Chess champ Ryan ready for Olympiad

Ryan Rhys Griffiths (18), a student of Kilkenny College, is among a group of young ambitious Irish chess players forging a successful path across Europe this summer.

Ryan Rhys Griffiths (18), a student of Kilkenny College, is among a group of young ambitious Irish chess players forging a successful path across Europe this summer.

Ryan joins Kilkenny-based juniors as John Courtney, Sarah Jane Hearne, Catherine Hearne and Eoin Minnock in raising the profile of Irish chess and Ireland abroad. A Fide Chess Master, Ryan had an exceptional tournament at the 87th Paris Chess Championships in July, where he scored four wins and four draws against eight international masters and chess grandmasters to win the trophy for best performing Junior.

Ryan had an incredible Grand Master rating performance of 2526 and achieved the second best improvement in FIDE chess rating out of an exceptionally strong field of 63 players. He is currently representing Ireland in the World Youth Under-20 Championships in Athens, and in September he travels to Istanbul to compete with the Irish Senior team in the World Chess Olympiad 2012.

These young Irish chess players are great ambassadors for Irish sport abroad and are fast developing an international reputation for doggedness, determination and fighting spirit. Perhaps one day chess will finally be formally recognised as a sport in Ireland to bring it on a par with Russia, China, the United States, England and the other nations.

Kilkenny chess coach Darko Polimac is very proud that Kilkenny juniors are the elite of International chess . Over 700 million people in the World play chess and the FIDE international chess federation is one of the biggest in the World. Ryan Griffiths is competing with players from organized and well sponsored federations.

This year in Istanbul, over 170 states will be represented. Not many of them have players younger then 18 in their teams.

Kilkenny player Pornima Menon was only 13 when she represented Ireland in Turin. Not many clubs in the World had players younger then 18 to represent their country at Senior level, but Kilkenny has three of them: Pornima Menon, Sarah Jane Hearne, and Ryan Rhys Griffiths.