This year's National Chess Club Championships are being held in the Green Isle Hotel, Naas Road, Dublin and there are 14 teams taking part, shown in the table on the right in order of average rating.
Play begins at 12:30 Saturday 12 Februray in this 4 round Swiss team event and looking at the average ratings of the teams, it's hard to see any other teams in the top two places at the end of the event other than Adare and Ennis. Alex Lopez, Ireland's latest International Master and current Irish Champion is board 5 on the Adare team (board 6 is FM Christian Daianu) while Ennis have mark Hebden playing for them on top board.
There will be some interesting games in this FIDE rated event and I will be posting some of them online over the weekend.
|4||Adare East||2½-3½||St. Benildus|
The first round pitted the top seven teams against the bottom seven teams and all matches bar one went to seeding, the unfortunate seeds being Dublin Chess Club, they lost 3½2½ against Rathmines B, or should I say Rathminus! Adare whitewashed the Rathmines top team while Ennis had the same result against Bray. Mark Hebden won on board 1 for Ennis against Colm Daly, see game.
Gonzaga beat Sarsfield Chess Club of Limerick 4-2 while St. Benildus beat Adare East 3½2½. Galway managed to do to Kilkenny what their hurlers rarely manage to do, they beat them 3½2½ while Elm Mount beat the Curragh 51.
Adare's top board, Vlad Jianu GM from Romania (pictured right) was just too strong for Irish Junior, Sam Osborne, see game.
The second round results threw up a few surprise results:
The first surprise was Mark Hebdens loss to Yuri Rochev on top board of the Ennis Galway clash as Galway managed to take 2 points from that match, the other point coming from Marek Goban's victory over Jonathan Nelson.
However, even more eyebrows were raised (and quite a few glasses later on!) when St. Benildus managed to take a point from the Adare super-team, Tim McCarthy won against the Adare board 3, Eduard Valenu (2481) in a nice game.
|Standings after R2|
|1||Adare||2 - 11|
|2||Ennis||2 - 10|
|3||Elm Mount||1½ - 8|
|4||Gonzaga||1½ - 7|
|5||Sarsfield||1 - 7|
|6||Dublin||1 - 6|
|7||Galway||1 - 5½|
|8||Rathminus||1 - 5½|
|9||St. Benildus||1 - 4½|
|10||Rathmines||1 - 4|
|11||Bray||1 - 3½|
|12||Kilkenny||0 - 5|
|13||Adare East||0 - 5|
|14||Curragh||0 - 2|
Another nice game was played by the chairman of the Irish Chess Union, Jonathan OConnor (pictured left) against the strong Irish junior, Ronan Magee, Jonathan wheeled out the Sozin variation of the Sicilian Defence to great effect in this game. Jonathan points out that his one and only superstition is getting his haircut before a chess event, maybe theres something in that!
After the 2nd round, the standings are shown on the right (match points, then games points).
Round 3 began on Sunday morning at 10:00am and almost all the players were at the board at the start, none missed the 15 minute deadline which was a relief to the arbiter/author! None that is, except for Rathmines, who knew the previous night that they would have problems fielding a team for round 3, they only had three players, which explains their heavy defeat at the hands of Adare East.
The clash of the titans was the highlight of the round and Adare certainly lived up to their seeding, the beat Ennis 51. Ennis's only point was scored by Mark Hebden on board 1 against Vlad Jianu (2539).
The results of the round 3 matches are below:
|Standings after R3|
|1||Adare||3 - 16|
|2||Ennis||2 - 11|
|3||Sarsfield||2 - 10½|
|4||Gonzaga||2 - 10|
|5||Dublin||2 - 9½|
|6||Galway||2 - 9|
|7||Elm Mount||1½ - 10½|
|8||St. Benildus||1½ - 7½|
|9||Adare East||1 - 10|
|10||Kilkenny||1 - 9½|
|11||Rathminus||1 - 8|
|12||Bray||1 - 6|
|13||Rathmines||1 - 5|
|14||Curragh||0 - 3½|
This left the situation going into the final round as shown on the right.
The final round was an exciting affair with nail-biting finishes on many boards, as well as a few "upsets". The Adare East team beat the Curragh team well while Kilkenny were too good for Rathminus. Bray and Rathmines shared their match while St Benildus beat Elm Mount by the smallest possible margin.
Paul Walsh of Sarsfield Chess Club in Limerick beat Yuri Rochev of Galway but it wasn't enough as the Galway lads won that match, again with the smallest margin possible. Ennis came to this competition with one goal in mind, to qualify for Europe again but today, they needed to beat Gonzaga to do it. Mark Hebden and Sam Collins played out a hard fought draw while Jan Sodoma went down to Gordon Freeman in the following game.
David Murray of Gonzaga also beat his Ennis opponent, Jonathan Nelson (2277) and this along with the see-saw draw between Carl Jackson and Rory Quinn was enough to dash the hopes of Ennis and lift the hearts of the Gonzaga lads, as they, and not Ennis, came second.
The final round results:
|4||St, Benildus||3½-2½||Elm Mount|
Here is a final round game from Adare's match, Vlad Barnaure's victory over Mark Collins.
|1||Adare||4 - 21|
|2||Gonzaga||3 - 13½|
|3||Galway||3 - 12½|
|4||St.Benildus||2.5 - 11|
|5||Adare East||2 - 14½|
|6||Ennis||2 - 13½|
|7||Kilkenny||2 - 13½|
|8||Sarsfield||2 - 13|
|9||Dublin||2 - 10½|
|10||Elm Mount||1½ - 13|
|11||Bray||1½ - 9|
|12||Rathmines||1½ - 8|
|13||Rathminus||1½ - 10|
|14||Curragh||0 - 5|
The final standings for this year's National Club Championship are shown on the right.
In the photo, L to R: Vlad Jianu, Vlad Barnaure, Eduard Valeanu, Gabriel Mirza, Cristian Daianu and John Alfred all of Adare Chess Club. Two players had to leave before the end and are missing from this team photo, Alex Lopez and Dragos Dumitrache.