Irish Championship

The Irish Chess Championships takes place from Saturday the 6th of July until Sunday the 14th of July.

This starts everyday at 3pm Saturday 6th until Saturday 13th of July. The last round takes place at noon on Sunday 14th of July.


Time control is 40 moves in 90 minutes with an additional 30 minutes for the rest and a 30 second increment from move 1.

Only players who are registered with Ireland by FIDE and have had a rating 1800 or higher (ICU or FIDE) from September 1st 2012 are eligible to play in the Irish Chess Championships.


Minimum Prize-pool

1st: €1,600

2nd: €800

3rd: €300

3 x Grading: €100


Free for players rated 2100+, €50 for players rated above 2000 and €100 for players rated between 1800 and 2000. Entry deadline is the 28th of June.

For anyone rated 2100+ that wishes to enter, please contact


Entries so far

First Name Last Name Rating
Colm Daly 2339
David Fitzsimons 2331
Philip Short 2260
Mark Orr 2247
Mel O’Cinneide 2225
John Redmond 2217
Jonathan O’Connor 2149
Paul Walsh 2118
Killian Delaney 2117
Rory Quinn 2101
Ciaran Quinn 2098
Anthony Fox 2093
Gerard MacElligott 2050
Gordon Freeman 2047
John Hughes 2046
Raymond O’Rourke 2023
Martin Crichton 1965
John Cormican 1965
Martin O’Grady 1903
Kevin O’Flaherty* 1880
Pat Twomey 1875

* This player will play in rounds with uneven numbers.

91 Responses to Irish Championship

  1. peter cafolla says:

    Lowering the rating floor for the Irish Championship to 1800 has not resulted in a single extra entry and in at least one case (my own) has had the completely opposite effect by putting off someone who would have otherwise played. It is also very clear that not one of the people who argued on the LCU blog in favour of weakening the standard have even bothered to enter . Hopefully in future years the rating floor will return to 1900 as it always has been and always should be.

    • Hi Peter,

      The 2011 Irish Championships had 23 Irish players, 2010 Irish Championships had 28 players and 2008 Irish Championships had 32 players and these tournaments also had players rated below 1900 (you played in all of those events). Currently we don’t have any player registered that is rated below 1900.

      There are currently 12 players entered which is on par with the entries of last year (2 players who played last year aren’t allowed to play in the tournament this year). We expect to exceed this number, so lowering the rating floor has increased numbers (hopefully matching the numbers played the last time it was outside of Dublin (20 players 9 years ago)).

      I would be in favour of system similar to the British Chess Championships where people could earn their spots at the event from tournaments during the year (or at least be eligible to play).

      Anyway we hope to see you at the event and if not, at the ICU General Meeting proposing such a motion.



  2. Jonathan O'Connor says:

    Peter, John Delaney recently pointed out that the average rating of all the members has dropped by 150 points in the last 12 years. The executive have asked him, with the help of Mark Orr, to see if it is only at particular rating bands, and to suggest a solution to the problem. It may be the case that when we played in Drogheda in 1999, the players over 1900 then, would now be equivalent to those over 1750.


  3. Gerard MacElligott says:

    Jonathan, it may well be that part of the drop in average ratings is due to an increase in young players. That could bring down the average. If, on the other hand, thre has not been an increase in new, lower rated, players then the problem must lie elsewhere.

    • Jonathan O'Connor says:

      Gerry, that’s why we have asked one of the top statisticians in the country to figure it all out for us.

      No point in making assumptions until the analysis is complete.

  4. peter cafolla says:

    I hope that the championship will be a success. My point is simply that lowering rating floors is not the way to increase attendances. Kilkenny and Bunratty always have excellent entries precisely because competitors are guaranteed strong opposition in every game if either tournament dropped the floor to say 1700 I guarantee that attendance would drop instantly.
    The fact that no 1800 players have entered this years Irish Championship just goes to prove that lowering the rating requirements did not work.

  5. martin crichton says:

    There is plenty of time for all players rated 1800+ to enter. I think there is a possibility that the legendary Peter Cafolla might even be a late entry ;) , the more the merrier!

  6. Gerard MacElligott says:

    John Hughes seems to be registered by FIDE as an USA player ?


      Jan the lad may have a good passport we don’t know !

      If his father is Irish the boy is automatically entitled to an Irish passport (£40 fee approx) but he has been registered under USA chess federation clearly breaching the entry requirements to this years Irish senior.

      Eligibility criteria clearly states players registered with IRL.

      The organisers need to address this asap … I suspect the problem might be the way the auto payment is set up? 1996 birth year suggests the boy is only 17.
      He is eligible to play in the other tournaments.

      however if his father is Irish the boy is automatically entitled to an Irish passport (£40 fee approx) but he has been registered under USA chess federation clearly breaching the entry requirements to this years Irish senior.
      He is eligible to play in the other tournaments.

    • Jonathan O'Connor says:

      John Hughes is in the process of changing federations from US to Ireland. He is both an Irish citizen and a member of the ICU. FIDE have the paperwork, and it should be complete before the championships begin.

  7. Jan Heinrich says:

    Sorry, John, you have a bad passport, like me …

  8. Jan Heinrich says:

    Ok Martin, thanks, I accept your explanation

  9. Colm Daly says:

    Yes rules are rules and they are there for good reasons. This player John Hughes is clearly not entitled to play in the Irish ch and the simple fact is that he should have declared for Ireland at the first opportunity. He didn’t! If that was an error then he should and could have tried to correct it, but clearly it was not so he is stuck with that choice, until he changes to IRL if that is his wish.
    As for Jan, it is very odd that he ever felt there could be any basis for him to play in the Championships of another country merely by virtue of having lived here for a few years. Would not matter if it was a 100 years that he was living here BECAUSE he too, could and should have have changed his federation at some point in all the time he was living here.

    Had that never occurred to Jan? Jan still could request to change his federation and depending on how fast or well such a request would go through he would be most welcome and able to play in future Irish Championships. What is unfair about that?

