Ciaran Macdonald at the Doncaster Chess Congress

Doncaster Chess Congress Report

by Richard Macdonald, parent of Ciaran Macdonald.

Having got the bug for the longer format tournament at The Parks and Hull, Ciaran was eager to get into battle against seasoned players again.

Doncaster was chosen as it’s not too far away and we could travel down early on Saturday morning.  Experience of a loss in the 1st round at Hull back in October lead us to take a bye in round 1 for a half point, this way you can go into the Saturday fresh with the guarantee you don’t need to claw back should you have lost on the Friday.

In the second round on Saturday morning Ciaran played Neil Milson graded 118 and spotted a tactic to win material. However, he became too concerned about his opponent’s counterplay (which shouldn’t have been an issue) and missed opportunities to grab the win. The game ended in a draw.

After lunch and some fresh air Ciaran was taught a hard lesson in time management from the winner of the Hull Congress, Robert Stokes. In a game in which he was always ahead he deliberated on a key move for around 20 minutes and though his opponent had his head in his hands towards the end, the game was lost on time.

On Sunday morning Ciaran managed a much more decisive win which raised spirits. He capitalised on the opponent’s mistakes and attacked with confidence. This was a good win against a Barry Tonge who is graded 114. An early finish left time to go over the previous games with school friend and fellow Forest Hall player Morgan French.

Ciaran Macdonald v Barry Tonge (round 4)


In round 5 Ciaran was drawn against Julian Hawthorne, rated 116. With 2/4 from the previous games, he wanted a win to finish the weekend on a high. Alas, it was not to be as the game was drawn.

In conclusion, the weekend was a great learning experience which Ciaran can now take pointers from, namely time management and decisiveness to seal the win when ahead with all games against higher rated players.  As well as this he learned to handle disappointment and bounce back.

Full results can be found here