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New Ulster Champion Thomas Donaldson

The Ulster Championship was held over 25th-27th August at the brilliant location of the Europa Hotel. With 57 entries and 3 sections there were tough battles and exciting chess. Thomas Donaldson was crowned the new Ulster Champion for 2018.

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Report by Brendan Jamison - thanks to both Brendan Jamison and Ross Harris for controlling and organising this brilliant event.


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), Paddy Magee (Junior 2nd Place) 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 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 but went home with the highest TPR of the section with an impressive 1878. 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

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