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.
It was a fairly topsy-turvy draw, it has to be said. At one stage, it looked like we were going to win 4-1. At another stage, a 3-2 defeat looked most likely. And at the end, the last game to finish was the one in which we were down a piece after just ten minutes!
Colm Hehir on 5 was first to finish after a game which he was comfortably winning throughout, until reaching the following curious endgame –
It’s trickier than it looks – black has to deal with the two advanced, connected pawns, and with the king on the bank rank, promotion would come with a potentially vital check. The game ended in a draw, and indeed, those analysing the position in the main room figured on a draw too, but Fritz calls it a clear win for black. The plan is to try force white’s king to the b8 and have him promote the a-pawn (with no check), while the queen covers the seventh rank (so the white king can’t move to give discovered check); then, black can promote his second pawn and win easily. It suggests 1. Ka7 Qd4 (pinning the b pawn) 2. Kb7 f3 (which Fritz now gives as mate in 14) 3. a7 Qe4+! 4. Kb8 (any other square and the pawns can’t advance) Qe8+ 5. Kb7 Qe7+ 6. Kb8 f2 7. a8=Q f1=Q 8. Qc6 Qd8+ 9. Qc8 Qf4+ 10. Kb7 (the king must stay beside its queen, so black’s second queen can come closer at ease) Qe4+ 11. Kb8 Qe5+ 12. Kb7 Qd5+ 13. Kb8 Qd6+ 14. Kb7 QxP+ 15. Ka7 QxQ#. Not the easiest of plans to find over the board though.
On board 4, Jamie continued his good form with a straightforward enough win with the King’s Gambit; the latest in a line of players currently playing this opening at the club. Dan was three pawns up, but then dropped an exchange and things got a bit hairy; he ended up holding on for a draw by virtue of a pawn on b3 protected by a bishop on a2, which needed constant minding. Michael weathered a strong attack before falling victim to a perpetual just when he thought he’d won his opponent’s queen, while Paddy on 2 was last to finish having dropped that piece early on.
So that leaves the table as follows –
The As will be hoping to climb a place or two with a decent win against Bray B in the last day (though having to overcome the usual problems of playing the last round on Sunday with no access to new players), while the 2½ points dropped have dented Inchicore’s of coming third (often a promotion spot in the Bodley). Cavan are 2-1 up on Rathmines with the remaining two games to be played on Thursday. Cavan play Bray B this weekend, so the league title is between them and Balbriggan…the two teams our Bs have yet to play! Not the run-in they’ll have wanted, but it does mean it’s still very much all to play for.