Chess News and Gossip

 

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.

Hewitt left rear and Lavery front left for Ballynafeigh face off against Kilpatrick right rear and McNaughton right front for Lindores

Hewitt left rear and Lavery front left for Ballynafeigh face off against Kilpatrick right rear and McNaughton right front for Lindores

BNF V LIND 4

Dennis Wilkinson left grinding a brilliant draw against Fred MacDonald

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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Devon Loch Moment

The Ballynafeigh venue played host to the two main protagonists for the Ulster team championship and The Silver King trophy on Tuesday evening when Ballynafeigh teams 1&2 entertained Fisherwick and Lindores respectively.  Both sides brought their best line-ups for their matches against the Ballynafeigh outfits more out of the need to either hold or gain ground on each other rather than as a respect for their opposition on the night.

Fisherwick were cruising along in the league with a healthy points advantage over Lindores their only serious challenger for the title, with Muldoon’s a laws arm length back in third.  The fledgling team from the Newtownards road led by the “Beast from the East” has been impersonating a vacuum cleaner lately hoovering up any unused or dormant talent in a bid to bolster their potency. Buoyed by the performances of Delaney and MacDonald his latest acquisitions Calum Leitch was bullish in his predictions. “We hoovered em up like a Dyson turbo! But you know what, we’re gonna show Fisherwick who the real suckers are!” Rather a bold statement to make considering the multiple Champions had Callum Ormerod on board 5 with Fong Masterson Cairns and Waters above him, a monster side only in existence to win trophies.

Fisherwick the league stallions were cantering, the next hurdle they faced was a Ballynafeigh 1 team which they probably expected to gallop all over considering that they haven’t lost in over two years. However the Ballynafeigh hurdle became more of a fence when their team captain Damien Lavery dug in for a draw against Masterson on board 3 and 39 ½ stone Chris Black became an immovable object for Fong on board 4. The fence became a ditch when Donaldson on board 5 unseated Callum Omerod for Ballynafeigh to take an unlikely lead, but better was to come for the hosts when their bit-part player 8 time Ulster Champion Steve Scannell hadn’t read the script and secured the victory over Johnny Cairns.

Fisherwick had slipped up on the run in to the title whilst at the next tables their chief  rivals and competition gained the an important victory against Ballynafeigh 2 and closed the gap to just 2 ½ points. Tuesday evening put extra spice into the title chase and Lindores grabbed a vital victory, but will this be remembered as Fisherwicks Devon Loch moment?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xAR151sdS0

Scannell left inflicted a rare defeat on Cairns

Scannell left inflicted a very rare defeat on Cairns

Houston with the black pieces lost out in a rook and pawn ending

Houston with the black pieces lost out in a rook and pawn ending

Donaldson edges the win in his board 5 tussle with Ormerod

Donaldson edges the win in his board 5 tussle with Ormerod

Leitch left got the Lindores band-wagon rolling with victory over Ballynafeigh 2 board 2 Jensen

Leitch left got the Lindores band-wagon rolling with victory over Ballynafeigh 2 board 2 Jensen

Cunningham left defeated Lindore's Fred McDonald to help out his pals in Fisherwick!

Cunningham left defeated Lindore’s Fred MacDonald to help out his pals in Fisherwick!

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Ivory Tower

The Gossip desk got a tip off this week about a new film (err nearly 4 years old now, our guys are on the ball) based on a chess theme from Mike Redman the UCU’s resident culture vulture and fashion plate. When it comes to highbrow things or trendy stuff the Ballynafeigh de facto minister for cultural enlightenment is an expert, the well read board one has nearly 40 audio books, over 50 DVD’s of the best books ever written and a personal collection of nearly 400 marvel comics.

Mike can often be seen hovering around the front of the Lyric theatre in the latest Nike trainers pacing up and down to make them light up at the heels. He has actually gone inside nearly seven times in the last four years such is his zest for the arts. “I love the theatre I really do” said Mike before adding “ But I hate the way some people use their mobile phones during the performances, it’s not proper it’s ignorant. I mean can they not text under their coats like the rest of us and leave the phone on vibrate until after the show, they just show themselves up as having no class they really do” When pushed as to which was the best play he had seen and would recommend Mike responded “Cinderella is really good but I think Aladdin is definitely a much better play”

The trailer for Ivory Tower a cross between The Luzhin defence and One Night in Bangkok only much much worse is linked below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS0R6WPl4D0

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Ballynafeigh 3 4 5 and 6 on show

Ballynafeigh 3 and Ballynafeigh 4 hosted Civil Service chess club and Belfast South 2 at the Ormeau road venue on Tuesday evening. Some Ulster chess sources were of the misguided impression that this would be a difficult feat for the Ballynafeigh outfits to achieve due to a lack of manpower to run both team 3 and team 4 at the same time. Indeed Martin Kelly the Belfast South 2 captain was of the opinion that his team was going to pick up at least one no-show, it must have been quite a surprise for him when not only did both Ballynafeigh 3 and Ballynafeigh 4 field full teams for their respective matches but the soon to be announced Ballynafeigh 5 and Ballynafeigh 6 full squads were playing friendly games on the other side of the room as well.

Ballynafeigh 4 giving away approximately 1500 rating points over the five boards but that was all they were giving away, if Belfast South wanted the points they were going to have to fight for them. On board one Dennis Wilkinson held Neil Green to a draw, Wilkinson sensing things may get a bit wild placed “Buffalo Bill” Lavery on board two and he only narrowly failed to skin Bernard Jaffa and they ended even. Ballynafeigh’s board three John Price fought out an equal position with the Belfast South 2 captain Martin Kelly before running out of time searching for an improbable win. Ballynafeigh new find and as yet unrated Eoin Carey impressively shared the spoils with tournament specialist Cathal Murphy before Belfast South sealed the victory when Tanya Jones narrowly lost out to George Jackson.

Further along the same side of the room Ballynafeigh 3 were asked a task to try and hold a rejuvenated Civil service team who had won two of their last three matches only succumbing to the divisional leaders Bangor chess club. Surrendering 1500 rating points or more to their guests Ballynafeigh 3 really had to buckle down to stop a probable whitewash. Mark Hewitt faced Mark Newman a 600 point deficit and an uphill struggle on board one for Ballynafeigh 3 and eventually lost out to Newman’s experience and craft. The board three contest of Barney McGahan against Drew Ferguson also went in the way of the Civil Service team and Ballynafeigh 3 trailed 2-0 to their guests. Paul Devlin another UCU new-comer for Ballynafeigh pulled one back for his team on board 5 when he held a slight positional and huge clock advantage over his opponent Peter Storey.

The two remaining matches had fascinating positions with wild variations sac’s and counter sac’s for all four players involved. On board four Paul Anderson of Ballynafeigh 3 was paired against his best friend and tournament traveling partner the pony-tailed Adrian Dornford-Smith of the opposing Civil Service team who is rated 300 points higher. When Paul was informed that he was playing against his best friend Adrian he purred with excitement “Adrian is a lovely charming decent human being, an all round sound bloke” he stated before adding “he is generous to a fault, compassionate and affable in the extreme, a true friend to enhance anyone’s life, honestly I can’t think of a nicer person anywhere that I would want to smash off the board and have humbled and humiliated in front of everyone!” proof if any was needed that when it comes to a league chess match, friendship is an orphan until the tumbling of either King or flag. Anderson had a wonderful double knight and rook sac to deliver a most impressive mate, but missed it at the board. Dornford-smith had a quiet pawn push which was such a killer it should have been dressed in a Hannibal Lecter mask but opted for another move which wasn’t as quiet as it was silent, if it were any more passive it would have been dressed as a Quaker, this opened the door again for Anderson and a series of trading pieces ensued which saw opportunities by the dozen for both players, the true friend offering gifts the better friend refusing them

League Chess is when friendship is sent to the orphanage for the day
League Chess is when friendship is sent to the orphanage for the day

On board two Paddy Magee the Ballynafeigh 3 captain faced Alan Burns in another wild encounter, Magee under more pressure to get a result than a relegation manager and 200 points inferior to Burns let greed get the better of him as he gobbled up pawns for free, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch and the last pawn grab was going to cause him serious indigestion if not terminal food poisoning as Burns had two different mates in one after planting his queen on h3 with a knight on f3 with the King trapped on h1 in a fianchetto pawn structure devoid of the bishop. Magee was resourceful enough to find a get out of jail free card after twenty minutes of study. A combination of giving up the exchange of a rook for a bad bishop in order to deliver a check followed by several more checks to drive the King onto the g file, from where Magee could force off the black Queen in exchange for a Queen and a knight. Fortunately for Ballynafeigh Magee’s pawn heist that got him in trouble in the first place secured the victory in the end and the match was tied at 2-2 almost immediately there was a resignation on the final board where Anderson received the outstretched hand of congratulations from his friend again Dornford-Smith and Ballynafeigh 3 had a well earned but highly unlikely victory over a much higher rated team.

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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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Ballynafeigh 4 Cut Muldoon’s in 2

Ballynafeigh 4 under their new supremo Dennis Wilkinson inflicted quite yet unsurprising defeat on division 2 new boys Muldoon’s 2.  Wilkinson’s squad grabbed the scalp when they bagged three wins and two draws to triumph 4-1. Anyone who has been a student of results and performances this year by the corp of the floating system will know just how much the members of this pool have improved and performed above expectation. Nonetheless it was still a magnificent result against a team that believed that even as late starters in phase two would still have an outstanding chance to be victorious for the title such was their strength.

Dennis was as expected ecstatic with the result, bragging on emails and text messages to the Belfast South captain and pun-meister Martin Kelly that Kelly may have his Hero’s but Wilkinson has his Swords and that when they meet in a few weeks it is guaranteed to be a close shave!

Dennis has gone all swashbuckling
Dennis has gone all swashbuckling

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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..

Gawain Jones web-pages have all his games on pgn viewer with analysis which is a must see for serious chess players  http://gawainjones.co.uk/bunratty-2014/

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Ballynafeigh 3 Stun Fruithill

The biggest upset in the league so far took place tonight at Fruithill bowling club when the very experienced Fruithill team were defeated by the novices and new checkered board students of Ballynafeigh 3. The victory was no fluke from all reports as the winning margin could have been even greater.

Fruithill’s board 1 Tony Parker was taken all the way to the end game by Mark Hewitt before the better pawn structure of Parker sealed victory to pull one back for Fruithill after Paul Devlin of Ballynafeigh 3 defeated Charlie Logan on board 5 and John Price of Ballynafeigh took the scalp of Sean Linton on board 3. Leading 2-1 and looking well ahead in both remaining games Ballynafeigh 3 were in total command of their own destiny and had an unbelievable opportunity to record a stunning victory.

On board 2 Barney McGahan of Ballynafeigh was three pawns up against Ciaran Marron and Eoin Carey of Ballynafeigh held a clear positional advantage and a huge clock advantage over his opponent John Monaghan. McGahan saw his big advantage slip away as the experienced Marron clawed his way back but Carey secured the Ballynafeigh 3 win with an excellent victory.

Eoin Carey (right) nails John Monaghan in a blitz finish

Eoin Carey (right) nails John Monaghan in a blitz finish

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100,000 visitors 

The Belfast contingent will be heading off on Friday morning in convoy to countyClare for the annual prestigious drinking competition …. Sorry international chess tournament in Bunratty. Norman Rainey acting as a volunteer path-finder is heading down on a solo run on Thursday to ensure the beverages are of a sufficient standard to waste a whole weekend on. Norman found fame in the Lisburn karaoke bars as a Dean Martin impersonator, he couldn’t sing his name but on the other hand his empties collection has just received the Princes Trust Award for outstanding achievement!

This Chess-Mecca pilgrimage will mean your author will be away from the Gossip and News desk for the duration of the weekend missing out on the landmark site statistic of hits. This Friday or Saturday will see the Ballynafeigh site receive its 100,000th hit in just two years, with a bit of luck the culprit will be identified and we will send them a small prize.

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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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Three Day Horror Show

Three of Ballynafeigh’s four teams were in action this week, though the impartial observer would be forgiven for not knowing which team was which for the abundance of lackluster performances and pressgang kidnappings. Out of a possible 21 pts available to the Ormeau road horde they managed to secure just 1.5 pts, easily the worst performances by the club teams in the clubs short history. Not quite the “Mother of all horror weeks” but still one that is best forgotten or chalked down as one of those things!

It started on Monday when Ballynafeigh 1 lost several core players absent through work and patched their team with imports from Ballynafeigh 3 bad enough when you’re faced with a division 1 team but when its one of the top three teams it is almost always curtains. David Houston back from Dubai where he was overseeing the family’s oil fields must have still been suffering from heat exhaustion when he blundered early in his contest with Michael Waters, did no one ever tell him “Oil and Waters” do not mix?. Lavery, McGahan and Black followed soon after only Thomas Donaldson saved the whitewash.

Tuesday saw Ballynafeigh 4 under Dennis Wilkinson enter the fray against a very strong Bangor team with their old maestro Kevin Agnew conducting affairs for the visitors. Dennis leading by example really made a fist of it against Paul McGuigan but the 400 rating difference just told out in the end and the league newbie’s went down 5-0

Wednesday saw Ballynafeigh’s best team (ooh cat hisses and claw marks) under Mike Redman travel to the east Belfast venue to face title chasers Lindores. The venue is much bigger on the inside rather like the new Lindores team, bigger and tougher, but that was the least of Ballynafeigh 2 concerns they had drafted in Eoin Carey from Ballynafeigh 4 to take the place of Brendan Jamison who was off opening a new art gallery in Los Angeles (please note not everyone in Ballynafeigh is a millionaire your author is officially listed as a pauper) So young Eoin was going to have to deal with the deficit of some 800 pts to his board 5 opponent.. However that was the least of the Redman crews problem because they received a confusing text as to whether or not their board 3 was going to make it or not, possibly, maybe, yes, no, phone switched off! They waited and waited at the meet up point but gave up and headed on a man down. On arriving at the coffee “Tardis” it was hardly surprising to be facing The Doctor what was surprising was it was Dr Fred who’s inclusion in the Lindores squad really puts an edge on its middle order. The valiant Dennis Wilkinson who had only come to spectate was immediately press-ganged by Cunningham on to board 4 to face the ever tough Ross Harris, not shrinking from a challenge Dennis had a real go at Ross who held a 430 pt rating advantage. Redman went wrong against Horvath and got punished for it, quickly followed by Robert Lavery’s defeat to Dr Fred. Thankfully for Ballynafeigh Cunningham and Leitch ended all square to save a duck egg result.

