atest press release from Cllr Stephen Stokes, issued on Sunday, August 27th 2023…
The Annual Bray Rapidplay Chess Tournament returned on Sunday, August 27th, 2023.
The venue was Greystones Bridge Centre, and it couldn’t have been a better fit.
A strong field from across Ireland took part. In addition a number of players from around Europe, among the leading contenders on the big day were Ireland’s only Grandmaster, Alexander Baburin, who recently won the 102nd Irish Chess Championship. Two International Masters also entered, including Olympiad gold medallist Sam Collins of Gonzaga Chess Club. In 2022, the event was sold out in advance, and this year proved just as popular.
Cllr Stephen Stokes – who is one of the lead organisers and has encouraged early entries – stated: “It’s an exciting field. We are thrilled with the level of interest in chess. During Covid chess easily transferred to online activity. Plus the success of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, meant that chess has entered a golden age.”
The Bray Rapid is an event open to players of all standards. Play got underway at 10.30am on the day, with spectators welcomed in to watch proceedings free of charge. Local hopes lay with Greystones participant Brian Beckett, who is one of the strongest chess players in Leinster.
Cllr Stephen Stokes praised Greystones Bridge Centre and all of their volunteers. Cllr Stokes added: “Everyone in the chess community is grateful to Greystones Bridge Centre for hosting the tournament again. It is a superb venue, that is very well run.”
The event was won by the reigning Irish Champion, Grandmaster Alexander Baburin. Cllr Joe Behan was on hand to make the ceremonial opening move. In his opening remarks, Cllr Behan thanked everyone for visiting County Wicklow, and wished the competitors an enjoyable day of chess.
Stella Li of the Master Chess Club in Stillorgan earned the ladies prize. Local man Eric Bennett was the highest local finisher in 14th place. Meanwhile Greystones women Bernadette Stokes and Flavia Bastos Scully were the highest placed female finishers.
Bray-Greystones Chess Club would warmly welcome new members, with the Leinster Leagues getting underway in the coming weeks. Anyone seeking more chess club information should email here, for further details. A social chess gathering also meets weekly in the Wild Goose Pub, Bray Main Street, on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm onwards.
Keeping everyone in check mate was our no.1 roving photographer John McGowan, who captured all the high-octane, slow motion action of the big day…