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2015 Ulster Championships

The 2015 Ulster Championships took place in the Europa Hotel on 21st - 23rd August.
2015 Ulster Championships

2015 Ulster Championships

 

Once again the chess masses converged on the Europa Hotel  to battle it out for the titles of Junior, Intermediate and Senior Ulster Champion. This year the format was changed with one game played on Friday night, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. It was also run as an open tournament, however, the title of Ulster Champion and trophies would go the first placed player Northern Irish qualified player. On the first night the excitement in the playing area was almost palpable as the players walked in to find a whole host of new equipment including 20 wooden sets, 6 live boards, state of the art digital clocks, and even a webcam providing live coverage of the event! With a whole host of controllers having recently passed the National Arbiters Course, and a record number of 62 players attending, it was shaping up to be a great weekend - and the chess was not to disappoint.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Section

The senior section was littered with shocks and exciting play right from the first round with Brendan Jamison setting the tone for the weekend by defeating Calum Leitch. Going into the final round four players could still win the title - Gabor horvath (4), Rory Quinn (4), Nicholas Pilkiewicz (3.5) and Ross Harris (3.5). Gabor Horvath was in for a tough battle against 8 time Ulster Champion Stephen Scannell whilst Rory Quinn was hot favourite to win his head-to-head against Ross Harris. Nicholas Pilkiewicz had the black pieces against Gareth Annesley. Scannell played a Barry type set up against Horvath's favoured King's Indian, however, neither player could gain a decisive advantage and the game petered out into a draw. Pilkiewicz found it tough against Annesley and eventually lost the game which ended his chance of the title. Quinn ensured a sharp battle against Harris as he sacrificed a pawn on move 6 in the Fantasy Variation of the Caro-Kann. After an error by Harris on move 17, Quinn regained his pawn and smashed open Harris's kingside. Quinn then launched a ferocious kingside attack that won him the game and also the Senior Tournament. Harris won the u1800 grading prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intermediate Section

Thomas Donaldson continued to show why he is one of the most promising talents in Ulster Chess by running away with the Intermediate section, scoring 5.5 / 6. His half point dropped was to third seed Stephen Rush in round 5, though things could have been much different as he came close to losing his first round match against John Phillips. In the endgame Donaldson, who had 2 rooks, somehow managed to swindle Phillips who had 2 rooks and 2 pawns! After winning the Intermediate title Donaldson deservedly earns a place in next years Senior section. 2nd place went to last years Junior champion Eoin Carey who scored an excellent 4 points. He picked up some notable scalps along the way including Karina Kruk, Stephen Rush and John O'Doherty, who are all much higher rated players. Matthew Chapman won the grading prize with a score of 3/6. Special note must be made of Dayna Ferguson who played her first round game with a broken leg before having to withdraw from the tournament!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junior Section

The Junior section was dominated by David Barr who swept aside all-comers with his swashbuckling style of play and finished on a perfect score of 6/6. The step up to the Intermediate section next year  will be a real test of his ability , however, his improvement over the last year shows it should be a challenge he is more than capable of meeting. 2nd place went to the unlucky William Storey who's score of 5/6 would have been more than enough to win the title in previous years. Andrew Todd and Rodrigo Blanco won the grading prizes. Bangor Schoolboy Todd has finished 3rd in the Junior Section two years in a row and clearly has a bright future ahead of him. This was Rodrigo's first appearance in a UCU tournament and he had some great wins against Pat McKillen, Paddy Magee and Tyrone Winter.

 

William Storey

 

Significant credit must go to UCU Treasurer Adrian Dornford-Smith who took full control of the live boards, live website, and webcam. His hard work and technical expertise ensured this important new feature ran smoothly and efficiently. This distraction didn't seem to affect his game though, as he managed to score a very credible 4/6. Thanks must also go to everyone who helped out at the weekend including controllers  Brendan Jamison, Damien Cunningham and David Houston.


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