The games club continues each lunchtime, with many students participating in chess, connect 4, card games and a new club set up by Philippe Renaut called the Galway Go Club. This is held every Monday and is proving quite popular.
All-Ireland Chess Championships
On Saturday 10th May, 2014, St. Mary’s College hosted the All-Ireland Chess Championships for the first time ever. Indeed, it had been many years since this prestigious competition was held west of the Shannon. Over 70 players participated on the day representing 12 schools from each of the four provinces. Some of the biggest and best schools from all over the country travelled to Galway to make it a great day for all the players at St. Mary’s.
Despite the vastly experienced teams in attendance our team of Andrejs, Krystian, Diarmuid, Eddie, Faustus and Caolan secured the silver medal in an what was an extremely close finish . Games got underway at 11am and our lads first game was against St. Columb’s, Derry. This proved to be a decisive victory , with particularly strong games from Andrejs and Faustus. Spurred on by the encouraging start, confidence was high and St. Mary’s were not to be disappointed. St. Benildus, Dublin, one of the biggest chess playing schools in the country, were next up. In what turned out to be a very evenly matched game, St. Mary’s just shaded it with the final point secured by Andrejs on board one. Going into the last game of the day, St. Mary’s were facing Leinster kingpins Gonzaga College from Dublin. Our final opponents proved to be too strong, emerging eventually as the tournament gold medallists. The race for the silver medal was still very much alive and our six players had all their attention focused on the other game being played in the group. By the time the last buzzers sounded on the clocks all the hard work and long hours practising had paid off and the 7.5 points that St. Mary’s had secured proved to be enough to win the silver medal.
As all the teams received their medals from tournament director Frank Daly (St. Benildus College, Dublin). In addressing the players at the medal ceremony, Frank was highly impressed with the St. Mary’s team’s standard of play and was equally complimentary of the ‘Galway hospitality’ that all teams enjoyed at the College, chiefly down to the fine organisation of Fr. Barry Hogg. Indeed the tournament organisers were so impressed by the lads strong showing that they received an invitatin to represent the Irish Schools at the Millfield International Chess Tournament in England to be held this coming October. A huge congratulations not just to the successful team but to all the lads who have been participating and pushing them all year and with some more practice who knows what next year will bring. A special mention for Patryk and Jarek who unfortunately couldn’t make the team of six on the day.
Connacht Schools’ Championships 2014, Wednesday 8th April
The first Connacht schools chess championship had 10 teams competing for the title of Connacht Kings of Chess. The finals were held on Wednesday, April 8th in St. Gerald’s Castlebar. Our team of Andrejs, Diarmuid, Krystian and Edward did extremely well. In the semi-final the lads after an extremely close match drew 2-2 with an experienced St. Gerard’s team. Each player was given five minutes on the clock to decide the result in a blitz play-off. Each game came down to the wire and we were very unlucky not to win and their endgame technique showed just how much they had progressed all year. They ultimately lost out to the eventual winners and deserve huge credit for the way they represented the school and will have gained invaluable experience for future competitions.
By virtue of their strong showing, our team has qualified for the All-Ireland Chess Championships. They are to be held at St. Mary’s on May 10th, 2014. All the players who have been attending the games club throughout the year deserve the credit for the honour the school has been given to host this prestigious competition. The first time it has been held in Connacht.
Our team in action against St. Gerard’s
A clearly delighted Eddie, Andrejs, Diarmuid and Krystian with their medals at the Connacht Championships.
All-Ireland Schools’ Finals to be held at St. Mary’s College
After a strong showing in the Connacht Kings of Chess competition St. Mary’s are due to host the best chess teams in Ireland on May 10th. It is the first time the competition will be held in the west showing just how good the lads have been doing. Our chess team will represent the school in the junior competition. There will also be an intermediate and senior competition. Play is due to start at 11am and we will have a winner in each section by 6pm.
Each province will send their best teams at each level. In total there will be 12 teams and 72 players. The format will be 35 minutes games on the clock with each team playing three times. Our lads are busy in preparation and are sure to do the school proud. All students are more than welcome to come and play chess, every Monday and Wednesday in the school library. We would be more than happy to show you how to play. Who knows this time next year you could be representing the school team.
So far so good in the Connacht Chess League for our Mary’s teams. In the ‘Chessossity’ competition we recorded excellent wins over Claregalway, 3:1, and HRC Mountbellew 4:0. Well done lads.
Two of St. Mary’s students took part in the 2014 Chess Tournament on Saturday, January 25th in the Bridge Centre on St. Mary’s Road. Andrejs Koslovs (centre) Krystian Gabzdyl (right) were winners in the advanced section of the tournament.
Calling all students. Under the watchful eye of Mr. Cian O’Grady, Mr. Keith O’Sullivan and Ms. Máiréad Uí Dhomhnaill the games club has been packing out the library (Mr. Lee’s room) in recent weeks. Students have been spending lunchtimes battling it out over tense games of Draughts, Quoridor, Connect 4, and Chess. Even a strange game called Uno has provided great entertainment and much noise to the corridors of St. Mary’s every Monday and Wednesday. Despite the large numbers we are still looking for more students to come and take part. You’ll find all years from first year to fifth year there.
Starting this week (Jan 28th) students will have the chance to learn how to play chess and take part in friendly chess games. There will be teachers and experienced players available to show students how to play. Next month, there will be a beginner’s league for all those wishing to take part and there will be prizes for the most improved players.
The Connacht Chess League is starting next month and due to the large number of experienced players in the school, St. Mary’s has entered two teams. They will be competing against schools form Claregalway, Athenry, Ballinalsoe and Mountbellew. Judging by the quality of chess played on Mondays and Wednesdays they have an excellent chance of progressing to the Connacht Final in April.