    We have as an example a two time ex Irish Champion by the name of Joe Ryan living in Spain no less years as Jan is in Ireland and though he would dearly love to play in the Spanish Championships he can not and would not ever dream of thinking it made sense for him to be able to play in their championships until such time as he had changed federation and was registered through Fide as a Spanish player.

    Simple fact is that people can not have it every way they want. It is one or the other can not have it all your own way sometimes.. Hardly fair for Jan to be able to play in the Slovakian Championships and the Irish, sure otherwise why would we bother with the notion of a nation state at all then? In the case of the American player he simply should have made sure that he was one or the other. He choose the USA and has to accept the consequences of that, or change federation and he will be able to play in future Irish Championships.

    The issue is about integrity and authenticity. If a principled stand is taken then the whole event is being respected and not seen as merely a vehicle for any individual players personal convenience.Jan and the American player can play in any other Irish tournament throughout the year. Just this one event that they can not.It is not much to ask that one event within a year have such a restriction. Yes just one event! Our national championships.

    There is a heck of a lot of national championships I would love to play in but just like Joe Ryan in Spain I am sure that even if I lived there for years I would simply never be able to until I changed federation and was listed as a player of that country.

    Perfectly reasonable when you think about it.

    Both Jan and the American player would be great additions to the other events. Hopefully they will play in the other events and enjoy them.

    BTW Martin an Irish passport bought in the USA through a consulate or embassy is about 100 or 120 US Dollars I think. I have a 17 year old Nephew in the USA and HE would not be able to play in the Irish championships either! Well actually because he has never been listed as an American player and it would be his first Fide rated event maybe he would? And there is the rub of it! Once you declare for a country that’s the choice you must live with! Until you change that listing and are listed as IRL.

  10. Colm Daly says:

    I did not see Jonathan’s post when I posted earlier, perhaps it was waiting to be moderated?

    Anyway here is my reply to that.

    Well Jonathan this is very worrying indeed. If as you say the player is in the process of transferring [NEWS TO ME and no mention of this in the minutes of the last ICU executive meeting] AND he is listed on the JULY list as IRL then that is FINE – and good as it shows the system works.

    However I would have thought it much better to have this well out in the Open well in advance. So frankly if he is not listed under IRL on the JULY list that’s it! HE CAN NOT BE ALLOWED TO PLAY. it is no use saying he is in the process unless he will be listed as a player UNDER IRL AT THE TIME OF THE EVENT.

    In light of the nature of this I would also like to have documentary evidence that an application was made to the ICU and accepted by the ICU executive. Otherwise it all looks a bit fishy don’t you think? I mean there would be a paper trail in which a player makes a request to change federation and all that involves etc etc?

    • Hi Colm,

      The documentation contains sensitive information which can not be publicly circulated. It was also listed in the previous committee meeting minutes and agenda.

      The motion passed at the AGM states: “Admission to the Irish Championship be open to only players who can qualify for the Irish Olympiad team.”

      Technically someone registered as IRL on the FIDE list isn’t automatically eligible to play on the Olympiad team (if they haven’t played 36 games in Ireland in the last two years). If we take a view that you have to be eligible for the Irish Olympiad team before the tournament starts; a number of players would be disqualified. However the motion does not stipulate that you have to eligible to play for Ireland to play in the Irish Championships but rather that you CAN qualify for the Irish Olympiad team.

      His application to change federation was approved by the ICU at the previous ICU Committee meeting. The documentation received satisfies that John Hughes CAN qualify for the Irish Olympiad team (maybe not by the start of July but definetly before the end of this year).



  11. martin crichton says:

    to whom it may concern (presumably Rory Delaney FIDE Arbiter and tournament controller of the Irish Senior Championships)
    We now have the ICU chairman , the ICU vice chairman and the ICU secretary all voicing various opinions on the admission of the player John Hughes.

    The criteria states. (reiterated at the top of this page)

    Only players who are registered with Ireland by FIDE and have had a rating 1800 or higher (ICU or FIDE) from September 1st 2012 are eligible to play in the Irish Chess Championships.

    Can you confirm if John Hughes USA in July will be allowed to play? Others may think we are not following our own rules or we cannot even understand them? I would like to see 30 + players playing all with IRL after their name.

    • Killian Delaney says:

      It seems quite clear that it has already been discussed and approved by the ICU executive. I dont see the point in discussing it further and can only have a negative impact on the tournament.

      Personally I would open the tournament to anyone who is a resident of Ireland so Jan could play as the more the merrier but rules are rules and I can understand why the changes were necessary. Whether its July, August or December when Fide approve John’s transfer it doesn’t really matter as all the paperwork has been submitted by the ICU and John and no more can be done.

      • Colm Daly says:

        How on earth can you say

        “It seems quite clear that it has already been discussed and approved by the ICU executive”

        Your not on the executive, I am, and it was not clear to me.

        While I may be mistaken about there being a reference in ICU meeting minutes I have not checked, and Kevin nor anyone else has not directed me to those minutes and relevant section etc etc

        I will assume that what he says is correct anyway but none of that changes the situation with regard to rules. And it matters greatly that they are not only followed but seen to be followed. No July listing = no entry!

        However from what I am given to understand, there is no reason to think there will be any problem with seeing a July listing. Which is what everybody would want and be happy with.

        As regard your personal views of who can or should be allowed to play well l think that only underscores a lack of understanding of the issues involved, or just a profound indifference.

        Such a casual attitude about our national championships only serves [unintentionally I assume] to constantly erode and diminish it’s value and special place within Irish chess. Is that not also reflected in the fact that you are taking two byes in the first two rounds of the Irish? Something which astounds me and which I would imagine would never happen in just about any other national championships I can think of? But I may well be wrong about that.

    • Hi Martin,

      That was put up as a second hand summary from another individual. It has now been corrected to reflect the actual wording.



      • martin crichton says:

        Hi Kevin
        you need to amend the closing date and late fees for the Irish to 28th June as per the ICU website. I believe it was updated this morning?

