Chess News and Gossip

Ballynafeigh 2 Top Table (well for a while)

Ballynafeigh 2 showed no signs of acrophobia when the Ormeau road second string scaled the dizzy heights of the division one league table, once there they surveyed the panoramic scenery from their lofty pinnacle, they survey it and enjoyed it soaking it all in, for … well … for nearly an hour. That was when Muldoon’s 1 under the stewardship of the Mallaghan Annesley tag-team knocked them from their wobbly perch back down to a more comfortable altitude that didn’t require an oxygen mask. Ah well at least we summited!

Having been well and truly battered back at their Ormeau road base camp last week by the Man Mountains of Ballynafeigh 1 where Cunningham salvaged his teams only draw when he positionally outplayed his fellow club-mate Danish import Soren Jensen. The Dane jumping at the draw offer nearly taking Cunningham’s hand off at the wrist, before displaying the vim to exchange lively banter if not  the traditional Ballynafeigh abuse with his club-mate opponent. The Viking taunts continued late into the evening, ah Ballynafeigh it really isn’t for the shrinking violets of the world is it? Still smarting from their heavy defeat Ballynafeigh 2 headed up to division one debutants Fruithill to try and make amends, the Fruithill board 1 Ciaran Marron was keen to rub salt into the wound of Ballynafeigh 2 recent heavy defeat, “Oh are we playing you tonight? .. I thought we were in the first division this year!” said Marron delivering his clever quip with a wry smile.

Nine moves later he was delivering Ballynafeigh’s first point of the evening when he waltzed his queen into a G file minefield with no hope of retreat after his opening assault faltered for lack of development which was met by a broad grin from his opponent and victim of his earlier quip. Thomas Donaldson and John O’Docherty both victorious over Frank Carruthers and Sean Linton ensured a Ballynafeigh win followed soon after when Chris Kelly and Ian Woodfield who held crushing positions over their opponents John Monaghan and John Robinson to give the Ballynafeigh 2 a 5-0 whitewash over Fruithill. A parting word for Marron came from a grinning Cunningham at the end as he was leaving “welcome to the first division Ciaran”

big frank

Big Frank Carrothers was hoping to play Damien Lavery or as big Frank calls him the “ratings piggy bank” “I was gonna raid the piggy bank so is, you tell em so is, he’s hiding from me”

 

 

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Ballynafeigh Chess Club would like to offer it condolences to the family and friends of Alan Burns who passed away this week in hospital. A genuinely lovely man equipped with a wise head and a gentle tongue,  if he didn’t have a kind word he had no word at all. He will be sorely missed by anyone who ever had the pleasure of being graced by his presence for even the briefest of moments, sad news indeed for Ulster Chess.

alan burns

 

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Belfast South Monday Tournament

Neil Green is the Master of ceremonies for this years Belfast South Monday tournament to be held in the Bankers club 29- 31 Malone Road Belfast, the rated event starts on Oct 20th. Neil wants anyone interested to feel free to email him to secure a place

Email: neildonard@yahoo.co.uk

Dates:   Monday 20 October  – 15 December 2014

Monday 5 January  – 16 March 2015

Time:   7.30pm – 10.30pm ( 1 hr 30 mins per clock)

Entry fee  £26 per person

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New P.R.O for I.C.U    (by Peter Cafolla)

Great to see that the universally popular and much loved Colm Daly has been made Public Relations Officer for the Irish Chess Union. Colm’s warm and friendly manner, his modesty and his lack of ego will raise chess on this island to a level never seen before. How lucky we all are to have such a wonderful ambassador working on our behalf. Sadly, I will not be around to see how he gets on as I have just slit both my wrists and am now placing my head in a gas oven to be sure to be sure.

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The Life of Brian Michael

Fisherwick contacted Calum Leitch and claimed to the League controller that they were not capable of fielding a team in the forth coming season. This was accepted at face value earlier today but rapid developments have now well and truly poured cold water on that initial claim and shown it to be inaccurate.

Fisherwick have this evening posted an advertisement on their webpage offering a breakaway micro league a sort of Continuity UCU with a different format were you only play 6 matches a year with as many or as little players as you like! Played over 25 minutes with one trouser leg rolled up while sitting in a bowl of custard, the madcap buffoon who dreamed this idea up thinks it’s a winner. He’s so confident that the rest of the UCU will flock to him that he has offered them all a place in Fisherwick to play the matches

The breakaway micro league will be held in secret

The breakaway micro league will be held in secret

This offer alone proves two things, one that he has absolutely no confidence that any other club will join this bizarre nonsense and two that he is so desperate to get a group gathered around him that he will try any insane format if it gets him another brainwashed if not brain-dead disciple in his not so merry band. Personally I would be willing to offer them a venue too it’s called Knockbracken.

If it tickles your fancy we’re told that you can email Mad-Mick himself (in confidence… wheyhey) to arrange an interview to get selected to either the Judean Peoples Front or the Peoples Front of Judea and a little bag of otter’s noses.

 

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Fisherwick go Gutless

The Fisherwick Chess Club has pulled out of this year’s Silver King Championship at the eleventh hour refusing to field a team. The Chlorine gardens outfit who are the defending champions withdrew from the competition because they felt they could not defeat Lindores or the revamped Ballynafeigh 1 and didn’t see any merit in finishing 3rd or perhaps even 4th behind an improving Muldoon’s team.

The Gossip pages staff can’t believe for one second that Fisherwick with such committed regulars struggled for a team and thus feel it has to be the conclusion that it was their anticipated finishing position that was the catalyst for this decision. A spokesperson for the club in contact with the league controller Calum Leitch stated the club was not going to fold that they would rebuild and come back stronger!

Do they seriously think that they can rebuild and attract new players while not playing chess! How would anyone ever get to hear of them or meet them if they are not competing? Why did they not contact the fledgling Queens team and amalgamate their resources thus … Oh wait Fisherwick don’t do juniors I forgot that sorry ….

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If we can’t win it…. we ain’t in it!

 

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Floating System Sunk

The new league controller has wiped out the floating system for the 2014/2015 league campaigns. Calum Leitch the new axe grinder for the Ulster Chess Union has decided to shelve the extremely successful floating system that has been the main avenue for encouraging and progressing junior players in the UCU. When challenged by the Gossip desk as to why this awful decision was made the new league controller Leitch said “It’s not shelved, and it’s definitely not sunk, that’s untrue the floating system is still there it’s just you can’t use it this season, or ever again! Oh and if you plan to you’ll need goggles and an aqua lung!”

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Floating system not sunk… just relocated underwater!

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Lagan Dried Up

The unfortunate news that the Lagan Chess Club has taken a sabbatical from competition chess has been confirmed by several involved sources this week. Whilst a select few on the inside knew of the impending news it didn’t become public knowledge to the rest of the chess proletariat. The reason for this is because those captains that heard the whispering grass kept it to themselves in the hope of picking the Lagan carcass clean of available talent in true vulture style.

vultures

The new UCU captains committee.

Lindores Fisherwick Ballynafeigh Civil Service and Muldoon’s were all dipping their oars in the water on a fishing expedition with some transfer offers being made. Apparently Chris Armstrong was offered Gold blend coffee and chocolate Hob-nob biscuits to paddle his canoe up river to the Ormeau road venue of Ballynafeigh, but he seems to be holding out for Jaffa-cakes.

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Chris Armstrong was enticed with Gold-blend and a few Jaffa cakes, another team mate is holding out for Cappuccino and cinnamon cake, this transfer window looks like being the most expensive yet.

 

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Did Someone Snap?

Our pictures editor was inundated with specimens from the Europa this month including some from Pat McKillen the resident Lord Lichfield of Ulster Chess who sent in a few snaps from his collection of this years Ulster championships. So a big hat tip to all who donated their faded out of focus shaky-handed ill-framed badly lit mess to our inbox, and a special hat-tip to Pat who gave us something to display. As a way of thanks Pat we are prepared to offer you Adrian Dornford-Smith for a centre fold spread if you want.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfVpOdNgc1k

mark staredown

That’s a seriously worrying stare that Newman directs at Jamison

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Norman McFarland (right) defeating Martin Sloan on his way to being crowned Intermediate Champion

eoin adrian

Eoin Carey deep in prayer has Adrian Dornford-Smith deep in thought as religion wins over science for the Junior championship.

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Steve (Robocop) Scannell back in the prizes as he receives his runner up cheque from UCU President Geoff Hindley (right) Geoff is the one with the glasses because to be fair it’s hard to tell the difference. Scannell sent the Gossip desk a statement/gloat “See I’m back leaner and fitter than ever, that’s two years in a row Michael Waters has failed to keep me outta the prizes, hell he was so far behind me this year I didn’t even see him, I don’t even think he made the top six!”

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The UCU President (right) supposedly hands over a cheque to the UCU thought-police supremo Brendan (Banksy) Jamison.  We now hear word on the grapevine is it was a bad-boy hit-list that is five names long! Intrigued? We are!

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Ulster Championship Controversy Free

The Ulster Championships took place over the August bank holiday weekend in the Europa hotel Belfast for the 8th year in succession thanks to the continued sponsorship of the Europa Hotel in providing the venue. For the fourth year in a row the number of competitors taking part has increased which is all the more encouraging when you consider the number of regular faces that were forced to miss this year due to work or family commitments and others that were simply just forced … you know who I mean … aye that’s right … him

The big increase in new players that the UCU is experiencing is surprisingly not coming from the teenage ranks as one might expect but from adults either coming back to chess after a long break or ones that have only recently discovered an appetite for the masochistic game. This has been a repeated scenario for the third year running which only advertises the untapped potential out there for all clubs and federations to draw from.  Ballynafeigh have been to the forefront of harvesting this untapped potential supplying six new faces to the Ulster Championships who had never played in a tournament before. Now I could tell you that it is all down to the charm, sophistication, suaveness and movie star looks of the Ballynafeigh Gossip desk editor, but we would all know that would be inaccurate because I think everyone would agree I’m much better looking than that.

This year was controversy free for a change in comparison to recent Ulster Championships, indeed former Ulster Champion Michael Holmes a spectator on the final day duly noted the lack of corridor whispering or indeed shouting for that matter. “What no controversy? .. nothing at all?” he inquired before adding “Your gossip page won’t have much to write about at this rate, you’re sure this is definitely the Ulster championships I’m watching ?”

“It’s because he’s not here” I replied

“Who’s not here?”

“Him!”

“Him?”

“Aye him … he’s not here”

“You mean?”

“Yes I do”

“Him you mean him?”

“Yep that’s right yer-man”

“Well perhaps if I asked yer-man, he would say it’s controversy free because you’re not controlling, did you think about that?”

“You know Michael occasionally you remind me of the French defence”

“Oh, why’s that then?”

“Cos you really know how to take the fun out of chess at times”

The absence of controversy would never stop the information super-highway of the Ballynafeigh News and Gossip pages, if the well is running dry we can always adopt the ‘Dublin defence’ basically that’s when we make it up as we go along. Historically it’s decidedly unsuccessful, but desperate times require desperate measures …… or at the very least an affordable legal team.  However the abundance of the two looses in Ulster chess, the loose screw and the loose cannon (you know who they are … and yes “Him” is one of them) means this site is never rationed in colourful material or embellished variants of actual events.

Ballynafeigh newcomer Paul Charles determined not to let the Gossip desk down seized the mantle of ‘arbiter ball-breaker extraordinaire’ with a tour de force rendition of classical controller nightmares. “I’ve no pen” he stated to the controller Sibren Westra from the Netherlands

“Yuu havinnt but yuu are supposed to havv one”

“I have got one”

“ver is it”

“it’s in the house”

Sibren stared at him bizarrely which I have to admit was only half as bizarre as the stare that came back from Paul Charles, but a spare pen was duly located and loaned to the newbie. The supplying of the pen didn’t move him from the controllers table.

“Yesh is theer somefink else?”

“What about score-sheets”

“Theer is a bigg pile of theam”

“Do we have to use them?”

“Yesh that is why theey are heer!”

“Are they FIDE score-sheets? Will FIDE be looking at them later”

“Yesh I fink soo … and no I don’t fink soo”

Paul was stumped, he was still digesting the controllers last answer when Sibren took full advantage of the lull to escape the cycle or to locate Tournament Director Ross Harris to see if Paul Charles was a professional wind up. Paul wandered off back to the junior section slightly perplexed by his exchanges with the controller. He approached his Ballynafeigh team-mate Norman Rainey.

“Hey Norman see that controller guy”

“What about him?”

“He’s very hard to understand the way he talks”

“Is he confusing you with big words Paul?”

“No it’s the way he talks, he has a funny accent, he’s not from here!”

“Where’s he from”

“I think he’s from Limerick”

It was now Norman Rainey’s  turn to give Paul a ponderous glare which was only broken by the posting of the draw for round one. Norman was drawn against Ashley McWhinney while Paul Charles was drawn against Chris Turnbull. Norman got to his seat and pressed his opponent’s clock and waited for Ashley to arrive. Chris Turnbull got to his seat moved then pressed his clock and sat and waited on Paul Charles to arrive. Somehow Paul Charles has managed to accost Ashley McWhinney and convinced him he was in actual fact Chris Turnbull. The clocks ticked by at the two tables with the correct pairing as Ashley went about munching Paul’s pieces on the board with the wrong pairing. Norman and Chris were only four minutes from claiming a default win when Ashley put Paul’s king to the sword. The controller discovered the mess when he went to input the result, if the thought wasn’t already with him beforehand this surely had Paul Charles tagged as the tournament hard work case. The second round pairings were listed Paul was paired against William Storey another pairing was John McGann against Jordan Mitchell and if you’ve ever read the News and Gossip section before you’ll know we just love consistency. Obviously Paul Charles does also and promptly intercepted the newbie Jordan Mitchell and assured him that he was in fact John McGann, he led young Mitchell to another table sat down and played him.  This left two players with ticking clocks at tables with no opponents and one Dutch controller with a ticking fuse when the error was uncovered.

“Is theesh guy for reel? Harr is theesh possible? Harr kan yuu get opponents wrong twice, theesh is insane? The names are on the vall, maybe theesh guy is not Paul Charles … maybe I fink he is Ray Charles yesh” gasped Sibren Westra.

Paul Charles celebrates knackering the controller twice in one day
Paul Charles celebrates knackering the controller twice in one day

Sibren relocated to the senior section where there would be no such problems with rules or protocols especially this year considering the enforced absence of “yer-man” Here the controller could enjoy the rest of the tournament incident free and safe in the knowledge that he wouldn’t have to have his patience tested by the Ballynafeigh newbie anymore. Day two saw David McAlister take the reins as Sibren Westra exited stage left and almost immediately David was called into action to make a ruling under rather difficult circumstances. Having made the correct decision given the exceptional nature of the incident and satisfactorily explained his ruling to those involved enters stage right ‘the spectator’.  Voicing his concerns about the decision the arbiter made and giving his interpretation of what he believed the arbiters’ conclusion should have been, our intrepid spectator endeavoured to eradicate the acceptance of the ruling by those involved and replace it with doubt.  Say what you like about the quality of chess in Belfast when it comes to freaking out arbiters we are definitely up there with the best of them, hell we’re super-GM material.

Tournament rookies Eoin Carey and Stephen Cullen led the Ballynafeigh eight man assault on the Junior title hoping to lift it for the second time in three years. Carey played steady safety first tournament chess which is what is required to win the Junior championship, Cullen on the other hand was as wild as a militia territory map of northern Iraq.  Carey thwarted all challengers to lift the silverware for the Ballynafeigh club and Cullen secured the grading prize with ease. Indeed a runner up spot was well within the reach of Cullen if he had managed to avoid the reach of the barman between rounds, obviously Stephen was getting in some early practice for Bunratty in February.

Eoin Carey wins the Junior championship for Ballynafeigh for the 2nd time in 3 years

Eoin Carey wins the Junior championship for Ballynafeigh, the 2nd time in 3 years it has gone to the Ormeau road club

Ballynafeigh also had a very strong hand in the Intermediate section which they were hoping to retain after Robert Lavery’s victory last year. The club were supplying the pre-tournament favourite Stephen Rush and Karina Kruk fresh in from Norway with her WFM title. Neither was to find any success as both instead of just chilling got overheated and ran cold instead, the title went to the cool head of Norman McFarland of Fisherwick, which was just reward for the work he has done in securing the Europa as a venue for the Ulster Chess Union. Ballynafeigh players Steve Scannell and Brendan Jamison performed well in the Senior championship. Scannell grabbed second place behind the unstoppable Gabor Horvath of Lindores, whilst Jamison the multi-millionaire artist who flew in from L.A specifically for this tournament picked up the grading prize after some fine results, though the prize involved wouldn’t pay the chauffer limo from the airport let alone his first class plane ticket. When this was pointed out to Jamison he was at pains to deny it “I take a bike everywhere, I have no idea how people got this idea about me, I take the bike to the shops, restaurants, museums, wherever”

Brendan Jamison proving he's a liar
Brendan Jamison proving he’s not a liar

Afterwards James McDonald led the annual pilgrimage to Robinsons bar across the street with Leitch Harris and Kelly in tow, James McDonald doesn’t even drink but when Calum Leitch promised to buy a round he didn’t want to miss the historic event, it’s one of those things you can tell the grand kids about where you were that day, like JFK, 9-11, and the hoax moon landings or in Norman Rainey’s case flint-tools, fire and woolly mammoth. Martin Kelly held court at the bar with his gleaming new trophy which he had won ten months ago but only just received from the UCU trophy cabinet, when asked Kelly was at a loss to explain why it took so long to unite him with the trophy, though Sibren Westra was convinced it was because it was on a sideboard in Paul Charles house!

Hello is that Paul Charles? would you like to do a bit of personation at the next FIDE election
Hello is that Paul Charles? would you like to do a bit of personation at the next FIDE election

Martin Kelly with the Forson Position trophy
Martin Kelly with the Forson Position trophy

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Kasparov brilliant at chess …. shit at elections

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Gary Kasparov and his devoted band of followers suffered not so much an electoral defeat as a comprehensive annihilation at the hands of Kirsan llyumzhinov during the election for control of FIDE in Tromso  last night. The winning margin was vast, nearly three times greater than the chess shrewdies and insiders had expected. By the start of the Olympiad most would be pollsters had Kirsan in front with something between 12 and 16 votes, the final eyebrow raising margin of nearly 50 will come as a complete surprise to many.

The result will be analysed in greater scrutiny in the days and weeks ahead however the kneejerk finger pointing and name calling has started already. Kasparov has been bawling his eyes out to any journalist with a pen that the election process was completely rigged from the start, with bizarre utterances about the KGB and Russian embassies in every country in the world working to have President Putins man elected. Kasparov is in danger of sullying his great achievement over the board and the respect that those same achievements brought with delusional nonsense more associated with a card carrying tin-foil helmeted conspiracy theorist.

Perhaps a greater scrutiny of his own actions and political naivety in the years leading up to this colossal failure would stand team Kasparov in better stead. Kasparov has been a political and business butterfly for decades, dancing and flitting with whatever is in the ascendancy or favourable to himself politically and financially, so when he points the smearing finger at others is it really surprising that the thought of “pot calling kettle black” springs to the minds of most.  Kasparov has been communist when it suited him and free marketeer when it suited him better, he has adopted the roles of persecuted Jew, agnostic and self appointed if not self anointed Christian to suit his audiences, which makes it easy for his detractors to lay claims of inconsistency and hypocrisy at his doorstep.

When he felt FIDE weren’t giving him what he wanted he tried to take his ball and go home when he formed the ill-fated Grandmasters association in 1986. He then created the doomed Professional Chess Association in 1993 which split FIDE and the chess world wide open and brought about separate world champions (which has still not been forgiven by many) The killer blow to the PCA was Kasparovs decision to publically insult their biggest financial backer Intel by playing against Intel’s chief rival IBM’s computer Deep Blue in 1996. Intel pulled their money out as one might expect (well anyone except Kasparov that is) and the PCA was finished.  Another Kasparov idea died in the dust due to Kasparov’s ineptitude and arrogance when it came to sound business strategies, yet strangely even with all his failures he believed he was the better candidate to manage even bigger projects with larger funds, requiring finer judgement and clearer vision. I suppose arrogance is one of those vices that are hard to see in a mirror but judging by the landslide obviously not that difficult for others watching on… especially FIDE delegates.

In 1991, Kasparov received the Keeper of the Flame award from the Center for Security Policy  (a US think tank funded by the NSA) for his contributions “to the defence of the United States and American values around the world”.  So here was Kasparov accepting awards from shadowy groups funded by the USA Big-Brother NSA and being so trusted by them that In April 2007, it was revealed that Kasparov was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council for Security Policy, a national security organisation that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security”. And there was me thinking that he was Russian in love with all things Russian except Mr Putin when it is obvious he is in love with anything that is pro-Russian or anti-Russian just so long as it casts him in the role of demigod and rewards him accordingly.

He flitted on and off with groups and organisations as and when it suited him or his profile, groups like The Other Russia, Saint Petersburg Dissenters, and the Union of Rightist Forces, the latter grouping being so far out on the right they make the Waffen-SS  look like devout Trotskyites.  Deluded he had a support base Kasparov actually stood for the Russian Presidency in 2007 and his brilliant strategy for winning popular support in Russia was to fly to the USA and do all the ultra right TV shows and chat forums. It went down badly in Russia for the tiny few that seen them but by all accounts it went down a treat in the Putin household!  Ordinary Russian did not know what to make of him bracketing him as crazy eccentric at best; it was obvious Kasparov had saddled himself with the loser badge from day one through lack of preparation and planning or perhaps pure arrogance.  The polls put him between 1% and 3% which ironically is the same popularity zone occupied by Michael Waters so he withdrew from the election, claiming  that he had to withdraw his presidential candidacy due to inability to rent a meeting hall where at least 500 of his supporters could assemble to endorse his candidacy, as is legally required.  When questioned about his poor planning for the election Kasparov accused Putin of a conspiracy against him and of removing all the venues for rent.

Kasparov went west then began his accusation offensive blaming Putin for virtually conspiring with the Boston marathon bombers (rolls eyes, looks skywards and thinks yep doctor required) Then became a cheerleader for a bombing war in Syria as a way of …. wait for it … helping Syria (rolls eyes, looks skywards and thinks … screw the doctor, it’s a padded cell and a coat that zips up the back  that’s needed)

Kasparov denied rumours in April 2013 that he planned to leave Russia for good. “I found these rumours to be deeply saddening and, moreover, surprising,” he wrote. But Kasparov called a press conference only 2 months later in June 2013 to announce that if he returned to Russia he wouldn’t be allowed to leave again, given Putin’s ongoing crackdown against dissenters. “So for the time being,” he said, “I refrain from returning to Russia.” In November 2013 his papers for Croatian citizenship was drawn up and lodged in February 2014 … Aw and he loved Russia so much!

So he flirts and flits, starts things that he can’t finish and finishes things he can’t start, is devoid of consistency, planning, focus, foresight, loyalty, compassion, commitment and meekness. In the cold light of day is it any wonder that the delegates vote for the man who only claims to have been abducted by aliens rather than the man whose behaviour makes him look like one.

Did Kasparov and his followers who have been planning this election campaign for years forget that the delegates were individuals with individual feelings and beliefs and not Governments? At what point did they not realise his support for bombing Syria by Nato was going to put 33 votes in Kirsan’s pocket before a single vote was cast. His ramblings against African and South American leaders not friendly with the USA just added to the ever increasing tally of free votes for his opponent. To then appear at the Olympiad and admit you’re behind in the race was another cataclysmic blunder, voters don’t like to vote for a loser, there’s no mileage in it unless they love them or their message. Kasparov message was unclear and he has a persona that only a mother could love so his potential voter encatchment was eroded by his own actions, but somehow Kasparov was determined to fall back on his back up plan, if all else fails blame Putin and a KGB conspiracy.

Kasparov by his actions and failures have left Kirsan in a much stronger position, a position of citadel strength, with such a massive majority against the best known chess player on the planet and probably the greatest player to ever sit at a table what mere mortal will dare challenge him now. Kirsan can be the Sepp Blatter of chess, going on and on, completely unchallenged and unthreatened by the ranks of the great unwashed.  If the plan of team Kasparov was to unseat Kirsan it failed miserably, they have padlocked him to the throne instead, with such a demonstration of amateur blunders perhaps the voters in Tromso got it right after all.

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W F M

Karina Kruk won her WFM title in Tromso today when she achieved the required 6pts from 9 with a game to spare. The chance of the title was firmly in her grasp after a fine result against Bosnia yesterday when she defeated her 2100 rated opponent. So a silver lining for the foremost member of the Ballynafeigh brat-pack who claims the key to her success was the total lack of nightlife or things to do in Tromso meant her hitting the study books.

We at the Ballynafeigh gossip desk are completely stumped as to why by the same scenario that living in Carrickfergus as she does she’s isn’t already a WGM.

She's had her pizza delivery bike customised already
She’s had her pizza delivery bike customised already

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Getting Screwed in Prague

Sam Flanagan the spymaster general of the Ulster Chess Union posted an interesting article on his new chess blog linking to an upcoming tournament in Prague in December.

http://www.amateurchess.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/prague_english.pdf

With its rather grand titling of the European Amateur Chess Championships running from Nov 29th until Dec 7th the event is nothing but a swindlers charter for milking chess players of hard earned cash.  Charging players $50euro to enter the organisers offer $2800 euro in prizes but this is the start of the duck and cover exercise which upends the chess player to empty their pockets. The prizes being offered are based on 70 entrants paying up 50 euro each and this is printed in the brochure, which means the organisers are taking $700 euro out of the entry fees straight away. They are offering 2800 out of a pool of 3500, but because they have stated that prizes are based on entrants they are not legally obliged to pay the full amount if they don’t reach the desired threshold of 70. Nor for that matter do they have to pay more if they readily break the threshold quota, if say 200 players register, legally the organisers only have to pay out the original £2800 euro figure advertised, it does not state that the prize fund will increase in tandem with numbers in entries.

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Not happy with this gravy train the organisers insist that all players are obliged to stay at the Park hotel venue in Prague for between $550 euro  – $650 euro for the event duration. It’s the dead of winter in early December the worst tourist time of the year with hotels empty barns or shut up completely, yet the organisers expect to bung this hotel out at top dollar. You can go on-line now and book this same hotel the week previous to the tournament or the week after the tournament for between $387 euro  – $398 euro for the same 9 day stay, that’s an incredible $160 euro – $260 euro per person cheaper. What a complete rip-off the tournament price is! and that doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that the organisers really should have got a heavy discount for block booking the hotel in the slow time of the year because they could guarantee full restaurants and bars  for the hotel owner, or then again maybe they did.

I’m very confident a lot of tourists get screwed in Prague, whether that was part of the attraction in the first place for many I couldn’t say, I’d need to ask Calum Leitch and Ian Kilpatrick first as they are the UCU experts in this field. However it is shocking to see such a blatant organised orgy on the wallet of a group of people with a different type of mating on their mind! With that in mind I think it is high time Ballynafeigh got in on the act and organised its own championship.

1st – 7th September World Chess Sucker Championships

Entrance fee £75.00 (based on at least 2 entries)

Prizes    1st £10   2nd  £5   3rd Paper Certificate

Accommodation   £10 – £25 per night depending on what park bench you want and whether you will be single or sharing.  Benches with over hanging trees are £10 extra (only 4 left) Wine-o or glue-sniffer free benches must be booked in advance. The management take no responsibility for any items or valuables left in the accommodation for the duration of the tournament, indeed the management would like to take this opportunity to point out that it takes no responsibility for anything at anytime… well except your cash.

The lovely 3rd place certificate

The lovely 3rd place certificate

Hell we will even throw in a T-Shirt

Hell we will even throw in a T-Shirt

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Coup Failure

The 2014 A.G.M took place this week and surprisingly or rather unsurprisingly there was not one motion sent in as a proposal for discussion! Now considering the rumblings and goings on in Ulster chess at present many onlookers would be staggered that nothing of note was being proposed for what was expected to be a very stormy and controversial A.G.M

The Ballynafeigh Gossip desk was so confident of pandemonium that they sent along two of their three regular contributors to the meeting in the interests of public information and juicy slander, the third Gossip desk contributor insisted that he had a nice tin of gloss paint he wanted to watch dry instead just before he uploaded a live video link to you-tube where he was going to shove tooth-picks in his eyeballs!

Arriving early to avoid the cheap-seats they were surprised to find nearly a dozen UCU members already there playing chess and drinking tea and coffee. The current League controller and tournament director Damien Cunningham was there looking very relaxed and blitzing with a Belfast South member, when another Ballynafeigh player entered the room to say that the Fisherwick/Muldoon’s gang was gathering at the front doors. Obviously their plan was to gather outside and enter together as a voting block to occupy central seating in a dominating position making an intimidating sight for the meeting. This strategy also had another important by-product, if the ringleaders could stop their supporters from going in un-chaperoned it would mean that the decent members of Fisherwick and Muldoon’s that were only there out of loyalty wouldn’t be confronted with the truth about the disgraceful behaviour they were being asked to exonerate with a vote.

As plots go this one was so poor it

The Muldoon’s training camp

“Are you worried by their numbers”? The League controller was asked.

“Not at all” Cunningham smirked as laughter rippled around the tables, before adding “We had this tied up weeks ago, we knew who they had but more importantly who they wouldn’t get, and we knew who they were courting for certain positions also what their tactics and plan would likely be and it’s going absolutely exactly as we expected, they’re embarrassingly predictable.”

So you’re pretty confident then?

