Monday, 18 September 2017

Funday Sunday at St Andrews

A rapidplay tournament has been organised for Sunday 1st October in St Andrew's College, Dublin. It's a 6 round tournament with entry open to players of all ages and abilities. Further details can be found on the Irish Chess Union website. It's a great opportunity for all our youngsters to test their skills against some new players!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Saint Petersburg - we lost the match but won some friends!

A number of our local players traveled to Russia on 18th August for a challenge match against Saint Petersburg. During the week long visit we saw some wonderful sights including -

The Winter Palace / Hermitage

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Zenit Saint Petersburg football match

Museum of Music in the Sheremetev Palace

River cruise through Saint Petersburg

Korchnoi Memorial Tournament

Kalininsky Chess School

Roshchino Village Summer Chess Camp

Our hosts, the Kalininsky Chess School, were fantastic in every way, providing excellent accommodation, bus transfers in and out of the city, and amazing venues for us to play in. We received an incredibly warm reception from organisers and players alike. Their warmth, hard work and organisation turned the trip into an experience of a lifetime that none of those attending will ever forget. Special mention must all be made to Mikhail Pavlov and Brendan Jamison from the Ulster Chess Union for organising the trip on our side. They worked tirelessly before and during the event to ensure our stay was as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.

The chess was of an incredibly high standard and proved an exciting challenge for all the players. The schedule included 4 classical games, a simultaneous exhibition against WGM Dina Belenkaya, a rapidplay tournament, and a blitz tournament. We had some notable successes on the trip -

1) Daniil Zelenchuk scored 4/4 in the classical matches

2) Ross Harris and Dmitry Zelenchuk scored 2.5/4 in the classical matches

3) Daniil Zelenchuk and Barney McGahan won in the simultaneous exhibition

4) Dexter Harris and Brendan Jamison drew in the simultaneous exhibition

5) Daniil Zelenchuk came 2nd in the blitz tournament scoring 7.5/9

6) Brendan Jamison and Daniil Zelenchuk came joint 2nd in the rapidplay tournament

Our youngest players Dexter Harris (8) and Adam Fitzsimons (8) performed incredibly well against much higher rated players. Both scored 2/5 in the rapidplay and 3/9 in the blitz.

Saint Petersburg is a beautiful, friendly city that everyone should take the opportunity to explore! Many thanks to our hosts for a wonderful experience and to Mikhail and Brendan for all their hard work!

Kalininsky Chess School have produced this wonderful video of our trip.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Robinson Cup Win

Daniil Zelenchuk continued his fine recent form by scoring 4/5 in the recent Robinson Cup. This fantastic effort helped the Irish team win the competition.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

UCU Chess Summer School

Once again Mark Newman of the Ulster Chess Union staged a fantastic Summer Chess School! 3 days of puzzles, games, lectures and battle chess ensured that all the 12 young players came away with enhanced chess skills learnt in a fun and friendly environment. A full report and photos can be found on the UCU website. Hats off to Mark for his continued hard work in helping promote and develop children's chess locally.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Delancey Northern Giga Finals

Once again Wright Robinson College in Manchester was the host of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Northern Giga Final. The atmosphere in the venue was an incredible mixture of high tension and over excitement with approximately 1000 enthusiastic children (and their parents!) all chomping at the bit to start their games and earn a place in the much coveted Tera Finals in London.

12 of Northern Ireland's finest young chess players made the journey across to Manchester to test themselves against the top juniors in the UK. To attend the Giga Finals you must win a local qualifying tournament, so just reaching this stage is quite an achievement. All the players acquitted themselves very well against incredibly tough opposition - as an example there was a player rated over 2000 in the U9 boys section! Special mention must go to Daniil Zelenchuk (U14's) and Maxim Dobrynin (U11 boy's) who both scored a fantastic 4/6.

Adam Rushe
Ciaran Rowan
Daniil Zelenchuk
Aditya Shah
Calum Glendinning
U12 Boys
Maxim Dobrynin
U11 Boys
Rahul Shah
U10 Boys
Anjali Singh
U9 Girls
Dexter Harris
U9 Boys
Adam Fitzsimons
U8 Boys
Aaditya Singh
U7 Boys

Congratulations to all our local juniors who attended and many thanks to all at the Giga Finals for staging such a fantastic event!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

End of Year Chess Awards

Once again the end of year children's chess awards were held at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. The day involves a mini tournament, tour of Stormont, and finally the prize giving. Many thanks to Mark Newman for organising the fantastic event and for all his efforts throughout the year in running the UCU children's chess events. The photo below shows all the winners.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Selection for Ireland

Huge congratulations to Jonathon Peoples and Daniil Zelenchuk who were both selected to represent Ireland in the upcoming Glorney Gilbert International.The event takes place in Wales from 23rd - 27th July. The Glorney Gilbert International is a team event that has been running continuously since 1949 in various formats. It currently consists of 5 teams (France, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland) competing in 4 competitions -

Glorney Cup               -              U18's

Gilbert Cup                 -              Girls U18's

Robinson Cup             -              U14's

Stokes Cup                  -              U12's

We wish both players and all the Irish teams the best of luck!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Saint Petersburg Sponsorship

On 18th August 2017 a group of 13 players from Northern Ireland are travelling to Russia to play in a challenge match against Saint Petersburg. Four of these players are U18 - Daniil Zelenchuk (14), Edward Doak (17), Dexter Harris (8) and Adam Fitzpatrick (8). A series of successful fundraisers by Brendan Jamison raised £600 to help cover the travel costs for these children. Some additional private donations were also received and a very generous £150 business sponsorship from Language Training Solutions which went towards the visas for the children. 