      • martin crichton says:

        I would be disappointed and will feel our championship has been tainted if we have a player with USA after his name in our tournament crosstable. In that respect I feel that those involved in the process should start calling in favours to ENSURE that the “paperwork” is completed by the time the crosstable is submitted to any external and internal sites , FIDE TWIC, ICU etc

  12. Jan Heinrich says:

    Hi, Colm, first of all, thanks for an explanation. I suppose, something happened last year after Jurijs victory. Other case – nomination of Peter Neuman for captain of national team for Olympiad. If Irish team shoul be Irish, OK. I have to accept. I really do not have ambitions to play on Olympiad or to be a part of Irish team. I would like to play in Irish Championship, I live here for 8 years and I am ready to support this event. But how? I think comparation with Spain is not a good example because Spain is a very strong chess country. At least produced a few GMs. Why this change of rules?

  13. Rule 1 of the ICU eligibility criteria states:

    “A person is eligible to be selected to play for Ireland if that person was born in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland – hereinafter Ireland – or had either one or both parents born in Ireland, or is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.”

    Presumably it is a FIDE Rule that the person must be registered for the country he is playing for, but the rule above does not state this.

    Kevin says the motion passed at the 2012 AGM states:

    “Admission to the Irish Championship be open to only players who can qualify for the Irish Olympiad team.”

    By these criteria, John Hughes (as an Irish citizen) is someone who can qualify for the Irish Olympiad team.

    I also note at the end of the ICU eligibility criteria that it states:

    “Different eligibility criteria may be applied to the Irish Senior Championship than the above.”

    Taking Martin’s point above, it appears that different criteria have been applied, repeated here for ease of reference:

    “Only players who are registered with Ireland by FIDE and have had a rating 1800 or higher (ICU or FIDE) from September 1st 2012 are eligible to play in the Irish Chess Championships.”

    This therefore has created an additional hurdle for John, in that he needs to be Irish registered with FIDE before the tournament starts. Even that assumes (and I think that is what is intended) that the words “from September 1st 2012″ only apply to having a rating of 1800 and not also to being Irish registered.

  14. Jan Heinrich says:

    Hi, Kevin, as I wrote above, I do not have ambitions to play for Irish team on olympiad, I am 44 and I think, Ireland has a few very good and strong players ……..

  15. martin crichton says:

    I would be disappointed and will feel our championship has been tainted if we have a player with USA after his name in our tournament crosstable. In that respect I feel that those involved in the process should start calling in favours to ENSURE that the “paperwork” is completed by the time the crosstable is submitted to any external and internal sites , FIDE TWIC, ICU etc

  16. pawel madynski says:

    Is there any transfer fee to be paid by a player who would like to change his chess federations?

  17. David McAlister says:

    There is an administration fee of 250 euros. There are also transfer and compensation fees to be paid in certain circumstances.


  18. Colm Daly says:

    Hi Jan

    Limited for time so just wanted to quickly Disavow you of the very odd and incorrect misconception you seem to have on some fronts.

    Specifically when you say
    “I suppose, something happened last year after Jurijs victory. Other case – nomination of Peter Neuman for captain of national team for Olympiad.”

    I can assure you that you suppose wrongly. Has nothing whatsoever to do with the Irish ch. Honestly they are totally irrelevant [ a can of worms in their own right] no doubt but nothing to do with this topic

    Jury won the Irish jointly with two others, but because he was NOT eligible to be Irish champion, no tie break was needed or used. None had even been mentioned before the event anyway, and so while we split the money three ways, the title of Irish champion was held jointly by the other two winners.

    In other words, there was no order to the three joint winners. If you ask me Id say that Stephen Brady was probably the most deserving of being regarded as being the number one of the three of us because he actually beat both me and Yury.

    I think there is a case that could be made that people living here for say 5 years could be entitled to play [that would cover both you, Yuri and Mindagaus for example in future Irish champs] however a motion to amend would need to be made for the agm later this year.

    There are different views on this issue of residency I can see merit in both requiring residency or transfer/changing federation, I tend towards citizenship and or being listed under IRL but do have some degree of sympathy for the view that residency reflects the life of chess within the game and so need not be seen as a huge distortion.

    Having an open free for all is just dumb however, a total disaster which only spoils the one event in the year that could be ring fenced. It is a real pain I know, but as I mentioned about Joe Ryan, he can not play in Spain etc.

    You are also incorrect to say we can’t compare wit Spain for this purpose, the issue of how good or bad we are as chess nations is irrelevant, it is an issue of principle

    I also would suggest you go through [just for now] every single country within the EU and see how many would allow players not listed by their federations and starting with Slovakia see how far you get!

    Doesn’t happen!

    They have pride and self respect and a notion of their own national championships being something a bit special to be ring fenced, too often in Ireland we have lacked that.

  19. Ciaran Quinn says:

    Actually, you do not have to be registered as Spanish with FIDE to play in the Spanish Chess Championship and the Spanish Champion in 2003 was registered to a different federation.

    Looking forward to the tournament …

    • Colm Daly says:

      Details Ciaran details? Who are you talking about? Give a reference.

      Without checking I would venture to say that that player was either a long term resident and or citizen of Spain.

      The fact that you had to go back 10 years to find a single example of a player [apparently = I will take you on your word] participating in the Spanish Championships only confirms the fact that all the other countries have clear restrictions on their national championships.

      The example I gave was of an Irish player living in Spain, same time frame as Jan, and he can not play in the Spanish Championships. Oddly enough you would never hear Joe Ryan complaining about that! In Ireland, when it comes to such issues, sometimes different rules apply and people feel entitled to everything that an actual citizen of the country gets, without becoming a citizen. Some things, just some, are reserved for Citizens only.

      Instead of whining, why not just become a citizen or declare for Ireland. Is it really fair for people to be allowed to play in our championship and their own? All is being asked is that one single tournament in the entire year be ring fenced as our national championships and have certain restrictions apply.

      The motion passed by the ICU last year specified that a player be registered with FIDE as IRL and or be eligible to play for Ireland. The idea of this was to restrict entry to Irish players and get away from the mickey mouse situation we have been in since 2004 when we first started to downgrade the event and let just about anybody play. I would have been happy to go back to the pre 2004 situation but then I think when I had proposed such a motion in 2010 it failed at the AGM.