“Yes … look I’m not an Einstein or an Adrian Dornford-Smith for that matter but I personally couldn’t think as slow as these guys if I underwent a frontal lobotomy and a heavy course of barbiturates. Do you seriously think that I could ever be taken to task by someone of such restricted intelligence as Michael Waters and a few sycophants? The guys that will be coming along as support from Muldoon’s and Fisherwick will probably know nothing of what has gone on and are only their out of loyalty and I have no problem with them, I’m sure if they knew the facts they’d have made excuses for the evening or had their phones switched off until the next day, they’d want nothing to do with the actions or behaviour of Mad Mickey Waters”

Chris Black piped in “ah you know what? You know what we should do?” everyone looked at him, then he added “we should get everyone here into the next room and hide there”

Most people looked at him a bit perplexed, “Why’s that Chris” Norman asked

Chris explained “We know they have an absolute maximum of 18 votes we have an absolute minimum of 35, let’s make it a lot closer let’s hide a dozen or more guys in the next room and let the Waters gang think they have a chance of winning and then just as the vote is about to take place they all walk in like a Ballynafeigh version of the West Wing, I know it’s a bit sick and twisted but it would be funny”

No one answered, not a single word just an almighty rush of clocks boards and sets getting swept off tables and the coffee and tea trolley getting hijacked to another room followed by giggles and laughter. Cunningham was left in the room on his own and he started to set up the room which soon filled quickly with other pro-committee supporters, then Waters sheepishly entered the room with his gang in tow as expected, trying to do a rough head count as they went, again to be expected and they all sat down en masse together as expected, well if nothing else their consistency was excellent even if their judgment was anything but. Geoff Hindley gave his presidents address of the year passed before moving on to the A.G.M proper at this point unable to contain himself as so often in the past Michael Waters the Bad-Boy of Ulster chess interjected claiming that the Presidents address contained no reference to his disciplinary punishment were he was banned for a year with a further three years suspended for three years. Ah the reason we were all here! Well as the movie line goes “we didn’t get dressed up for nothing!” Waters wasn’t into his second sentence and the deliberate inaccuracies or should we say bare faced lies were already in full flow. It was then halted as is started to spiral between league controller and tournament director Damien Cunningham and league winner and tournament disgrace Michael Waters after Waters claimed that the correct rules were not in the constitution. Cunningham pointed out that Waters was the last person to write the constitution of the UCU and therefore he and he alone was responsible for omissions and errors in the document, unbelievably Waters had no response except to blame the people who wrote the constitution before him!. It must be pointed out at this stage that while Waters has always claimed to be legally trained to anybody who would listen, his displayed intellect and actual actions over the years have always heavily contradicted such a claim.

It soon started again not long after when coming to the aid of his puppet-master Peter Wilson of the Muldoon’s gang got his strings in a tangle when he claimed to have heard a conversation on the phone between Mark Newman the arbiter who banned Michael Waters from the Williamson tournament and the UCU Tournament Director Damien Cunningham. Peter Wilson miraculously claimed to have heard the precise words that Cunningham used, which was all the more impressive a feat when it was established that the phone call was taken outside the venue and not on loudspeaker! So has Peter been working for News International hacking phones? Was he just telling fibs? Or perhaps he  just has the biggest ears in all the land? Beside Peter sat Nicholas Pilkiewicz nodding at any word falling off Peters lips and nodding in gesturing style to the rest of the Muldoon’s/Fisherwick gang in an attempt to remind them why they were there and anyone around him that he considered undecided, aye sure a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man especially ones who were kept in the dark. So Noddy and Big-Ears sat for the rest of the meeting organising their pre-arranged vote blissfully unaware of three things, 1) that they had no chance of victory whatsoever, 2) that there were at least a dozen anti-coup votes in the next room and 3) that the last Noddy-car had left for Toyland twenty minutes earlier! It was going to be a long disappointing night for the leaders of the failed plot.

Ballynafeigh is around here somewhere,

Ballynafeigh is around here somewhere, we should have brought Paddy Magee

Paddy Magee had been brought along to be the social face of the Waters led coup because he was a Ballynafeigh player, Waters and Wilson obviously hoping his presence would give the gangs non-existent grievance a veneer of authenticity. Magee’s personal gripe with the league controller emanates from when he goofed in a major way in a league match. Magee had 14 minutes and 35 seconds on his clock when his opponent’s flag fell, did Magee claim on time? No he played on! …. And on! ….. Ah and further on, he played on for 14 minutes and 35 seconds until his own flag fell and the league controller who was observing the Magee horror show declared the game a draw (as he should) Magee was beside himself with rage at the controller! He goofed up and wanted to blame the controller for correctly applying the rules, no matter how many times it was explained to him it was absolutely impossible to get through to Goofy, he just wouldn’t listen. He did however listen intently and willingly to others who were either less knowledgeable and accidently supplied him with wrong information out of genuine stupidity or knew exactly what they were doing and were maliciously making a fool out of Magee for their own agenda of fostering dissent, It would be clear to most impartial observers what the answer to that would be. That somebody so intelligent can let themselves be used so cynically with such ease is disappointing, the fact that he was a Ballynafeigh member letting himself be used to attack another Ballynafeigh member who had acted correctly is doubly so. Magee was courted with falsehoods, misleading interpretations and deliberate misinformation, he was then praised for his strength and integrity and encouraged to be a proposer for Peter Wilson. One didn’t need to be a firefighter or a chimney-sweep to see they were just blowing smoke up his ass and would let him fall flat on his same when they were done with him.

6.11 If both flags have fallen and it is impossible to establish which flag fell first then:
the game shall continue if it happens in any period of the game except the last period
the game is drawn if it happens in the period of a game, in which all remaining moves must be completed.

Every year the UCU rules are mailed to all captains and are published on the UCU website it clearly and bluntly states that the UCU play under Quick-finish rules therefore 6.11 b is the rule that takes precedent and the league controller was absolutely correct. The league controller has stated that 6.11 b will continue to remain in place until all clubs have switched from analogue to the more modern digital clocks, that whilst some clubs persist with analogue equipment then the rules cannot be changed, that it is not feasible to administer two sets of rules for the same scenario.

The Magee goof event has history in the UCU as it has happened at least three times before which at the time were accepted by all parties concerned as draws, one could be forgiven for asking where were Magee’s advisors then? Waters and Co or should that be Waters and coup gave Magee the pre-organised nod and the Ballynafeigh fifth columnist with a baseless gripe but plenty of smoke in his rear piped up to propose Peter Wilson of Muldoon’s for league controller. Waters had bizarrely blamed Cunningham as the person responsible for his current ban from chess tournaments, perversely akin to a bank robber blaming a judge for his imprisonment and wanted him removed, however knowing he could never defeat Cunningham in a vote himself he persuaded Peter Wilson to try his luck instead… what can we say … poor choice!

The league controller not only has to be fair but he must be seen to be fair and impartial to the most forensic of scrutiny, Peters willingness to claim to have telepathic powers when it comes to mobile transmissions via microwaves in an attempt to bolster an already lost argument for his pal Waters only demonstrated his unsuitability for the post in question. The one time Peter did have the integrity of a league to uphold he failed in the most grotesque fashion and his actions led directly to the formation of the captains committee. His team at the time Randalstown were to play Bombardier in the last match of the season, Bombardier trailed RVH eagles by 6 points so needed a 4.5 – 0.5 victory over Randalstown who had David Barras ,Peter McGuikin ,Richard Gould, Steven Eachus and Peter Wilson to choose from, I can’t remember who was on board 1 that year for Randalstown but there was not one chance in hell of Bombardier winning 4.5 – 0.5 the league unquestionably would be RVH eagles. Well right up to the point where Peter couldn’t be arsed playing the fixture and phoned Bombardier to agree a 5-0 loss over the phone instead. Bombardier won the division title and RVH went ballistic when they found out weeks later, it was when the result was not annulled and the match replayed that the captains committee was proposed and carried, and this is the same man that some actually believe could do the job of league controller! Honestly guys really?

Cunningham had spoken to Calum Leitch and Ross Harris months ago to stand for the dual post of League Controller and Tournament director which they willingly agreed to do in what was the worst kept secret in the UCU. They were a popular choice for many (Though it would be fair to say that Stephen Morgan would rather see Calum indicted for war-crimes). So when Cunningham proposed both for their respective positions they were home and hosed before the votes were counted, which meant that the Waters clan had failed to win any positions as officers of the UCU they had failed to gain a single vote other than the ones they brought with them to the meeting. When volunteers were asked to serve on the executive board it was the last straw to clutch to,  the Coup Clutch Clan embarrassingly had to accept places serving as members of the executive board at the generosity of the board they so miserably failed to over throw and their collective failure was finalised and documented.

When asked why he stepped down as League controller and didn’t take another post Cunningham replied “There’s a saying that a lie can be half way round the world before the truth has its boots on, well I decided to swap the boots for Nike trainers to help the truth make up lost ground, I’ll let everyone know exactly what happened and who has behaved wrongly. Waters has painted himself out as some sort of chess messiah being crucified I want to show him for what he is, I wanted to let people know that Muldoon’s Noddy and Big-ears act have been working for Waters since day one and that Paddy Magee sold himself for the less than regulation thirty pieces of silver and accepted some magic beans instead. If you’re going to play around with magic beans you have to be prepared for a conflict with the Giant, so welcome to the beanstalk guys

1)      During the middle rounds of the 2014 Williamson Shield 23rd / 24th February Waters was having a poor start to his tournament with 2 draws and a loss in round 4 he had a tough pairing against Nicolas Pilkiewicz which had only started when there was noise from an adjoining room.

2)      Waters took it upon himself to investigate when he had absolutely no right to do so, he was not an arbiter or tournament controller, he was not the tournament director nor did he hold any office for the UCU and he was not a member of the executive board of the UCU therefore had absolutely no right to do so in any capacity for any reason!

3)      He did not ask the arbiter who was sitting right next to him to investigate as would be expected

4)      He seized his opportunity and entered the room without the aid of an independent witness and confronted a woman on her own going about her business. At what point did he not realise this was a poor judgment call. When things started to become much more heated he did not leave the room, instead choosing to stay to be more forceful with his views before eventually returning to the tournament hall, this was another extremely poor decision.

5)      George Jackson on returning from the washroom came across the woman leaving the room in considerable distress and immediately went to her aid. He was informed of the woman’s version of events and contacted the tournament controller to inform him of a serious problem. One should note that Mr. Jackson had no problem getting the arbiters attention and he wasn’t in the same room let alone sitting right beside him.

6)      Mark Newman investigated immediately and professionally (as he is supposed to do)

7)      Mark Newman immediately contacted the Tournament Director of the Ulster Chess Union to inform him of the situation (as he is supposed to do)

8)      Mark Newman as the ranking controller present wisely negotiated a resolution to the incident which involved an apology to the female worker which she would accept.

9)      Mr. Newman contacted the Tournament Director after securing agreement with the offended party that an apology would suffice to ascertain the extent of his authority over the event. I as Tournament Director confirmed his authority was virtually total and more than adequate for the resolution and enforcement in this instance. During this conversation as Tournament Director I offered my support to Mr. Newman if he needed to put Mr. Waters out of the tournament if an apology wasn’t forthcoming. I said “if you need to put him out, then put him out”

10)  Waters flatly refused to defuse the situation with an apology, trying to usurp the controller’s authority by mobilising support for his position instead. Eventually after a protracted stand-off Waters was encouraged by people around him to apologise or face expulsion.

11)  The apology he offered was nothing of the sort and if anything was an explanation of his views and reasoning, at this point even some of his followers walked away because they knew it was no apology at all. It was at this point that Mark Newman was forced to do what he had hoped to avoid and disqualified Waters.

12)  Another stand off by Waters, another attempt to circumvent the controllers authority by him, another bullying attempt to try and change the controllers mind, it went on and on becoming very intimidating at one point, but Mark Newman stood his ground (as he is supposed to do, not just yield to threat)

13)  Waters refused to leave the venue instead began a protest of non cooperation and refusal to follow the controller’s direction.

14)  Mark Newman again contacted the Tournament Director of the UCU and informed him that there was an official complaint being made and asked what guidelines should he follow (again the correct decision) I as Tournament Director asked the UCU Treasurer as an officer of the Union to accompany me to the event to speak to the member of staff lodging the complaint. (as we are supposed to do)

15)  We conducted interviews with as many people as we could it is highly unlikely aside from Mr. Waters there was anybody from the tournament that either I as Tournament Director or Damien Lavery as an officer of the Union didn’t have communications with in the following days (again as we are supposed to do ) Indeed I had six hours of phone calls and 100 text messages (yes that figure is correct it is 100) from one Michael Waters supporter in the immediate aftermath. Constantly coming back with suggestions and questions it was obvious that everything was being relayed back and forth. Though they were at pains to deny this at every opportunity they strangely only asked questions that were of interest to a defence of Waters or points that were supportive of him and at the A.G.M they ended up front and centre of the coup gang.

16)  So Waters was fully aware there was a serious investigation going on into his behaviour and actions, yet claimed to have been kept in the dark and railroaded throughout. He even sent a letter trying to preempt action against him by listing a swath of unsubstantiated absurd accusations against Mark Newman and myself as League controller hoping to bully the board into dropping the investigation (the one that he knew nothing about)

conspiracy theory

17)  Waters claimed that Mark Newman was a liar and that the woman did not make a complaint and that Newman was making it all up because he was twisted and sinister etc etc. Is this not proof in itself that Waters was fully aware of the investigation in process

18)  When supplied with the actual letter of complaint from the woman Waters claimed she was a liar as well and her and Newman were in cahoots in fact he went on a long rambling tirade of Mark Newman not being honest Cunningham not being honest the woman not being honest and Damien Lavery not being an honest broker either (it would be difficult to make your position look any more foolish than Waters made his with that rant but this is Michael Waters he can excel when it comes to slanderous accusations and making himself look foolish.

19)  Waters then attempted to address only two members of the executive board Geoff and Brendan in a deliberate attempt to cause a division within the board or perhaps in hope of sowing the seeds of doubt (didn’t work)

20)  Waters was made aware of the findings and his punishment almost a month after the event in a hand delivered letter by the League Controller who was accompanied by members of the executive board. Waters retired to the Errigle bar where he ranted about the League Controller and how he was going to smash him and the UCU into the ground and how he wouldn’t stop until Cunningham was finished in chess (err… um… I’m still here but thanks for trying for me anyway)

21)  From then on Waters emails which were already lower than the bottom of the Mariana trench took such a vertical dive they made a valiant attempt at reaching the earth’s central core. So I’ll refrain from mentioning what was in his ghastly list but as you can see… “He’s not the messiah he’s just a very nasty boy!”

22)  After the disciplinary investigation and subsequent banning Waters could have availed himself of an appeal to the union via an EGM just to discuss this one issue but didn’t. Why did any of his followers not find this strange? It’s not as if they didn’t know about it because I as the league controller told Magee Pilkiewicz and Wilson over and over again to get Waters to call and EGM… but it never happened. It never happened because Waters couldn’t get the twenty signatures required, surely at this point not so much an alarm as an air raid warning siren should have been going off in the heads of his supporters that they were compromising their own standing within Ulster Chess by being so inextricably linked with Waters.

Well that’s the timeline on the Waters incident at Stormont, it should be remembered that this is not the only time this man has been responsible for incidents of controversy at tournaments and league matches. However seeing as this was the first documented complaint being made by an outside source the executive board deemed it necessary to act in as fair and honest way as possible to act as a deterrent for all. Other incidents that went unpunished in the past included

1)      Waters had verbally abused the controller of the 2007 Ulster Championships and was warned of impending disqualification. The controller wrote a letter of complaint to the UCU executive board demanding a disciplinary action be taken against Waters.

2)      In a league match in 2012 that did not involve Waters or his team he walked up to a board during a match and told one of the players who was playing Steve Scannell to stop the clock and claim a draw.

3)      At the 2012 Ulster Championships he repeatedly abused the controller verbally for putting his game on a progression warning, he was threaten with disqualification but was not disqualified because he was leading the tournament

4)      At the 2013 Ulster Championships he repeatedly abused the controller verbally when he stepped in to stop a game that had reached the same position four times and was about to reach a fifth including the twenty king and rook moves in between each repeated position. Waters would have been disqualified only the controller had to leave for immediate family reasons.

As for the nonsense being gassed in anyone’s ear by members of Muldoon’s about the UCU rules being broken by the league controller I would just like to say this to nail this claptrap once and for all.

All teams supplied squad list of fixed players including Ballynafeigh 3 their squad list was intact and correct and nobody on it played for any other team within Ballynafeigh until after the league separation. Then some of them did but did so with the permission of the executive board as they entered a fourth team to balance out the league. They did the league a favour it was not the other way around, can this point be made any clearer… the executive board of the UCU gave Ballynafeigh 3 special dispensation after the league split to benefit the league. No league rules were broken at anytime! Well except for Muldoons who brought 5 people to vote for them who were no paid up members of the union and thus not entitled to vote at the A.G.M

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End of Season Hooray!

Well another very successful season came to a conclusion with its finale piece the Grandmaster simultaneous display held on Wednesday night at Inst. We still have our end of season night out to look forward to, hopefully this year Calum Leitch will buy more drink than he did last year ( it must be said it would be hard to buy less) and Chris Armstrong refrains from rapping to Eminem on the karaoke machine, it was hard on the ears last year.
The league controller tells us that he is delighted to get a break from the heavy chess workload for a few months, instead restricting himself to just the coaching for juniors on Tuesdays beginners classes on Mondays intermediate coaching on Wednesdays game analysis on Thursdays and tournaments at the weekends.
The controller says he will be delighted not to have to listen to the constant whining of certain members who unable to comprehend the meaning of the word no have taken to stalking poor Mark Newman. They’ve been bombarding him with phone calls complaining about the dismissive behaviour of the league controller!
When the Gossip desk asked the league controller if he would like to comment on accusations that he is dismissive, he just yawned turned his back and walked away.

It's not fair Mark the league controller is treating us like children

It’s not fair Mark do something the league controller is treating us like children

One complainant is a Ballynafeigh team-mate hmm?

One complainant  is a Ballynafeigh team-mate hmmm?

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Stormin Norman

Fisherwick lifted the Silver King for a fourth consecutive year on Monday night when their board five stalwart Norman McFarland showed steady concentration and good time management to slowly tightened the grip for a positional advantage in his game with Ballynafeigh 2 draftee Dennis Wilkinson. It was just rewards for a player who has not only been a fantastic servant to his club over the years but one of the real nice guys of local chess and it was fitting that he should be the man to secure the league title for Fisherwick.

Norman left gets the better of an old chum Dennis (or should that be older?)
Norman left gets the better of an old chum Dennis (or should that be older?)

Across the other side of the city Lindores the only team that were capable of unseating Fisherwick were laying into the very strong Muldoon’s team in an effort to take the title to the last week of the season. Things very much went the way of Lindores from the start and quickly they got themselves enough points to make the match unlosable, well that was until their board 1 Gabor Horvath failed to show up and all their good work was wiped out as a 5-0 lost was automatically registered. Hopefully the fledgling team from East Belfast will learn from the experience for next year, they will have to if they want to upend Fisherwick because it was an error that would not have been replicated by John Cairns the wily Fisherwick captain if the roles had been reversed. Johnny would have had every board nailed down weeks in advance, if Lindore’s and Muldoon’s want to defeat Fisherwick they are going to have to learn from them first.

The Lindore's board 1 seat
The Lindore’s board 1 seat

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Ciaran Quinn Victorious

Ciaran Quinn from the Elm mount chess club in Dublin journeyed up to Belfast for the Ulster Rapid-Play tournament and made his efforts all the sweeter when his excellent play ensured he was crowned the Ulster Rapid-Play Champion for 2014.
Winning all six encounters Ciaran stood in splendid isolation from the rest of the field, his only uncomfortable game was against the eventual runner up Niall Troughton when they somehow arrived at a position that was best described as being as mad as a bag of cats.

Ciaran Quinn on board 1 battles with black against Calum Leitch as Karina Kruk glares daggers at Mark Newman
Ciaran Quinn front right on board 1 battles with black against Calum Leitch as Karina Kruk rear right glares daggers at Mark Newman on board 2

Last years champion Calum Leitch held on for third place ahead of the posse of Thomas Donaldson, Mark Newman and Robert Lavery. Ballymena schoolboy Eoin McCorkindale was rewarded for his strong showing when he narrowly won the GM simul ticket ahead of Belfast’s Chris Armstrong and Brian Nugent who had traveled in from county Cavan for the one day event.

Brian Nugent from Cavan chasing the grading prize against Adrian Dornford-Smith

Brian Nugent from Cavan chasing the grading prize against Adrian Dornford-Smith

Richard Gould with black going down to a RobertLavery attack in round four

Richard Gould with black going down to a Robert Lavery attack in round four

The controller on the day needed an arm like Popeye and a tin of spinach to clean up the recently found trophy before presentation. Such was the grime coating and tarnished discolour it more resembled a disused milk-churn than the Arthur Cootes trophy, but two tins of silvo and twenty minutes with an angle grinder later it’s glorious luster glowed again for Ulster chess and for the hands of Ciaran Quinn of the Elm Mount chess club.

The Arthur Cootes the way it was meant to look

The Arthur Cootes the way it was meant to look

Front Tony Redden with white against Eoin McCorkindale whilst rear Patrick Magee with white tackles Richard Morrow

Front Tony Redden with white against Eoin McCorkindale whilst rear Patrick Magee with white tackles Richard Morrow

Colin Fenton with white against Chris Armstrong

Colin Fenton with white against Chris Armstrong

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Shrinking violets of Lindores

Lindores chess club failed to bloom in their match against Ballynafeigh 1 on Tuesday evening; indeed it was only sheer good fortune that the roses from the eastside weren’t heavily pruned.  Ballynafeigh’s intended team selection was David Houston, Damien Lavery, Thomas Donaldson, Chris Black and Bill Lavery but with only twenty minutes before the intended start time Ballynafeigh lost Black to a work crisis and then ten minutes later their captain Damien Lavery phoned to say that he had just donated a substantial portion of his brand new floating clutch assembly to the tarmacadam expanse of Aghagallon, a place so remote it make the arse-hole of nowhere look like a metropolis!

This left the Ballynafeigh side in need of extra bodies in a hurry to fill the empty seats; thankfully the match was at the Ballynafeigh club who can supply enough bodies to rival the city morgue, though there is the odd cynic that would suggest that the city morgue bodies may actually have a better chance of getting a result against a Lindores team than some of the Ballynafeigh ones.  A quick press-ganging of Dennis Wilkinson Mark Hewitt and Buffalo-Bill Lavery filled the empty seats and the one sided challenge began.  The pressure of challenging for the league title with Fisherwick was telling on the Lindores team as they looked to have fallen behind on 3 boards all square in the McNaughton v Lavery match and up in the Leitch v Donaldson game.  Even when McNaughton claimed the first victory it did not seem to ease their jitters, Wilkinson might have been down 500 rating points against MacDonald but he was still up two pawns on the board.  Houston stood the better against Horvath slightly on the board and hugely on the clock; Horvath draw offer was politely refused by Houston who was now sniffing blood.

Houston v Horvath
Houston v Horvath

Things turned worse for Lindores when Leitch who was three pawns and 300 rating points up on his opponent faced a sac by Donaldson which drove his king so far up the board it nearly collided with parts from Damien Lavery’s clutch assembly at Aghagallon, the coup de grace followed soon after and the match sat at 1-1. Mark Hewitt also 300 rating points behind held for a draw with Ian Kilpatrick of Lindores, Dennis Wilkinson a massive 500 rating points behind managed to hold a well deserved draw against MacDonald and the match score stood at 2-2 unfortunately the board one clash between Houston and Horvath gradually swung towards the Lindores man with some fine play under time pressure and a victory most fortunate was achieved for the league leaders.

Kilpatrick and Leitch went to celebrate their narrow escape and boozed away into the small hours talking tactics and crap in ever increasingly unequal measures as the alcohol flowed. Not satisfied with their lucky escape earlier the hapless duo decided to test fate once more, they were hell bent on testing the combination of smart-phones and stupid people. Whilst four sheets to the wind they used their smart-phones to book plane tickets hotels and taxi transfers to Amsterdam for the weekend because Leitch ranted and raved so much while under the influence about the atmosphere inside the Ajax stadium that Kilpatrick also heavily under the influence decided… nay demanded that they should go to the match this weekend and witness it first hand. They rushed home to grab overnight bags and a change of clothes to catch the 6.00am flight. Kilpatrick insisted that they stop at an all night chemist to get supplies in case they meet anyone they fancy, Leitch assured him it wasn’t necessary as he had two unopened bottles of mouth wash in the house. Just as the taxi taking them to the airport arrived a dawning moment arrived twice as fast, Leitch suddenly realised that he didn’t have a passport! So Leitch wasted his money on a trip he could never make and Kilpatrick wasted his money on an atmosphere he’ll never sense as the Ajax match against Vitesse Arnhem was an away fixture this week which just goes to show that you don’t have to be in Amsterdam to be a complete tulip.

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Redman wins then goes into hiding

Ballynafeigh’s Mike Redman won the NICS lackadaisical event played at the Stormont Pavilion on Sunday afternoon 23rd March. The quick-play event was unsurprisingly controversy free and the UCU supplied doorstaff on the day were not required, though perhaps they should have been retained for the protection of the tournament winner who was harangued all day long by delegations from Lindores and Muldoon’s. Both outfits were vying for the services of the current Ulster Champion next year once the news broke that he was having contractual problems at Ballynafeigh and that the free tea and biscuits clause did not extend to double chocolate McVities.
The courting of Redman was so intense the Ballynafeigh board 1 refused to leave the room without an escort, “it was insane everytime I went to the bathroom either Calum or Peter followed me in, several times it was both, so I started using the cubicle and would you believe it there were three of us in there! When we came out a few of the big rugby guys were there, they gave us a long stare; you could just tell they were dead jealous of us chess players. There’s no way they would be able to squeeze three big ruggers into one of them wee cubicles.” Redman said.
The Ballynafeigh committee sat on Sunday evening once reports of the dubious talent scouting expeditions came through and to ensure their brightest talents are kept for next year erected a warning sign outside.

The new sign outside Ballynafeigh
The new sign outside Ballynafeigh, though apparently there will be no punishment for the poaching of Scannell

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Ballynafeigh 2 Enlists the Vikings

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Ballynafeigh 2 has been loading up on the Danish this week in an attempt to make themselves heavier as a team. There will be a huge sigh of relief in some quarters that it is Ballynafeigh 2 getting heavier and not Ballynafeigh 1 who are big unit .. nay they are a really big unit…in fact huge! Houston and Lavery alone could make an unbeatable tug-o-war team, but once you add Chris Black to the equation, then they would have enough mass to exert a gravitational pull, if they went swimming together Archimedes principle suggests you could probably kiss goodbye to the Maldives.

Danish pastry is quite fattening but even if consumed by the box and washed down with liquid sugar for decades it wouldn’t make Ballynafeigh 2 heavy in the way it wants. It’s more rating points they seek and not more kilos, it’s not Danish pastry but Danish players they are gathering. This week Ballynafeigh 2 enlisted the services of Soren Jensen for board 2 and lined up another from next month onwards who will have to play on board 1 pushing Mike Redman to board 2 where he will remain until April when he will have to move to board THREE!

It's Danish and it will make you heavy but it isn't the weight Ballynafeigh was looking!

It’s Danish and it will make you heavy but it isn’t the weight Ballynafeigh was looking!

Robert Lavery insisted that if we’re grabbing all the good things from Demark that we get Adriana Cernanova for board 5.

 “Is he any good Robert?” he was asked

 “It’s not a he it’s a she and she is marvelous, absolutely bloody marvelous”

“What’s her rating then?

“Ten out of ten”

“She’s won her last ten games?”

“Oh I don’t know if she plays chess or not, she plays draughts and that’s a checkered board so she should be good enough for board 5, sure we played Mark Hewitt so I don’t see why Adriana can’t play”

Possibly a new board 5 for Ballynafeigh 2 and an example of why Robert Lavery was drafted into the ratings committee!
Possibly a new board 5 for Ballynafeigh 2 and an example of why Robert Lavery was drafted into the ratings committee!

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Hello ECForum readers

If you’re tuning in from the ECF forum guys we at Ballynafeigh would just like to say hello to you all. You have arrived here because the laughing stock of Irish chess better known as Colm Daly has been spewing out his usual diatribes against Irish chess using your forum as a vehicle for his vendetta.

This perpetual mud-slinging, money grabbing, viperous buffoon leaves a cancer trail in his wake and I would advise you to have nothing to do with him or his ideas. His mischievous and distasteful actions are legendary in Irish chess were they are held as an example as how not to behave if you wish to be treated as an adult.

Daly reveled in his role as cheer leader and chief snowball maker for an attempted coup within Irish chess with his inaccurate and misleading postings on the lead up to the disgraceful event. His views and interpretations were roundly defeated by the membership present and as the meeting spiraled towards vicious ugliness Mr Daly was observed by many roaring with laughter!

Where was the concern for the governance of Irish chess and its management that day? What part of anarchy, mayhem, physical threats and foul language did Colm Daly find so amusing to make him rock back on his chair with such jolly glee?  On his blog Irishchesscogitations and every other blog that allows him Daly has become the Lord of mischief stirring ill feelings at every opportunity oblivious to the damage he causes. Have nothing to do with him or his ilk and best to remove him from your forum altogether the guy is a hand grenade with the pin removed.

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Belfast to Bunratty 2014

The Northern compliment of the 2014 Bunratty chess festival headed off at staggered intervals from the Belfast suburbs and the odd Crawfordsburn slum early on the Friday morning. There had been talk of forming a traveling convoy in case of mechanical difficulties or attacks from the riff-raff of Hillsborough as we passed, however the convoy idea was scrubbed when it was pointed out that to keep the convoy intact everyone would have to drive the same as the poorest driver. Now you can call it ageist if you like or even sexist if you have a mind but with Damien Lavery in the convoy nobody wanted to be seen driving like an old woman!

Most of the vehicles had cleared Belfast for 10:30 am, except for Lavery who had all his passengers ready from the crack of dawn but didn’t pick them up until lunchtime and Paul McLoughlin who was having an aerodynamic rear spoiler fitted in the hope of breaking Cunningham’s record of 3 ¾  hours for the 250 mile journey last year. He had two things in his favour, he had no passengers thus making his car lighter, and also the fact that he is a complete and utter maniac behind the wheel! His ‘Stig’ like white knuckle rides are the envy of Alton-Towers, so it was no real surprise he couldn’t find any volunteers among the genteel membership of the UCU to go as dare-devil co-pilots.

Paul McLoughlin in his working clothes

Paul McLoughlin in his working clothes

Paddy Magee brandishing more excuses than an investment banker was going …then he wasn’t … then maybe he was…ah but he couldn’t after all… but there was still an outside chance if we could get some people to take the 9:00am bus to the back-end of Downpatrick and then sit on a park bench feeding pigeons for six hours until 3:00pm when Paddy could pick them up after early milking. Then they could pile into his three seater take a short-cut across the flooded midlands of Ireland and get to Bunratty for sometime before midnight! Poor chap was rather stunned that he had no takers for his proposal, obviously not only had he the excuses of an investment banker, but he had the neck of one too! As the lead vehicles passed through Monaghan the crazed Downpatrick farmhand was texting Cunningham demanding to know when the last car was leaving Belfast and where it could pick him up, completely oblivious to the fact that all the cars were packed out weeks ago and all with the exception of McLoughlin ‘The Stig’ impersonator had left Belfast hours previously! Indeed Norman Rainey had left the day before with his companion Meg just in case we did end up forming a convoy for the journey and slowed his assault on the hotel bar. When asked why he replied “Look I’m 75 years of age and I like to do my own thing at my own pace, slowing down every couple of miles so that Damien Lavery can catch up wouldn’t be my cup of tea so I’ll head down the day before and check out the King sized beds with Meg… which reminds me I must get new leathers and chains… I may be 75 but there’s life in this aul’ dog yet!” he grinned. Now your author has a mind as broad as ‘the chip’ on Michael Waters shoulder but the vision of a 75 year old Norman Rainey in a S&M-mask and bondage chains is one of those journeys your mind should never have to make without the requirement of a psychologists visa or the aid of a hallucinogenic substance.

