Gawain will be back in Kilkenny, Ireland to defend his title.
You can see the report below by Gerry Graham from last’s years event. If you have never been to an Irish weekender I highly recommend visiting Kilkenny. Kilkenny has a lovely castle, some nice shops and of course some pubs. Last time I visited in 2010 we were hit with a snow storm and it was a slow drive up to Dublin but it was Kilkenny looked very lovely covered in snow. If you want more info about entering check out the Irish Chess Union website.
by Gerry Graham (November 2011)
The annual Kilkenny Chess Congress took place over the weekend of November 25th to 27th in the two venues of The Club House Hotel and Butler House, in the heart of Kilkenny city. This year it attracted it’s largest turnout in many a year, a total of 205 players battled for the 4 titles at stake, 32 in the Masters, 40 in the Major, 59 in the “James Mason” and 74 in the Challengers section.
Kilkenny Junior Squad
Kilkenny has not only one of the best annual chess events around, it also boasts a very strong junior chess scene. Pictured left are Turlock Kelly, Eoin Minnock, Ryan Rhys Griffiths ( FIDE Master ) and John Courtney.
Photo by Pat Moore
The Masters event was the strongest in years and there were players from England, France, Holland, Bulgaria and, of course, from all over Ireland too. There were 6 GMs, 4 IMs and 3 FMs, the top seed was Bulgaria’s Ivan Cheparinov, (pictured left) second to Topalov and rated at 2666.
The first round went more or less to seeding with the one games drawn, Hugh Doyle of Cork sharing the point with local FIDE Master, Ryan Rhys Griffiths.
One feature of this year’s event was the transmission of the top two boards in the Masters live on the ICU site and the second round clash of French GM Sebastian Maze Irish IM, Mark Quinn would not have disappointed many of the people watching it live online, it was a great game.
The perennial pairing of Mark Hebden and Alex Baburin happened in round 3 and if you like a really good rook and pawn ending, take a look at this one, it’s a really instructive game.
Three players reached the magical 3 out of 3, Ivan Cheparinov, Gawain Jones and Mark Quinn. The top round 4 clashes included Alex Baburin vs Ivan Cheparinov and early in the game, Alex offered a draw just to see if Ivan was interested in an early evening, after all, three games in 1 day is a lot! Ivan declined the draw which told Alex he was in for a tough evening, as the following game shows.
Our visiting French GMs, Sebastian Maze and Fabien Libiszewski got into the spirit of event and dressed accordingly, Fabien is the one on the left.
Ivan Cheparinov was held to a second draw by Gawain Jones, who used a little known line in the KID used by Cheparoniv himself in 2009 against Eljanov, seegame.
Final round pairings:
- Gawain Jones ( 4.5 ) – Mark Hebden ( 4.5 )
- Sebastian Maze ( 4 ) – Ivan Cheparinov ( 4 )
- Alex Baburin ( 3.5 ) – Alex Lopez ( 3.5 )
- Colm Daly ( 3.5 ) – Karl McPhillips ( 3.5 )
The final round was a very tense affair with remarkably few draws, the players were all in fighting form. Colm Daly beat Karl McPhilips in the final round on board 4 while the two Alex’s did battle on board 3. These two have played over a dozen times in Irish weekend Masters events and there have been a lot of draws but any wins so far have been for Alex Baburin, and today was no exception, it was a hard fight but Alex Lopez lost.
The board 2 clash of Sebastian Maze and Ivan Cheparinov always looked like being a draw from an early stage but neither player seemed to want to share the point, it was move 50 before peace was declared. But, of course, the real money was being decide on board 1 where Gawain Jones had white against Mark Hebden. Gawain’s FIDE rating has shot up in the past year, he has become a very strong grandmaster. I think his preperation and opening knowledge are a key factor in his strength and I think this game shows this well.
Pictured left is Gawain Jones, Kilkenny Masters champion 2011.