In recent years the Munster Championship has led a rather sheltered life, often not seen out or disguised inside another tournament. However, earlier this year the Munster Chess Union announced the return of its Championship as a stand-alone event. On the weekend of 18-20 September 2015 it was duly held as a FIDE-rated, 5-round Swiss at the West County Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare.
The provincial championships started their days as “closed” events, players requiring to be born (or resident) in the province to be eligible to enter. That tradition has been diluted over the years – the Leinster Championship had become an “open” event even before its incorporation in the Malahide tournament while this year the Ulster Championship was opened up to outsiders – Munster player Rory Quinn (although not eligible for the title) carrying off first-prize. After being incorporated in the Mulcahy Memorial for the past three years, the 2015 Munster Championship reverted to being a closed event, entry restricted to players originally from, or resident in Munster for at least one year – although some of the official pre-tournament publicity could have mislead you. Entry to the supporting Under 1500 Championship was open but the title and Joe Browne Cup could only be won by a Munster player.
It was no doubt gratifying for the MCU organisers that the 2015 entry list included the current joint Irish champion, Philip Short, plus the aforementioned Rory Quinn and Paul Walsh, both three-time winners. The Congress is well-served by post-event commentary – the MCU’s own website has a photo-report, runner-up Rory Quinn gives his personal take at the Ennis CC blog while Sean Coffey at IRLchess has a comprehensive round-up on the weekend’s proceedings. So, rather than attempt a pale imitation of that reportage, I will instead point readers in the direction of our Munster championship page which is not only updated with the 2015 final standings but also has significant additions and revisions about previous Championships.