THE Kilkenny International Chess Festival, held over three days was a spectacular success attracting over 250 players and supporters. Contestants travelled from Bulgaria, Spain, France, Holland and England to participate and enjoy this popular event. A visit to the Tournament by the Bulgarian Ambassador Emil Savoy Yalnazov PhD. concluded in a friendly game with Environment Minister Phil Hogan in the Club House Hotel (Main Sponsor) hosted by Proprietor Jim Brennan. They both showed considerable chess talent playing at an impressive level.
Competing in the “Masters”, which boasted 6 Grandmasters and 4 International Masters were 3 young Kilkenny players, Karl McPhillips Drakelands who won the prize for Best Irish Player, John Courtney The Weir, and Ryan-Rhys Griffiths Bennettsbridge who is the first ever Kilkenny FIDE Master. First prize was won by G. Jones GM Eng. with S. Maze. GM Fra., I Cheparinov GM Bul., A. Baburin GM Ire. and M. Hebden GM Eng sharing 2nd and 3rd prizes.
In the “Major” Turlough Kelly Maddoxtown and Eoin Minnock Cuffesgrange kept the flag flying for Kilkenny in this strong section while the brothers Donovan and Brandon Ashcraft Springfield had good results in the Challengers with Donovan winning a grading prize with a score of 5 from a possible 6 points.
The Festival concluded on Sunday evening with the exciting and popular Blitz Tournament (sponsored by Kilkenny Brewery) when the Masters and regular players compete in speed chess with many competitive and fun games played over 3 hours or so.