A chess news website for Northern Ireland





There are 5 FIDE licensed National Arbiters in Northern Ireland:

Richard Gould NA

Ross Harris NA

Brendan Jamison NA

Mark Newman NA

Adrian Dornford-Smith NA





Chess leagues and tournaments in Northern Ireland are governed by the Ulster Chess Union which is affliated to the Irish Chess Union, a member of FIDE.

UCU membership can vary from year-to-year, depending on the number of teams entering the leagues and the number of tournaments held throughout NI. Generally the members are between 150-200.




















The Holywood Old School, 92 Church Road, Holywood, County Down, BT18 9BX

Tuesday 26 October 2021


Entry is now open for the UCU-rated Holywood Blitz Championship on Tuesday 26 October 2021, running from 10am to 11:30am. Heather Lowry, Director of Holywood Chess Club, invites players of all ages and all abilities. Please note social distancing measures will be in place. Players should bring a face covering and wear it while entering the building. The front door will remain open for ventilation. There will be two sections. If you are keen to play, please book a spot super fast.The entry fee is £2 with medals awarded as prizes. To enter the competition or view the current entry list please CLICK HERE





Pickie Bowling Club, Bangor, County Down

Thursday 28 October 2021


Entry is now open for the FIDE-rated Bangor Blitz Championship on Thursday 28 October 2021. Please note that capacity is limited to 24 players so if you are keen, please book a spot super fast. You can visit the tournament webpage HERE.



Bangor Classic 2021



Saturday 11 September 2021 to Sunday 17 October 2021


40 players attended the classic over 6 weekends at the picnic tables at Groomsport Harbour. Congratulations to the 8 prize-winners. To view the tournament webpage CLICK HERE

Champion: Calum Glendinning     

2nd: Adam Rushe

3rd: Andrew Todd    


Junior Champion: Ryan Wood

Junior 2nd: Adrian Dornford-Smith                                      


Junior 3rd: Ben Toogood


Best Newcomer:  Sylwek Furman       

Most Improved Player: George Gamble






Pickie Bowling Club, Bangor, County Down

Thursday 18 November 2021


Entry is now open for the FIDE-rated Bangor Rapid Championship on Thursday 18 November 2021. Please note that capacity is limited to 24 players so if you are keen, please book a spot super fast. You can visit the tournament webpage HERE.






Pickie Bowling Club, Bangor, County Down

Thursday 2 December 2021


The Ulster Rapidplay Champion Danny Roberts (FIDE rapid rating of 2015) will deliver a special lecture and simul at Bangor Chess Club on Thursday 2 December 2021, from 7-10pm. Please note that capacity is limited to 18 players so if you are keen, please book a spot super fast. You can visit the event webpage HERE.





Greenisland FC, County Antrim

November / December 2021


Entry has opened for two upcoming UCU rated events at Greenisland FC, both events will have trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a Grading Award. Tie-breaks by Median Buchholz, Buchholz and Progressive.

Event 1 - Monday 1 November: Rapid. 5 rounds. Time control: 15+0. Check-in: 6:45pm. Playing 7pm to 10pm. Entry fee: 3 pounds. Enter HERE

Event 2 - Sunday 12 December : Rapid. 6 rounds. Time control: 25+0. Check-in: 9am to 9:20am. Playing 9:30am to 6pm. Entry fee: 7.50. Enter HERE




Holywood launches chess club


County Down

Tuesday 5 October 2021


ChessNI wishes Heather Lowry every success with the launch of her new chess club in the Holywood Old School, a beautiful historic building that opened in 1845 in County Down. The club will run on Tuesday mornings from 10:15am to 11:15am. You can contact Heather by email at heatherlowry545@gmail.com or by phone on 07730717114.



8 more local players make their FIDE blitz debut


FIDE - International Chess Federation

Friday 1 October 2021


FIDE has now published the October rating list with 8 of our local players making their blitz debut. They had competed in the 10 round event at the Whitehead Railway Museum in September. Congratulations to Mandar Tahmankar (2112), Gareth Annesley (1909), 16 year old Calum Glendinning (1717), 9 year old Ethan Cole (1717), Richard Gould (1637), David Corr (1632), Conal Boyle (1625) and Sett Podean (1323).



GFC October Blitz 2021 


Greenisland Football Club, County Antrim

Friday 1 October 2021


Tournament Report by Chris Dorrian

On the ferocious first Friday of October, GFC Chess put on a junior tournament for its youth
members and hosted an open senior tournament. I
n all there were 24 young players fighting for the title in 6 slap bang rounds of 5 minute blitz chess. There were calls of check, checkmate and illegal move ringing round the room. However, we all stayed friends and had a top three of Peter Murphy, Evan McCartney and Alex Lam.

Later in the night at the Senior Section we had 16 players competing in a further 6 rounds of
Blitz. The winner was Lisburn’s Alex Goss, closely followed by Strand’s Eddie Hanzharov and
Michael Sheerin from Lisburn in third. There were some real inter club rivalries on display.
Special mention should go to Peter Murphy, Daniel Watt, Theo Lam and Alex Lam for playing
in both tournaments on the night. It was great to see the will to win still thriving.



