Mulcahy 2018 Report
Cork deputy Lord Mayor, Fergal Dennehy, opened the proceedings by welcoming the large contingent of chess players who had gathered at the Gresham Metropole hotel to play in the ‘Mulcahy Memorial’ chess tournament which took place on the week-end of the 12th to the 14th January, 2018. This was the 50th Anniversary of the passing of E N (Noel) Mulcahy who was one of the strongest players to emerge from the Irish chess scene. His passing in 1968 left such a void that his fellow chess colleagues, in the Munster Chess Union, decided to set up a committee to oversee the running of a chess congress in remembrance of Mulcahy. One of the members of that committee was Maurice Coveney one of the most active players on the Irish chess scene. And Maurice was again in attendance at this year’s tournament to do ‘battle’ over the board.
Pat Twomey (Arbiter) thanked the deputy Lord Mayor for his kind words and also thanked the Social Inclusion Unit of the Cork City Council for their generous support for the tournament. He also thanked the Bunratty Chess tournament committee and Cork Chess club for their support and of course the people who entered the Mulcahy tournament were also thanked.
The number of players (53) who signed up for the tournament was similar to last year but the presence of a number of higher rated players meant that this year was one of the strongest ‘Mulcahys’ in recent years. The top seed was again IM Alex Lopez (2441) who was going for his 12th Mulcahy title (9 as outright winner and 2 as joint winner) but hoping to put a ‘stop to his gallop’ were FMs Conor O’Donnell (2325), Colm Daly (2301) and local CCYMS player Kieran Moynihan (2086). A strong number of visitors from abroad gave the event an international flavour with players from the Czech Republic (Jaroslav Shanel, 2170), Poland (Wojciech Rzemek), Lithuania (Aleksej Maskancev) and from the UK (Henry Brockbank, 2057 and Jon Smith, 1617). The scene was now set for the games to begin and bang on the scheduled time the battle of minds began over the chess board. About three hours later as the dust began to clear many of the games had gone to seeding but there were a number of ‘upsets’; Keegan O’Mahony (1800) went down to fast improving 14 year old Sean Murphy (1128), also ‘going against the head’ was Jasvinder Singh (995) who beat Tom McGrath but the biggest upset was Ranjit Singh’s (772) hard fought victory over gambiteer Denis O’Connell (1584) and with a difference in rating of 812 it looked like Ranjit would be a strong contender for the David & Goliath prize.
Round 2 again saw the top seeds all winning except for 7th seed Henry Brockbank who could only manage a draw with UCC player Desmond Doran (1444). The following round (3) things began to hot up as the top players were now paired to meet one another and the main battle occurred on board one where the ‘local darby’ between Alex Lopez and Kieran Moynihan took place. In the game (see below) Moynihan was unlucky not to capitalize on the clear advantage he had built up throughout the game; still, Lopez is not the Mulcahy champion for nothing and his tenacity and resilience indicated his reluctance to give up the crown without a fight. Another battle occurred on board 2 where rising star 15-year-old Henri Li took on second seed FM Conor O’Donnell and with both players in time pressure it was O’Donnell who blundered and lost a rook and then the game. Notable draws in this round were Henke de Jonge’s (1830) draw with number four seed Jaroslav Shanel (2170) and Andrew Finnerty’s (767) draw with Jon Smith (1617). The surprise of round 4 was Rzemek’s win over Daly which meant he and Lopez being the only players on full points would meet in round 5. Unrated Sean Creed produced another fine performance and walked away with the full point in his game against Alan White (1380). Creed who was playing in his first tournament was playing some brilliant chess and is surely someone to watch out for in the future.
Sunday morning and everyone seemed to make it on time for the beginning of the penultimate round. On board 1 the two players on full points (Lopez and Rzemek) squared off but it wasn’t long before Lopez built up an advantage which he never seemed like losing. Boards two (Daly v Shanel) and three (De Jonge v Li) went according to rating but on board four local player Hugh Doyle pulled off a nice win over FM Conor O’Donnell. Other surprises in round 5 were Kilkenny player Jas Singh’s (995) against Watkins (1380) and Murphy’s (1128) win against Carroll (1729); fourteen-year-old Sean Murphy is another player we should keep a look out for in the future as he is a very promising player. The final round saw Keegan O’Mahony, who after a shaky start had won his last four games, take on the top seed in an attempt to deny Lopez of his 12th title but it wasn’t to be as Alex proved too strong for his erstwhile opponent (see game below). This meant that Alex Lopez again gets his name on the Mulcahy trophy and thus maintains his record of never having played in the tournament without coming first! Second place was jointly won by Kieran Moynihan (who beat Daly, game below) and Henri Li (who beat Rzemek) in fourth to sixth place were Henke De Jonge, Jaroslav Shanel and Daniil Zelenchuk. The David and Goliath prize was taken by Sean Creed when he defeated Denis O’Connell in the final round.
And so, to the prizegiving and after Pat Twomey thanked everyone for attending the tournament he then asked Maurice Coveney to present the winners with their prizes.
1st Alex Lopez
2/3rd Kieran Moynihan and Henri Li
Grading Prize ‘A’ 1st Joe Hanley; 2nd Nikki Mullins
Grading Prize ‘B’ 1st Sean Murphy; 2nd Ranjit Singh
David & Goliath Sean Creed.