Ulster Championship

Fortwilliam Golf Club, Belfast: 27-30 December 2002

Tom Clarke - Fred MacDonald (Round 1) 27.12.2002

Black has been defending a difficult Rook and pawn ending very well for about 15 moves, when he makes the fatal mistake of exchanging Rooks. 43...Rg5 44.Rxg5 Kxg5 45.b4 After 45.b4 axb4+ 46.Kxb4 White's a-pawn cannot be prevented from queening. 1-0

Dermot Murtagh - Stephen Scannell (Round 1) 27.12.2002

18.e6 fxe6 19.Nd4 Scannell was more concerned about 19.Ne5 Qe8 (19...Qa4 20.Nxg6) 20.Ng4 Bg7 21.Rxe6 when White regains his pawn with a better game. 19...Ng7 20.Re2 Rf8 21.Rae1 Rf7 22.g4 Rcf8 23.Nxe6 Nxe6 24.Rxe6 Rf3 25.Qd4 Bg7 26.Qc5 Rxh3 27.Qxe7 Qa4! 28.Qxb7 In time trouble White goes astray. He had to play 28.Qg5 though after 28...Rhf3 Black has the better chances. 28...Qxg4+ 29.Bg3 Qf3 Checkmate cannot be prevented. 0-1

Arlo White - Tom Clarke (Round 2) 28.12.2002

16.Nxd5! exd5 17.Bxd5 Bxf4 18.Qxf4 0-0 19.Bxa8 Clarke had foreseen the sacrifice on d5 and thought his counterplay more than sufficient. However here White missed the intermediate move 19.Qa4 when after 19...Bxd3 20.Bxa8 Bxc2 21.Qxc2 Qxa8 he is winning. 19...Qxa8 and Clarke won after 52 moves.

Tom Clarke - Rod Nixon (Round 3) 28.12.2002 

White has a clear advantage and now finishes off in style. 25.Rxd5! exd5 26.Nxd5 Qd8 26...Qf7 (or g7) 27.Nf6+ Kd8 28.Rd2+ Bd6 (28...Ke7 29.Qd7#) 29.Nxg8 Qxg8 30.exd6 27.Qe6+ Checkmate cannot be avoided. 27...Be7 28.Nf6+ Kf8 29.Qxg8# or 27...Qe7 28.Nf6+ Kd8 29.Rd2+ Qd6 30.Qe8# 1-0

Rod Nixon - Michael Holmes (Round 4) 29.12.2002 

30.Qe3 here would be the conservative way to play the position, but Nixon treats the onlookers to an unusual but very effective finish. 30.Rbb7 Qg1+ 31.Kg3 Qf2+ 32.Kg4 h5+ 33.Kg5 Rc5+ 34.Kh6 Qf6 35.Rg7+ 1-0

Stephen Scannell - Tom Clarke (Round 4) 29.12.2002

1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Qb6 4.Qc1 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.f3 0-0 8.e3 e6 9.Bd3 Na6 10.a3 Nc7 11.e4 fxe4 12.fxe4 exd5 13.exd5

13...Nfxd5 An enterprising sacrifice typical of Clarke's play throughout the Championship. 14.cxd5 c4 15.Be4 Qf2+ 16.Kd1 d6 17.Nge2 Bg4 18.h3? A mistake, but Black was probably winning against any defence. 18...Qd4+ 19.Ke1 Bxe2 20.Be3 Qe5 21.Kxe2 Nb5 22.Qc2 Nxc3+ 23.bxc3 Rae8 24.Bxa7 Qxd5 25.Qd2 Rxe4+ 26.Kd1 Qh5+ 27.g4 

27...Rxg4 28.Kc2 Qf5+ 29.Kc1 Rg3 30.Bd4 Rd3 31.Qc2 Bh6+ 32.Kb1 Qb5+ 33.Qb2 Qf5 34.Qc2 Qd5 35.Rd1 Rff3 36.Ka2 Rg3 37.Rg1 Rxg1 0-1

Rod Nixon - Stephen Scannell (Round 5) 29.12.2002

Nixon continues in close pursuit of Clarke, while this loss effectively ended Scannell's chances of winning the Championship for a fourth time in five years.

22.e5 Nxf4 23.Rxf4 dxe5 24.Nf5 exf4 25.Nxe7+ Kf8 26.Nxc8 Rxe2 27.Nxb6 axb6 28.d6 Ke8 29.b4 Nd7 30.Rc1 Ne5?? 31.Rc7 Rd2 32.d7+ If Rxd7 33.Rc8+ and mate next move.1-0

Stephen Scannell - Paul McLoughlin (Round 6) 30.12.2002

The biggest shock of the tournament. Not just for the result, but the manner of it. 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.dxe6 Bxe6 5.d4 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Nf3 Re8 8.Be3 Ne4 9.Qc2 Bg4 10.Ne5 Bh5?! Inviting complications. An interesting alternative was 10...Nxc3 11.bxc3 Bf5 12.Qxf5 Bxc3+ 13.Ke2 Bxa1 14.Qxf7+ 11.Qxe4 f6 12.Qxb7 Better was 12.Qh4 fxe5 13.Qxh5 exd4 14.Rd1! (or 14.0-0-0! ) 12...fxe5 13.Qxa8 exd4