Youth Rapidplays return to Methodist College, Belfast



Friday 1 October 2021


Entry is now open for the new season of youth rapidplay events at Methodist College, Belfast. Players ages 4-18 from all across Northern Ireland come to these events each month to play in the Primary or Secondary section. The chess tournaments are held in the canteen, please see map above and follow the orange line. To book a place please email Mark Newman (President of Ulster Chess Union and Director of NI Children's Chess).

Please not this is a UCU rated event and in line with all UCU indoor events, a face covering is required, either a mask or face shield/visor.

Calendar for the 2021/2022 season:


2nd October 2021 09:30 - 4:00 London Junior Chess Championships Qualifier
6th November 2021 12:30 - 5:00 Children's Chess
4th December 2021 10:00 - 5:00 Ulster School's Championship
15th January 2022 12:30 - 5:00 Children's Chess
12th February 2022 12:30 - 5:00 Children's Chess
12th March 2022 12:30 - 5:00 Children's Chess
9th April 2022 12:30 - 5:00 Children's Chess
14th May 2022 09:45 - 5:00 UK Chess Challenge




Bangor Classic - Outdoor Chess Championship 



Saturday 11 September 2021


Entry is now open for the Bangor Classic, an outdoor chess championship at Groomsport. Please note, we have limited capacity. To view the tournament webpage for the registration process, CLICK HERE




Bangor AGM / Tony Beckett awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership



Saturday 11 September 2021


The Bangor Chess Club AGM was held outdoors at the Groomsport picnic tables on Saturday 11th September 2021. The club voted unanimously to award Tony Beckett with Lifetime Honorary Membership of Bangor Chess Club.

Club Secretary Mark Seidman outlined Tony’s inspirational leadership qualities, not just in terms of his role as a team captain and Chairman of Bangor in the late 1990s but also as President of the Ulster Chess Union. Now in his 80s and living in Scotland, Tony continues to radiate boundless positive energy and a wonderful sense of humour. 

Members shared some fond memories of Tony’s time at the club, with Club Treasurer James O'Fee and Albert McCarter recounting his favourite saying when delivering a winning move, "And the crowd roared...BARABBAS"!

Tony joins an Honorary Membership alumni alongside distinguished founding members Martin Rodgers and Ron Henderson RIP. It is the highest accolade the club awards to members of distinction.

Bangor Chess Club is the longest continuous running chess club in Northern Ireland, now in its 6th decade. In other club news, Sam Moore was elected as the new team captain for the 2021/2022 league season. Meanwhile, Rebecca McClurg was elected Vice-Chair, alongside her role as the club’s Child Protection Officer. Richard McClean was re-elected as Equipment Secretary. The club venue is not expected to be ready for use again until late October or early November therefore Bangor will be playing all matches as away fixtures until the venue reopens. The team will compete in Division 2 of the Belfast and District Chess League. 



GFC September Blitz 2021 


Greenisland Football Club, County Antrim

Thursday 9 September 2021


Tournament Report by Chris Dorrian


Greenisland FC Chess Club put on a Back to School Blitz Competition on Thursday 9th September. Players from GFC Chess Club, Strand Chess Club and Lisburn Chess Club played 6 rounds of competitive blitz chess. 


3rd place Ethan Cole (Strand) had an outstanding tournament with 4.5 points. Des Moreland (Strand) came in second with 5 points and Michael Sheerin (Lisburn) came first with 5 points. 

Newcomers Andrew Campbell (GFC) and Peter Murphy (GFC) had excellent nights with 3 points in a very competitive field. 

It was an excellent night of chess and GFC Chess Club looks forward to hosting other clubs for similar events in the future. 

Thank you to the UCU and Adrian Dornford-Smith as arbiter for this rated event.





FIDE RATED - Whitehead Railway Museum Open Blitz Championship 2021 


County Antrim

Saturday 4 September 2021


Entry is now open for this season's first FIDE-rated blitz event. Please note, entrants should be paid up members of the UCU or ICU. We are limited to 18 places. Please view the tournament webpage for the registration process, CLICK HERE




FM Tom O'Gorman

2368 (FIDE)

1st Place

Mandar Tahmankar

2077 (FIDE)

2nd Place

Thomas Donaldson

1970 (FIDE)

Ulster Champion 2021


Ulster Championships 2021

Maynard Sinclair Sports Pavilion, East Belfast

23 to 25 July 2021

This year's FIDE rated Ulster Championships enjoyed a host of super talented players. Number 1 seed FM Tom O'Gorman, the Irish Champion, won the competition with 5/5. Second place went to Mandar Tahmankar 4/5, who moved to Antrim in August 2020. 3rd place was won by Alice O'Gorman on 3.5/5. Neither of the top 3 have lived in Ulster for at least 12 months so the next highest scoring player, Thomas Donaldson, was crowned Ulster Champion for the second time. Very well done to Thomas.


