KILKENNY sisters Sarah Jane and Catherine Hearne secured their names in chess history after beating England 2-1 in the Jessie Gilbert Cup. This is the first time Ireland have beaten England at this level in a century.
The historic victory took place at the four nations junior chess championships between teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland took place recently in Dublin City University (DCU).
The championships involve teams from each nation competing in four separate competitions, the Glorney Cup for players under 18 years of age, the Jessie Gilbert Cup for girls under 18 years of age, the John Robinson Cup for players under 14 years of age and the Bernadette Stokes Cup for players under 12 years of age.
Kilkenny Chess Club was well represented in the Irish Chess Squad providing 5 players in all for three of the teams. This represented a quarter of the total number of Irish players in the tournament. The Kilkenny contingent included sisters Sarah Jane and Catherine Hearne who played in the Jessie Gilbert Cup and who finished as runners up to a very experienced Scottish team.
Sarah Jane Hearne also had the distinction of winning a board prize as the top scorer on her team. The junior cert student capped a fine year at the Four Nations Championships with her prize having also represented Ireland on the Women’s Olympiad Team in September 2010. Sarah Jane had the distinction of attaining the Candidate Master title at the Olympiad after an impressive performance for her country. Her younger sister Catherine, aged 13, joined her on the Irish girls team for the Four Nations Championships having also represented Ireland at the tournament in 2010.
The two sisters have been playing chess for a number of years and represent the Kilkenny Chess Club in the Leinster Chess Leagues when not playing internationally. The impressive results of the Irish Girls team at the most recent Four Nations Championships demonstrate the progress that is being made by Ireland’s talented female players. The Hearne sisters are to the fore in this regard and are likely to continue to feature on Irish teams for the foreseeable future.