      I do accept that there is a case to be made for people resident in a country for a period of say no less than 5 years but my preference is that such people should either become citizens or change federation to IRL. Either make sense. However the Irish Championships is not run for the convenience or personal preferences of any individual it is run to produce an Irish Champion and serve to promote and celebrate the best of Irish chess.

      There are plenty of other events here in Ireland during the year and plenty of International Opens all over the globe.

      That does not mean one can not feel some sympathy [In my case not that much actually, but still some, as if I was in such a situation myself = living abroad for years in any particular country, I would never presume to any such right or entitlement and would have become a citizen of a country I was residing in as soon as it was possible] for anybody who would like to play in our Irish Championships but can’t.

      Lastly, I would suggest having a look at It is a very quick and crude compilation of national championships I got from looking at twic over the course of the last six months. There is one exception which has the Catalan Championships and here too every player is listed as ESP.

      I was going to ask what would one might notice about the list of championships listed in that PDF file, but to save time I will tell you now, Every single player is listed under the federation, imagine that!

      Every one of those countries respects their own national championships enough to insure it is unique to that country. But in Ireland people concern themselves more with personal, individual convenience?

      • Colm Daly says:

        Actually I decided to check after all and I have to say your post now looks dishonest or misleading.

        As I suspected the player you mentioned in 2003 was from Andorra which oddly enough means that he was a Spanish citizen. The fact is that Andorra is a chess federation same as San Marino .

        Pretty sure somebody from San Marino can play in the Italian Championships!

        A very bad example you gave indeed.

        As I have said I would be fine if we went to a situation in which it was Citizenship or being listed as IRL and that would for example have enabled John Hughes play with no fuss, save for having to show Irish passport if that had been the case.

  20. martin crichton says:

    I see that John Hughes’s entry above has been updated. I’m sure John just wants to play chess so hopefully all the paperwork arrives in time. I notice that he has also entered the AM competition…the energy of youth!
    Now where are the 1800′s? I am sure there are plenty that would take points off a tailender like myself!

  21. Sean Coffey says:

    For more on the topic of open vs.closed format for an Irish championship, see

  22. Gerard MacElligott says:

    Any updates on entries ?

  23. Gerard MacElligott says:

    @Peter Cafolla
    Peter, given there hasn’t been the massive surge of under 1900 players that you feared, you should reconsider your decision not to enter. Anyway, provided you keep scoring points you should avoid most of the bottom players.

  24. peter cafolla says:

    Because I did expect a glut of weakies to enter and decided not to play for that reason I stopped working on my chess or playing in any preparatory tournaments like Cork, Ennis or Drogheda that I might otherwise have entered. Looking at the current entry it’s a pity I am not playing because my chances of winning the event would have been a hell of a lot better than the 10,000/1 Colm Daly thought my odds were last year.

  25. Gerard MacElligott says:

    Peter, Even I would back you to win at odds of 10,000/1
    So get your entry in so I can get my bet on :-)

  26. martin crichton says:

    Just to add a little spice , I met up with a work colleague today and he is giving serious consideration to playing and without giving too much away , he is one of the 31 rated 2240 and above! If the others considering enter there is a danger that Mel might be outside the top 10 seeds playing and we might end up with the strongest Irish championship of all time!

    Remember there are only 10 days left to enter!

  27. Jonathan O'Connor says:

    Please note, FIDE have changed John Hughes’ national federation to Ireland. The lad is now officially able to play in the Irish championship. See: for details.

  28. Mel says:

    It looks like a very decent entry so far, in terms of strength and numbers. I’d be delighted to see my seeding descend into the double figures! But that’s being optimistic…

  29. Pat Reynolds says:

    Good to see this level of interest in the Irish Ch and I agree in principle with the concept of a closed event: enjoyed SeanC’s post with the article from way back in 1906 ‘…The Irish Champion should be an Irishman’.

    It is not trivial to apply the principle correctly. I understand the ICU 2012 AGM passed a motion concerning a closed event -what motion was actually passed unclear since AFAIK the AGM report has not been published even now and several different versions of the motion passed have been cited on this thread alone. This quite unsatisfactory particularly for players affected by it who might wish to play.

    There are numerous references to players being registered as ‘IRL’ with FIDE as a requirement (though again unclear if this was part of the motion passed). Note inter alia it is quite possible for an Irish player to meet the Irish Ch rating requirements without being registered by FIDE at all. If this is the criterion then there are also some legacy issues to deal with: lots of players with exotic names are now registered as IRL with FIDE simply by default: assumed to be Irish if they did not specify nationality (or were ever asked) when playing a tournament or a few league games here and the ICU pay their fees to FIDE. One could take a look at the Ireland top 100 on FIDE or the WAR lists and ask how many are Irish by any of the regular criteria – native / citizen / entitled to Irish passport / long-term resident.

    FIDE have a mechanism to change federation -see previous link -a fee of €250 has been mentioned but as I read it -see section #4 -it is possible to transfer for free if player has not represented their country in an official FIDE event. Essentially this a personal decision for a player once both federations prepared to accept it.

    Finally tiebreaks -crucial and often neglected -if the objective is one Irish Champion then the criteria and/or mechanism need to be set out clearly from the start.

    • martin crichton says:

      Hi Pat
      As far as I am aware there is an existing tie break mechanism somewhere in the ICU constitution which states that if 2 players win it jointly the title shall be shared… if 3 or more finish on the same score, it goes to the tie break….last time that happened was in 96 when R O’Donovan won on tie break from T.Clarke and C.Daly…but of course agreed the organisers need to dig out this criterea and let it be known before the start of the first round.
      Interestingly it’s about every 20 years there is a major upset in the Irish…last time was in 96 when Richard won it, before that Ray Devenny in 1977 so maybe this year it will be on the cards again! I’d say a very fair chance 2013 could be the year!

    • Col Dal says:

      It is perhaps worth pointing out that when it comes to the motion that was mentioned about the Irish Championships, that motion was actually amended during the AGM so it is a mistake to just go back and refer to the motion.

      Key thing here is that, of all the people who have posted on this thread, only two people were actually in attendance! That would be the ICU Chairman and the Vice Chairman.

