The best weekend tournament in the World!?

The best weekend tournament in the World!?

Ginger_GM
GM Ginger_GM
Mar 1, 2018, 4:26 AM |
16

Since the age of eight I have traveled from place to place over weekends in the search of a game of chess. Things were different thirty years ago, the internet was in its infancy and online chess was a rather unheard of affair. How things have changed.

Most of my time was spent playing in rather dull school halls, which oozed a rather ominous and oppressive atmosphere. Maybe right for chess but not for the 'crack'.

Then my friend, Gary O'Grady, introduced me to the Irish way of doing tournaments, at the Bunratty weekend competition and things have never been the same since...

Bunratty is a small tourist area near to Limerick in South West Ireland. Wiki can give you a bit more information - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunratty.

It comprises a beautiful castle and one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, Durty Nelly's. A popular attraction among many of the players no matter what time of the day. But the real thing that stands out is the pure warmness of the Irish people.

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It is not the place that makes the place but the people, and even the most depressed of people would not be able to refrain from smiling in this amazing country.

The tournament is an intense affair with six games over the weekend, the first game starting on Friday evening. Anyone with any sense, will also book their flight back after lunch time on the Monday. Morning games are bad enough, but flying at silly o'clock after this weekend is not to be recommended...

This year was the twenty five year anniversary of the event so a special party was thrown at one of the organisers houses, Paul Carey. The party was held on the Thursday night, meaning an extra night of partying. Let me show you some pictures. Whilst looking at them, how many famous chess names can you see!?

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If you are interested in some of the chess that was played, then here are a couple of other reports on the event.

https://www.chess.com/blog/PeterDoggers/bunrattys-25th-anniversary-i-played

https://en.chessbase.com/post/bunratty

https://en.chessbase.com/post/famous-beer-tournament-jubilees

https://www.icu.ie/articles/753

I had an average event, getting to board one for the Sunday morning game against GM Gawain Jones. I was very lucky to make the game, after being woken up by a friend twenty minutes after the game had started. With the default time being thirty minutes. 

Gawain got me in the end, but it was an exciting tussle.

That left me needing a win in the last round to get into the money. My opponent was IM Richard Bates, a long time sparring partner of mine. I had the advantage but failed to convert.

How anyone can play after all the partying is still a mystery... One of the funniest games I ever played was this encounter in 2009. How many pawn moves did I play in the opening stage of the game...

The Bunratty chess festival really is an experience that everyone must see once in there lives. Shannon airport is only a couple of kilometers away and fly's directly to America and the UK. I for one will be there next year. Let me leave you with a Vlog of Bunratty from Fiona, it really does capture the essence of the event!