Irish Open 2002

The Braille Chess Association of Ireland held there biannual event in Limerick this year, and as per normal, a very enjoyable time was had by all who attended the 4 star hotel with immaculate rooms, excellent service and containing a magnificent playing venue with plenty of space in comfortable conditions. The tournament was run by the experienced hands of Tim O'Cocran aided by Gerry Graham, a well known and respected arbiter in the Irish Republic.

The town of Limerick is situated in the west of Ireland and is extremely beautiful with its lush greenery and immense pride in the natives. Access to the town is relatively easy from Shannon airport, but unfortunately, a lot of players had to travel by train from Dublin, a 3 hour train journey away, which made getting to the venue not as easy as one would have liked. Despite the awkwardness of the venue, the exquisite nature of the hotel more than compensated for everything and entertainment was provided on the Saturday by a local singer/musician. Naturally, the Irish participants of the tournament provided music and singing of their own, which is always an excellent source of amusement and enjoyment. A more enjoyable, and social, event would be difficult to find.

This tournament has had a scattering of players come to it from abroad in the past ranging from Germany, Holland and Sweden. This year, it excelled itself by receiving 7 players and escorts from India, as well as 4 players from the Netherlands. A habitual contingency came from England, and in total, the tournament held 24 participants. Unfortunately, it was thought impracticable to hold two separate vents, and it ended at an open of a 6 round Swiss.

Chris Ross, England, was seeded no. 1 and clearly outranked any of the other participants and his eventual tournament winning score of 5/6 came as no surprise. His passage was not as smooth as he would have imagined, but nevertheless, his 5/5 from the first 5 rounds ensured joint first minimal for him, and a draw in the last round with Gourav Gadodia secured clear first. Strong opposition was provided by Mike Delaney from Ireland, and Ireland's other strong contender, Phillip Doyle, suffered a surprising loss to the hands of Delaney, which took him out of the reckoning at round 4. The crucial match came in round 5 when Ross and Delaney met, both with 4/4 under their belts, and a very interesting game ensued. The game with notes from Chris Ross can be seen below.

Gourav Gadodia from India turned in a very respectable performance and indeed, if he had held his nerve and converted an advantageous position against Ross in the last round, he could had come in joint first place with Ross and Delaney on 5/5. Unfortunately for him, a series of bad moves in a good position rendered his position unclear and Ross was able to hold comfortably and secure his tournament victory.

Another surprising performance was turned in by the Chairman of the B.C.A. of Ireland, Eamon Casey, who's win against the stronger Sean Loftus took his tournament score up to 4/6 bringing him into joint third place, and also securing him a grading prize.

B.C.A.I. Open 2002


Place Name             Loc  Club    Score M-Buch.
  1   Chris Ross       1920 England 5.5      14.5
 2-4  Philip Doyle     1792 Ireland 4.5      15.5
      Gourab Gadodia   1770 India   4.5      15.5
      Michael Delaney  1657 Ireland 4.5      14.5
 5-6  Eamonn Casey     1518 Ireland 4        11.5
      Stan Lovell      1584 England 4         9.0
7-11  Rob Van Aurich   1771 Holland 3.5      15.0
      Ernie McElroy    1788 Ireland 3.5      14.5
      John Gallagher   1608 England 3.5      14.0
      David Hodgkins   1556 England 3.5      12.0
      Steve Thacker    1550 England 3.5      10.5
12-15 Sean Loftus      1633 Ireland 3        14.5
      George Plachety  1388 England 3        12.5
      Bastiaan Gramser 1659 Holland 3        11.5
      Kim Hoogenraad   1603 Holland 3         8.0
16-18 Tony Murray      1040 Ireland 2.5      13.0
      Prakish Sony     1720 India   2.5      11.0
      Michael Murphy   1248 England 2.5       8.5
19-21 Kailish Singh    1730 India   2        13.5
      Michael Meaney   1156 Ireland 2        10.5
      Gerard Den-Otter 1600 Holland 2         7.0
 22   John Carroll     972  Ireland 1        11.5
23-24 Shane Hall       762  Ireland 0.5      10.0
      Trevor Hussey    1108 Ireland 0.5       9.5

