the top boards on the first 65+ team will be Paul Wallace and English-based FM Andrew Philip Smith.

Full details of who is going will be released later since the exact team composition and board order does not have to be decided until the day before the tournaments begin. Several of those playing on our 65+ teams were in the tournament held over Easter.

Ireland will not be represented at the European event in Slovenia next month. The Krakow venue is far more attractive and those championships will certainly have a bigger entry.

The organisation of our teams has been very well co-ordinated by Gerry MacElligott, who has been doing most of the work, with assistance from Jonathan O'Connor.

See our Senior calendar for more details of events for the over-50s. You must have been born not later than 31 December 1974 to be eligible for 50+ events this year or by 31 December 1959 for 65+ competitions.

Please see our seniors news page for more information about tournaments for the over-50s.


For further information on Irish chess, including ratings, how to join, a tournament calendar and a list of officials, please see the Irish Chess Union website.

Some other Irish websites:

Irish chess history and news site

Chess discussions on

Irish Correspondence Chess Association

Bunratty Chess Festival