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Tournament Report for City of Belfast Championships 2019

Held at The Pavilion, part of the Stormont Estate and location of the NICS chess club, the City of Belfast Championships were a terrific bank holiday weekend of chess. Some enjoyed playing on home turf, while others travelled a great distance to participate; Nikolai Dimitrov took the train all the way from Dublin! Report By Ciaran Rowan, Assistant Arbiter

There was a combination of seasoned players and new faces. This was Geoff Sterrett’s first ever tournament, and Peter McGuckin, coming from Cookstown, returned after years away from competition.

The Nemtzov Cup featured a very high level of play, but both it and the Henderson Cup had some exciting games, some of which were recorded on live boards for the Ulster Chess Union archives. All are available to view at

Spanish international chess player Sergio Esteve Sanchez (5/6) was crowned the Nemtzov Cup Champion, remaining undefeated across the six rounds. Following the process of tie-breaks, 2nd Place was awarded to South Belfast’s Gareth Annesley (5/6). The Under 1800 Grading Prize went to Robert Lavery, scooping a GM Simul ticket for February 2020.

In the Henderson Cup, Ballynafeigh’s Barney McGahan (5/6) won the championship with a terrific 3 days of chess. 2nd Place went to Bangor’s Andrew Todd (4.5/6). The Under 1300 Grading Prize was won by James Wong (4/6) from Derriaghy and the Under 1100 Grading Prize went to Ciaran Rowan (3/6) from Downpatrick.

At the end of the prize-giving the UCU Tournament Director announced the next 3 day weekend event is the Ulster Championships at the Europa Hotel on 24/25/26 August. This will be followed by the return of the Bangor Congress, a one-day rapid-play on Saturday 5 October. The Ulster Masters will be held over the weekend of 23/24 November at Saint Columbanus’s College in Bangor. For those hungry for chess during the Summer months, Mark Newman is running the UCU Summer Tournament every Wednesday night at Civil Service Chess Club from 7:30pm to 10:45pm. Everyone welcome.


City of Belfast Prize-Winners

Nemtzov Cup Champion: Sergio Esteve Sanchez (5/6)

2nd Place: Gareth Annesley (5/6)

Under 1800 Grading Prize: Robert Lavery (2/6)

Henderson Cup Champion: Barney McGahan (5/5)

2nd Place: Andrew Todd (4.5/6)

Under 1300 Grading Prize: James Wong (4/6)

Under 1100 Grading Prize: Ciaran Rowan (3/6)


Round 1 Saturday Morning

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Round 2 Saturday Afternoon.

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Round 3 Sunday Morning

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Round 4 Sunday Afternoon

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Round 5 Monday Morning

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Round 6 Monday Afternoon

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