Bunratty Chess Festival - stronger than ever!
Tomorrow morning I'm off to Bunratty, Ireland, to play in the Bunratty Masters weekend event that starts on Friday evening. Not only is it one of (if not the) strongest weekenders in the British Isles but it's also a fantastic social occasion - and many a Guinness will be imbibed!
The Masters contains the British top 2 of Michael Adams and Nigel Short along with GMs Peter Wells and Alex Baburin. The strength in depth is also impressive with at least 7 IMs playing as well.
Arguably this is only a side-event to the Bunratty Classic - a GM norm all-play-all event featuring English GMs Nick Pert, Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell ahead of many strong IMs (and one FM). That event has already started (as of Wednesday evening) and live games are here: http://www.bunrattychess.com/bunratty/live/classic/live.html
The strength of the event is one thing - the best thing about Bunratty is the friendly atmosphere and social aspect of the event. Veselin Topalov is attending and, although he may not play in an official event he may yet be persuaded to play in the Sunday evening blitz! The Masters is not FIDE Rated (and the Classic is) leading one Classic Entrant to complain "My claim to fame is that, for a change, there is a role reversal, with Michael Adams and Nigel Short turning up for the subsidiary event. Trouble is I envy them because this is meant to be a drinking tournament and their section is unrated while mine isn't"
I will report on what happened when I get back next week (probably after a couple of days recover) but if you want to follow all the events at Bunratty then the main site is: http://www.bunrattychess.com/