There was mixed fortunes for the large St Benildus contingent at last weekend’s City of Dublin contingent.
In the top section, Zdravko was playing his first ever weekender, which included his first time playing two full-length games in one day. He’s still de-rusting after about 15 years without playing, although that didn’t stop him throwing out a few interesting-looking sacs. One he managed to refute immediately after playing it and realised the only way of getting out of trouble was to smile smugly at his opponent and not let him know he was actually lost. It worked.
In the Majors, Ciarán Ruane was playing up for the first time, while Pawel Madynski was playing down after his rating took a hammering earlier in the year. In round 1, Pawel played myself in the first of two club derbies over the weekend; that game didn’t last too long! It was my only defeat of the weekend, helped by opponents gifting me a queen and a piece on the Sunday. Pawel ended up in third place, losing another couple of points, while Ciarán started off with a fun draw against Seán Hewitt, organiser of the Irish Championships the past couple of years, but ended up down near the bottom, and had the bye on Sunday morning.
Kevin May struggled to 50% in the Challengers, surprisingly losing two games in trying to play more aggressively; Kevin doesn’t usually lose two games in six!
The two Manojlovics and the two McDonnells entered the bottom section. Anastasija opened with a win against the fourth seed, having hung a piece inside the first ten moves. But it was Odhrán who led the way at half-way after reaching 3/3, only to fade to 3½/6. Finn picked up a first-ever win against the Sicilian and ended with a rather fortunate win when, in a winning position but with a rook hanging, he decided to hang the other one as well, declaring he was trying to play like John Healy…
The fireworks were saved for the last round though, when Anastasija was paired with Mihailo. These foreign names can be hard to spell, of course, which probably explains why Anastasija sat down to the game at the start and said “How do you spell your last name, so?” She gave up an early pawn, but had an extra couple of pieces out in compensation. Mihailo withstood that and had consolidated his advantage before getting his rooks skewered, and Anastasija won the ensuing ending. Dinner that evening must have been fun!
Anastasija was the biggest gainer ratings-wise in the tournament, up 45 to a new high of 870. The excellent new ratings system is now in place at ratings.icu.ie, and the ratings section on this site has been updated for all the weekend’s gains and losses.