Hardly looks like a coffee house from the outside

Hardly looks like a coffee house from the outside

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3-2-1   At Muldoon’s

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Chris Black (left) and Nicholas Pilkiewicz manage a game of chess between mobile phone calls.. is that not against the rules?? 

No the Ballynafeigh reports service hadn’t gone into meltdown with a bizarre score line nor was it a countdown to the Ulster Chess Unions first space expedition, though the latter wouldn’t at all be surprising as we do have our fair share of Rockets! No the headline is the reason for the recent growth in teams in the Belfast and district leagues, the match or considering the 5-0 final score line perhaps we should refer to the “mismatch” between Muldoon’s and Ballynafeigh 1 exemplified why and how this swelling of the ranks has come about.

In the above photo taken by resident amateur UCU photographer Damien Lavery of a section of the players it shows 3 players returning from sabbaticals Stephen Woods and Des Mooreland for Muldoon’s and Chris Black for Ballynafeigh1. Two new players to chess in Barney McGahan and Eoin Carey both for Ballynafeigh and only one regular in Nicholas Pilkiewicz of Muldoon’s, hopefully this recent trend will continue unabated for the foreseeable future.

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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

images (4)

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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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Christmas Blitz

It's no time-time again

It’s no time-time again

The 2013 Ulster Blitz Championship will take place at the Ballynafeigh rooms on Saturday the 28th December. Time controls for the tournament will be 3 minutes plus an increment of 2 seconds a move. There will be a rule change this year following to deal with possible glitches in added increments. Any illegal move by your opponent if after pressing their clock they have less than 30 seconds is deemed an automatic loss.

The fastest hands in the west and for that matter any other point of the compass will wood-sling it out at high noon for the title of king of blitz street.

blitz st

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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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Great Competitions are based on Equality

It has been long and many a day since the Ulster Chess Union had such an open and competitive league as teams compete for the title as holders of the Silver King. Far too many times over the years the Silver King has been nothing more than a procession or just a two horse race. The North Belfast Super-team, RVH A, Clifton House, Queens and Fisherwick all either had a procession or only had one serious rival to thwart.

This year whilst Fisherwick are still unquestionably the side to overtake it is not the impossible task of years past, furthermore and actually much more importantly it is the number of teams with a competitive edge that makes this year’s league campaign infinitely more attractive for local enthusiasts than previous encounters.  Lindores, Ballynafeigh1, Ballynafeigh2, Lagan, Muldoon’s, and Belfast South are all within a handful of points of each other, though some teams have games in hand they are tougher opponents that they still have to face. Individual match results between these sides have been varied and unpredictable and that’s what making the Silver King so interesting this season. Indeed it is only the stupendous form of Waters and Cairns for Fisherwick that has been the difference between all seven team their personal scoring percentage has been phenomenal and they deserve just praise for it.

The shorter second half of the league will prove to be just as unpredictable with many interesting possibilities; will Steve Morgan turn in for Belfast South adding to the Dutch imports that they picked up? Will Des Mooreland come out of retirement to harden the middle order of Muldoon’s? Can Lindores do the same with David Conlon? What matches will Steve Scannell play for Ballynafeigh1 and what of the rumor about Ballynafeigh2 lining up a Turkish IM who stumbled upon their site? Will Fisherwick be forced to draft in Masterson and Fong? All in all a mouth watering competition and without doubt a brilliant time to be playing chess in Belfast.

And the key to good chess leagues
And the key to good chess leagues

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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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Magee Goes Ballistic

phone ringing

Controller … Hello

Magee …       Don’t you hello me ya ballix

Controller …  Alright Paddy get it off your chest, say what you wanna say

Magee …       Why did you steal our point, our only point … it didn’t affect the result or any possible result final standings league separation or board prizes.

Controller … Aye I know that.

Magee …      You know that! You bloody know that, yet you still took it and we’re in the same club ya tramp.

Controller … It doesn’t matter whether we’re in the same club or not the rules are the rules there was an official complaint by a league team and I have to investigate it and make the call.

Magee …      Make the call .. make the call ..I’ll make the call why did Civil service not have the balls to mention this at the match.

Controller …     Well firstly they may not have known until they got home and checked the ratings and secondly which is much more important, it wasn’t Civil Service who reported you, they were quite happy to stand by the result on the night out of sportsmanship and a sense of fair play.

Magee …  Who was it then, what dirty no-good low-life who would do such a ridiculous thing? Who would be so anal as to scour the weakest team in the league sitting with just 1 ½ pts from 5 matches and that’s our easy games! They’re garbage nothing but dirty rotten trash! I’ve scraped better of the floor of my uncles piggery.

Controller…  They are just pushing for the full implementation of the U.C.U rules and the application of the very letter of the law.

Magee .. They’re what!… they’re pushing for application and implementation! … They’re pushing for a boot in the Henry-halls that’s what they’re pushing for. Application and implementation you say…I say the guys responsible is applying for an implement to be shoved where the sun don’t shine.

Controller … You’re being a bit harsh on them paddy

Magee …    A bit harsh..! Are you having a giraffe? …. A bigger shower  couldn’t be found outside of a convention of solicitors! Indeed short of the nearest Man United supporters club it would be difficult to find a pile of trash like them anywhere this side of Old Trafford!

Controller … You really need to calm yourself Paddy

Magee … Calm myself my ballix!… How can I calm myself when there are people out there spying on us and working against us then snitching on us at every opportunity the touting gits? Are you gonna grow a pair of balls and tell us who it was or do we have to question every bugger in the UCU until someone breaks.

Controller .. No you have every right to know, it was Muldoon’s, Nick bombarded me with texts and phone calls reporting it.

Magee … Muldoon’s ..formerly Mallusk .. what #*%&%~# business is it of theirs, those dirty rotten #*&#& just a bunch of no good &*%#*#%$ useless %&*%#*#

Controller … Well Nick felt it needed to inform me as a complaint after he and Peter discussed it, he said Peter went searching for it on the UCU results page.

Magee … Are you serious? Peter went searching our results and told yer man Nicholas Pilkiewicz who lodge the official complaint .. what a complete …. Nah I don’t believe it Peter wouldn’t do that! but yer man Nasty-Nick the wannabe serial killer he would. Christ when they had no venue last year and we let them play at our place supplying heat light tea&coffee etc this is how Pilkiewicz says thank you, is this some sick joke that I’m failing to get.

Controller … Yeah it’s bad alright.

Magee … Bad! Bad! I tell you all I hear is Michael bloody Waters this and Michael #@%^*#@ Waters that… I tell you wee Mickey Waters is a gentleman compared to that obnoxious @&#$ Pilkiewicz. I hope Fisherwick blow the goolies off them in the league, I hope Fisherwick smash them into the muck where they belong! You know what they should be left at the side of a road tied up in black bin-liners for collection…

Magee sends in a photo of Muldoon's waiting on a lift
Magee sends in a photo of Nasty-Nick waiting on a lift
Their lift is late so Magee phones them a taxi
His lift is late so Magee phones him a Taxi

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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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Lies, Damn Lies, and Lindores

The new Lindores outfit has a snazzy new website, it’s glossy, it’s professional, it’s pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate and it’s all the hard work and intellectual property of their board 3 Ross Harris.

Why oh why the bold Ross would surrender editorial rights to his nicely crafted webpages to someone who revels in unbridled bias is totally perplexing. The man in question a failed sports journalist who probably tried to model himself on something close to Lord Haw Haw, he has spectacularly failed once more, instead he is rapidly gaining a reputation for being the most laughable spokesperson since comical Ali.

His reports are so far from factual truth he would do a politician justice, indeed he and his commentaries are unquestionably the personification of falsehood and wouldn’t look out of place in a Neil Armstrong autobiography, not surprising as he has historically changed things to suit especially accents! (35 seconds in)

I rest my case.

Calum Leitch in his working clothes
Calum Leitch in his working clothes

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Fruithill missing the X Factor

Fruithill sent their away team to the Ballynafeigh rooms on Tuesday to match up over the boards against Ballynafeigh 1 headed by reigning European and World war-games champion …. and not a bad chess player David Houston. Now for those of you not familiar with the Fruithill modus operandi they only use their most experienced and gifted players for the home matches, their weaker teams are sent to opponent’s venues as their senior players tend to find the long journeys extremely taxing as some of the distances involved can be as much as nearly 2 miles!

So Fruithill arrived with the squad that actually could be arsed, and expecting to take a probable thrashing on all boards except for board 2 were they were confident that Big Frank Carrothers would defeat Damien Lavery to save the whitewash. Fruithill could do with the points they have few enough of them and they were the first team to be deducted points this season for failing to post their previous Bangor result correctly, they omitted the board 1 match and result and then had written in Louis Walsh instead of Louis Holmes on board 3 so when they claimed their team was missing the X-Factor they weren’t referring to Delaney Holmes and Parker they were actually referring to the famous TV judge Louis Walsh.

The Fruithill board 3 too nervous to watch Marron v Houston
The Fruithill board 3 too nervous to watch Marron v Houston

Fruithill got off to a flyer when the won board 5 they had already passed the match score expectation and still had Big Frank to come. That was only part of the unfolding picture Cairan Marron was stonking in to Housty at a rapid rate of knots this was looking dire for Ballynafeigh 1 then Sean Linton claimed victory against Matthew Chapman on board 4, did we say dire? Dire would have been looking at it through rose tinted glasses if it looked any worse Bob Geldof would be launching an appeal. Thomas Donaldson enjoying a meteoric rise through the ranks of the UCU reduced the deficit with victory over Gerry Collins but that still left the sumo clash of Carrothers and Lavery on board 2 which looked scary for Lavery

they went through several Goldilocks chairs before they found the ones just right ... the benches in the park opposite the club
they went through several Goldilocks chairs before they found the ones just right … the benches in the park opposite the club

and on board 1 Fruithill’s Marron was still corralling the Ballynafeigh board 1 and UCU thoroughbred David Houston determined to take the legs from under him or chop them off completely.

Marron had plans for Houston
Marron had plans for Houston

The clocks ticked by and Lavery weaseled his way out of big Franks grip and eventually gained control to level the match at 2-2 the Ballynafeigh boys were breathing again but only just. Their great stallion of Houston was still well and truly saddled with a horror position and Marron was taking him for a ride, but they aren’t thoroughbreds for nothing and eventually even with a few legs taken away from him Houston still had to much horsepower and got over the line to win.

Housty breaks free
Housty breaks free

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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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Time Moving Fast

There may be only three months to Bunrattty and just 57 days to Christmas but hurtling towards us at a rapid rate of knots is the 2013 World Chess Championship in the exotic location of Chennaipattanam in India, featuring India’s very own latest elevated superstar Viswanathan Anand and the Mickey Mouse fan but no Mickey Mouse challenger Norway’s Magnus Carlsen.

annand carlsen

The venue city and surrounding suburbs have a populace of some 9 million peoples; the area is littered with an extraordinary range of stunning colonial structures many now government offices but many more remain the local head quarters of the neo-colonialist companies that trade there.

The general locality while laden with architectural nuggets is also very heavily populated with manufacturing plants and industrial parks… and in India when they do the industrial park they literally do it on an industrial scale, like Stalin on steroids. Not that the competitors would have much time for sight seeing and if they did whether they could be persuaded to abandon the sumptuous surroundings of the 5 star hotel to venture into the energy sapping 32 degree tropical heat is another matter

hyatt 2

http://chennai.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/our-hotel.html

The good news for the chess fans in this neck of the world where we have half assed industrial parks, normally done on the cheap and usually sited in the wrong locations, is despite our autumnal drizzle and leaf relocating wind we can join in on the live feeds from Chennai. F.I.D.E have released a free App for android handsets on Google play-store which will keep you live move by move plus analysis and commentary on the epic clash.

F.I.D.E have also been in contact with one of Irelands chess celebrities in recent months to brain storm on how to deal with the vexing question of cheating, so they have been picking the brains of Gabriel Mirza to see what check they need to put in place and what steps they can take to ensure fairness. F.I.D.E were apparently very impressed with some of Gabriel’s suggestions though they did think that the supplying the arbiters with brass knuckledusters was a bit excessive.

http://www.worldchesschampionship2013.com/2013/09/cheating-impossible-at-world-chess.html

Being the IT capital of southern India the organisers are confident of uninterrupted high grade streaming of the event from the venue to your phone or tablet.

http://www.worldchesschampionship2013.com/2013/08/super-internet-link-for-live-anand_23.html

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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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Who will win the Silver King

Vote for the team you believe will clinch the league title this season, and you can leave a comment on why they will or wont in the comment box.

 http://ballynafeighchess.wordpress.com/

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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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RESIGNED

Jonathan O’Connor resigns as chairman of ICU after Considerable thought and refection following the failed coup at the ICU AGM, O’Connor was determined to defeat the fringe grouping first which he did by a huge margin, before he went.

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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. What was going through Bernard Palmers mind when he behaved like a bull in a china shop, passion for your chess union is a quality to be admired but unbridled rage delivered with choice language is anything but! 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.

Bernard in search of a China shop

Bernard in search of a China shop

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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2013-2014 Fixtures

The season fixtures for 2013-2014 have been posted on the fixtures and results page with the start times and playing nights. For any of you thinking of indulging yourselves in the Devils game of gambling on the league matches and the eventual destination of this seasons Silver King you could do worse than to read NI Chess News http://www.nichess.blogspot.co.uk/  where David McAlister lists this years runners and riders in an excellent entertaining and informative preview giving the background and make-up to the different clubs and venues that will be experienced this campaign.

As a foot note Ballynafeigh will be putting forward three teams two of divided talent and of course one for novices which has served local chess development no end. Rumor has it Fisherwick may struggle to put out the strength in depth this season as they have for the last few, but at the moment it is what it is .. a rumor.

As a secondary footnote Sam Flanagan has warned of eternal damnation for those of you foolish enough to gamble with your soul and yield to the temptation of Lucifer, but having said that if anyone is offering Muldoon’s at 7/4 he’ll have a tenner’s worth.

Cash only. no cheques unless there's a mate with it.

Cash only. no cheques unless there’s a mate with it.

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Drew bids Mallusk farewell

drew 2

Drew Ferguson came back from the African bush where he was on location filming the final episode of the last series of the hit TV show Wild at Heart to involve himself in the Ballynafeigh v Mallusk friendly at the new venue of Muldoon’s bar before breaking camp for Civil Service. “Bajesus Drew are you mad coming back to Belfast in this weather when you could be baking in sunshine on the African plains?” asked Downpatricks most eligible bachelor Paddy Magee. (Well in actual fact he is probably Downpatricks only bachelor, the rest apparently get married off in their early teens to their cousins.)