      Agree with your point about tiebreaks. There is nothing to stop the organizers from deciding how to resolve the issue of joint winners by way of either a play off in the event of a tie or using some established toe break system.

      The practice of awarding the title to two players if there are two joint winners but not if there are three players is just practice. It can be ignored and a different approach taken so long as notice is given in advance of the start of the tournament.

      My own preference is to have a play off like most other countries do. The USA Championships being one example which was exciting. However if no such play off is desired then just announce in advance what system is to be used. While if the organizers wish to also carry on with this practice of allowing two joint winners be champions jointly and not so if it more than two so be it.

      As a joint winner from last year I have to admit I prefer a single champion after a play off but no big deal really. Just clarify in advance of the event.

  30. martin crichton says:

    Thats great news Jonathan, thanks for the update.

  31. Col Dal says:

    There no such thing in the icu constitution just like 1900 was the rating bar for years. The organiser can and badly needs to announce what they want to do this year. What Martin has mentioned had been the usual practice but there is nothing to prevent the organizers from deciding to have a play off if there is any sort of tie, or they could just use some tie break system or other ( i sort of think myself they are all rubbish and there should just be a play off like was the case with the USA
    champiinships for example) either way they need to decide what they want to do and annnounce it soon or at least before the event.

    As a joint Irish champion i can tell you that i think it is crazy, and it is often confsing and slightly embarrassing to have to explain that ther are two irish champions, though considering how inactive Stephen has been this passed year and the fact that almost only chess he played has been in the lgs i think i have far more claim to being the irish champion over this past year. Vital to announce what they want to do

    • Col Dal says:

      Sorry about the typos and errors, that was sent from Tablet.

    • Hi colm,

      The announcement will be before the event starts and after the entries close for the event.



      • Sean Coffey says:

        Good news, but just to clarify:

        Two years ago when Sean Hewitt was organising the championship, he specified all tie-breaks in advance but it then turned out there was an ICU Executive rule governing this. See and the ensuing discussion.

        Has this rule now been changed, so that the organisers can specify a policy this year? Or does the message above mean that the ICU will make an announcement before the event starts and after the entries close?

        • Col Dal says:

          Hi Sean I don’t see the relevance of the reference to a discussion on a blog? Or rather once again there is another red herring in the mix now with this post.

          There is no fixed rule, never was a fixed rule, but just a POLICY as far as I know. So there is nothing to prevent the organizer going ahead with deciding to either keep the situation as it had been. [More then two players on the same score = an actual tiebreak system to decide who is champion (or a play off used to decide the champion) again the key point is to announce this in advance.

          Alternatively the organizer may decide the option Sean was going to go for and have a play off rather than any tie break system, even if it was just two players who wn jointly.

          Again the question of having a play off,in the event of there being even just two joint winners is up to the organizer. There is nothing to prevent them making their own choice on the matter.

          I personally have put on record that I hope and think they should decide that there can only be one champion and that a play off is the best way to resolve that issue. However I am fine with whatever they decide and they have no need to explain themselves with whatever they decide.

          It is too often the case that people think that there needs to be a motion at an AGM to do all manner of things which do not require anything of the sort.

          Another example is the matter of a rating standard of 1900 being lowered to 1800 this year. There was never anything to stop the ICU, or any organizer they got to run the Irish ch, to change this rating requirement unless the ICU specified otherwise in advance of giving it to whomever to run.

          The fact is and was, that it had been a policy and a practice for the Irish Championships to have section and certain rating standards or restrictions as a matter of practice and policy. This means that there is no problem changing the rating standard to 1800 this year.

          It may be that there was actually nothing to be gained from doing this but there was nothing to lose either, save for one single individual was has made a fuzz about nothing,and made incoherent and illogical arguments that are both irrational and narrowly self serving. The vast majority of players for example above 1900 most likely did not like the lowering of the standard but had no problem with trying it out.

          As I am, for example, the number one seed and some 500 plus rating points above 1800 players, yet have no objection to having to “put up” with having such lower rated players than myself in the tournament it should naturally follow other players on the lower half of that 400- 500 rating difference with me can hardly be on strong ground and should frankly shut up,and get on with playing chess, encouraging more to play.

          Best to stop finding fault with players not all that different from themselves in terms of playing strength or rating and try be more positive. I may lose to a player around 1900/2000 once every twenty years [ As was the case at the Easter tournament for example, when I actually managed to lose to two such players who had not beaten in 20 years] but losing to an 1800 player is not much different for me. I gain nothing in rating terms by beating am 1800 player and next to nothing if I beat a 1900, 2000 player. However I lose a hug amount of rating points if I lose or event draw. Surely someone a mere 100 or 200 points above an 1800- 1900 can tolerate such a more modest rating difference.

          As for the odd notion I have seen or heard somewhere that

          “if you limit the Irish to IRL with FIDE only (or no nationallity with FIDE); you have to scrap the rating requirment. otherwise the competition becomes is just for the top 20 in Ireland that can take the week off work. ”
          Well needless to say such utter nonsense is refuted by the basic facts! To start with there are over 200 Irish Players listed as being over 1900 on the fide rating list. Or is a zero just missing from such an assertion? Never mind the numbers of competent 1800 players too.

          Far from scraping the rating requirement, we need to insure that all the other players have a good tournament within their own rating band/sections to play in too, like having a junior and intermediate Irish championships sections.

          Maybe have some reserved places from events throughout the year which enable players to qualify to play in the Irish when they otherwise might not be able to. All these things do not need AGM,s or anything of the sort. Which is where I started with this reply.

          Many things can be done without any reference to the ICU rules or constitution [at very least a reference to an actual specified rule should be mentioned] So the issue of tie breaks and play off options is something that can certainly be decided upon and managed by any tournament organizer

          So the issue is how to tap into those players between 1800/1900 and or all the players below this with events that excite and invite these players to also want to be part of a week of chess in Ireland, and get a far greater percent of them active or willing to play in the Irish ch. in whatever section is appropriate for them. This cannot not be done over night which is why we have to be patient and see the Irish built up into an event people can be interested in and proud of participating in.

