Congratuations are due to Cavan as they sealed the Bodley title last night by taking a point off of Benildus B.
Next week sees the end of the league season for our five teams.
As many will know, I’m away from the club for a while as I go off and see the world. Anyone interested in keeping an eye on how I’m getting on can catch up at rtwbytrain.wordpress.com/ In the meantime, John is moonlighting as me (with my login and all…)
Balbriggan may have defeated St Benildus B in the Bodley on Saturday, but they will probably rue the pair of points dropped. Massively outrated on every board – Balbriggan’s team were rated 1167 on average to Benildus’ 700 – not one of our players failed to impress in the 3-2 defeat. Debutant Ross was first to lose, but his opponent paid a nice complement to how he had played. Even though she had the black pieces, Anastasia pressed her opponent early on, but he defended well, and when the tide turned, she was quickly in big trouble. Finn overextended himself against a Nimzovich-Rubinstein Sicilian (likely the first time he’s faced it), but when the time came to let his pawns fall, he emphasised development. I thought he had full compensation for the material for a while, but such positions require accurate play, and his opponent took his chance to stamp out Finn’s initiative. Odhran seemed to get into all sorts of trouble positionally on the black side of what eventually transposed into something of a QGD, but when his kingside counterattack netted a piece, things looked up. His opponent fought back by ratchetting up the pressure on a weak pawn. Suddenly, a couple of pieces came off, Odhran lost a rook and pawns started racing towards glory. Under pressure, neither player played with perfect accuracy, which is not fun to watch from a competitive standpoint but gets the adrenaline pumping all the same! Finally, Odran won a rook back and queened a pawn. With 8 second left on his clock, versus his opponent’s more than two minutes, it was anyone’s guess as to whether he could mate – or clear the board for a draw – in time. Unexpectedly, his opponent thought for almost two minutes and graciously resigned. On five, Mihailo played a French Exchange. The opening may be as dull as dishwater in the hands of stronger players, Mihailo castled long and threw everything at his opponent’s king. He quickly won a piece and wrapped things up without spectacle.
Meanwhile, Cavan won 5-0 against Bray B. Having beaten Balbriggan in their match, they now go into the final round – against Benildus B – needing just 1 point to win the title. Balbriggan have a bye in the final round. The battle for third is pretty tight though. With Benildus B (18.5 points) likely to struggle to take much off of Cavan, Rathmines Juniors (18.5) and Naomh Barróg (18) playing each other, currently 6th place Inchicore (17.5) are as likely to finish there as anyone else. As for ties, Inchicore beat everyone, Benildus B beat everyone else, and Rathmines Juniors and Naomh Barróg can’t finish on the same score.
And so to the BEA Cup, where leinsterchess should have the table shortly, but barring a big win for Bray against Dublin, Ballinasloe A (37.5 points) are clear favourites for the title with Benildus (35) clear favourites for second ahead of Inchicore (31.5), Rathmines A (31) and Bray (28, with a match in hand).
St Benildus have one foot in next year’s O’Hanlon after a magnificent 3½-1½ win over closest rivals Rathmines A tonight.
The close nature of this season’s Bodley was demonstrated as our A team drew 2½-2½ for the third time in seven games, this time against Inchicore.
The Armstrong ensured safety last night after a 5-3 win over Celbridge in a week which also saw us lose our superb draw with Gonzaga.