“Not at all, sure just being in this room reminds me very much of being back in the Serengeti” replied Drew.

“Is that because our wee Ballynafeigh teams fight like lions?” enquired Magee.

“No it’s not that” replied Drew

“Is it because of the darkness, cos I tell ya what this place could do with a few candles here and there” stated Magee.

“Nah Paddy that’s not it either” answered Drew

“Then just what is it because I’m at a loss” said Paddy Magee.

“Well” said Drew before adding “Take a look over there at that board one table in the corner with Dave Houston and Gareth Annesley squeezed in, they remind me of a couple of Hippos at the last watering hole” replied Drew before adding “but I tell you something Paddy, you need to be very careful around animals you need eyes in the back of your head in the bush”

“Here ya don’t have to tell me, I know all about it,Downpatrick’s the same, sure that’s how I got in to doctoring” stated Magee.

“Why were you going to be a vet and decided to change and treat humans instead?” asked a rather puzzled Drew Ferguson.

“No I wasn’t looking behind me and I was spotted up the back fields with a sheep, I had to tell my uncle who also happens to be my brother in law that it was choking and I was just practicing the Heimlich maneuver! and Bob’s your uncle .. and your brother in-law I’m now a trainee doctor”

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New look line up for league

This years league team list has a few changes to it, the Civil Service club is back in action at the Pavilion venue in Stormont. To kick their club off they will be hosting a rapid-play on Sunday 20th Oct controlled by David McAlister to raise even more coinage to fatten their already burgeoning coffers. Though the rest of us paupers can’t understand why the money-bag outfit just didn’t have a whip-round of back pocket change or a garage sale of last years never to be worn again Armani and spare Cashmere sweaters.

There also seems to be a strong possibility bordering on probability of the Bankers club coming into the league with defections if not a complete migration from Belfast South Chess Club. Lindores coffee house are all dressed up with a shed-load of defections from Ballynafeigh and are ready and raring to go from the Newtownards road venue, the Mallusk team also bolstered with yet further Ballynafeigh defections are set to play from Muldoons pub in the docks area. Banbridge CC may still be a possibility with the aid of a venue and yet a few more Ballynafeigh transfers but at present remains only an option, after the train load of desertions and defections the Ballynafeigh CC will probably be reduced way down to only  three teams this year from the … err three teams they had last year As yet there are no noises coming from the Bangor area as to what their intentions are this coming season.

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Treasure Hoard

Ballynafeigh chess club had an excellent haul of silverware and prize money from the recent Ulster Championships. The clubs newest recruit Mike Redman lifted the Ulster Seniors title with clubmate and eight times Ulster Champion Steve Scannell following him home in second.

treasure

In the Intermediate Championship the Ballynafeigh chess club had a clean sweep filling all the podium places with Robert Lavery in 1st followed by Ian Kilpatrick in 2nd and Karina Kruk in 3rd  the victory by Lavery was especially sweet as he now gets a crack at the seniors next year, not bad for someone who was entered in the junior section initially.

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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

Vote in our poll http://ballynafeighchess.wordpress.com/

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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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City of Belfast Round up

The City of Belfast tournament over the 18th-19th weekend saw it entrance numbers triple on last year event, though before the organisers prematurely start patting each other on the back they would be well served to remember that a 200% improvement on a previous entry tally bordering on the description of woeful should only be expected from organisers as talented as themselves. That said 200% is still a number not to lift ones nose at and when added to the return of long absent players lately and newer players to the live chess scene who only ever knew the internet it all makes positive noises for the local chess landscape.

Brendan Jamison and Shane Keer were all returning to competitive chess after elongated sabbaticals Micheal Morgan, Stephen Scarborough, Mond Parissis and Honor Parissis were all making their live UCU chess debuts; they were joined by the motley band of the usual suspects from the local clubs. Some commentators thought the increase in numbers was just the usual talent hunting and ship jumping that goes on at this time every year as teams attempt to strengthen their squads for the coming campaign. However a more cynical if not accurate interpretation of the numbers is that because the tournament was being held in Ballynafeigh that somehow they would be fast tracked to a prominent place on these pages, ah egotism don’t you just love it!

A notable absentee from this year’s event was Michael Waters who won the Nemtzov Cup section last year and was thus the defending champion. “Why are you not playing Michael, you’re the defending champion?” I asked “I couldn’t make it” he replied, “Oh were you working” came the second question, “Nah I couldn’t really be arsed” he answered before adding “it’s a motivation thing, you know when you get to be as good as me, you know winning everything in sight it becomes darn difficult to motivate yourself, you know to get out of bed just to go to a tournament and slap Gareth Annesley and Steve Scannell around a few squares like a couple of useless tarts” he then sauntered off across the room to the playing area not so much to observe as to be observed in the best self idolatry fashion. One wily regular who overheard the conversation approached your representative from the gossip desk afterwards and quipped “You can call me and old sceptic if you must, and I’m no expert on the subject but I don’t think a lack of motivation is Michael’s biggest problem”

We at Ballynafeigh would like to help the multiple champion so have linked a video for him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYc5OLDy2yk

There were quite a few visitors over the weekend that popped in for a chat and an update on how things were going, Downpatricks most eligible bachelor Patrick Magee the half a doctor extraordinaire and David Seaby the UCU’s  resident author in chief who has written more books in his lifetime than I have actually read in mine were a regular sight at the event. Paul McLoughlin the Bunratty sound effects guy was there without the infamous Ray Keene wind-breaking sound-track, and Iza Bujak the Warsaw ice-queen was husband hunting among the fabric of the wreck of the temple that was once known as man.

Free tea/coffee/milk biscuits cake and buns baked by Eileen Kruk were piled high on refreshments tables throughout the two days during which time the dozens of competitors attempted to devour them with a vengeance, alas they were not prepared for the resilience of the Carrickfergus rolling pin who finished 6th in the Great Kilroot puff-pastry bake off. Her Piece de resistance over the weekend was a chess themed birthday cake for her daughter Karina the Irish women’s champion who celebrated her 29th birthday on the Sunday, there was a double celebration as Karina also learned she landed a role as one of the ugly sisters in panto this year beside her famous model sister Ade, who will of course be playing Cinderella, it is surprising that the theatre didn’t approach Iza Bujak and Martin Kelly to play the parts of the other two ugly sisters!

chess cake

Karina’s birthday cake

Steve Scannell effectively away from chess by being there in body but not mind these past few years looked like a man on a mission he carried the aura of expectation as he surveyed the pre-arranged room before making a beeline for the board one table and promptly hanging his coat on the chair of his preference. “Yeah man I’m feeling gud this day” he bellowed across the room “Yawl better be beware I’m back and I’m hungry” he giggled. He wasn’t as hungry as his words when in round one they came back to bite him in the ass. Ian Woodfield the music professor from Queens University was hitting the right notes with his defence and getting a wonderful tune out of his two active bishops, they were Stradivari violins from Cremona compared to Scannells plastic Vuvuzela’s from a dodgy pound-land and thus before long the only sound Scannell was hearing was that of the death march. His aura evaporated, his grin wiped off his face, and his giggles ripped out by the dimples, yes Scannell was back but it was the “same old-same old” he came in roaring like a lion and left as meekly as a lamb after being mauled by his own prey. Would he be able to get his game together or would he go down the toilet with it?

Steve Scannell trying not to go down the pan with his game.

Steve Scannell trying not to go down the pan with his game.

Danny Mallaghan set the early pace securing three wins on the Saturday including an impressive victory over Annesley which he really needed as he had pre-booked a travelling bye on the Sunday morning allegedly so that he could stay up late on the Saturday to watch the live boxing from Vegas, however we are strongly lead to believe it is because he secretly sings castrato in his local church choir. In round five the angelic Mallaghan was paired against the ungodly Scannell, if Mallaghan managed to defeat his Ballynafeigh club mate he would be an un-backable scorching hot favourite to lift the Nemtzov Cup. They enjoyed a game of threat and counter threat as Mallaghan with the white pieces tested black’s kingside defence with a distant cousin of the Grand-Prix however when he encountered an impenetrable fortress quickly switched to a passed pawn D-file assault. This thwarted any advances on the A-file and B-file by blacks own passed pawns. Mallaghan held the territorial advantage with Scannells pieces heavily corralled into cramped positions until the tension was broken and all of a sudden the black pieces exploded with devastating effect upon the lightly guarded rear ranks of white’s position. It was as swift as it was impressive and it was a statement of intent that did not go unnoticed by those around, the result meant that Mallaghan could no longer be champion and the runner up spot at best awaited him but Scannell could still be the victor even with or perhaps because of his first round defeat.

Scannell v Annsley

Annesley (right) and Scannell both experts at the Swiss gambit face off for the Nemtzov Cup

Karina Kruk the birthday girl and current holder of the Henderson cup was in determined style to defend her title though some of her detractors were articulating that her style was more intimidating than many of the UCU were prepared for when she placed a tin of Brasso at every table she was playing to advertise her belief that the trophy and title was already won. Whatever her reasons they obviously worked as she did indeed lift the Henderson Cup for the fourth year running when she defeated sabbatical returnee Shane Keers to stay a half point clear of Stuart McConaghey, obviously no motivational problems from the Ballynafeigh people as her fellow club mates Robert Lavery and Mond Parssis also lifted grading prizes behind her.

Karina Kruk plays Shane Keers for the Henderson Cup

Karina Kruk plays Shane Keers for the Henderson Cup

Mond Parissis top played Micheal Morgan they were both making their UCU debuts with Mond going on to score an outstanding 3.5

Mond Parissis and Micheal Morgan making their debut in the UCU Mond went on to score  an outstanding 3.5pts

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Celebrity Lookalikes

Our gossip desk was inundated with phone calls and emails from our avid readers after our latest post about Calum Leitch who earns a sideline income as a Rob Lowe impersonator at functions and exclusive party’s. The vast majority of the correspondence received that didn’t fall under the banner of “the usual hate mail” went to great lengths to point out that Calum Leitch is not the only celebrity lookalike in UCU chess circles.

They insist that Lagans Gerald Harvey did a wonderful Steve Jobs until very recently, with some of the tin-foil helmet brigade actually claiming Steve Jobs didn’t die but faked his death to play chess for Lagan …. hmmm rite oh…   Other claims received suggest that Ballynafeigh’s Paddy Magee is the identical twin of Freddy Roach the savvy manager of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

paddy magee freddy roach

Paddy Magee or Freddy Roach?

steve jobs gerald harvey

Steve Jobs or Gerald Harvey?

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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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End of Silver King Pint

end of season

After the last games of the 2012/2013 season to be played this week there seems to be a gathering of the clans being planned for next Saturday night at the Crown Bar. Whose idea it was we are not really sure but I for one wouldn’t really be surprised if behind it all lurked the hand of those well known party animals Ray Devenney and Chris Armstrong.

The informal get-together will be start at the Crown but if the history of Bunratty Halion-Battalion has taught us anything it has taught us that in all likelihood a tour-de-force of the Belfast scene is on the cards. Peter Wilson and his Mallusk crew will be there so the readers of this column will be fully aware not to be making eye contact with amateur serial killer  Nicholas Pilkiewicz or within striking distance of Steven Eachus as the night progresses, or if that is unavoidable to at least have the good sense not to look like Veselin Topalov!

Sam Flanagan has been out putting up road signs for those of you traveling from outside Belfast to help you find the way, or at least that’s what i thought he meant!

the end

One of Sams signs

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Nasty Controller

league controller

The League Controller showed his nasty side this week when after reading his own rule book he announced in his usual dictatorial manner that all outstanding games not played by Friday 26th would be deemed a forfeit. The Groomsport chess club were the first victims of an arrogant act of puerile vengeance by this would be devotee of totalitarianism. One of the Groomsport co-ordinators Gary Johnston said on hearing the decision “how we as a body ever managed to manacle ourselves to such an egomaniac with sadistic tendencies is a complete enigma, it is a situation that must be revisited for diligent analysis and discussion most urgently at our next convention. The senior co-ordinator Kevin Agnew agreed adding “trust me on this guys it’s a boot in the smarties that’s needed”

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Fisherwick Score big on two fronts

Fisherwick broke the hundred point barrier this week as they steamrollered their way to the lifting of the Silver King yet again. Not that this would come as any surprise to most intelligent chess pundits as their super-team was never in danger once Ballynafeigh distributed the talent available to them equally through their three teams. However that is not to dismiss Fisherwicks achievements as they still had to put the scores on the match cards and they also spanked a very strong Ballynafeigh International team 4-1 along the way.

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Fisherwick also collected the Rapid-Play title when John Masterson understudy to Michael Waters and John Cairns was selected to represent their club. Michael Waters claims he was embarrassed to play because when he won he was going to find it extremely difficult to remain humble. John Cairns couldn’t be there due to work commitments as they are rolling out three new flavours at the Walkers factory!

So they sent the Fisherwick equivalent of Mister Motivator John Masterson to do battle, determined not to let Michael and John down Masterson showed great consistency and no lack of skill to win the event outright.

Not quite the "Muscles from Brussels" but he's still in training

Not quite the “Muscles from Brussels” but he’s still in training

You can read a full and colourful report of proceedings on the N.I chess blog edited by David McAlister

http://www.nichess.blogspot.co.uk/

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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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Tournaments at Ballynafeigh

Ballynafeigh will be the host for The Ulster Chess Union who will hold its annual rapid play championships this year on April 1st which aside from being April-fools day is also Easter Monday. The clock time of the event is 25 minutes a player, when your time is gone so are you! Start time will be 12 noon entry fee £10 as an official UCU one day tournament entry is half price to any UCU members that are either female or under the age of 18. So why not come along and find out if you’re an Easter bunny or an April-fool

april fool

Ballynafeigh will also play host for the City of Belfast championships to be held on Saturday the 18th may and Sunday the 19th may first rounds start at 10:00am each morning. The event will be increment based 70min starting clock plus a 30secs per move added increment. All moves must be recorded, entry fee £15 or £12 if entry received before May 11th as an official UCU weekend tournament entry is free for any UCU members that are either female or under the age of 18

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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

IMG-20130304-04888

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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Nigel Short GM Simul

The Ulster Chess Union has secured the services of Nigel Short GM for a thirty board simultaneous display in Belfast. The event will take place on the Wed 6th March at the R.B.A.I common hall (Inst) situated between the Black-Man building and Jury’s hotel, first moves 6:45pm sharp.