          This years event is but a step forward and potentially a very positive one, with hopefully lessons to be learned and improvements made for the future as we go along.

  32. Col Dal says:

    Excellent Kevin. Thanks, that is much appreciated.

  33. Col Dal says:

    I would also hazard a guess that after the Bray rapid and the Galway rapid there might well be a few more entries come in.

  34. Pat Reynolds says:

    Not a new argument but if the title and incentives already available for the Irish Ch are still insufficient to attract the top players there are further means available to the ICU.
    Olympiad selection the obvious carrot with accommodation and meals covered and favourable conditions for norm seekers –hit a purple patch and it is even possible to attain a title from this event alone.
    Making Irish Ch participation a requirement for selection (perhaps playing one of the last three the right balance) would have an impact and could make title norms possible in the Irish Ch.

  35. Sean Coffey says:


    (Not using the direct reply since the columns are getting too narrow)

    If the organiser can set the policy, fine by me.

    Is this actually the case? It’s not quite as clear as you’re making it seem. Yes, there’s nothing in the ICU constitution forcing a shared title with two tying and a tie-break with more. In that case, the ICU Executive can set whatever policy it wants (per article 10.1 of the ICU constitution). If the ICU Executive actually has such a policy, then that’s the rule that must be followed, regardless of what the organiser would like (again per article 10.1). Two years ago Sean Hewitt set a policy but was subsequently informed that the ICU Executive had a different policy, and he duly changed the policy.

    Maybe something has changed in the meantime, and if so, great. The reason I raise the issue is that it’s also quite possible that there was a rule and it was temporarily forgotten, or there was a rule and nobody’s sure of the exact wording, or some other snafu. If not, great!

    • Col Dal says:

      “If the organizer can set the policy, fine by me.”

      There is no if and never was.
      “Is this actually the case? It’s not quite as clear as you’re making it seem.”

      Yes it is! And it is even more simple than anything you or I might think or say regardless of anybody’s notion of how it seems. Why you think there even a basis for asking the question is beyond me. I am sure for example that if the organizers decided to hire strippers for an opening ceremony they could!

      Likewise if the organizers decided that they wanted to have and use a tie break system that involved a game of musical chairs in which the last person standing lost the title they could! It would be another matter as to the question of the players cooperating with such an eventuality! I must confess I believe that there might actually be some who might go along with almost anything.

      Anyway, let me try explain how all this works. The ICU have abandoned it’s responsibility to run the Irish ch and has done so for a number of years now. For good or bad the ICU has handed over this responsibility to various entities over the years.

      In this case, this year it is the Chess Club of UL, which happens to have the ICU secretary within it’s ranks, who have been granted the right to run the Irish in a manner they see fit, so long as certain conditions agreed beforehand are abided by. They asked to run the Irish ch and were granted that right, there were other expressions of interest but it was decided by majority vote [might have been unanimous for all I can recall?] that the 2013 Irish ch would be run and organized by UL, and so this is what has come to pass! So the issue of tie breaks and play off options is something that can certainly be decided upon and managed by any tournament organizer.

      There was never anything to stop the ICU, or any organizer they got to run the Irish ch, to do all manner of things regarding rating requirements or tie break options, unless the ICU specified otherwise in advance of handing over the task of running the Irish ch to whomever.

      As I said above, yes, there’s nothing in the ICU constitution forcing a shared title with two people winning jointly and nothing about a tie-break option to be used. But sure why would there be Sean? It is a tournament and so naturally it follows that unless the ICU specified otherwise in advance of handing over the task of running the Irish ch to whomever. the organizer have huge latitude on all manner of issues. Of which the tie break options is just one.

      If you or anyone can point to a specific rule within the ICU constitution that is so specific then that would be something but as there is not, the conversation ends! What could or should be is just talk. Policy and rules are not the same thing and I think with the greatest of respect you may be confused on this point.

      Policy can be changed or amended on a whim, rules are not so simple.
      Now having said all that I do appreciate that you are spot on when you express a concern about it being “quite possible that there was a rule and it was temporarily forgotten, or there was a rule and nobody’s sure of the exact wording, or some other…”

      Well I have played in a fair few Irish champs as you know over the past 29 years and the first I heard of there even being such a practice about, for example, the tie break options that saw the 1996 Irish Championships title go to Richard O Donovan was soon after the last game was played. [Which was my win against Mark Quinn that saw me join Tom Clarke as the joint winners]
      Well needless to say while it turned out that Richard got the title and much later the trophy for that year I never regarded myself as any less the Irish Champion or any more the Irish Champion than Tom Clarke or Richard.

      The technical reality was that there was no advance notice given of such a policy and in any event I agreed that that there should be only one title holder, I just thought, and still do think, that there should be an actual play off, or toss a coin.

      The funny thing that was said to me at the time was that, ah but that would have favoured you ( a play off) because you are clearly much stronger than those other two players and so you would have had an unfair advantage! Yes incredible as it seems that was actually said, then and a version/s parroted subsequently.

      Bottom line is that I was not too bothered one way or the other. The fact that such a relatively weak player won the title only showed how much an exception to the rule it was that such a relatively weak player could and can win the Irish [ Not meaning any disrespect to Richard when I say that either.

      He is, on his day, well capable of beating any Irish player, for example he beat Sam and myself in the Armstrong and regardless of the fact that they were flukes, he still got the results fairly and squarely. It is the fault of Sam and or myself if we get so complacent in the course of a game, and to Richard’s credit that he was able to take advantage. I look forward to getting my revenge in the Leinster Lost Knights later! LOL!

      But as usual I digress! The point is that the key issue is one of advance notice of what option is going to be decided upon. Of course a tournament organizer has the scope to decide on such matters and the ICU has nothing to do with it anymore. Just so long as there are no rules to prevent this. And as somebody who has played in all those Championships over the last 29 years I know of no such rules and see no reason to worry.

      Therefore, and I mean this with the greatest respect, I don’t think you need worry about this particular item. There are many other items about which your point is not only valid but totally true. Not least of which is the complete fabrication that is the totally bogus life ICU lifetime membership rubbish that is on the ICU website.

