Irish championship 2014

The Irish championship has started and it’s great to see one of the largest fields for many years, with 30 players vying for the title.

(Setting aside the 2007 championship, where the monster field resulted from a variety of special factors (open tournament in both nationality and rating, and the novelty aspect of a new format), it seems we’d have to go back over 30 years, to Castlebar 1983, to find a bigger field for an Irish championship (32).)

I’m not quite sure why there is such an excellent turnout. Part must be due to the unusually good prize fund: this year’s event is sponsored by Trinity College Dublin and The TCD Association and Trust, and New Ireland Assurance. Part must also be due to the relaxing of the minimum rating requirement to 1850: surely a good decision.

Another excellent development is that the organisers are making pgn available promptly after every round. For whatever reason, this hasn’t been a standard feature of Irish championships up to now, so the organisers deserve great credit for making it a priority.

A partial report covering the first three rounds has been posted, and it will be updated round-by-round as pgn arrives.

Since the demise of the (much-missed) LCU Cogitations blog, there has been no single place for commentary. This year there has been some coverage and discussion on Colm Daly’s Irish Chess Cogitations blog, Rory Quinn’s Ennis C.C. blog, and the Boards.ie Chess page.

Update (Tuesday, July 8, 2014): the report has been updated with round 4.
Update (Wednesday, July 9, 2014): the report has been updated with round 5.
Update (Thursday, July 10, 2014): the report has been updated with round 6.
Update (Friday, July 11, 2014): the report has been updated with round 7. There are now two players in a tie for first! I’ve added a tie-break column in “Pairings & results”, though this will only come into play if three or more players tie for first, which looks very unlikely at the moment.
Update (Saturday, July 12, 2014): the report has been updated with round 8. A crucial and impressive win by Stephen Jessel, as Black, over Colm Daly means that he and Sam Collins are tied heading into the last round, so both must play for wins.
Update (Monday, July 14, 2014): the report has been updated with round 9 added. Congratulations to Sam Collins, the new Irish champion!

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19 Responses to Irish championship 2014

  1. Pingback: Daily Chess News Links July 8, 2014 | blog.chesscafe.com

  2. peter cafolla says:

    Yes indeed we do have the best Irish Ch line up for decades but my worry is that because of the hassle most of us are having getting to the venue we won’t turn up again next year. I don’t know what clown selected what is one of THE most inaccessible spots in Dublin or arranged the special rate parking one mile away but whoever he is he has given no consideration whatsoever to people living outside Dublin or people who have to drive. It took me 45 minutes yesterday to get from the Red Cow roundabout to the Fleet St car park and another TWO hours to get from there to Dundrum where I stayed last night. Yes the Dart is beside the venue but not everyone can easily access the Dart. It is now a FULL YEAR until the next Irish Championship, easy access, cheap or free car parking IN or beside the venue and proximity to Luas/Dart are essential. Venues such as the D4 hotel in Ballsbridge or the Red Cow are fine, others in the City centre such as the Teachers Club or Trinity ARE NOT. I paid 75 euro to play in this competition , for that I should get a better product. Even the venue itself is soulless and lacks atmosphere and we can’t even get a cup of coffee in it.

  3. peter cafolla says:

    And while I’m having a moan,,,,,,,the time control being used this year is a joke. I don’t care if it is the same time control that will be used in the Olympiad or not, players should have at least 2 hours for their first 40 moves not 1 hour 50 minutes as is the case here. Even the Branagan Cup has a better time control. I had the advantage going into the ending today v Fitzsimons but no time to think and in an earlier round Tim Harding blundered against me because he was short of time. This is the Irish Championship NOT MrKirsan Ilyumzhinovs F—ing Olympiad , we should use the traditional time control or at least have 1hour 40 per player + increments + half an hour extra.

  4. On the clock thing, nobody complained then. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    • Sean Coffey says:

      I think the explanation is that Peter played in 2012 and raised the issue then, but didn’t play in 2013.

  5. peter cafolla says:

    Thank you Sean. The problem is , as usual, that decisions affecting the playing of the game are being made by Arbiters whose main interest is controlling and not actually playing. Naturally it suits them to get paid for working shorter hours. A number of us (participants) discussed the time issue today and we were ALL in agreement that it should be 1 hour 40 plus the increment from the start then 30 minutes extra after 40 moves. One only has to look at the large amount of blunders that are occurring this week to see that there is simply not enough time for most players. Booked up youngsters probably like the quasi rapid time control but the rest of us do not. Most of us playing have given up a weeks holiday to do so, we are entitled to have conditions that we enjoy. If I get time tomorrow I will do a survey among the participants to see which time control would be most popular.

    • Sean Coffey says:

      … two gigantic blunders today (round 6: boards 2 and 8). In fairness the one on board 2 can’t be blamed on time trouble.

      I can’t claim any experience with these limits myself. But if I’m reading it correctly that’s a flat 10 extra minutes per player: hard to see why that would be controversial.

  6. peter cafolla says:

    Ten minutes per player is twenty minutes valuable extra thinking time. There is far too much time trouble before move forty as things currently stand. I have written to Gerry Graham asking that things be changed for next year, with the time control I am proposing an 80 move game would last 5 hours 40 minutes, plenty of time for a decent game.

