I would say by far this is the most professional weekender I’ve been to. I’ve been to tournaments all over the world, in three different continents, and this is by far the nicest weekender I’ve ever seen. The players get treated with great respect, the conditions are lovely, the hotel was very nice, and everything’s really nice.

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CM Jonathan Pein2023 Master Section Winner

(The) Sligo Tournament should be the measuring stick on how to host chess tournaments in Ireland.

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Vladimir MabhenaTwo-Time Sligo Tournament Player

First-class organisation, strict anti-cheating measures, and everyone on the committee was very helpful. Colm O’Muireagain was a pleasant and efficient arbiter. And of course, Craig DuBose ran the tournament so well and as the marketing promised, made everyone feel like a professional chess player.

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Denis O’ConnellTwo-Time Sligo Tournament Player
  • The best tournament in Ireland at present. Lots of little extras made it a great tournament… All fantastic. The reduced rate hotel rooms were also very much appreciated. Tournament and hotel staff were 10/10.
Niall O’SheaTwo-Time Sligo Tournament Player

The tournament was the most professional one we have attended in Ireland so far. The playing area was a pleasure to be in. Plenty of space and natural light. The name tags with the players country flag were a lovely touch with many taking them home as souvenirs. We absolutely loved the live boards and the Diana Mirza commentary. So accessible for all to see. And especially the fact that these were recorded for viewing by the players later. The Chessable pens came in very handy! There was also fresh water and drinking glasses available for all. The tournament was run on time. I’m sitting here now looking at the professional photos taken during the games and they are amazing. Definitely the best tournament so far!
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Daire BarnsParent

(My favourite aspect of the tournament was) space, space and space! (Also,) The good organisation, name cards, timely pairings, multiple helpers (Sandra etc.), good arbiter, phone policy and how it was dealt with. Multiple prizes including ladies prizes and grading prizes.

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John LoughranOne-Time Sligo Tournament Player

The most obvious thing was the very spacious playing area. I must empathize on this because I have been playing in so many tournaments where tables are long, having 4-5 boards each, and players are packed so tight that if you want to leave your seat during while your opponent is thinking, you are forced to disturb your neighbours unless you happen to be seated in the end of those long tables. Sometimes there are even tournaments where they would actually have enough space, but even so the tables are placed unnecessarily close to each other. And this is especially important to me since I am one of those players who like to have a little walk after almost every time making a move.

Another thing was the fact I asked you about (and you told me you didn’t quite know how you had managed to do it) was the huge amount of beginners in the tournament, rated below 1000 or unrated. It’s a big problem in Finland, and as far as I know, a universal problem that despite so many people play chess online, it’s very difficult to get them to play in OTB tournaments. Hats off for that achievement! And the beginners were not only kids – during the social event on Saturday I was talking with two guys aged in their 30s or 40s, who were playing in their first rated tournament ever and both were excited and eager to talk about their games and opening choices, in a way that reminded me of myself when I started playing “official” chess as a teenager.

A third one was the fact that the tournament ran so smoothly. By this I mean that there was hardly ever noisy afterwards analysis – I remember one case where two players had to be shushed, and even they were by no means particularly loud. In an average tournament it usually happens several times that people start talking after their game, not whispering, but talking just with their normal voice, even ignoring shushing around them. Most typically old men in their 70s, occasionally kids… but in your tournament, despite the big amount of participants, this didn’t happen. Quite amazing, I have to say.

A third one was all the “extra” you had in this tournament, including the social event, live commentary, players being interviewed after their games etc. “Everyone is treated like a pro” on your event site certainly doesn’t feel like too much exaggeration!

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Mikko NikulaOne-Time Sligo Tournament Player