Cross Table
No  Name              Loc  Total  1    2    3    4    5    6  
1.  Ross, Chris       1920 5.5   14:W  8:W  4:W 15:W  9:W  5:D
2.  Doyle, Philip     1792 4.5   11:W  7:W  5:W  9:L  3:D 12:W
3.  McElroy, Ernie    1788 3.5   15:D 12:D 13:W 10:D  2:D  9:D
4.  Van Aurich, Rob   1771 3.5   17:W 10:W  1:L  8:W  5:L 15:D
5.  Gadodia, Gourab   1770 4.5   16:W 13:W  2:L 17:W  4:W  1:D
6.  Singh, Kailish    1730 2     20:W  9:L 15:L 19:W 11:L 16:L
7.  Sony, Prakish     1720 2.5   21:W  2:L 17:L 16:L 23:W 19:D
8.  Gramser, Bastiaan 1659 3     22:W  1:L 19:W  4:L 18:L 20:W
9.  Delaney, Michael  1657 4.5   18:W  6:W 12:W  2:W  1:L  3:D
10. Loftus, Sean      1633 3     19:W  4:L 11:W  3:D 15:D 17:L
11. Lovell, Stan      1584 4      2:L 21:W 10:L 23:W  6:W 18:W
12. Gallagher, John   1608 3.5   23:W  3:D  9:L 22:W 16:W  2:L
13. Hoogenraad, Kim   1603 3     24:W  5:L  3:L 18:L 21:W 23:W
14. Den-Otter, Gerard 1600 2      1:L 15:L 23:L 24:W 20:L 21:W
15. Hodgkins, David   1556 3.5    3:D 14:W  6:W  1:L 10:D  4:D
16. Thacker, Steve    1550 3.5    5:L 22:D 20:W  7:W 12:L  6:W
17. Casey, Eamonn     1518 4      4:L 20:W  7:W  5:L 22:W 10:W
18. Plachety, George  1388 3      9:L 24:W 22:L 13:W  8:W 11:L
19. Murphy, Michael   1248 2.5   10:L 23:W  8:L  6:L 24:W  7:D
20. Meaney, Michael   1156 2      6:L 17:L 16:L 21:W 14:W  8:L
21. Hussey, Trevor    1108 .5     7:L 11:L 24:D 20:L 13:L 14:L
22. Murray, Tony      1040 2.5    8:L 16:D 18:W 12:L 17:L 24:W
23. Carroll, John     972  1     12:L 19:L 14:W 11:L  7:L 13:L
24. Hall, Shane       762  .5    13:L 18:L 21:D 14:L 19:L 22:L

Ratings (Local) 

No  Name              Loc  Score Exp. Chg*K  Rav Rprfm
1.  Ross, Chris       1920 5.5/6 4.86    14 1669  2070
2.  Doyle, Philip     1792 4.5/6 3.84    16 1688  1881
3.  McElroy, Ernie    1788 3.5/6 4.20   -16 1642  1699
4.  Van Aurich, Rob   1771 3.5/6 3.78    -7 1676  1733
5.  Gadodia, Gourab   1770 4.5/6 3.66    19 1692  1885
6.  Singh, Kailish    1730 2.0/6 4.98   -72 1459  1334
7.  Sony, Prakish     1720 2.5/6 5.34   -67 1365  1308
8.  Gramser, Bastiaan 1659 3.0/6 4.80   -43 1421  1421
9.  Delaney, Michael  1657 4.5/6 2.58    45 1704  1897
10. Loftus, Sean      1633 3.0/6 3.48   -12 1578  1578
11. Lovell, Stan      1584 4.0/6 4.20    -4 1437  1562
12. Gallagher, John   1608 3.5/6 4.14   -14 1467  1524
13. Hoogenraad, Kim   1603 3.0/6 5.16   -52 1298  1298
14. Den-Otter, Gerard 1600 2.0/6 5.34   -79 1246  1121
15. Hodgkins, David   1556 3.5/6 1.56    45 1740  1797
16. Thacker, Steve    1550 3.5/6 3.36     2 1504  1561
17. Casey, Eamonn     1518 4.0/6 3.00    24 1515  1640
18. Plachety, George  1388 3.0/6 3.06    -2 1384  1384
19. Murphy, Michael   1248 2.5/6 1.68    19 1413  1356
20. Meaney, Michael   1156 2.0/6 0.60    33 1528  1403
21. Hussey, Trevor    1108 0.5/6 0.90    -9 1404  1003
22. Murray, Tony      1040 2.5/6 0.60    45 1414  1357
23. Carroll, John     972  1.0/6 0.12    21 1561  1288
24. Hall, Shane       762  0.5/6 0.12     9 1331   930

