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Omagh Rapidplay 2014

The Inaugural Omagh Rapidplay was held on Saturday 22nd November 2014 and was a fantastic weekend of chess for all involved.
Omagh Rapidplay 2014

Omagh Rapidplay

Set in the fantastic venue of Christian Brothers Grammar School in Omagh, the first ever Omagh Rapidplay was a huge success with 34 players competing over 2 sections. 14 of these players were new to Ulster Chess Union tournaments! The tournament itself was split into Junior (under 1000) and Senior (over 1000) sections with both competitions closely contested, producing exciting chess and nail-biting finishes.

The senior section went right down to the wire and entering into the final round two of the form players in Ulster Chess, Calum Leitch (4.5 points) and Brendan Jamison (4 points),  battled it out for the title. The fight for 3rd place was also hotly contested with 4 players on 3.5 points and all paired off against each other. 13 year old Fiachra Scallan was white against Ulster Chess Union Secretary Mark Newman and newcomer Wojciech Kolodziejski was white against Sam Moore. First to finish was Kolodziejski vs Moore which ended in a draw when the controller intervened with only a Rook and King each left on the board. Mark Newman vs Fiachra Scallan was a two Knights opening where Newman castled Queenside and launched a Kingside attack. In a complicated position Fiachra moved quickly but assessed each position very accurately. The game looked like it was petering out to a draw until Newman attacked again to try and force a win. Fiachra defended well, neutralised the attack and eventually won on time, which sealed third place in the competition. Fiachra played with a composure and maturity well beyond his years and is definitely one to look out for in the future.

The showdown on board 1 had some recent history to it. Only a month ago the players had met in the Ulster Masters with Leitch winning in spectacular fashion using the London System. This inspired Jamison to learn the opening after playing only e4 for over 20 years! So, in a risky strategy against a player who specialises in this opening, Jamison sprung the London system on Leitch. Jameson managed to trap Leitch's bishop on the queenside with a pawn lock around it and eventually won the piece in the endgame. With some tricky endgame play Jamison lured Leitch's King over to some unprotected pawns and then trapped his king in the corner. This led to an exchange of rooks and Jameson went on to win the game and clinch the Senior title.

Brendan Jamison


The junior section had 14 players, with UCU Treasurer Adrian Dornford-Smith top seed, though favourites were hard to call with so many unrated players competing. This section also had a large number of children playing and two of these proved to be serious contenders for the title. From quite early on in the tournament Alex Kacziba looked like a strong candidate to win and in the penultimate round he beat Adrian Dornford-Smith so that he had 5/5 going into the final round. His nearest challenger was Ciara Scallan on 4/5, whom he had beaten in the third round, and despite losing his final game he went on to win the title on tie-break.

Alex Kocziba

Second place was still up for grabs with five players on 3/5 hot on the tails of Ciara, however she won her final game, securing second place and only losing out on first place to Alex on tie-break. Cillian, the youngest of the three Scallan children, beat Adrian Gilmore in the final round to secure third place overall and take home the U18 prize to round off a great day for the family.

Ciara ScallanCillian Scallan

The Omagh Rapidplay produced lots of exciting chess and it was great to see so many new players, young and old, competing in a UCU tournament. The hard work of Anthony White and John Bradley to promote chess in Omagh has paid huge dividends as they now have a strong club full of enthusiastic players. We plan to make the this an annual event and with the enthusiasm for chess in the area and a great venue surely the Omagh Rapidplay will go from strength to strength.

Omagh Rapidplay Winners

Once again the Eddie Whiteside Chess Library was available at the event with a wide selection of books for members to borrow. This is proving to be very popular and 5 new members signed up on the day.

Eddie Whiteside Library

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