B.C.A.I. Irish Open Tournament
11th -14th October 2002

By Sean Loftus

For this, our tenth B.C.A.I. Open Tournament, we moved for the second time outside Dublin.

Following our first venture outside the capital in Cork four years ago, the venue this time was the Castletroy Park Hotel, some five kilometres from the centre of Limerick City. Early in 2001 we enlisted the support of local B.C.A.I. Member Michael Meaney.

Michael suggested the Castletroy and arrangements were soon put in progress.

Friday, October 11th, turned out to be a very wet day in Dublin. I set out for the railway station in the early afternoon and despite the inevitable encounter with Dublin's traffic my taxi-man got me to Heuston in good time for the 2 o'clock train to Limerick. near the ticket office I met up with our treasurer, Ernie McElroy, and his Rathmines club-mate, John Crowley. The train was almost full but we managed to find seats close together and had a pleasant journey to Limerick. On our way out of the station we met up with tournament favourite, Chris Ross, from England. Chris and his mother had been on the same train from Dublin, having caught it with not a moment to spare. We soon found taxis and made our way to the hotel, where we were in fact the last to arrive. It was pleasing to find that all travel arrangements had gone without a hitch.

We discovered that one group which had flown from England to Dublin had decided to hire a car at the airport and were able to complete the journey in good time.

Following an excellent meal we assembled at 7.30 in the room where the chess was to be played. The original plan was to have two sections, but there were only seven players graded below 1400. We therefore had all 24 players competing in a single open tournament. There were ten Irish players, seven from England, four from the Netherlands and three who had come all the way from India.

In the first round players from the same country were kept apart. Results went very much according to the cedings except that David Hodgkins (England) drew with Ernie McElroy (Ireland).
Round 2 again produced no major surprises and now there were five players on full points.

The third round brought the leading contenders into direct opposition. Chris Ross, who out-rated his nearest rival by some 200 points, beat Rob Van Aurich (Netherlands). Philip Doyle won against India's Gourab Gadodia. These were joined on three points by Michael Delaney who defeated John Gallagher (England).

On the Sunday morning the fourth round draw produced the all-Irish pairing of Doyle-Delaney
with Ross playing Hodgkins. Delaney and Ross were the winners and these two now battled it out in round five.

In this encounter Chris came out on top leaving him a point ahead going into the last round. Gadodia moved into a share of second place with victory over Van Aurich. In the final round Ross drew with Gadodia to secure first place on 5.5 points. Delaney drew with McElroy and Doyle beat Gallagher to share second place with Gadodia on 4.5. Stan Lovell (England) and Eamonn Casey (Ireland) both finished strongly to tie for fifth place on 4 points. These two also shared one of the four grading prizes. The others went to John Gallagher and George Plechaty (England) and Tony Murray (Ireland). George also retained the trophy for players graded under 1400.

A special word of thanks is due to our as ever quiet and efficient tournament controller, Tim Conlan. Tim on this occasion was assisted most capably by local man, Gerry Graham and by John Crowley. Gerry is very much involved in organising the prestigious Bunratty Tournament which takes place in February each near. He also displayed his versatility by winning Michael Meaney's "limerick" competition.

Away from the chessboard there was no shortage of other activities. Some of our number found time to avail of the Castletroy's excellent leisure centre. On the Saturday for those not playing chess there was a coach trip to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and to King John's Castle.

Once again our good friend from Cork, Barry O'Brien, excelled as organiser and tour guide. Barry once again gave us much valuable help in the preparations for the tournament and he and his wife, Mary, were with us throughout the weekend to see that everything went according to plan. On the Saturday evening we were visited by the Mayor of Limerick, John Cronin. He accepted an invitation to stay for dinner and after the meal he made a short speech in which he welcomed us all to the city of Limerick and hoped we would have an enjoyable stay.

There followed a most interesting talk from local historian and raconteur, Frank Prendergast. We also had a few words from Rob Van Aurich from the Netherlands. Then it was time for the music to begin and here Michael Meaney really came up with a winner. To entertain us we
had Limerick's well-known singer/songwriter, Denis Allen.

Immediately on hearing the sound of the guitar Michael prompted "Limerick, you're a lady!". This is the song for which Denis is most famous. After this he continued to sing and play for some 2-and-a-half hours without a break. There was plenty of audience participation, too, and this included a number of solo performances. It was a rare and delightful pleasure to have a musician who did not need deafening amplification.

As has become almost traditional at these tournaments we got together on the Sunday evening for an informal "sing- along" in the bar. Following the final round and the presentation of prizes on the Monday most of us were soon on our way to the railway station. The weather was dry and
the train a lot less crowded than it had been on the Friday. Arriving in Dublin in the middle of the rush hour there was the inevitable scramble for buses and taxis. Later there would be time to reflect on another very successful tournament.

We in the B.C.A.I. are eternally grateful to our associate members and supporters without whose help these tournaments could not take place. It is also appropriate to mention those who travel from overseas to participate. As we plan our next tournament in 2004 we very much hope that our friends from England, The Netherlands and India will again be able to come and join us

Final Standings

Place Name             Club      Score 
  1   Chris Ross       England   5.5
 2-4  Philip Doyle     Ireland   4.5
      Gourab Gadodia   India     4.5
      Michael Delaney  Ireland   4.5
 5-6  Eamonn Casey     Ireland   4 
      Stan Lovell      England   4      
7-11  Rob Van Aurich   Holland   3.5
      Ernie McElroy    Ireland   3.5
      John Gallagher   England   3.5
      David Hodgkins   England   3.5
      Steve Thacker    England   3.5
12-15 Sean Loftus      Ireland   3
      George Plachety  England   3
      Bastiaan Gramser Holland   3
      Kim Hoogenraad   Holland   3
16-18 Tony Murray      Ireland   2.5
      Prakish Sony     India     2.5
      Michael Murphy   England   2.5
19-21 Kailish Singh    India     2  
      Michael Meaney   Ireland   2  
      Gerard Den-Otter Holland   2  
 22   John Carroll     Ireland   1  
23-24 Shane Hall       Ireland   0.5
      Trevor Hussey    Ireland   0.5
























B.C.A. 2002