The UCU executive board took the decision last month to make it a non profit making event so they have kept the cost per seat to the absolute minimum, demand has been high and most seats have been booked already but there are 4 boards left for the event very keenly priced at £33 each. Anyone wanting one can contact Damien Cunningham, but do it quickly, if you are one of the lucky players that have already secured a seat you should guarantee it with a deposit a.s.a.p

london eye

Nigel Short GM and Luke McShane GM in the London eye

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Waters Run Free at Williamson

The 101st running of the Williamson Shield was played at Stormont over the weekend and whilst we probably needed the 101st airborne the thirty entrants including Gabor Horvath a F.I.D.E rated 2266 blow in from Galway valiantly attempted to stop the human trophy magnet that is Michael Waters from confiscating all the bling yet again in their place, but alas it was to no avail. Waters was solid in his openings, inventive in his middle-games and peerless at his endgames. On top of this as if anything else was needed, he managed the time controls with absolute perfection as he surged his way to winning the Shield for the third time in three years.

waters

Michael Waters Ulsters highest rated player and Williamson Shield Victor 

Gareth Annesley tip-toed his way through the also ran’s in the field to land second place without ever having to land a blow!

1st Michael Waters

2nd Gareth Annesley

3rd Delaney-Harvath

U1800 grading Karina Kruk   (Nigel Short ticket)

U1500 grading Robert Lavery  (Nigel Short ticket)

U 1200 grading Ashley Mawhinney  (Nigel Short ticket)

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Williamson Shield This Weekend

The first tournament of 2013 kicks off at the Civil Service Club Stormont Pavilion this weekend, the first round on Saturday starts at 10am. The time controls for the tournament will be 70mins plus a 30 second increment, all moves must be recorded, there will be banded sections per usual.

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Scary Maths and Combinations 

Only two clubs Fisherwick and Lagan have mathematically guaranteed their inclusion in the upper division for the 2nd phase of the Silver King Championship, the other four places available are up for grabs and six teams vie for the four vacant spots, they will roll the dice in their last games of the 1st phase and they’ll all be hoping to pick up enough points to leapfrog up the league table, well five of them will roll the dice the sixth Ballynafeigh Sultans can only sit idly by as a partial observer having played their full compliment of matches and sweat out the incoming results.

All the more fascinating are the pairings and possible combinations of results and score-lines, only 4pts separate all six teams so it’ll be calculators pencils and fingers and toes this week for quite a few teams.

counting

What! who called a recount?

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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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Divisional Split

The league will reach its separation point after next weeks round of matches and will be divided into two groups after all results are posted. There will be a top tier comprising the six teams with the highest point’s tally who will play for the division one title and a lower tier who will play for the division two title, each tiered group of teams will play each other home and away.

65

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Bunratty Wagon Train Gets Longer

The numbers for the Bunratty Band Wagon are swelling as player from Fisherwick like Callum Ormerod and Johnny Cairns, Mallusks Gareth Annesley Steven Eachus and Peter McGuckin, and Fruithills Alan Delaney sign the dotted line to join Ballynafeigh players John McKenna, Damien Lavery, Richard Gould, Danny Mallaghan, Robert Lavery, Matthew Chapman, Iza Bujak, Karina Kruk, Thomas Donaldson, Calum Leitch, Damien Cunningham, David Conlon, and a few more undecided, and then there a few veterans in the Belfast south club who attend most Bunratty events. At this rate we’ll be talking about an invasion rather than a band wagon.

invasion 2

Straight through Ennis boys and up the road a bit

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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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Bunratty Wagon Train

After too many years away from the Bunratty Chess Festival for a large section of  U.C.U members a concerted effort is being made to encourage a large contingent of players to indulge themselves this year 1st – 3rd March by attending the largest competition in Ireland or Briton. Already a dozen players from Ballynafeigh have committed to go and another three or four from the Mallusk team.

There will be at least six or seven cars as well as a people carrier leaving from Belfast so anyone interested in seats in a vehicle for the journey or sharing rooms at Bunratty if they wish they can email Belfastchess@hotmail.co.uk and we’ll get you in contact with a driver or room-mate. So if your interested or have any questions or require info just fire a line and we’ll get back to you A.S.A.P

Wagon Train, Oregon Trail Pageant, Montpelier, Idaho

Damn, wish I took that seat in the Steven Eachus people carrier now!

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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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Ulster Blitz Championship 2o12

Well if we’re all alive next week and haven’t fallen victim to the Mayan prediction of the end of the world on 21st December 2012 or been lured to an isolated spot by Nicholas Pilkiewicz why not head to the Ballynafeigh chess club on Saturday the 29th December for the Ulster Blitz Championship 10am start time 15-20 rounds of wood-chucking mayhem, the time control is 3 mins with a 2 secs increment. £10 adults £5 concession.

blitz

Well it’s either this or the Blitz

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Fisherwick and Mr Hateful score big at Ballynafeigh

The glory hunters of Fisherwick and the most despised individual in the UCU came to Ballynafeigh and wreaked havoc among the Ballynafeigh ranks with a performance that saw Fisherwick run out as exceptionally easy winners with a virtual slaughter of the Ballynafeigh Sultans squad that was pitched against them. And then there was him…. the scourge of Ballynafeigh chess club leading his side to glory, he’s unbeaten in league competition by a Ballynafeigh player in almost 3 years, he was there publically wallowing in his personal performance record against the Ballynafeigh outfits, he was strolling about the Ballynafeigh chess room like he owned the place, almost as much as he clearly owns some of the players it must be added. He was unstoppably rampant yet again cruising to another victory with precise methodical play against his Ballynafeigh opposite number and adding further to the humiliation of the biggest club in Ulster chess.

When the league fixture list was published it was this date that was highlighted by many as a must attend event, just in the hope that the smug smile would be wiped off his face once and for all only one question remained unanswered, Was Barney McGahan the man to do it? Could he be the hero to put Roy Stafford back in his box? Alas it was not to be, after a very valiant effort by the Ballynafeigh International new boy the Shorts desperado Stafford held on yet again to ensure his teams victory over International which rounded off a dismal evening for the Ormeau road club with a double home defeat.

A week is a long time in politics they say, well it’s only a blimp compared to a week in chess when you’re on a losing run, and every upcoming fixture looks miles away, which is still closer than the much yearned for victory which you can’t see on the horizon at all. The Sultans were on a recovery mission against Mallusk just a week after their brutal spanking at the hands of Waters and Co and the Sultans board 1 was suffering more than most as his chess seemed to be at the bottom of a deep hole, and he wasn’t so much as still digging as he was still shovelling with a turbo-charged JCB hydraulic excavator. But “where there’s muck, there’s brass” they say and Scannell eventually struck gold with a workman win against Mallusk number 1 Gareth Annsley. If Roy Stafford is the most talked about man in Ballynafeigh then Mallusks Nicholas Pilkiewicz is unquestionably the most feared… the Hannibal Lecter of Ulster Chess is not one to turn your back on, his family tree shows him to be a direct descendant of “Crazyhorse” not the legendary Lakota warrior that led the combined Sioux calvary at the battle of the “little bighorn” but the actual mentally unstable mustang that he was named after, perhaps going someway to explaining why Pilkiewicz was born with a spur-mark instead of a birth-mark.  May also help explain why Pilkiewicz galloped all over his opponent John McKenna no matter how much McKenna tried to rein him in, indeed it was McKenna himself who ended up saddled with a weak horse that could move absolutely nowhere and controlled absolutely nothing. The suspected serial killer from Mallusk basically chopped of the tail and mane of McKenna’s horse before poking out its eyes “Heavens above John that was a dire Knight” I said, can you ever remember having a Knight anywhere near as bad as that before? “Well” he replied before adding “I remember Bunratty ten years ago when we all had way too much to drink and I woke up the next morning in the same sleeping bag as Gareth Annsley and Damien Lavery, now that my friend undoubtedly was the worst knight I ever had … ever” Mallusk secured victory over the Sultans with wins on the bottom boards when the Ballynafeigh juniors playing only their 2nd and 3rd proper games blundered on boards 5 and 6

paddy phone

Hello

“Don’t you hello me Cunningham ya goat”

“Who’s this?”

“Who’s this .. who’s this, it doesn’t matter who this is, it’s more important what this is! It’s a warning that you need to take heed of big-lad… If you ever let yer-man come to our club again and not pick me against him there’ll be serious trouble!”

“Magee what are you talking out of your bottom end about”

“Stafford … Roy bloody Stafford that’s what i’m talking about, you just let him fill his boots against us every single time, it won’t damn well do”

“I played Barney McGahan against him”

“Barney McGahan … Barney McGahan … I don’t care if you played Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone against him, You didn’t play me! I’da took him.. no sweat the Staffordshire bull terrier would be muzzled by me!”

“I played him last year and he beat me…”

“My point exactly you and Scannell are past it, what about Waters Devenny or Annsley get me against them, let them know they were in a match “

“Paddy pay attention to the next sound you hear okay, it’s really very important …………. “

slam

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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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Irish Women Chess Champion at Ballynafeigh

Karina Kruk returned home from Kilkenny at the weekend with the Irish Womens title printed nicely on her chess CV. The Kruk bandwagon just keeps on rolling forward as she tours Europe in search of other titles and accolades. Other local chess personalities attended Kilkenny Congress at the weekend including a long time absentee the very affable Dennis Wilkinson the Belfast South chess club were responsible for a quartet of entries one of whom Cathal Murphy did exceptionally well in the minor event coming joint second.

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International get bitten by Badgers

Ballynafeigh International moved to the top of the Silver King championship table this week but for any student of Ulster Chess and its fixture list it is a position that will only be a temporary one. The Ballynafeigh Chess Club opted to rotate all squads on a constant basis to ensure that all members of the club are presented with the opportunity to play an equal number of times throughout the season, irrespective of ability! The first rule of Ballynafeigh is “if you pay you play” well actually that’s the second rule the first is “Nicholas Pilkiewicz is probably a part-time serial killer and eye contact should be avoided at all costs” but we could never put that in print in case he sued us.

So with our newly promoted rule two front and centre International gassed Houston, Leitch, Cunningham and Kruk for the evening while the Badgers benched McAlister, Mallaghan and Conlon for the match up. Iza Bujak utterly annihilated Richard Gould the “pin-up boy” of Ballynafeigh, perhaps Richard should spend more time looking into chess books instead of the mirror. Robert Lavery pulled one back for the Badgers with a pawn race ending against Ian Kilpatrick and Ram Rajan gave the Badgers a lead with a nice win over Paul Adamson. Barney McGahan levelled with a victory over Charlie Logan but the result was never in doubt in the final game when Mark Hewitt crushed Patrick Magee giving the would be Doctor a dose of his own medicine. So whilst the individual teams amble along in the league the Ballynafeigh set up as a chess club hurtles on at break neck pace.

First rule No Eye Contact 

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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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So far so good

The race for the Silver King entered its third week and as expected if not predicted by many of the seasoned pundits not least your author it is shaping up as a very open league indeed. The top five teams are only separated by 3 pts the bottom five teams are still to play a third game and smack in the middle are the Ballynafeigh Sultans who have opened with three difficult games against Groomsport, Lagan and their sister team of Ballynafeigh International and yet have managed three consecutive draws and sit nicely in contention at this early stage.

There is still many a hiccup ahead for all the teams with perhaps Fisherwick the current holders of the Silver King being the exception as they went on a pre-season head hunting exercise to gather as strong a squad as possible. Fisherwick even went raiding their break-away club of Belfast South to grab as high ranking talent as possible, much to the dismay of the Belfast South club it must be added, to fill Fisherwick’s lower boards, were over the season the recruited talent will be presented with the opportunity to test their chess playing ability against opposition between 400 and 1000 rating points below them on a regular basis!

Ballynafeigh International hosted Mallusk and achieved a great result with a 4-1 victory, though unquestionably the games were much tighter than the score-line reflects. Peter Wilsons Mallusk won’t fall to the score-line too often this season that’s for sure and it only reinforces that no fixture or score-line is a foregone conclusion for any team. So an exciting league in the making as most of the boards for most of the teams look very competitive.

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Thirty Thousand…

No it’s not David McAlister’s bill for a weekends work, though i must admit certain members of the Ballynafeigh conspiracy committee are quietly confident that if you threw in his expenses bill as well it would be a damn close run thing. The mathematical elite of our local chess world such as Adrian Dornsford-Smith, Mohamed Saad and Robert Lavery could no doubt come up with a statistical permutation which allowed one to come to the tally target of 30,000 such as the number of rating points dropped by Damien Lavery to Kevin Agnew multiplied by the number of suspects in a Michael Waters assassination. It is neither of these, it’s actually the number of hits the Ballynafeigh Chess Site has taken in a year, pretty impressive.

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Kruk off to Slovenia

One of Ballynafeigh Chess Clubs resident belles (well we have a few now, must be Goulds good looks)  is off to Maribor Slovenia to play in the FIDE world youth Championships from the 8th – 19th Nov as the Irish under 18 representative in their 7 strong squad.

The coverage of the event which has an opening ceremony tomorrow can be found here http://www.wycc2012.com/

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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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Team N.I on line

Ever thought about playing international chess but didn’t have the rating to allow you to realise your dream. Shorts tour de force Ross Fisher has been playing on-line in the Team NI squad for several years now; perhaps this explains the giant strides in his playing strength lately.

Anyway Ross is in need of players urgently as his Team NI are playing a very strong Nepal team in a day or two, what he is looking for is a few volunteers to sign-up to chess.com (free) and register for the Northern Ireland team and try and make it past this tough group match.

Come on Norn Iron … um wrong photo !!

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Too Late Now

This seasons quest for the Silver King Championship starts in earnest next week with the holders Fisherwick travelling to the new venue of Fruithill bowling club to face the Fruithill Ravens. The Ravens will have the remnants of the Hendersons team to add to their own squad after the unnotified collapse of the latter, which is all the more disappointing when it transpired that members of the Hendersons were actively seeking other clubs long before they notified their own team mates who only found out at the eleventh hour making it impossible to continue as a viable entity.                           Ballynafeigh have added a team to the league as they continue to swell their membership, a late in the day effort to add a fourth was narrowly thwarted by the thinnest of margins. This though has meant the bolstering of numbers for the remaining teams of Ballynafeigh Sultans, Ballynafeigh International, and Ballynafeigh Badgers (don’t ask about the names, trust me they’re a big improvement on what was first suggested) it has also added to the internal competition between teams with wagers being laid as to who will lose a game first Damien Lavery and John McKenna for the Sultans David Conlon and Richard Gould for the Badgers or Karina Kruk and Calum Leitch for the International.

