European Club Cup 2009

This page will contain a report of Ennis chess clubs progress at the European Club Cup 2009
The European Club Cup will take place in Ohrid in Southwestern Macedonia (near the border with Albania) from the 3rd to the 11th of October. Ennis (as far as I know) are Irelands sole representatives, having come 2nd in the Irish club championship earlier this year.
I am not completely up to speed with our squad as its composition seems to be changing from day to day! but from what I understand it will be Petr Neuman, Jan Sodoma, John Joyce, Tony Aherne, John Cassidy, Nick Larter and myself. Kieran O’Brien was also possibly playing last time I spoke to him but this was dependent on him flying to Czech republic and travelling in a car from there to Macedonia, the logistics of which he hadnt fully worked out. I am hoping to provide some updates on the blog as to how we are getting on while the tournament is in progress.

******************UPDATE*****************************
29th September

All the teams are supposedly in and we are seeded 52nd out of 57 teams. Looking at the teams immediately above us though we would definitely have a chance against most of them. Hopefully they will draft in a 58th team from somewhere as otherwise there will be the dreaded bye. Good if you fancy a long days drinking but not so good if you want to play chess. Everybody (well the non acoloholic teams anyway!) will be scrambling to avoid it.

Looking at the list of teams if they are split in two and top paired against bottom we would be playing the 24th seeds, Eynatten of Belgium. Judging by their squad they would provide difficult opposition. All their players are titled bar the board 8 (average rating 2421)!

I have to confess to not being in the best shape chesswise for this tournament, very little in the way of preparation done (what can I say, I’m lazy!) and also having played very little in the last year or so. I am down to play board 4 which is a bit better than last time I played in this tourney in Italy a few years ago when I was stuck on board 2 playing titled players every second round and scoring a miserable 1.5 from 7. This time our team is in better shape. I think John Joyce will add a lot to the team on board 3. He is capable of getting a result against anyone. The two Czech lads will definitely hold their own on the top 2 boards (no pressure lads!) so the key to a good performance is with how the bottom 3 boards hold up imo. A collapse on boards 4, 5 and 6 would undo all the good work on the top 3.

Its great to see so many top players taking part. I am looking forward to seeing some games of Nakamura from the USA. Top seeds are a Russian team Economist- SGSEU-1 with an average rating of over 2700!

Skopje Airport

Alexander the Great Airport

Above is the rather comically misnamed ‘Alexander the Great’ airport in Skopje. No offence to any Macedonians intended. It is true that Alexander was a Macedonian but the only great thing about the airport was the price of the beer in the stall outside.

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