2006 Bunratty Festival

Clive Hutchby

Historic Bunratty is chess mecca for a weekend

More than 300 chess players from every corner of Ireland will converge on historic Bunratty on Friday, February 17, for the start of the 13th annual Bunratty Chess Festival.

The event – the most popular of its kind in Ireland – will also draw international players to the Bunratty Shannon Shamrock Hotel, situated right next to one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions . . . Bunratty Castle and the Folk Park.

Two former winners – legendary English grandmasters Dr. John Nunn and Jonathan Speelman – will be among the competitors, who will all play six matches over the three-day event. On the Sunday night a blitz competition will be held, starting around 9pm.

Chief arbiter Gerry Graham, who, with tournament director Paul Carey, founded the festival in 1994, said, “The Bunratty Chess Festival is by far the biggest annual event of its kind in Ireland.

“It offers ordinary club players and youngsters the opportunity to play next to some of the great names in the world of chess – they really do rub shoulders with the masters.”

Last year’s victor, Ulster-based international master Brian Kelly, will be unable to defend his Masters section title because of work commitments in Hong Kong, said Graham. However, a strong contingent of Irish-based players is expected, led by Grandmaster Alexander Baburin.

The event is split into four sections – Masters, Challengers, Major and Minor – so players of all strengths can compete against similar-ability opponents.

“It’s not just a great venue to play chess,” said Graham. “Spectator facilities are excellent. You can sit in the bar and enjoy a pint of Guinness while watching the number one match on a giant screen.”

For detailed information on the event, go to our Calendar section


Created 2006-02-12 ◦ Last updated 2014-07-23 ◦ Editor VB

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