Irish Championship 1998

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[ Basic data | Tournament review | Interesting games]

Basic data

Irish Championship 1998
Dates July 11-19, 1998
City Dublin
Venue Teacher's Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1
Organiser and controller John Loughran
Players participating 20
Games played 88
Competition format 9-round Swiss
Eligibility Closed championship (exact definition unknown); rating 1900+ (FIDE or ICU)
Tie break Unknown. Tie break applied only for title; exact details unknown (tie-break for title in the case of three or more tied eligible players, but shared title with two?).
Time control 40 moves in 2 hours, 20 moves in 1 hour and 30 mins to finish.
FIDE rated? Unknown
Games available All 88
Concurrent events
References Sources and notes. If you have any other documents, reports, references, biographical information, annotations or (in particular) photos, please .

Tournament review

The Senior Irish Championships were played over nine days from Saturday the 11th to Sunday the 19th July 1998 inclusive, one round per day at the rate of 40 moves in 2 hours, 20 moves in 1 hour and 30 mins to finish. 20 players entered the Senior Section, four aged U-19, three who would shortly play in the Faber and Glorney Cups in Holland later in July: Danielle Collins, Adam Kelly and Michael Dooley. This year's field was slightly stronger than usual with the reappearance of Mark Quinn after a year of relative inactivity, who "just" needs to get his rating above 2400 to became an international master. Mark Heidenfeld made the trip from Germany to be second seed. With the notable exceptions of Joe Ryan, the 1997 champion, busy in a new job and Stephen Brady, last year's runner up, many of Ireland's strongest regular tournament players took part: Colm Daly, Mel Ó Cinnéide, Richard O'Donovan and Tom Clarke among others.

There were no upsets in round 1 although Ray O'Rourke drew with Mark Quinn. In round 2 all players confirmed their seeding strength. Round 3 saw a fine win by Colm Daly over Mark Heidenfeld with a tactical finish where discovered check winning the queen was threatened. On board 2 the other Mark drew with Mel. Ray's win against Richard on board 3 was analysed in the commentary room and confused many stronger players by its complexity. The fourth round saw Colm and Mel fight it out in a minor piece ending which ended drawn. Ray continued his winning streak by beating Peter Cafolla, making it to the commentary room again. Colm ended Ray's winning streak by demolishing his King's Indian Defence in round 5 giving him a clear point lead on 4½/5 over the chasing pack of the two Marks (who drew), Gerry O'Connell and Ray on 3½. In round 6 Mark Quinn let Colm sac the exchange for two clear passed pawns which eventually won the game for Gerry kept up the chase with a win over Ray with Mark H and Mel following closely. Colm put pay to Gerry's challenge in round 7 with a win (6½/7) while Mark H and Mel drew leaving Colm 2 points clear. Mark Q retained his chances with a win over Richard leaving him on 4½. Needing only to draw in round 8 to ensure clear first place, Colm played on in a protracted double rook and pawn ending against Richard, eventually winning while the chasing pack all drew with each other. Mark Q arrived 59 mins 58 secs late for round 9 on Sunday morning and did well to draw with Anthony Fox to secure joint 4th-5th place with him on 5½/9. Meanwhile Mark H beat Gerry to share 2nd-3rd place with Mel on 6/9 who showed Stephen Scannell how strong a bishop pair can be. Colm beat Tom Clarke in style to finish on 8½/9, only the third time this has been achieved, to become the 1998 Irish Champion, taking with him the fabulous large "Chess Board" Irish Champion's Trophy.

At the bottom end of the field Danielle finished well on 4½, winning the Ladies Prize, being pipped to the post along with Brian Fitzpatrick by Stephen Scannell on 4½/9 who won the U-2100 grading prize on tie break. Apart from getting his picture in the paper, John P.A. Kennedy (Jnr.) consolidated his new FIDE rating with a creditable 3/9 while Colm Fitzpatrick justified his inclusion to even the numbers with another 1950+ performance finishing on 4/9. Michael and Adam both gained valuable experience for the forthcoming Glorney Cup while Liam Porter will henceforth be known as the drawing master! Despite his early flourish Ray finished on 4½.

—John Loughran (cf. CHESS IRELAND, Jun-Sep 1998).

Interesting games

         O'Donovan, Richard – O'Rourke, Ray      0-1

         Fitzpatrick, Colm – Collins, Danielle      1-0

         O'Rourke, Ray – Cafolla, Peter      1-0

         Fitzpatrick, Colm – O'Connell, Gerard      0-1

         Fitzpatrick, Brian – Collins, Danielle      1-0

         Cafolla, Peter – Clarke, Tom      1-0

         Quinn, Mark – Daly, Colm      0-1

         O'Donovan, Richard – Daly, Colm      0-1

         Scannell, Stephen – Ó Cinnéide, Mel      0-1

         Brady, Cormac – O'Rourke, Ray      0-1