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Ulster Chess Championships 2017

The Ulster Chess Championships were held over the weekend of 2nd/3rd September at the brilliant location of the Europa Hotel.

Europa Hotel, Belfast

September 2-3, 2017

Tournament report by Brendan Jamison

SENIOR SECTION

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.

The standard of chess in the top section was phenomenal and we received many positive messages from all the spectators watching the live boards at home. In Round 5, Thomas Donaldson (1753) delivered an outstanding victory over Nikhil Joshi (2103) to secure the best game prize on a live board. Our thanks to former UCU President David McAlister for donating this award, a special edition of the American Chess Magazine. Thomas also scooped the Under 1800 Grading Prize, finishing on 3.5/6. Last year’s Ulster Champion Stephen Rush (1844) remained undefeated in this year’s tournament as he won the 2nd place prize, finishing with 4.5/6 with 3 wins and 3 draws.

With 5/6 points, the ever-charismatic Steve Scannell (1983) received a giant round of applause as he won the Ulster Championship for a 9th time! Once again he has proven his status as a true chess legend and remains a great inspiration to the many students of the game!

INTERMEDIATE SECTION

The Intermediate section welcomed Heilke Gorter (1570), a visiting player from The Netherlands who joined 10 of our regular tournament goers. The under 1500 Grading prize was tightly fought out but in the end William Storey (1343) was the deserved winner with 3.5/6. Meanwhile in second place, Chris Kelly (1560) delivered 5 excellent wins. However, one player rose above all others, the championship was awarded to the phenomenal Modestas Razbadauskas (1510) from Lithuania. His performance rating (TPR) of 2249 bodes well for his UCU rating to begin catching up with his true strength as a top class competitor.

JUNIOR SECTION

With 29 players, of whom 12 were competing in their first ever Ulster Championships, the Junior section created a wonderful buzz in the playing venue. We were delighted to enjoy so much fresh energy from so many younger players who contributed lots of imagination and creativity to their games. New teenage player Louie McConkey scooped the Unrated grading prize with 3/6. Jasper Ramsey (877) punched far above his grading band with a TPR of 1190 and finished on 3.5/6 to secure the Under 1000 prize. Meanwhile fellow QUB sensation Rian Mellotte (1103) delivered another excellent tournament performance with 4.5/6 to win the Under 1150 prize. 4 players tied on 4.5/6 so the tie-break system of Median Buchholz awarded Martin Kelly (1301) 3rd place and Chris Armstrong (1398) 2nd place, both remaining undefeated throughout the 6 rounds. Paddy Magee (1241) also ended on 4.5/6, but just missed out on a prize by a whisker. However, his play had been of a very high standard throughout the weekend, clocking up 4 impressive wins and a draw.

This section saw one player dominate the first 4 rounds with the perfect score of 4/4. In the final two rounds, he remained unbeaten as he settled for draws to secure the Ulster Junior Championship, congratulations to Cathan Gormley (1220). We look forward to seeing his chess continue to develop in the league season ahead and of course he automatically shoots up into the Intermediate section in next year’s Ulster Championships. He promises to be player to watch!

THANK YOU

Competitors delivered a round of applause at the end of the prize-giving for arbiters Ross Harris, Brendan Jamison and Adrian Dornford-Smith who volunteered 3 days to set-up and run the tournament, as well as many weeks of planning. The Europa Hotel also received a big thank you for donating the room for free which meant we were able to use the entire amount collected in entry fees (£835) for distribution as prize money and simul tickets.

All 5 grading prizes included cash and a £25 ticket to the upcoming GM Simul in Belfast on the evening of Thursday 22 February 2018. This is a yearly highlight in the local chess calendar and it always takes place the night before everyone heads to the Bunratty International Chess Festival.

The next event is the one-day Omagh Rapidplay. It is  now entering its 4th year and we always schedule it for a Saturday in October or November. The playing venue is extremely spacious and located in the heart of the town so competitors always have a fun day at this event. Stay tuned for the release of info coming soon…
Report and photos can be found online at the chess info site of www.chessni.co.uk/ulsterchampionships2017.html

PRIZE-WINNERS

SENIOR:

Ulster Champion: Steve Scannell (5/6). Awarded perpetual cup + £150

2nd Place: Stephen Rush (4.5/6) £100 Prize

Under 1800 Grading Prize: Thomas Donaldson (3.5/6) £30 cash + £25 GM Simul ticket for 22 February 2018

Best Live Game Award: Thomas Donaldson for his victory over number 1 seed Nikhil Joshi (FIDE 2103) in Round 5 of the tournament. Prize: American Chess Magazine, donated by former UCU President David McAlister

INTERMEDIATE:

Ulster Intermediate Champion: Modestas Razbadauskas (6/6) Awarded perpetual cup + £100

2nd Place: Chris Kelly (5/6) £70 prize

Under 1500 Grading Prize: William Storey (3.5/6) £20 cash + £25 GM Simul ticket for 22 February 2018

JUNIOR:

Ulster Junior Champion: Cathan Gormley (5/6) Awarded perpetual cup + £80

2nd Place: Chris Armstrong (4.5/6) £60 Prize

3rd Place: Martin Kelly (4.5/6) £40 Prize

Under 1150 Grading Prize: Rian Mellotte (4.5/6) £20 cash + £25 GM Simul ticket for 22 February 2018

Under 1000 Grading Prize: Jasper Ramsey (3.5/6) £20 cash + £25 GM Simul ticket for 22 February 2018

Unrated Grading Prize: Louie McConkey (3/6) £20 cash + £25 GM Simul ticket for 22 February 2018 + Scorebook, donated by former UCU President David McAlister

Results can be found at : http://www.ulsterchess.net/results/2017-09-03/

Play through some of the games at : http://www.ulsterchess.net


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