Galway Chess Congress 2012: Report

The Galway Chess Congress 2012 was held in the Salthill Hotel, from 12th to 14th October.

Some 124 players participated, which was slightly down on last year.  The various sections were all tightly contested, with the winner not being known until the very end.


Galway Masters 2012

In the Masters Section, the top players started meeting each other as early as round 3, in which IM Alex Lopez beat the number one seed, Romanian GM Vlad Jianu – rather fortunately, it must be said; previous three-time winner, and third seed, GM Alex Baburin beat Yury Rochev; whilst second seed, IM Denis Rombaldoni (Italy) was held to a draw by IM John Donaldson (USA).

In round 4, the joint leaders, the two Alexes, met on board one, and had a rather disappointing quick draw, which allowed them to be caught by Rombaldoni (who beat Colm Daly in a tough game) and surprise package Valentine Kalinins, who, although rated under 2000, beat IM Donaldson.  (Kalinins was also perhaps fortunate to win, for a somewhat unusual reason: in a better position, but short of time, he offered a draw, and was a bit surprised when Donaldson ignored it; it only transpired after the game that Donaldson played on only because he hadn’t heard the draw offer!)

However, in round 5 both Alex Baburin and Alex Lopez – perhaps refreshed by a good night’s sleep – came out fighting; Lopez eventually beat Rombaldoni in a very exciting game, whilst Baburin proved too good for Kalinins.  That left the two Alexes a point ahead of the field, though if they both lost they could be caught by any of 6 players.

That was, of course, unlikely to happen.  Baburin was drawn against the other grandmaster, Jianu, on board 1; but he made little attempt to win with black, and settled for a draw fairly quickly.  Lopez, however, fought hard to beat Kalinins and claim outright victory; he seemed to have the advantage throughout, but eventually, short of time, allowed Kalinins’ queen in to force perpetual check.

That left the two Alexes, Baburin and Lopez, joint winners with 5 points out of 6.  The trophy went, on tie-break, to Alex Lopez, by the narrowest of margins.  As Alex (Lopez) pointed out in his victory speech, this is his first victory in one of the major Irish weekenders, and so means a lot to him.  It will clearly be the first of many.  (As he modestly did not say, he has won the Irish Championship – but that was a much weaker tournament.)

Third prize went to Denis Rombaldoni.  The revived Connaught Champion trophy, for the highest placed Connaught player, went to Yury Rochev, half a point ahead of Phillip Short.  The under-2200 grading prize was won deservedly by Valentine Kalinins, with 4 points, including a win and a draw against the two IMs he played, and another draw against Irish champion Colm Daly; although currently rated only 1996, he had a rating performance of 2338.  Kalinins won the prize on tie-break from Rory Quinn.  The under-1950 grading prize was won by Hugh Doyle, on 3½ points.

Here are the standings and cross-table (if you see a 😀 it means he got a bye! ):




                                    Score       Tie-break (M-Buch)

 1-2  Lopez, Alex                5        15.5
      Baburin, Alexander         5        14.5

  3   Rombaldoni, Denis          4.5

4-10  Jianu, Vlad                4
      Kalinins, Valentine        4        16.0
      Donaldson, John            4
      Rochev, Yury               4
      Fitzsimons, David          4
      Daly, Colm                 4
      Quinn, Rory                4        11.0

11-15 Short, Philip              3.5
      Cafolla, Peter             3.5
      Doyle, Hugh                3.5
      Merriman, John             3.5
      Magee, Ronan               3.5

16-21 Aoustin, Arnaud            3
      Minnock, Eoin              3
      Reginato, Sabrina          3
      Short, Stephen             3
      Murphy, Oissine            3
      Carlile, Orison            3

22-26 De Jonge, Henk             2.5
      Bermingham, Tony           2.5
      Lyons, Brendan             2.5
      Carey, Paul                2.5
      McDonnell, Joseph A.       2.5

27-28 Mallaghan, Danny           2
      O'Mahoney, Keegan          2

29-33 Cormican, John A.          1.5
      O'Grady, Martin            1.5
      O'Flaherty, Kevin          1.5
      Mirza, Diana               1.5
      Leichert, Piotr            1.5