14.Qd5+?? White had to play 14.c5 dxe3 15.Bc4+ Kh8 16.0-0 exf2+ 17.Rxf2 (probably better than 17.Kh1 Bxc5) 17...Bxc5 18.Raf1 Bxf2+ 19.Rxf2 with some advantage. 14...Qxd5 15.cxd5 dxc3 16.a3 cxb2+ 17.axb4 bxa1Q+ 18.Kd2 Qb2+ 19.Kd3 Bg6+ 20.Kc4 Re4+ 0-1

Fred MacDonald - Rod Nixon (Round 6) 30.12.2002

19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Nxe6 Qxe6 21.Bxf7+ Rxf7 22.Qxf7+ Qxf7 23.Rxf7 Kxf7 24.Rxd7+ Kf6 25.Rxb7 Rd8 26.Rc7 Rd6 27.Kf2 g5 28.a4 h5 29.a5 a6 30.c4 Ke5 31.Ke3 Re6 32.Kd3 Kd6 33.Ra7 Kc5 34.Rxa6 Re1 35.Ra8 Rg1 36.g3 Rd1+ 37.Kc3 Rd4 38.Rb8 h4 39.Rg8 Rxc4+ 40.Kb3 Rb4+ 41.Ka3 Rg4 42.gxh4 Rxh4 43.Rxg5+ Kd6 44.Rg2 Kc5 45.Rg5+ Kd6 46.a6 Rxh2 47.a7 Rh8 48.Rg4 Ra8 49.Rg7 Rh8 50.Rb7 Ra8 51.Ka4 1-0

After Clarke had drawn with Holmes in Round 6, this loss for Nixon virtually guaranteed Clarke first place. Clarke had White against Paul McLoughlin in Round 7 and after a handful of moves a draw was agreed to secure Clarke the Championship for the second time.

No Name                Rtg  Club          Total  1    2    3    4    5    6    7  

1  TOM CLARKE          2139 R.V.H.        6      3:W  8:W  2:W  7:W 13:W  4:D  5:D
2  ROD NIXON           2004 DUBLIN        5     12:W 16:W  1:L  4:W  7:W  3:L  8:W
3  FRED Mac DONALD     1806 Q.U.B.        5      1:L 20:W 16:W 19:W 14:D  2:W  4:D
4  MICHAEL HOLMES      2112 R.V.H.        4.5   13:D 17:W  8:W  2:L  6:W  1:D  3:D
5  PAUL Mc LOUGHLIN    1690 R.V.H.        4.5    8:L  0:W  9:L 17:W 20:W  7:W  1:D
6  DANNY MALLAGHAN     1710 R.V.H.        4.5   14:L 18:D 21:W 10:W  4:L 15:W  9:W
7  STEPHEN P. SCANNELL 2128 NORTH BELFAST 4     15:W  9:W 19:W  1:L  2:L  5:L 14:W
8  ARLO WHITE          1838 BANGOR        4      5:W  1:L  4:L 12:W 19:W 14:W  2:L
9  DESMOND MORELAND    1743 R.V.H.        3.5   21:W  7:L  5:W 14:L 15:D 13:W  6:L
10 SAMUEL MOORE        1782 CIVIL SERVICE 3.5   17:D 13:L 11:W  6:L 16:D 20:D 19:W
11 TONY PARKER         1825 R.V.H.        3.5   16:L 12:D 10:L 18:D 17:W 19:D 20:W
12 CECIL SLOAN         1729 UNATTACHED    3.5    2:L 11:D 17:L  8:L  0:W 21:+ 13:W
13 TOM ALCORN          1786 FISHERWICK    3      4:D 10:W 14:D 15:W  1:L  9:L 12:L
14 GARETH ANNESLEY     1878 R.V.H.        3      6:W 19:L 13:D  9:W  3:D  8:L  7:L
15 DERMOT MURTAGH      1795 UNATTACHED    3      7:L 21:W 18:W 13:L  9:D  6:L 16:D
16 DAMIEN LAVERY       1525 R.V.H.        3     11:W  2:L  3:L 20:L 10:D  0:W 15:D
17 TIMOTHY DOUGLAS     2035 UNATTACHED    3     10:D  4:L 12:W  5:L 11:L 18:D 21:W
18 JONATHAN BROWN      1825 CIVIL SERVICE 3     19:L  6:D 15:L 11:D 21:D 17:D 22:W
19 DAMIEN CUNNINGHAM   1612 R.V.H.        2.5   18:W 14:W  7:L  3:L  8:L 11:D 10:L
20 MOHAMED SAAD             Q.U.B.        2.5   22:L  3:L  0:W 16:W  5:L 10:D 11:L
21 ADRIAN SKELTON      2032 NORTH BELFAST 1.5    9:L 15:L  6:L  0:W 18:D 12:- 17:L
22 NORMAN Mc FARLAND   1614 FISHERWICK    1     20:W  0:   0:   0:   0:   0:  18:L

Norman McFarland played as a filler to prevent a bye in Rounds 1 and 7
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