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City of Belfast 2005 Report

German player Bernhard Kern, who recently joined the Fisherwick Chess Club, won the Nemtzov Cup with 5.5 points out of 6, just a half-point ahead of Ulster champion Steve Scannell. The Henderson Cup, restricted to players rated under 1600, was won by Richard Proctor, who now has a hat-trick of titles this season.

The City of Belfast Championships, played over the weekend of 12-13 March, had a new venue this year at the Belfast Boat Club. The staff at the Boat Club were very friendly and helpful and hopefully the UCU has found a solution to the task of finding a replacement venue for the QUB Staff Common Room, which is no longer available due to a change in its use. The room we were playing in was a bit smaller that the one at QUB but it still had plenty of space for the players, with a raised area for the Tournament Controller and post-mortem analysis.

The Championships were played in two sections - the Nemtzov Cup for players rated 1600 and over; and the Henderson Cup for those rated under 1600 and unrated players. Both events were played over 6 rounds. The turnout for the Nemtzov Cup was small with only nine entries at the 10.00am start-time. A small field and a bye every round was a bit of a nightmare. UCU President and Tournament Controller David McAlister tried a little gentle persuasion on Richard Proctor to move up from the Henderson Cup, but the latter was going for a hat-trick of wins after his successes in the Ulster Junior Championship and the Williamson Challengers this season and wasn't budging. So "el presidente" decided to enter the lists himself (£2 extra for a late entry!) leaving the controlling duties in the capable hands of Gopalan Srinivasan and Damien Lavery.

Nemtzov Cup

One of the principal interests in the Nemtzov Cup was to see how Bernhard Kern would fare. Bernhard is from Germany but recently came to Belfast to live and work. He joined the Fisherwick Chess Club in the New Year and on the evidence of his play to date looked a match for our best players. He was given an estimated rating of 2000, but the general opinion was that this was a conservative assessment. Top seed, in the absence of last year's winner, Tom Clarke, was Ulster Champion Steve Scannell.

After the three Saturday rounds Kern was in the lead with 3.0 points, with Scannell, having drawn with Calum Leitch in Round 1, a half-point behind. Their match-up in Round 4 was likely to be pivotal to the outcome of the whole event. In a long, tough struggle Kern missed chances to win, but the eventual outcome (a draw) still left him in pole position. In Round 5 Scannell and Kern both won, leaving them assured of the first two places. In the final round Scannell got a well advanced passed pawn against Nick Larter and ground out the win. This left all hinging on the Annesley-Kern game. Bernhard was the exchange up, but Gareth put up very strong resistance before finally losing on time. So the Nemtzov Cup was won for the first time ever by a non-Ulster player. Calum Leitch and Nick Larter shared the under 1800 Grading Prize.

1    BERNHARD KERN         2000   GERMANY       5.5  
2 STEPHEN P. SCANNELL 2144 BANGOR 5.0
3-4 MICHAEL WATERS 2023 FISHERWICK 3.5
DANNY MALLAGHAN 1846 CLIFTON HOUSE 3.5
5-7 CALUM LEITCH 1687 BOMBARDIER 2.5
NICK LARTER 1621 ENNIS 2.5
GARETH ANNESLEY 1935 R.V.H. 2.5
8 DAVID Mc ALISTER 1625 HILLSBOROUGH 2.0
9-10 IAN WOODFIELD 1654 FISHERWICK 1.5
HANNAH LOWRY-O'REILLY 1563 RATHMINES 1.5

Henderson Cup

After the first day's play in the Henderson Cup, Richard Proctor and Cork man David O'Mahony both had full points. Their meeting in Round 4 saw Richard's trademark King's Gambit and he eventually secured the win, and was looking good for that hat-trick. However he then lost to another Cork player, Denis O'Connell in Round 5, to leave O'Connell, O'Mahony and Proctor tied in the lead going into the last round.  The Round 6 pairings were:

PETER WILSON     [3.5]  -v-  DAVID O'MAHONY     [4.0]
RICHARD PROCTOR  [4.0]  -v-  STEWART McCONAGHY  [3.0]
ALAN BURNS       [3.0]  -v-  DENIS O'CONNELL    [4.0]

The first of these games to finish saw Proctor beating McConaghy. O'Connell then lost in an exciting game against Burns. When the Wilson-O'Mahony game was eventually drawn, Proctor had indeed completed the hat-trick of titles. O'Mahony was second and O'Connell had the consolation of the under 1400 Grading Prize (shared with Geoffrey Collins).

1     RICHARD PROCTOR        1557 BANGOR         5.0    
2 DAVID O' MAHONY 1459 -Co. CORK- 4.5
3-6 GEOFFREY COLLINS 1294 HILLSBOROUGH 4.0
DENIS O' CONNELL 1287 CORK CITY 4.0
PETER WILSON 1328 RANDALSTOWN 4.0
ALAN BURNS 1410 C.I.Y.M.S 4.0
7-11 STEWART Mc CONAGHY 1576 BOMBARDIER 3.0
ANANDAGOPAL SRINIVASAN 1367 FISHERWICK 3.0
WILLIAM STOREY 1422 UNATTACHED 3.0
PATRICK Mc KILLEN 1307 FISHERWICK 3.0
OWEN WILSON 896 BANGOR 3.0
12-13 JACK Mc CANN 1507 -Co. DUBLIN- 2.5
STEVEN EACHUS 1442 RANDALSTOWN 2.5
14-15 ALEX BECKETT 1408 FISHERWICK 2.0
DAVID SEABY 996 FISHERWICK 2.0
16 JOHANNA LOWRY-O'REILLY 705 RATHMINES 1.0
17 PETE STOREY 873 UNATTACHED 0.0

The trophies and prizes were presented by Mr Ronnie Appleton on behalf of the Nemtzov family. Joshua Nemtzov, who in 1966 donated the cup for competition, was a former President of both the Belfast Chess Club and the Ulster Chess Union. Mr Appleton, who is a contemporary of his son David (who was also a chessplayer and captain of the Queen's University Chess Club in the late 1940s),  told us a little about Joshua Nemtzov, the man. He had been born in Latvia in 1902 before coming to Northern Ireland, where he was the kosher butcher with premises on the Antrim Road. He had enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles and fought in the Second World War. Mr Appleton also said that only an important family occasion had prevented David Nemtzov, who now lives in Israel, from attending this year's competition, but that he hopes to attend the Nemtzov Cup some time in the future.

Prizewinners:

Nemtzov Cup

1. Bernhard Kern (Fisherwick)
2. Stephen Scannell (Bangor)

Grading Prize (shared)

Nick Larter (Ennis)
Calum Leitch (Bombardier)

Henderson Cup

1. Richard Proctor (Bangor)
2. David O'Mahony (Co. Cork)

Grading Prize (shared)

Geoffrey Collins (Hillsborough)
Denis O'Connell (Cork City)


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