Return of a legend. Former Irish News chess columnist ‘Rookie’ comes out of (far too early) retirement to present his inimitable view of the Ulster tournament scene.
Eighteen hours of drama, tension and confrontation near the Castle, where everything was black and white - no, not the political talks but the Williamson Shield at the Stormont Pavilion on January 30-31, 2010. Let’s look at the shock results in each round.
Round one: the biggest shock of all involved a Whiteside win, not for Steady Eddie, but for Garry, playing the white side of a French.
Round two: there were two surprises this time. Alex Beckett (1322) gave his opponent a filip to his morale when conceding the exchange and a loss to Phillip Morrison (1051), while Alan was burnt by Cathal’s “fried liver” attack.
Round three: the results here were predictable, except when Karina Kruk (1483) krumbled to a draw with Geoff Hindley (996).
Round four: here’s a storey - Peter Storey (721) who beat Alex a Beckett (1322), martyred by a knight. Meanwhile Martin “gunslinger ned” Kelly had the fastest draw in the West, sorry East Belfast, against Steady Eddie’s own Bangor opening:
Round five: the only shocks were two unlikely draws. R. Kaczarowski (1641) felt like a “new man” after his draw with Mark Newman (1781) and, by george, Jackson (1276) was happy after drawing with draw specialist Martin Kelly (1442).
Round six: the last round saw O’Brien (1149) “pearse” Alex Beckett’(1322)’s defence. Also, Kaczarowski (1641) ”knocked down” E. Walls’ (1882) defence to claim a shock third place on 4.5 points, a point behind joint winners, Fisherwick duo John Cairns and Michael Waters. Grading prizes went to John Phillips and Alan Burns on 4 points and Phillip Morrison on 3 points. Rumours that Alan’s final opponent, Martin Kelly, also aiming for a grading prize, was “tired and emotional” are wildly off the mark.