The recent heavy flooding left many roads on the route equipped with a new Olympic sized swimming pool, or else closed completely. Eventually after zig-zagging halfway across Connaught we ended up doubling back at Loughrea looking for a road to Gort that wasn’t a lake in disguise, so we stopped a local and asked for directions.

 “Ah Gort no problem no problem at all” she said before adding

“Do you see that road right in front of ya?”

“I do indeed”

“Well that’s the road you want”

I smiled, “thank you very much” I said

“Ach not at all don’t be thanking me because you can’t take that road”

“I can’t”

“No”

“But you said that’s the road I want”

“Oh it is, but you cant take it”

“Why not?

“It’s flooded”  

“It’s flooded?”

“Aye with water”

“ya see that other road to your right?”

“Yes”

“Well that goes towards Gort too but it’s not as good as the flooded road”

“So long as it gets us to Gort it’ll be great thanks”

“Oh it wont get you to Gort”

“It won’t?”

“Not at all it doesn’t go to Gort”

“But you said it goes towards Gort”

“Aye towards Gort but then it stops cos the aul tiger died ya know and they stopped building stuff”

“But I’ll tell ya what, do you see that road on your left?”

“Yes”

“Now that’s a grand road, it really is”

“Brilliant and that will bring us there”

“Bring you where?”

“Gort”

“Oh no.. that road doesn’t go to Gort that road goes to Athenry…,  I was just letting ya know it’s a grand road if you ever have to take it.”

It was obvious the flooding had washed away the front gates of the local institution and we decided to detour in the hope of starting off from a different point from where we were, or at least to put as much distance between us and the Loughrea banjo player that a galleon of diesel would allow.

We had the water, we had the Banjo player, but we really needed a canoe

We had the water, we had the Banjo player, but we really needed a canoe to get to Gort

Many miles of arm wrestling with the steering wheel followed before we eventually arrived at the Bunratty car-park which thankfully with all the flooding hadn’t doubled as a marina, we found ourselves a berth and dropped anchor to wait on the rest of the flotilla arriving to sort out the accommodation. While waiting on the last of the puddle splashers from Belfast or as they preferred to be called yachtsmen, we decided to inspect the playing venues before they were used and abused. They were stunningly presented and were a credit to Team-Bunratty, the entire group of underpaid volunteers that work tirelessly year on year, to keep Bunratty the success story that it is and its position as the best chess tournament in Ireland by a Galway mile unchallenged.

venue 1

venue 2

venue 4

venue 5

venue 6

The picturesque appearance of the venue brought out the Robert Capa in Bobby Campbell and armed with his new super zoom digital Nikkon he set about the place like a man possessed. Any two dimensional object within range was snapped, the three dimensional ones were snapped twice. The unfortunate Matthew Chapman must be multi-dimensional because Bobby was on him like a Paparazzi icon from every conceivable angle.  How’s it going Matthew? He was asked. “How’s it going?” I’ll tell you how it’s going, Bobby and that bloody camera of his are closer to my face than my pint is! I can see why some of those celebrities lash out at some of those photographers now. If he snaps me once more I swear I’m gonna do a bit of snapping myself” “Okay Matthew” I said I can see why you don’t want photographic records, your dad reads the Ballynafeigh blog and you’re not old enough to drink?” before adding “and mines a double brandy if you want me to forget what I’ve seen”  before excusing myself with “I’ll just head over to the cottages to see if the guys got sorted.” The mere fact that this is being read is testament of two things, 1 I didn’t drink brandy that weekend and 2 Matthew Chapman is hard to blackmail.  Heading outside and down towards the castle I came across a trail of AA batteries like spent cartridges in a spaghetti western it really wasn’t much of a surprise to find at the end of the trail the Bunratty version of ‘Robert Cappa’ clicking at anything that moved.. and everything that didn’t, I swerved left to avoid him and his super-zoom and headed on to the Cottages that we were renting for the weekend.

He took that many photos Bobby Campbell got a new job with Google images

He took that many photos Bobby Campbell got a new job….. with Google images

When I got to the cottages the sprightly Norman was already there and had allocated himself the best room with king-sized bed and en-suite with optional Jacuzzi. “Not being funny Norman but are the stairs not a bit of bother for you and Meg?” I asked.  “Not at all” he snapped back I’m only seventy five I’m not ninety five and Meg sure she’s a Dane!” Hey no sweat Norman it’s you call man, I was just mentioned it in passing” I said “besides I didn’t know the sons and daughters of Denmark were so athletic, so knock yourself out” As we moved out onto the landing beside the emergency defibrillator I looked at it and thought Norman is a bit of a shrewdie alright he has all the eventualities covered here, just at that Meg arrived and bounded the stairs, she was a Dane alright there was no mistaking that, a blue coated monster pawed Great Dane. “Christ Norman look at the size of that brute!” I gasped “Sure I know” he replied “that’s why I had to get a new choker chains and a leather muzzle” he added. “Oh is that what you wanted them for?” I uttered, “well what else would I do with them, what else can you do with chains and leathers straps eh? Honestly Damien we all know you’re not the sharpest tool in the box but occasionally you can actually outdo yourself and make Richard Morrow look like member of Mensa” “well seeing as you’ve already taken his name in vain does Richard or Ian know you have that big ugly dog with you?” I responded. Norman was taken aback “Ugly! Ugly! Are you blind? I’ll have you know in the dog world Meg is quite HOT! “Yeah but in the real world Norman it’s an ugly brute that would never be hot outside of the Sahara desert” I quipped, “just look at it, the head is as big as a cows, it looks like Chris Black with paws! It’s a good job this cottage comes equipped with a defibrillator because when your house mates see that donkey there’ll probably be a need for one?” I decided to escape back to the hotel determined to avoid all controversy and confrontation I wasn’t hanging around to see if Richard and Ian were horse-lovers or not.

In the main lobby I was greeted by the wide eyes of Gearoidin Ui Laighleis staring straight at me she said “Daniel how are you?” I looked behind me to see who this Daniel was she was talking to, no one there I looked back to Gearoidin. “Oh dear it’s not Daniel is it” she said, ever so almost embarrassed “Derek it’s Derek god I’m so bad with names” she said “Yes Derek thinks so too” I replied before asking “would  you like to be third time lucky?” She stared at me intently, I could almost see the dust getting ground between the cogs as her mind attempted to click forward .. or back! “Oh frig me your names not Derek is it, now don’t tell me it’ll come to me in a second  …err.. um.. just wait a wee minute I’m really good with names once I’ve got them wrong… Ah I got it now.. DOMINIC…” she yelled over the foyer in great excitement “Err… nope not quite” I said before adding “Now would you like to go for the Brucie Bonus or just quit while you’re behind” She stared at me blankly as only Gearoidin can and I moved off to the adjacent hall to see who I got in the first round. The three hundred competitors that weren’t indulging themselves with a traveling bye sought out their opponent and seating arrangements those that had either hadn’t arrived or sought out the bar. Half an hour after the start time I bumped into another Ballynafeigh man Damien Lavery who like myself received a forfeit in the first round so we adjourned to the bar to systematically and enjoyably rip the back out of our favourite target, our team-mates and friends, though if anyone is talking to Chris Black I would just like to point out that I just listened, Lavery did all the ripping. Half way through our team wrecking exercise I got a tap on my shoulder I turned around hesitatingly in case it was one of our victims who may have overheard us to be greeted by an excited Gearoidin “David…  I knew it would come back to me” she said “Err … no it didn’t” the short reply, “Agh Damn” she muttered and walked away. Paul Anderson and Adrian Dornford-Smith joined us both having secured victories followed by Calum Leitch Matthew Chapman and Ashley McWhinney it was looking like an excellent start for the yachtsmen from Belfast. Lavery and I had to cease the conversation we wanted to have and instead pretend we were interested in Calum Leitch’s game as he analysed it to death for the umpteenth time trying to pass off a rook blunder as a sac. The tedious boredom was only slightly fractured by another failed guessing session by Gearoidin “Would it be Darren?” She was answered only with a shaking head “is it Darragh?” another shake, the guesses of Diarmuid and Declan were met with rolling eyes, stumped she wandered off in search of divine inspiration or a clue from the swollen ranks at the bar. Armed with fresh information she came back in a state of excitement.,

 “I KNOW WHO YOU ARE NOW!” she declared.

“you do?”

“You’re him aren’t you?”

 “Well that would depend on who him is”

 “You’re the crazy guy with the blog that everybody hates” 

“I wasn’t aware it was so universal, but probably”

“You’re…. Colm Daly”

The Saturday trio of games came and went and couldn’t have gone quickly enough for you author who failed to close out two favourable positions against 1800 opponents in two of the games and was soundly beaten in the third meaning the tournament was only of entertainment value from that point onward. Adrian Dornford Smith and Calum Leitch were doing very nicely in their sections, Adrian sat on 3 from 4 and Calum 3 ½ from 4 an early night was on the cards for both as they contemplated board 1 games the next morning, but that would be very un-belfast like and instead the bar received its frontal assaults until the break of dawn. There was a party running out of a certain room on the 2nd floor were wine and vodka were splashed in equal dosages and Norman Rainey became the wine critic for the evening ridiculing everything presented to him with scornful comments which is a bit rich for a man who regards melted boot-polish as of vintage standing.

There were three in the bed and the little one said where's Lola

There were three in the bed and the little one said… where’s Lola, not a lot of opening book theory was being studied on the Saturday night in the Belfast party room

As Norman sloshed back the free wine and Vodka he was quite vociferous in explaining if your not paying £25 a bottle you’re only drinking bleach, when pushed for the name of a quality wine or drink he could only come up with “Mundies and Strongbow” but promised to treat everyone the following night to a really nice wine that he had brought with him but was back at his cottage. The party headed down stairs to heckle the awful group that was starting to play in the lounge, the group was okay-ish but the lead singer was fairly awful and fairly ugly, added to the fact that he held an uncanny resemblance to one of the ugliest controllers ever to have darkened Bunratty and all the reasons for heckling were there.

Gerry Graham proving not all FIDE arbiter are on the fiddle, he's on a guitar

Gerry Graham proving not all FIDE arbiter are on the fiddle, he’s on a guitar

Calum Leitch was bragging to anyone still awake how he was going to demolish Stephen Short in the morning and move into poll position in the challengers blah blah blah we couldn’t believe how quickly the snoring started after Leitch joined the different companies the only respite coming when he got waylaid by a local Lola with impressive biceps. The next morning there was no sign of Calum anywhere in the hotel or the village for that matter and his clock was running faster than his mouth, we phoned texted and emailed him warning that the default time was rapidly approaching, but all to no avail. Leitch was defaulted and marked for a loss and was in danger of being withdrawn from the tournament if we couldn’t locate him before the start of the last round, a search party was formed and set off to find him. The search party arrived at the scene of his last sighting but he was nowhere to be see, so the search party was there and they didn’t want their trip wasted so the stacked all the furniture in the house into the Kitchen, sofas, tables, chairs, pillows, cushions, bins, coffee tables, mattress, electric shower, TV, mirrors and the dog kennel from next door. Feeling rather satisfied with their handiwork they headed back to the hotel for lunch seemingly unmoved by Leitch’s continued absence.

Norman getting Zugzwanged

Norman getting Zugzwanged

Richard Morrow who won the most embarrassing question of the week competition when he asked a GM their rating

Richard Morrow who won the most embarrassing question of the week competition when he actually asked a GM their rating

Stephen Rush at his first competition in Ireland

Stephen Rush at his first competition in Ireland

By the last round only Adrian Dornford Smith and his chess themed dickey bow was in the running for a result of any standing or a chance of a prize, the rest of the northern contingent fell by the wayside distracted by either not so cheap drink or not so feminine women. We gathered in the lounge after the tournament and decided to enter the Blitz for the craic, after all we couldn’t embarrass ourselves any further.  Paul ‘the Stig’ McLoughlin arrived through the door in time to enter and was all ecstatic having made the journey in an insane 3 hours 30 minutes. He was gob smacked to find that Paul Anderson did it in 3 hours flat, “cobblers no way, three hours dead, no chance, just can’t be done!” he ranted before asking more questions. “Is this a trick did he come by plane or helicopter?” when told that he came by road ‘the Stig’ refused to believe it, “Paul Anderson.. the wheelchair Paul Anderson, nah that’s baloney” He was still shaking his head in disbelief as we headed into the blitz.

The Blitz final Hebdon v Lalic  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os-MqY5k9W8 being closely observed by Belfast’s best performer Adrian Dornford Smith.

The Blitz semi Jones the invincible getting his ass handed to him by Lalic  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mtN8N0o6Gs

We thought we couldn’t embarrass ourselves any further boy were we wrong! First Damien  Lavery gets beat by a little girl, he tried to argue that she was WGM  L’Ami  Alina but he was reminded that the fact remained… she was little and she was a girl. But Richard Morrow was out to over shadow that, he asked his opponent what rating he was before the game started, taken aback his opponent looked around before replying I am GM Bogdan Lalic.. Richard’s head went down almost as quickly as his opening, but not quite, and our collective shame was complete.

Paul Anderson the new record holder at 3 hours

Paul Anderson the new record holder at 3 hours

The next morning we piled into our cars to head out of Bunratty with out tail between our legs for the second year running, we had to wait at the cottages for the guys to get their deposits back. The letting agent arrived and instead of giving the deposit back asked for another 100 euro for gas and 25 euro for electric, Norman had been running the gas at full whack 24 hours a day and the electric fire through the night for the dogs comfort without telling the others, Norman was right this dog was ‘Hot’ after all, so we left Bunratty some speechless, more hapless, others penniless but none friendless, well except Paul McLoughlin who was determined to break 3 hours on the way home..

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S.O.S

Once the proud owner of most of the Ulster Chess Unions trophies including the Ulster senior’s title eight times Steve Scannell today resembles a creature on the verge of being hunted to extinction! His aura of invincibility remembered only by the nostalgic among the rank and file of the UCU as he rapidly achieves fame as a soft-touch for any chess middleweight and a punching bag for any of the heavyweights.

Steve Scannell was the only Ulster player to have his own manager and publicist before the Ballynafeigh 1 man’s long slow demise from the local chess elite. Indeed even his ever faithful manager and sycophant extraordinaire Paul McLoughlin has deserted him now as he courts a suitable replacement, seeking out the strongest player in Ulster chess at the moment Gabor Horvath of Lindores.

Scannell has fallen foul to the twin blades of chess castration, parenthood and that unstoppable ingredient that comes to anyone patient enough to wait for it… Old age! Now with graying eyebrows and more crow’s feet than a rookery he walks around with a virtual neon target sign on his back for all the intermediates desperate for some easy rating points. With results slightly worse than Fulham, Scannell sits anything but easy at the board, and looks as comfortable as a Rhino in room full of Chinese herbalists.

If he is ever again to resemble the beast with the razor sharp play of yester year then we will have to raise the funds to send him to one of Gabors coaching nights at Lindores at three quid a head, so if you have any spare change or an old “Banksy “ lying around you can donate to our SOS fund Save Old Steve.

Old Steve as rusty as the Humber bridge

Old Steve, as rusty as the Humber bridge, please give generously.

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Change the record!

He’s at it again! Not content with having a really good team leading the league table and holding an outstanding chance of winning the title, Mad Mickey Waters prefers to pursue a course of argumentative nonsense laced with brazenly fabricated evidence and served up in his traditionally used bowl of selective memory.

I could go about dissecting his latest drivel for a bit of fun but it’s just too easy to do, even for someone sporting a Michael Waters allocated IQ of 80, so I’ll probably just ignore this sitting duck posted by the lame-duck of Fisherwick for fear of being accused of participating in blood sports. Is it a barbed response he is seeking out of malice? Or is there another explanation, perhaps he has a romantic fixation with the league controller and this is the only way he can think of either expressing his interest or taking  the first steps from the closet. If it is the latter we at Ballynafeigh would like to proclaim our public support for him and salute his courage, if it is the former we at Ballynafeigh would just like to say change the record it’s boring.

This is not photo-shopped this is a real image

This is not photo-shopped this is a real image

The new Fisherwick venue is a bit cramped.

The new Fisherwick venue is a bit cramped.

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Ballynafeigh 3 off bottom

I know that headline looks like a menu from one of those special service cards pinned to a public phone booth in certain parts of London, but it is factually accurate! Ballynafeigh 3 are at the moment third from bottom, which is quite something considering that they would need to heavily defeat both Fisherwick and Lindores! The likelihood of that scenario being even less than a gay pole-dancing infidel being elected Mayor of Fallujah, so the Ballynafeigh rumor mill was spot on with it’s tittle-tattle about not one but two new teams.

The second phase of the league will see a second team from Belfast South  and another team from Muldoon’s  enter the second division. So whilst they have less points than a Norwegian euro-vision entry Ballynafeigh 3 get promoted forward for a week or two. But wait the league controller is a hairsbreadth away from the manufacture if not conjuring of yet another team to balance out the divisions, will this alter the divisional split? Well the controller is keeping his cards close to his chest, especially the ones he lifted from the London phone booths.

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New Year Resolutions

1)   Learn Dutch twice… not in case I forget it first time or so I can speak to the two Dutch Belfast south imports at the same time… no it’s so I can understand the rating system because its definitely double Dutch to me.

2)   Be nicer to Muldoon because apparently they sulk because they think I’m too harsh on them …

3)  Appreciate the simple things in life … Hello Muldoon’s how are you? Oops there goes resolution two already

4)   Look at the sky more just to appreciate it, not just when Nicholas Pilkiewicz is complaining about something…. Damn that’s two busted again.

5)  To stop taking the proverbial out of chess players on this site …. Nah that one’s not gonna fly is it

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Santa the New Blitz Champion

The 2013 Ulster Blitz Champion was decided by an extra blitz-off between Gabor Horvath of Lindores and Michael Waters representing Fisherwick after they tied for first place in a tournament of 21 rounds. Calum Leitch set the early running as he took the scalps of Horvath, Masterson, Annesley, Pilkiewicz, and Kruk before running into the brick-wall of the ultra-quickplay specialist Damien Lavery, though weighing in at 26 and a half stone its more like running into a brick shithouse! Which for Leitch must have felt rather ironic as his dreams of repeating his 2011 victory went down the toilet and were washed away completely by the fast moving Waters in the following round. Though Leitch should have been taken down a notch in his match with Pilkiewicz earlier when he touched his knight but realising it would have dropped a rook, knight and pawn in exchange for a solitary knight released the knight and moved a pawn instead. When asked afterwards why he didn’t claim the touch move rule Pilkiewicz said “I thought that was the job of the controller” to which the controller retorted “yes perhaps I should have taken your seat and played him myself” Leitch tried to defend his actions by implying that he “merely brushed his horse on f6″ however the witnesses present will testify that any time horses get moved like that they normally have AP McCoy on their backs carrying 12 stone on a wet afternoon at Uttoxeter!

McCoy thought he was booked for Cheltenham, he was really surprised to be on f6 instead
McCoy thought he was booked for Cheltenham, he was really surprised to be on f6 instead

Horvath and Waters traded win for win until they were pitched against each other in round 9 sharing the spoils in an opposite bishop endgame. That draw allowed the chasing pack of the local heavy hitters led by Damien Lavery to close to within a point of the leaders. One by one the likes of Annesley Masterson, Woodfield, Newman, Bradley Kruk Donaldson and Pilkiewicz dropped away leaving only Lavery and Leitch to chase the top seeds. Chasing is one thing, catching the two inform board 1 league players is something completely different, Waters and Horvath continued their ruthless dispatching of the opposition until the very end. They were then pitched against each other again for the title; a complex middle game ensued with both queens left hanging with threat and counter threat. In the end it was the clever placement of the pieces by Waters which reaped the rewards for the Fisherwick man and he closed out the game with clinical efficiency to safeguard the laurels of the champion.

a section of competitors from the blitz

a section of competitors from the blitz

After the presentation was over the new champion in a moment of generosity donned his Santa outfit and donated the price of a GM spring simul ticket from his winnings to a grateful Mark Newman as a prize for Ulster youth chess.

The new Fisherwick team shirt
The new Fisherwick team shirt

After a raft of illegal moves nearing flagfall in last years competition the controller introduced an automatic loss for any illegal moves under 30 sec’s for this years event. In yesterdays event with more than 200 games there wasn’t a single illegal move. The eventual champion Waters noticed this when he remarked that”Lavery must be finding it difficult this year with the new rule” when the comment was repeated to Lavery he quipped “well it wasn’t hard finding 3rd place, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be difficult finding Waters a hanky if he needs one, and by the way that’s a stupid rule change I’ve always viewed swindling that bollix as my Christmas treat, now you’ve went and ruined it”

Jason Harris traveled up from Cork for the tournament a distance of some 260 miles which is taking chess commitment to the max. When asked were there no blitz tournaments near Cork he replied “Oh yes lots, but I really wanted to see two things, one my name on the Ballynafeigh blog pages and two Michael Waters face when Damien Lavery swindle’s him, but some eejit went and changed the rules, it’s not right, they’ve taken a chunk of fun out of Christmas with that! I guess I’ll have to go and seek out the Ballynafeigh blog master and slip him a few quid now to libel me, I’m not going back to Cork empty handed”

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The Madness of King Michael

Normally when less fortunate souls participate in random diatribes that either demonstrate their lack of understanding or highlight their infinite ignorance, treading a different path other than response is the more preferable option to take. However when the individual in question continues to copiously peddle misinformation innuendo and blatant lies that can only sow disharmony and ultimately fervor resentment then I believe they must be challenged, irrespective whether or not the individual has become deluded through conceit. These ramblings should be challenged with the three components that they so obviously lack, truth accuracy and evidence. I’m not sure if Michael Waters is undergoing professional treatment from a psychiatrist due to an affliction with pseudologia fantastica but it would certainly go a long way to explaining his deliberate inaccuracies, unfathomable utterances and smearing statements in the last few weeks.

Nov 24th King Michael

“Its long over due but the Silver King is best decided by match points, followed by a choice of tie-breakers”

No it isn’t long overdue and furthermore it is not the best way to decide the winner of matches in the Ulster Chess League. While the simplified scoring may work in a Super-GM laden league like the Schachbundesliga or the up-market Moscow coffee house leagues, this is due the mere fact that the difference between the opposing teams would only be a handful of points over the 8 boards. Compare that to Ballynafeigh 3 or Civil Service playing the top teams who with only 5 boards they are between 3,500 and 6,000 ratings points in deficit! Teams could win the league with only 3 players if they were strong enough, exactly how could that scenario aid the development of Ulster Chess?

Nov 24th King Michael

“Why didn’t Uncle Joe (league controller) tell the most inexperienced team about this rule?”

Because their captain has been playing for five years and knew the rule well, as does every member of any Ballynafeigh team I might add. Therefore it wasn’t necessary for the league controller to hold their hand, they didn’t make an error through not knowing the rules, it was made through not calculating their ratings correctly! Perhaps if you had insisted that the league controller issue calculators to team captains your accusation of blasé negligence may not have looked so ridiculous.

Nov 24th King Michael

The league controller never quite finished writing the league rules for 2013-14”

The league controller does not write the league rules, the executive board does! The league controller only implements those rules and ensures adherence to them by competing teams. When you’re trying to make a point irrespective of its accuracy it’s best not to go advertising just how unaware you are of the duties of the league controller.

Nov 27th King Michael

 “The league is of course being brought into either disrepair or disrepute. Two games have now been postponed without any explanation being offered to the other teams in the league”

Any team can cancel a fixture so long as adequate notice is offered to the opposing team involved in the particular fixture, no explanation or notification is required for the rest of the league teams, it’s simply none of their concern! The league controller only becomes involved when lack of notification or fixture congestion becomes a problem..

Nov 27th King Michael

“There was no clarity in the old rules about when a game could and could not be postponed”

Just simply a preposterous suggestion, did everyone just wing it for decades without anyone noticing? I must ask Dave Houston how he got away with it.

Nov 27th King Michael

“The lack of free weeks during the season doesn’t help”

There are 4 free weeks in the first half alone, how many do you need for goodness sake The 16th – 20th Dec is a free week the 23rd – 27th Dec is a free week 20th – 24th Jan is a free week and the 27th – 31st Jan is a free week

Right to the max

Right to the max

Nov 27th King Michael

“The newest team Ballynafeigh3 has fallen foul of an invisible rule in an invisible rule book”

If it was an invisible rule in an invisible rule book just how were they caught out? Who would have noticed if it was invisible? Unless it wasn’t such an invisible rule in the first place! Rather a bizarre statement even by King Michaels noticeably diminished standards and for the record Lindores is the newest team Not Ballynafeigh3.

 Nov 27th King Michael

“The league controller should have sent every team the rules for the tournament”

Why? The rules haven’t changed and there are no teams in the league that do not have a captain who has played in Ulster Chess for at least 5 years and is fully aware of UCU league rules, why should the league controller remind them every year? Is King Michael trying to say they are stupid and won’t remember? How did they get through all the other years without being supplied with the same rule book over and over again However the Ulster Chess Union does publish an up to date rule book on the official website of the UCU for anyone who forgets, that’s what it there for! Really it’s like herding cats trying to educate some people.

http://www.ulsterchess.org/competitions/rules/belfast-and-district/b-d-league-2011/league-rules

Dec 12th King Michael

 “The idea that the team Captain of Ballynafeigh should decide the divisional split is laughable. It should be decided by the club secretaries”

The team captain of Ballynafeigh doesn’t decide the divisional split, the league controller uses his experience and intelligence to decide the best way to separate the league competitors to ensure the integrity of the Silver King Championship and as level a playing field as possible for all the teams in the competition. Once the league controller makes his decision he brings them as a recommendation to an executive board meeting for discussion and ratification which not only guarantees multiple input into the process but confirms impartiality for those of a doubting nature! What part of this process is King Michael failing to grasp?

Why should it be left to the club secretaries? Are they there throughout the season making themselves available for the smoother running of UCU events? Are the league secretaries involved with picking dates and fixtures, checking names and ratings, inputting results or contacting players for one of the many tournaments run by the UCU? The secretaries don’t even pick teams the team captains do! There is a captains committee but I’ve never heard of a secretaries committee in the UCU, actually some clubs don’t even have secretaries they have done away with them, so why would King Michael want secretaries making the decision? …. Oh wait King Michael is not the captain of Fisherwick Johnnie Cairns is! King Michael is the secretary of Fisherwick … ah the mask slips from the lust of power!

 Dec 12th King Michael

 “This is yet another example of the failed governance in the UCU”

Really, what example is that? We’re patiently waiting on you supplying your first example let alone your “yet another” tripe or were you just supplying innuendo for the intellectually challenged?

I think everyone is well aware what really galls King Michael is the fact that the UCU runs so efficiently and effectively without any input from himself, indeed the only time he did have any input into UCU matters he made a cataclysmic hash of it! Ignoring standing orders and AGM motions passed by the membership he got involved with a process that was clearly beyond his limited ability, though clearly not beyond his arrogance to blunder into it anyway, ignoring a very visual rule book as he went. Thankfully the current league controller was able to clear up the shambolic mess made by King Michael, rectify his wrong decisions and return some sanity to the process.

Ah i can see your point of view now

Ah i can see King Michael’s point of view now

Dec 12th King Michael

 “I find it funny but sad that when the recent Ulster Masters was played in the Ballynafeigh showgrounds 19 Belfast souls turned out. But on the same day in Omagh 27 souls turned out for an ordinary club meeting. Is chess on the decline in Belfast? Yep. Does the UCU Board care? Nope”.

Wow where do I start here that isn’t going to take an answer as long as a Tolstoy novel? Firstly everyone is ecstatic with the outstanding work of John Bradley down in Omagh, indeed Johns excellent work has been praised on this site. Furthermore Ballynafeigh and Omagh have agreed to play a series of friendly matches early next year to aid John with his development program.

The Masters had only 19 players, yes it had, but every club was represented, well all except one! King Michael’s club was the only one that didn’t have a member in attendance, also while the turn out was poor it was still an increase on previous events. The executive board is trying to build this relatively new event but it may take some time to repair the damage to its integrity after it got off to a dismal start. To refresh your memory that’s when only 4 players were permitted to play in it, when players not of a desirable rating standard were refused entry to the competition, yet there was no problem raiding these lower rated players section to lift entry funds out of it, taking 60% of the total prize fund for the winner of 4 elite player band, we don’t want to play with you we only want your money. Oh and just to remind people it was King Michael who won that mini-elite section. Hardly an inspiring moment for Ulster Chess now was it? It was a crass event and certainly one the current League controller/ Tournament director would never permit to happen under his watch. Was it bad for Ulster chess? Yes. Did they care? Nope!

Some people just don't know when to stop digging

Some people just don’t know when to stop digging

Dec 12th King Michael

 “There are arguments for and against separate divisions which should be explored by consulting the Belfast & District league club secretaries about what their club players want”.

Here we go with the ‘we don’t want to play them; they’re not as good as us’ clap-trap again. But the executive board could consult the team captains (not secretaries) until the cows come home it wouldn’t make one iota of difference. It has to be changed at the AGM because that’s where it was proposed and carried from the floor.

Dec 12th King Michael

 “Do the bottom 4 want to get a whopping for half a season before playing a Div 2 season? Who knows? But ask them and find out!”

What on earth possesses the Mad King to assume that we didn’t, we have asked them their answer is an emphatic yes. Of course they want to play stronger teams they are chess players they crave the challenge.

Dec 12th King Michael

 “Although I haven’t been at every UCU AGM in recent years I don’t remember any such vote that DC mentioned. There was nothing in any motions proposed in advance of UCU AGM’s and nothing published afterwards”.

Well damn there you go; you don’t remember it because you weren’t there! And it was proposed from the floor therefore it wouldn’t be on any advance notification now would it? Though King Michael admits to being absent from AGM’s his absence never stopped him from proposing a motion that the UCU should give £500 to the winner of a tournament that he himself would have been the over whelming favourite to win, was that idea to help Ulster Chess or help a particular Ulster Chess player? I think even the most naïve of souls would know the answer to that.

