We have created a downloadable ICU Calendar which we hope will be useful to keep members up to date on upcoming Irish events.
As this season draws to a close, we look ahead to the events which will close out the 2016-17 season as well as the big events already on the calendar for 2017-18.
12 of the top 50 Irish players are now signed up for The Irish Championships 2017 sponsored by Clare County Council. The Irish Championships 2017: Preview gives you a rundown of those entrants. This week-long event will run from July 29th to August 6th in the West County Hotel, Ennis. Join them here. The Irish Championships 2017: Open Weekender by Clare County Council will take place from August 4th to 6th in the West County Hotel, Ennis. There is a 1,300 euro guaranteed prize fund and the event will be FIDE rated with 5 rounds spread over the 3 days. Enter here and avail of a special entry rate. The Irish Championships 2017: First Weekend sponsored by Ei Electronics will be held from July 28-30 in the West County Hotel. There will be two sections with overlapping rating bands: an under 1300 and a 1200-1900 section. Enter here.
The Dun Laoghaire Rapidplay 2017 takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel on August 27 and features a prize fund of 1,000 euro. Further details here. Annually, this is one of Ireland's largest rapidplay; it features a large guaranteed prize fund and is sure to be attended by many of Ireland's elite players.
The 2017-18 season kicks off in earnest, like every year, with one of Ireland's longest running and popular weekenders: The City Of Dublin 2017. Details for this event will be published in the upcoming weeks. While the dates have been confirmed (famously, the event takes place in the weekend between the two GAA all-Ireland finals which may not be so easy to predict after this year), the venue may change as a new organising takes over the event for 2017. We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Will anyone be able to stop the defending champion, Killian Delaney? He is already entered and will be looking to add to his cabinet after winning the UCD chess blitz, The Dublin Chess Club Rapidplay and earning the scalp of GM Seb Maze in the ICU blitz in March.
The above event will unfortunately clash with The Munster Championship 2017 but with 2-4 new events being added to the calendar every year - these clashes are bound to happen and the ICU approved the clash when the MCU asked. Last year's event was a great success with a superb turnout featuring most of Munster's top players.
Speaking of new events, Ross Beatty - a 4th year in St Andrew's College this year - will be running a charity weekender from September 29th - October 1st. He is currently looking for interested participants to register that interest (for free) and in return they will receive a discount when details are announced in the next few weeks.
The Limerick Open 2017 returns to the Kilmurray Lodge Hotel this year in its traditional dates over the October Bank Holiday - October 28-30. The area is well served by both Bus Eireann and Dublin Coach who stop nearby in Annacotty and can get you from the capital to the venue in 2 and a half hours. The venue also has ample free parking for anyone traveling from far or near.
The recent transfer of Ioana Gelip (now Ioana Miller following her recent marriage to fellow ICU member, Jacob) to IRL is sure to intensify the battle for the Irish Women's title this year. There are many plots and subplots to this year's event as we enter an Olympiad year: Will WFM Monika Gedvilaite be able to make it 3-in-a-row? She has already entered so will certainly be in with a chance! Will Ireland's first ever world school's chess champion, WFM Diana Mirza, be able to win her second Irish title? How will Ioana do in her debut in the event? Or will one of the other entrants break through and claim their first title? You certainly can't count out Alice, Mercedes, Dayna or any of the other up-and-coming players.
The Kilkenny Congress 2017 will take place from the 17-19 November in The Club House Hotel Kilkenny & the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel. Following the landmark 40th Kilkenny Congress last year, the organisers will look to build on that and have made a statement of intent by moving their top two sections to the large conference center in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel. We may see the Irish, English and French champions going up against each other in the Masters section which, once again, should be littered with top level GMs. Online entry is now open and entries can be made here.
The Phil Hogarty 10 year Memorial Events
January 2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of Irish Chess Union chairperson and Irish Junior International, Philip Hogarty. At the time, Phil was only 19 years old but had already given a great deal to Irish Chess including playing for Ireland, very capably running the Irish Chess Union and being part of the team who formed and ran the Jobstown Chess Club. Speaking personally, Phil was a great friend of mine who in many ways inspired me to put my name forward for ICU Chairperson and continue the work he had started all those years ago.
To celebrate the life of Phil, the Irish Chess Union will be running a number of events in the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan in the first week of January 2018 alongside the Leinster Schools Chess Association. The first of those events that we are announcing is the inaugural Irish 50+/65+ Championships 2018. This will be a 7-round FIDE rated event for anyone aged 50 or above with prizes for 50+ and 65+ entrants. Details here.
We would like to thank all of the players who helped advise on the format of the event including Paul Cassidy, Tim Harding, Anthony Fox, Gerry O'Connell, Gerry Smith and Peter Cafolla. We would also like to thank Stephen Stokes who is coordinating from the LSCA perspective with The Leinster Junior Championships 2018 running from 1-4 January and a particular thanks to Ray Byrne who is sponsoring the event.
There will be 2-3 other events announced in the next few weeks.
Having expanded substantially in 2017, the Mulcahy Memorial returns from January 12-14, 2018 for their 50th event in its storied history. IM Alex Astaneh Lopez will likely attempt to take home the Mulcahy title for the 12th time. However, he should face tough opposition as the organisers attempt to mark their landmark 50th tournament in style.
The Gonzaga Classic, one of Ireland's fastest growing events, will run from January 26-28, 2018 and online entry is now open. Last year, a host of titled players including 4 GMs, several IMs and FMs battled it out over the three day event. There were 220 entrants and 3,000 euro was raised and a new set of transition year students will look to one-up their peers and continue their excellent work.
Ireland's largest weekender turns 25 in 2018 so we're sure the organisers will be going all out to mark the occasion with an extra special event. The event will run from February 23-25 in the Bunratty Castle Hotel. Past winners world number 2 GM Wesley So and GM Peter Svidler are said to be interested so lets hope it fits their busy schedules!