The school chess club meets at lunchtimes, currently every day in Rang Iognáid, upstairs in the first year block, from 1:10 to 1:45 pm. All are welcome including beginners, experienced players and teachers.
The school team plays in the Secondary Schools Chess League which includes schools in Drogheda, Carrickmacross, Dunleer and elsewhere. In the past we won this league a few years in a row and some of our students played for the Irish junior team.
Recently the team entered the ChessZ Girls Secondary Schools Leinster Finals in Dublin. They won this in April 2013 and in April 2014, when our second team also won the novices competition. We qualified for the All-Ireland in Limerick both years and did well.
The Autumn Selection Tournament is run from September each year to select the players for the school team. We run other tournaments throughout the year including the club championships. On prize-giving day prizes are awarded for the first few places in each tournament as well as grading prizes for the best improvers. See results below. Friendly games and challenge games form part of the buzz in the club at lunchtimes. It is a welcoming place where you can make friends with other students not only from your own year.
Chess article for yearbook by Dara Farrelly, April 2014
This year the chess club welcomed hundreds of aspirational grandmasters, many of whom unfortunately went AWOL within the first number of weeks. As this is a yearly observation made at Our Lady’s College chess club, myself and Mr. John Loughran were not worried. We taught the handful of eager, dedicated first years how to survive a vicious chess battle, all the while cajoling them into thinking that chess is actually cool. And when a solid team of eight players emerged, we knew it was time to enter the Drogheda schools` league.
Although the league isn’t over yet, we have collectively lost every game so far, so we won’t be winning the overall prize. That’s not to say individual players didn’t stun crowds by achieving checkmate at the last minute, like Méadhbh Mansfield on Board 2, who always has a few tricks up her sleeve. Riveting games could also be seen at the boards of Niamh Cannon, Janet Jubil, Moya Loughran and Niamh Ann Kelly. Dara Farrelly has also won 3/3 of her games so far on Board One.
In a few weeks, a team of our strongest four will travel to Dublin to compete in the Leinsters. Last year we placed first in the girls section, and went on to place second overall in the country, so we hope to do at least the same again.
With the presence and knowledge of good players the team continues to grow in strength, and I really feel sorry for anyone who isn’t in the chess club because they are missing out.