The B.C.A. Team
Wednesday 16 October 2002

Chris Ross writes:

[Event "Limerick Open 2002"]
[Site "Limerick, IRE"]
[Date "2002.10.13"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Ross, C."]
[Black "Delaney, M."]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A52"]
[WhiteElo "2101"]
[BlackElo "2086"]
[Annotator "Ross,Chris"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "ENG"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IRI"]

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e5
3. dxe5 Ng4
4. Bf4 Nc6
5. Nf3 Bb4+
6. Nbd2 Bc5

{don't like this. OK, the Budapest isn't the best in the world, but I think the theory has to be the best. Qe7 and chopping on d2. The L is rubbish and does nothing but become a target. Now, my queen- side expansion has point, or, greater point, I should qualify, and my knight is ten times better than the bishop.}

7. e3 Qe7
8. Be2 Ngxe5
9. Nxe5 Nxe5
10. O-O d6
11. Qc2 g5

{now I don't like this at all. After this move, the black king has absolutely no safety at all. Black's realised that he stands positionally worse and attempts to hack on the king's. OK, if I retreat now, then the H pawn advance makes sense. But why? I just have a good knight V bad bishop situation now, and who's the expert at those?}

12. Bxe5 Qxe5
13. Nf3 Qe7
14. Qc3 Rg8
15. b4 Bb6
16. Rfd1

{I'm not massively convinced that this is so accurate though. Obviously, I want to get c5 in, but this method isn't the best. Weird as it looks, Nd2/Nb3 is the manoeuvre here,and this not only brings the knight away from the tempo gaining g4, but holds black's counter-play action with ideas of a5 etc. The knight belongs on b3 after all. OK, nf3 allowed me to get b4 in, but it doesn't belong on f3.}

16... Bf5
17. Rac1 c5
18. a3

{not the most ideal I want, but the weakness on d6 is now my target. I can't really blockade with b5, for black can bizarrely begin counter-play ideas with a6 and axb5 and I must play a4/xb5 and then black has the A file, and although black is uncastled, his pieces have a lot of action.}

18... O-O-O

{18... a5! is black's move now. If I blockade, then black can probably castle queen's unhindered. d6 is weak but after ideas of Ld8/Lf6/Le5, and it looks like its black's attack that is the most dangerous. So, I guess I would have to allow black to take on b4 twice and hope that the open lines and the exposed black king become too weak for the open lines for the black bishops. Saying all this though, black has proven he has some very good chances in his play up to now. All because of the wrong placement of my rooks.}

19. b5 Bc7
20. Nd2 g4

{20... d5! has to be played. Absolutely and without fail. I had to allow this and banked on the unclear situation that would arise from it that the black king proved to be exposed. after 20... d5! I must take and then black can double on the D file, and hell knows what is going on. The knight must sit on c4, hold everything and hope for the dark bishop exchange [since lines have opened the bishop has equal worth to the knight], and neutralise the D file, and who stands better in the end-game? Well, unclear is the only assessment I can give on 20... d5! but now, the knight proves ten times more effective than the bishop by sitting on f1, defending ideas of g4/g3, and is no longer a target and must prove better in any end-game.}

