The West of Ireland league this year was an introduction to the world of ‘rated chess’ for most players .. but for those already rated it was quite a competitive battle for the overall title and individual rating points.
The format was for two games to be played on Sunday’s over 4 months. The 4 teams with the highest points totals qualified for the semi-finals. And the bottom 4 teams went into the ‘shield’ competition.
Our first venue was the 4 star Woodstock Hotel in Ennis which the parents and players enjoyed. Ballinasloe and Galway hosted the next Sundays in nice hotels too with the finals back at the Woodstock, Ennis.
At the end of the qualifying the leading 4 teams were .. (1) Lmk-Ennis , (2) Galway , (3) Brierhill and (4) Ballinasloe.
James Naughton (Ireland International player) led Lmk-Ennis against Denis Ruchko (also an Ireland International) and they played out a hard fought draw on board one .. but the final itself was a landslide win for Lmk-Ennis (3.5 pts.) against Galway’s (0.5 pt.).
3rd place overall was decided by a play-off between the board one players of Ballinasloe and Brierhill .. (Eimear O’Thuatail and Aoife Castle) and in a tense blitz game Eimear earned Brierhill 3rd spot.
In the Shield nearly all the players were novices and they were focused more on trophies and medals rather than individual rating points. The final winners were Galway Bee’s who came out just ahead of Ennis novices on a tie-break.
Games were played in a great spirit and new rivalries and friendships made. A number of these guys will be in action again this weekends at the Bunratty International Chess festival.
Thanks to Mr. Maksym Ruchko who “rated” the league for us. We’ll be back (next year) and all clubs and or schools are invited to join the league.