Galway Congress 2016

Galway Chess Congress

Final standings and crosstables from Galway Chess Congress 2016 can be found here.
The Organiser’s report can be found here.


Friday 8th to Sunday 10th April 2016

Venue: Menlo Park Hotel, Galway

Prize fund: €2525

Sections and Prizes

Masters Major Minor
Rating Band 1800+ 1200-1799 U-1200
1st €500 €300 €150
2nd €250 €150 €100
3rd €150 €100 €75
Grading €250 €250 €250

In the event of a tie for any prize, the prize money for a place prize will be shared between all players on the same number of points. The grading prizes, and the trophies for the winner of the Masters and Minor and for the ConnaughtChampion, will be awarded by a tie-break using the following criteria, in this order:
first, Median-Buchholz; second, Buchholz; third, greater number of games with black; fourth, progressive scores; fifth, average ICU rating of opponents [will not apply if any player has played two or more unrated players]; sixth, toss of a coin.

Which Section can I play in?

Current ICU ratings apply, as shown in the ICU ratings list published in early March 2016. (If you do not have an ICU rating, but have another national rating or a FIDE rating, then the last such rating published on or before 1 March 2016 is the one we will use.)

We allow some flexibility on these rating bands, as shown below.
(a) FIDE ratings, as published in the March 2016 rating list, may be used for eligibility for the Masters section, at the player’s discretion.
(b) Players with an ICU rating within 100 points of each rating band floor will be allowed to float up to the immediately higher section if they wish.
(c) Players who have had a published ICU rating in the past 2 years which is on or above the floors specified in the table above (i.e., 1800 and 1200), may use that rating to float up if they wish.
Entrants without a current rating will be allocated at the organizers’ discretion.


No player may win more than one prize; if you are eligible for two prizes, you will receive the larger one. [For instance, if you have a rating of 1200 and win the Major, you will receive the €300 first prize, but you won’t get a grading prize as well. But if you end up in a five-way tie for third in the Major, which would give you a prize of €20, and are also eligible for a grading prize of €50, you will get the grading prize.]
A player who cannot provide evidence of playing strength may only be awarded 50% of any prize money (except for first, second, or third prize in the Masters), at the organizers’ discretion.
The amount awarded in grading prizes may be slightly altered (up or down) depending on the number of entries.

Playing Schedule

Round 1: 8 pm Friday April 8

Round 2: 10 am Saturday April 9

Round 3: 2.30 pm Saturday April 9

Round 4: 7 pm Saturday April 9

Round 5: 10 am Sunday April 10

Round 6: 2.15 pm Sunday April 10

Players who arrive at the board an hour or more late will forfeit the game. If you are travelling and realise that you will arrive late, it would be a great help if you could contact the organizers at 087 2369387 before the start of the round.

Time limit: 90 minutes for the game, plus an increment of 10 seconds from move 1.
(Note: this depends on us being able to source enough clocks. We will keep you informed here about any changes in the time limit.)

We hope to be able to provide both sets and clocks, but it would be a help if you could bring a set and clock, in case we are overwhelmed by late entries.


Enter online
[Update 8/4/16: Online entry is no longer possible.]

Enter by post
[Update 8/4/16: Entry by post is no longer available.]

Pay cash at the venue on the day
You may still enter on the day, Friday before 7:30pm, at the venue, but please note that there is a €15 surcharge in addition to the fees listed here:

Entry fees are as follows:
Standard: €45
Student, retired: €40
Under 16, unemployed: €35

A discount of €10 applies if entry fee received on or before 3 April 2016.
A surcharge of €15 applies to entries received on the day of the tournament.

All entrants resident in Ireland should be a member of the Irish Chess Union; to join, see

Entries will not be taken by telephone, and you will not be considered to have entered until we have received the entry fee.
Late entries: You may enter at the venue on the day of the first round (April 8th) before 7.30 p.m., but there is a surcharge of €15 for those who enter that way, as it is a considerable extra inconvenience for the organisers.
Entries received at the venue after 7.30 on April 8th will be accepted, to start the tournament in round 2; we will try to put such entries into round 1 if that is possible, paired manually against another latecomer, but that cannot be guaranteed. Any such late entry that is not included in the round 1 draw will receive no points for round 1.
In accordance with standard international practice, the organizers have the right to refuse any entry without giving a reason. In such a case, the entry fee will be refunded in full; that is, we will bear any transaction costs imposed by PayPal.
Anybody who pays the entry fee and then has to withdraw should notify the organizers in good time and certainly before Friday April 8th (if that is possible); in such a case the entry fee will be returned, less any transaction costs.

Other Tournament Rules

The current FIDE rules of chess will apply (available here), with the following variant:

Mobile phones:
The new FIDE rules on mobile phones, introduced on 1 July 2014, will not apply. However, you are strongly urged not to bring mobile phones or other electronic devices to the event.  If you do bring a mobile phone, or any device containing a chess programme, it must be completely switched off for the entire duration of your game, and must always be completely switched off in the playing venue whilst any game is still being played.  If any player’s mobile phone makes any noise during their game, that player automatically loses the game.  If you are found using or consulting such a device (or having any communication from anyone else who is using or consulting such a device) whilst your game is in progress, you will immediately lose your game and be expelled from the tournament; a report will be prepared for the ICU, which might impose further sanctions.
If you feel that you have to be in contact with the outside world during your game – perhaps because you expect an urgent and important message – you should consult an arbiter, who will do what he can to help you by looking after your phone for you.  In no circumstances will you be allowed to use any communication device yourself during your game.
Spectators (including parents) must not have a mobile phone, or any device capable of containing a chess programme, switched on in the playing venue whilst any game is still being played. Note that the “playing venue” includes all the areas which a player has access to during their game, including the toilets, bar, lobby and smoking area.
If you suspect a player is using a mobile phone or device containing a chess programme, you should immediately inform an arbiter; you should not attempt to intervene yourself.

Note also that the following rule will apply:
Keeping score:
You are required to keep a record of the moves in your game so long as you have 5 minutes left on your clock, irrespective of how much time the opponent has left. Once your time goes below 5 minutes you may either continue to keep recording the moves or stop doing so, at your discretion. If the time shown on your clock subsequently rises above 5 minutes, you are not required to resume recording the moves.

Connaught Chess Championship

The Galway congress will incorporate the Connaught Chess Championship; the title of Champion will be awarded to the highest placed player in the Masters who was either born in Connaught, or who has lived in Connaught for the past 12 months. (Proof of qualification may be required.) The Connaught Champion will receive the Connaught Chess Champion trophy, and will be nominated by the Irish Chess Union for entry to the 2016 British Chess Championship, with some financial assistance also provided by the ICU. [This title does not count as a ‘prize’, and so the Connaught Champion may also retain any prize money won.]


Tournament Venue:
Menlo Park Hotel, Galway 091-761122

Menlo Park Hotel is a modern 4-star hotel providing good accommodation, bars, restaurant, and has ample free parking.   The hotel is located just off the Galway ring road, so it is very easy to get to. It is within walking distance of Galway city centre.

We have secured the following B&B rates for the congress weekend, and have pre-reserved rooms for Congress players’ use

€95.00 for Friday night and €109 for Saturday night for a Double / Twin

€75.00 for Friday night and €89 for Saturday night for a Single Room

To book at this reduced rate phone
(+353) (0)91 761122 (ask for Room Reservations) or email [email protected], mentioning the Chess Congress. Rooms are being held for us only until 26 March, so please book by then.


The Menlo Park Hotel has also offered us the following special deals:
You can upgrade to a Superior King room including robes, slippers, fruit and water for €20 per night.

The charge for staying on for the Sunday night will be an extra €79 for double / twin or €65 for a single room.
If you stay for three nights, the hotel will include a complementary four course dinner on one night.

Room-Share Service

Since it is obviously quite a lot cheaper to share a room, we will offer a Room-Share service, in which we put in touch with each other people who wish to share a room with another player but do not have anyone in particular to share with.  Email us before 26 March and we will  send the names and addresses of other potential room-sharers to you; it is then up to you to discuss arrangements and book the room yourselves.  Of course, the tournament organizers will not be responsible for any mishaps that might occur between room sharers.

Other accommodation

The nearest other hotel to the venue is the Maldron Hotel Sandy Road, which is just across the road. The nearest B&Bs are Teach na Coiribe (091 770342), Lios Inis (091 767753), and Saint Anthony’s. Other places to stay nearby are Woodberry Cottage (091 765724 ) and the Travelodge.

There are many other B&Bs and hotels within a 30 minute walk of the Menlo Park Hotel. You can try searching the Irish Tourist Board site: search for places in Galway City. You can’t book on this site, but it gives information about where you can book.  Also TripAdvisor and the main booking sites all contain large lists of places to stay in Galway city, with readers’ comments.


There are many hostels in the centre of Galway City, a 2 kilometre walk from the playing venue, for instance Barnacles Hostel, Snoozles Hostel, Kinlay Hostel, and Sleepzone.





Enquiries are welcomed to [email protected] (preferably),
or to Fiona Cormican on 087 2369387.


  1. Laura Burke says:

    When can I book my son in for the Galway Chess Congress April 2016?

    Many thanks

    Mrs Burke

    • Fintan says:


      Apologies for delay – the PayPal option is now up and running, or you can submit a postal entry as detailed above.


  2. Chris says:

    Hi, I’m trying to by via paypal. When clicking the ‘add to cart’ button the link is unresponsive. Is it down at the mo?



  3. David McMahon says:

    Do you need an ICU rating to enter?

    • Fintan says:

      Hi David,

      No, you do not need an ICU rating to enter. If you have another national rating, or a FIDE rating, that can be used to determine which section you should play in. Otherwise, you will be entered in the Unrated/Under 1200 section.

  4. Waldemar says:


    I have a question. I am on an invalidity pension. Of course I don’t work and my income isn’t high. But I am not unemployed.

    Am I eligible to pay 25€ for entry fee? It would be a great help for me.

    In Poland in 1990 I had a category II+. Today it means more or less that my rating would between 1800-2000 points. But I have no proof of this category as my last competitive tournament I participated in was in 1990. What tournament I would qualify to play in?

    Hope to get your answer asap.

    My regards,


    • Pete says:

      Hi Waldemar,

      On the entry fee: yes, €25 would be fine.
      On the rating question: do you have a preference between the Masters and Majors? (You sound to be far too strong for the Minors.) If you haven’t played competitively for 26 years, you are probably playing below your 1990 level, so I think the under-1800 section would be acceptable to us, but you could play in the over-1800 if you would prefer. (Incidentally, I was in exactly this position when I returned to chess 15 years ago; I was advised to play in the lower section, and came second in it, after a lot of good fortune in my games. I will never know if I would have got crushed in the higher section, but I suspect that I would have been. But you might have been more in touch with chess in your years out than I was.)
      Hope to see you at the tournament.
      Pete Morriss

  5. Waldemar says:

    Hi Pete,

    many thanks for your answer! It sounds great. Unluckily I haven’t been in touch with chess in those years. So it means that my old rating from 1990 means nothing. Recently I have played some friendly games with another Polish guy who is weaker than me so it was some kind of help for me but playing with players who study chess, openings, middlegame and endgames is a different story. 🙂

    I liked your story of return to chess. Now I have more time than ever, I don’t have to work, so hopefully I will start studying chess seriously.

    Unfortunately I have no chess club nearby. I live 80 km from Galway so it’s quite far.

    I will think about playing in this tournament. I am not prepared at all so I would probably choose Minors section.

    Pete, what about spectators? Is there a free entry for them to watch tournament games or they also have to pay? I would like to come to Galway with her but she is not a chess player. 🙂



    • Pete says:

      Hi Waldemar,

      That sounds good. I think you sound far too strong for the Minors section (under 1200), but the Major (1200-1800) should be suitable for you.

      Spectators are welcome, and they don’t have to pay. All we ask is that they keep quiet and don’t disturb the players, and make sure to switch off any mobile phones before entering the playing room. There are also bar and lobby areas in the hotel, if non-chess-players get bored watching the chess.

      I do hope to see you (and your wife) the weekend after next. Of course you would be welcome also at Galway chess club on a Thursday evening if you can make the journey.

      All the best,


  6. Waldemar says:


    adding to my last comment, of course (she) is my wife.

  7. Waldemar says:

    Hello Pete,

    many thanks for your answers. Unfortunately I can’t play the tournament because I will not be able to come on Saturday. I am not happy with it but it didn’t depend on me.

    But I will come on Friday and Sunday to see all rounds. That’s nice that the club is open on each Thursday. Hope to visit it twice a month at least.

    Thank you and see you tomorrow.


    • Pete says:

      Hi Waldemar,

      We’re sorry you won’t be playing in the Congress, but look forward to seeing you there.

      Would you like to play on the Friday and/or Sunday if there is an odd number of players in a section for any round? If so, that would be helping us out and there would be no charge. Unfortunately, we won’t know until just before the start on Friday whether that would apply, as we often get late entries; but if you would like a game or two that might well be possible.

  8. Waldemar says:

    Hi Pete,

    yes, if there was a chance I could play on Friday and Sunday I would be willing to.
    That would be a good start for me of returning to chess.

    I will see you tomorrow. Thank you.

    My regards,


  9. Pete says:

    Good. Please get to the hotel at about 7.30, and I’ll see what I can do

    See you tomorrow (Friday).

    All the best,


  10. Waldemar says:

    OK. I will be at about this time as first I have to find this hotel.

    See you today.


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