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Murphy joint second in Kilkenny

A Round-up of the exploits from all Ulster players in the recent Kilkenny Congress

Aside from Karina's continued success, there was a strong Ulster chess representation in Kilkenny in late November 2012. The three musketeers (Murphy, Kelly and Morrison) as usual were there in force, but were also joined by the welcome return of erstwhile southern competitor Dennis Wilkinson. Although there was a minor dispute between Wilkinson and Morrison about who can claim legal title to the name "D'Artagnon", but perhaps Murphy's newly achieved Masters in Law could be referred to,  if any litigation ensues.

Cathal, playing strictly to his southern rating of 1137 in the challengers section finished in a three-way tie for joint second on 5 out of 6, half a point behind winner Donovan Ashcroft. CJ's performance, who beat the winner's brother, Brandon in game six, was of particular note, considering Cathal lost his opening game and unusually played 4 of his 6 games on black including his first three. Martin Kelly, having lost his recent unbeaten record to Cathal in the south Belfast tournament the previous Monday, finished with a respectable 50% in the James Mason challenge. "Martini" , who is becoming somewhat of a "draw master" in recent games, only losing out in 1 game to the 1488 rated Stephen Murphy.

Dennis made a welcome return to the southern circuit, but was shocked to learn his rating was still as high as 1457. He also unfortunately fell foul to the dreaded lurgy which seems to be effecting several UCU players, including Murphy and Morrison, even spreading as far as David McAlister - allegedly. Because of the flu (not the rating) Dennis had to reluctantly withdraw from the "Mason" on the Sunday morning, but at least was able to claim he retired unbeaten with three draws and a travelling bye from four games - the only undefeated Ulster player of the weekend.

As testament to his much improved game, and new ICU rating of 1217, Philip Morrison also played  in the James Mason, but it was a baptism of fire for Philip as he finished with just 1 point. Pat Coleman also finished with a point in the tough major section, and let's not forget Paul McLoughlin who also made the trip south to take part in the traditional Sunday night grand master challenge.

Full results and cross tables from a great weekend can be found on the ICU website.

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