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GM Baburin wins Galway Congress 2006
The 2006 Galway Congress which was held on the weekend of September 29th-October 1st was sponsored this year by Hewlett Packard, Galway and had an overall prize fund of over €4000. The tournament was once again played in relatively relaxed mood with many competitors remarking positively on comfortable surroundings of the Corrib Great Southern, where the congress has been based for the last several years.
In the Minor section which was again the largest competition, we saw a great performance from Kenneth Dillon of Ballinasloe who won all of his games. There has been a lot of enthusiasm in the Ballinasloe chess club for the past few years so it’s great to see them making a breakthrough. Fintan Hegarty from NUI Galway was runner-up with 5.5/6 – a score that would have won most tournaments: Fintan drew his third game and so missed out on a chance to play Kenneth. Tom Monahan from Ballina who won his first 5 games, ended up in joint 3rd with Jonathon Kiely who won his last 5 games! Ashley Campion, Robert McKenna, Ivan Baburin (!) and Yoel Ferrer won grading prizes.
The Major section was won by Raino Soikkeli – after winning his first 5 games, Raino was offered a draw in the last game and wrapped up the title early with Robert White runner up on 5/6 and Michael Burniston and Ronan Sweeney tying for 3rd on 4.5/6. Grading prizes went to Pat McCarrick and James Osborne.
This year, we tried the experiment of amalgamating the over-1600’s into the Masters section and to run a “tournament within a tournament” for the players rated 1600-2000.
In the top section, there was a record 64 players with ratings of 1600 and over and this ended up in a 4-way tie on 5/6 between Alex Baburin, Yury Rochev, Karl McPhillips and Alex Lopez (who was also presented with his FIDE title certificate during the prize-giving). At the start of the final day, only Gawain Jones and Alex Lopez were on full points but after they agreed a quick draw, the field tightened up and Gawain lost his last round match against Alex Baburin (see below) to fall out of the placings altogether. Yury Rochev seemed to have a slight advantage on Alex Lopez throughout their final game on board 1 but the game ended up in a a drawn knight and pawn endgame. So, after being 9 minutes away from a time default in round 1, Alex Baburin ended up taking the title on a tie-break!
There were also significant prizes on offer for the best performances in the Masters section for players under-2000 and this one went right down to the wire. With almost all the matches completed, it looked like this was going to a 5 way tie for first on 4/6 between Robert Stuart, David Murray, Pete Morriss, Stephen Moran and Ryan-Rhys Griffiths. However, right at the death, Mark McGovern won his last match to reach 4.5/6 and take 1st place with the others tying for joint second. Grading prizes went to Barry Walls, Rory Delaney and Zaidan Zulkilpi.
The Galway Chess Club website has the full cross-tables and standings list.
Some interesting games from the tournament starting off with boards 1 and 2 from the final round.
A queen hunt goes astray for Gawain against Alex:
Jones, Gawain (2467) - Baburin, Alex (2544)
Rochev, Yury - Lopez, Alex
McPhillips, Karl - Jones, Gawain
Baburin, Alex - Hunt, Harriet
Baburin, Alex (2544) - Hoffman, Hendrik (2329)
Rochev, Yury - Short, Stephen