The Betting as follows

Kruk (Ballynafeigh International)     4/7   Fav

Lavery (Ballynafeigh Sultans)           9/4

Gould  (Ballynafeigh Badgers)            9/4

McKenna  (Ballynafeigh Sultans)       11/2

Conlon  (Ballynafeigh Badgers)           15/2

Leitch    (Ballynafeigh International)     10/1

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What a Venue

A Ballynafeigh select team of junior and intermediate players were offered the honour of being the inaugural match at the new Belfast South Chess club. Situated on the Lisburn road at the new Methodist church the Agape Centre can be seen from great distance at night time owing to the illuminated cross fifty feet in the night sky. but if you think that the neon location finder on top of the tower is impressive then you’re in for a real treat when you get inside.

The level at which you will be spoiled with luxury will depend on which one of the nineteen rooms named after the streets in the surrounding area you team will be hosted in. The Chadwick room is wall to wall plush carpet, leather reclining chairs and fresh flowers with panelled glass walls overlooking a mosaic tiled courtyard entrance hall.

The Melrose room is an elongated galley type room with sumptuous lighting and an elegant boardroom table elongated to mimic the designed space, again glass panelling adorns one side of the room allowing the overlooking of the oak floored performance stage below. Steve Scannell wanted to play his game in the luxury lift which is fitted with a 52” plasma TV and a dolby surround system and a tanning bench, he wasn’t even upset when I told him he was not playing he just smiled and went back to the lift where we picked him up again three hours later with a new suntan.

As for the game well Belfast South spanked our inexperienced selection good and proper, but at least the luxury seating eased the pain.

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League Fixtures Published

This seasons league fixture list has been published however they are not set in stone as there may yet be a twist, the RVH are as yet unsure at to whether or not they will be undergoing a change of venue as their current location may be no longer be available to them. If they are forced into a new venue then their playing night will probably switch to a Monday night instead of the current Tuesday they are also in no position to confirm any other team other than the Ravens at present. In the meantime Ballynafeigh have stepped up to the plate and are desperately attempting to field a fourth team to fill the void in the fixture list should the Henderson’s team becoming defunct.

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Nigel Short Simul in Belfast

The Ulster Chess Union has secured the services of Grand Master Nigel Short for a simultaneous display in Belfast on Tuesday 26th February. The union officers will now be taking bookings from players interested in playing against GM Short. Places will be limited and the cost will be £30 at present union officers are in the process of locating a suitable venue for this high profile event.

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Lagan Chess Blog

Lagan Chess Club have started their own blog this week http:/laganchessclub.wordpress.com we wish William who will be doing most of the spade work for the project all the very best

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Ballynafeigh Clean Sweep

The Ballynafeigh Chess Club enjoyed a commendable collection of the prizes at the end of series Civil Service handicap. Ballynafeigh players Robert Lavery, Matthew Chapman and Damien Lavery took 1st 2nd and 3rd places the Lavery brothers having won this tournament now six times out of the last eight years.

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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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Did I say a 9 team shoot-out?

Perhaps we have been a little hasty in our predictions yesterday when the Ballynafeigh oracle informed the chess population that haunt these pages that nine teams would be slugging it out for this seasons Silver King Championship. New information has whizzed its way onto our desk (well laptop on the arm of me grannies sofa) that there is an exceptionally strong probability that there will in fact be ten very balanced teams chucking wood for all their worth this season.

Alas I can divulge no more at this time due to a sworn oath of secrecy, well that and a bribe made up of a tenner in cash and a chicken fillet burger. So wild horses wouldn’t drag it out of me though £20 quid and a chicken curry may loosen my tongue.

Our lips are sealed (well zipped) but we may publish suggestions

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Brilliant League Anticipated 

The chase for the Silver King promises to be one of the most competitive in over a decade. With the Ballynafeigh club fielding an additional team and dividing their resources equally amongst them, Bangor  and Groomsport amalgamating the stronger elements of both teams into a singular unit, Fisherwick losing Eamonn Walls and Shorts getting Mike Redmen in December added to the ever present potential of the Lagan club and perhaps RVH playing their strongest players in one team and the new Belfast South club that could field a Morgan Flanagan Ruben Green Bryars line out, we could be looking at a nine team shootout

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Belfast South Chess Club

The impressive spread of chess in the south Belfast area has been advertised further this week with the formation of yet another new club playing out of the Chadwick room of the Agape centre on the Lisburn road 238-266. The new club will have a core of regular UCU players many from the former team of Malone like Neil Green Sam Flanagan and Martin Kelly who all played out of the Fisherwick club based at the Fisherwick church on the Malone road. Whether or not Moses made an appearance at Fisherwick  we can’t be 100% sure, but unquestionably there was definitely a parting of the waves, only time will tell if they have been led to the promised land.

Sam Flanagan swaps the camera for a staff

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Ballynafeigh Trident

The Ballynafeigh Chess Club will make a three pronged attack on the Silver King this coming season when the South Belfast club add another team to the league table and perhaps a renaming of all three teams… watch this space.

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New Season Starting

The new league season will be starting very soon so could all interested clubs and parties contact either Mark Newman or Damien Cunningham with details. That’s club name, playing night, members list, email address, two mobile numbers if possible and any special requirements.

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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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Ulster Chess Championships

The Ulster Chess Championships (sponsored by Europa Hotel) will be a sectionalised event with Senior Intermediate and Junior sections. The games will start at 10.00 am at the Europa venue on Saturday 25th finishing on Monday 27th August, time controls will be 90 mins per player plus 30 sec increment, all moves must be recorded even when inside the 5 min flag zone.

Super Series Event 4

With such a crowd applying for series 3 we will no doubt be over subscribed again next week, so to ensure those who supported the Super Series from the start are respected we will be gauranteeing a place for anyone who played in the first 3 events.

After that it will be on first come first booked basis.. So if you want in, get typing, texting or bribing but the clock is ticking and event 3 was filled in 36 hours

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Kids Chess at Ballynafeigh

The childrens chess championships will be held in the Ballynafeigh rooms on Wednesday 8th Thursday 9th and Friday 10th August. Mark Newman and Geoff Hindley will be event controllers for the tournament. The best of luck to all the participants in the competition and a big thanks to the controllers for their outstanding work all year with childrens chess.

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Rogues Gallery

John Monaghan lost his Super-Series virginity and picked up some easy cash in the process, there used to be a name for that sort of thing.

Right front Troughton v Mooreland Chapman between them, seated behind them were Mallaghan v Conlon and Annsley v Flanagan

Damien Lavery takes on Alex Murphy in the background whilst the body language of Waters front left and Woodfield needs no explaination.

David Conlon receives a coupon for a yellow cardigan from Oxfam

No I’m Charlie Logan… in the foreground looks away whilst a suspicious Dennis Wilkinson looks on as his own opponent Paddy Magee looks through him.

Michael Waters shows off his share of second place, while the other joint second Eamon Walls who’s off to Southampton at the end of the summer shows off his new stance for the Brighton promonade.

Chapman fills his boots with the intermediate grading band

Gould and Monaghan play a game of will laugh-won’t laugh while in the background Robert Lavery explains to Gary Johnston the advantages of harmony hairspray

The best Tournament controller in Ulster chess David McAlister presents Robbo-Cop with his winners cheque.

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Event 3 in the Super Series

Another fantastic crowd weighed in to the Ballynafeigh rooms on Tuesday evening for Event 3 of the David McAlister Super Series. We had half a dozen late withdrawals on the day but still had thirty four competitors chucking wood with gay abandon and whacking the life out of the clocks for all their worth.

David McAlister ran another tight ship and another impeccable tournament

Young Matthew Chapman of Ballynafeigh chess club made it back from holidaying in Washington and it was immediately back to work for him as he set about taking one of the grading prizes, John Monaghan of the RVH chess club on his first attendance at the Super Series secured himself another of the grading prizes making his trip across town very rewarding indeed. It was another Ballynafeigh man David Conlon still saddle sore from riding as a domestic in the tour de Donegal that broke clear of the chasing pack for the upper grading prize, enjoying some notable wins along the way including a very sound spanking of Lavery, we didn’t have any “yellow jerseys” but there was enough cash in the envelope for a half decent cardigan from the Oxfam shop down the street.

The main protagonists were in fine form with early scoring for the Fisherwick pair of  Walls and Waters, and Ballynafeigh’s resident yank Steve Scannell, the hardy bunch of Mooreland Mallaghan Annsley Newman Flanagan and Woodfield tried to keep them honest but just couldn’t catch up with them. So going to the last round Scannell was half point clear, with a trio of Fisherwick men and several Ballynafeigh team-mates in pursuit. Wins came for Walls and Waters in the final games while Scannell was held by Lavery meaning a three way tie for the tournament with Scannell winning on the tie-break system. The Fisherwick pair couldn’t be separated and split second place.

Scannell was jubilant after his victory, enthusiastically seeking out your author who had heavily criticised if not lambasted him for being the chess equivalent of a draft-dodger in Series 2 when he hit his fingers with a hammer rather than face Ulster Chess’s beast of the board Michael Waters. “Yo! DC my maannn” slightly pausing for an audience to fall into earshot before continuing “Ya’ll thought I waz throoo, well I showed ya, yeah buddy yes I did, you tried to kill me off but I’m back maannn, bigger badder stronger no matter what you do or say I’m like Robbo-cop or somthin” before turning and perfecting his Robbo-cop walk to collect his prize money.

Steve Scannell on the look-out for Orcs

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Betting for Super Series 3

Damien Cunningham  16/1 14/1 12/1     10/1

Matthew Chapman 50/1  40/1

Paddy Magee   125/1   250/1  500/1 1000/1   2500/1

Danny Mallaghan  12/1

Damien Lavery    13/2  6/1  11/2

Mohammed Saad  150/1

Paul Anderson       1000/1

John Masterson    10/1  9/1

Steve Scannell     5/1  9/2  4/1

John Bradley       16/1

Colin Fenton        200/1

Robert Lavery    150/1

Ram Rajam         250/1

Callum Ormorod  18/1 16/1  14/1

Tony Redden     200/1

Niall Troughton  150/1           Ballotted Out

Michael Waters   6/4  7/4  15/8   2/1   9/4 fav

Adrian Dornsford Smith  1000/1

Paul Logan       1000/1

Sam Flanagan   12/1

Richard Gould   20/1  25/1  33/1  40/1

Eamonn Walls   9/1

Mark Newman  12/1  14/1  16/1

John Monaghan  250/1

Paul McLoughlin  20/1

Chris Black     80/1 66/1 50/1 40/1

David Conlon 28/1

Martin Kelly 200/1

Gareth Annsley 9/1  8/1  7/1 6/1   11/2

Chris Armstrong  125/1

John McKenna  40/1  50/1  66/1  80/1

Calum Leitch  17/2  8/1 7/1 11/2  5/1

Des Mooreland   12/1

Paul Adamson  1500/1                 Ballotted Out

Ian Woodfield  18/1

Gary Johnston  200/1

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That’s right folks the house is full for Super Series 3 next Tuesday night at Ballynafeigh, so if you didn’t receive conformation of your place in the last 24 hours from Cunningham then you’re Zugzwanged. We had 45 applications for places for Series 3 so there were a few disappointments.

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Super Series 3

Next Tuesday the 24th is event 3 of the Super Tuesday Series at Ballynafeigh anyone wishing to book a place would be advised to do so as early as possible as placed are very much in demand again. Either email or text the contact addresses on the home page.

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Holidays

We’re off for a week or two, well to be more precise I’m off for a week or two.  Away to a beach somewhere with all notions of chess purged from my mind.

Well almost purged, they was pushed into second place behind sand-castles, obviously!

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Leitch Ready For Battle

Calum Leitch has been in contact to categorically refute the accusation that he ran scared from Michael Waters “I wasn’t hiding under any desk” he said “Everyone knows I suffer from agoraphobia and couldn’t go out, I’m not a draft-dodger like Scannell, I’ll get into the trenches for a battle at anytime with anyone, I’ve been practicing in my bedroom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOxxocX54WE

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He’s Back

The beast of the board Michael Waters returned last night to lay waste to the assembled ranks gathered for the Super Series 2 event at Ballynafeigh Chess Club. Whilst the over confident smirks from Lavery the victor of Super Series 1 were reflecting off every wall mirror and Mallaghan head in the room, an equal number of scowls were radiated back in his direction from the seeker of vengeance still smarting from the public failing of Series 1

Another excellent crowd turn up for the evening Steven Eachus travelling down from Magherafelt and Chris Black all the way from Enniskillen but there were notable absentees from the array of talent. Steve Scannell pulled out at the last minute citing medical grounds for withdrawal claiming to have damaged his finger in work; however the word on the Ballynafeigh grapevine (which is a long grapevine indeed) is that Scannell hit it with a hammer deliberately as an excuse to avoid being publically humiliated by Waters a sort of draft dodging for chess players.

Scannell on a draft-dodge

Calum Leitch was also frightened out by the Waters warrior reputation, not answering calls from the tournament organisers or replying to text when he failed to show for registration we are reliably informed he was last seen cowered under a desk shouting every hour or so “is it Wednesday yet?”

Looks like Wednesday in here

Ah if only it had stopped there Lavery got so nervous about facing Waters he offered one of his opponents a draw 25 times even though he was up a rook, knight, 4 pawns and a bishop before he realised it was easier just to offer the controller a back-hander just to keep him away from anyone rated over 1600, well the controller must have had a very nice lunch on Lavery today because the Series 1 winner never faced anyone over 850 on his way to the easiest grading prize in the history of chess…. Hmmm!

Cunningham refused to buy the wine for the controllers lunch today and as a result found himself facing opponents rated between 1800 and 2100 in every single round of the Series 2 tournament making it a carbon copy of Series 1 were he also got stiffed! Perhaps a nice glass of red may be the order of the day for Series 3, round four paired up Cunningham on 2.5  after defeats of Mooreland and Masterson and a draw with Lavery against Waters, not only was Waters on 3 from 3 but he was clearly on a mission to eradicate the memory of the defeat at the hands of Cunningham in Series 1, playing accurately and safely Waters gain a strong central position in a minor piece end game and made his extra central pawn an unmoveable post at the heart of blacks position and as time diminished so too did blacks available space and “The Beast” was in full roar with 4 from 4 a draw in round 5 against Masterson saw him cruise to victory taking the laurels in Series 2 and re-stamp his authority if such a thing was needed.