21. Nf1 h5
22. Bd3

{I must now secure the d5 square forever, blockade it and use the f5 square as a point of penetration. Getting the light squared bishops off must be the next stage. White definitely has the advantage now, but black isn't dead yet. He has play on the king's, and if he can roll his F pawn, he might have more, but I must play Rd5/Qd3 and control f5.}

22... Bg6
23. Bxg6 Rxg6
24. Rd5 Rh8

{an inexplicable blunder. The idea is obvious: black wants to hack with h4, g3 and try for traps down the H file. Well, that's what happens to hackers!}

25. Qxh8+ 1-0

[Event "Limerick Open 2002"]
[Site "Limerick,` IRE"]
[Date "2002.10.14"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Gadodia, G."]
[Black "Ross, C."]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "B23"]
[WhiteElo "2000"]
[BlackElo "2101"]
[Annotator "Ross,Chris"]
[PlyCount "35"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 c5
2. Nc3 Nc6
3. f4 e6
4. Nf3 d5
5. Bb5 d4
6. Bxc6+ bxc6
7. Ne2 d3

{pathetic. I've played this type of position before, and OK, I have doubled pawns, but the bishop pair. Ld6, Ne7 La6 or a5/a4 and La6 are the general stuff. I was very tired, and I mean, tired, after partying all night, for the past 2 nights and was out of this world, and I only needed the draw. Utterly against my principles to accept or even offer the draw in such circumstances, but folks, I couldn't think! So, what the hell.}

8. cxd3 Qxd3
9. Ng3 Nf6

{again, weak. 9... La6 is the move.}

10. Ne5 Qa6

{Man, how badly am I playing? 10... Qd6 is the move. 11 Nxf7 isn't good for white, for 11... Kxf7 12 e5 qd3 13 exf6 g6! and black stands better.}

11. d3 Be7
12. O-O Qb6
13. Be3 O-O
14. b3

{bad. 14 Rc1 is the move. I can't steal the B pawn coz of ideas of Nxc6/Nxe7 and the c5 pawn is just ridiculous, and now white must just gang up on the c5 pawn with Qc2, and protect the d3 pawn, which is my only line of counter-play and once that is defended, I'm reduced to sitting and waiting, utterly passive. But now, this slow move allows me to develop swiftly, gaining time on the d3 pawn.}

14... Ba6
15. Rf2

{another weak move. d1 is the square for this baby, and the f2 square is needed for the g3 knight. OK, if white wants to play Rc2, then that should be OK, although the queen is better there than the rook.}

15... Rad8
16. Qc2

{now, this doesn't make sense with the R being on f2. Man, 3 bad moves from white in a row!}

16... Nd7
17. Nc4 Qc7
18. Rd1

{wow! White has lost the plot. The setup he needed was the rook on c1 and the F rook on d1, Q on c2, and then to play Nh1/Nf2, where the N holds everything, the D pawn and can jump into g4 later, and the pressure on c5 will tell, for I can't defend it anymore.

Having realised he has made some really weak moves in the past few, white offered the draw, which I accepted, due to my health, and having a bad position. If I allow white to regroup, then he stands ten times better. I can't win, not in this world.}


OK, here was the opening to Doyle's & Delaney's game played in round 4 which took Doyle out of the reckoning.

[Event "Limerick Open 2002"]
[Site "Limerick, IRE"]
[Date "2002.10.13"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Doyle, P."]
[Black "Delaney, M."]
[Result "0-1"]
[Annotator "Ross,Chris"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IRE"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IRI"]

1. c4 Nf6
2. Nc3 e6
3. e4

{I had the oppotunity to study this opening in depth with a Russian GM in the Czech Republic a few years ago, and he taught me a lot about it, claiming it to be unsound for white. If black doesn't know his stuff, then this isn't true, and it all depends on what style you like for black.

There are a few lines, the most accurate for black is the 3... c5! line I choose, where white must sacrifice a pawn to get any justification out of his position.

