You are here: Home Archives Ulster Chronicles 2018-2019 season UCU Web 2018 Armagh Rapidplay 30th March 2019 Kings and queens battle at Royal School, Armagh

Kings and queens battle at Royal School, Armagh

The first ever Armagh Rapidplay Chess Championships were held at the Royal School on Saturday 30 March. The event was run by the Ulster Chess Union (UCU) and kindly supported by the school headmaster Graham Montgomery.

Article from our intrepid Chess Correspondent and Chess organiser - Brendan Jamison :

The Royal School Armagh has the current Ulster Under 16 Chess Champion, Louie McConkey, and it was through this connection, that the idea of holding a tournament was born. 54 players flocked to the event as locals mixed with entrants from Dublin, Donegal, Omagh, Enniskillen, Lisburn, Portadown, Belfast, Newtownards and Bangor. With 25 minutes per player, it was 6 rounds of intense speed chess.

The top section was rated by FIDE (World Chess Federation) and the lower section saw many youngsters play in their first ever event. The assembly hall was buzzing with activity all day long. 22 year old Ulster Champion Thomas Donaldson was crowned Armagh Rapidplay Champion with the undefeated score of 5.5/6. Thomas is the current chess club president of Imperial College, London, where he’s completing the final year of his degree.


2nd place went to multi-award winning local champion Gareth Annesley. 3rd place was won by speed chess supremo Modestas Razbadauskas from Lithuania. The Under 1700 Grading Prize was picked up by Polish player Kamil Szulc with an impressive 4.5/6. The Under 1400 was won by Cathal Murphy with 4/6 and the Under 1100 was awarded to Paul Anderson (4/6). Both of these players punched far above their weight in a very tough section.

grade1700 grade1400
grading1100 opencontroller

Open Standings

Meanwhile, in the junior section, Donegal schoolboy Eoin Boyle won the championship with 5/6 and his brother Conor took 3rd place with 4/6. Newtownards player Ken Haddock was awarded 2nd place with 4.5/6. The Under 800 Grading Prize was won by 7 year old Helen Bueckert, travelling up from Dublin with her three sisters and enthusiastic dad, Hagen, from the beautiful city of Weimar in Germany. 8 year old Sklya McConkey from Armstrong Primary, opposite the Royal School, was awarded the Under 700 Grading Prize after an excellent tournament performance.

junior3rd grade800
grade700 juniorcontroller

Junior Standings

At the prize-giving ceremony, UCU Tournament Director Brendan Jamison said “We are extremely grateful for the support of the Royal School Armagh and to Clare Finnegan-McConkey for working in the background to secure such an excellent venue. Also, a huge thanks to Richard Gould (National Arbiter) and Ross Harris (UCU President) for giving up their Saturday as volunteers to run the tournament so that everyone could enjoy their day of chess.”

Reflecting on the tournament, Brendan concluded “chess and education go hand-in-hand as it’s a special activity which enhances our creative thinking and problem-solving skills in a fun and friendly environment. Our tournaments embrace a true community spirit with players of all ages, all abilities and all nationalities coming together to enjoy mental gymnastics and mutual respect”.

The next event is a youth chess rapidplay at Methodist College, Belfast, on Saturday 13 April from 12:30 to 5pm. It is open to children and teenagers from ages 5 up to 18. This monthly event attracts school players from all across Northern Ireland and is expertly run by Mark Newman, UCU Director of Children’s Chess.


The 11 prize-winners, left to right: Cathal Murphy (Under 1400 Grading Prize), Skyla McConkey (Under 700 Grading Prize), Gareth Annesley (2nd), Helen Bueckert (Under 700 Grading Prize), Kamil Szulc (Under 1700 Grading Prize), Thomas Donaldson (Champion), Ken Haddock (Junior 2nd), Paul Anderson (Under 1100 Grading Prize), Modestas Razbadauskas (3rd), Conor Boyle (Junior 3rd) and Eoin Boyle (Junior Champion).

chris-gary controller
daniel-danny dexter-john
david-gareth game1
daniel-modestas lucy-barney
sam-david thomas-nial
London Junior Chess Championships, Belfast Qualifier 1st Oct 2022 Methodist College series of Monthly tournaments kicked off with the qualifier for the prestigious London Junior Chess Ch... Nov 27, 2022
Eddie Hanzharov wins Gold Coast Blitz with 6/6 On 17th November, Bangor Chess Club held its last FIDE-rated event of 2022, the Gold Coast Blitz. Nov 26, 2022
December programming at Bangor Chess Club Nov 22, 2022
Belfast South Chess Club 2022-23 Nov 14, 2022
Greenisland Football Chess Club are hosting the Winter Blitz Bash 2022 As winter approaches and the cost of living crisis crashes in on people GFC Chess would like to host a tournament to hel... Nov 11, 2022
More news…
« November 2022 »
Upcoming Events
FIDE-rated Omagh Rapidplay Championship 2022 This is event 6 of 10 in the NI FIDE Rapid Grand Prix 2022/2023 held on 3rd December 2022. Dec 03, 2022 10:45 AM - 05:00 PM — Christian Brothers Grammar School, Kevlin Rd, Omagh BT78 1LD
2nd Board Meeting Tues 6th December 2nd Executive Board Meeting 2022-23. Lisburn Chess Club. Tues 6th December 2022 7:30pm. Dec 06, 2022 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM — Lisburn Chess Club, 60-62 Longstone Street
Ulster Schools Individual Championships 2022 Come and challenge to become the Ulster Schools Chess Champion 2022. 10th December at Methodist College. Dec 10, 2022 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM — Methodist College,1 Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 6BY
FIDE-rated Ulster Blitz Championship 2022 Dec 29th The annual Ulster Blitz Championship will be FIDE rated and held at Greenisland FC Chess Club on Thursday 29th December. Dec 29, 2022 10:15 AM - 04:00 PM — Greenisland FC Clubhouse, 100 Glenkeen Av, Greenisland, BT38 8ST
FIDE-rated Dundonald Rapid Championship 2023 Saturday 7th January 2023. Civil Service Pavilion. This is event 8 of 10 in the NI FIDE Rapid Grand Prix 2022/2023 Jan 07, 2023 11:45 AM - 07:00 PM — NICS,Maynard Sinclair Pavilion, Stormont, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3TA
Upcoming events…