There were no draws and a few surprises on the first night of the Junior Club Championships.
All the players hadn’t even arrived when the first game was over – Steve Bilevich hanging a queen against Tom Kearney and, in fairness, resigning immediately. Conor Ward did eventually arrive after losing almost half his time, but made short work of Mark Finn-Lynch.
By this time, the first shock was on the cards – Jack Donovan a piece for pawn up against Jamie Kearns, who’d been unbeaten in the Bodley last season. Jack duly ground out a win, and the tournament was suddenly serious. The fifth seed down; the other top seeds suddenly had a bigger vision of their name on the trophy.
Colm Hehir got to a pawn endgame two pawns up against Conor Kavanagh and converted with minimum of fuss, while Luke-Andrew Feeney castled kingside, played h3 and g4 and paid the penalty as Anastasija didn’t castle and just launched a king-side pawn storm.
So then there were three. And none of them were really going to play. On 1, Odhrán was a piece down against Luke Hayden and running out of time, while Mihailo was stuck in a middle-game against Dylan Boland and also running out of time. Meanwhile, Finn and Dan were locked in a fairly level position, with Dan keeping an eye on developments on board 1 as he wanted to play on the wooden board next round! Luke queened before Odhrán ran out of time, while Mihailo’s flag fell in what was still a fairly level position – seeds 1, 4 and 5 all down. In the last game to finish, Finn, in time trouble, neglected his pawns too much while chasing Dan’s own pawns, and ended up with R+3 v R when his flag fell.
So two wins for unrated players in their six games against rated players. Round 2 sees eight rated v unrated ties. The seeds have been warned!