The Bodley A team had their promotion hopes all but ended when losing 3½-1½ to Naomh Barróg last night.
Naomh Barróg have a very strong squad for the Bodley, but had been underperforming for much of the season, and it appears it was our luck to get them on a day when they finally clicked. Added to that, they’d added a board 1 to the team that had lost 3½-1½ to the Bs earlier in the season.
Andrew was first finished, being beaten fairly easily after hanging a piece early on. Jamie was next after a game in which he survived through a Greek Gift in the French – losing his queen in the process, but picking up a piece and a rook – and eventually reached this position –
Jamie played 1. … RxP and offered a draw which white, not wanting to get into the various tactical considerations, accepted. Obviously, 2. KxR is followed by 2. … d4+ 3. Qd4 BxQ+ 4. NxB and black, with an extra pawn (and white’s e5 pawn mayn’t last long) should win. White said he would have played 2. Rf8+, which after 2. … KxR 3. Qf3+ gets back the rook, and Fritz reckons the position is roughly level. Much better though is 2. Qf3, after which white is easily winning – Fritz gives 2. … Rg5 3. Qf7+ Kd7 4. e6+ Kc8 (to protect the bishop and reinforce the threat of d4+) 5. Rc1 d4+ 6. Ne4+ and once enough material is going to come off to give white an easy ride to victory. If 6. … Kb8 7. Qf4+ picks up the rook and ends the discovered mate threats. 6. … Bc6 just hangs the knight, after which the bishop is hanging, while after 6. … Rc5 comes 7. RxR+ PxR 8. QxN BxN+ 9. Kg1 and black’s pawns are going to fall.
But actually, the initial position is crushing for black, who should just play 1. … d4!, and white is going to lose a lot of material. If, say, 2. Qf2 BxP+ 3. QxB RxQ 4. KxR PxN, black is a piece and a pawn up in an ending and should win easily enough. So in a game in which we had a decisive advantage, we made a losing blunder, at which point the game immediately ended in a draw, with our opponent saying he would have made a move which gave away his advantage entirely! You have to love the Bodley at times! That said, it was an excellent result for Jamie, and one which isn’t too far outside our High Fives.
Elsewhere, Michael Kearney drew just when he looked like getting an initiative on board 1, Paddy Power took a draw a pawn up, although it did look fairly hard to make progress, while Colm Hehir was last to finish, fighting all the way but eventually going down in a K+5 v K+5 ending where his king was much worse placed.
So that leaves the table as follows –
It’s getting ludicrously tight at the top where, in fairness, there hasn’t been a massive amount between the top eight teams all season. The next round sees the As at home to Inchicore and the Bs away to Balbriggan. Balbriggan can more or less seal promotion this weekend with a big win against Bray B, while Inchicore face Cavan, also on Saturday.