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Adams wins Bunratty Chess Festival

3/5/2013 – He went about mowing down opponent after opponent in traditional style. It was only against IM Malcolm Pein that Super-GM Michael Adams had a few anxious moments (he won in the end). The Festival took place in the luxurious surroundings of the Library Room in the Bunratty Castle Hotel from February 27th to March 3rd. We bring you a  pictorial report by Gery Graham.
 

The Bunratty Chess Festival

By Gery Graham

The 20th Bunratty Chess Festival took place in the Bunratty Castle Hotel from February 27th to March 3rd 2013 and attracted over 300 players for the first time since 2005. This event is without doubt, the strongest weekender in Ireland but this year, it wasn’t just a weekender, we also had the inaugural Bunratty Chess Classic, a nine-round FIDE rated norm event. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Gary O’Grady and Blackthorne Transport, this event was held in the luxurious surroundings of the Library Room in the Bunratty Castle Hotel, a perfect setting for the players, as can been seen in the photo below.

This event started on Wednesday afternoon and finished about the same time as the weekender, on Sunday evening. It was hoped that one of the Irish players might score a norm here, but alas, as can be seen by the results here, this wasn’t to be. (The GM norm would have been 6.5/9 and the IM norm for Colm would have been 5/9). It is hoped that this event will be run again next year giving our home players another crack at the norms on home soil. All the games from this event can be downloaded here.

The traditional weekender was a huge success, the masters section being the main attraction, as usual. The top two seeds were the same as last year, England’s two super GMs, Michael Adams and Nigel Short. We also had two other GMs (Alexander Baburin and Peter Wells ) as well as many IMs and FMs to do battle for the €1,000 first prize and the crystal trophy too.

Before play got under way, we had two high profile guests to open the event, Jonathan O’Connor, Chairman of the Irish Chess Union, introduced Raymond Keene (above), OBE and England’s second grandmaster after Tony Miles, to the assembled crowd of about 200 players.

After Raymond entertained the players with his stories of previous visits to Ireland, he introduced former World Chess Champion, Vesilin Topalov to make the traditional ceremonial first move on board one, much to the amusement of Mickey Adams.

The first round did see a few upsets as David Murray (Gonzaga) drew with Peter Wells and Anthony Fox with Lawrence Trent. The only seed to lose was Fiona Steil Antoni from Luxemburg, the girlfriend of Vladimir Hamitevici, who went down to Arno Eliens of Holland in a close battle. The second round produced another “upset” when Philip Short beat Alexander Baburin in this game.

Michael Adams had a really tough struggle against Malcolm Pein (above) in the third, many of the people watching this game thought there might be another upset on the cards, but Mickey, as he is known in the chess world, managed to win the game in the end.

That’s more than Nigel Short (above) could do in his third round clash with Richard Bates. Nigel may have been close to being lost in this game at some point but his vast experience, and persistent resistance earned him a hard fought half a point.

In the meantime Michael Adams (above) was mowing down opponent after opponent. His fourth round victim, Tom Rendle IM was quoted as saying after their game, “that wasn’t much fun”. Philip Short's campaign was going very well until he met his namesake in the fifth round, Philip was doing fine in this game until, short of time, he lost an important pawn allowing Nigel to win the game.

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Bunratty has a reputation for being the friendliest of tournaments and the fact the it’s not FIDE rated (except for the Classic, of course) means that the players can “relax” even while they are playing their games.

Herbert Scarry made up the database of the masters games for us, which is downloadable from the main Bunratty Chess site and he was asked for a selection of his favourite games from the early rounds, his first choice was this well played game by Alex Baburin against one of our stronger Dutch visitors. Herbert also choose this game by Nigel Short, which is publishable and brief (notice the way I avoided calling this a “short” game) and while I’m sure that Aidan Rawlinson (Black) has played better games, this wasn’t a good day at the office for him. His final choice was also one of my favourites, Lawrence Trent great attacking game against Gavin Wall, enjoy this one.

My choice is not a brief “publishable” game but more of a choice because of who played the game, it’s 15-year-old Joseph McPhillips' (above) third round win over a long established, strong English GM, Peter Wells.

In the final round Peter Wells won his game against the Spanish visiting FM, Javier Aguera Naredo to end up on 4.5 while Joseph McPhillips must have given Gavin Wall a bit of a fright in the following exciting encounter. Nigel Short beat Alexander Baburin in this interesting endgame, while it was left to Richard Bates to try to stop the immovable force that is Mickey Adams, who, of course, was on 5/5 at the start of this round.

On move eight Richard (above) decided that he’d offer to share the point, and since this gave Mickey both the title and time to watch his beloved Tottenham beat Arsenal, he wasn’t going to say no.


Michael Adams receiving his prize from Jonathan O’Connor

Final ranking (after six rounds)

Rank
Name
Pts
Rtng
TPR
W-We
BH
BH
PS
1
GM Adams, Michael
5.5
2725
2784
+0.20
14.0
20.0
20.5
2
GM Short, Nigel
5.0
2690
2651
-0.13
15.0
23.0
17.5
3
IM Bates, Richard
5.0
2375
2657
+2.04
14.5
21.5
18.5
4
McPhillips, Joseph
4.5
2132
2494
+2.66
15.0
22.0
16.5
5
GM Wells, Peter
4.5
2491
2409
-0.39
12.0
19.0
14.0
6
IM Wall, Gavin
4.0
2340
2296
-0.15
13.5
20.0
13.5
7
IM Rendle, Thomas
3.5
2382
2321
-0.39
15.5
23.0
15.5
8
FM Aguera, Javier
3.5
2417
2376
-0.14
15.0
22.5
15.5
9
IM Pein, Malcolm
3.5
2376
2317
-0.37
15.0
22.5
13.5
10
GM Baburin, Alexander
3.5
2534
2352
-1.11
14.0
21.5
13.0
11
FM Short, Philip
3.5
2211
2349
+1.07
13.5
20.5
14.5
12
IM Trent, Lawrence
3.5
2429
2264
-1.06
13.0
19.5
13.5
13
O'Connor, Jonathan
3.5
2088
2294
+1.24
12.5
19.5
11.0
14
Wolferink, Frans
3.5
2107
2196
+0.72
12.5
18.5
12.5
15
Bourached, Anthony
3.5
1903
2129
+1.41
12.5
18.5
11.0
16
Van Der Zwet, Bart
3.5
2084
2290
+1.50
12.5
18.0
12.0
17
IM Orr, Mark
3.5
2240
2235
+0.01
11.5
19.0
12.0
18
IM Cooper, Lawrence
3.5
2317
2236
-0.40
11.5
18.0
13.0
19
Gonzalez, Alfonso
3.5
2142
2128
-0.07
11.0
16.5
12.0

The full results of the weekender competitions can be viewed here

Copyright Graham/ChessBase

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