Lavery wasn’t the only Ballynafeigh player to grab some cash on the night as both Karina Kruk and Robert Lavery collected place money and a grading prize money respectfully, hmmm looks like the controller also a Ballynafeigh man will be putting weight on this week with his tally of free lunches.

The tournament controller loves his grub

Coss tables and Final game Masterson v Waters found over at Davids site  http://www.nichess.blogspot.co.uk/

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Large Crowd Expected

A large crowd is expected at Ballynafeigh tonight for event 2 of the McAlister run Super Series and whilst many will be chess players looking for a chance to hone their rapid play skills by playing the likes of Waters Lavery Mooreland Mallaghan and Annsley others will be there just to pick up easy rating points from the likes of Scannell and Leitch.

Rumors abound the internet that Paddy Magee might be sober enough tonight to find the front doors, but at the moment it remains pure rumor, though a coach load of members of the Matt Talbot society from Dublin are expected to attend just in case the miracle does take place.

Crowds gathered earlier today to get a look at Lavery the winner of Super Series 1

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4 Days to Super Tuesday 2

“We’ll be ready for Lavery don’t you worry” slurred Paddy Magee “sure me and Martin Kelly haven’t left the board since the last quick-play tournament at Ballynafeigh.

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The King is dead long live the King!

Okay so Hail to the Chief wasn’t exactly playing as he strode through the doors but it was noticed by everybody that he had a very presidential stride about him, though cynics may wish to clarify that he was walking next to the UCU Treasurer whose struggling waddle could make a new born wildebeest look elegant! However there were no cynics present on the night and besides we needed a victim so stand front and centre Dr. Chris Kelly the new victim… sorry President of the UCU

The New President of the UCU Chris Kelly

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City of Belfast

This weekend will see the City of Belfast championships take place at the Lagan Chess Clubs home venue of the Belfast Boat Club. The controller for the tournament will be a dual affair with appearances from Mark Newman one day and Gareth “Yosser” Annsley “I can be tournament director, I can do that! Go on give me the job” the other.

Anyone interested in playing should contact Mark mark.chris.newman@googlemail.com  PHONE 028 91456638 (Home) & 07872544868 (Mobile)

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World Championship Update

I know what you’re thinking! You’re thinking that you really don’t care about an update concerning the Anand versus Gelfand snorathon. That an afternoon watching the live feed from Moscow is only a small improvement on being trapped in a lift with Cathal Murphy and Phillip Morrison during a power cut! Well it’s a gargantuan improvement really, but we’ll say small for dramatic effect, this World Championship promised so much and delivered next to sod-all.

We expected this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ygRholyh5g

We got this instead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FdQVx55_fs

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A.G.M  Date Set

The A.G.M has been set and proposals called for before the end of next week, here at Ballynafeighchess we were given a sneak preview of some of the proposals being tabled for discussion, here is a list of some.

1) In the interests of competitive chess Michael Waters should play with 30 minutes less on his clock at the start of play to give other players a better chance to compete with him…. Proposer Karina Kruk

2) That the UCU elects a web editor can distinguish the difference between chess pieces and golf balls…. Proposer Owen Wilson

3) That the UCU supply alcoholic refreshments at all one day events… Proposer Paddy Magee

4) That the length of a match be extended from 1 hour 30min to 2 hours 30min… Proposer Mark Newman

5) That any player playing board 1 more than six times in a season receive free UCU membership as they have to study more that the under boards….  Proposer Richard Gould

6) That the UCU ban Roy Stafford from chess….  Proposer Damien Cunningham.

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Super Series Event 1

The Ballynafeigh Chess Club’s quick-play Super Series got off to an absolute flyer on Tuesday night at their Ormeau road venue, controlled by the peerless resident fixtures and fittings of Ulster Chess David McAlister. The tournament drew a notable crowd with some participants travelling from as far away as Banbridge, Crumlin and Carrickfergus, the bold Paddy Magee even travelled from the Hatfield bar down the street, though it was after he was ejected from the premises, his luck didn’t change much when he arrived at Ballynafeigh only to discover the free chess refreshments were in actual fact tea, coffee and spirit free if not sugar-free coke.

A superb field both in numbers and quality assembled for the evening with Ulster Chess top-dog Michael Waters the headline act, there to try and muzzle him if not put him back in his kennel was the hunting pack of Scannell Leitch Annesley Mooreland Mallaghan Lavery and Walls. However it was a lesser fancied player who inflicted the first defeat of the season on Waters and that person was none other than your author (stands up takes a bow, sits down again) who unleashed a monstrous f5 push with raking bishops on a2 and g5 a supporting rook on f1 and a back up queen on the d2 h6 diagonal, Waters may be the top-dog of Ulster Chess but he took a severe mauling from a Rottweiler of an attack from Cunningham, his end came as swift as it was brutal, at that moment there was no doubt that nobody was going to get it easy in the Super Series especially the icons.

Waters left stunned after f5

Mallaghan Lavery Mooreland Cunningham Annesley and Walls set the early running but as each met their own fate and fell by the wayside it was Lavery and Mooreland who were left standing front and centre for the final showdown. Earlier Lavery accurately pressurized Scannell into positional errors in a rook endgame before going on to clinically dispatch Annesley, Mooreland had to hold a dangerous Cunningham rally after the later had gifted him a rook, but then the Ballynafeigh man ran out of space as Mooreland drove him back and eventually got to make use of the extra rook. In the end Lavery and Mooreland played out a draw, but Lavery was awarded 1st place on the count-back system which seen his defeated opponents score a higher tally than Mooreland’s victims.

Mohamed Saad became Mohamed happy after picking up the under 1400 grading prize his tally included a fortuitous draw against Waters who having won on board and clock offered his less experienced opponent the draw as a magnanimous gesture after an honest but humorous error by Waters robbed Saad of his last 9 seconds. The under 1800 grading prize was won by the most handsome, intelligent, interesting, witty, charming, obliging and wonderful person ever to have graced a chessboard (stands up takes another bow refuses to sit down again, milks it for everything!)

So a cracking event which will be replicated in the same format in a month’s time at the same venue with the same controller, but hopefully with yourself there playing instead of reading about it.

FINAL STANDINGS

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Odds for the Tuesday Super Series

Michael Waters 2/1   5/2   11/4  Fav
Steve Scannell 4/1   100/30  3/1
Gareth Annsley 5/1   6/1
Calum leitch 17/2   8/1   10/1  12/1 (mustn’t be working well at home)
Damien Lavery 17/2   10/1   14/1
Eamonn Walls 17/2
Danny Mallaghan 12/1
Des Mooreland 12/1
Sam Flannagan 16/1
Damien Cunningham 20/1
David Conlon 25/1
Paul McLoughlin 25/1
Ian Woodfield 28/1  25/1  20/1  16/1  10/1  8/1 (Drug test ordered)
Karina Kruk 40/1
Chris Armstrong 50/1
Robert Lavery 66/1
Martin Kelly 80/1  125/1   150/1  200/1  500/1
Drew Ferguson 125/1  no offers  withdrawn under vets instruction
Mohamed Saad 125/1
Ram Rajam 250/1
Paul Adamson 500/1
Adrian Dornsford Smith 500/1
Paul Anderson 1000/1

E/W   1/4 the odds places 1,2,3

All bets layed by David (Eastwood) McAlister

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ONLY 24 HOURS UNTIL

The quick-play tournament will be hosted by the Ballynafeigh Chess Club on the first floor of their venue, the evenings events will be directed by that infamous overseer in chief David McAlister, so best behaviour guys! clocks start at 7.40 sharp.

Target man for the evening will be the residing top-dog of Ulster Chess at the moment Michael Waters, speaking from his plush South Belfast penthouse Waters said he looked forward to the challenge but wanted to state clearly beforehand that whilst he was prepared to pose for photographs for free, all signed photographs were subject to a charge of £3.00 for 7×5 and £5 10×6 owing to the fact that the rent was due next week!

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What are we playing?

Could some UCU official who hasn’t resigned, thrown the toys out of the pram, huffed, been arrested or generally sacked from any position of influence within the UCU please edit the union website by deleting a post on GOLF. It is the Ulster Chess Union when I joined it, and it was the Ulster Chess Union at the last AGM, so unless there has been a black-ops mission by Tiger Woods or a military coup by Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke when the rest of us weren’t looking I’d love to know what to hell it’s doing on the official website for CHESS in Northern Ireland.

To have an article on chess with a throw away reference to another sport, pastime, or exercise is absolutely fine which would find no fault from this quarter, but when the throw away lines are about chess whilst actively touting for participants for future golf events on our website is breathtakingly arrogant. So could someone hit the delete button please with immediate effect.

Owen Wilson said:     Yes, indeed, I agree wholeheartedly with the Editorial Supremo of the Ballynafeigh Chess Club web-site. The featuring of GOLF on the UCU CHESS web-site seems more than just a curious aberration-cum-trespass…What in Heaven’s name is happening to Ulster Chess ?? Is it going down the tubes or what ??

I mean…is there so little to talk about on chess, on both the local as well as the international front, that we have to be subjected to this unwarranted intrusion by a game which revolves around balls…little and white…and which are belted around Ireland’s Green and Pleasant Land ?? After all, there is the Ballynafeigh Blitz tourney…there is the excellent Civil Service tourney which stretches practically ad infinitum… way into September.

It just strikes me that the Powers-That-Be who contrived to have GOLF inserted into a CHESS web-site were simply looking for an easy-way-out, Glorious Publicity Freebie…Perhaps their chess results aren’t exactly up to the mark and they are indulging in a spot of what the psychologists call “compensation”, i.e. if you are not making it in one sphere of activity, then shift your emphasis elsewhere…and perhaps you might strike it lucky…

Those who contrived the insertion of GOLF on the UCU web-site are, presumably, members of the UCU. I am also a fully-paid-up member of the UCU and seeing as how a seemingly glorious free-for-all is in vogue at the UCU Web-site, I would like to claim my right as a member to have the Noble Art of TIDDLYWINKS advertised on this same medium….I must confess that my chess results aren’t exactly setting the mysterious UCU Ratings .on a Sky-high course…plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…would seem to be the motto here…So, I too am seeking an outlet for frustrated chess ambitions and Tiddlywinks is my FINAL ANSWER . And, furthermore, I reckon I don’t need to PHONE A FRIEND to galvanize TIDDLYWINKS membership, because I know enough chess players who are so peed off by their woeful chess results that they will gladly jump on the TIDDLYWINKS BANDWAGON. So, it’s HI-YO, SILVER, AND AWAY !!!

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Snooze-Fest  zzzZZZ

The World Championship show down between current champion Viswanathan Anand of India and the pretender to the throne Boris Gelfand of Israel is in serious danger of turning into a slow-down more than a show down as both camps go flat out to avoid any major assaults on their opponents defensive positions, and also to avoid all deviations from the proven static lines. Five games with five draws and to be brutally honest three games were draws that 1500 rated players could have played without much difficulty.

The Moscow audience struggle to be wow’ed

The FIDE Web editor can’t wait to post the games on-line

The tournaent director denies that the match is not riveting

Steve Scannell said: Yeah maybe Anand-Gelfand are trying to beat the 8 draws in a row of Anand- Kasparov ’95.  Anand is trying as White v Gelfand’s Gruenfeld but Anand having it far too easy as Black with the Slav. Gelfand hasn’t done anything with White. Local chess is a lot more interesting than this.

Ballynafeighchess said: I’m wondering if the Gelfand camp are deliberately avoiding an early victory or serious attacking positions in order not to show their hand too early forcing the Anand team to take the offensive. Perhaps their game plan is to draw the life out of everything until late in the series before revealing their secret lines or new ideas, hopefully snatch a win, then batten down the hatches and ride out the Indian storm.

Steve Scannell said: Yes the Gelfand camp could be holding back until late in the match to spring a surprise. Even if they don’t have an ace in the hole, they must be happy with Boris’ defensive skill. Their prep work in the 5th game was fantastic. They definitely took the life outta the Sveshnikov. Interesting stuff. I wonder if the match will go down to penalties?

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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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Ulster Rapid Play

This Saturday Ballynafeigh Chess Club will be hosting the Ulster Rapid Play championship at their Ormeau Road venue. At this time I’m not in a position to link you to the UCU website for further information such as time controls, prizes, or tournament controller as the UCU web-masters seemed to be kept in  the dark by the ruling executive boards tournament directors. (poor show boys… poor show)

Irrespective to this the Ballynafeigh venue will be ready, the tables laid out, refreshments available and at least one charming host on site, all we need now is a few victims for Michael Waters on his way to yet another title, I’m assured by the Ballynafeigh plumber the kitchen sink will be uninstalled for Mr Waters so that he can take that away with him in the boot of his car, well he’s got everything else!

10.00 am start not 12 noon as previously stated

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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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Okay I was caught by an April-Fool

Your esteemed author was caught bang to rights by a cruel gut wrenching April-fool by that desperado of the Rascals Paddy Magee. Enjoy your moment in the limelight young Magee because an avenging angel is heading your way. What the subject of the cruel joke was will remain a secret for other reasons.

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Horrible just horrible

What a dreadful morning, the feelings are almost overpowering, I’m unable to eat the breakfast that I made as I sit here staring blankly at the piece of paper on my table in front of me. Even though I try to look away its unexplainable hypnotic hold draws my eyes back to stare in devastated bewilderment, the gut wrenching feeling of nausea is only deadened by the other feelings of emptiness sorrow bitterness loathing and disgust. I’ve seen enough, I’ve read enough, I know it won’t change no matter how often I look at it but I can’t help looking at the figures at the bottom of the page just one more time in the search for answers! And then there’s him that odious, viperous contemptible little man who unquestionably will be wringing his hands with sheer delight this morning having been the great deliverer of the utter devastation handed to me, I keep seeing him sitting there as smug as ever delirious at my torment, I’d love to bump into him in a dark alleyway one night oh the joys of a winters evening!  Two hundred and sixteen pounds thirty seven pence, two hundred and sixteen pounds and thirty seven pence! How in hells name did I use that much electric?