Dec 13th King Michael

“Elsewhere the invisible rule book was in evidence again as the BNF3 squad turned out for BNF1”

The floating system where players under 1350 can play for several teams within the same club was introduced as an experiment it has been an unqualified success since it’s inception to Ulster Chess, it has been a brilliant help. Players who have progressed with the aid of this rule have been Matthew Chapman, Ian Kilpatrick, Thomas Donaldson, Robert Lavery, David Conlon, they will soon be added to with the likes of Ram Rajan, Paddy Magee, Mark Hewitt, Barney McGahan, John price Bill Lavery and Eoin Carey.

I suppose the concept of an innovation to help secure the future of Ulster Chess by affording eager novice players the opportunity to play in more league matches to improve their ability must be difficult one for King Michael to grasp, but grasp it he must. The most graphic example of the potential of this idea can be found in the ranks of the former and present members of Ballynafeigh chess club. Robert Lavery was a member of Queen’s chess club in his years there he played 1 game for them, one game yet he was a fully paid up member who was denied the chance to play because he was deemed unworthy, he didn’t have the flashy rating that would have seen him not only play when he wanted but he would have received cash bonuses under the table for playing. He was good enough to set up the room tables and chairs, fix boards set up pieces, set the clocks, pay his membership and then tidy up and put all the equipment away afterwards… but he wasn’t good enough to play! Ballynafeigh took him and played him as a regular in one team and draftee in the floating system for others, we arranged coaching and with his own hard work he is now the Ulster Intermediate champion. Give them the opportunity they will flourish, they will reach potential years before they would do so in a static system where the opportunities are heavily curtailed. The attitude of some looking down from a lofty perch on lower rated player regarding them as mere cannon fodder, tolerating them only a means to financially bolster prize pools for the elite of the rating system must cease.

 Dec 13th King Michael

“Fisherwick bottom 3 can’t play … blah blah blah”

I left this pile of gibberish to the end, I think it is probably the rambling where poor King Michael finally proclaims his madness to the world! How in goodness name can the heaped praise on this site of the board 1&2 of Fisherwick for their unmatchable form be construed as an insult to their boards 3,4&5. I stated that the top boards are so solid that the lower order of Fisherwick is the Achilles heel it is only there that teams have a chance. Somehow in King Michael’s less than adult mind he twisted it to sound like an insult to Ian Woodfield, John Bradley and Norman McFarland it was not! They are three very fine players, they are honest genuine individuals that love chess, to proclaim I have suggested otherwise is distasteful. King Michael wears a brilliant disguise; honestly from a distance you could quite easily mistake him for an adult.

Johnny has bought Michael a new Fisherwick team shirt for Christmas
Johnny has bought Michael a new Fisherwick team shirt for Christmas

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Karma and Chess

The last match of week nines fixture list saw Ballynafeigh 2 travel to Groomsport to face the Bangor team who so deservedly held league leaders Fisherwick to a draw last week. The gold-coast outfit boasts several octogenarians in their ranks but the rest of the membership would probably be a fair bit older. Though there is the odd youngster like Kevin Agnew who’s still only a mere babe at sixty seven compared to the likes of Ron Henderson who served his shipbuilding apprenticeship on the Titanic, or Owen Wilson who probably served his shipbuilding apprenticeship for the Vikings. It was great to see Kevin Agnew return from his sabbatical as he is an outstanding asset not only to Bangor chess club but to Ulster chess in general and the chess scene was poorer for his absence. Another of Ulster chess’s sprightly youngster brigade, the evergreen and forever affable Denis Wilkinson who was in the area called in for a coffee and to spectate on the match.

Alan McConnell and Damien Cunningham agreed to half on board 2 and that was swiftly followed by Mike Redman defeating Paul McGuigan, Stephen Rush brought in another point for Ballynafeigh with victory on board 3 to guarantee the draw with still two matches to come. But the Ballynafeigh tactical switch of putting Bangor old-boy Brendan Jamison down to 4 looked like backfiring when Ron Henderson Bangor’s really old boy bashed and battered him all over the board. When Jamison came to the tea-room he was flabbergasted by Henderson’s play, “he’s all over me like a cheap suit, unbelievable! Are you sure I’m playing Ron Henderson and not Ron Jeremy? Because the man’s a complete stud!” exclaimed Jamison. On board 5 Robert Lavery kept his excellent season form going with a solid performance against Owen Wilson to secure the much wanted win for Ballynafeigh 2

That only left the board 4 clash of Jamison the Ballynafeigh artist and Henderson the Bangor stallion, Henderson had a piece advantage but was low on time, he avoided the threats and fork threats of Jamison and eventually moved his king to safety advancing his three passed connected pawns and gobbling up extra pawns belonging to Jamison as he went. He had three extra pawns, he had an extra Bishop, he had the position, he had the threatening queen promotion and he had a hidden uncheckable King. Henderson checked Jamison with his rook Jamison had 2 squares to move to, either g5 and be mated, or the safe square of e6. Jamison studied and studied he couldn’t make up his mind as he stared and stared at the board pondering his only move, the seconds ticked by, the minutes ticked by “Damn” cried Henderson as he realised he had forgotten to hit his clock. “Oh dear Ron did you forget to watch your clock” asked an apologetic but not angelic Jamison with his team head on. Jamison moved his king to e6 Henderson pushed a pawn to the 7th Jamison blocked with his rook, Henderson moved his own rook up to support but couldn’t finish the move as Jamison all so apologetically called the flag, ah analogue clocks and team chess don’t ya just love em?

But chess karma never rests on its laurels for long and on this occasion it rested even less, as the Ballynafeigh boys headed out to the car park for the short trip home Jamison rushed after them, he rushed up the stairs and rushed out the door but his trip was to be much shorter than expected, though incredibly more painful. Thwack! He tripped going through the door and slammed face first into the granite cobblestones smashing his jaw, breaking his arm, splitting his lip and cracking his teeth. Ron Henderson came out to find Brendan prostrate on the ground, “Oh dear Brendan were you rushing and forgot to watch your step?” asked an apologetic sounding Ron Henderson fighting back a smile. Jamison was lifted into the front seat of the Ballynafeigh ambulance and it left Groomport with 6 ½ points and 4 ½ men

The karma of the chess Gods!

The rushing Russian Brendan Jamison spent 6 hours in A&E as payment to the chess Gods, 6 hours for 3 minutes, and he will now be forced to miss the Christmas blitz with no right arm, but apparently Ron’s playing. Now that’s Karma

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Spice Experience and Upsets

The spicy zest which has decorated virtually every game in the league season so far continued through this week’s fixture list. On Monday evening the merry band of novices that constitute Ballynafeigh 3 with a total team rating of 3,000 ventured to the venue of the heavy hitters of Muldoon’s where they would face an opposition that could possibly be rated at over 9,000. It still didn’t deter them from taking a point from a match that the Muldoon’s board 3 had already chalked up as a whitewash in his pre-match banter texts and all the sweeter for the ‘Squealer-gate’ incident.

Muldoon board 3 came out of hiding to watch his wager go up in smoke
Muldoon board 3 came out of hiding to watch his wager go up in smoke

The top of the table clash took place at Fisherwick where the reigning champions entertained the coffee-house club of Lindores. Leitch and co were no doubt buoyed by the Bangor side holding for a well earned draw against Fisherwick the week previous and were probably confident of inflicting the first defeat of the season on Fisherwick. While the Lindores plan centred on nullifying the powerhouse scoring of Waters and Cairns the boards 1&2 for Fisherwick, they failed to ensure that if their plan worked that its effect would be maximized by emphatic scoring on the lower boards, the Achilles heel of Fisherwick.

Perhaps it was inexperience for the leagues newest team or a tad of arrogance but they let themselves be blindsided into thinking the players in the room would be the players they would be facing, they weren’t! The Fisherwick panic button was hit after the Bangor near miss and their heavy brigade was brought in to shore up the board order against a much more threatening squad such as Lindores. The sad outcome for Lindores was their plan worked a treat it was their tactics which let them down, they won board 1 when Horvath defeated Waters and shared board 2 when Leitch drew Cairns but failure to switch lower seated players about only played into the super strong lower order of Fisherwick allowing them victory on 3,4 and 5. Perhaps in the second half of the season they may come to regret the fantastic opportunity that slipped their grasp by underestimating the champions resourcefulness to defend their title, did they sincerely believe that Fisherwick were not going to ship in their big guns for this one? Did they not credit Fisherwick with the experience and savvy to formulate a plan of their own?

when Lindores pulled into the Fisherwick carpark the should have picked up on the clues that the big guns were being shipped in
when Lindores pulled into the Fisherwick carpark the should have picked up on the clues that the big guns were being shipped in

Belfast South sent a very strong team up to Fruithill for their first visit to the venue, wary of the Jekyll and Hyde reputation of the Westsider’s squad strengths being strong at home and weak away. It was a decision that showed the Southsiders were determined to extract every single half point possible in this clash and they were duly rewarded with an emphatic four and a half to a half victory, with wins for their two Dutch imports and a local Sultan. It is a result that keeps the squad from the Bankers club in contention at the more desirable end of the league table and no doubt thrilled their maverick captain Martin Kelly no end.

Two of Belfast South’s closest competitors were pitched against each other on Tuesday at the Ballynafeigh rooms when Lagan visited for a clash with a weakened Ballynafeigh 1 team. The Ballynafeigh1 captain struggled all week trying to pressgang players but to no avail and a drastic last minute search of the local Dutch forums proved fruitless as Martin Kelly seems to hold the franchise on that idea. So he was forced to turn to Ballynafeigh 3 to borrow a board 4 in Barney McGahan (970) and a board 5 in Eoin Carey (unrated) for the tussle where they faced Gerald Harvey and David Jackson.  Donaldson and Kelly played out a draw on 3 and Lavery scored a win over Nicholson on 2 when David Jackson secured a level match score for Lagan by defeating newcomer Eoin Carey it meant the outcome would be decided on board 4 as Dave Houston was up 2 pawns against Tom Esmonde and looking home and hosed. The situation now required Lagans Harvey 1561 to beat Ballynafeigh’s McGahan (970) to secure a draw for his team. Harvey had a threatening mate or a perpetual McGahan had a threatening queen promotion, but this was a de-lux model promotion because apart from the tinsel nice wrappings and gift card it came with something else, it came with a check. As anyone from the Kremlin nightclub will tell you one queen is good but two queens are better and McGahan had secured a nice scalp for his chess CV.

She's a Queen with a check ...
She’s a Queen with a check … though McGahan playing white looks thoroughly unimpressed with his quite impressive position 

Ballynafeigh1 must surely now claim victory with the expected win in the last game the board 1 clash between Houston and Esmonde where Houston had a double pawn advantage. But the league this year has been full of twists and turns and this game was no different and Tom Esmonde weaseled and squirmed his way into a position to launch a devastating attack on Houston’s semi exposed King and Houston resigned. So the match finished all square and the competitive edge to the league table continues to sharpen for yet another week.

Esmonde and Houston going deep
Esmonde and Houston going deep

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GM wins for Ballynafeigh 3

They maybe languishing at the rear end of the title race but Ballynafeigh 3 showed that they are a magnetic draw for a traveling GM.  Faced with the visiting threat of Belfast South and their newly acquired Dutch masters to the Ormeau venue the Ballynafeigh 3 captain Paddy Magee was forced to use all his tactical mastery in board switching to maximize his teams potential… oh and did we mention a GM? That’s right Gawain’s Mum played board five. Tanya Jones mother of GM Gawain Jones played a beautiful two piece Knight and Queen sac against Bernard Jaffa to deliver a gorgeous little mate, which would look nice in anyone’s repertoire even in that of her famous GM son.

Original Position

Original Position

After hxg Qxg*

After hxg Qxg*

After Kf8 BxN

After Kf8 BxN… can you see it coming yet!

Position after QxB QxQ

Position after QxB QxQ

Position after Rg8* Kf1

Position after Rg8* Kf1

Bc4 .. ouch

Bc4 .. ouch

K e1 ... and Rg1 mate!!! bravo

K e1 … and Rg1 mate!!! bravo

Belfast South had come expecting a 5-0 whitewash to keep the pressure on Fisherwick and Lindores in the title race but the mere formality was anything but. Bill Lavery earned a draw on board 4 against Neil Green before Tanya Jones struck into Bernard Jaffa, Barney McGahan made Dave Rubin work really hard for a win on board 3 while playing in the right order his captain paddy Magee on 2 missed the opportunity to go into an opposite bishop end-game against John Brayars, instead keeping his bishop pair which allowed John Brayars knight to deliver threat upon threat before eventually grabbing important pawns. On board 1 Ballynafeigh new find the unrated Eoin Carey brilliantly took Dutchman Westra to a knight and pawn endgame just losing out at the end.

The plucky novices of Ballynafeigh 3 were delighted to score a few points after the incident when Pilkiewicz reported an oversight by Magee who inadvertently placed a player 101 points his inferior above himself without checking the ratings list first. Still smarting from the Pilkiewicz affair Magee has been ruthless in his determination to rectify what he perceives as an injustice and mocking of his side’s ability by Pilkiewicz. “First thing first it wasn’t the Pilkiewicz affair or some other sanitized name tag okay! It was Squealer-gate got that! In fact I would have no hesitation in describing it as a war-crime!” stated Magee before adding “We play Muldoon’s next week, yer man spouting off in phone calls wanting to bet £100 that we wouldn’t get another point all season, I would have loved for to see his gob when we took that point off him, but that’s a week away and we just can’t wait.” On leaving the club Magee was seen questioning Dutchman Siebren Westra about the International Criminal court in The Hague and whether or not he knew anyone there who could fast-track an investigation into Nicolas Pilkiewicz

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Nick wants a Wager

Nicholas Pilkiewicz has been a busy boy lately, I know at this point the majority of local chess players and the entire Ballynafeigh 3 squad are automatically thinking “yeah busy being a snitch” which of course is understandable. But aside from being a full-time informant for the Ulster chess union he has been passing his hours in hiding, running calculations and scenarios on the fixture list which unfortunately for him has lulled him into a false perspective. Perhaps sleeping with the lights on in fear of Paddy Magee has had a disorientating effect and blurred his thought process, maybe the stress of being exposed to the public as a destroyer of novice chess has taken a mental toll. Either way poor Nicholas has taken leave of his senses ringing people at 4am demanding they have bets with him.

Nasty Nick makes calls from his safe-house
Nasty Nick makes calls from his safe-house

He sought a £100 wager that Muldoon’s would finish ahead of Lindores. He wanted £50 that he personally would beat every single board 3 until the end of the season. He wanted to wager £200 that Muldoon’s would finish ahead of Ballynafeigh 2 and a further £100 that Ballynafeigh 3 wouldn’t score any more points this season.

Money wasn't a problem (obviously his UCU handlers are flush)
          Money wasn’t a problem                      (obviously his UCU handlers are flush)

When told of the opportunity of having a bet with Nicholas the Ballynafeigh 3 captain Paddy Magee said “In Downpatrick we have a saying, ‘The devil makes work for idle hands’ that’s what happening here. ‘Oul Nick and Nasty Nick are doing a double act” before adding “tell Nasty Nick Ballynafeigh 3 would love to have a bat with him!” When corrected that he meant “bet and not bat” Magee responded “we know what we meant.” When news of a Turkish IM loitering on the horizon for Ballynafeigh 2 started to filter through the UCU grapevine Nicks constant text messages and phone-calls ceased, lets hope his credit run out and that he didn’t meet the guys from Ballynafeigh 3.

Ballynafeigh 3 want to bet (or bat) with Nasty Nick
Ballynafeigh 3 want to bet (or bat) with Nasty Nick

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Pilkiewicz in Hiding

Rumour abounds that Nicholas Pilkiewicz switched his phone off and deleted his Facebook account after being uncovered as the informant that squealed on the Ballynafeigh 3 team to the League controller this week. Initially it was thought that Muldoon’s had lodged an official complaint but that turned out to be untrue when Peter Wilson confirmed after being approached by our Gossip Desk that he knew absolutely nothing about it.

Paddy Magee the Ballynafeigh 3 captain said “I knew it wasn’t Peter he’s way too nice a guy, but yer man Pilky he’s a real piece of work,  I can’t wait to hear his explanation if he has one!” The Muldoon denial exposed Pilkiewicz as being on a solo-run, the Gossip desk will be very surprised if Magee ever gets an explanation as it is believed Pilkiewicz has asked to enter the UCU’s witness protection program.

Pilkiewicz is taken to a safe house by the Executive Board protection unit.
Pilkiewicz is taken to a safe house by the Executive Board protection unit.

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Ballynafeigh stripped of Points

Ballynafeigh have been stripped of the majority of their points this season when it was reported to the Ulster Chess Unions league controller that Ballynafeigh 3 had Patrick Magee on board 3 while Barney McGahan played on board 2 the problem with this is the board order rule of 100 points difference was infringed. Patrick Magee is 101 points higher rated that Barney McGahan and thus all boards below McGahan are forfeited to their opponents on the night. Which means that Ballynafeigh 3 lose their only board victory of the season, reducing their season total from 1 ½ to just ½ point.

The league controller had no option to act once there was an official complaint from one of the teams in the league, the league controller was extremely surprised by the objection as it didn’t come from the Ballynafeigh 3 opponents on the evening Civil Service. Civil Service being extremely sporting did not want the action to be taken as they regarded it as extremely harsh on a team who are struggling at the bottom and the result can have absolutely no bearing on league positions or board prizes. The Civil Service Chess Club board 1 Mark Newman said “It’s not rocket science, they can win anything, they can’t help anyone else win, so why would someone report them … it wasn’t us and I want everyone to know it wasn’t us!”

I didn't take Ballynafeigh's points.. i took my husbands
I didn’t take Ballynafeigh’s points.. I took my husbands
So who was the snitch that squealed
So who was the snitch that squealed
Ballynafeigh 3 were having kittens over the deduction.. had them then questioned them
Ballynafeigh 3 were having kittens over the deduction.. had them… then questioned them

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Lindores Were Hungry for Success, Gabor was just Hungry.

The Lindores due of Gabor Horvath and Calum Leitch took 1st and 2nd respectfully in the 2013 Ulster Masters held in the Ballynafeigh rooms over the weekend. Leitch came with an appetite for victory in the hope of eradicating his draw-meister image, a title which he seems to have wrested from the great Sam Moore with consummate ease. Gabor just came with an appetite, as was quite obvious when he walked in to the venue with two gargantuan slabs of bread with assorted filling bulging between them, I swear one of them was half a cow, not just a ploughman’s lunch, but probably the ploughman’s dinner and breakfast as well. He munched his way through the sandwiches then munched his way through the opponent pitched against him in round one…. just not as quickly though! By round two he was scoffing a monster burger and chips and Cunningham’s wrongly developed Bishop, by round three Gabor was gorging on a Chinese takeaway meal for 2 and Alan Delaney’s King-side defense, as the evening ended he left the venue with 3 points in the bag and a 12” pizza under his arm!

Gabor bought a sandwich with his winnings
Gabor bought a sandwich with his winnings

Martin Kelly the oldest junior in town belied his advancing winter years and really put it up to higher rated and younger opponents obtaining a draw from two of them, one of whom was not only younger and higher rated, but decidedly more handsome too. Kelly was unstoppable in winning his section worthy of any praise sent in his direction and unquestionably a much stronger player when he abstains from the devil’s buttermilk. Ballynafeigh’s Robert Lavery and Paddy Magee chased him home in 2nd and 3rd place to secure their places in the spring GM simul.

Before the tournament got underway we had to wait on the arrival of Paul Anderson who is both a member of the Sky-plunge parachute club and the Ballynafeigh Aerobatics display team who was doing a demo in nearby Ormeau Park.

wheelz-first-mega-flip

Anderson still shares the European record for a game of bullet chess at the highest altitude while sky-diving, 14,450ft well it would have to be bullet, with terra firma heading your way at 120mph you wouldn’t fancy an hour and thirty minutes with a 30sec increment would you!

chesschute

Anderson had actually arrived on time but was accosted in the lift by the revered physicist Adrian Dornford-Smith who specialized in the study of chaos theory when he wasn’t writing computer programs and hacking the UCU site to change his rating. Eventually he was seduced by the power of silicone and now just writes academic papers while watching Baywatch.

“Adrian are you going to hit that button or not?” asked Anderson. “Paul you don’t know how dangerous it is, you need to be very careful” came the reply from Dornford-Smith, before adding “I’ve specialized in the chaos theory for nearly thirty years I know the dangers and the possibilities of pushing that button” “What’s the chaos theory” asked Anderson. “It’s the study of nonlinear dynamics in which seemingly random events are actually predictable from simple deterministic equations. For example I’m sure you aware of the possibility that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in the Amazon can cause a tornado in Texas. This example illustrates the impossibility of making predictions for complex systems, despite the fact that these are determined by underlying conditions, precisely what those conditions are can never be sufficiently articulated to allow long range predictions.” Came the bewildering answer from Dornford-Smith. “What da hell does that mean?” asked Anderson before supplying his own interpretation. “are you saying that if we hit the number 1 button we may go to the 1st floor for the chess tournament, but that we may also set a chain of events that do something else completely different somewhere else?” asked Anderson. “Exactly Paul you got it in a nutshell” replied Dornford Smith.

Andersons mind began to race with his new found knowledge, “Adrian are you saying that if we hit number 2 for example technically speaking we could possibly give Michael Waters a horrendous boot in the rocks!” enquired Anderson. Dornford-Smith giggled “Yes Paul it is a theoretical possibility but the possibility is so ridiculously minute it’s so infinitesimally small it’s almost non existent” said Dornford-Smith. “So what you’re saying Adrian is … there’s still a chance” said Anderson. “So will we risk hitting the 1 button and go and play some chess?  “Aye that’s a fair enough idea Adrian, but do me a wee favour first and press that number 2 button a couple of times first!”

Queues for the lift lengthened as Neil Green locked the doors hitting 2 repeatedly

Queues for the lift lengthened as Neil Green locked the doors hitting  2 repeatedly

I got home after tidying up to be met with the high pitched sounds of a smoke detector and the pungent aroma of burnt potatoes charging down the hall at me. Yer woman was there towel in hand flapping around like a child chasing a wasp. “What was for dinner sweetie?” I asked, WAS of course being the most poignant word in the sentence. No answer, just the sounds of a flapping towel, the fog cleared a bit to unveil the most charcoaled things I’ve seen since her last attempt. When we first met her nickname was Cinders I innocently thought it was short for Cinderella not a descriptive word for her culinary skills.

one of her better efforts
one of her better efforts

“Well how did your wee chess go?” she enquired in her best condescending way. “Oh slightly better that your wee potatoes” I replied “Who won then?” she asked, “Gabor Horvath came first and Calum Leitch his club mate came second” I responded. “Calum, isn’t he the nice wee lad that stole all your player?” was her next question. “Yes he is, but there’s nothing nice about him” I replied, “Oh I don’t know about that” she muttered facetiously. “Gabor Horvath not a very common name round Ballyhackamore, he sounds Argentinean” she stated as an implied question. “Well your geography is as good as your cooking he’s from Hungary” I retorted wearing a smirk, “you should see him pack away food, it’s frightening, Hungary is the right name for the place” I added. “Maybe that’s where I went wrong, maybe I should have met a woman from the Cook Islands” I joked! Her face was awash with fury, “Yeah is that right, well wasn’t I the unlucky one I never met a man from Poland!” she screamed. It was a bit of a silly come-back really because she doesn’t even like vodka!

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Tyger Tyger, burning bright

A few weeks ago the majority opinion was that Anand was looking down the barrel of the hunter’s rifle, and the hunter behind the cross-hairs was  Magnus Carlsen. Winning the candidates had given Carlsen the opportunity to hunt Anand for both his scalp and his crown, one to nail to the wall the other to wear in splendid glory.

The Ballynafeigh poll though bucked the trend and defied the thinking of all the pundits and experts who unabashedly concluded that Carlsen the crown prince of chess and pretender to the FIDE throne would only have to be present for his own coronation, the Anand abdication was a mere formality.  I don’t know whether it was the usual sympathetic siding with the under-dog, or petty jealousy of one so young being so spectacularly good but voter after voter kept clicking the Anand option. Three voters myself included thought it was too close to call which made the poll almost neck and neck, just the slenderest of lead for Carlsen, not the landslide view seen everywhere else.

The championship so far has been great, it’s the clash we all wanted and what chess so desperately needed and hoped for. Not the snooze-fest that was Anand-Gelfand which did nothing for the promotion of chess and failed to enthuse even the most devout purists of the checkered board. Though personally speaking I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much as it did save me from having to buy a sports-bra for my man-boobs as that awful contest had managed to bore the tits off me completely.  From game one in this years championship battle the Indian Tiger has bared his teeth, letting his young Norwegian hunter know the hunter had become the hunted. Anand has been the player who has dictated the style of the games, his blunt force trauma of combinational sequences and sharp positions against the more surgical positional play and mathematical calculations of piece rotation by Carlsen.

Not many Norwegians get the chance to hunt a Tiger
Not many Norwegians get the chance to hunt a Tiger

Carlsen has avoided the head on car crash that Anand so desperately seeks instead retreating refusing to be caught in the open. Perhaps Carlsen’s plan is to catch his quarry off guard or in the long grass, but be warned the last place you want to stumble upon a Tiger is in the long grass.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mXeuJOfUNM

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The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Ballynafeigh 2 entertained Lindores on Tuesday evening eager for the opportunity to rid themselves of the horrible run of misfortune that they have endured lately. The dark cloud that has attached itself to the Redman squad like industrial strength epoxy resin has taken the shine off the Ormeau road sides ambitions and replaced it with an aurora of depressing gloom.

Ballynafeigh 2 with a very strong yet unadvertised team had hoped to slip under the radar of the local chess pundits, with their toughest tests in the opening month they had hoped to catch some of the title favourites off their guard and in the process build a healthy lead before the other teams realised what was happening and responded.

This wasn’t just a Master plan this was an M&S Master plan, but it’s still no good only having a Master plan when you’re up against misfortune sporting a Phd. After the first three matches it was clear that fate was amusing itself with Ballynafeigh 2 as opportunity after opportunity either passed them by or deliberately gave them a wide birth, the only thing that didn’t miss them was the bad luck, not only did it hit front and centre but it adopted the characteristics of a boomerang and kept coming back booting more balls than a centre half for AFC Wimbledon.

Secret plans backfires
Secret plans backfire

So when the Coffee house boasters of Lindores arrived with their ‘all mouth and no trousers’ captain Calum Leitch sporting a red Paolo Di Canio t-shirt it was a red flag moment, but that flag was destined to fly at half-mast. Robert Lavery normally so slow and cautious was blitzing from the off, he moved faster than Usain Bolt and was more cavalier than George Custer. He envisaged a super quick victory against Lindores board 5 Kilpatrick and lined up an outlandish two piece sac, it turned out to be a two piece suit and Kilpatrick buried him in it. It was a bombshell for Ballynafeigh 2 Lavery has been one of their rocks and they had him penciled in for an anticipated result, indeed they believed they would win boards 3,4&5 get something on 2 and 1 now they were going to have to work for the win.

Brendan Jamison the millionaire artist who is sponsored for a cool £750,000 a year by Tate & Lyle sugar didn’t sugar coat his ruthless dispatch of Paul McNaughton on board 4 to balance the match at 1-1 Cunningham and Lindores motor-mouth Leitch agreed a draw and both teams went to 1.5pts each. Cunningham sat the more comfortable captain because board 3 was a nailed on win, with the bishop pair about to dominate a badly placed bishop and knight pair which needed three tempos just to re-coordinate which would have seen too many pawns fall, Ballynafeigh were at last cruising they had the draw in the bag and still had Mike Redman to come. In Redman game he stood the better and had a mountain of time on his hands compared to Gabor Horvarth.

Brendan and Half a million sugar cubes, but his win against McNaughton was even sweeter
Brendan and Half a million sugar cubes, but his win against McNaughton was even sweeter

But if this season has proved anything it has proved that if Ballynafeigh 2 bought a duck it would sink! Their board 3 was Stephen Rush the new kid on the block who had only ever played on-line chess until stumbling into the club four weeks ago. His brilliant positional play has seen him being moved from board 5 to board 4 and now up to board 3 as he crushed opponent after opponent, he was becoming Ballynafeigh’s secret weapon. He had a dominant bishop pair and a superior position over Lindores super steady Ross Harris, he had the bishop’s, he had the position, he had the time, and he had the potential. He had a mental stall … and promptly dropped a bishop for nowt! The gods of fate were mocking again.

Leitch couldn’t believe his good fortune and Cunningham couldn’t believe his bad. All eyes switched to the Redman Horvath tussle, Gabor was crippled for time and the game was immensely complex with mate threats, pawn promotions, skewers and pins with both Kings semi exposed and the queens still on the board. A fascinating game position for both sides to ponder with no time constraints, but to envisage the complex combinations with less that a minute or two made it supremely entertaining for the audience but totally nerve wracking for the players.

Gabor Horvarth and Mike Redman getting jiggy
Gabor Horvarth and Mike Redman getting jiggy

Gabor let his queen fall to get a pawn charge supported by bishops, a brilliant tactic which Mike struggled to cope with under the time pressure now that his time advantage had evaporated, he controlled the game for so long making the correct moves and looked very comfortable but whenever he erred Gabor was alert and punished him with precise play. Ballynafeigh 2 beaten for the fourth time in a row and sit in 9th place with just 7.5 points  instead of at the top with a minimum of 22.5pts. Martin Luther King had a dream, so did Ballynafeigh 2 but theirs has rapidly become a nightmare.

Aye so had we Martin ...so had we
Aye so had we Martin …so had we

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2 2 2

Well they aren’t called Ballynafeigh 2 for nothing, each time they play they score 2 points, three games three losses and they currently reside near the bottom of the table. However truth be told that is a heavily disguised sketch of actual events in the current league campaign by the Ballynafeigh 2 squad.

They opened with a 3-2 loss against Belfast South, having lead 2-1 and sitting pretty with board 5 all but in the bag and board 3 up a pawn and a significant time advantage they were looking at a 3.5-1.5 or perhaps even 4-1 victory  … boom! a monster blunder on 5 dropped a rook and three passed pawns. The echoes of the horror or the exasperated squeal of the team captain had only died down when … bang! Board three dropped a clanger in style which cost a pawn with check and a knight on the rebound and ultimately the match.

Their next opponents were one of the serious title fancies pre-season Muldoon’s playing out of the well known watering hole near the docks bearing the same name. The result was another 3-2 defeat chiefly due to the failure of Cunningham or Redman to secure any points on the top two boards when both were in the position to share the spoils in their respective games.