The line goes 3... c5 4 e5 Ng8 5 Nf3 Nc6 6 d4 cxd4 7 Nxd4 Nxe5 7 Ndb5 a6! 8 Nd6+ Lxd6 9 Qxd6 f6 and black has a cramped position but acceptable position with a pawn extra. Black's ideas are Nf7, Ne7, 0-0, f5 to blunt the white light squared bishop, and b6, Lb7 d6, and the white bishops have no scope. White has to hack on the king's.}

3... d5

{another line, but not as accurate or sharp. This is what I chose against the Russian, when he played 4 e5 d4 [4..Nfd7!? is playable but cramped.] 5 exf6 dxc3 6 fxg7 cxd2+ 7 Qxd2 Qxd2+ 8 Lxd2 Lxg7 and a tense struggle was played}

4 cxd5 exd5
5 e5 d4

{5..Nfd7 transposes to the cramped line, where black must play Le7, Nf8/Ne6 etc. and go for an QIP with c5 etc. note that 6 Nxd5 Nxe5 is good for black.}

6 exf6 dxc3 7 Bb5+

{weak. The bishop doesn't belong here. 7 Qc2 is best, with ideas of dxc3 Ld3, and queen-side castling with a possible king-side attack. Accepting a pawn on d2 would be good for white since his quick development, and attack on the c7 square would make life awkward for black.}

7... c6

{7... Nc6! is the move. Similar ideas cna be seen in the center counter. Taking on c6 would mate white is a few moves with the light squares so weak, which is far enough compensation for the doubled pawns. La6 wold soon come in, or Le6/d5 and the bishops would soon go through. So, develop, and the knight is best on c6.}

8 Qe2+ Le6
9 Lc4

{white's idea. He wants to give black a weak pawn on e6 but the activity black gets for this pawn massively outweights the lack of white's development. Here you can see why Nc6 would have been better for now, 9... Nd4 would just win.}

9... Qxf6
10 dxc3 Bc5
11 Nf3 0-0
12 Lxe6 Qxe6
13 Qxe6 fxe6
14 0-0 Nd7
15 b4

{after which, white's slightly worse. Look at the c4 outpost. Nb6/Nc4 is going to be very strong now, and the white bishop has nowhere to go.

15 Lg5! had to be played with the idea of Lh4/Lg3 protecting the f2 square, and doubling the rook. Then the knight can head for its natural outpost, e4, and then penetration on d6, the natural penetration square must prevail.

Black has counter-play with Nb6/Nf6/Nd5 and maybe he has to compromise his pawn structure further to support the knight with b5/a5 etc. but if he can keep the d5 square for his knight, then he has good chances of holding his own, although he does stand slightly worse.}

15... Be7

{The best square and preventing the above mentioned Lg5 idea. Now the bishop on c1 is just bad. Black now reroutes his pieces to hit the weak white queen-side.}

16 Re1 Bf6
17 Bd2 Nb6
18 Ne5 Bxe5

{best. The c4 square is now for black, and after b7-b5, the d5 is quite beautiful too. Good knight V bad bishop we have here.}

19 Rxe5 Nc4
20 Re2 Nxd2

{I personally, don't like this, but black seemed to know what he was doing. He was happy with the draw, apparently, and realised that with this exchange, he would enter a slightly worse R & P end- game, but he believes in his good play in such endings. For me, I would try to win this position now for black with such a strong knight and play 20.. Rad8 and Rd5, and Rfd8 and consolidate the queen-side pawn structure and just look at that strong knight!}

21 Rxe2 Rad8
22 Rad1 Rd5!

{an excellent usage of the d5 outpost. black now plans to double himself, or start counter-attacking on the 4th ranks.}

23 c4 Rdf5
24 f3 g6

{I think I would have chucked Rf4 in to ask the question of the queen-side pawns.}

25 Rd7 R5f7
26 Kf2 Kg7

And I'm afriad that I didn't see the rest of the game, for I was in time trouble in my own, and had to concentrate on it.

I don't know how white messed this up but I did hear moves like Rxg2 for black with Rxa2 and white got his rook around to h8 and took on h6, but I gather it was the black C pawn that eventually became passed and called the day for black. It was all a tight time scramble, so I believe, and I'm certainly no expert on R end-games, but interesting opening.}








































































B.C.A. 2002