How to Beat a Grandmaster – Irish Style!

How to Beat a Grandmaster – Irish Style!

Course commences Thursday 1st October 2020 at 7pmENROLMENTS FOR THIS MASTERCLASS ARE NOW CLOSED

Have you ever wondered what it takes to beat a Grandmaster? How might you fare if you were to cross swords with the chess equivalent of a bad-ass Ninja? How to beat a Grandmaster – Irish Style puts a spotlight on the games of top Irish players against Grandmasters.

Perhaps, you have already played a GM in a simultaneous display, a weekend tournament or International Tournament and felt their presence and keen intelligence at the board.

Some wise person once speculated that to become a Grandmaster you have to complete 10,000 hours of study. This might explain why Grandmasters are so hard to put away, even when they find themselves in desperate straits. There are few tricks they haven’t seen before. Few defensive resources they are not aware of. How many times have you watched a Grandmaster reject a draw offer only to go on and win from a worse position?

Eamon Keogh’s defeat of Grandmaster Gideon Stahlberg at the Tel Aviv Olympiad in 1964 was a watershed for Irish chess. Keogh’s victory showed that a strong Irish amateur could indeed aspire to defeat a seasoned professional Grandmaster. Keogh’s impressive hard-fought win also demonstrated something which is as true today as it was way back when. You can of course get lucky, but more often than not, to defeat a Grandmaster takes something a little bit special.

In this masterclass, I will be looking at how Irish players down through the decades have fared against Grandmasters. Each week I will analyse three games in depth and provide puzzles to test participants’ chess nous.

Instructive wins such as Mark Orr’s defeat of Viktor Bologan at the Moscow Olympiad, Tarun Kanyamarala’s impressive take-down of George Meier in the last round of the 2019 Gonzaga Classic, my own defeat of Daniel Vocaturo in the Italian Team Championships in 2015, Sam Collins’s demolition of Nigel Short in the 4NCL in 2016 etc.

All chess players know only too well that you can only learn so much from victories. The hardest, most valuable lessons come from the games that got way. Winning positions that turned wayward and dissipated to draws. Then there is that final, most instructive category of all, the type of game all players whatever their strength are loathe to mention let alone publish — when an overwhelming advantage disappears in the blink of an eye and your opponent commits daylight robbery and steals victory from right under your very nose. When your opponent happens to a Grandmaster, there is no accounting for the level of pain this kind of defeat inflicts.

There are so many lessons to be gleaned from the many encounters over the years between Irish players and Grandmasters. If you want to know how to prepare for an encounter with a GM or to gain insights into the play of leading Irish players or simply interested in improving your all-round knowledge of the game why not join me every Thursday evening at 7pm from the 01st October 2020.

  • The masterclass runs for 10 weeks. Each session is 90 minutes duration.
  • Classes are conducted through zoom
  • At the end of each class, participants will be sent the three annotated games that are the subject of each masterclass. The games will be sent in a cbv file that can be opened and played through any Chess Base program including ‘Chess Base Light’ which can be downloaded for free from

Ten x 90 minute weekly classes online
€100 per person – Max 25 participants