 34   Nguyen, Angeline           1

Cross Table

                            Total  1    2    3    4    5    6

1.  Jianu, Vlad          2536 4     18:W  8:W  4:L 12:W  6:D  3:D
2.  Rombaldoni, Denis    2511 4.5   19:W 10:W  5:D  7:W  4:L  9:W
3.  Baburin, Alexander   2467 5     20:W 12:W  6:W  4:D 14:W  1:D
4.  Lopez, Alex          2449 5     21:W 16:W  1:W  3:D  2:W 14:D
5.  Donaldson, John      2390 4     22:W 13:W  2:D 14:L  8:W  6:D
6.  Rochev, Yury         2366 4     23:W 34:W  3:L 16:W  1:D  5:D
7.  Daly, Colm           2295 4     24:W 14:D  9:W  2:L 10:D 17:W
8.  Fitzsimons, David    2272 4     25:W  1:L 11:W 17:W  5:L 12:W
9.  Merriman, John       2272 3.5     :D 27:W  7:L 15:W 19:W  2:L
10. Short, Philip        2223 3.5   26:W  2:L 20:W 19:D  7:D 16:D
11. Quinn, Rory          2102 4     27:D 28:W  8:L 34:D 18:W 24:W
12. Aoustin, Arnaud      2015 3     29:W  3:L 23:W  1:L 34:W  8:L
13. Magee, Ronan         2001 3.5   30:W  5:L 34:D 31:D 23:D 22:W
14. Kalinins, Valentine  1996 4       :W  7:D 31:W  5:W  3:L  4:D
15. Cormican, John A.    1995 1.5   32:D 31:L 28:W  9:L 22:L 34:L
16. Cafolla, Peter       1984 3.5   33:W  4:L 22:W  6:L 20:W 10:D
17. Reginato, Sabrina    1981 3     34:L 32:W 24:W  8:L 31:W  7:L
18. De Jonge, Henk       1962 2.5    1:L 24:L 27:W 26:W 11:L 28:D
19. Doyle, Hugh          1931 3.5    2:L 26:W 29:W 10:D  9:L 23:W
20. Murphy, Oissine      1922 3      3:L 25:W 10:L 29:W 16:L 31:W
21. Nguyen, Angeline     1903 1      4:L 29:L 26:L 25:D 28:L 30:D
22. Lyons, Brendan       1894 2.5    5:L 30:W 16:L 32:D 15:W 13:L
23. Bermingham, Tony     1866 2.5    6:L 33:W 12:L 30:W 13:D 19:L
24. Short, Stephen       1852 3      7:L 18:W 17:L 33:W 32:W 11:L
25. Leichert, Piotr      1843 1.5    8:L 20:L 30:L 21:D 29:W 32:L
26. Carlile, Orison      1836 3     10:L 19:L 21:W 18:L 30:W 33:W
27. O'Grady, Martin      1836 1.5   11:D  9:L 18:L 28:D 33:L 29:D
28. McDonnell, Joseph A. 1788 2.5     :D 11:L 15:L 27:D 21:W 18:D
29. Mirza, Diana         1770 1.5   12:L 21:W 19:L 20:L 25:L 27:D
30. O'Flaherty, Kevin    1735 1.5   13:L 22:L 25:W 23:L 26:L 21:D
31. Mallaghan, Danny     1731 2       :D 15:W 14:L 13:D 17:L 20:L
32. Carey, Paul          1702 2.5   15:D 17:L   :D 22:D 24:L 25:W
33. O'Mahoney, Keegan    1660 2     16:L 23:L   :W 24:L 27:W 26:L
34. Minnock, Eoin        1651 3     17:W  6:L 13:D 11:D 12:L 15:W



Galway Majors 2012

The Major tournament (under 1800) was even closer fought: with one round to go, no fewer than 6 players were joint first.  They were drawn against each other, and every game was decisive, leaving three joint winners: James Danaher, David Baird, and Michael O’Donnell.  (David Baird is a member of Galway club, whilst Michael O’Donnell is a past member, who still calls in from time to time.)  As there is no trophy in this section, there was no need to invoke a tie-break, though, if there had been, they would have been separated in the order listed above.

Danaher led from the start, being outright leader after round 3, but two draws in the next two rounds allowed him to be caught by the two joint winners and also, at various times, by Didier Kalamba Mukekwa (in round 4), Gabriel Mirza, David O’Kelly, and top seed, Pat Twomey (all in round 5).  The number of different players who were joint leaders shows how tight this section was.

