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!