On Tuesday evening Ballynafeigh entertained title favourites and current champions Fisherwick who brought one of their strongest teams to the Candahar venue, again by evenings end Ballynafeigh stood the 3-2 losers partly due to the not so exquisite move selection of Cunningham, the home team captain. Ballynafeigh were leading 1.5 to .5 and Robert Lavery the Intermediate champion looked to have secured the win on board 5 against John Bradley guaranteeing a draw at least for Ballynafeigh 2 and still with two very tight matches on boards 1&2 still not decided, Redman verses Waters and Cunningham versus Cairns.

Lavery and Bradley heading for repetition

Lavery and Bradley heading for repetition

But Bradley with decades of experience under his whiskers managed to maneuver a perpetual check position and pulled Fisherwick back from the brink. The next game to end was Waters versus Redman which Waters clinched after Redman left himself with less time on his side than a gay drug-dealer in a Tehran jail. That left the two captains on board 2 to decide the match result, Cunningham had 20 minutes Cairns had 2, Cunningham had offered a draw earlier but Cairns had no option but to decline or condemn his team to defeat. Now with twenty minutes on his clock Cunningham suffered delusions of grandeur, he spent fifteen minutes working out he had a miniscule edge and he was going to crush Cairns under the weight of it, he sat smugly in the belief he was the Belfast answer to Magnus Carlsen, he studied like Magnus Carlsen he analysied like Magnus Carlsen he counted like Magnus Carlsen but the move he chose was more like Mungo Carlsberg after 12 cans of special. Cairns leapt at the blunder and blitzed out a queen promotion.

GM wannabe John Cairns with black against Mungo Carlsberg

GM wannabe John Cairns with black against Mungo Carlsberg

Bishop e5 is a certain draw

With white to move, Bishop e5 is a certain draw and a probable win if black fails to play Bishop b6 but Mungo Carlsberg saw better.. aye for the opposition maybe! 

Ballynafeigh 3 who unquestionably will be the whipping boys of the league along side the revamped Civil Service outfit lead by the former U.C.U supremo  David McAlister were pitched against their club mates of Ballynafeigh 1. Undaunted by the challenge they queued up on Cunningham’s phone for the places on the team, and their enthusiasm was rewarded when John Price playing Barney McGahan secured their first half point of the season and averted a trio of whitewashes.

Price with black avoids the whitewash

Price with black avoids the whitewash against the deep in thought Barney McGahan

Ram Rajan edges out Mark Hewitt

Ram Rajan edges out Mark Hewitt

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Legally blonde

Quite a few of our fellow chess associates had a blonde moment this week, we first had the bold Calum Leitch ranting and raving like a man possessed about what his new Lindores outfit were going to do to all and sundry once they were unleashed upon the fixture list. Target for his volcanic eruptions of gibberish included the ever corpulent Damien Lavery of Ballynafeigh 1 and his vaunted side kick David Houston. However things didn’t go the way Calum planned or perhaps to be more accurate we should say dreamed of, the Ballynafeigh heavyweights (literally) were immovable objects in Lindores path to world domination and held for draws on boards 1&2 but Lindores woes did not end there, no the Ballynafeigh 1 pair Matthew Chapman and Thomas Donaldson stonked into their Lindores counterpart due of Paul McNaughton and Ross Harris leaving Ballynafeigh 1 the victors Lindores the vanquished and Calum Leitch with a blonde moment to deal with.

caution blonde moments

Muldoon’s had their own horror mistake this week but still managed to get out of jail against Ballynafeigh 2 after they had blown a chance of a whitewash by failing to take care of the Ballynafeigh 2 lower order which included an unrated player!! However the Muldoon boards 1,2&3 of Annesley Mallaghan and Pilkiewicz were a formidable trio and their very strong attacking play saved an egg on face issue for the would be title contenders by evenings end, but still a result that will leaving Fisherwick smiling for a week

However the blonde prize for excellence in the face of intelligence this week must surely be presented to the majestic David McAlister who controlled the Civil Service blitz on Sunday. In the final play off between Ballynafeigh’s Mike Redman and Fisherwick’s Michael Waters, the latter had 36 secs on his clock Redman had 17 secs left when Waters made an illegal move, Redman paused the clocks and called the controller David McAllister over and claimed the 2 minute penalty his opponent objected but the controller David McAlister agreed and adjusted the clocks accordingly. They played on, the intensity was atmospheric and gripping as the moves were banged out, everyone was on edge watching and whispering …. right up to the point when they realised that instead of adding an extra 2 minutes  David McAlister had actually awarded Redman  an extra 2 hours, it would have been the longest Blitz in Belfast since the Luftwaffe in 1941. when contacted by the gossip desk McAlister said “it was a bad week at work and things weren’t going well”

David was beer delivering

David was beer delivering

He washed the car this week

He washed the car this week

So he took a break and went fishing

So he took a break and went fishing

“it was a bad week”  you say … hmmm ya think?

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Calum Sozzled on Coffee

Lindore’s Chess Club opened their league campaign with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Fruithill which not only delivered the first whitewash of the season but announced their intentions for the destination of the Silver King with a bull-hailer. Calum Leitch was ecstatic with his team’s performance and extremely bullish about the future prospects of his motley collection of deserters and glory hunters.

So much so that he telephoned the news desk of this site to uncontrollably brag, or should that be brag uncontrollably, either way it was very audible and very slurred … it was slurred uncontrollably and it was also three o’clock in the morning. “Leitch ya bollix, what da ya want at this time”? I whispered down the phone trying not to wake the bitch lying beside me. “Lavery, I want that fat b****** Lavery” he replied. “Do you not have his number, do you want me to text it to you”? I asked. “I don’t want his bloody number, I want his rating points” he bellowed down the line before adding “he’s the softest most over-rated crap in Ulster Chess, and I’m gonna prove it once and for all, I’m gonna knock him down to 1500 and you can quote me on that” (oops I just did) “But that’s only the start of it Cunningham you mark my words!” he declared before ranting further “Fisherwick wont know what hit em cos Waters he’s next, I’ve told Gabor how to damage him, how to hurt him, how to leave him with a bloodied nose, but first big Housty and that b****** Lavery have to be smacked about first! But that’s a mere formality with the team I have and with my expert supervision, I’ve instructed all the guys on what to do and commanded them on how to do it.” “Calum have you been drinking”? I asked, “Just coffee from Lindores” he replied. “Well then that explains it, you’re drunk,  not on alcohol but drunk on power” I said in a raised voice as I switched off the phone and dropped it on the floorboards beside the bed and rolled over pulling the duvet around me, I froze her eyes were wide open and she just stared straight through me was like I was a condemned man, it was no good there was no hiding place now… it was three in the morning, it was raining heavy and now I was going to have to take the bloody dog for a walk because Leitch had woke her up.

coffee

Before Lindores get carried away with one result they should remember that Fruithill Chess Club are notorious for being poor travellers so much so that they should be prescribed tablets for travel sickness, the difference in the strength of their home team and their away team is profound and quite unexplainable as some of the away venues are closer to where they live than their actual home venue. Ballynafeigh 1 haven’t been at full strength yet and the same applies to Lagan and the 50 member only 1 team Belfast South, but their biggest test will be the revamped squad of Muldoon’s when it unshackles itself and its strong middle board order next week, oh and there’s the little matter of a scorned Damien Lavery and mocked David Houston in between.

League controller contemplates revenge on Lindores
League controller contemplates revenge on Lindores

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2300 Player Stuffing GM’s Galore

Or is he? A very interesting piece from Bulgaria about a GM boycott because they suspect the guy of cheating with an electronic aid, you can read the story on Chessbase News

http://en.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4011396/the-shoe-assistant–ivanov-forfeits-at-blagoevgrad-031013.aspx

Ballynafeigh are super confident of winning the league this year one the rest of their footwear comes through from Amazon.

Ballynafeigh are super confident of winning the league this year once the rest of their team footwear comes through from the specialist shoe company in Silicone valley.

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I.C.U  Uproar at A.G.M

Jonathan O’Connor delivered a crushing defeat on the Hyenas of Irish Chess who thought they smelt blood and moved in en mass for a frenzied attack on the ICU chairman. Motion after ridiculous motion was directed at the ICU board in general, but it was Jonathan O’Connor whom their wrath was aimed at in particular.  An unholy alliance of reactionary individual’s uncouth bruisers and a perpetual agitator was forged and an ill conceived plot masquerading as directional concern for Irish chess was hatched.

At Ballynafeigh-chess we respect dissent … nay we actively encourage it, indeed it’s almost compulsory, but unlike the misguided cackle we prefer not to play a game of hide and seek with sanity, it’s a game they’ve lost consistently with such ease. Advertising you lack of intellect in such a public and graphic manner is one thing but to garnish it with personal vitriol laced with venom and delivered with unnecessary insulting profanities then you only serve to lower yourself from the pedestal of the idiot to the gutter of the thug.

Colm Daley has constantly ranted at every opportunity and pontificated with gusto his views on all aspects of Irish chess to anyone prepared to listen, and even sometimes to those who weren’t. His personal crusade against authority figures within Irish chess circles and with those whom he has declared the architects of the status quo are legendary on chess websites. It is on these sites and those under his own stewardship that he propagated his interpretation of the truth irrespective of the omission of fact or corroborating evidence. Mr. Daley has been an outstanding chess talent and my admiration of his ability and achievements are only magnified by personal pride of him being indigenous to this small island. However some of Colm’s questionable actions and isolated views which have become a source of constant upheavals within Irish chess only serve to tarnish his undoubted worth in the eyes of many. Perhaps Mr. Daley sees himself as the moral crocodile swimming the murky waters of Irish chess snapping at those hands and feet that he feels are trespassing, or maybe he just envisages himself as a true disciple of George Bernard Shaw

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

A wonderful quote which historically I have always agreed with, there is nothing wrong with being unreasonable in the interests of progress, so long as being unreasonable is not a Trojan horse for being unstable. Financially speaking Colm Daley through his chess prowess has extracted a great deal more from Irish chess than most ordinary members of the I.C.U and certainly a great deal more monetary value than he has contributed over the years. For him to cast aspersions in the direction of the Limerick University chess club as regarding the disposal of finances during the running of the Irish Championships when he himself was supplied with free accommodation for the duration of the same tournament and gifted free admission to the tournament as well as a 4 figure cheque for winning, well clearly a case of “having your cake and eating it” Mr. Daley would do well to remember that he benefits from the monies contributed by the rank and file members of the I.C.U the same rank and file who supported the chairman by 70% of the vote, and in reality he is only biting the hand that feeds him.

dont-bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you

Colm Having a quick snack

Gabrial Mirza was another on a quest for vengeance at the A.G.M on Sunday and supplied some of the defeated motions at the meeting which were particularly personal if not bordering on the bizarre. Gabrial conveniently forgets he is the author of his own misfortune in the debacle of Cork; he participated in the law of the jungle and then proclaimed his victim hood from on high, and from pages 3, 4, and 5 of any paper with a surplus of ink. To lambaste Jonathan O’Connor for following instruction that was strongly advised by attending Garda to the incident is preposterous. As chairman of the ICU he is duty bound to protect the ICU and its membership from all and any possible legal action to the best of his ability. Perhaps Mr. Mirza is suffering a lost in translation moment and confusing support for strong action against cheats as support for him taking unilateral action of his own, well allow us to bring clarity to that translation, it wasn’t! We at Ballynafeigh are very much against the illegal use of electronic aids and have repeatedly stated so with vivid clarity; we were depressed by the grossly lenient punishment for the offender in this case and again proclaimed so quite loudly on this site. But that is a distant cry from supporting individuals taking matters into their own hands; we did not, have not, and would not support such insanely loutish behaviour which literally put Irish chess in the urinal for all to glare at.

Having been embroiled in this unholy mess and exacerbated it with shambolic press briefings Gabrial Mirza had the effrontery to stand for the post of Pubic Relation Officer for the I.C.U, a laughable suggestion which would have made a wonderful April fools joke if it wasn’t for the fact that this was September and he actually got someone to propose him. Maybe they should have held off on the A.G.M until late October for Halloween because most people would find it more scary than funny! Irish chess has been devoid of publicity for far too long, though as chess competitors I would imagine that most are pragmatic enough to realise that we are not the sexiest of past-times. (Though some may argue that the delectable Paul Carey in a lilac shirt combined with his soft lilting brogue could refute that suggestion… err okay stop) So when the opportunity arises for column inches it needs to be grasped with both hands and in all haste, it needs to be used to illuminate chess in the minds of the public. We are viewed as a high-brow item by most, we should not be embarrassed by this, and indeed we should embrace that philosophy and ferment it, we are already in the enviable position of not having to gild the lily like so many other have to. Therefore the deliberate act of washing the dirty linen publicly in a brazen attempt to garner support and sympathy for wrongful behaviour was seriously ill judged. To watch the storyline of the events that day change with each passing issue of the daily tabloids being briefed by Mr. Mirza himself only advertised the difficulties that lay ahead of the I.C.U in unveiling the truth, knowing this and observing this, it is simply incredulous that someone actually proposed him for the position as Pubic Relations Officer. You simply couldn’t make it up, not after three lines of coke and a frontal lobotomy would you ever propose Gabrial Mirza as the public relations officer, perhaps you should have went the extra half mile and whacked another line up your nose, then syringed some Black Bush into your arteries and proposed him for the post of child protection officer instead!

Thankfully  the membership voted to go in the right direction.

Thankfully the membership voted to go in the right direction.

The bar-room bruisers that filled their necks with alcohol before filling the air with expletives did nothing to enhance the organisation or future direction of Irish chess. There is no honor in being a member of a lynch-mob it requires no great courage in fact lynch-mobs are generally made up of people devoid of testicular fortitude, many seeking  the refuge of drink to aid them with Dutch courage. Mouthing verbal abuse and adopting an intimidating physical demeanor to others who fail to share your sentiments are more akin to the corner-boy thug, not the hallmarks of supposed students of the checkered board. In the cold light of day now that the red mist has lifted, even though the dust still hasn’t settled some people need to assess their actions and behaviour at the A.G.M They need to accept what happened was unacceptable and undignified displays such as this should never be repeated. There is no shame in the admission of fault and apologising, if I had a Euro for every time I was wrong I’d have as much money as Eamon Keogh. (The mathematicians among you are probably trying to work out whether I’ve been a bollix my whole life, or whether Eamon is skint?) The Irish chess circle is a small world it has too few friends on the outside to afford it the luxury of making enemies on the inside.

I and others (a whole battalion) from Belfast attended this years Bunratty festival which is one of the highlights of the Irish chess calendar. Jonathan O’Connor was there and he sought me out in the lounge for an informal but detailed discussion on Ulster chess and on how the ICU and UCU may be of assistance to one and other. Jonathan spoke of how we could explore avenues of progress together on children’s chess and the future of chess in general he was courteous, informative and helpful (okay so he was not as romantically seductive as Paul Carey but then again who is?) but above all he was exceptionally generous with his time. He could have stayed in the bar socialising with the many attending GM’s enjoying the craic and banter instead he gave that up to spend time with your average garden variety wood-chucker into the small hours talking about the advancement of chess, it was a clear statement of his commitment to chess and I would venture a mark of his class. If those that conspired to depose him had considered their actions for even the briefest of moments they would have realised that even if they were successful and got elected, they would only be elevating themselves to a position beyond their capability, a scenario which has been clearly demonstrated in wide screen techno-colour in the past. The members who voted for Jonathan O’Connor and others yesterday did more than give confidence to the sitting chairman they dealt a heavy blow to rough-house tactics and that can only be good for chess in the future.

we win

Jonathan O’Connor announces results of A.G.M

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Cheating Okay by I.C.U

The decision to recommend such an unexplainably lenient sentence for a bang to rights case of cheating is just bizarre, who was the committee was it a panel of Gonzaga old boys?

three monkeys

Damnable just damnable, when one thinks of the turmoil and bad press this incident brought to Irish chess then ridiculous unfathomable decisions such as this only serve to alienate loyal supports of Irish chess, encourage cheating from others, but more importantly and in this case much more relevant encourage victims of the cheating to take matters into their own hands if they are seeking retribution which is what chess needs like a hole in the head! did they receive any directions on this matter?

signpost

We at Ballynafeigh chess were very much in the vanguard for proper punishment for cheating, but we were also very much against people taking matters into their own hands and instead leave it to the proper authorities within the ICU or other controlling bodies to rectify any wrong doing and administer any punishment if and when required.

We therefore find the committees recommendation as completely incredulous, devoid of punishment, deterrent or rationale, if ever a committee set out to return an unhelpful divisive and incompetent decision then they would have to look no further than this example! There is another committee dealing with another issue directly related to the same incident which we will avoid discussing at this moment in time for legal reasons, however whatever their findings or recommendations they can do nothing to rectify the travesty that has preceded them. If they try to redress the committee manufactured problem they will also appear too lenient and stand to make a mockery out of the ICU and all its committees. If on the other hand they are too harsh they will only highlight the disparity between the two cases and cause resentment between individual member’s family circles or local geographical areas supportive of different views or stances on the subject. When the ICU is working hard to give Chess in Ireland a professional image this committee decision has had the effect of condemning them as bungling amateurs and has them stamped with.

fail

http://www.icu.ie/articles/display.php?id=384

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Ulster Championships Day 3

The third and final day of the championships was an excitable affair with the potential of multiple players tied for first place in every section. In round 4 of the Intermediate section Robert Lavery the Junior section winner who enthusiastically volunteered for the more testing intermediate section was pitched against Ian Kilpatrick on the top board, beside them on board 2 was the pairing of Karina Kruk and Thomas Donaldson who were hard on their heels for a shot at the title with McConaghey McFarland Chapman Harris and Saad a further half point behind. The pressure of being pitched on board 1 against the rock solid Kilpatrick must have had an unnerving effect of our gallant volunteer from the junior ranks and Lavery offered Kilpatrick a draw which Kilpatrick accepted after a period of consideration, instead of considering it, Kilpatrick should have taken his hand off at the wrist because it was a stone cold win for Lavery which became apparent after just 2 more forced moves. Kruk damaged Donaldsons hopes of glory with a solid victory while the chasing pack continued to avoid consistency by failing to avoid costly defeats at the wrong time to the wrong opponents. Instead of knocking lagging dangerous players out of the running they were losing to them bringing the strugglers right back into the title chase. This set the final round up perfectly the plucky volunteer was miraculously leading a section he didn’t qualify for as of right and here he was going into the last round as joint leader with a chance of actually winning the competition. A posse of four other players were only a half point behind and absolutely everything was up for grabs in the final deciding pairings.

The Junior section was also throwing up quite remarkable results, Mark Allen who hasn’t been involved in competitive chess since Shane McGowan was sober and Geoff Hindley the new president and elder statesman of the UCU who was playing in the section for his golden anniversary it was his fiftieth attempt at the junior title set the pace. Another competition stalwart David Seaby who has more years under his belt than a case of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild was having an outstanding competition, along with the nemesis of Ballynafeigh the bold Roy Stafford made up the vanguard of the chasing pack. When Allen defeated Stafford and Hindley accounted for John Monaghan in round 5 the scene was set for a showdown between this unlikely duo for the trophy.

In the senior section Michael Waters still smarting from the humiliating slaughter inflicted upon him by Steve Scannell in the previous round was matched against Calum Leitch for round 5 of the contest. Leitch set out his stall for the encounter and easily dealt with the few minor rather transparent threats that Waters could muster over the board. The position rapidly transformed into a complete dead draw barring a self mate by one of the players but Waters perhaps blinded by rage from the Scannell hammering stumbled and bumbled about the board for another 30-40 moves in the insane hope that his opponent would either forget how to play chess or sensationally die at the chess board. Quite an unlikely scenario considering Leitch is a fitness fanatic, who doesn’t smoke or drink or eat dairy products and completes 6 marathons a year, when added to his family’s legendary longevity Calum being the grandson of “Snooker” Leitch so called because he lived until he was 147 it was clear that Waters hadn’t a straw to clutch at. It would be fair to say that Waters found himself in a position were he could only stare at hope as it disappeared over the horizon with its arse on fire! The controller stepped in and rightly ended the game after the 25th repetition which brought howls of protest from the resident Ulster Champion and sighs of relief from the bored to death audience, it also brought a counter  threat of tournament expulsion from the controller for Waters if he didn’t desist from his nonsense objections.

Meanwhile two boards away Gareth Annesley was doing his utmost in providing Waters with some crumbs of comfort by defeating Steve Scannell, however they were crumbs that were being made smaller or even brushed away with the victory of Mike Redman over Brendan Jamison. The tournament was now Redmans to lose, a victory in the last round against James McDonnell would be enough for his maiden title. Annesley needed to win his last match against former Irish Champion Ray Devenney and hope that Redman is held to a draw or suffer a defeat in the last round, and that’s exactly what was happening in the final slog. McDonnell was holding Redman whilst Annesley was getting the better of Devenney if it stayed like this Gareth Annesley would be the new Ulster Champion, Redman sat at his own table but his eyes were transfixed on Annesleys game because unless a miracle happened he was powerless to stop Annesley. Well Redman was fortunate that Annesleys opponent was a retired Vicar who received some spiritual intervention late in the game to find a queen sac with a following perpetual, the game was a draw Redman now only needed a draw himself which he offered with zest and was accepted with grace. Mike Redman was the new Ulster Senior Champion, but second place was in dispute Michael Waters and Steve Scannell had finished tied for second place. The main tournament controller was called away on family business and David Houston unselfishly gave up his afternoon to allow him to go, but fortunately for Steve Scannell he returned to collect the laptop to retrieve personal phone numbers he had stored on it. The stand in controller was in the process of putting names of the envelopes when the original controller noticed that somehow something happened to change the tie-break criteria, the Junior and Intermediate sections were correct Median-Buch first  then Buch then Progression, however the Seniors were set at Buch first then Progression then Median-Buch. The strange thing was that on the printed sheets on the wall showing the standings they were absolutely correct for rounds 2,3,4, and 5 they just seemed to have been changed after this time on the laptop, between the main controller leaving the building and the new controller entering it. The two controllers conferred and realised that someone must have accidently clicked on the senior tournament page, then accidently clicked options, then accidently clicked the tie-break tab, then accidently clicked the selection box, then accidently clicked the selection panel, then accidently moved selection up, and then accidently clicked okay. Thankfully the main controller was able to rectify the error and Scannell was returned to second place, if the controller hadn’t returned to get the personal information the error would not have been discovered and we all know the vast majority of people wouldn’t have wanted that.

The Junior title went to Mark Allen after a well fought draw with UCU president Geoff Hindley who picked up third place with Roy Stafford taking second, David Seaby scooped the upper grading band with Ashley McWhinny lifting the lower band. In the Intermediate section Robert Lavery sensationally won his last round match to incredibly win the tournament after volunteering to leave the Junior’s to play up in the higher section to balance out the numbers. His rewards for his courage, is the winner’s cheque, a fantastic trophy, and get this, an automatic invites into next years Senior’s section

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2013 Ulster Championships Day 2

Day two of the Championships saw a host of brilliant tussles in all the competing divisions but several stand-out clashes drew the spectators. In the intermediate section Thomas Donaldson with black was paired against the tournament favourite and tournament leader Ross Harris and played robustly to win the exchange and slight territorial advantage. However the clock was against both players and with the inexperience of using increments to their maximum effect added to the pressure of expectation both players erred badly in the closing stages with devastating consequences. Donaldson left his King Rook and Queen in a triple game ending knight fork, and Harris with only 2 squares for his threatened knight on d4 to move to, the game ending e6 square or the ultra passive b3 retreat… Harris selected the b3 retreat it was to be a horror blunder he was never to recover from.

In the junior section that old section promotional draft dodger Martin (camouflage) Kelly was paired against another heavy hitter Colin Fenton, not that Colin has been setting the results sheet on fire but at eighteen stone and standing 5’4” he’s fully deserving of his title “heavy hitter” lets just say he’s not the sort of guy you want to be trying to recue in a fire. Anyway he didn’t need recuing in this game and it was “Draft dodger” Kelly had to some more of his infamous ducking and diving to scramble a draw.

In the senior section Michael Waters and Mike Redman had a brilliant game where Redman gave up the exchange to keep the advanced pawns and attacking Bishop for the sake of a rook it was the correct choice though he probably didn’t punish Waters enough with the pressure and thus allowed Waters who was alert to the danger to return the exchange for the agreed draw. Further down the order former 8 times Champion Steve Scannell was lining up tricks and shenanigans for James McDonnell from the fifth move and secured a deserved victory to keep tabs on his nemesis Michael Waters. Ian Woodfield was rewarded with a fortunate resignation when his opponent Danny Mallaghan came down with either food poisoning or a weird viral complaint. “I dunno what happened I’ve hardly ate anything today” said Danny before adding “the only thing I’ve eaten was one of Steve Scannells sandwiches that he made especially for this tournament, he’d made some extra ones for Michael Waters so I thought he wouldn’t mind if I took one” Mallaghan took a medical bye for round 4 but attended hospital later that day to be told he would be bed ridden for a few days and withdrew from the tournament. Rumours that traces of rat poison were in the contents of Mallaghans stomach are just rumors besides Danny said “I don’t have rats at my place just a few big mice, how would I have it inside me then” Gareth Annesley without question the player with the best attacking mind in Ulster chess bar none created havoc on Calum Leitchs King side and gain the full reward to keep himself still in the hunt after his early round blunder against Waters. The pairing for round 4 threw up the delicious pairing of Scannell v Waters a much tastier affair than Steves “special” sandwiches. Waters has been dining out on his victories over Scannell recently and was probably planning to serve up something spicy as a championship treat, but Scannell turned the tables and chefs choice only menu came with a very high price. Waters paid the price when Scannells knight was allowed to stomp all over blacks broken pawn structure and kings defence creating threats and mating nets, eventually landing the big fish he so desperately wanted in that net, on a platter of ice after all revenge is a dish best served cold! He had broken the Indian sign that Waters had over him, Scannell was ecstatic, Waters was gutted and only Danny Mallaghan who was still in the bathroom was feeling worse!

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2013 Ulster Championships Day 1

The 2013 Ulster Championships got underway at a pedestrian pace after the usual hammerheads and disorganised sock puppets forgot about the eleventh hour and phoned the controller at the twelfth hour instead to give him the delightful news that they were unavailable to play. Well to be fair to them at least they phoned, the more cowardly sent texted messages via a third party but even this was still preferable to the ones that either sent smoke signals on a windy night or just decided to test the controllers psychic ability, well I can tell you either way they certainly tested his patience.

There was a strong strength of talent in all sections, well there was after the mind-boggling nerve wracking totally unnecessary swapping, changing, promoting, demoting, then re-promoting again to balance the different sections out as evenly and fairly as possible

The controller asked initially for volunteers for promotion to higher sections and there was an enthusiastic response from the higher rated individuals in one section eager to step up and be the lower rated whipping-boy of the section above them. Well not all volunteering so readily apparently Martin Kelly the highest rated in his section shuffled his way back through the throng of players amassed at the tournament director’s desk when he heard that awful word volunteer. As the more courageous elements dawned body armour and stepped forward for battle, Martin dawned camouflage and stepped back into the wallpaper ducking and diving to avoid the glare of the controller better than a Spitfire ace in a dogfight over the channel.

Fortunately for Kelly and the tournament in general the controller had his quota of victims … err volunteers and the tournament could begin nearly 45 minutes after the officially advertised start time. Round 1 saw a win for pre-tournament favourite Fisherwicks Michael Waters over Belfast South’s Ray Devenney they had a rook and pawn end-game where Waters 7th rank pawn tied up Devennys rook allowing Waters King to eventually manoeuvre to threaten its capture. Ballynafeigh’s Steve Scannell secured the win over club mate Danny Mallaghan on board 2 whilst Mike Redman the subject of a transfer tug-o-war between Lindores chess club and Ballynafeigh chess club before Ballynafeigh won out with an extra packet of chocolate biscuits, won his match against Calum Leitch the captain of Lindores chess club, giving Leitch a double disappointment in one week. Gareth Annesley was paired against Brendan (sugar-cube) Jamison the millionaire artist from Ballynafeigh whose sculpted sugar works have exhibited at the Tate the Louvre and the Metropolitan in New York, alas for Jamison Annesley was far too bitter an opponent to be sweetened. James McDonnell was hitting all the sweet notes against the UCU’s resident professor of music Ian Woodfield and secured the victory.

In the Intermediate section Bombardiers Ross Harris (likes kids, but no relation to Rolf) had a tough nut to crack in the shape of Ian Kilpatrick the rugby fan from Lindore chess club, Kilpatrick held Harris in a scrum for the duration of the game and they ended honours even. One of the keenly awaited draws of the Intermediate first round was the pairing of Robert Lavery and Thomas Donaldson, Lavery volunteered to step up a division which put him in the firing range of Donaldson who has been seeking if not pursuing a match in the ongoing Summer league and as luck would have it they were matched in the first round. At the end Laverys good Knight excommunicated Donaldsons bad Bishop leaving Donaldson with a face longer than Gt Victoria street and Lavery with a grin wider than it.

Round 2 saw Waters continue his quest for another Ulster Seniors title when the hapless Annesley blundered a piece in the opening but played on for a while rather than advertise his disaster with an early resignation. Mike Redman with the white pieces assaulted the defences of Scannell which by the end were leaking in more places than the Fukushima power plant. In the junior section Mark Allen and John Monaghan kept up their 100% records with wins over Colin Fenton and Alan Burns respectively, however the quote of the day belonged to 9 year old Honor Parisis who was paired against Paul Anderson when she said “first I won his rook then four pawns then his knight … that’s when he checkmated me” ah such is life Honor, such is life

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Back from Holidays

I hope you all missed me while I was off on my holidays, you’ll note I didn’t say away on my holidays that’s because the tour I was on was not of the Greek Islands the Far East or Lake Garda no I was on a tour of the patio, the garage roof, the garden rotavator, the fence all ninety metres of it, the restoration of the old fireplace, the new security system with nine miles of wiring and repeated visits to the Council dump.

Yup I never could understand the joys of summer holidays!

Anyway I’m back, I may be older weaker and poorer but I’m still here and on Saturday I’m at the Europa Hotel for the Ulster Championships where I’ll get to sit down for a few hours without that nagging life-sucking cow appearing with a humongous wish list of chores for me. But anyway that’s enough about another chess player’s wife I’ll try and update this page or maybe a new page from the Championships

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Mallaghan Intermediate Champion

Ballynafeighs camera-shy Danny Mallaghan became the new Irish Intermediate champion when he lifted the title, the cup and a few hundred euros for his troubles on Sunday evening. The playing venue for this year’s event was the excellent facility of the University of Limerick, which seems to have praised by all attending, though it must be added that their results information page on the website left a lot to be desired. The organisers ran it as a multi tournament event with sections for Juniors, Women, Intermediate, Seniors, and an Open, plus and AM and PM event.

