Daily Reports and Photos
Days 8 and 9.
Days 8 and 9 saw our star player Denis collect 1 ½ points from 2 and take 5th place in the u14 EU championship. Maith thú Denis, Comhghairdeas. I have no doubt that we will be hearing much more about him in the near future.
The rest of the team battled valiantly but as the numbers in the competition were relatively small, it meant that most of them were playing up for the last two rounds. The younger members of the team worked hard at their chess over the 10 days and will no doubt reap their rewards very soon at their local tournaments.We celebrated the birthday of one of the German girls in our hotel on the last night and the party was an appropriate end to a lovely 10 days for the children.
A final note of thanks to the children and to their parents. The children were great ambassadors for Ireland by their behaviour both on and off the board. Maith sibh! The parents were fantastic from the start and made the job of H.O.D. a very easy one. It was very much a team effort all round.
And lastly, I thought it pertinent to thank and acknowledge the unsung heroes of Irish chess, the people who give up their time to run chess clubs for kids throughout the country, Tom O’Sullivan, Jimmy Danaher, Colm Ó Muireagáin and Brendan Buckley to name but a few. Their time and patience is much appreciated. I’d also like to thank Junior Officer Desmond Beatty and his team for the sterling work which they do. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.
Denis once again was the light in the Irish skies today, as he drew with Andrea Siabia (1972) in a very interesting game. Not only does he work hard in preparation for his own games but he has proved himself to be a great team member by sharing his chess knowledge with the younger members of the squad as we analyse their games.
Although it is not a hot as last week the heat has returned to Mureck and the other members of the squad, who finished early today, had no alternative but to escape to the swimming pool. Tiredness seems to be affecting the younger members of the competition at this stage and I observed quite a number of tears today in the u8 and u 10 groups (not, I must add, from the Irish delegation).
We are all looking forward to a more rewarding chess day tomorrow.
Gemma was the star of today’s play and she finished early after executing a beautiful fork and capturing her opponent’s queen. Her smile, like that of Susan’s two days ago, illuminated the whole hall. Shortly before that Oisín had finished his game, rather disappointed with himself as he had prepared a lot for the match but cheered up considerabley at the prospect of going to Mureck pool. The public pool here rivals that of any holiday resort in Spain etc and all the participants head down to it every day after the game.
Susan and Aisling finished their games and although they played well they didn’t succeed in getting the points. Aisling’s opponent, one of the girls staying in the same hotel as us, treated her to an ice-cream afterwards and they were all playing in the garden after dinner. Some lovely chess friendships have been established at this tournament. It was up to Denis, yet again, to save the day with a draw that technically shouldn’t have taken place as it was inside the 30 move limit set down in the rules. The fact that the game had already lasted 3 hours or so and was extremely complicated meant that the arbiter was happy to let the result stand. So congratulations to Gemma and Denis and good luck to the whole team tomorrow. Go n-éirí go geal libh!
Denis proved to be the Irish squad’s shining star yet again on this our 5th day in Mureck. As the thunder and lightning raged outside Denis managed to create quite a storm with his own dynamic game and brought home Ireland’s only point of the day. The other four results were disappointing for our young team as they had hoped to follow their strong performance yesterday. On a happier note the heavens opened here in Mureck today and the temperature dropped by a good 10 degrees. This is such a huge relief to all around and we are looking forward to a good cool sleep tonight. Tuilleadh scéalta amárach.
What a difference a day makes!! The Irish squad were in great form this evening after a 4-1 score on the notice board. It was Gemma’s turn to take a bye today and she made lots of use of her free time, going over games in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. Susan finished her game quite early with a lovely mate and lightened up the whole of the tournament hall with her beautiful smile. Denis then finished about 30 minutes later and whilst not being overly impressed with his own play, he was, of course, more than delighted with his win. Aisling made the hat-trick a short while after by threatening mate in one or decimation of her opponent’s pieces. All of them thoroughly enjoyed (and deserved) their refreshing swim in Mureck Public Swimming Park after the game.
7 year old Oisín played very well in the game from about move 6 onwards, taking his time and checking captures etc. The first few moves were played a little too hastily, however, resulting in the untimely demise of his queen!! The temperature wasn’t too high today, only registering at 41-44 in Mureck. We are all excited at the prospect of lots of rain tomorrow.
Tuilleadh scéalta amárach.
Litir ó Mhureck,
Very little to report from Day 3 and Round 3 in Mureck today. Our young squad had a disappointing day with some of the games ending a little earlier than expected due to a blunder or two. On a more positive note Gemma and SusanMaria ar now beginning to really pace themselves and play more slowly. Maith sibh, a chailíní!! / Well done, girls.
After breakfast today all the players got together and went over yesterday’s games. We were very grateful to Denis for providing analysis which was geared to the level of each child, Oisín included! We hope to have the players talk about their games in the next couple of days.
With temperatures reaching 43-45 in Mureck today and with no air conditioning in the halls, the children are totally exhausted, tired but happy as the old saying goes. Rain is expected on Sunday, everyone here looking forward to it.
Slán agus beannacht / Best wishes!
Today the Irish delegation found the Mureck swimming pool!. As each child finished they were escorted to the pool by Aji Paul and supervised by Svitlana, Simon and Lisa. They had a fantastic time there as was evident from the screams and squeals of delight which went on until about 6:30. Denis and Aisling’s games didn’t finish until around that time and they opted, understandably enough, to go back to our hotel. Denis had a very tough opponent today in Jaka Brilej (2048) and after winning comfortably yesterday he had hopes of holding his opponent to a draw today until very near the end. A very disappointing day for one of our most promising juniors, currently 1800, but I have no doubt that he has already put this behind him and is preparing for the next game as I write. (9:30 pm Austrian time).
The team are getting into a nice routine of studying in the mornings to prepare for their games. Aisling, Susan Maria, Gemma and Oisín all played their hearts out today and were unfortunate not to reap any rewards for their hard work. They are all really enjoying the experience of a long chess tournament, playing lots of chess and making new friends galore!
This is my first experience as a parent at a long (or short, probably) chess tournament, as my husband Con normally fulfils this duty. I have to admit that it feels extremely strange to sit in the room with literally hundreds of boards and not be able to play. At one stage today I felt that the boards were teasing me, “come and play”, they seemed to shout, but I managed to resist the temptation and continued to read my book. I also didn’t think it would be good for the Irish Head of Delegation to be labelled a bit of a looney!
The delegation consists of more than the children, of course, and I have to say it would be hard to find a more pleasant group of people. Tuilleadh scéalta agus pictiúir amárach. /More stories and pictures tomorrow.
Litir ó Mhureck
A Chairde Gael, Beatha agus Sláinte.
Round 1 of the EU championship took place today, Wednesday 2 August at 3:00. We were all present for the Opening ceremony which took place in the Tournament Hall, Mureck. Welcoming the children to the Tournament the speakers stressed the importance of chess to the young mind and the importance of it as a peaceful game!
The Irish team (and the German team) are staying in a very picturesque hotel / guest-house about 4 km from the tournament. We take a train ride to the venue each day, an event which is very exciting to the younger members of our delegation. Our full delegation comprises: U 14 Denis Ruchko, U14 Aisling Ní Laighléis, U12 Susan Maria Aji, U 10 Gemma Mulholland, U8 Oisín Ó Laighléis.
Denis was definitely the star of the day as he won Ireland’s first point of the tournament.Today was the first international outing for Susan Maria, Gemma and Oisín but despite valient efforts from them and from Aisling, their more experienced opponents gained the points, but all left the hall having played well in the first round. Tuilleadh scéalta amárach/ more stories tomorrow!