Irish championship 1999

A report for the Irish championship 1999 has been added to the collection here: see the Irish championships and Tournaments pages.

The tournament was held in Drogheda for the first, and so far only, time ever. The turnout was excellent for a non-Dublin venue at 18 players, including 5 former champions, and was hard-fought with the result in doubt until the end. The late Tom Clarke had a clear lead with two rounds to play, but lost the critical round 8 game against Colm Daly, who won again in the last round to record his second consecutive championship, with Clarke in clear second.

There were many interesting games, but one that particularly caught my eye was the penultimate round game between John Nicholson and Peter Cafolla. After some eventful play, the following position was reached, with White to play. How should the game continue with best play?

Nicholson-Cafolla, Irish championship 1999
Nicholson – Cafolla, Irish championship 1999
27. ?

I confess I did not find this too easy, and I was taken by surprise by engine analysis, which seems to me to be not too obvious. I think it’s a good exercise and readers are encouraged to give it some serious thought.

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One Response to Irish championship 1999

  1. Sean Coffey says:

    The tempting 27. Rg8+? leads nowhere after 27… Bf8 28. Qg6+ Kd7 29. Qf7+ Qe7 and Black wins (30. Qxf8?? Ba6+).

    The right way is 27. Rg7!, e.g. 27… Kd7 28. f5! exf5 29. Kd2! (more accurate than 29. Qg6 Ba6+ 30. Ke3 f4+, when White stands better but it’s still not fully clear), when Black has difficulty finding any useful moves (29… f4 30. a4 Bb7 31. Qf5+ Kc7 32. Qe6 and White recovers a piece, when the extra pawn should be enough to win).

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