The ICU Committee meetings were organised on five occasions over the year: in Kilkenny November; Bunratty February; Green Isle Hotel, Dublin May D4 hotel July; and Harolds cross Dublin August. In the case of the July meeting a quorum (5 executive members present) was not reached. It is hoped that by increasing the number of people on the Executive Committee this can be avoided in future.
The Executive Committee members were Eamon Keogh (Chairman), Nicola Benson (Secretary), John Delaney (Vice-Chairman, resigned in May), Michael Crowe (Treasurer), John Mckenna (Junior officer), Mark Orr (Ratings Officer), John Alfred (Developement Officer), Rory Quinn (Membership Officer), Pat Fitzsimmons (Leinster delegate), Stephan Danaher (Munster delegate, joined in August); non-executive Gerry Graham (tournament Officer), Herbert Scarry (Arbitration Officer), Kevin OConnell (Fide Delegate). Nicola Benson also retained the role of Womens Officer from the previous year.
The economic climate has led to some drop off in attendance at weekend tournaments, but there is a very full calender: City of Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny, Leinster Championships, Gonzaga, Bunratty, Cork, Ennis and Drgheda, culminating in the Irish Championships and Irelands first Norm tournament at the DunLaoghire Festival, plus numerous rapid plays and blitz competitions.
Ryan Rees Griffiths had an extremely strong performance in the British Championships, finishing joint 6th and U18 Champion. Ronan Magee came second in the U12 British Championships.
Ennis participated in the 2009 European Club Cup and won two of their matches despite the extremely strong competition. They will be going to Poland to participate this year.
Mens and Womens team have been entered to the Olympiad in Siberia next week.
FIDE title norms were attained by Sam Collins (2nd GM Norm in Tromso, Norway) and Alex Lopes (IM norm, Dun Laogahire).
Affiliation to GAA was discussed to allow sharing of premises and to help access grant monies and to improve chances of getting chess recognised as a sport.
During the Irish Championships we had a visit from Geoffrey Borg representing Fide and the European chess union. He was a mine of information on what is going on in other countries regarding getting chess recognised as a sport, getting it included in the school curriculum on the same basis as Art, Music, Drama, developing junior chess, training programes, coaching programmes, coaching material, FIDE arbiter training. As a result of his visit, John Alfred was invited to visit the world schools youth championship in Turkey, to meet with Ali Niyat Yazici and look at how they have achieved an explosion of interest in chess at junior and senior level in Turkey.
Kevin O'Connell is retiring as FIDE delegate after 32 years of sterling service: please read his excellent FIDE Delegate's Report. He will be unable to act as Fide delegate for the meeting at Khanty Manisk next month, so it has been arranged that Antony Hearne will act as Delegate and place Irelands vote in the FIDE elections: the committee voted at the August committee meeting to support Karpov aginst the present incumbant Kirsan Ilyumov in the upcoming presidential elections: Timothy Harding has a motion at the AGM to endorse this.
It was decided to support Ali Nahit Yazici for the President of European chess Federation: he has been extremly successful developing chess in Turkey, and is proposing to do the same for chess in Europe. A feature of his plans is aimed particularly at smaller countries like Ireland, and has already raised substantial funding to this end: Ireland should gain 20,000.
There has been no journal for the past few years, but the excellent website (thanks to Mark Orr) has taken over many of the functions previously covered in the journal to keep members up to date with the Irish chess scene.
As John Mckenna (see Junior Officer's Report) is retiring this year, I have undertaken (in consultation with John) to organise Irish Juniors attending the Fide World Youth Championship in Halkidiki Greece in October. The selection of junior players is automatic, as it is based soley on Irish rating, the hightest rated boy or girl in each age group being offered the accommodation paid place. The teams are:
- U18 Sam Osbourne, Ryan Rhys-Griffiths
- U16 Mark Berney
- U14 Oissine Murphy
- U12 Ronan MCGee
- U10 Jeffrey Alfred
- U18 None (Pornmina unfortunately unavailable)
- U16 Sarah-Jane Hearne
- U14 Sinead Duffy
- U12 Catherine Hearne
- U10 Diana Mirza
Finally I would like to thank my fellow Committee members for all their hard work over the year, and wish the best of luck to the incoming committee. I would particularily like to thank Eamon and Michael for their many years of work for Irish chess.