The top rating prize (in the 1450-1600 range) was even tighter, with five players tied on 4 points: David O’Kelly won on tie-break, narrowly ahead of Gerry Casey, followed by Gabriel Mirza, Barry Foran, and Denis O’Connell.  The 1350-1449 prize went to Steven Eachus (3½), whilst the under 1350 prize was won by Galway’s Conall Hegarty, on 4 points.

Here are the full final standings and cross table:




                            Score   Tie-break (M-Buch; Buch)

 1-3  Danaher, James          5
      Baird, David            5
      O'Donnell, Michael      5

  4   Rawlinson, Jason        4.5

5-13  O'Kelly, David          4        15.0  22.5
      Casey, Gerry            4        15.0  21.0
      Mirza, Gabriel          4        14.0
      Ui Laighleis, Gearoidin 4
      Twomey, Pat             4
      McMahon, Pat            4
      Foran, Barry            4        12.0
      O'Connell, Denis        4        11.5
      Hegarty, Conall         4

14-20 Mukekwa, Didier Kalamba 3.5
      Eachus, Steven          3.5
      Corry, Justin           3.5
      Fitzsimons, Pat         3.5
      Woodhouse, Ray          3.5
      Lillis, Alan            3.5
      O'Reilly, P. J.         3.5

21-32 Abberton, Eamonn        3
      Kelly, Darren           3
      Mulligan, Scott         3
      Divilly, Paddy          3
      O'Grady, Gary P.        3
      Guinan, Cian            3
      Scallan, Nick           3
      Higgins, Paul           3
      Fitzpatrick, Kevin      3
      Hearne, Catherine       3
      Egan, Bill              3
      Hughes, Padraig         3

33-40 Dunne, Thomas Junior    2.5
      Danaher, Stephen        2.5
      Barber, Andrew          2.5
      Scott, Shay             2.5
      Higgins, Kenneth        2.5
      Coveney, Maurice J.     2.5
      Buggy, John M.          2.5
      Beatty, Ross            2.5

41-46 Hensey, John            2
      Kelly, Martin           2
      McCarrick, Pat          2
      Coughlan, Anne B.       2
      McGrath, Tom            2
      Morrison, Phillip       2

