Ulster Championship 2003

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[ Basic data | Tournament review | Interesting games]

Basic data

Ulster Championship 2003
Dates December 27-30, 2002. (From 1985 to 2004 the tournament took place from December 27-30 but the trophy was inscribed with the following year (cf. Ulster Chess Competition Records).)
City Belfast
Venue Fortwilliam Golf Club, 8a Downview Avenue, Belfast
Tournament Directors David Houston, David McAlister
Players participating 22
Games played 71
Competition format 7-round Swiss. Closed championship: players were required to have been born in Ulster, or to have been then resident for 12 months in Ulster, or to have a close family connection to Ulster. In addition players were required to be rated 1600 or above, or to have qualified from the Ulster Intermediate Championship. Other entries could be allowed at the discretion of the controller.
Other prizes Top two finishers were to qualify for the 2003 British championship
Tie break None for the championship. For the British championship qualifying places, the tie break was 1. Progressive; 2. Median Buchholz; 3. Buchholz. Rod Nixon took the second qualifying place.
Time control 40 moves in 2 hours, then 30 minutes for all remaining moves
Games available All 71 (including 2 partial)
Extra information Damien Lavery has kindly made available a collection of 66 photos, of which all but 4 are previously unpublished. Warning: 3.5MB total. Below: the late Tom Clarke with the McSparran Cup.
References Sources and notes. If you have any other documents, reports, references, biographical information, annotations or (in particular) photos, please .

Tournament review

See the report in Ulster Chess News 2003 Number 1 (via the Wayback Machine).

Interesting games

Nobody ever won by resigning: a miraculous recovery by White:
         Cunningham, Damien – Annesley, Gareth      1-0

Missed opportunity: 19. Qa4! and 19. Qf5 both win:
         White, Arlo – Clarke, Tom      0-1

An enterprising knight sacrifice:
         Scannell, Stephen – Clarke, Tom      0-1

A spectacular rook sacrifice:
         Clarke, Tom – Alcorn, Tom      1-0

White's kingside attack was going nowhere, but his position fell apart spectacularly after 19. Ne2?:
         Cunningham, Damien – White, Arlo      0-1

A surprise implosion knocks the many-time champion out of the running:
         Scannell, Stephen – McLoughlin, Paul      0-1

Double-edged complications with the outcome in doubt until the end:
         Mallaghan, Danny – Murtagh, Dermot      1-0