Going into the final round, Stephen was tied with Philip Short FM on 6/8, a half point clear of two more FMs, Stephen Jessel and Colm Daly. Stephen had beaten Philip earlier in the tournament, but Philip made amends by beating David Fitzsimons FM, who had beaten Stephen. In the final round, Philip had a tough tie against Colm, while Stephen had on paper an easier tie against Gerry O’Connell – but of course, Gerry has an excellent record against Stephen! Despite his poor form over the season, Gerry was able to pull off another small upset in taking a draw, while Philip also drew as the title was shared. It’s the first time a St Benildus player has ever won the Irish Senior Championships – and it’s a record ninth title for Stephen! He moves alongside JJ O’Hanlon, who also won nine titles, between 1913 and 1940. For Philip, it’s also a record – his last win was in 1981, which marks the longest ever gap between two successive wins.
Gerry was the highest non-titled player after a solid tournament, but Dylan ended the week unbeaten against untitled players after draws against Tim Harding (a 102-move epic in which Dylan was forced to underpromote to a knight, and then held on for 45 moves in a knight versus rook ending, while his more experienced opponent tried to prove Dylan didn’t know how to defend), Henry Li, Bernard Palmer (in which Dylan held a draw after having to give up a queen for rook and piece) and Anthony Fox, while he beat John Kennedy. With bonus points, he should be on the cusp of 1800 come the new season – and he might well fancy an opening-day-of-the-season tie against Stephen Brady in the Armstrong, perhaps looking to improve on his game against him in the Irish! All the games from the entire tournament can be found here.