      Suffice to say this has been an ongoing farce for nearly two years now and after the Irish ch I will try to get this error fixed and sorted. This list is a total farce and invalid- several people on the list who were NEVER AWARDED THE PRIVILAGE. I will however leave it till another day to get this sorted, but is exactly the sort of thing that you would be right to be concerned about as per your sentiment about

      “quite possible that there was a rule and it was temporarily forgotten, or there was a rule and nobody’s sure of the exact wording, or some other…”

      Too often things have indeed been forgotten, re wrote or worse. But at least now we can have more scope to shed light on issues and bring things out in the open, and thus resolved in a transparent way.

      Getting back to this years Irish ch LOL!. It is going to be potentially very very tight and any number of possible winners could be on the cards this year.

      • Eagle Doyle says:

        It seems clear what the defending champion has on his miind for this event. Strippers and musical chairs probably do go well together, and perhaps make for some interesting and exciting games that could be played in the course of the tournament, hut on the other hand maybe there is some special secret preparation going on that we can only guess at. Could be a wild event alright, just might have to think about playing myself. I notice the line for ulcc is : so mamy positions so little time. I assume that has nothing to do with strippers and musical chairs.

  36. Col Dal says:

    @ Sean

    PS When I wrote

    “And as somebody who has played in all those Championships over the last 29 years”

    Obviously I did not actually mean to infer I played in all of them literally. A great many to be sure [will have to check on your excellent website to find out for sure] but not all.

  37. martin crichton says:

    1986 probably set the precedent for sharing the title….(perfectly understandable as it was an all play all event) I was there as a spectator. Remember several of the games like it was yesterday

    Irish Championship, Dublin, 1986
    Champions: J.Delaney, P.Short

    10 player all-play-all

    D S B L C O A O C O
    J.Delaney × 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 7 1-2
    P.Short 1 × 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 7 1-2
    C.Barry ½ 0 × 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 5½ 3-4
    A.T.Ludgate ½ ½ 1 × ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 5½ 3-4
    N.Carton 0 0 0 ½ × 1 1 0 ½ 1 4 5-6
    C.O’Shaughnessy 0 0 0 ½ 0 × 1 ½ 1 1 4 5-6
    K.H.B.Allen 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 × 0 1 1 3½ 7-8
    J.O’Connor 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 1 × ½ ½ 3½ 7-8
    P.Carton 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ × 0 3 9
    E.O’Reilly 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 × 2 10

  38. martin crichton says:

    well done Kevin
    with such a small current field (still hopeful of more entries) the prospects of 9 potential defaults due to odd numbers or a player going sick would have been a mini disaster.

    • Hey Martin,

      Yeah well I think if someone pays entry and accommodation and travels to Limerick; a bye is really unacceptable.

      Anyway hopefully there won’t be any defaults or anything!

  39. martin crichton says:

    with only a day to go before the close off of entries it looks like Philip Short and Gerry O’ Connell might be not be playing in the Irish Championship this year? I would have thought they were as regular as Colm Daly and Tony Fox!
    Also my work colleague has not responded to my emails since last week so I think we can regretfully rule out Stephen Gillen (He would have been a great addition)
    And one of our top titled players has been rumoured to have said that he would have liked to have played but was unaware of the conditions on offer.
    Well lets hope there are plenty reading this as only a day and a bit to get your entry in.
    Close of entries midnight Friday 28th June.

  40. martin crichton says:

    aha! Philip up to his usual tricks again! leaving it to almost the last moment to enter ;)

    any more suprises before midnight tomorrow? :)

  41. Col Dal says:

    Not sure I would describe it as tricks [that seems unfair or pejorative anyway] to leave it till the last moment to enter. Perfectly entitled to do so, and there could be any number of reasons why some people prefer not to declare there intentions until the last moment t. He did not play play last year after all. However I had little or no doubt he would enter once I seen the other recent entries. Bottom line is that it can only be good for the tournament and make it even more exciting and interesting.

    Notwithstanding the fact that anybody could beat anybody else in this event and that anything is possible in chess. My guess is that we have gone from 5 possible winners of the tournament to 6 possible winners now.

    Let us see what rabbit is pulled out of the hat before midnight tomorrow and who else enters the fray.

  42. martin crichton says:

    bless me father (Daly) for I have sinned…… it has been 37 years since my last confession :)

  43. martin crichton says:

    FAO Kevin O’Connell
    Would you consider playing in the Irish ? As you will be there anyway and the playing schedule is not too onerous why not play? You would be a very welcome addition to the field and would enhance it with your 2328 rating and FM title and there is a gauranteed 100 Euro appearance fee plus a possibility that the organisers might give you a 270 grant towards accomodation as there are still 4 places potentially available to avail of this very generous grant (active over 2200) but if they are not taken the organisers have said one of the considerations would be to distribute the grant to the highest non active players entered over 2200. You have to decide today.

    • Martin,

      Thanks for the (unofficial) invite.
      I don’t think you understand how fatiguing the training courses are (worst for the trainer). Also, just like playing, there’s a lot of preparation to be done before each session, plus marking exam papers and so on, so it’s simply not practical.

  44. Col Dal says:

    Any specific info on the venue/playing hall and the on site campus accommodation. For example where will be the tournament take place and how far or near is the accommodation options to the playing venue?

    Where are we playing and where are we staying? Assuming on campus accommodation is the main option.

    • Hi Colm,

      Information regarding exact location of the on campus accommodation will be available on Tuesday night.

      Information regarding the venue should hopefully be up by tomorrow night.
      The on-campus accommodation is between 3-8 minute walk to the venue. If you choose to stay in the Travel lodge hotel or the Castletroy Park Hotel or the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel, it is within a 15 minute walk.



  45. Col Dal says:

    Great to see Pat Twomey come on board. I had a lucky escape against Pat in 2007. Pity more players over 1800 have not entered, especially from the locality. Still Paul Walsh, Rory Quinn and Martin O Grady will stamp a local flavor and make an impression on the event I am sure.

