The annual Kilkenny Congress got underway in November in the Club House Hotel and Butler House in Kilkenny City Centre.
Although the numbers in the masters event was down on previous years, the overall number of players in the four events remained at about 200.
local junior players, Ryan Rhys Griffiths FM and John Courtney were doing very well and were rewarded with IM opposition for round five. Ryan had white against Sam Collins on board three and John had black against Mark Heidenfeld on the next board.
While Ryan lost to Sam in a tough game, young John Courtney was making a mockery of his rating by holding Mark Heidenfeld to a draw in a really impressive encounter. John Courtney was the local hero this time and he is playing in amazing form this year. Fide Master Ryan Griffiths had bye in round one and played very well as usual.
The most interesting clash was between John Courtney and Alex Baburin, ending in a victory for the grand master. The huge difference between their ratings was just too much for the young Kilkenny man, who had a remarkable event and is on his way to become third Kilkenny Fide Master .
Local Chess Coach and Irish Chess Union junior Darko Polimac was joint second at the major tournament. Young Kilkenny player and many times Irish champion Eoin Minnock had a great performance also.
All Kilkenny junior players played well, but Donovan Ascraft performed the best in his group and had won the tournament. His brother Brendon won the first grading price. All were long term members of Chess School Polimac Kilkenny .
Darko Polimac is now hoping to introduce chess in Primary schools all over Ireland.
The tournament organisation was brilliant as usual – thanks to Jack Lowry, Maurice Buckley and Alan Dooley. The tournament arbiter, Gerry Graham, made this tournament enjoyable for all especially with live coverage of three top boards at the master event .