    • Sean Coffey says:

      Just to clarify, I was agreeing with you. In the old days there was a world of difference between 36 in 1½ hours and 40 in 2 hours. The difference is essentially 18 minutes (the longer one is 36 in 1 hr. 48 minutes). A bit larger than the difference we’re talking about but still it’s clear enough that an extra 10 minutes is enough by itself to make a noticeable difference to the experience. And it’s at most 20 extra minutes for the organisers.

  7. peter cafolla says:

    Hopefully there will be a change for the better next year. The general trend in recent years to shorten classical chess games has been most annoying but we have seen similar attempts at dilution in other sports such as cricket (one day and 20/20), snooker (10 reds and using a clock), rugby sevens, bowls (the introduction of sets), tennis (tie breaks) and the dreaded penalty shoot out in soccer. All these variants have their place (in some cases it is in the nearest bin for non re-cyclables ) but should never replace the original. Chess is a creative artistic game that demands time. I can’t imagine a painter, sculptor, composer or creative writer being asked to work with severe time controls.

  8. peter cafolla says:

    In amicable debate with the powers that be my use of the word “joke” regarding the time limit in this years championship has been questioned and I am happy to admit that I was slightly over the top ( most unusual for me) in using such a phrase. Also my point about arbiters preferring to work shorter hours was questioned and called “insulting”. While I certainly don’t mean to insult anyone, particularly our Irish arbiters who in general do a very good job, I think my point is a valid one. Who in their right mind would not want shorter working hours for the same pay? The main point I wanted to make is that the rules are being made by people who do not play chess competitively themselves and that they sometimes forget what it is like to do so. The shorter time limits and the use of inaccessible universities with no car parking is the legacy of previous ICU committee and from what I hear things will improve in the future!

    • Sean Coffey says:

      Well it’s true that the full frontal charge can be a counter-productive tactic. At least wait until they say no!

      I’d put it differently myself. There are a million things to be done as organiser, so the vast majority of them will naturally be based on whatever was done last year. In this case there weren’t noticeable complaints last year and it is the FIDE default after all, so it’s understandable that they chose it. If the players really want something different and ask for it, there’s no reason to expect they’ll say no.

  9. peter cafolla says:

    Well I conducted my survey today and the results were very revealing. Initially I asked players if they were happy with the time control as is or if they would prefer my suggestion of an extra 10 minutes per player from the start but so many said they would prefer an even longer playing session that I had to include a third option which was an unspecified longer time control than the one I advocated but still retaining increments. The results were as follows:

    OPTION 1 ( as is) 7

    OPTION 2(10 mins extra p.p from the start) 10

    OPTION 3( the longer the better) 12

    No Opinion 1

    So food for though for whoever is organising next year’s Irish Championship. I think it is quite clear that we , the paying customers, want longer time controls so that is what we should get. Some of the people at either extreme said that they would settle for the extra 10 minutes per person but then again some who opted for that option said they wouldn’t mind a bit longer but not back to the old seven hour sessions. Incidentally people’s ratings seemed to have no impact on their preferences whatsoever.

  10. peter cafolla says:

    Before the Irish Championship started I complained about players who were NOT eligible being allowed to play. Now I ask you to take a look at the results of these individuals, particularly the one with a rating performance of 1235 and 5 byes, to see that I was right in my objections. People are always coming up to me and saying that they agree with a lot of the points I make BUT these same people NEVER speak out and support me. I don’t know who it was that said all it takes for evil to flourish is that good men say nothing ( I paraphrase) but no truer words were ever spoken. Chess has been in decline for years simply because the product on offer is not what competitive chess players want. The lunatics really are running the asylum. Chess players need to “man up” and say what it is they want. No point telling me you want longer time controls and no patzers in tournaments, I don’t make the rules.

    • Sean Coffey says:

      1850 seemed fine to me: no essential difference between that and 1900, and having just a handful of 1850-1899 players makes the whole thing more tempting to players rated 1900 or just over.

    • Bernard Palmer says:

      Peter, the quote was by Edmund Burke. And, if you wish to be counted a good man, you should turn up at the Agms on a more regular basis. Yes, I know, their boring and irritating, but if you leave the feild to Gerry Greyham, Pete Morriss and their ilk.

  11. Gerard MacElligott says:

    I would like to point out to Peter Cafolla that my Irish rating was only 1865 when I entered the championship – though my FIDE was 2013 – and I still managed to score 5.5/9

  12. Oliver Dunne says:

    Gerard MacElligott’s result at the Irish Chess Championships this year can be put into an even clearer context: he came ahead of, among others, defending champion Colm Daly, former champion Stephen Brady and, ahem, Peter Cafolla.

    • peter cafolla says:

      I hadn’t checked this blog for some weeks but in reply to the last comments. Yes Bernard AGMs are irritating and boring. As for Oliver: Gerry’s FIDE rating is 2013, probably higher than mine the last time I checked, therefore making him perfectly entitled to play so I don’t see your point???

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