Ulster Chess Competition Records

Ulster Championship Winners 1892-2013


1892-1902:

The first Ulster Individual Championship was in 1892. It was held as part of the North of Ireland Chess Congress, and was one of the supporting events to the Quadrangular Masters' Tournament, won jointly by Blackburne and Mason, ahead of Bird and Lee. The 1892 Congress was the catalyst for establishing an administrative structure for Ulster chess, although the Ulster Chess Union was not formally established until 1932. After 1892 there were five further championships before the series petered out. The 1899 event is unique in being the only Ulster Championship held in a knockout format. O'Hanlon continued to hold the title until 1913, when he decided to resign as Ulster champion, upon winning the Irish Championship.

1892

E. A. ROBINSON

1893

E. A. ROBINSON

1894

NO COMPETITION

1895

E. L. HARVEY

1896

NO COMPETITION

1897

W. STEEN

1898

NO COMPETITION

1899

C. E. SMITH

1900

NO COMPETITION

1901

NO COMPETITION

1902

J. J. O'HANLON

1933-1939:

Since the 1892 North of Ireland Congress, Ulster chess had been administered by a committee consisting of the secretaries of the established chess clubs. In 1932 it was decided to establish a more formal structure and the Ulster Chess Union was formed. The new body revived the Ulster Championship and the first UCU Championship was held in 1933.

1944-1956:

Competitive chess in Ulster was severely curtailed for most of the duration of the Second World War. However the Ulster championship resumed only 3 months after the Normandy landings in 1944. There was no competition in 1948, because the first three championships after the war were held in the first part of the chess season, i.e. before Christmas, but the subsequent championships were held in the second half of the season, i.e. after the New Year.

1957-1981:

The Ulster Chess Union had, since its inception in 1932, been a Belfast-based organisation. The growing realisation that there were many strong players outside Belfast and its immediate surrounds led to a new system for the Ulster Championship. With the 1957 championship a system of regional qualifying was introduced. A Belfast qualifier, organised directly by the UCU, produced 2 qualifiers, while a North Ulster qualifier (organised by the City of Derry Chess Club) and a South Ulster qualifier (organised by the Oriel League - a body that organised a team league in the border area for clubs in South Down, South Armagh and Louth) each produced 1 qualifier for the 4-player final. After the Derry player McGlinchey won in 1959, the North Ulster qualifying section was allocated a second place in the final. With the Oriel League no longer operating, there was no South Ulster qualifier between 1962 and 1969. There was a brief revival with qualifying tournaments in Armagh city in 1970 (which produced the eventual winner Coll) and 1971 but from then until 1981 it was back to the qualifying sections in Belfast and Derry each producing 2 players for the final.

1982-2004:

Eventually disadvantages of the system of qualifying sections became apparent - after a tough qualifier, a three-round final was something of a lottery and the organisation of the final fell too much on the players involved, leaving the final poorly publicised and taking too long to complete. At an EGM of the UCU in December 1980, it was decided that from 1982 a single competition would be held within a short time frame. It was intended that the championship would be moved to different venues around Ulster, but in fact it has been held in Belfast every year, except 1984/85 (Armagh) and 1985/86 (Lisburn). The first four championships under the new system were held in the first few days of January, but the one held in Lisburn was competed for between Christmas and the New Year and succeeding championships have followed that pattern. This has led to the discrepancy that the championship trophy carries the year in which the winner holds the trophy, rather than the year in which it is won. The table below, therefore, refers to the season in which the championship was played.

2005-2012:

In 2005 and 2006 the Championship was held later in the season over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, thus returning the championship to its calendar year. In 2007 the date for the Championship was moved once again, this time to the August Bank Holiday weekend. Between 2007 and 2009, the Intermediate and Junior Championships were incorporated into the Senior Championship in a single tournament. Since 2010 the Championship has returned to being an elite-only event with the Championship Congress holding separate Senior, Intermediate and Junior events.