Historic first for Ireland as European School Chess Championships get underway at UL

History was being made at the weekend with the hosting of the European School Chess Championships in Ireland for the first time.

Historic first for Ireland as European School Chess Championships get underway at UL
Twins Rowan and Maslan Briggs, age 10 from Lackamore, Newport in Tipperary pictured at the launch of the European School Chess Championships in University of Limerick. Pic. Brian Arthur

More than 200 children, aged between 5 and 16 years, from 14 European countries are participating in the week-long tournament, which takes place at the University of Limerick (UL) and continues until Friday 7th June 2024.

The Irish Chess Union (ICU) beat off competition from four other countries to win the bid to host the event against four other countries, with the support of UL, Limerick City & County Council and the Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau.

“Securing this event is a major milestone in the development of chess in Ireland and demonstrates the ICU’s unwavering commitment to promoting the game nationwide and Ireland as a chess destination for future events,” commented Desmond Beatty, Chairperson, Irish Chess Union.

Mr. Beatty said the decision to bring the Championships to Ireland reflects the unprecedented growth the game has experienced since the pandemic.

“Chess has proven to be a source of fun and intellectual stimulation for individuals of all ages and can help improve concentration,” he explained. “As a result, the promotion of chess in schools has increased significantly most notably in the classroom following continuous professional development (CPD) courses for primary school teachers now realising the benefits of chess in education, notably in social skills and critical thinking. Over 10000 children this year have taken part in competitions run by ficheall.ie, the organisation of primary teachers promoting chess.”

“Building on the success of both Glorney Cup and Chessmates internationals, this is a remarkable opportunity for us to showcase Ireland’s thriving chess community, promote the growth of the game, and provide an unforgettable experience for participants and spectators alike,” concluded Mr. Beatty.

All games will be broadcast live on chess.com and lichess.org. Diana Mirza and Antonina Gora, both members of Ireland’s women’s team, will be providing live commentary at https://twitch.tv/dianamirza.

Speaking on behalf of UL Conference & Sports Campus, David Ward said, “Attracting the European School Chess Championships to UL highlights the success of our one stop model with accommodation, catering and venues on site. We look forward to setting the stage for a thrilling tournament in June 2024 and hope that many memorable moments will unfold.”

Karen Brosnahan, General Manager, Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau said “We are delighted to see the European School Chess Championships coming to Limerick. This is testament to the collaborative efforts of UL, Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau, Limerick City and County Council, and Failte Ireland working together to promote Limerick as a host city and developing strong relationships with the sporting bodies and event organisers. Tournaments like this are highly lucrative, contributing significantly to the local economy.”

About Irish Chess Union

The Irish Chess Union, patron Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, is the governing body of chess in Ireland and is affiliated to the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and the European Chess Union. In this capacity it has the sole responsibility to nominate individual players and teams to represent Ireland in international chess tournaments or events organised under the auspices of these bodies. The Irish Chess Union is over 100 years old. See www.icu.ie for more.

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