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400 visitors expected in Bunratty for International Chess Festival

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342 competitors from over a dozen countries have registered online to play in this year’s Bunratty International Chess Festival.

Round 1 of the competition commences at 8pm tonight with a further 30 chess players expected to register today. Together with family, friends, arbiters and organisers the festival brings over 400 people to Bunratty every February.

Last year, the festival was voted the world’s best tournament overall by Chessbase, the premier global chess website. It will come to a conclusion on Sunday.

A tough battle is expected for this year’s title. The top seed Grandmaster David Howell is new to Bunratty, he will be closely challenged by Luke McShane GM who last night won 26 simultaneous chess matches played against the members of Ulster Chess Union in the Stormont hotel in Belfast, and three time Bunratty winner and former world number 2 Nigel Shortt GM.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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