Congress Report 2016

Cork chess congress 2016 by Michael Bradley

The 2016 Cork chess congress got underway at the Gresham Metropole hotel with the help of very generous support from Cork city council. Cork city council former deputy manager Finbar Allison was an active chess player with CCYMS and the Masters section was renamed in his honour after his passing. The calendar was a bit unkind with St Patrick’s weekend followed closely by Easter. This had the obvious knock on effect of reduced numbers. Surely the church could make up its mind and fix which weekend they want Easter.. or is this another “works in mysterious ways”..

What that meant is that the attendees had generous playing conditions and space to focus on their own respective battles. Top talent in the masters section were IM Sam Collins and IM elect Stephen Jessel, coupled with local strong players such as Kieran Moynihan & Hugh Doyle. The tournament had four live boards and we dedicated two for the masters. As a change, we broadcast the top boards for the Majors (1200-1600) and Minors (<1200) live also to add to the atmosphere.

It was pleasing to see some of the younger players coming through the ranks that have made significant leaps in their ratings over the last 1-2 years. An example is Henry Li who played in Galway 2014 rated 1550 approx and was over 2000 for the Cork congress.

Sam Collins took a travel bye and he & Stephen Jessel moved through the rounds. In round 5 they played and Stephen came through. Cork’s Hugh Doyle had a good run with steady performance going into the final round on 4/5 but came up against Stephen Jessel and lost. WFM Manuela Schmitz travelled from Germany with her husband and had a good performance with a very credible 4/6. Stephen Jessel won the masters section with his win over Hugh to claim the Finbar Allison Masters title.

The majors was won by Muhtarim-Ul Haque although during the tournament Robert Murtagh started well on 4/4, losing the 5th round encounter to Muhtarim. Gavin Melaugh recovered from his round 2 loss to put himself in contention going into round 6. In round 6, it was all to play for with 4 players in the mix. I was in contention to do a repeat “submarine manoeuvre” from Galway 2014 after taking the travelling bye Friday (organising is merciless task master). The top table clash in round 6 was with Muhtarim & myself, if I won, I would take the title outright, a draw would win for Muhtarim and have myself in contention for joint second. Robert Murtagh and Gavin Melaugh were also playing for the possibility of joint second / first depending on the top board. Gavin & Robert drew and Muhtarim beat myself. This left Gavin & Robert as joint runners up.

The minors was won by Sanjay Menon with a very respectable 5½”/6 with John O Dowd clear second on 5/6.

All of the live games are available for download here.

I would like to thank all of the local businesses for their support over the weekend. In addition, I wish to thank Cork city for their extremely generous support. Finally, I wish to thank Simon Lawrence and Gerry Graham for their massive contribution to making this a very enjoyable weekend for all the players.

Thank you to all who travelled to Cork. Hope to see you in 2017 !

All final positions are available for each section: