Liege,Manchester,Dublin and Cork

The good thing about being chess professional is the chance to travel a lot and visit some nice places. As I had to play in Belgium for my team Amay and play afterwards the Cork Chess Congress in Ireland the only good plan would be not to come back home but to use the chance and visit some new places. The route was Liege-Manchester-Dublin-Cork. However this report is about one of Ireland’s friendliest places-Cork. The tournament took place between 23-25 March.

Some months ago Michael Bradley sent me an invitation for the Congress, but in the last two weeks we could not reach each other even on the web. I started to think that I will not see him this year when he made it for the last round.
When Michael came on Sunday for the price giving he was so excited and spoke that quickly that I could barely catch a word of his own. “Calm down, Michael, you are not playing this year”, as said, but I knew that he wanted to play very much. He kept explaining me about the new openings that he had tried, and the new books that he read.
Michel Bradley is the organizer of the event and has always been deeply involved in the life of the club, as well as for the conduct of a very good tournament. This year though, he had to skip this part. The reason is a nice one though- five weeks ago he became a proud father of a baby girl, called Claire!
Thus, the organization was passed to the hands of Steven Short, the brother of the FM Philip Short and they both took part in the open section.
Despite the recession the event managed to attract players from eight countries. Gresham Metropol was once again a welcoming host of the event, and we had the chance to enjoy the full Irish breakfast together with the Irish hospitality.
The time control was unusual- one and a half hour till the end of the game, and additional fifteen seconds per move. Once that the players reach their final five minutes they are no longer obliged to write the moves. Ireland’s tournaments are often not calculated for FIDE ratings and this makes it difficult for the foreigners to orientate for their strength. Some of the kids that played two years ago are now more mature, and show good chess potential. Young Kieran O’Riordan is still the only one to defeat me in Ireland (albeit in a simul :-)) two years ago.
I was a bit worried for my result as this time there was no time to kiss the Blarney stone for good luck. Instead I paid a visit to Dublin before Cork. You might not be aware of the fact that Ireland’s most visited place now is the Guinness factory. I guess that one of the reasons is that you can enjoy your pint on the top of the city and to have a superb view of the surrounding buildings.
Anyways, this preparation also proved excellent, as I managed to win the event outright with 5/6.
Cross table is here.
There was a big tie for the second place, with Irish champion IM Alex Lopez declared second, and Irish’s best rated player GM Alex Baburin- third. These two gentlemen recently took part in the simul of the Irish national team against Veselin Topalov, and scored 1.5 against the Bulgarian. The podium was filled with FM Philip Short and IM John Donaldson.
Major tournament was won by Ljubisa Cirkovic, and the minor tournament by Fionn O’Neill with a remarkable 6/6 result.



Alex Lopez is no longer Irish Champion! The title was won by Stephen Brady for the 6th! time last July.


Oh and the simo against Topalov was not against the Irish national team [despite the widespread mistaken reporting of such], rather it was a selection of some of our highest rated players. For example, only two of the four playing were on the 2010 Olympiad [Lopez, Collins played, Baburin Quinn did not] and the only player assured of a place on the next Irish national team for the 2012 Olympiad is Stephen Brady, who as Irish Champion gets one of two automatic places reserved for Irish Champions. And lastly the match with Topalov was actually a draw! Win against Quinn, loss to Baburin draw with Collins, Lopez. Topalov had been badly advised and or prepared for this match as it was a very bad idea to try beat Baburin with Black in such a clock Simo. He was completely winning against Collins and then should and could have just drawn with Baburin and win the match comfortably 3-1. Thankfully his strategy for the match was poor and it was a draw.