Director of CHESS NI Brendan Jamison states that "we offer our sincere thanks to Daniel Roberts and Joanne Ritchie from Language Training Solutions who share our passion for the educational merits of a cross-cultural chess match in Saint Petersburg, interweaving the role of play and creativity with learning new language skills and improving communication techniques. When chess players from around the world move to Northern Ireland and have little grasp of the English language, many begin their integration process by joining our local chess community. We get extremely excited by players from overseas who join us at Belfast tournaments as they greatly enrich the cultural life of the city. In recent years, we have welcomed players from China, India, Egypt, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and The Phillipines. Hopefully this trend will continue and expand over the next decade as Belfast enjoys a rebirth as a vibrant cosmopolitan city."

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Judit Polgar Talk

On Thursday 25th May the Irish Chess Union has organised a talk with one of the world's leading female chess players, Judit Polgar. It is being held in University College Dublin and commences at 6.00pm. Online tickets are 5 euro with all proceeds going to charity. If you are interested in attending this fantastic event tickets can be purchased through the ICU website, however, you may need to hurry as numbers are limited!
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Judit is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She is the first, and to date, only woman to have surpassed the 2700 Elo rating barrier, reaching a career peak rating of 2735 and peak world ranking of No. 8, both achieved in 2005. She was the number 1 rated woman in the world from January 1989 up until the March 2015 rating list

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Primary Schools Interprovincial Championships

On Saturday 22nd April two of Northern Ireland's top primary schools, Strandtown and Inchmarlo, were representing Ulster in the Irish Primary Schools Interprovincial Championships. The two teams of 4 players headed down to Gonzaga College in Dublin to play in this extremely competitive tournament.
This was an exciting day out for the children as they got to represent not only their schools, but also their province! The chess clubs in both these schools are in their infancy with Strandtown running for just over a year and Inchmarlo just under a year. Despite this, the clubs are thriving with over 20 members in each. They came up against some very tough and experienced opposition but acquitted themselves very well, playing with a tenacity, commitment, enthusiasm and never say die attitude that made myself and every parent incredibly proud of them. The experience gained from this tournament will be invaluable as they continue to progress and develop into the future stars of Ulster Chess.

Many thanks to all the parents for bringing their children down to Dublin and to Lukasz Goralski for organising an excellent event.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Success at Irish Championships

The Irish Junior Chess Championships saw over 10 players from Ulster travelling to Sligo to compete in the Blue Ribbon event of the Irish junior calendar. It was an exciting weekend of chess, played in a fantastic venue, and excellently controlled and organised, largely due to the hard work of Colm O'Mhuireagain, Desmond Beatty and Gerry Graham.

The Ulster players all acquited themselves well in a tough tournament, however, there were a few outstanding performances -

Aaditya Singh finished a fantastic 2nd in the U8 section scoring 5/6. His sister Anjali Singh finished 2nd in the girls rapidplay tournament.

Avrora Zelenchuk performed incredibly well to finish 3rd in the Girls U12 championships.

Jonathon Peoples scored a brilliant 4.5/6 in the very competitive U19 tournament, finishing 2nd overall and only missing out on first place on tiebreak.

Congratulations to all our players who took part and many thanks to the organisers for staging such a spectacular, exciting and enjoyable event.

Dexter Harris and Adam Fitzsimons 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Irish Junior Chess Championships 2017

The Irish Junior Chess Championships 2017 are being held on the 7th - 9th April in the Clayton Hotel in Sligo. There are U8, U10, U12, U14, U16 and U19 sections. It would be great to see as many young players from Ulster attending in what promises to be a fantastic event! Details on how to enter can be found on the Irish Chess Union website.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Daniil Zelenchuk

One of our most promising Juniors, 13 year old Daniil Zelenchuk, has had an outstanding season so far playing for Ballynafeigh 3's in Division 2. To date he has scored a fantastic 15 points out of 19 games. This form has brought him to the attention of the Irish Junior Selection Committee and he has recently been invited to join the 2017 Irish Junior Coaching Program. His enthusiasm for chess is infectious and he rarely misses an opportunity to play in tournaments around Ireland. Over the last few months he has played in the Leinster Junior Championships, Gonzaga, Bunratty and Galway, leading to an incredible rating increase of 564 points in just over 3 months. Lets hope Daniil continues this rich vein of form and achieves his goal of selection for the Irish U14 team!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

24 Hour Chess-a-thon

A 24 hour chess-a-thon is being held on the 11th and 12th February as a fund raiser for the Strand Chess Club. Ross Harris will be playing chess non-stop for 24 hours with all proceeds going towards the start up costs and running of this new children's club. You can sponsor Ross on his Just Giving page.

*****24 HOURS OF CHESS  -  NO BREAKS*****

Saturday, 14 January 2017


**New Weekly Chess Club For Children**

Venue: Strand Arts Centre, Belfast

Day: Every Sunday

Time: 15:30 – 17:30

Cost: £2 for 1 child, £3 for family (2 or more children)

  • weekly chess club dedicated to children providing a fun and safe environment to learn and play chess
  • free coaching available for all children
  • club ladder and competitions
  • tactics / puzzles leaderboard
  • all children welcome regardless of ability

**Starting on Sunday 5th February 2017**

For further information please contact Ross Harris – email: mobile: 07796172227

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Strandtown starts back after Christmas!

The Strandtown Chess Academy started back this week after Christmas and it was good to see the break only heightened the enthusiasm of the children! At the end of the session Dexter Harris remained top of the ladder. Mia Bleakley won the star of the week award for two excellent victories against Justin Macartney and Thomas Dalzell.