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Ulster Intermediate and Junior Championship

24-25 November 2001

With the big Kilkenny tournament moving a week later than usual to avoid a 4NCL weekend, the knock-on effect was that the UCU had to find new dates for the Intermediate and Junior Championships. Unfortunately our usual venue at Queen's was not available, and it was decided to avail of the hospitality of Bangor Golf Club as in 1999. Although this might have put off some Belfast players, it probably was more convenient for others. One particularly pleasing entry was that of John Lynch of City of Derry CC, the first time in some while since the Championships has had an entry from the maiden city. In the end total numbers were exactly the same as last year. The venue itself was excellent, with more than enough space in the playing area, good food in the Golf Club restaurant at a very reasonable price, friendly staff and a pleasant view over the golf course.

In the Intermediate (1500 and above) Jonathan Brown, returning to competitive chess after a 4 year lay-off and with just a couple of League games as a warm-up, ended Day 1 a full point ahead after wins over Stewart McConaghy, Danny Mallaghan and Brendan Jamison. He continued on his merry way with victories over Desmond Moreland and Alan Burns in Rounds 4 and 5. In the final Round he faced his Civil Service club mate Sam Moore, the only other unbeaten player, having only conceded 2 draws to Desmond Moreland and Danny Mallaghan. Sam was Black and played a Nimzo-Indian Defence, only to notice at Jonathan's side a book (unopened of course) on the very opening. When Sam mentioned this excellent preparation, Jonathan good-naturedly offered to lend the book to Sam! Anyway, Sam decided that with Jonathan in such good form, trying to beat him with Black was too risky a strategy and opted for an early draw offer and a safe second place ("It would have been different if I had White," said Sam). He then waited to see if Danny Mallaghan could join him on 4.5 points - this the top seed managed by beating Desmond Moreland with the Black pieces.

In the Junior (under 1500) last year's winner, William Storey finished Day 1 with 3 wins over young David Grzymek (making his debut in UCU events) Geoff Hindley and Alex Beckett. Half-a-point behind at this stage were John Orchin and Richard Proctor, who had drawn their individual encounter in Round 2. In Round 4 Storey faced Proctor, who sacrificed 3 pawns by move 7 in a King's Gambit! Proctor went to to win in 15 moves was now in the lead as Beckett had beaten Orchin, but the lead was to be short-lived when he lost to Beckett in Round 5. This left Beckett half-a-point ahead going in the final Round, and the 1996 winner maintained his lead with a victory over Geoff Hindley. John Orchin came back up into second place with wins in the final 2 Rounds over Ashley Peile and Storey.

Prizewinners for both events:
Intermediate: 1st Jonathan Brown 2nd= Sam Moore and Danny Mallaghan Grading Alan Burns
Junior: 1st Alex Beckett 2nd John Orchin Grading Ashley Peile

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