The Belfast and District Leagues will soon be taking a short Christmas break but local chess players can enjoy a veritable feast of festive chess. In the space of three weeks all three formats of the game can be consumed.
First up is NICS Lackadaisical #1, the initial event in the returning Civil Service CC Rapidplay Grand Prix series, now renamed in honour of Alan Burns. There will just be room for a final week of league fixtures for 2014 before tucking into turkey in all its forms for a few days. After that it will be time for the 4th UCU Blitz Championship, now a regular feature in the immediate post-Christmas slot and returning this year to the Belfast Boat Club.
The final offering in this particular menu is the main course and it's back to the Civil Service Pavilion. Having been played in February or March for the past three years, the Williamson Shield will this time round occupy the first weekend of the New Year. So just enough time to recover from celebrating the arrival of 2015 before tucking into two days of the long form of the game. After that there might just be enough time to take down the decorations before getting stuck into the second half of the League season.