Media try to get a photo of new Irish Intermediate Champion

Media try to get a photo of new Irish Intermediate Champion

Mallaghan went into the last round a full point clear and only required a draw to secure the championship title, at the end Mallaghan had a Queen and a pawn against two Rooks and a pawn but his opponent needed a victory for a share of first and played on refusing the draw offers from  Mallaghan. The pieces placement on the board meant that Mallaghan had more checks that a Prague nightclub and with the added increments the game lasted for a marathon four and a half hours and ran the score-sheet over one hundred and twenty moves. Finally a draw was agreed which gave Mallaghan the title and the exhausted and by now pajama clad organisers a much deserved rest.

Cathal Murphy from Belfast South chess-club playing in the junior section came through to grab a four-way share of second place, with his travel companion and club mate Martin Kelly not far behind.

The senior section was won by the ever strong ever consistent Colm Daly with a champions performance in the Jan Heinrich free premier event

Organisers dawned Pajamas for the Intermediate marathon

Organisers dawned Pajamas for the Intermediate marathon

Results and cross-tables.. http://ulchess.com/?page_id=987

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Super Series Event 2

Calum Leitch the apprentice phone guru for O2 arrived at Event 2 of the Ballynafeigh Super Series last night on a ruse; he wasn’t just there to chuck some wood around the board and hope to pinch a prize. No the former Ballynafeigh “A Lister” was there to chuck the concept of a new team around and hoped to pinch a few players.

Another Ballynafeigh “A Lister” Des Mooreland made a surprise appearance having been registered on the missing list for some time, Des certainly made up for lost time when he started like a whirlwind defeating Sam Flanagan in round one before rounding on pre-tournament favourite Michael Waters in round two, he quickly followed up with comfortable wins in rounds three and four against Thomas Donaldson and Richard Gould respectively who were both flying high themselves at the time, old jump-leads Des needed no jump-start to get him going, his batteries were charged to the max and full of spark.

jump leads

Des charged up and ready to fire

It wasn’t just the  “A Listers” who came we have a few “A levellers”  as well Thomas Donaldson and Matthew Chapman free after a month of intensive exams decided to celebrate by pitching themselves against the likes of Redman, Waters, Masterson, Lavery and Flanagan, I guess there are some people who really just can’t seem to get enough of tests!

Because we have experimented by adding the extra sixth round to the 2013 Super Series events it has meant that the winner can never escape a confrontation with another in-form opponent and such was the case for both Event 1 and Event 2 but especially the latter which has such a strong field in depth and balance that the extra round really advertised its worth. It meant that the eventual victor Calum Leitch had to clash with and defeat Alan Thomason, Des Mooreland, Ian Woodfield, Michael Waters and Mike Redman on his way to the cash-box. So all in all a very prosperous evening for the coffee house reprobate who ended up with the honours of first place, the cash, a new board 1 Mike Redman a new board 4 Richard Gould, and a new board 5 Ian Kilpatrick, just surprised the little varmint didn’t swipe the tea and biscuits when he was leaving after all he took everything else!

caum wishist

Calum  Leitch came with his Shopping List 

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super series

The opening event of the 2013 Ballynafeigh Chess Club Super Series began on Tuesday evening and per usual it drew quite a fashionable crowd ranging from elements of the local intelligentsia and cultural world. Michael Waters also made an appearance and thanked the authors of this site for the motivational link that we posted last week especially for him to help deal with the very concept of playing standard club players, or as Michael likes to describe them “tedious inferior dross”

John Cairns the Hollywood script writer was losing his Super Series virginity, though some would suggest that perhaps losing his mind would have been a more appropriate description when he enquired whilst devoid of a tongue in his cheek “is Micky Adams coming, or Nigel or any of those guys?” “Any of what guys?” asked the rather perplexed controller “you know, big Alex Baburin, Nigel Short, Keith Arkell, Mark Hebden etc” said Cairns before adding “I just thought if they knew I was here they might turn up” When it was pointed out to John Cairns that while the Gossip pages are keenly read by local chess players and avidly read by libel lawyers, the idea that notable Grand Masters scan them just see if there was room at the inn for a ten quid tourney was completely absurd and besides Nigel Short and Alexander Baburin are too busy making money, Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell are too busy drinking and there aren’t enough pictures for Micky Adams to get a grasp of what’s going on in the first place. “I think you guys are completely wrong” insisted Cairns before adding “I was on TV with those guys, they’d remember me” “Was it on CH4 or BBC2 Johnny cos I must have missed it” replied the controller, to which Cairns whipped out a photo in a silver frame (well it was silver coloured) showing the lobby TV screen from Bunratty 2013 showing 4 featured games “Well what do you think of that then?” exclaimed an agitated Cairns, “it looks impressive John, it certainly does” said the controller before swiftly adding “but it would have been more impressive if it had been round 6 and not round 1” Cairns replaced the photo in his pocket and left the registration area clearly deflated by the lack of respect being shown in his direction.

cairns screen bunratty 2

The Bunratty 2013 lobby screens round 1

Damien Lavery got an early tempo going with victories against Mohammed Saad, Adrian Dornford-Smith and his slimmer brother Robert Lavery in the early rounds, before dispatching Sam Flanagan and John Cairns in similar fashion. Michael Waters was emphatically punishing his own opponents with the exception of a GM draw agreed with Fisherwick club-mate and GM wannabe John Cairns. This left Lavery and Waters to scrap it out for the number one spot in the Super Series event 1 and it was the old egotist himself Michael Waters who reigned supreme and the end of round six after defeating Damien Lavery who had to console himself  with second place and a double Chinese on the way home.

Carryout food was much more than Paul McLoughlin had to console himself with after he was swindled out of the upper grading prize when either he or his opponent inadvertently recorded Pauls win as a draw. This error allowed Karina Kruk to nip in and bag the swag, the result could not be amended as two rounds had passed since and any change was unfair to others, McLoughlin’s protest that Karina’s mum was loitering way too close to the results computer was dismissed by the controller as pure conspiracy stuff

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A Date with Beauty Missed

One game from round 4 in the City of Belfast Championships featured a match-up between sabbatical returnee Brendan Jamison 1758 and tournament regular Robert Lavery 1385. In the position below Lavery with black played

….       Ng3

Rxf2    Bxf2

Kxf2    and white went on to win

But Lavery who was flying in the Henderson Cup section at the time missed something quite lovely, the chess equivalent of a 147 in snooker, a nine darter, a Matty Bouroughs back heel volley or a perfect game in baseball, the under promotion mate.  Can you see it? From this diagram black to play.

cityofbelfastround4

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New club for east Belfast

There are strong and persistent rumours that there is a new team set for the league next year. Calum Leitch the infamous maverick and Rob Lowe impersonator of the Ballynafeigh Chess Club has broken away from the Ormeau road outfit disgusted by the lack of challenge to Michael Waters from the board 1 players with the Ballynafeigh teams. “If you want a job done right, then do it yourself is my motto” said Leitch “I’m going to set up my own team and I’ll show Mallaghan, Houston and Scannell (the board ones with Ballynafeigh’s three teams) how it’s done, I’ll grind Waters into the ground, you all wait and see!” he declared.

Leitch then promptly raided his old stomping ground for the best and brightest talent from Ballynafeigh that could be bribed or blackmailed to go with him, stealing or buying David Conlon, Ian Kilpatrick, Richard Gould, and Iza Bujak along the way. When asked if he would also like to take Damien Lavery with him he replied “No way man, I only want players that are able to beat the bigger players, he has never beaten Frank Carrothers and they don’t come much bigger than big Frank!”

The new club will apparently play from the Lindores coffee house on the Newtownards road in east Belfast and will carry the venues name Lindores Chess Club, we at Ballynafeigh fully support this new venture and hope their future is as bright as the talent they swindled the dirty rotten #%$*ers

calum leitch

Calum Leitch who is a stunt stand in for Rob Lowe when he’s not playing chess

calum leitch rob lowe

Calum or Rob i find it hard to tell

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Clearer Picture of Cork

There is an old saying that “A lie can be half way around the world before the truth has its boots on”

Having been thoroughly dismayed on the length of time that the ICU were taking to make a clear declaration of actual actions and events surrounding the Mirza and Co fracas we have made our feelings known about this dismay on this site with vivid clarity.

I was receiving many anonymous comments loaded with innuendo in the site inbox as to what happened but with no proof they were sent with all haste to the trash can.

I then received emails from people I know and whom I respect greatly as having the utmost integrity, they gave me a fuller picture of events and an introduction to someone who arrived on the scene immediately after the now infamous incident.

I was given testimony by several people that the accounts in many newspapers were highly sanitised as to what actions were undertaken before sanity was restored. I am firmly led to believe from several sources that are beyond reproach that there is irrefutable and conclusive digital evidence that paints a much more unnerving picture of events. There also seems to be a certain history with the two protagonists including an alleged reversal of roles at another event at an earlier date.

Hence the delay from the ICU as both parties now have lawyers involved and this saga is set to run to its conclusion in a court of law, which in order to protect the Irish Chess Union the executive board have had their hands tied legally and could not intervene to bring clarity for the membership.

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Tabloid Journalist interviews Gabriel Mirza

Gabriel I want to ask you about the time when you caught the chess cheat in Cork

Hack…    Did you use a machete?

Mirza…    What?

Hack…   A Machete, you know kind of a shorter fatter version of a Samurai sword!

Mirza…    No

Hack…   Did you use a hammer on the victim any time?

Mirza…    What?

Hack…   A hammer, it’s a heavy tool for putting nails into things!

Mirza….    No! Never, this is crazy!

Hack…   Okay okay and you’re definitely not related to Peter?

Mirza…    Yes I am why?

Hack…   Really what’s your relationship?

Mirza…    He is my cousin

Hack…   That’s fantastic and when was the last time you met him?

Mirza…    This morning

Hack…    This morning! Are we talking about the same Peter?

Mirza…    Yes , Peter Mirza

Hack…   Oh no it was another Peter I was thinking of, his surname is Sutcliffe.

Hack…    Did you pull a gun on him?

Mirza…    On who?

Hack…    The kid in the toilet!

Mirza….     No! No Way!

Hack…   Did you not need a gun because the tournament was in Cork and not Limerick?

Mirza…    What? I don’t use a gun!

Hack…   Did you Mike Tyson the life out of him then?

Mirza…    Did I what?

Hack…    You know get the kid in a corner and punch the bajesus out of him.

Mirza…    No! No! No! I didn’t punch the bajesus out of anyone!

Hack…    Ah come on now Gabriel you must have done something to get all this media attention eh! Did you give him a touch of the aul’ Luis Suarez then?

Mirza…    What do you mean?

Hack…    You sank the teeth into him didn’t you?

Mirza…    No I did not, that’s a horrible thing to say!

Hack…    You’re Romanian aren’t you?

Mirza…     What’s that got to do with it?

Hack…   Well Dracula was from Romania!

Mirza….    What?

Hack…    Well have you ever looked at your family tree?

Mirza….   No I have not.

Hack…   So what you are saying is that you could be related to Dracula?

Mirza…    No Dracula is a fictional character for god’s sake.

Hack…    You played professional football didn’t you?

Mirza…    Yes

Hack…    Did you admire Zinedine Zidane?

Mirza…    Yes very much, he was fantastic.

Hack…     Is that because he knew how to throw the head-in?

Mirza…    Uh?

Hack….     Head butting, did you head butt the wee child in the cubical?

Mirza…    No I did not!

Hack…    Did you like Eric Cantona?

Mirza…    Yes he was fabulous?

Hack…    Did Cantona inspire you to Kung-Fu the toilet door open to get at the toddler?

Mirza…    This is insane I don’t wish to talk to you anymore, this interview is over.

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Chess Cheat gives statement to Ballynafeigh

Arghhh jeez man sure that was a roight craic ya know, the aul guards an everything was called sure it was a feckin belter man, sure them was shittin themselves when they wer telled I was from Gonzaga like. Almost kinda felt sorry for the aul plods like wearin them daft yellow bibs wif their names on it GARDA like, how could them forget that? But then again watcha expect for twenty odd grand, sure me Da pays more than that to keep me at Gonzaga like.

All this hallibaloo over 400 euro…. I mean 400 like for fecks sake that wouldn’t bouy me feckin fon fer fecks sake.. an there’s him follwing me inta the jacks, ita the friggen jacks, spying on me like, what sort of scumbag does that like, eh answer me that then! And then cos he yapped so much they chucked me out of the tournament like, betcha the aul controller krapped himself when he found out I was from Gonzaga, anyways me family solicitor will be suing someone somehow, there’s no way ya can embarrass a Gonzaga lad and get away wif it even if we do cheat at everything…. sure our Ma’s and Da’s run this country for fecks sake!

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Storm in a Cubical

The Cork debacle and media frenzy that ensued after the event only serves as a poignant reminder that can and will occur once individuals make decisions or take unilateral action on their own.

We in Ulster chess can remember our own strikingly similar incident very recently but were blessed that our most experienced arbiter David McAlister was on duty at the tournament in question, we were also fortunate that the aggrieved player who was being cheated had the good sense not to take matters into his own hands but let the controlling arbiter make the decisions.

At this stage there was only deep suspicion, well very deep, Marianas Trench deep now that I think about it. However there was still no uncovered electronic hardware to reinforce those suspicions. Mr McAlister confronted the individual and cleverly without accusing him of any wrong doing left the culprit with the absolute crystal clear message in the most direct language that he was being watched forensically close, and that the monitoring would be resolute and continuous.

The message got through his play became poor and his position collapsed in no time at all¸ he hasn’t played in chess tournaments since. So the lesson for all is if you wish for a diplomatic and effective solution to your suspicions report it to the controller and keep chess out of the toilet.

chess toilet

tangled_wires_toilet

Controllers said that with hindsight perhaps the Cork toilets should have raised some concerns

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Crisp Notes but no Money

A little dickey-bird tweeted the Ballynafeigh gossip desk about a minor confrontation at one of the matches last week. One very well known and respected Ulster chess player was eating a packet of crisps directly behind a newer member to Ulster chess deeply pondering a losing position.

An exchange of views and gestures ensued in the incident now being daubed Tato-Gate by the witnesses present, whether it was Worchester Sauce or Ready Salted we don’t really know but there was definitely a couple of pickled onions involved.

No-Fish-And-Chips

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April Fool  gets a big media interest

Some of you may have worked it out before Easter Monday but many didn’t, three or four eager if not angry Easter bunnies even contacted local media to complain about the lack of respect for Hollywood heartthrobs being shown by the executive board of Ulster chess.

What else could explain the local newspapers like the Belfast Telegraph the Newsletter, the Sunday life etc etc queuing up to ring my phone over the weekend for quotes and confirmation that gorgeous George and sexy Jessica were not allowed to swap checks with the rest of us. (Though I’d swap a check for one of their cheques anytime)

Then it really got silly with phone calls from a few independent radio stations, one from Scotland and one from Dublin then a TV station. That was funny the media getting stung when they are the one that normally do the stinging, but when two teenage girls phoned to hurl abuse down the line and a few groupies rang me to enquire which hotel George was staying when he was here I could hear the theme music from the twilight zone in the back of my head.

The target of the prank was none other that Patrick Magee who was in line for his comeuppance after his late night phone call last year. Not only did the bold Patrick fall for it hook line and sinker but he went rod, reel, waders, and landing net as well. The trainee doctor arrived at the Easter Monday Rapid-play blissfully unaware that it was also April 1st armed with a printed out motion to be discussed by the membership on why we should let the stars of Polar-Foil play chess.

There was a large board at the top of the playing venue with the film title printed on it which is of course an anagram of … APRIL  FOOL 

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Movie Stars refused permission to play in the Ulster Chess Championships.

Two of Hollywoods most distinguished mega stars have been refused permission to play chess in Belfast. Chess fanatics George Clooney and Jessica Alba are due in Northern Ireland for nearly three weeks in August for filming of the latest Hollywood blockbuster Polar Foil about a scientific experiment on Antarctica that goes horribly wrong and Jessica Alba flees back to her grandparents homestead in the Glens of Antrim, George Clooney is the ruthless CIA agent sent to silence her.

There is a break in filming over the August bank holiday Clooney who is a chess fanatic with an ELO rating of 1760 and the even higher ranked Alba another student of the board had their agents/personal assistants search for local chess competitions during this period. It just happened to be when the Ulster Chess Championships are scheduled in Belfast and both Clooney and Alba were in love with the idea of playing in the event. While gorgeous George is no slouch on the board the stunning Alba has went further and represented her home state of California at high school and college level and has also narrowly missed selection the USA women’s chess team in 1999 and again in 2001 However when the Stars agents contacted the members of the Ulster Chess Union through a third party to ensure privacy or at least restricted access during the competition they were informed that neither of the Hollywood stars were eligible to play under current UCU rules.

The current rules only allow players who either were born in any county in Ulster or who have lived in any county in Ulster for more than a year, clearly neither of the paparazzi magnets fill either criteria though Jessica Alba’s agent did cheekily suggest that she qualified as her character in the movie Polar Foil was born in Cushendall (village on the Antrim coast)

George Clooney’s personal assistant then made a direct call on Clooney’s behalf to one of the UCU officials to see if there was anyway the rules could be circumvented just this once, with Clooney himself coming on the phone at the end of the conversation to say goodbye (now is a good time to point out that this official who shall remain nameless can no longer use the phone as his wife has barred anyone from using it, she is the worlds biggest George Clooney fan and he was the last person to speak down the wires!)

The executive board then discussed and voted on a possible EGM (emergency general meeting) to offer the membership the chance to vote on the matter as the executive boards hands were tied legally to the current rule book, it was then passed by a vote of 4-3 to have a single issue vote taken at the next gathering of a UCU quorum which will be the Ulster Rapid play tournament at Ballynafeigh Community Development Centre on Easter Monday.

george1

jessica2

Don’t know about you but Jessica is getting my vote! Vote early vote often.

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Russian roulette on a chessboard

The candidates tournament is in full swing in London at the moment and it is the Donald Duck fan from southern Norway Magnus Carlsen who has moved to the front of the pecking order. The pre-tournament favourite gained his clear lead when world number 3 Armenia’s Levon Aronian who has been confirmed for Bunratty 2014 (though he wants protection from steven Eachus apparently) was defeated by Boris Gelfand in round 9.

However it was the game between Russian pair Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk that grabbed all the column inches. This encounter had more testosterone than a female East German sprinters blood sample, it was beyond a game of poker with bluff and counter bluff and moved straight to a game of Russian roulette Deer-Hunter style with 3 bullets in the chamber, really awesome off the wall stuff!

http://london2013.fide.com/index.php

Here’s a link go to this page then on the left hand menu bar click game analysis and choose round 9 Svidler-Grischuk game, and enjoy

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Bunratty Hangovers

A big contingent of local chess talent descended on the sleepy Co Clare village of Bunratty over the weekend to test their mettle in the biggest tournament in Ireland and the UK. Now whilst the results showed that for some their prowess over the chequered board was tested if not completely thwarted in both the Major and Challenger sections it must be said their prowess at the bar was never in dispute. If FIDE handed out rating points and norms for drinking and socialising then we undoubtedly we would have quite a few Super GM’s

Standard bedtime for the Hallion Battalion as they became known 5:30am on the Friday 5:30 am on the Saturday and 6:30am on the Sunday. Paul McLoughlin drove 240 miles just to watch he wasn’t even playing in the tournament such was his hunger for the craic and also to interrupt Ray Keenes unbelievably boring anecdotes with a sound machine.

Now which Belfast player was within a hair of laying out Veselin Topolov GM after a lost in translation moment will remain a secret we won’t betray big Stevens identity. Damien Lavery should have qualified for the Blitz quarter finals alas he unfortunately marked both himself and his opponent in for a loss in the same game, after a stewards inquiry it was decided not to undo the pairing but instead to just laugh at him.

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The Hallions on the warm up!

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Paul Carey on the right shows his sadness upon hearing of the Lavery mis-result

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Topalov was Milli seconds from a hallion induced coma and yet blissfully unaware, ah Bunratty you couldn’t make it up!

Mbunratty

Clare-20130302-04878

No there were no IED’s in Bunratty and John Cairns still has both legs it’s just he likes to impersonate Long John Silver when he has a few drinks in him. The lads did manage to find Cathal Murphy’s stolen bicylce up on the wall behind them
Clare-20130303-04879We were broke so we sent Karina busking …. we were still broke when she stopped

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4am at the Belfast still in the boot of the car

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Chess Quotes

“A chess game is divided into three stages: the first, when you hope you have the advantage, the second when you believe you have an advantage, and the third… when you know you’re going to lose!”     (Tartakower)

“only sissies castle”    ( Rob Sillars )

“Chess is a beautiful mistress to whom we keep coming back, no matter how many times she rejects us.”  ( Bent Larsen )

“There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones and mine”     ( Mikhail Tal )

“Some part of a mistake is always correct”   ( Tartakower )

“The passed Pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key.
Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient”  ( Nimzovich )

“The blunders are all there on the board, just waiting to be made”  ( Tartakover )

“The boy ( a 12 year old named Anatoly Karpov) doesn’t have a
clue about Chess, and there’s no future at all for him in this profession” (Mikhail Botvinnik)

“Chess is ruthless: you’ve got to be prepared to kill people  (Nigel Short) Rite flak jacket required for his simul on the 6th March then!

“The process of rating players can be compared to the measurement of the position of a cork bobbing up and down on the surface of agitated water with a yard stick tied to a rope and which is swaying in the wind.”  ( Arpad Elo )  Ahh so that’s how Drew does the ratings!

“Chess is something that keeps mad people sane.”  (William Hartston ) Though it hasn’t worked for Martin Kelly!

“There are only two kinds of moves in the opening, Moves which are wrong and moves which could be wrong.” ( Tartakower )

“Any opening is good enough, if its reputation is bad enough.”  ( Tartakower ) That’s why they all work against Kevin Agnew!

“Are you looking a boot in the smarties”  (Kevin Agnew)

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Lagan Freezes at Fisherwick

No the river Lagan hasn’t solidified just in case any of you were thinking of rummaging the attic for your Torvill and Dean boots and Robin Cousins lycra, not that some chess players need ice as an excuse to don varying pastel shades of lycra. Lagan Chess Club were obviously still suffering from a severe chill in the bones after last weeks frosty game with Ballynafeigh’s Ice Queen Iza Bujak and couldn’t handled another cold one.  They were drawn to play Fisherwick on Monday evening but an avalanche of snow had all the players concerned about getting home, when I say avalanche I used the words in the loosest terms possible it was approximately 1½” inches, err no you read that right it wasn’t metres or even feet it was in fact 1½” inches.

I went outside to check for myself when I was informed and to be perfectly honest the Rolling Stones have probably put more white stuff up their nose in a weekend than was lying in my garden. Yul Brenner probably had a worse dandruff problem so I phoned John Cairns back to confirm.

“Johnny there’s nothing worth a damn where I am” I said … “Man it’s bad here there’s snow ploughs working away like crazy” John replied before adding “We need to cancel this one Damien I’ll send you a video so you can see for yourself”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYlePRxs03A 

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There’s Snow on Them Hills

Forget the blizzard warnings and sub-zero temperature expectations of the weather forecasters if you really want to see a cold chill just get into a time scramble with Iza Bujak of the Ballynafeigh International team. The Lagan Chess Club played hosts to their riverside neighbours from three bridges down on Wednesday evening and the match like almost all contests this year have been extremely close affairs, the sheer number of drawn matches in the league so far this year will testify to that.

Chris Kelly the President of the UCU was paired against Damien Cunningham the League Controller of the UCU and on the evening not only did he outrank him but he outplayed him as well, one nil to Lagan. Chris graciously invited his defeated opponent to the bar for a consolation drink and to offer kind words of encouragement like “What was that crap you played” and “What medication are you taking?” followed by “Tell me this, does your husband play?” before delivering his coup de grace “who taught you checkers anyway” Yeah Cunningham was feeling suitably soothed almost as much as Kelly was feeling suitably smug, but not quite!

Calum Leith the slightly underweight skeleton come coat-hanger board 2 for International rattled into the room with a grin as wide as the space in his coat and the scores were level at one each, though while the news was good to hear for Cunningham the International captain there was however a slight drawback, there were now two winners at the table in the bar and only one loser and Leitch a team mate of Cunningham’s reminded him of it at every opportunity. David Houston board 1 for International entered the bar after his game which had to be good news for Cunningham because if Houston had won the team would be winning 2-1 and if he lost well he’d be obliged to share the humiliation and scorn, so it was a win-win situation for Cunningham. “How did you go Dave?” asked Cunningham “It was a draw” Houston replied, yeah Cunningham’s luck was running true to form, if he bought a duck it would sink!

They all headed back into the chess room to watch the finish of the remaining two games International’s board 5 Ian Kilpatrick agreed a draw with his Lagan counterpart Chris Armstrong the match was perfectly balanced with only one game remaining unfinished. That game was between Gerald Harvey of Lagan and Iza Bujak from International, Harvey had 18mins on his clock Bujak 3mins it was a closed position they both still had queens rooks and bishops on the board as well as six pawns each. It looked like Harvey was going to run her clock out and deny her the draw, they played on Harvey 14 mins Bujak 2mins .. then Harvey 9mins Bujak 1 min .. still they played on still no draw offers from EITHER player, Cunningham wondered if Ballynafeigh’s new Polish player Bujak knew she could offer a draw or stop the clocks and claim a draw on no progress … Harvey 3 mins Bujak seconds … Finally “would you like a draw?” asked Harvey … Phew thought Cunningham that was way too close as Bujak’s flag was hanging … “No thank you” Bujak replied with a smile….  Cunningham and Kelly were both gobsmacked and stared at each other .. they played on .. Harvey 1 min Bujak micro seconds … “Draw yes” asked Harvey .. Bujak coldly thought for 5 or 6 seconds before saying “err No” it brought gasps from the room, this girl had stopped playing chess and was now playing Russian roulette instead, Harvey looked stunned, Leitch looked like he was about to explode in laughter “There’s ice water in those veins” whispered an astonished Chris Kelly, “just ice water, more like liquid nitrogen!” retorted Cunningham. They played on, both flags were hanging, Bujaks must have been in suspended animation, they shuffled pieces and at that point the two captains intervened to end the game as a draw on no progress before Calum Leitch took a fit or Gerald Harvey took a heart attack.

The moral of the story is don’t get into a time scramble with the Ice Queen Bujak and definitely don’t play chicken or poker with her because this girl will not back down EVER!

Archie Kirk plays in the snow as his schIza Bujak getting warmed up for the match

geralds scorecard

Gerald Harveys score-sheet from the Iza Bujak Match

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Shiver me timbers …arrr!

Word has reached our gossip desk that Ballynafeigh’s apprentice doctor Patrick Magee suffered a dizzy spell after his David and Goliath encounter with the nemesis of Ballynafeigh Chess Club Roy Stafford. The Ballynafeigh Sultans hauled Magee in at the last moment as a replacement for Damien Lavery, it proved to be a very fortuitous substitution for the Sultans when Magee armed only with enthusiastic zest and a new chess book “Castling is for Wimps”  took on and defeated Stafford who had been dinning on Ballynafeigh rating points at his leisure.

“I done him, he knows who’s top dog now” bragged Magee, “I put the wee Staffy back on a lead for Ballynafeigh” he told his team-mates who by all accounts were as stunned as Roy Stafford by the result as they made their way silently to the car. This state of perplexed thought must have held the occupants of the Ballynafeigh car in a vice like grip, a shock so strong that it completely struck them dumb, it must have done something because on leaving the car-park of Shorts chess club Magee still on cloud nine took the wrong turn and nobody noticed, … nobody noticed for twenty miles! It was only when they arrived at the harbour and they couldn’t see the Odyssey complex that they realised that they were not in Belfast but were in fact at the Bangor marina!

Perhaps Magee had mistook John McKenna and his walking stick for Long John Silver and a crutch, perhaps Thomas Donalson was doing a wonderful impersonation of a parrot on Johns shoulder, I guess we’ll never know, but what I would love to know is at what part of this twenty mile sightseeing tour along the North Down coast did four seemingly intelligent adults and a revered parrot impersonator not realise that they were heading in the wrong direction, or did they know but were waiting on the parrot to speak first?

And to think the general public actually think chess players are smart!

thomas

Arrr..  grab ye the back Thomas and hoist yer seat belt o’er or it be the cat o’ nine tails for all

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Mallaghan Unlucky in Las Vegas

Danny Mallaghan the board 1 of the Ballynafeigh Badgers was desperately unlucky in Las Vegas this Christmas break, no he wasn’t squandering his copious wealth at the casinos tables and slots, he was in fact playing in the North American Chess Open. While the rest of us were languishing in Belfast scrambling for the Ulster Blitz title with a mug of tea in one hand and a slice of Eileen Kruks home made cake in the other Mallaghan was sunning himself in the playboys play ground with Pina-Colada’s by the tray and massages by the pool.

Danny finished on 5 out of 7 but he blundered two clearly won games and turned both into horror losses. In his 3rd round match he was so far in front his opponent needed binoculars to see him but unfortunately for the bold Daniel he didn’t even need glasses to realise that Mallaghan’s king was trapped, cue a loss and a bucket. In the 6th round Danny was a full piece up but was apparently distracted by a Hollywood starlet on the next board and he left a rook en prise with a check and was forced to resign. If Danny had won either of those matches he would have been $2,000 better off, you read that correctly that wasn’t two hundred that was indeed two thousand dollars.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas they say, well I think this is one story that will be coming back to Belfast.  http://chesstournamentservices.com/cca/2012/12/north-american-open-2012-standings-under-1900-section/

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New Blitz Champion

The 2012 Ulster blitz championships took place at the Ballynafeigh club rooms on Saturday 29th Dec, it was an excellent turn out both in the numbers playing and the overall strength of the field.

Those attending included Michael Waters the Ulster Champion, Steven Eachus the Ulster intermediate champion, Alan Delaney the Ulster Masters champion, Karina Kruk the Irish women’s champion, Calum Leitch the residing Blitz champion, Steve Scannell an eight times Ulster Champion and quite a few heavy hitters from the Ulster league like Stephen Morgan, Eamonn Walls, Nicholas Pilkiewicz, and Gareth Annesley. When bolstered by the likes of Damien Lavery, Damien Cunningham, Ian Woodfield, John Bradley, and Mark Newman plus a host of 1300-1500 ankle biting juniors there just to take your blitz rating down and ruin your Christmas in general then you knew it was going to be a little Christmas cracker of an event.

