Northern Ireland Open 2017

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Northern Ireland Open 2017

Postby Igor on Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:53 am

Travel notes of the Checkers Player

The Turkish draughts tournament in Kuwait remained to my disappointment a distant oriental fairytale of Shacherezada from «1000 and one night». First the competition was postponed from May to September because of Ramadan, and then in general to the next year due to the complicated political situation connected with the boycott of Qatar by the Arab countries. I already began to think whether to come back to Russian draughts. Old love never dies. A lot of new Russian draughts tournaments are held nowadays in different interesting places. However, while all this fuss was going on I decided to play English Checkers and used a friendly invitation of the Irish player Brian Lafferty to visit him. My wife and I decided first to spend one week together and to travel a little bit around Ireland and then she had to return home and I remained for a few more days to take part in the Northern Ireland Open.

We arrived in Dublin in the afternoon and quickly settled in a tiny room of a hostel. I had already been there a few years ago together with the Checkers player Philip Kareta from Czech Republic and was familiar with it. This hostel «Avalon» was chosen by the youth because it is in a very convenient location just in the heart of the city. However, the prices have increased sharply here in recent years. Dublin is generally the most expensive city in the whole of Ireland. We asked for a place to eat cheaply and well (restaurant "O'Neill's"), threw down our bags and went to downtown to celebrate our 41-st wedding anniversary. On Friday the nightlife in Dublin is very lively, in the center there are many nice pubs and restaurants where you can actively and interestingly spend time, everywhere was full of people of different ages. We ate tastily, then we danced salsa in a bar till one o'clock and finally we enjoyed also Irish live music.

Next morning we went for a walk around the city. Earlier, Dublin was a little away from the European touristic routes, however gradually people have found interest in this capital and the number of tourists has increased considerably. We wandered along the streets, observed street artists and musicians, visited parks. Curiously, parks are closed at night and entrance to some churches is not free. In the afternoon we had to move across the whole country to the very North of Ireland — county Donegal.

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St.Patrick‘s Cathedral

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Famous brewery „Guinness“

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Todays‘s Special: Corn Beaf, Mash Cabbage & Gravy or Cottage Pie – 9,95€

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Street artists

Brian met us at the appointed place and brought us home. We were offered a choice of two houses(!) - with owners or self-catering. Of course we chose the first one. In the evening we sat comfortablly together at a solid fuel stove with a real fire. We were delighted by their hospitality and friendliness, in fact we were very little acquainted.

Next day our friends drove us to see some of Ireland’s beauty. Of course the natural landscapes of the country are of the greatest interest. The jagged line of rocky coast and the ocean waves breaking it is a view to enjoy for hours and to meditate on. The area in the north of Ireland is mainly hilly and very very green. Generally these are pastures where cows and sheep graze peacefully. It is often possible to observe them dreamily looking towards America. Probably they sleep and contemplate how they might get there (as beaf or mutton). We climbed to the most northern point of Ireland — cape „Malin Head“ with panoramic views of the ocean and coastal rocks, as well as adjacent hills. Then we sat in a nice little restaurant with a romantic view of the ocean. The next days we were taken in the mornings to some beautiful places and picked up in the evenings. We wandered for hours, breathed fresh sea air and enjoyed the harsh Irish nature.

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Most northern point of Ireland — cape „Malin Head“

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Behind the ocean – America!

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Carrickabraghy Castle

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Walk

One evening Brian took us to a meeting of local Checkers players. In Ireland there are neither special clubs for Checkers, nor professional coaches. Everything is kept solely on pure enthusiasm of fans of this game. They call each other up and come from different places once a week to an ordinary pub where they play Checkers and discuss various draughts themes behind a mug of foamy Guinness beer. The main problems are an absence of youth and advertising of Checkers. Unfortunately, I understood the local dialect badly.

On the last day of our stay we visited the neighboring city of Derry which is located already in another country — Great Britain (United Kingdom or UK). On the way the borders turned out to be so transparent that I did not even notice how we crossed them. However, everything here became quite different at once. Don't confuse Ireland and Northern Ireland — these are two different states. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is an independent republic. Here the religion is different — mainly Catholic. Most of the British are parishioners of the Anglican church which has the status of the official religion of England and is a kind of Protestantism. Northern Ireland has another currency — Pound Sterling, in the Republic of Ireland Euro. There are different measurement systems here — feet, inches and miles instead of meters and kilometers, pounds and ounces instead of kilograms. And they call their city in different ways — the British prefer the name of Londonderry. So it is really easy for a simple human to get confused here. Nethertheless, the Irish have adapted somehow to this confussion and anxiously wait for their Brexit. After all, there will appear new borders, customs, delays on roads, problems with business but only recently the situation began to calm down here after the religious unrests between Protestant and Catholic ultras. Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland after Belfast, we made a short excursion here.

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Our guide in Derry. Actually it was not warm

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Centre of Derry

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Anglican Church

At this point our ways with my wife divided. She ended her journey, returned back to Dublin and then flew home to Dusseldorf but I moved to Cookstown where the Checkers 3-move Northern Irish Open was to be held. The tournament was attended by 33 participants from Ireland and UK as well as me from Germany. They were divided into two groups: masters and intermediates so that everyone was interested in playing and then on the Swiss system in 8 rounds the strongest were defined. The main fight for the first place in the top league was conducted between Shane McCosker and me. After the first day and 3 rounds we were equal, however on the second day and 6 rounds I could not keep up the race and Shane shot ahead by two points. On the last day 2 more rounds took place but the gap was preserved. Finally Shane McCosker from Northern Ireland won the champion title once again — 24 points, second place took Igor Martynov — 22 points and the third place got Donald Oliphant from Scotland — 19 points. All results and standings can be found on my Checkers website: http://www.checkers64.de/.

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Our B&B, Donald Oliphant and Keith Faubister

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In front: Tom Kee – Con Boyle

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In front: Francis McNally – Colin Young

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In front: Sean McCauley – Graham Young

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In front: Patsy Logue – Shane McCosker

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The winner among seniors – Frank Moran (right), Francis McNally (organizer), Brian Lafferty (left)

Full edition of this report you can find on a Russian Draughts website of Ivan Trofimov: http://64-100.com/putevye-zametki-chekerista .

To the good end I’d like to present you an interesting midgame landing from my game with the winner.

McCosker –Martynov

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29-25? (A) 8. 4-8 27-23 9. 3-7 23x16 10. 11x27 31x24 11. 7-11 32-27 12. 11-16 24-20 13. 16-19? (B) 27-24 14. 8-11 (C) 25-22 15. 2-7 26-23 16. 19x26 30x23 17. 1-5 24-19 18. 15x24 28x19 19. 11-15 20-16 20. 15x24 22-18 1/2-1/2

A) it looks to lose, correct: 24-20 19-24 xx 26-23 11-15 30-25 – etc.
B) misses a win: 8-11 25-22 1-5 27-23 2-7 – etc.
C) other moves also don’t win: if 2-7 26-23 xx 7-11 24-19 xx 1-5 20-16! x 25-22 8-11 22-18 5-9 19-15 – draw. If 1-5 26-23 xx 8-11 25-22 5-9 23-19 2-7 22-18 x 17-14 x 12-16 – Red cannot win
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Igor
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:49 am

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