47-48 Murphy, Cathal          1.5
      O'Connell, Michael      1.5

 49   Higgins, Michael        1

50-51 Bourke, John            0.5
      Fitzgerald, Patrick     0.5

Cross Table


                               Total  1    2    3    4    5    6

1.  Twomey, Pat             1780 4     22:W 15:L 35:W 13:W 21:W  9:L
2.  McMahon, Pat            1683 4     23:L 38:W 26:W 15:W 14:L 12:W
3.  Fitzsimons, Pat         1674 3.5   24:D 31:D 28:D 25:W 22:D 38:D
4.  Rawlinson, Jason        1624 4.5   25:L 40:W 31:W 22:D 24:W 10:W
5.  Danaher, James          1623 5     26:W 16:W 15:W  7:D  9:D 14:W
6.  Higgins, Paul           1620 3     29:W 19:D 20:L 36:D 34:D 39:D
7.  Ui Laighleis, Gearoidin 1616 4     32:W 17:D 23:W  5:D 19:L 22:W
8.  Baird, David            1613 5     34:W 21:L 39:W 46:W 12:W 19:W
9.  O'Donnell, Michael      1613 5       :D 51:W 37:W 49:W  5:D  1:W
10. Corry, Justin           1595 3.5   35:D 33:W 24:L 28:W 23:W  4:L
11. Egan, Bill              1592 3     36:D 37:L 34:D 48:D 35:D 27:W
12. Mukekwa, Didier Kalamba 1591 3.5   38:W 25:D 27:W 20:W  8:L  2:L
13. Lillis, Alan            1577 3.5   39:L 41:W 45:W  1:L 36:D 34:W
14. Mirza, Gabriel          1550 4     41:W 39:W 21:D 24:D  2:W  5:L
15. Dunne, Thomas Junior    1546 2.5   42:W  1:W  5:L  2:L 38:L 35:D
16. O'Connell, Denis        1540 4     43:W  5:L 48:D 35:W 49:D 24:W
17. O'Grady, Gary P.        1488 3     45:W  7:D 49:L 37:W 20:D 46:L
18. Fitzgerald, Patrick     1483 .5      :D 35:L 46:L 50:-   :    :
19. O'Kelly, David          1472 4     46:W  6:D 25:W 21:D  7:W  8:L
20. Foran, Barry            1462 4     48:D 36:W  6:W 12:L 17:D 49:W
21. Casey, Gerry            1458 4     50:W  8:W 14:D 19:D  1:L 48:W
22. Divilly, Paddy          1448 3      1:L 42:W 51:W  4:D  3:D  7:L
23. Eachus, Steven          1447 3.5    2:W   :D  7:L 47:W 10:L 51:W
24. Abberton, Eamonn        1410 3      3:D 44:W 10:W 14:D  4:L 16:L
25. Mulligan, Scott         1381 3      4:W 12:D 19:L  3:L 37:+ 31:D
26. Hensey, John            1378 2      5:L 43:+  2:L 40:W 46:L 33:L
27. McCarrick, Pat          1378 2       :D 47:W 12:L 30:D 48:L 11:L
28. Kelly, Martin           1368 2       :D 48:D  3:D 10:L 39:L 43:D
29. Buggy, John M.          1362 2.5    6:L 46:L 40:L 41:W 42:D 47:W
30. Hughes, Padraig         1358 3       :D 49:L 44:W 27:D 51:D 36:D
31. Hearne, Catherine       1354 3       :D  3:D  4:L 39:D 47:W 25:D
32. Beatty, Ross            1350 2.5    7:L 45:L 41:W 51:L 43:D 50:W
33. O'Reilly, P. J.         1345 3.5     :D 10:L 47:L 44:W 50:W 26:W
34. Scott, Shay             1337 2.5    8:L 50:D 11:D 43:W  6:D 13:L
35. Danaher, Stephen        1312 2.5   10:D 18:W  1:L 16:L 11:D 15:D
36. Fitzpatrick, Kevin      1305 3     11:D 20:L 50:W  6:D 13:D 30:D
37. Higgins, Kenneth        1301 2.5     :D 11:W  9:L 17:L 25:- 44:W
38. Woodhouse, Ray          1301 3.5   12:L  2:L 42:W 45:W 15:W  3:D
39. Guinan, Cian            1229 3     13:W 14:L  8:L 31:D 28:W  6:D
40. Morrison, Phillip       1217 2     51:L  4:L 29:W 26:L 45:W 42:L
41. McGrath, Tom            1198 2     14:L 13:L 32:L 29:L 44:W 45:W
42. Coveney, Maurice J.     1192 2.5   15:L 22:L 38:L   :W 29:D 40:W
43. Coughlan, Anne B.       1172 2     16:L 26:-   :W 34:L 32:D 28:D
44. Bourke, John            1168 .5      :D 24:L 30:L 33:L 41:L 37:L
45. Higgins, Michael        1168 1     17:L 32:W 13:L 38:L 40:L 41:L
46. Hegarty, Conall         1140 4     19:L 29:W 18:W  8:L 26:W 17:W
47. Murphy, Cathal          1137 1.5     :D 27:L 33:W 23:L 31:L 29:L
48. Scallan, Nick           1135 3     20:D 28:D 16:D 11:D 27:W 21:L
49. Kelly, Darren           1127 3       :D 30:W 17:W  9:L 16:D 20:L
50. O'Connell, Michael      1087 1.5   21:L 34:D 36:L 18:+ 33:L 32:L
51. Barber, Andrew               2.5   40:W  9:L 22:L 32:W 30:D 23:L




Galway Minors 2012

The Minors was also close and exciting.  Stephen Li took the lead after round 3, being the only player with a perfect score.  However, he lost in round 4 against Richard Walshe, who thus took over the lead, jointly with Christopher Murphy, with eight players only half a point behind.  The two leaders drew in round 5, and were joined in the lead on 4 points by John McGann, Jonathan Kiely, and Fiachra Scallan.  As in the Majors, all the last round games involving the leaders were decisive: Fiachra Scallan beat Richard Walshe and Christopher Murphy beat Jonathan Kiely, whilst John McGann lost to Peter Doyle, from the following group.  Thus Christopher Murphy and Fiachra Scallan were joint winners on 5/6.  The overall winner on tie-break, and thus recipient of the Hugh Finan Memorial Cup, was Christopher Murphy.