Thankfully I still have the wonderful memories of last nights chess season finale at Ballynafeigh to ease the pain of such an awful breakfast killer that ghastly postman insists on shoving through my letterbox on all too frequent occasions. It was a clash that would decide the destination of the league title that the two teams of Ballynafeigh Angels and Fisherwick had played hard for all season week in week out, only losing to each other in the process. As the co-ordinator for Ballynafeigh chess club I would love to tell you of an epic struggle or resolute battle, an ultra miniaturised version of Bastogne, Dien Bien Phu, Stalingrad, or Monte Cassino or a cavalier unabashed show of folly such as the Little Big Horn, Balaclava, Vinegar Hill or the Somme. Alas it was none of these it was just two very fine teams meeting in a mouth-watering showdown but unfortunately for Ballynafeigh Angels they were just outplayed on the night by a superior Fisherwick team who had one of those wonderful nights that teams will have now and then being exemplary on all the boards only having to yield shared spoils on boards 2 and 4 and deserving of their success on the remaining boards of 1 3 and 5.

So a hearty congratulations to the entire Fisherwick club on winning the Silver King Championship for another year and for your team effort over the entire season from all the players at Ballynafeigh Chess Club, just don’t get too attached to it boys we’ll be back for it next year! It was fabulous to see so many spectators turning up at the Ballynafeigh Club to watch the games unfold some travelling from Bangor and Downpatrick to sample the Champagne that Dennis Wilkinson provided for the evening how we managed to prise the bottle out of Patrick Magee’s hands I’ll never know. So it’s back up the Malone road for the Silver King and blue rosette and it’s back to the drawing board for the rest of us but with such a brilliant tussle for the title it should be celebrations for the entire chess league and not just to the victors from Fisherwick, as for me I’m off to get one of those black-boxes that are all the rage in Ballymurphy that turn the meter wheel backwards.

Ballynafeigh Chess Club toast Team Fisherwick

Dennis Wilkinson said: As a Fisherwick club member , I was very happy to see my club winning on the night to claim the Silver King, but slightly tempered by the disappointment Ballynafeigh must have felt having had the prize snatched away at the last moment. Many thanks for the warm welcome I recieved on my attendance. Damien you are a very fine captain and a player, no doubt you and your club will enjoy deserved success in the future, you have laid the foundations of a successful club, I wish you all well, it was good to see so many of my friends in the Ulster Chess community which was a very welcome diversion for me especially…Onwards and upwards, again thank you so much for an enjoyable evening!

Ballynafeighchess said: Ah Dennis you old smooth talker, at Ballynafeigh talk like that will get you everywhere, just look at Calum Leitch!

Owen Wilson said:   Eventually straggled up to Ballynafeigh from the backwoods of Donaghadee, by pony express, just to see this David & Goliath contest. Congratulations to both teams on a rousing encounter, a fitting and closely fought Finale to end the season. I definitely thought , when the cheerleaders arrived late…that this was a bad omen for B’feigh…did it put the jinx on the New Kids on the Block ??…
Was it just me imagining it, or did the body-language of the Fisherwick maestros exude a quiet confidence, while the B’feigh boyos seemed ever so slightly under the stress cosh…?
Nobody seemed to show this Ring of Confidence more than John Masterson did. Jaunty John seemed to have his game under such control that he was forever up and down , to peek at the other games. He definitely looked like a man destined to be awarded the Brilliancy award for his match…and, in fact, I gather he inflicted a rather superb mating sequence on young Calum Leitch.
The Cunningham v Ormerod attracted my considerable interest. Again, was I hearing things or did the bold Damien keep muttering to himself…”Roy Stafford…”Roy Stafford …you…” ..(.Couldn’t quite catch the rest..). However, the Fisherwick man seemed to play the more confident, tidier game and the I-just-hate-Roy Stafford – B’feigh man succumbed in the end. All in all, great entertainment all round. Well done to both teams.

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Along with Tea and Coffee Tonight We’ll also Serve Special Napkins, One for each board

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We had to hit the pause button in the Ballynafeigh Angels v Fisherwick title clash this Wednesday at the Ballynafeigh Community Development Centre on the Ormeau road, the game will now be played the following Wednesday 28th instead. The postponement was made to facilitate last minute team changes for Fisherwick as they tried everything to persuade players to play, we have the opposite situation at Ballynafeigh were everyone wants to play every week!

See…. and I’ll bet you all thought John Cairns was a wee softie.

Martin Kelly said: Do you mean someone is getting engaged?  Surely, he can’t be from Fisherwick (they’re too old,aren’t they?)? Maybe it’s Calum Leitch,altough the chances of that are “thin” very thin indeed, almost skinny!

John Bradley said: Will you be collecting money at the door (with GMs, IMs, and females get free entry)

Ballynafeighchess said: It’ll be free for everyone except Roy Stafford… he just has to pay for blotting my copy-book with a big black zero!

Dennis Wilkinson said: Looking forward to attending the big decider next week!

John McK said: My we are getting a fashionable crowd showing interest for next week.

Richard said: Danny’s chess is hard to watch, but I can always watch the others..

Ballynafeighchess said: Well that’s the first time I’ve ever heard the Grand-Prix attack described as “hard to watch” maybe you were talking from blacks perspective, well we’ll see in seven days time.

Paul McLoughlin said: Is there any betting for the match?

Karina Kruk said: Mum and I are coming, but we ain’t doing tea and dishes, get Gould for that.

David Conlon said: Will the trophy be presented to the winners on the night and more importantly will there be tea and coffee?

Ballynafeighchess said: Paul I don’t know you’d need to email Paddy-Power not us, Karina your mum seriously needs to get her glasses upgraded! David tea and coffee are a yes but I’ll need to contact John Cairns but that sounds like a good idea regarding the trophy presentation

Patrick Magee said: Tea and Coffee! what no Bush or Smirnoff? even an aul flagon of Cider wouldn’t go amiss.

Ballynafeighchess said: Afraid not Paddy…. we called Sam Flanagan in to be head-waiter of the refreshments table so it’ll be a Saharan evening… totally dry!

Owen Wilson said:  Ballynafeigh v Fisherwick…may the best team win…  Will there be champagne on ice…after the Match of the Year ?? In other words , will it be worth a body making the effort to trail up there…from the backwoods of Donaghadee ??

Ballynafeighchess said: Cheers Owen, good to hear from you, as for the champagne we would need to get the keys to David McAlisters wallet because this years budget is already gone and I’m already starting to spend some of next years balance sheet. But a match well worth travelling to see that’s for sure even from the champagne-free gold coast!

Dennis Wilkinson said: I’m bringing a bottle of champers,but its not that dear stuff Moet Chandon,,no matter who the eventual winners are,,i think both teams deserve congrats for taking it to the wire and some individual fine results,,congrats also to Rascals and Malone for doing so well too !!

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The Final Round

Well this is it, after fifteen matches only 1.5 pts separate the two heavy-weight sides of Ballynafeigh Angels and Fisherwick. They have both lost only once,  that was to each other in extremely tight contests as they slugged it out in their quest for the chance to hold aloft the Silver King. Next Wednesday at the Ballynafeigh club these to sides will meet again in the final confrontation of the season when the league title will be won or lost on the outcome of the match result.

Ballynafeigh Angels will be crowned champions if they manage to avoid defeat against Fisherwick as their slim points lead allows them the luxury of a draw for success. A mark of just how brilliantly these two sides have performed all season is the scenario that it is mathematically possible for the Angels to score over 90pts and fail to win the title! irrespective of the final outcome surely chess will be the overall winner if such close challenges become the bench mark for future league competitions.

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Easter Tournament in Dublin

A few players will be heading or planning to head to this tournament and would like to formalise arrangements with other U.C.U members similarly interested, you can state your interest by replying here.

Steven Eachus said: Hi I am thinking of going to the Easter tournament in Dublin e3e4. I was just wondering if anyone going or planning to go would like to share a lift or  room to cut down on expenses. I’m planning to stay in the hotel Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hope to hear from someone soon
Cheers Steven (Magherafelt Chess Club)

Danny Mallaghan said: Gareth and I are going down on Thursday night and staying until Monday the Hotel are doing an offer Steven if you book 3 nights you get the 4th night free, if anyone has room in the car for 2 passengers heading back to Belfast on Monday We’d be very interested in helping with the petrol collection.

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Calum said:   What’s with the plethora of glum faces during the Williamson photo?? Had Damien Lavery taken his shirt off? Had a Sam Moore highlights reel been displayed on PowerPoint for 3 hours previous?

Ballynafeighchess said: Yeah you should see Gary Johnstons photo, something or someone scared the guy for sure

David said: Maybe someone told him that Matthew had got hold of his mobile number

John said: Looks like a re-run of the famous Vinney Jones squeeze on Paul Gascoigne

Something scared Gary and it wasn’t just Sam’s tee-shirt  WHERE is Sams hand

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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.

Some of the battling horde at the Williamson

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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Rascals get cleaned by the Lagan

The Rascals came back down to earth with a bump this week after their high flying exerts in divisional qualifying and their subsequent performances in division two. They hosted Lagan their nieghbours from just up the river which would have been a tough ask at the best of times when one considers the talent available to the riverside club, but to do so with a depleted team after two player who were on call were called into work at the very last minute is just asking too much.

A flurry of phone calls and text messages which contained threats or bribes depending on the size or financial status of the recipient ensued, but all to no avail. The Carrickfergus call centre Eileen and Karina Kruk were busy raiding the content of their contacts list looking for suitable victims whilst mumbling instructions to one another in an ultra thick Carrickfergus accent which I can only describe as sounding like someone speaking with a Ballymena accent with a longer drawl whilst chewing sticky toffee.

Is that last number right? Asked Eileen Kruk, because I am through to somebody speaking what I can only describe as a variant of Swahili… 0795—— I knew the number as belonging to Paddy Magee, Swahili isn’t a natural language to him though he is proficiently fluent at it during prolonged visits to the pub, it looked like the Rascals were on for a scratch on board 5 for this one. Worse news was heading their way when the substitute for the substitute on board 4 had to withdraw due to his prison release date being 2019, well they’re not called the Rascals for nothing!

Karina Kruk gave John Nicholson an excellent game on board one being up a piece for a pawn, however her remaining pawn structure was seriously weakened and John Nicholson took full advantage of the situation when he corralled Kruks king in the centre with the ransom demand of the piece back for its eventual release and ultimately the game.

The Rascals board three for the evening was Robert Lavery and he was facing the “draw miester”  of Ulster Chess Sam Moore, but even the specialists can have an off day and Moore wasn’t able to enhance his reputation for shared spoils any further and had to be contented with a win instead.

Matthew Chapman played like the Rock of Gibraltar in his encounter with George Heathwood locking up all avenues of progress or potential for the Lagan man who was carrying a rating surplus over Chapman of 544. Though while the true worth of ratings in a trench warfare game of chess can be reduced to the point of meaningless, the experienced garnered on the journey to collecting those points is priceless. Heathwood bided his time and maneuvered his pieces to the required positions before sac’ing the exchange to obtain the vital break through into the opposition ranks, a text book example of breaking down a wall of resistance.

And that was that, the Rascals impressive and proud record of refusing to be whitewashed by vastly higher rated sides was ended but hopefully they’ll take away more from the match than their final scoreline.

Top Two Score Heavy

With the title chase coming to a close the two contenders for the Silver King trophy Ballynafeigh Angels and Fisherwick racked up big wins in their respective matches. Fisherwick ran out 4.5 – 0.5 winners against Bombardier and the Angels recorded the same score-line against Fisherwicks sister team of Malone.

In the Ballynafeigh Angels v Malone contest the Angels got off to a flyer when Malone’s Bernard Jaffa voluntarily impaled himself on both tusks of Cunningham’s elephant gambit, though to be fair it was Bernard’s first time seeing the gambit. Danny Mallaghan was next home for the Angels with the “extended Grand Prix attack” for the uninitiated the extended grand prix attack is the same as the grand prix attack only you have to find the longest possible way of winning, well that would be my interpretation of it after Mallaghan sent the black King on a seven day camel ride to A7 when he could have pinned it in with Rxh7 at anytime. Mallaghan excusing the delay said afterwards “I was looking for the smothered mate” Calum Leitch a team mate of Mallaghans said “if he’d blown that position I would have smothered him”

Leitch brought home the next win for the Angels on board three against Niel Green when he won out in a Knight and pawns versus Bishop and pawns endgame when the King positions were as usual everything, Leitch rapidly gaining a reputation for winning technical endgames this season. Dave Houston won out over honest Sam Flanagan in another tough game with the Malone number one, which can be viewed here on the Malone site http://malonechessteam.blogspot.com/2012/03/game.html The last game of the night turned into another technical affair when Steve Scannell turned a won position against Malones Dave Ruben into a drawn one when he traded Rooks prematurely in a rush for the bus. The clocks were stopped under the quick-play rule and the game was sent for arbitration to the league controller who happens to be Scannell’s team-mate and buddy who promptly ruled against him and in favour of his opponent Ruben’s claim of a draw, yeah with friends like that.

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100 Years of History

The Williamson Shield is available for collection next weekend folks all you have to do is pay your entry fee and turn up. Though whether or not you actually good enough to be victorious at the end of the tournament will really decide on what game you brought to the party if you’re planning on bringing your “A” game well then you’re probably aiming for the grading prize because the form that some people are in at the moment and the strength of the field being anticipated, I’m fairly confident that you will have to bring an A* game instead.

The trophy is abundantly decorated with a tapestry of the names of the finest players ever to play in this neck of the woods and in its one hundredth anniversary it would be great to see the entry list nicely bloated for a change, I’ll be there for certain along with quite a few from Ballynafeigh Chess Club. We can only hope our club mascot who is controlling the tournament next week will treat our players favourably in the draw, though a bribe may be required, now where did I leave those photos that have helped change his mind in the past!

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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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They’re at it again this Wednesday

The match the second in a series of three this season will take place in  the Fisherwick chess club 22nd February with a 7.20pm start. Fisherwick will be fully primed to erase the memory of the last meeting between themselves and fellow Silver King title chasers Ballynafeigh Angels which ended with an unfairly slanted scoreline - 1 in favour of the Angels

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Cunningham Defeated!

Cunningham visited the blunder factory yesterday and took possession of the state of the art, top of the range, de-lux model with a built in sick-bag. The Ballynafeigh captain sat shell-shocked after the mother of all disasters as the images of his 100% record disappearing down the toilet courtesy of Roy Stafford replayed in his head over and over again.

Thankfully for the Ballynafeigh town-crier and the Angels team as a whole his team mates pulled his backside out of the fire by winning three and drawing one of the remaining four games to secure their twelfth consecutive victory but left his reputation still in the embers to smolder away for entertainment purposes. The Angels went on to win 3.5 to 1.5 with wins on the first three boards from Houston Scannell and Leitch, whilst Mallaghan did the Sam Moore impersonation and drew.