Ulster Championship

1st: FM Tom O'Gorman (5/5)

2nd: Mandar Tahmankar (4/5)

3rd: Alice O'Gorman (3.5/5)

Thomas Donaldson (3/5) Ulster Champion 2021

Ulster Intermediate Championship

1st: Robert Lavery (4/5) Ulster Intermediate Champion 2021

2nd: Andrew Todd (3.5/5)

3rd: Mohamed Saad (3/5)

Ulster Junior Championship

1st: James Wong (3.5/5) Ulster Junior Champion 2021

2nd: Calum Glendinning (3.5/5)

3rd: Adam Rushe (3.5/5)

Grading Prize: Dexter Harris (3.5/5)




Collection of 2021/2022 UCU Fees 


23 July 2021


Our Treasurer Adrian Dornford-Smith has created a UCU PayPay account to make it easier for members to pay their annual fees. The UCU is now collecting fees for the 2021/2022 season with the following membership rates:

25 pounds for adults

15 pounds for members of the Irish Chess Union

10 pounds for under 18s

Membership fees will cover players up to 31 August 2022. To play in UCU tournaments and leagues, members should be paid up for the current season. This entitles players to have their games rated. When using PayPal please include your name in the message section and write "Annual Fees 2021/2022".

UCU PayPal account name: payments@ulsterchess.org



Hot speed chess at Greenisland

Greenisland, County Antrim

Sunday 18 July 2021

Tournament Director: Chris Dorrian

Chief Arbiter: Adrian Dornford-Smith

32 players competed in the GFC Summer Blitz Championships. It now takes the total to 75 who played in blitz over the past 8 weeks at events organised by Strand, Bangor and Greenisland FC. Congratulations to the 12 prize-winners today:

Champion: Mandar Tahmankar (7/7), 2nd Place: Gareth Annesley (5.5/7), 3rd Place: Nick Pilkiewicz (4.5/7) and Under 1400 Grading Prizes: Ethan Cole and Sanket Sawant

Intermediate Champion: Matthew Moreland (7/7), Intermediate 2nd: Blake Harris (6/7),

Intermediate 3rd: Peter Murphy (5/7) and Best Intermediate Newcomer: Reuben McBurney (3.5/7).

Junior Champion: Max Hudson (7/9), Junior 2nd: Leon Gourley (6.5/9), Junior 3rd: Jake Duddy (5.5/9) and Best Junior Newcomer: Alfie Moffett (5.5/9).




8 year old Ethan Cole wins simul at Greenisland FC, scoring 16-0

Greenisland, County Antrim

16 July 2021

Report by Chris Dorrian, Greenisland FC Chess Co-Ordinator

Greenisland FC Chess Club hosted its first simultaneous exhibition on Friday 16th July. The Club gave a warm welcome to local youth Champion Ethan Cole (age 8). He simultaneously played 16 games against the Junior Members of the Club. Ethan, chose to play with the black pieces and managed to win all his games. 

He played from 7:15pm to 9:00pm and in doing so he also managed to clock up 22,000 steps moving between the boards. Commenting at the end Ethan said he was not tired, but his feet hurt!

There was some excellent chess played by the GFC players but Ethan proved a little too strong at this time, but it certainly gave our players an example of what practice can achieve.

The last three players standing were Charys Jardine, Evan McCartney and Max Hudson. We look forward to learning more and getting Ethan back to see how we have progressed.

Well done to all the players at the event.



Declan McKee (2nd) v Des Moreland (Champion). Photography: ChessNI

Bangor Seafront Blitz Championship 2021

County Down

Saturday 3 July 2021

Congratulations to the six prize-winners at the Bangor Seafront open air blitz on Saturday 3 July. Round 1 saw a little drizzle but with clingfilm wrapped around the clocks, nothing could stop the 15 players getting stuck into 8 rounds of fun blitz. The time control was set at 10+0 and the event ran for 3 hours.


6 trophies awarded: Champion: Des Moreland (7/8), 2nd Place: Declan McKee (6/8), 3rd Place: Conor Spackman (5.5/7), Best Newcomer: Matthew Moreland (3.5/8), Under 1100 Rating Award: Lorcan Rippon (3/8) and Best Young Player: Robert Napier (3/8).







For details of upcoming chess tournaments please visit www.ulsterchess.org





Outdoor blitz tournaments organised by Strand Chess Club and Bangor Chess Club are held at different locations, mainly in East Belfast and the North Down and Ards area. Greenisland FC are running events in County Antrim.

Please note these are heavily oversubscribed. We hope more clubs will run rated events outdoors as it feels wonderful playing in the fresh air.




RULES 2021


(1) Players will need to wear gloves while playing chess. Or bring hand sanitiser and apply before the start of each game, before touching any chess pieces.


(2) Chess boards will be spaced out at 1 metre distance between boards. Tables will also be spaced out. 


(3) Chess equipment will be disinfected with Dettol wipes prior to the start of Round 1.


(4) Entry fees to be paid online in advance to avoid handling cash on the day (which will also require disinfection).


(5) Anyone with Covid symptoms or living with someone with a cough, fever, loss of smell or taste, needs to avoid coming to the chess event.








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Director: Brendan Jamison © 2016-2021