There was a three-way tie for third place, involving top seed Peter Doyle, David Piercy, and Ivan Baburin.  Piercy and Baburin were also eligible for the top grading prize, which went to David Piercy (of Galway) on tie-break.  Hence Piercy won the grading prize, and Doyle and Baburin shared the money for third place.  The second grading prize (for those rated 700-799) was won by Barry O’Reilly (on 3½ points), whilst the prize for the best unrated player went to Galway’s Marek Fijalkowski, on 3 points, on tie-break from Desmond Beatty.

Full standings and cross-table follow.



                                       Score    Tie-break (M-Buch)

 1-2  Murphy, Christopher A.              5        15.0
      Scallan, Fiachra                    5        14.0

 3-5  Doyle, Peter                        4.5
      Piercy, David                       4.5      12.5
      Baburin, Ivan                       4.5      12.0

6-10  Walshe, Richard                     4
      McGann, John                        4
      Manojlovic, Anastasija              4
      Kiely, Jonathan                     4
      Martin, Desmond                     4

11-19 Denard, Vincent                     3.5
      Doran, Desmond                      3.5
      Li, Stephen                         3.5
      Manojlovic, Mihailo                 3.5
      Dunne, John P.                      3.5
      O'Brien, Pat                        3.5
      O'Reilly, Jim                       3.5
      Bleahene, Shane                     3.5
      O'Reilly, Barry                     3.5

20-23 Cleary, Padraig                     3
      O'Connell, Michael Joseph           3
      Fijalkowski, Marek                  3        12.0
      Beatty, Desmond                     3        10.5

24-26 Whitfield, Keith                    2.5
      McCarrick, Clare                    2.5
      Korir, Paul                         2.5

27-35 Connolly, Eoin                      2
      Walshe, Richard P.                  2
      Sheehan, Stephen                    2
      Cormican, Fiona                     2
      McEntegert, Joe                     2
      Galvin, Billy                       2
      Twomey, Oscar                       2
      Thangaramanujam, Muthukumaran       2
      O'Connor, John P.                   2

 36   Ward, Niamh                         1.5

37-38 Callan, Jenny                       1
      Mulligan, Alex                      1

