After a couple of poor results lately, the Armstrong had their work cut out last night when facing title challengers – and traditional rivals – Gonzaga. John Gibson had already drawn his game on the Wednesday, and that set the tone for the game as we picked up another five draws to trail by just 4-3, with Kevin McHugh’s game to come.
Gerry O’Connell had earlier talked up his chances against Sam Collins IM – who earlier this month came within a whisker of becoming the first-ever Irish-born GM at a tournament in California – saying that while he hadn’t gotten a result off Sam in a while, he was usually black and this time would be white. And he was right, earning a 22-move draw and then bemoaning the fact that he didn’t play on, when he could have won. On board 7, meanwhile, Ger Reilly by his own account blundered to throw away a crushing position, but still ended up with a draw. So decent and all as the result was, it could have been even better!
The table now looks like this –
Dublin were docked three points for failing to submit results on time; they may get these back (we did), in which case, it really is squeaky bum time at the bottom, with 1½ points separating the bottom five.
It’s a big week down at the bottom – on Monday, Elm Mount B host Celbridge and Rathmines B host Trinity, so last night’s result was particularly well timed. Our next two games are against Elm Mount B and Celbridge, so we’ve a good chance to ensure safety before the last-round game against Rathmines A. Two draws in the first two and 2½ against Rathmines would bring us to 38 points, more than anyone’s been relegated with over the past eight seasons. The average for eleventh is 30½, though it looks like this season will be higher.