The ankle biting squad went snapping early inflicting defeats on Bradley Cunningham Waters Annesley Kruk Newman and Pilkiewicz this allowed Lavery and Scannell to get a jump on the field but it was a 21 round event so there was plenty of time for them to falter and be caught by the pack. Waters clawed his way back up to the front but his hopes were dashed when he was controversially defeated by Lavery who innocently made an illegal move with 1sec left on his clock the 2sec added increment bolstered his clock to 3sec on rectification of this error he gained yet another 2secs, Waters was fully justified in his grievance but that is a side effect of increments and lightening chess, the incident which was replicated later against Kiran Robbin and John Bradley with 5-7secs on the clock will mean in future any illegal move made in blitz games with less than 20 seconds on the clock will be adjudged an automatic loss.

The upsets kept coming and some of the more fancied competitors were struggling to hit 50% but Scannell just kept racking up the wins and soon built an unassailable lead finishing the tournament with an incredible nineteen wins and suffering only two losses. This will be a welcome result for Scannell who has been out of the winner’s enclosure for almost as long as Istabraq, whether or not it will be repeated in longer formats only time will tell, as for Waters who still managed to finish second now that public hanging is no longer an option he will just have to consol himself with the knowledge that he inflicted one of the defeats upon Scannell and would have been closer still only for Lavery’s time swindle , though Michael with his legal background was at pains to point out that while the public hanging of Lavery was indeed illegal that in itself did not necessarily negate the idea as an option! Eamonn Walls picked up third and Kiran Robbin picked up another accolade  when he lifted the grading prize.

steve

“Gee I won, are you sure,”

new venue

Michael Waters has contacted us to say that he has found a new venue for Blitz games

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International Get a Lesson at Fruithill

Ballynafeigh International travelled to the new venue of the Fruithill bowling club to play the new Fruithill chess team made up mostly from former members of the RVH chess club from further down the road, it is without doubt a vast improvement of their former premises and unquestionably more conducive for playing chess at a high level.

Paul Logan and John Monaghan went out of their way to ensure everyone received a warm and friendly welcome with Paul queuing up at the bar to buy the visitors double Brandies to combat the cold night air, though Pauls brother Charlie a Ballynafeigh registered player was convinced it was a ploy to get the Ballynafeigh team sloshed! I’m really beginning to think Ballynafeigh is coming down with conspiracy theorists.

Fruithill’s original team sheet had Delaney on 1 Toal on 2 Monaghan on 3 Logan on 4 and a blank no show for board 5 twenty minutes and four double Brandies later International were facing a team that consisted of Michael Holmes on 1) Alan Delaney on 2) Ciaran Marron on 3) Tony Parker down on 4) and last years assassin Michael Toal bringing up the rear, some conspiracies do have merit!

Holmes and Houston play out a draw on board 1 whilst Toal eventually got the better of Internationals new find Barney McGahan after a good tussle. Calum Leitch levelled the score-line with a fantastic win and inflicted the season’s first defeat upon the recent Ulster Masters Champion Alan Delaney. Damien Cunningham held on to an early pawn gain against Ciaran Marron and held a territorial advantage until the end despite some inventive play from Marron.

However on board 4 the newly crowned Irish women’s Champion was paired against the most famous driving instructor in Belfast, Tony Parker, Karina playing black drove over whites lines early in this test trying to force Tony into a virtual cul-de-sac, but Parker manoeuvred wonderfully pulling off a three pawn turn and moved forward putting Kruk in reverse for the rest of the game until she eventually broke down. Afterward as we were leaving Parker quipped “tell Karina that lesson was free but the rest are £22.50 an hour” he then produced an L plate and told me to place it on her board the next time she was playing..

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Master Class at Masters

Alan Delaney now resident full time in Belfast after ten years abroad absolutely stormed the senior section of the Ulster Masters with a devastating 5½ from 6 At no stage did his opposition ever threaten to rein him in after he broke loose from the pack, he steamrollered the likes of Steve Scannell Danny Mallaghan and Mark Newman into the board on his way to the title, only the resolute Ross Harris who eventually went on to pick up the well deserved under 1800 grading prize caused Delaney any concern over the weekend, when Harris tirelessly worked for a well deserved draw. Ian Woodfield finished a very creditable second and the result was thoroughly deserved for a loyal supporter of local chess. Delaney has been a revelation since the beginning of the year and word on the grapevine has it that the Ulster Champion Michael Waters ducked Delaney in the league sending his trusty lieutenant Cairns to face him instead. That particular rumor mill gathered pace when Waters was absent from the starting line up on Saturday morning though allegedly observed in the bushes outside the venue with binoculars watching the participants enter the building.

In the intermediate section young Thomas Donaldson of Ballynafeigh completely romped home leading the tournament from the starting gun to the finishing line, he sat comfortable throughout as challenge after challenged faltered at his board. A grandmaster draw in the last round against opening book theorist Kevin Agnew sealed an inaugural victory for Donaldson in only his second ever tournament the game result also contributed to Agnew securing the under 1300 grading prize. Martin Kelly and Stewart McConaghy took second and third respectively, they both tied with Agnew on 4 ½ but the UCU computerized tie-break system allocated their eventual finishing positions. A superb day for UCU chess of the future, though the absence of any trophies at the presentation ceremony because they were not returned on time wasn’t very clever.

Has Michael swapped Chess for bird-watching?

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Calum Leitch throws a tizzy

Calum Leitch is most upset at the moment, his tantrum stems from when he was informed that his opponent to be for the Tuesday night internal club showdown between the Ballynafeigh Sultans and his own Ballynafeigh International had pulled out at the eleventh hour. Damien Lavery sent messages to the Ballynafeigh selection panel informing them of his unavailability for the evening due to “the possibility that he could possibly be selected for a draw for tickets to a concert, maybe, possibly hopefully” Leitch fumed at the selectors “he’s running scared of me yet again” before adding “I own him, I’ve always owned him, and by God he knows I own him, he’s just yellow I tell you yellow, cos he knows I’m the big dog between us two and he’s the shaking gutless chicken”

Lavery queues for tickets for a lottery for tickets!

Damien Lavery retorted on hearing Leitches claims to being the “Big-Dog” between the two “that’s absolutely correct he is, and here is a few of our games in the past to prove that he’s the big dog”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dKfiIgZmKQ

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Magherafelt has moved to Mallusk

It’s okay I know what you’re thinking, using nothing but rational and the powers of deduction that barring a cataclysmic shift in the local terra firma which would fundamentally change the natural geography of county Antrim there’s no way Magherafelt up stumps and moved 30 mile closer to Belfast. You all think I bought a Tom-Tom nat-sav off the back of a lorry being driven by someone with a heavy brogue. Well I didn’t and the 9,000 inhabitants of the town can rest easy it was just their chess club that moved down to Mallusk, this apart from being easier to get to for most will also mean that if you don’t have a return ticket on Cathals Sinclair C5  this season you can always walk it.

Cathal contacted us to say he is livid about us referring to his Sinclair C5 when he sold it last month and bought this huge van instead so he can take the whole team to matches. his reasons were ” Philip and Martin had been worried about travelling down south on the back of my scooter and the sidecar…”

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Getting it right and getting it wrong

Sincere apologies to Shorts board 3 Ross Harris nephew of the great Rolf who unfortunately had the dubious honour of being misnamed on this website. Sorry Ross but I was watching the golf on ESPN were I had a feeble wager for interest on the English player Ross Fisher while composing and editing pages on the Ballynafeigh site about the Shorts v Badger match, so Ross Harris became Ross Fisher without even having to play a bunker shot… oops!

But we do occasionally get it right and were delighted to find a charming message lurking in our comment box from one of the nicest guys in chess the wonderfully affable Dennis Wilkinson.

“Many thanks for an enjoyable evening, (not so much for the thumping though) Have to say again I was so impressed with the vibrancy enthusiasm and atmosphere of the Ballynafeigh club, best of luck for the rest of the season.”

Regards Dennis

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Badger Cull

Irrespective of what Channel 4 and BBC World Service reported yesterday evening the proposed Badger cull was not postponed in all areas, either that or the boys from Shorts need to retune their sets after the digital switchover, because they promptly turned up at Ballynafeigh and set about the Badgers team like hunters possessed. Even though the Badgers showed up well on the premier boards of 1 & 2 taking 1.5 points from a possible 2 with a Mallaghan victory over Newman and a Conlon draw against McNaughton Shorts bottom boards of Harris McConaghy and Stafford ruthlessly exterminated the Badger set of R Lavery  Saad and Rajan.

David Houston and Neil Green study their positions the Badgers board 1 behind them studies the heavens

It was the same scenario at Fruithill when Fisherwick only managed a half point from the top 2 boards of Cairns and Fong against Delaney and Marron but their super strong bottom boards of Flanagan Ormorod and Woodfield saw off the challenge of Fruithill, it is a scenario I envisage seeing over and over again this season in the chase for the Silver King Championship it will be the bottom boards that will be the King makers.

South Belfast also turned up to the packed Ballynafeigh rooms on Tuesday evening though they were not the “tour de force” that the Ballynafeigh International had braced themselves for, as they seemed to have struggled amassing a team for the match, in total contrast it must be said to their hosts Ballynafeigh who were forced to ask nearly a dozen members to go home because they weren’t selected just leaving the four teams of Shorts, Belfast South, B’feigh Badgers and B’feigh International and another dozen non playing Ballynafeigh members as spectators so there would be enough room. Houston and Cunningham gained early wins against Green and Jaffa however Kelly and Wilkinson dug in to hold the Polish female double act of Bujak and Kruk but International new boy Kilpatrick lengthened the winning margin with victory over Jackson when “Gorgeous George” called it a day when he ran out of options.

Ballynafeigh unveiled another female star in the making when newcomer Iza Bujak gave Dennis Wilkinson food for thought

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Name and Shame

You’d reckon that the naming of chess teams would be a rather ordinary indeed quite mundane affair with little or no complications, well when it comes to Ballynafeigh Chess Club you would be reckoning wrong. Having a reputation for being as democratic as totalitarianism will allow, the members were emailed for suggestions for names for the three teams playing in the league this year. Danny Mallaghan excelled himself in the quest for something exhilarating dynamic entertaining and clever, and replied with the suggestion Ballynafeigh A, Ballynafeigh B and yes you’ve guessed it Ballynafeigh C.

Richard Gould was almost as original with his proposal for Ballynafeigh 1, Ballynafeigh 2, and yeah you know what’s coming Ballynafeigh 3. Either delusions of grandeur or cultural snobbery had seized what little mind Paddy Magee had left because his suggestion was characters from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, ah well at least it was original. Then I received an emailed reply from John “the Sultan” McKenna, I was relieved because John McKenna is famed for his intelligent and rational contributions to any matter he’s involved with, a renowned thinker like Plato and Socrates and I was more than eager to have his considered input.

“I think” his email read “that because of Ballynafeigh Chess Clubs location beside the old world famous Ormeau bakery that this should be reflected in relationship to the teams names” At last someone on my own wavelength this was what I was expecting when the consultation process began, obviously “the Sultan” was thinking of the surrounding street names or the mills or kilns, something relevant. I should have consulted with John first instead of wasting my time with the “Goons” I emailed him back for what specifically he had in mind and received the reply Ballynafeigh pancakes Ballynafeigh cream buns and Ballynafeigh crusty baps.

Needless to say the process is now closed and the teams will now be called

Ballynafeigh Rooks      Ballynafeigh Knights     and     Ballynafeigh Bishops

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The New Icon of Ulster Chess

Karina Kruk the belle of the Ballynafeigh chess club made her awaited return from the 2012 Chess Olympiad in the Turkish city of Istanbul where whilst making her international debut Karina amassed a very admirable score of 5 from 9.

Victory in her final match would have seen Karina win a WFM title unfortunately this was not to be but consolation came in the form of a WCM title for her fantastic efforts and surely the WFM will follow very shortly.

The new WCM title wasn’t the only thing Karina brought home from Turkey, when she arrived at the club on Tuesday night to brag about her achievements at the Olympiad, and about having dinner with Kasparov, taxi rides with Shirov and passing dud euro’s with Feckov we realised she was also the proud owner of a new fangled hybrid accent. Not the genteel soft lilting sound of Carrickfergus that she left Belfast with but a weird twang that could only be described as a concoction of drawling yank mixed with a north Dublin brickie rolled into a Belfast hotel receptionist a kind of Graham McDowell on steroids.

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Some Chess players really need to get out more!

“Bajesus I’ll looking forward to a good ride tonight after this” he declared as a matter of fact without a thought for reservation or embarrassment. I looked up from the hell-hole of a gravel pit that we’re attempting to conjure into a fashionable patio area, pausing momentarily to reclaim a semblance of a breath. “Are you? Well I’m absolutely ecstatic for your short term future plans” I added, “Personally I’m completely and utterly knackered from shovelling four ton of clay out and four ton of hardcore and gravel back in, so perhaps if you could use some of that enthusiastic energy in actually giving me a hand instead of behaving like an eighteenth century plantation owner I wouldn’t be on my knees gasping for breath and requiring the arms of a cartoon gorilla”

“I was only saying like, there’s no need to be goin’ and getting all upset like” he said, “why don’t you take a break from that compacting if its doin’ your head in and move those slab stones instead”

“What! There’s two hundred of the back breaking buggers! Are you on glue?” I stuttered.

“Ach sure I’m only messing with you take a proper break and come on into the house and I’ll let you have a peep at my babe” he said.

“What?” I said, “You definitely are on glue if you think I want to go in just to look at your babe, do you think I’m Richard Gould?”

“You’ll not be saying that when you see her, she’s an absolute stunner, what a frame to this girl I’m telling ya, I get goose bumps with pride when I’m seen out in public with her Damien, swear to God I do”

We entered the house and I was thinking this is just taking the trophy wife syndrome way beyond the pale, way beyond it completely. However I’d be polite to his missus, get this lunatic to make us tea or coffee and get back to the compactor machine a.s.a.p.

I didn’t see anyone about the house and said “she must have gone out David”

Standing back he retorted quite dismissively “has she hell, she’s upstairs where I left her lying when I’d finished with her this morning”

“Sorry.. you left her where.. when you what!” I blurted.

“ I left her when I’d finished” he repeated “the new four poster bed arrived this morning so I took my baby upstairs and gave her a bloody good service, boy she needed it I’ll tell you, and when I’d finished I left her sprawled there on the bed all nicely oiled for me for later”

“Whoa! Whoaa… Just hold it right there David, I don’t want to know what you do in the privacy or actually the blatant lack of it in your own bedroom I’m really not interested one little bit” I said

“Ach wise up fella you’ll not be saying that when you get a wee feel of her when we put her into her special harness” “No David trust me I will, I’m not into that stuff, hang on what.. in a what.. a harness!

“Oh aye she needs a special harness to support her!” he replied

“She does, Jesus she must be a quare heavy girl David I enquired with a statement!  “Not at all she’s as light as a feather she’s a wee sporty type, there’s very little on her, makes her easy to throw about” he replied.

Then why do you possibly require special harnesses to support her? I asked almost hesitantly but yet inquisitive for an answer at the same time from the Ulster Chess Unions answer to the Marquis de Sade.

“Why? …. Why!” he replied in an almost disbelieving tone that the question was ever needed to be asked. “So as I’d be right under her in the bed!” he emphatically added with a perplexed gaze, almost one of an asylum inmate staring at the doctor sure in the belief of his own contentment, and the doctor’s obvious insanity.

“Listen David I really think you’re confusing me with Calum Leitch or William McGratten or at the very least Ryan Giggs or Bill Clinton, now I have their numbers if you want, but I reckon they’d be useless with a compactor, but I tell you what, I have what you really need, I have the number of the Lagan Chess Club, they have more doctors than the City Hospital and I’m sure they could get you the professional help you so desperately need!”

Without hesitation he flung open the bedroom door and proudly boasted “well feast your eyes on her, isn’t she just absolutely heart-stoppingly gorgeous, you think how many guys would love to be coming home to something like that”

I could see nothing I was staring at the floor in acute embarrassment, it was horrendously awkward and I had no idea what to do or say, it was still manageable whilst David Conlon filled up he space of the bedroom doorway, but what would I do once he moved out of the way, there was no time to think he side stepped to reveal the huge four poster bed with satin sheets and .. and.. and a bicyle.

“It’s a bloody bike! I gasped.

“A bike!” he snapped

“A bike!, A bloody bike!” he repeated in utter exasperation

“The postman rides a bike, the trendy clowns of South Parade ride bikes, kids ride bikes, this is not a bike! This you uncouth philistine, is the Formula 1 of two wheeled self propelled transport! In the cat world it’s a cheetah, in the dog world it’s a greyhound, in the horse world it’s a Derby winner and in the aerospace world it’s a jet fighter”

“Yeah David” I said “but in the real world it’s a chain, two wheels, some metal and a drop of 3 in 1 oil with a load of WD40”

It’s a Bike

“She’s a Pinarello Dogma HM60.1K, she has a carbon-fibre asymmetrical frame design with arrow shaped seat post and tube, a specialized drive chain on an aerodynamically moulded carbon-fibre crank. It has carbon-fibre wheels with titanium support rods and customised forks, aerodynamic carbon-fibre one piece handlebar and stem with carbon and titanium levers and super alloy dual pivot brakes” the technical specs just rolled out of his mouth like a sales rep on coke “And I’ll tell you something else” he added “You don’t use 3 in 1 oil and WD40 on a piece of precision equipment such as this, this goddess is to be caressed and cared for and to have money lavished on her just to keep her sweet and lovely”

“Sorry my mistake David” I said “you are clearly so mesmerised by that contraption I’d lay a hefty wager that it’s not 3 in 1 oil and WD40 it gets treated to, but Baby-oil and music by UB40, so just out of interest how much money did you spend on it?”

“The four poster bed was a magic deal at £900” he answered.

“That £900 bed is really for that bike! Are you nuts Conlon?

“Of course it is, sure she’s worth much more than that you know” came the reply.

“That thing is more than 900 quid, nine hundred pounds! For a bike” I asked.

“More than £900, Damien that girl is worth £27,500 when she’s all dolled up”

“Twenty seven and a half thousand pounds on a push bike, twenty seven thousand five hundred smackers… you’re absolutely, completely, and utterly, friggen insane Conlon” I stated “what will your missus say when she finds out you’ve bought a four poster bed for the bike?” I added.

Don’t worry about my Ciara she’s a smashing wee lamb, and she knows I’m smart, sure I spend plenty on her and all. I just bought her a lovely watch and matching bracelet as a wee surprise. She was complaining about a lack of lighting in her study so I got her a very fashionable lamp, which came this morning in that box over there. Beside the lamp is another box with a new door-bell inside which I want you to fit later today as another wee surprise just for her, she’ll love it when she sees it on the door. It’s also our anniversary at the weekend and I got matching platinum rings also I got her a lovely new blue hat for a wedding I’m taking her to” he boasted with unlimited pride as he proudly displayed all the items to me.

The Bracelet

The New Lamp

The Watch

The Matching Rings

The New Front Door-bell

The Wedding Hat

“David has your missus seen any of these gifts yet?” I asked

“No not yet, as I said they are all surprises for the weekend for her, so what do you think?” he asked.

“What do I think? Well I think that they certainly will be surprises, and I think you urgently need to get out more, and I think.. no I’m 100% convinced that when your wife sees what you got for her there is no question that patio will be the only thing getting laid this weekend”

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It is with great regret that the Ballynafeigh Chess Club announces the awful news of the untimely passing of young Fergus O’Neill who played for the Ballynafeigh Rascals. As nice a lad as one could ever wish to meet Fergus came to Ballynafeigh along with his friends and fellow competitors Karina Kruk and Matthew Chapman whom he had played with and against in the U.C.U school chess run by Mark Newman.

Constantly to be found with a smile on his face or a quick witted retort if required Fergus also possessed the ability to find humour in his own errors even when involved in a battle with one of nature’s cruelties. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the O’Neill family at this time.

Fergus O’Neill   June 1993 –  April 2012

Bryan Belshaw said: So sorry to hear about young Fergus O’Neill. Had the great pleasure to get to know him a couple of years back at the Ulster Championships, where he put up a great showing. Also had the priviledge of playing him online a few times. Thought he had the makings of a really good player with an excellent temperament. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends at this awful time.

Steve Scannell said: I’m was very sorry to have heard of the passing of Fergus O’Neill.  He was a fine young man and a son that any parents would be proud of. I consider myself fortunate to have known him, he was the type of person appropriate of the sentiment…”It’s not what one has done in their lifetime, but the lives they have touched by their presence”.

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Ulster Rapid-Play

Final Standings

It wasn’t quite the Ark but they still came two by two to register for the Ulster Rapid-Play hosted by the Ballynafeigh Chess Club, well two by two up until the point when Damien Lavery hit the doorway, if you were looking to get two of him in a gap you’d need to contact building control to check if the width of the span required needed special steel beams or not! It was quite a large turnout considering the date clashed with major televised sporting fixtures such as an F.A Cup semi-final, the Grand National, Rugby, and Premier League Football, but then again I suppose the opportunity to watch Lavery trying to negotiate a doorway which is only five and a half feet wide can be pretty entertaining also.

The tournament controller for the day struggled to enrol the multitude on the antiquated laptop supplied by the U.C.U which must have come out of the Ark. The touchpad mouse was so dysfunctional it resembled the actions and properties of an elastic band, when you let go is snapped back to its starting point, ah sometimes a chisel and an old tablet of stone isn’t such a bad idea, so with that in mind we did the next best thing and press-ganged Eileen Kruk famous for have a chiselled nose and a heart of stone into collecting names and fees from the attending horde, accompanied by Kruk the younger they went forth with their hit list, with a smile on one face and a frown on the other their success rate was exemplary.

The door flung open and in he swaggered, on his own, you don’t get two of him, a hush descended the room as the new emperor of Ulster Chess that “beast of the board” Michael Waters surveyed the room for his quota of victims. There were dozens to choose from but it was evident who his desired prey would be for the day, he sneered as he passed each one by, you could almost hear their hearts sink with the fear, where was Paddy Magee when we needed him, he may be diminutive on skill but he’s a colossus on heart, there’d be no quaking in Paddy’s boots, it wouldn’t matter if it was a Michael Waters and Klitschko brothers tag team nothing puts the frighteners on the Downpatrick man. The Ballynafeigh plumber was delighted, “well I didn’t take that sink out for nothing then” “shall I go down and leave it by his car” in a reference to the fact that it’s the only thing that emperor Michael hasn’t won this year.

The first round draw was made and it had a familiar ring to it, literally, on table six Callum Ormerod switched his phone off as instructed by the tournament controller before commencement of play; however in placing his phone back in his pocket it switched itself back on… yeah you guessed it “ring ring it’s for yooohooo” game over as the controller swooped to get a victim before Michael Waters did.

On table two the multiple Ulster Seniors Champion Steve Scannell was in an uncomfortable place against young Matthew Chapman which just seemed to deteriorate by the move, with his Queen en prise Scannel struck out along the b1 h7 file capturing a pawn with check on h7 turning his defence into attack! Brilliant outstanding, awesome, what a pity that there was a pawn in the middle of the board which Scannell hadn’t seen and his Bishop had actually jumped over it, Oh dear! Now I know that it wouldn’t be the first time a Bishop had a sneaky jump when no one was watching but the controller on the day was having none of it, perplexed just for a moment as he considered all possibilities of something he had missed he replaced the Bishop to its original square and informed Scannell who’s Queen was still en prise that “it was touch move and that he needed to move his Bishop”  the sound of a heart relocating to a mouth was audible but not as audible as the suppressed ecstatic cheering of his peers, one Queen trashed! Time can be a healer or a killer in Rapid-play chess, a lesson that Chapman was about to learn in Dolby stereo. As Chapman forced Scannell’s King to the side he left his pawns unguarded which Scannell marauding Bishop promptly ravaged. Scannell’s King forced to the a3 with Chapmans King on the c3 and Queen on the b4 check Scanell moved his King to a2 so as everyone watched expecting the delivery of mate with Qb2 Chapman stunned everyone with K c2… Scannell played Bf5 check and Chapman played Queen a4 mate… what a pity he was in check at the time! Oh dear! The controller replaced the Queen and Chapman instructed to stop the check by interposing the Queen on e4 when he did so Scannell captured the Queen and also covered the promotion square of h1 for Chapmans last pawn on h3 resulting in a drawn match, I must declare I haven’t seen so many Queens completely wasted at the same table since happy hour in the Kremlin nightclub. So it was heartache for young Matthew Chapman and an early playing of the “get out of jail free card” by Steve Scannell, when asked afterwards if he was just zoned out when he tried to turn his Bishop into a long range Knight Scannell replied “I got confused with the event” “You didn’t know it was rapid-play” he was asked “No man I knew it was a rapid-play, “Oh you forgot it was touch move then Steve” “Nah the Grand National is on today and I got all mixed up he replied”

Kremlin and Ballynafeigh both seen wasted Queens this week

The Grand National must have been responsible for the horsy theme becoming a bit of a feature for the day with David Seaby playing like a stallion and a player who shall remain nameless playing like a donkey, In fact so impressive was the stallion play of David Seaby that after his victory over Ormerod he went on to draw with Mallaghan, beat Gupta, had Lavery dead in the water before blundering, he should also have drawn Chapman, the tournament controller considered sending him for a drug test. We also had Adrian Dornford-Smith getting in on the equine act by sporting a pony-tail we had Geoff Hindley who’d due to be put out to pasture and of course the U.C.U also had a vet on standby in case we needed to put Des Mooreland down.

By the end of round four it was him again galloping away in front, James McDonnell was just the latest obstacle to be safely negotiated to maintain a healthy lead. It wasn’t to be a canter of a tournament for Waters though as he found out in round three when Mooreland was chomping at the bit to take a few sirloins out of his hide a full piece up and about to gain more material he forgot to bolt the stable door behind him and walked into a horrible back rank mate, it left Mooreland mucking out and there was a lot of muck to shift!  Waters had copied Scannell in using a get out of jail free card, the expression on Mooreland’s face and his demeanour after that game had the vet reaching for his little black bag with whetted lips. Round five paired Waters saddled with the favourite tag before commencement of play with Scannell, the winner of the tie destined to be on the home straight, they finished in a dead heat and thus shared the points and we moved to the final round with Waters leading by half a point from the chasing pack of Scannell McDonnell and Mooreland, all jockeying for position should the leader fall at the last. Scannell and Mooreland were well in front in their games and if they held on both would overtake Waters if he couldn’t hold Mallaghan on the top table, but Mallaghan wasn’t in the mood to be corralled by anyone as he stomped all over the board creating an unstoppable position requiring little or no defence whilst enjoying more attacking potential than Manchester United with Howard Webb refereeing! Waters was doomed his unbelievable run of form was about to end, he didn’t wear red socks after all… he wasn’t infallible!

Waters entering the room gave us a clue about his infallibility

Mooreland and Scannell both came over to watch, they had beaming smiles broader than Lavery’s arse as they watched Mallaghan gallop like a wild mustang all over Waters, it was awesome, it was invigorating, it was dynamic, it was stupefying, it was bizarre to watch the unfurling hee-haw moment from mustang to mule. That’s right Mallaghan managed to lose a position that to put in context a frontal lobotomy patient would find extremely difficult to replicate, he had just lost the kitchen sink.

“What!”  “he what”  “you’ve gotta be #&*&@# kidding me”  “No Steve Danny did lose” I replied, “what a dumb %$*&#@# useless #@%&*” he added “Goddaaam-it!” he snorted as he went over to check the final position to confirm the horror story. Waters was elated, yet another laurel to brandish, “lets go and celebrate” he implored his team-mate Ormerod, “I need to be aloft for the masses to revere me” “let us go to Errigle to be viewed” Ormerod agreed willingly he’s a big rugby fan and he was hoping the Errigle’s T.V system would be showing the game either in the lounge or the public bar. I headed up to the Errigle bar after clearing up to have a drink with the victor but he was nowhere to be seen, Callum Ormerod was there but no Michael Waters, “where is he?” I asked “dun no” came the reply “he hasn’t arrived yet, but he definitely said to go to Errigle that he was heading there now. We waited but he never did arrive, we really don’t know what happened to him, unless he didn’t mean the Errigle bar!

Tourists were surprised to see a man from Belfast on Mount Errigle with a kitchen sink

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Tournament Controller Found

The 2012 Ulster Rapid-Play tournament at Ballynafeigh on Saturday 14th April was in serious danger of not having a controller for the event until a last minute hijacking by the Ballynafeigh Chess Club of an unsuspecting victim for the post. Now whilst honesty integrity and computer experience are neccessary effiencey intelligence and organisational skills desirable, according to David McAlister it’s a pair of steel toe-capped boots that are absolutely vital in disputes!

No point in trying to slip this controller a fistful of Dollars on Saturday… as he’s banned from the U.S.A…..  Sterling Euros or lead of a church roof might do the trick though!

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Things To Remember

Many people in Belfast will be remembering the Titanic this week a colossus of a ship which met its end as it slipped away from view 100 years ago but I won’t be one of them. For me it was only a story of supreme failure about a botched cost cutting exercise that saw cheap rivets being incorporated in the outer structure of an ocean liner. That decision was disastrous enough on its own, but when added to a crew of ship-jumping ass-kissers, a lack of observation equipment and the criminal absence of sufficient lifeboats then it was corporate manslaughter, when the poor people the under class of society were padlocked in the lower decks whilst the affluent members of the passenger list ambled into the lifeboats at leisure well that was corporate murder.

I’ll be remembering another anniversary instead it was in the wee small hours this day five years ago that a colossus of Ulster Chess Tom Clarke slipped away from us forever also. But unlike a “big boat that couldn’t cross a pond” Tom would cross international time-zones to play in chess competitions playing in league chess in England, Finland, Wales, Leinster, and Ulster many a time he played for three different teams in three different leagues in the same week. Unlike the mass of corroded junk lying on an ocean floor that you’ll never see for yourself that Titanic left us, Toms games are forever with us and can be easily accessed on-line to watch and learn from over and over again, a true master class of “shock and awe” on the chess board. We all have our own personal memories of Tom and favourite games I’ve linked one of my favourite below and also a link to a few kind words from Tom’s old jousting partner Dave Houston who has added some of his favourites from over the years.

So if you’re reading Tom thanks for the memories and thanks for the games dear friend.