    Would it be a crazy idea to slash the entry fee by 50 percent at this late stage? Perhaps give this to local players only [defined by the tournament organizers] in order to just encourage local players avail of what is a rare opportunity to play in such a strong event? I am sort of thinking that in all the years I have played in tournaments in Limerick, there always seemed to be fair few 1800 players?

  46. martin crichton says:

    I think a 50 euro entry fee for anyone under 2100 period should have been the norm… anyone rated between 1800 and 2000 it looks like they are subsidizing the higher rated players (this of course is not the case as the funding is from sponsorship this year)
    I would hate to think that there is even 1 player out there that is being put off by the 100 euro entry fee. I remember in 1993 when I played in the Lloyds masters in London…that the entry fee was excessive £200… I contacted the organisers at the time and told them that I had recently been made redundant and that I would really like to play but could not afford the entry fee. The organisers kindly asked what could I afford to pay? (I said £100 …really even that was a stretch for me at the time…I should have said £50!) and they allowed me to play with a reduced entry fee.
    Perhaps if anyone is reading and feels similarly effected they could contact the organisers.

  47. Brian Boru says:

    This tournament is going to be a cracker!

  48. [...] today and tomorrow left for any late entries to the Irish Championships 2013. Entry fees for those under 2100 have been dropped to €50. It’s shaping up to be an [...]

  49. martin crichton says:

    Is Sam Collins going to be a last minute entry? just seen the e2e4 website for entries and Sam’s name has been dropped to the bottom of the list….

    If Sam is going to play…and that’s a big if…. lets hope he enters today or tomorrow to encourage more late entries!.. pure speculation on my part here!… the organisers now accepting entries on the day!

    • martin crichton says:

      silly me….it’s probably to do with the minor detail that Sam no longer has a FIDE rating like the rest of us ;)

      hence his name now at the bottom of the e2e4 entrants list :(

  50. Col Dal says:

    Sure none of us can play now. Nobody is listed as IRL anymore. It’s a disgrace I rell you. There will be an inquiry. A tribunal no less. It is the least we can expect or deserve.

    As for Sam playing, nah he is far too afraid of not winning, lacks confidence and real connviction that he could gain rating points, which he would almost certainly do IF he won or had a good score in second or third. It would be hard to imagine him not being among the top three at the end.

    Fact is he would be a huge asset to the event, even if he were to decide to play at the last minute. It is not at all his style to do that however, such bad form would not be Sams wat at all. Even still, his deciding to play would be so positive as to far outweigh any negative vibe associated with a last minute entry.

    In all fairness he has not played in this event in ten years so it was never likely he would start now. Just a question of confidence really. He like many of our top ten partly do not think they are strong enough to be sure of winning and so decide not to risk playing. That is a choice we must accept. In the case of Sam it has to be acknowledged that he is one of our modt active players and already makes a huge contribution to the life of Irish chess, so seeing him play and try to win more than one Irish title would just be a bonus.

    I reckon there will not be any more or many more entries, but I could be wrong and would be happy to be so.

    Now that the event is so close, no harm I hope to get a plug about my own little efforts to document proceedings at where you be kept informed and hopefully entertained with news and views on all the action. Or alternatively people can give their own views and take on proceedings by posting ar In anycase this is going to be one of the best Senior championships in years. Smart money is on youth to prevail, but lets see how it goes.

  51. Col Dal says:

    Also curious to note that the Sunningdale event has only one player higher rated than Sam, he drew with him in Bunratty and lost to the player just below him – the third seed. While any remote hopes of a GM norm in such an event are at the moment dead in the water owing to the fact of there not being enough GMs in the event, perhaps one will enter on the day? So overall it seems the choice not to play in the Irish was nothing to do with anything other than a personal preference and natural aversion to playing in the championships. Playing once every few years might have seen another title gained or some rating points earned, but that is the upside. The downside….ah well that could be a different story.

  52. Rory Quinn says:

    Any sign of the draw for the first round?

  53. Shane Lee says:

    Huge improvement on last year in terms of numbers, strength and venue. Congrats to all who worked so hard to get this off the ground. I’m putting my hard earned fiver on the young Master from Elm Mount to edge it but wish good luck to all

  54. peter cafolla says:

    How can it be stronger than last year with Stephen Brady not playing and another joint winner Juri Firstov also not there? Not to mention two of the other five leaders going into the last round in 2012.

  55. Col Dal says:

    Simple really.

    Juri replaced by Phillip Short, Stephen Brady Replaced by Mark Orr and Mel O Cinneide. Gerry O Connell replaced by Jonathan O Connor. You replaced by Tony Fox to cover just a few changes.

    Overall a stronger event- More stronger players than last year. Oh and clearly David is much stronger this year than last year. Little or no chance he would have the sort of one off disaster he had against you last year or any such flukey loss to a low rated player like you this year. Such silly results seem to be my forte this past six months so had you played maybe you too could have got another gift from me and not have to wait almost 20 years to get such a freak result.

    Anyway you are dearly missed by the other players I am sure. Well at least I think that is the case?

  56. peter cafolla says:

    Awww Colm,,sounds like you have some issues?? Poor lad :( Maybe if you got out in the glorious sunshine for a few hours it might cheer you up.

  57. Col Dal says:

    Indeed Peter!

    Sure don’t we all have our little issues.(mine right at this moment in time is the trivial matter of how to beat David and try retain my title)

    Just knowing that YOU are getting out and evidently enjoying the sunshine is good enough for me and cheers me up no end. Enjoy the Golf!

  58. peter cafolla says:

    Just heard that the Premier league have decided to follow the ICU example and allow Aldershot, Crewe, Telford and Halifax to play in the Premiership next season. The opening week of fixtures sees Halifax go to Old Trafford while Aldershot host Chelsea. Telford play Crewe the following week and will be shown live on Sky Sports. Oh, wait… was only a nightmare ……..whew ?!
    Rumour has it that following the “successful ??” lowering of the bar this year it has been decided that the entrance requirement for next years Irish Senior Chess Championship (once our premier chess event) will be knowledge of the en passant rule and the ability to castle Queen side correctly.

  59. Col Dal says:

    As I say Peter, Enjoy the Golf! Oh and of course your interest in English Premier football too.

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