Munster Chess Championships 2015

Takes place from 18th to 20th September 2015 at the West County Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare.  The title of “Munster Champion” will go to some one from that province but all players under 1500 rating can play the support event.

There are two sections (a) The Munster Championship , and (b) the Under 1500 Championship , which would be ideal level for our top junior players.

All playing equipment will be provided.  And a leaflet with details and entry form is available here. 

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Return of the Junior club

Under the Calendar heading the new dates from September to December have now been updated .. hope to see many new and old faces in the Tennis Club again this year !knockUntil Wednesday the 23rd then .. and questions please email me at

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SwapChess (Bughouse Rules)

To ensure that everyone knows the rules of Swap for the 2016 Chess Mega-Mind event here’s a video and rules below ..

.. The game requires 4 players.  This is team chess, with 2 players on each team, one player will play White, while the other plays Black on a board next to them, across from their opponents..

The normal rules of chess apply with these exceptions:

(1) When a player captures a piece, he must pass it to his partner. For example: if a team’s White player captures his opponent’s rook (a black piece), he must pass it to his partner, who is playing Black. If a pawn promotes and is then captured, it reverts back to being a pawn when it is passed.

(2) On each player’s turn, he may choose to either make a regular chess move on the board, or place one of the pieces his partner has passed to him on the board. There are no restrictions on where pieces may be placed, with the exception that pawns cannot be placed on the first or eighth ranks.

(3) The game ends when any player is checkmated or runs out of time on either board. That player’s team loses the game. Keep in mind that a player is not checkmated if he has the potential to block a check by placing a piece there, even if he doesn’t have a piece “in hand” yet; the possibility of his partner passing something to him is enough to keep the game going.

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The Glorney Cup (1959) comes home

It was 1963 when Ireland last won the Glorney Cup.  The President of Ireland, Mr. Michael D. Higgins spoke elegantly at the opening ceremony which most certainly gave everyone a sense of importance about what was to come over the next 3 days. This year the Irish Glorney team, lead by Conor O’Donnell (Fide Master),  managed to win this ancient cup by the narrowest of margins over habitual winners England. The team included two 12 year old boys (Tom O’Gorman who scored 5.5/6  &  Alex Byrne who was undefeated on board 3), the experienced (and charismatic) Scott Mulligan played board 2 and Conor Maher who scored the decisive 1/2 point by drawing against a higher rated opponent in a seemingly lost ending in the very last game..  IMG_0570 There was more .. our u-14’s team danced away with the Robinson Cup, convincing winners and the first time Ireland had won this section.  In the u-12’s (Stokes Cup) we had 5 new players who learned what it takes at this level & they’ll be pushing hard to get back on Team Ireland next year.

However, there was heartbreak too.  Just as we’d won the Glorney on a tie-break the Irish Girls team lost the Gilbert Cup by the same system.  England and Ireland had been joint first in the 2 main events and the tie-break will hurt for those that missed out.  It’s fitting to congratulate England on their Wins in the Stokes (squeezing past an excellent Welsh team by a half point) and the Gilbert Cup.

IMG_0576One parent told the organisers that  .. ” I would not have thought ‘spectator chess’ could have been so compelling but I found the whole experience enthralling.  Brilliant and well deserved victories for the Irish in an excellently run event. ” .. On the last day, as each player left the hall they had to pass through the “spectators room” where the parents were watching the games live on a cinema style projector.  And as the Irish players quietly slipped out of the tournament hall they were shocked and stunned by the standing ovations (regardless of result) from a very partisan Irish auditorium.  There may never be a Glorney to match this again, or has Ireland set a new norm.

In 2016 and further into the future we’d love for our Galway juniors to experience this uniquely special event.  And the West of Ireland league is one starting point for players games to be rated and then they can get noticed by the ICU.

And finally, finally ..  The venue was the oh so plush Johnstown House Hotel, 4 star hotel – which received numerous and repeated praise from all quarters.  (see for all the games and details, I recommend Conor Maher’s draw in the last round for sheer character under extreme pressure and also Tom O’Gorman’s  “exchange sac”  in game two is a must view for it’s mind-boggling creativity !

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Glorney-Gilbert 2015

ConnCupYou can follow “Team Ireland” on when they play the best juniors from England , Scotland and Wales.  Every game will be shown live starting on Monday morning the 20th July,..

.. it will make interesting viewing for players who might like to play for Ireland in the future.

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New – West of Ireland Junior Chess League

WofI-league email –

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London (hyde park) Human Chess event 2015

The players make the moves on their board human-chessand then their moves are carried out by the actors. Here a Rook is captured, although he doesn’t seem too upset by the experience .. Rook-capturedlooks like super fun ! .. congrats to the yes2chess organisers and their sponsors.  To keep up with their activities one can follow them on twitter @yes2chessplay .

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chessZ national finals 2015

The primary schools had a their chess finals in Limerick on the 29th of May.  The overall winners in both sections were St. Catherines n.s. of Dublin.  We remember these guys well from the “chess mega-mind competition”  when they performed brilliantly then too.  Well done the Dubs !IMG_0556Two strong Galway teams finished in second .. experienced players and former finalists Bushy Park n.s.  were 2nd in the Champions section by a slender 1 point margin and 2nd in the Girls section were the ever impressive players from Briarhill n.s.

At their 1st national finals .. the girls of Scoil Ide n.s. finished 4th in their section and Ballinalass n.s. were also 4th in the Champions section too. They will be looking to become county champions next year ..

It was nice to see our players make friends with other teams in the intervals and then focus on their games when it was time to compete.  Can’t wait to do it all again next year !!

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Comortas Fichille Cúige Connacht 2015

The 1st event for Gealscoilenna … organised in Irish by Una O’Boyle was held in Castlebar.  Both schools that participated this year qualify for the Gealscoilenna finals to be held in November 2015.

knockGealscoil Mhic Amhlaigh represented  Galway and the players were delighted with their day out .. thanks goes to Olive, Rebecca’s mum for fulfilling the vital role of looking after the team on the day !

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Schools chess – Galway finals 2015

There was lot’s of talented players competing for 4 titles at the Galway Bridge club on Wednesday 6th of May .. gc-15The Galway champions are St. James , Bushy Park who overcame a strong Ballinlass n.s. team in the finals.  Both of these schools will go onto represent Galway at the All-Ireland finals.  Well done to all the other players, who were a credit to their schools .. Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh , Athenry Boys ,  Craughwell n.s. and Brierhill n.s. girls-15The current All-Ireland Girls champions continue to dominate the Galway finals ..  the fabulous McMahon sisters of Brierhill n.s. are Girl’s champions.  Beaten finalists Scoil Ide will also travel to the All-Ireland finals on May 29th in Limerick.

In the Novice section ..  there was a massive 8 teams in this section.  The winners were Clairnbridge n.s. who beat a strong Claregalway n.s. in the final.  And the U-10 section was won by Brierhill n.s. in a close finals against Craughwell.

Thanks to all parents, teachers and principals for getting kids to the finals and hope everyone had a great day !

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