My Favourite  http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1268784

Dave’s favourites http://www.ulsterchess.org/archives/playerbio/Tom%20Clarke/tom-clarke-1959-2007

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Waters Walks the Williamson

Whether you love him, just tolerate him, or are seriously contemplating the hiring of guys from the east side of Detroit, no one can deny the undoubted ability of Michael Waters over a chess board. Having largely resided in the shadows of Houston Clarke and Scannell over the years Michael Waters has underwent something of a renaissance and has surged to the front of the pecking order emphatically stamping his authority as the best player in Ulster bar none repeatedly in all competitions this year.

Already crowned Ulster Master this season Waters added the centenary Williamson Shield to his impressive and burgeoning chess CV and later this year will be attempting a hat-trick of wins in the Ulster Seniors at the Europa Hotel inBelfast.

At the Sinclair Pavilion in the Civil Service recreation grounds over the past weekend Waters went unbeaten lifting the Shield with 5 ½ out of 6 offering Danny Mallaghan a Grand Master draw in the final round to secure the title after Steve Scannell tried to force a dead draw situation against Waters in round 5 in an attempt to regain the lost ground from the traveling bye he took earlier that day and ended up losing instead. So the Waters chess juggernaut continues at full speed in the quest for more titles, as he becomes something of an overnight success after twenty years.

It’s for Youoooo….

Two players were awarded instantaneous loses on the first day of the Williamson when their mobile phones went off in their pockets whilst playing. The first victim was none other than the Ulster Chess Unions director of tournaments Gareth Annsley who was playing against Ballynafeigh’s Matthew Chapman. Gareth reached down to quickly silence his phone with as little movement as possible, alas for Gareth he wasn’t as quick as tournament controller David McAlister who silenced Gareth’s chances with even less movement by stopping the clocks… game over, rumors that Matthew Chapman’s relative were seen outside the venue with mobile phones and a Ulster Chess Union contacts list are totally unfounded, Matthew assures us they all just happen to work for BT, O2 and Vodafone.

Once was careless enough but when it happened for a second time in the very next round to Mohammed Saad ten minutes after the tournament controller had specifically warned everybody, well that’s just the waste of an entry fee. Matthew Chapman was sitting right next to Mohammed Saad and the rumor mill and conspiracies circulated stories that Gareth Annsley was trying to ring Matthew to get his own back but rang the coat next door by mistake. It certainly didn’t stop Mohammed having a 5 minute conversation then sitting down to try and finish the match only to find the legal eagle had already swooped.

Matthew Chapman’s secret plan for the Ulster Junior title is discovered

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Angels 100% record goes out the window

Fisherwick brought in the big guns to go on an Angel hunt last night at their Chlorine gardens venue, the old warhorses of Woodfield and Devenny were put out to pasture for this clash with the Ballynafeigh Angels as Omerod  and Walls took hold of the reins in their place. Time restrictions on the opening hours force the chess club to start early at Fisherwick and Eamonn Walls the pin-up boy of Ulster chess was eager to finish his game with Leitch as early as possible, but Walls was only eager were as Leitch was positively enthusiastic about finishing early, well he must have been as he got his Queen trapped after only a dozen moves and resigned.  Cunningham last week now Leitch this week the Ballynafeigh Angels are rapidly gaining a reputation for getting rid of their Queens faster than Henry viii

Eamonn Walls practicing his worldly pose! 

The next result came from the top of the board order when Fisherwicks number one Michael Waters with black held the Angels board one Dave Houston to a draw, Houston’s bishop pair were of no advantage when Waters who has been as tight as a drum all season closed off the diagonals. Ballynafeigh Angels Steve Scannell returned the compliment with the black pieces against Fisherwicks Johnny Cairns another tough as teak performer from Chlorine gardens. Fisherwick were now in the driving seat with two draws and a win spread over the top three boards. The two remaining matches on boards 4&5 were not for the first time this season to deliver the bizarre twists and turns for the evening. Danny Mallaghan of Ballynafeigh, famed for having more draws than Wyatt Earp was pitched against John (muscles) Masterson, the Fisherwick board four was on a face saving exercise after his dumbbell’s hit the floor in his last encounter with the Angels. Masterson held a vastly superior position with the light square bishop on the A2-F7 diagonal, the H file cleared of pawns and his heavy artillery pieces of Queen and both Rooks loaded for the barrage of h7 and h8 with Mallaghan’s defensive forces completely out of position, things were looking dire in the extreme for the Ballynafeigh man and the Angels in general, the only saving grace was the absence of time from Mastersons clock as his flag began to hang. On board five Fisherwick had imported an anchor come bounty hunter in the shape of Calum Omerod to face the Ballynafeigh captain Damien Cunningham, again as expected another tight game ensued with Omerod holding a slight advantage after an earlier positional mistake by Cunningham. As the game moved towards its finality Cunningham made his ineffective Knight much more active and threatening to black’s position and material, he left his seat to go over to view his team-mates game on board 5 and could see instantly that Mallaghan’s position was totally lost as it was mate in one for Masterson, but time pressure let alone a pressure cooker of a match has its own way of adding ingredients to a mix and Masterson completely missed it, he’d completely fluffed a humongous position because of the clock and the importance of the match.

Fisherwick brought out the Big-Guns

Cunningham darted back to glance at the Mallaghan-Masterson clocks when he realized that Masterson had missed it, Mallaghan had twenty minutes, Masterson about twenty seconds, it was hard to guess on the antiquated analogue clocks that have undoubtedly exceeded their shelf-life in competitive chess. The material was about even, a Rook and four pawns each Mallaghan would walk it with so much time on his clock, he only had to let his clock run down to the 5 min Blitz zone and blitz the finish out, rather than give Masterson his opponent the much needed thinking time while he was compelled to write the move order down.  Cunningham returned to his own game and as he was sitting down he was informed that Mallaghan had won, so he offered his opponent a draw which was quickly accepted by Omerod it was Cunningham’s move and yep it was mate in one also! So interested in securing the perpetual position first to guarantee a drawn match and thus ultimately one hand on the Silver King, he hadn’t bothered to look for the mate once informed that Mallaghan had won. That was a serious error which was to be compounded by the news that Mallaghan was still playing out his match it wasn’t a win already as he was led to believe, and as fate would have it Masterson scrambled a draw and the Angels had their wings clipped for the first time this season, but more importantly at a critical time in the Championship run-in.

The final position of the Cunningham v Omerod game, were Cunningham offered a draw when he could have check-mated!

At the same venue it was good to see the Malone team return to full strength for their match against Bombardier, either honest Sam Flanagan has preached them all a sermon or the AWOL members purchased grow bags from B&Q and sat in them until they grew a pair. Either way testicular fortitude was in abundance again for Malone as they handed out a stiff beating to the airmen with the full compliment of players, which did not go unnoticed by the Ballynafeigh player present and indeed was openly commented upon. They’ll now be expected to field a stronger team against their sister team Fisherwick next time around instead of the last attempt.

Gossip abound this week that Gareth Annsley was left high and dry by his driver for the evening in Magherafelt. Annsley who was charged for his share of the petrol money was aghast to learn that his team mate driver who was demolished quite early in his own game just upped and left without a by your leave or kiss my ass. Thankfully for Annsley fellow team player John Monaghan who had a full car as it was managed to squeeze Gareth’s ample physique into the packed fait 500 with lots of pushing and shoving a shoe horn and copious quantities of lubricant! Though what Peter Wilson of Magherafelt was doing with a gallon and a half of super-slip lubricant in his hover-sack is a question for another day.

John Monaghan struggles to get the RVH team home

John said his work on the Ferry’s helped

and his experience as a bus driver was invaluable 

But it was his years on the trains that really made the difference

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Clear Skies for Bombardier

Lagan played host to Groomsport last night to not only fulfill a rearranged fixture from week three, but to decide the final placing for division one. The riverside team needed to defeat their seaside guests by a margin of 4-1 or better to progress to the top section and shooting down the Bombardier outfit in the process with the last burst of action.

Any analytical observation of the comparative strengths of the two opposing teams for this encounter beforehand could only foresee Lagan achieving their objective, a full strength team from Lagan would see an 1800 player on board five, a full strength Groomsport team couldn’t put an 1800 player on board one.  However Lagan haven’t been in full flow at all this season and have struggled repeatedly against opposition that normally it would swamp, if Lagan were expecting to drown Groomsport in a tsunami of ratings alone they certainly had the reservoir to do it, the question would remain would Groomsport be wearing bathing costumes or not?

Chris Kelly said he was shocked when the Groomsport team arrived to play, “that’s not right” said Chris “that’s not on” he added

Sorry wrong photo above, Chris is right smoking is not allowed at the chess table 

The seaside men brought their grit with them by the bucket full and the hardy old barnacles of Whiteside and Rogers claimed a win and a draw respectively to leave Lagan’s divisional chances completely washed up. The win by Gary Johnston over William Storey on board 5 not only guaranteed Groomsport a draw but surely must have rubbed salt into the wound for Lagan. While it would be easy to say on this result that the riverside team of Lagan are starting to become a bit watery, a fairer conclusion would be to say that Groomsport have more than shown that it’s not just their beaches that have a lot of sand and they were going to shove Lagan’s faces in it.

Lagan get their faces shoved in the Sand

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Do You Want Divorced?

Nigel short is performing a Simul in Dublin at the very affordable rate of €25 there will also be an invite to a lecture by Short for the added fee of a mere €10 more.

Now before you whip out the credit card and sign up to a double short that isn’t in a glass, just remember that the Simul will take place on the 14th February.

That particular date may mean sweet F A multiplied by five to most of you male chess players but to your women folk well, that’s not just one of the 365 days a year that’s she’s right, special, and beautiful…. but that’s one of the days of the year that has been specially allocated to you  just to remember it.

Still 35 euro seems mightily affordable for Short treatment and besides how long could a tantrum huff last for without the aide of an interfering sister?

Danny Mallaghan the Ulster Chess Unions resident playboy of the western world said “they should impersonate men and just go, if the partner complains they should impersonate Manny Pacquiano”

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1,000  a week

A grand a week is not to be sniffed at, now I know most of you are thinking that’s just loose change to the legal eagles McAlister and Waters and a mere trifle to Vegas Dan Mallaghan the playboy of Ulster chess, but I’m not talking money.

The Ballynafeigh website get 1,000 hits a week which is quite simply a staggering amount of views for a chess club, even if you allow for the majority of clicks from libel lawyers acting for Michael Waters it’s still quite an impressive figure.

David McAlister spring cleans his garage

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Angels -v- Fisherwick Trilogy (part 1)

Ballynafeigh Angels played hosts to Fisherwick this week in what would only be the first of a trio of encounters in the clash of these title contenders.

The quality of the match was underlined by the sheer quota of championship titles held by the players involved, Irish championships Ulster championships, Williamson Shields holders, Ulster Blitz champions and believe it or not a European and World War Games champion thrown in for good measure, perhaps some of these guys were planning to go to war over the chess board after all, and if they did, well I just hoped they’d all remember that I was a conscientious objector.

Michael “the Mexican” Waters entered the room furiously waving away the autograph hunters that had gathered at the front door for the match. Well I thought to myself that’s a very modest thing to do, I was impressed by him letting those kids with the sheets of paper and pens know that he didn’t consider himself superior to them in anyway shape or form. However I subsequently found out afterwards they were actually a few kids with sponsorship forms for a charity bicycle race.

As he approached me I noticed he had ditched his trademark handlebar moustache that along with his swarthy complexion had made him the envy of the local Chiquito restaurant waiters. “Michael” I asked, “have you shaved off your moustache because of the attention your Pancho Villa looks has been getting on our website?” “Don’t flatter yourself or your website, it’s because of the sheer number of women asking me for a phone number, that’s why I had to get rid of it”

“Wow most guys would be absolutely cock-a-hoop to have women approach them in the street and ask for a telephone number” I said.

“Yeah but it wasn’t my number they were looking was it, they thought I was one of the guys from the 118-118 ad” he snapped.

The Date with 8 approached and everyone got comfortable in their seats for the eagerly awaited clash, as the games got under way through the opening phases and into the middle game it was obvious just how much effort and concentration was being expended in each individual game.

Cunningham who does a wonderful non stop jack-in-the-box impersonation in almost every match he plays hardly shifted his arse the whole night as he tried to counteract any advances by Ian Woodfield on board 5, Woodfield who lectures in music wouldn’t have needed any of his students to tell him that the bugles were sounding the last post when his counter-play attempts on the “H” file were thwarted by Cunningham who held the centre and the better pawn structure. The last roll of the dice for the Fisherwick man was an attempt at a pawn grab, but it was just too sluggish to obtain equality in material, or to stop Cunningham’s rapid advance on the “G” file and Ballynafeigh banked their first point.

Woodfield -v- Cunningham

The game continued

…..         Ke6
Rxa5     g5
Rxc5     g4
fxg         fxg
Rc6       Kf5
Rh6       g3
Rh1       Kg4  and the advance was unstoppable   Resigns   0-1

The board 3 encounter between John “Muscles” Masterson the fittest man in Fisherwick  and Ballynafeigh’s Calum Leitch the thinnest man this side of the Ethiopian border was the next game to come to a conclusion.

Not quite the muscles from Brussels but confident he can beat Leitch in an arm wrestle

Masterson was sitting there smiling merrily whilst pumping iron all over the board when Leitch unleashed a combination which brought two thudding sounds from Masterson chair; we all looked down and were able to clearly see his dumbbells rolling on the floor, the Ballynafeigh Angels were unfurling their wings with a 2-0 lead.

The game continued 

hxg6 fxg6
Ng3 b4
axb4 Bxb4
Qd3 Qa5
Kd2 Nf5
Qf3 Nd6!
Bd3 Bxc3… Resigns    0-1

On board 4 Danny Mallaghan had white and deployed his Bishop c4 Grand prix attack against former Irish Champion Ray Devenny, Mallaghan readily admits to being fortunate in this encounter with Devenny as Ray gave up the exchange temporarily in order to regain it at a later stage. Mallaghan stated “it was deep and it was clever, and I only just seen it at the last moment” Mallaghan went on to position his material which enabled him to play “rookery on the 7th” and Ballynafeigh Angels were in 7th heaven with a 3-0 lead and a guaranteed victory over their closest rivals whilst also maintained their 100% record in the league so far.

Mallaghan knew Ray was looking for deep positions when he turned up in a new suit

All eyes now fixed on board 2 where the Angels Steve Scannell an American red-neck “blow-in” from deliverance country faced the great J.C of Fisherwick.

Any cursory glances of this board by lesser players as it approached the endgame would have left the viewer with the unshakable impression that victory for Scannell was a mere formality, a given in fact.

With his bishop and four pawns on the kingside against Cairn’s knight and solitary queenside pawn on the A file Scannell held a gargantuan advantage in material and potential, Scannell also had 14 minutes to Cairns 34 sec’s … it really should have been ABC chess for the multiple Ulster champion. However nothing is elementary at this level and the Fisherwick captain John J.C Cairns showed why he’s rated 2,000 plus by playing remarkable chess under the circumstances, he had enormous pressure to add respectability to the match score, he only had a miniscule time allocation, and he had an audience ogling his every movement.  The situation required more than just a little miracle working by the great J.C and to be fair the moves he found and in the correct order was nothing short of impressive.

John Cairns goes for a walk

There were a few loaves in my shopping bags in the corner but I was contemplating nipping down to the shops to buy a few fish and get J.C to feed the multitude again, I really couldn’t believe it, either way at the end of this game one of these guys were going to be doing something with fishes, either J.C feeding with them or Steve Scannell sleeping with them!

His names Scannell

Thankfully Steve Scannell got to sleep under a duvet that night and I was able to remain a committed atheist thank god, and the Angels took a 4-0 lead.

The board one pairing pitched Ballynafeigh’s Dave Houston the highest rated player in Ulster against Fisherwick’s Michael Waters the reigning Ulster champion and the game proved to be worthy of the pairing.

Houston desperately sought to create a positional placement that would lead to the trading of queens to leave his knight and advanced central 5th rank passed pawn with an indisputable advantage, however Waters is without question the man to beat in Ulster Chess at the moment having racked up a sequence of titles lately and intelligently avoided all the engineered pitfalls and traps that Houston had crafted for his worthy opponent.

Houston tried to make Waters  comfortable

As Houston’s time diminished on the clock so also did his opportunities on the board to salvage something from this impressive game. Fisherwick had pulled one back courtesy of Michael Waters their “heavy hitting” board one and in doing so he saddled Ballynafeigh’s Houston with the unwanted honor of being the first Angel player to suffer a defeat this season.

The game continued
33. Re1 gxf6
34. Qg3+ Kh8
35. exf6 Rxe1+
36. Qxe1 Qe6
37. Qf2 Qe5
38. Qh4 h5
39. Bg5 Qe2
40. Kh1 Kh7
41. Bf4 Ne6
42. Qg3 c4
43. Be5 Qe4
44. h4 and Waters went on to hold a decisive advantage 1-0

The Fisherwick men left for their homeward journey with very little from a match that they had contributed so much to. Outside it took some time for them to get Michael Waters into the car as his head just wouldn’t fit in the door opening, no matter how hard they pushed and shoved they couldn’t get him in, it wasn’t that his head had got bigger after humbling the great Dave Houston, it was simply that he was still wearing his sombrero.

John Cairns didn’t get into the car at all, and was last seen trying to walk home across the river Lagan! shouting “leave me alone guys I can do this I can do this”, though some observers claim that he wasn’t trying to walk the Lagan, but to throw himself in instead after the 4-1 defeat, either way glug glug Johnny.

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Ulster Blitz Championship

The first official Ulster Blitz Championship took place on Dec 27th in the Belfast Boat Club, whether or not the format was a just a little to quick for some our of the more silver-headed if not sloth-like members of Ulster Chess only future attendances in the new tournament will tell.

The younger elements of Ulster Chess were more than eager to contradict George Bernard Shaw’s utterance “the trouble with youth is that it’s wasted on the young” displaying great enthusiasm and dedication for chess to even contemplate sharing an enclosed space with Damien Lavery without the aid of prescription anti-depressants.

There was also three sets of brothers entered for the event which surely must be a first for any tournament ever run in Belfast, there was the Robbin brothers Kiran and Kevin from Inst, the Logan brothers Paul and Charlie from the RVH and the Lavery brothers Damien and Robert from Ballynafeigh.

The tournament suffered a few early losses in attendances due to exceptional circumstances, well it was exceptionally poor reading actually, as Paddy Magee and Martin Kelly thought it was the Ulster “Blitzed” Championship and were last seen guzzling whiskey watered down with vodka on a bender in the Crown bar whilst arguing like crazy men over who was the best “blitzed” champion of all time, was it Higgy or was it Besty?

Our illustrious leader, our very own “Dear Leader” was arbiter general for the great event and quite brilliantly and creatively brought a camera crew along to film many of the matches for release at a later date on you-tube, though if any real chess players view them they’ll probably get flagged as offensive. Many of the field were more than willing to participate for the small screen, for their personal 15 minutes of fame (well their 3mins with a 2 sec increment of fame) indeed a few positively relished the opportunity. Paul Logan spent ten minutes combing his hair before his appearance on the famous camera crew board and nobody had the heart to tell him it was only the boards and pieces that were being filmed not the players.

When the camera crew first arrived at the Belfast Boat Club they happened to come through reception area at the same time as Mark Newman and Damien Lavery rumors soon abounded the club that the Hairy Bikers were doing their Christmas cook-in.

The Hairy Bikers were seen doing their Christmas special

However that idea was soon quashed when it became apparent to even a casual glance that they don’t make motorbikes with a heavy enough suspension to support either Lavery or Newman let alone both and that they were probably one of the Sumo wrestling teams based in Belfast in training for the 2012 Olympics.

Lavery and Newman get to the endgame

Dear Leader John Cairns…. or J.C as he likes to known to his disciples got the tournament got under way at ten sharp, or as far away from eleven as possible after a short delay as he took delivery of a few threats from the Carrickfergus toughies demanding an easy draw for Karina Kruk who had taken the day off from her part-time job of dispatching veal calves with a bolt gun in the Carrickfergus abattoir. The problem for the great J.C was he’d also taken delivery of a cash bribe from Arron McAuley for the same thing, thankfully the need for a minor miracle was avoided after some divine intervention, well a smaller than expected field turned it into an all play all event.

John Cairns goes for a walk

John Bradley’s grandson Alan Burns a great supporter of Ulster chess made an appearance for the event as he does with many UCU organized events. Alan is one of the loveliest people you could ever wish to meet either inside or outside of chess, complimentary in defeat magnanimous in victory Alan can light a room up just by entering it, in stark contrast to his grandfather John Bradley who couldn’t light a room up with a gallon of 4star and a Zippo lighter.

Alan Burns, John Bradley’s great grandson

Once the tournament started the “Chess kids” were out the traps faster than a greyhound on steroids and moved with the speed of white lightening down a well greased copper pole, compared to the ponderous alpine glacier speed of Cunningham and Logan it was a contrast to behold.

After watching the cutting edge of “The Boy Upstarts” laying waste to many of David Seaby’s peers the valiant David was reduced to prayer for spiritual guidance for his own daunting encounter with “Team Robbin” the result may prove that Prof. Richard Dawkins has a point, he certainly had one more than David Seaby had after the game.

David Seaby prays for help before his game with team Robbin

An anorexic looking Calum Leitch giving the impression he hadn’t seen a good meal in years was prominent on the leader board throughout the event after a turgid draw with Damien Lavery who looked like he hadn’t missed a good meal at anytime.

Calum Leitch put his victory down to a diet of watercress sandwiches without the bread

Leitch also benefited from the unnaturally slow play of his Ballynafeigh team mate Cunningham who completely and utterly outplayed him holding an indisputable won position before bizarrely letting his clock run down, Cunningham went on to bask himself in embarrassment as he blundered and slumbered his way to an unexplainable performance, perhaps the “gruesome twosome” had been menacing him as well.

The Gruesome twosome

Team Robbin harried the Ballynafeigh pair of Leitch and Lavery all the way to the finish line before Robbins the younger and Lavery the fatter fell back from the lead. Leitch and Robbin the elder kept up the relentless pace and wins for both in the final round left them tied equal first. This meant the championship was to be decided by an Armageddon match white having 5 minutes black only 4 however black only needs a draw to claim outright victory.

The draw was made under the auspices of the legal eagles of Waters and McAlister who had obviously fallen victim to the magnetic draw of the TV cameras to give up £350 a minute consultation fees. Kiran Robbin drew white and had 5 minutes to defeat the ultra skinny looking Leitch, however Leitch was determined to leave his opponent slim pickings which considering his waistline or lack of it really wasn’t much of a problem and kept a locked position throughout trading at each and every opportunity to thwart the Young Turk of the checkered board.

Ballynafeigh Chess Club with nearly fifty percent of the field took away the Ulster Blitz Title but surely the honours belong to the Robbin household who took second prize the grading prize and all the accolades

Leitch posed for photos and x-rays afterwards

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Dear Leader Dead…

Some ghastly irresponsible, jingoistic, and quite heartless reporting today from a barrage of media outlets such as the BBC, ITN, CNN, NBC, Reuters, ABC, Al Jazeera, Fox News and even Downtown radio.

They had feverishly blazoned the screens with multi coloured banners announcing if not proclaiming the tragic passing of one loved so much. They scandalously whetted their lips in anticipation as to whom the laurels of greatness would be bestowed, who would be trusted by the collective membership to wear the yoke of leadership?

I considered this to be a very cold if not cynical exercise by people who didn’t even know the man personally on any level so I decided to phone his dear sister whose private number I have in my possession and offer the condolences not only of me but the UCU membership as a whole.

I must admit there was a stony silence on the other end of the phone before she assured me there must be some tragic mistake that there was absolutely no doubt that Johnny Cairns was alive and well and that she’s just brought him breakfast in bed of boiled eggs with dunking soldiers of toast. So it looks like a horrible and cruel case of mistaken identity guys and we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief for the time being and put the thoughts of a Drew Ferguson succession out of our heads.

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Fisherwick swamp the Rascals literally

Fisherwick sent a marauding hoard of warriors to Ballynafeigh this week to slap a bunch of Rascals, or to “chastise them severely” according to Ray Devenney. Fisherwick are the elite selection of the player emanating from the Malone road venue led by the battle hardened John Cairns as opposed to their sibling team Malone led by the “bottle hardened” Martin Kelly.

Fisherwick had made several changes to the usual line up with some new faces (well really quite old ones)  Ulster Masters winner Michael Waters was missing probably still on the tequila somewhere with Chris Moyles. Also missing was John Masterson and Eamon Walls the three had a combined rating of ….5771.

Replacing them were Norman McFarland, Ian Woodfield and John Bradley with a combined age of… 5771. Ian and Norman aren’t that ancient  really but John Bradley is really, really old, when John first played competitive chess Pontius Pilate was the league controller, actually he must have still been in control when one of Johns  teams swindled one of my teams for the league many years ago and the controller washed his hands of us… hmmm!

The Fisherwick substitutes bench

But we’re not ones for holding grudges at Ballynafeigh and normally let them drop at the end of every millennium so we switched on the chair lift for John and made room for his antique wheelchair. After a quick dust-down to remove the grime and the cobb-webbs and a splash of oil in the right places John was able to move the pieces and press the button on the clock, and even write.

The expected 5-0 slaughter got underway on 4 of the 5 boards as the rascals were missing their board 4 trainee doctor Paddy Magee who was off on the drink celebrating after saving a woman earlier that day, I must admit I didn’t even know he was a born again Christian. Ten phone-calls, twenty text messages, and thirty minutes off the starting clock later this wannabe Florence Nightingale was still on the missing list, so the coercion of David Conlon an innocent visitor to the game as a spectator was hastily arranged.

Paddy Magee prepares for Fisherwick

No sooner had the gallant David took up the sling-shot against the goliath of Ian Woodfield a distant squawking of Christmas carol singers could be heard at the window, an irritating noise that built to a crescendo with some singing clarity “Damiennn it’s Paddeeeee”

Christ I thought… I knew he didn’t look like any Florence I’d ever known, and now I knew he didn’t sound like a nightingale either, if his stitching isn’t better than his singing Belfast is going to need more blood donations, an awful lot more!

I stayed outside the main playing area as I unexpectedly had my two daughters with me, one aged three and the other six months, though which is which is hard to tell at times. I wasn’t suppose to be minding them on chess nights but the wife got a phone call and dumped the kids with me as she was sent out to track down a local heroin dealer, she’s not a policewoman or anything she’s just an addict.

Some time later I returned to the playing hall to see how bad things were for the wee rascals, as I walked towards the boards I saw Johnny Cairns he looked like he was making a donation himself as the blood drained from his face.

“This is not our night he said in a weak humbled voice, “look at the state of those boards” he sniffled.  I quickly scanned the boards to ascertain the situation and I must admit I had a chuckle or twenty. The rascals were firing all three cylinders of their little smart car and they must have loaded it with the rocket fuel that Paddy Magee hadn’t drunk, were as the Fisherwick Ferrari spluttered and banged,  they really could have done with a little of the Mexican’s tequila in their tank.

I turned to nod in agreement with Cairns analysis of the current state of play hoping not to laugh in the process only to see the door not hitting his arse on the way out, I followed him outside to the smoking area to console him…. Well to be honest it was to gloat but before I could do that I had to mop the floor for ten minutes to dry up the Fisherwick tears as Johnny Cairns whinged and whined about how they were doomed, things got so bad the community centre maintenance officer phoned a plumber thinking a pipe had burst!

“This is wrong, this is all wrong!” uttered Cairns “who’s that ringer you have on board 4” “those digital clocks are not right” “where is your wife, get her here now”

Johnny I said, “the guy just came tonight I don’t know him, he’s just an honest chess player” “the clocks are fine and accurate” “oh and the kids are quiet and don’t need to be collected by the wife” I said…. “What” Johnny replied “I don’t care about the kid’s man” “I just want some drugs off her, I need them after this man”

However the little Rascal smart-car suddenly blew a head gasket and lost all power and as it grinded to a stuttering halt the spluttering Ferrari of Fisherwick drove past, the result may have put a polished shine on this wagon but only those that were there will know how close it came to being a car-crash and a write-off for Fisherwick though how they didn’t aquaplane on Johnny’s tears on the way out I’ll never know!

Fisherwicks new score-sheets

The Ulster Masters

This weekend saw the inaugural running of the Ulster Masters at the Belfast Boat Club, unfortunately avoidable errors in planning and advertisement greatly diminished the potential to attract a more significant field for the competition. However armed with hindsight the organizers are resolute in their determination to ensure a greater field of entrants for next year’s tournament.

The Bombardier Chess club was heavily represented in the tournament, not just by Mark Newman’s physical weight but in entrance numbers also. It was a club decision which was to be handsomely rewarded as several members formed an orderly queue to receive prizes from the UCU President John Cairns with both Ross Harris and George Jackson leading the way by winning the Challengers and Intermediate titles respectively, Ross’s victory was all the sweeter with a score of 5/6 in a field that contained Karina Kruk and Ian Woodfield.  Karina lost to Ross on count-back using the Buchholz system, when commiserated on losing she said well “I only lost because of that Buhozlt, Buchman, Buc, Buzoltz, Bucchaz, ….. I only lost because of Johnny Cairns”

The Junior tournament was won by Phillip Morrison who crushed Cathal Murphy for playing space in the middle game in the final round, this sent Phillip on his way to the title, if not Knockbracken

The main focus of the event was the Masters title which went to Michael Waters after an emphatic display of precision chess against a field made sparse by his mere presence. The only danger to Michael’s accurate and relentless pursuit of the crown came from Gareth Annsley however a miscalculation by Gareth cost him a knight and the game after an expensive Queen check by Michael on the E-file.

Gareth was still able to console himself with the runners up cheque which helped him drown his sorrows in the Cutters-wharf bar next door, surrounded by a hoard of Belfast beauties out on their works Christmas dinner who had mistaken him for the DJ Chris Moyles.  It was at this point that Gareth offered to buy all the chess players present drink all night if they kept calling him Chris while the girls were around.

Keen not to let an opportunity like this to go bye I scanned the optics as to assertain which of the Devils buttermilk aesthetically pleased me and dang the price, sure what to hell technically the UCU were paying for it. It was at this point that Gareth “Chris Moyles” Annsley referred us to his statement that he would buy the “chess-players” present drink all night and that only he and Michael were “chess-players” that the rest of us were just “cash-cows” It would have been really funny at this stage for Paul Merson or Shane McGown to have walked through the door with a chess-board under their arm! and drink his ill-gotten gains dry!

Michael chastised his jousting partner from the Masters informing Gareth that he should not be so disingenuous to the proletariat and the correct way to address them should be “Pecunia Bos Taurus” In the immortal words of Tom Clarke “indeed”

 

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