Cunningham’s team mates were extremely supportive after the match when his unimaginable blunder was analysed.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq71LK2SXuw

Karina Kruk was given the opportunity to play board 1 for the Ballynafeigh Rascals last night as a present for her mum Eileen who was celebrating her ***th birthday watching the Rascals in their quest for even greater accolades, if such a thing was possible. So as mum sat there munching her way merrily through birthday cake, Cadbury’s cream eggs and anything with a soft centre, daughter also sat there nibbling but this time it was at Whiteside’s soft centre and pawn structure before finally agreeing to a well deserved draw.

Gould also held for a draw with Wilson on board 2 and David Conlon’s rich vein of form continued when he held the laurels in his match with Kevin Agnew, though Agnew later claimed that it was the thoughts of Eileen Kruk lighting the candles on her birthday cake that seriously alarmed him, “she’s not going to try and light that thing? Surely not! It couldn’t be safe, not that many candles!” ” Why it looks like a forest-fire in waiting, I’d better call the son for a lift ”  Oh is your son a taxi driver Kevin? I asked ” No he’s a bloody fireman” came the reply.

Eileen Kruk lights the candles on her birthday cake

Groomsport managed to strike back with a Rogers win over Lavery on board 3 but it wasn’t enough as over on board 5 the most bizarre game unfolded as Paddy Magee exchanged a Bishop, Rook, Knight and three pawns for .. err .. um.. well for nothing actually, he dropped the lot for free… there was no compensation whatsoever! So I must admit I stopped watching the game for a while as I considered it totally lost, but at the end I passed by again and lo and behold Magee had a Rook and Bishop and not one but three queens on the board while his opponent had a King and Pawn, either Johnston was also petrified of the possible Kruk bonfire or Magee has offered him a bribe. So the Rascals continued their run of fine performances with yet another win over a higher ranked team with their 3-2 win over Groomsport.

Speaking of bribes or underhand shenanigans what’s happening up the road at Fisherwick has the entire platoon that made up the magnificent Kelly’s hero’s deserted or been drummed out of the army? What happened to the wonderfully strong team that was present for the game against the Ballynafeigh Angels last Wednesday? In fact what happened to just a team guys? Turning up with just three men to face you sister team Fisherwick isn’t very clever, but well done to the three players who did make the commitment for the team; those men were Flanagan Ruben and Kelly, the others could do with finding a mirror to have a look in.

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Steve Scannell said.. Well done to the Mighty Rascals! Go Team Go!!!

Patrick Magee said.. Where’s your Manny Pacquaio smart-alec remarks now eh?

Ballynafeighchess said.. Ooh we are getting all uppity now Mr Magee, aren’t we?

Ballynafeighchess said.. Here’s my prediction for you next week against Groomsport, oh and that’ll be Richard and Robert helping you get back to the car                                             http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkj0HcALwHo&feature=endscreen

Robert Lavery said.. Yeah it was a great result, obviously Karina is a scud :-)

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Rascals go Ankle Biting

News coming through of a fantastic win for the Ballynafeigh Rascals down in Bangor last night, coming home with a 4-1 victory under their belts. Having worked so hard all season long even when things were going against them to make it into the second division, these upstarts are determined to show that they fully deserved of their place there, and personally I’m absolutely delighted for each and everyone of them.

Wins for Gould, Magee, Conlon and Lavery delivered an emphatic win and sent a clear message that they intend to have a real go at all opposition irrespective of presumed abilities.  This is mightily encouraging compared to the defeatist attitude being openly displayed by a certain player in the first division who only wants to play lesser players that he can beat in a lower division.

An absolutely mind-boggling stance and we at Ballynafeigh wouldn’t have players like that about the place for fear that the wee Rascals would have them in a kangaroo court for blasphemy faster than Sam Moore could agree a draw. However we at Ballynafeigh also respect player’s rights to anonymity so we will not be identifying them by name either.

We said we wouldn’t name him.. 

Phase 2 under way

The second phase got under way this week with heavy wins for the two main protagonist in the title chase Fisherwick and Ballynafeigh Angels.

Fisherwick traveled over to Bombardiers club-house and came away with three wins and two draws and thus a very healthy 4-1 score-line probably hoping that such a performance would enable them to close the gap on the current league leaders from over the river. However the Ballynafeigh Angels have been dashing hopes all season and continued in the same vein last night against Fisherwicks sister team Malone.

Malone’s line up last night was the strongest they have fielded this season so far with Sam Flanagan, Graham McCormack, Neil Green, Dave Ruben and John Bryars but Ballynafeigh Angels have been in awesome form so much so that neither David McAlister or John McKenna have got a game this season and Damien Lavery is having a major problem ousting Cunningham from the line up to regain his place on the team, the Ballynafeigh captain justifying his place with 10 wins from 10 starts.

Cunningham got the Angels off and running for the tenth time this season with another sub 60 min game ignoring the normal rules of chess of caution position and tactics delivered with patience, in favour of carnage bloodlust and mayhem delivered with gay abandon, a trait which has become his modus operandi.

In this position the game continued

9.      Bb5 — axB
10.    axb — RxR
11.    bxQ — RxN
12.    c7 — Nf6
13.   Qd3 — Be7
14.   Qb5* — Nd7
15.   Qa4 — o-o
16.   Qa2 — RxB
17.   RxR — Nc5
18.   Qc4 — e5

From this position the game continued

19. b4 — Na6
20. b5 — Nc5
21. Ra1 — Be3
22. Qe2 — Rc8
23. b6 — Bd7
24. c4 — Be6
25. Ra7 — Bd7
26. Qa2 — g6
27. Ra8 — Kg7
28. RxR — BxR
29. Qa8

Next to finish was Steve Scannell already the exchange up he went on to win his match with Graham McCormack with a nice combinational sequence involving rooks bishops and queens, McCormack lined up a cheap checkmate on g7 to steal the game from Scannell but not even the Pink-Panther was stealing this one from Scannell his awareness avoided the danger and won a piece outright 2-0 to the Angels.  On board 4 Danny Mallaghan and Neil Green matched each other throughout and eventually shook hands on a dead draw.

The next result to confirm the Angels as victors on the evening and league leaders with 11 straight wins came from the Angels chairman of the boards Dave Houston who out maneuvered Malone’s Sam Flanagan when both arrived at this position with black to play

The game continued

26.    …       —   Nc4
27.    Nxc4 —   Qxf5
28.    Nxd6 —  Qxa5
29.    Nxc8 —   Rxc8
30.    Rxc7 —   Ne6
31.    Ra7    –  Qe5
32.    Qxa6 –

The Angels now led 3.5 – o.5 with the Leitch Ruben encounter still undecided but again  it was the past pawn that was to prove the Achilles heel for the Malone team as Ruben strained to halt the Leitch square and space grab. At one point it must have been very stressful as Ruben bizarrely stopped the clocks with a minute left on his clock whilst he studied the position for 20-30 secs before moving then restarting the clocks! the gathered audience of Houston, Magee, Flanagan, Cunningham, Green, McCormack and Scannell all looked at each other in puzzlement totally perplexed as to what was happening. The completely flummoxed look on Leitch’s face confirmed that he was at a loss to explain it also, but to be fair to Leitch he ignored it and continued to finish what he started by queening a move after his opponent did but had cleverly positioned his King previously with foresight so that if his opponent tried to check him on either the diagonal or the vertical files then Leitch could interpose his Queen with a counter check forcing the exchange of Queens leaving Leitch with a Knight and three pawns against 4 badly placed pawns, Ruben resigned officially this time giving the Ballynafeigh Angels a winning margin of 4.5 – 0.5

Up at the RVH club the twin sisters of RVH 1 (Ravens) and RVH 2 (Hendersons) faced off against each other in the 3rd division tussle both desperate to avoid the honor of the wooden spoon. The RVH 1 (Ravens) promptly spanked their sibling outfit RVH 2 (Hendersons) 4.5 – 0.5 with wins for Holmes Monaghan Carrothers and Logan letting them know that when it comes to sisters there’s only room for one Daddy. When asked afterwards was he surprised to win so easy the ravens captain Paul Logan said “listen I was on holidays the last time we played otherwise it would have been another good thrashing for them, the Ravens are a collection of finely tuned athletes, I mean just look at Frank Carrothers and Michael Holmes, the result was never in doubt”

Who’s the Daddy

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Why we should all be Rascals

There’s a lot of pride rushing through the veins of the Ballynafeigh Rascals and quite rightly so after their quite impressive showing in the 1st phase of the Silver King Championship. The Rascals have the lowest combined rating in the U.C.U yet they finished above not one but three higher ranking teams, yet in the league they lost more games than both the RVH teams. How was this possible? Well it’s all down to the reason why I love the Rascals and why we should all strive to be just like them, enthusiasm!

It’s the burning desire to compete that makes Karina Kruk and Matthew Chapman two of the most prolific attendants of tournament chess in the entire U.C.U The reason why Robert Lavery has went from an unused bit part player with less confidence than a Blackburn fan, to a resilient defender with a love for counter attack and who now fears absolutely nobody.

Karina and Matthew check the fixture list

It is the same zealous drive that makes David Conlon seek out Grand Master simuls in Dublin and whisk his Argentine catwalk girlfriend off to chess festivals from Belfast to Bunratty and Cornwall to Cork in his private helicopter.

The reason why Patrick Magee who has been chinned more times this season than a Manny Pacquaio opponent and yet he is still the first to email, text, or phone enquiring about the who where and when of his next opponent. It is the drive to never give up to compete to the last and to give the maximum for each other, to ensure that even though on occasions they were humbled they were never humiliated that has befitted them as a team, and they scored points in every single match they played, because they are very much in love with chess and lust of competition.

It’s a romance for the game that many of us could do with rekindling in our hearts and swelling the entry lists at the upcoming tournaments, besides women love a Rascal, who knows you may get lucky like the Ballynafeigh Rascal David Conlon.

David Conlon’s guest at Bunratty

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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”

19:00 on Tuesday 14 February in Wynn’s Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin. 

Email to book your place or by phone: 086-824-9736

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That Time Of The Year Again

The league controller prepares for separation

Bombardier aren’t the only team looking over their shoulder RVH 2 (Henderson’s) are sitting ugly on the edge of the bottom division after last nights thumping, residency there will be a certainty if the Ballynafeigh Rascals achieve a draw at Bangor.

This would be a cruel body blow for the once mighty RVH chess club who already have a sister team rooted to the bottom of the league table. To have both teams in the bottom section can only be explained by poor choices of direction, this must serve as a wake up call for other clubs unaware of how easy it is to fall from grace.

The RVH Hendersons look nervous

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New Ratings List Guys

But hey listen! don’t bother checking the new one if you know your old one…. Because they never change anyway.

The UCU  new 5 year plan for ratings

Two examples worth noting are the 983 rated Justa Tryer who defeated Michael Adams once, Gary Kasparov twice, Nigel Short twice and also had two draws and three wins against Magnus Carlsen, slaughtered over a dozen titled players in sub 20 moves and was never defeated for the season….. awesome His new rating went up to the dizzy heights of 997

By contrast the 2450 rated  A.Funnel  lost every game this season to players ranging from 840-1231 though the exception was the two games against an intoxicated chimp from Belfast Zoo which he managed to draw by perpetual bananas. The grader punished him by collapsing his rating way down to 2448.

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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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It’s Happening This Wednesday

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Fisherwick narrow the gap

Title chasers Fisherwick took a trip to the seaside last night and even though they forgot to bring their buckets they still remembered to bring their spades and promptly filled their boots instead with a 5-0 win.

It was a fitting reward for Fisherwick who showed exemplary generosity in not only rearranging the fixture which was due to take place on Wednesday at Fisherwick’s venue to the more suitable time of Thursday for the Groomsport team, but also in actually travelling to Groomsport to play the match and still allowing the Groomsport outfit to keep white on boards 1, 3, and 5.

So a round of applause for Fisherwicks result and an even bigger one for their thoughtfulness.

A big hand for the Fisherwick club

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Three Way Battle

There’s a fantastic struggle going on in the league at the moment between Malone Lagan and Bombardier as the three of them slug it out for the two remaining positions in the Division 1 section as the separation phase approaches.

Malone lead the way on a brilliant 37 points as they punched above their weight in match after match all season racking up an impressive tally so far.

But while Malone have the points in the bank both Bombardier and Lagan have games in hand against weaker opposition, undoubtedly now the fate of the three will be decided in the impending head to heads between Lagan and Malone in week 10 and then the final week pairing of Malone and Bombardier at the Malone road venue on week 11.

Now I wouldn’t be one to spread idle gossip but apparently spies are being sent to Bangor chess club tonight to see how Bombardier fare against the seaside team. Whether Bombardier end up on “Treasure Island” or a watery grave in “Davy Jones locker” only time or the Malone spy will tell.

Sam Flanagan 009 licence to spy

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One for the film buffs ….

This film has something in common with each and every member of the Ballynafeigh Angels team and not just the team itself, who have maintained a ruthless and relentless pace in their pursuit of the Silver King with eight victories from eight matches.

“Whilst any answer pertaining to the fact that both the film and the team prominently feature several horses asses may technically be correct, it really isn’t the answer we’re looking for.”

David says: The film must be my fair lady then!                                                                Ballynafeighchess says: What are you implying David?

Richard says: It’s the Alamo cos the mexican is coming for your lot next wednesday.       Ballynafeighchess says: oooh get back to Fisherwick you traitor!

Damien Lavery says: They have same title same ….. The Undefeated  Ballynafeighchess says: Well done the correct answer

paul says: J Mckenna Steven Scanell and Danny Mallon all look like they got scalped for the movie

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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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Destination or Desperation

Some people are so set on fame and glory they’ll try any scheme or scam to further their dreams or ambitions just take this stunning example of the Rascal’s board one occupier extraordinaire Richard Gould.

Whilst thumbing through the Telegraph I came across a photograph of a specialist heart team with a revolutionary new technique for patient treatment when lo and behold there in the back row among all the blue uniforms was the intrepid “tricky dickey” looking almost like he was part of the famous cutting edge surgical team.

Strong rumors persist that apparently Richard was walking by on his way to work when he spotted the chance to participate in an impromptu photo-op, seizing his chance he displayed lightening reactions to ditch his blue head-gear and red blanket and stood at the back wearing the rest of his blue uniform, quite clever Richard but remember no one really likes a clever dick.

The real professionals with Richard lurking at he back

Richard in his proper full uniform

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Santa needs help

Just got an email from Santa asking can anyone help with one of his reindeers because he and his helpers are having major problems trying to set Blitzen for 3 minutes with a 2 sec increment.

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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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