 39   Lyons, Fionbar                      0

Cross Table

                                     Total  1    2    3    4    5    6

1.  Doyle, Peter                  1086 4.5   19:D 20:W 18:L 21:W  9:W 13:W
2.  Walshe, Richard               1077 4     22:W 11:W 16:D 17:W 15:D  7:L
3.  Martin, Desmond               1065 4     21:W 14:W 17:L  7:L 30:+ 26:W
4.  O'Brien, Pat                  1033 3.5     :D 17:L 32:W 19:W 12:L 36:W
5.  Kiely, Jonathan               1017 4     24:W 10:D 13:D 26:W 16:W 15:L
6.  O'Connell, Michael Joseph     1012 3     25:W 16:L 23:W 36:L 14:L 21:W
7.  Scallan, Fiachra              1002 5     26:W 13:L 31:W  3:W 17:W  2:W
8.  Denard, Vincent               1001 3.5   27:W 18:D 19:W 15:L 25:W 12:L
9.  Dunne, John P.                1000 3.5   28:W 15:D 10:L 20:W  1:L 39:W
10. Doran, Desmond                972  3.5   29:W  5:D  9:W 16:D 18:D 14:L
11. O'Reilly, Jim                 956  3.5   30:W  2:L 26:L 31:W 33:W 17:D
12. Piercy, David                 941  4.5     :D 37:W 15:L 39:W  4:W  8:W
13. McGann, John                  931  4     31:W  7:W  5:D 18:D 36:W  1:L
14. Baburin, Ivan                 916  4.5   33:W  3:L 39:D 35:W  6:W 10:W
15. Murphy, Christopher A.        896  5     34:W  9:D 12:W  8:W  2:D  5:W
16. Manojlovic, Mihailo           893  3.5   35:W  6:W  2:D 10:D  5:L 18:D
17. Li, Stephen                   888  3.5   36:W  4:W  3:W  2:L  7:L 11:D
18. Manojlovic, Anastasija        871  4     39:W  8:D  1:W 13:D 10:D 16:D
19. Bleahene, Shane               837  3.5    1:D 38:W  8:L  4:L 35:W 27:W
20. McCarrick, Clare              805  2.5     :D  1:L 37:W  9:L 38:W 25:L
21. Walshe, Richard P.            805  2      3:L 30:W 33:W  1:L 26:L  6:L
22. Korir, Paul                   789  2.5    2:L 33:L 35:L 29:W   :D 38:W
23. Galvin, Billy                 771  2       :L 32:W  6:L 33:L 39:L 29:W
24. Thangaramanujam, Muthukumaran 758  2      5:L 31:L 29:W 25:L 37:L 34:W
25. O'Reilly, Barry               753  3.5    6:L 35:D 38:W 24:W  8:L 20:W
26. Cleary, Padraig               746  3      7:L 34:W 11:W  5:L 21:W  3:L
27. Cormican, Fiona               700  2      8:L   :D 36:L 37:D 34:W 19:L
28. Lyons, Fionbar                700  0      9:L 36:L 30:L   :    :    :
29. Mulligan, Alex                700  1     10:L 39:L 24:L 22:L   :W 23:L
30. O'Connor, John P.             700  2     11:L 21:L 28:W 34:W  3:-   :
31. Sheehan, Stephen              700  2     13:L 24:W  7:L 11:L 32:L   :W
32. Twomey, Oscar                 700  2       :D 23:L  4:L 38:L 31:W 35:D
33. Beatty, Desmond                    3     14:L 22:W 21:L 23:W 11:L 37:W
34. Callan, Jenny                      1     15:L 26:L   :W 30:L 27:L 24:L
35. Connolly, Eoin                     2     16:L 25:D 22:W 14:L 19:L 32:D
36. Fijalkowski, Marek                 3     17:L 28:W 27:W  6:W 13:L  4:L
37. McEntegert, Joe                    2       :D 12:L 20:L 27:D 24:W 33:L
38. Ward, Niamh                        1.5     :D 19:L 25:L 32:W 20:L 22:L
39. Whitfield, Keith                   2.5   18:L 29:W 14:D 12:L 23:W  9:L


  1. Rita McGrath says:


    I am a very average chess player and was wondering if you have to have a certain standard to join the club?

    Also, how much are the fees per year?

    Kind Regards


  2. Pete Morriss says:

    Hi Rita,

    If you’re average, then you’ll be better than half of us! The best thing is to go along to one of our meetings and try out the club: tomorrow (15 November) would be a good day to start, as there is a “social evening” when people will play informal games against each other. (The following week – 22 November – would be less good, as it is the second round of our club championship and so people will be playing serious games against pre-arranged opponents.)

    I’m away at the moment – playing in a tournament in Greece – but I am sure that there will be people at the club tomorrow to make you feel at home.

    The fees are €50 a year, but we always allow new members to sample the club and what it offers for free before asking for money.

    Hope you enjioy it and join us!

    All the best,

    Pete Morriss (Galway club chairperson)

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  • NEWS

    • Rapidplay: Thursday 28 September
      On Thursday 28 September we will host the first session of our Autumn Rapidplay tournament. Each player will have three games during the evening, and will have 15 minutes to make all … Read more
    • Thursday 21 September: Adult Beginners’ Night
      Galway Chess club’s season continues with an evening particularly for adult beginners on Thursday 21 September. If you think of yourself as a beginner at chess, and would like to … Read more
    • Blitz Tournament: Thursday 14 September
      Galway Chess Club’s 2023-4 season will open with a blitz tournament in our usual venue of upstairs in the Galway Bridge Centre , St Mary’s Road. Entry is from 7.00 … Read more
    • Galway Rapidplay 2023
      The 2023 Galway Rapidplay was held on Saturday 17 June. There was an unprecedented interest in playing in this tournament, and we had to close entries four weeks before the … Read more
    • Galway Rapidplay: Saturday 17 June
      The annual Galway Rapidplay will be held this year on Saturday 17 June in the Galway Bridge Centre.  You will need to enter in advance; you can do that from … Read more