The 2012/13 season has gotten off to a good start with a big win for the Armstrong over Dublin today.
We were 3 – -1 up after an hour; Dublin scratched board 8, defaulted on 4 against the unfortunate Zdravko and in between, John Healy picked up a quick win on 7 –
John Healy (1753) v Brian O’Mullane (1108); Armstrong Cup; 22 September 2012
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf 3. Nf3 Be7 4. Bc4 Bh4+?!
Not the strongest of lines against the King’s Gambit; this is essentially a spite check. After 5. Kf1, black can’t play Nf6 without first moving the bishop on h4 again.
The Cunningham Gambit. Objectively a weak reply, but it can be great fun!
5. … fxg 6. O-O gxh+ 7. Kh1 Bg3
7. … d5 is the main line, though Fritz actually prefers 7. … Bg3
8. d4 d6
Here again, d5 was called for; bringing the bishop to d5 allows black to play Nf6 with tempo. With the text move, black is in trouble.
9. BxP KxB 10. Ne5+ Ke8 11. Qh5+ g6 12. NxP Nf6 13. RxN
The only way of keeping the attack going.
13. … QxR 14. Ne5+!
Much more straightforward than taking the free rook; the text cuts out the king’s escape route via d7
14. … Kf8 15. Bh6+ Kg8 16. Qe8 1-0
The only way to avoid mate was 15. … Ke7, when 16. Bg5 picks up the queen, but white has to make sure he has enough material for it! The game might continue 16. … PxN 17. BxQ+ KxB 18. Nc3, when black has two bishops, a pawn and a rook for the queen, but white’s development more than makes up for it. John had planned 18. Qf4+?;, when 18. … Bf5 is unclear.
Dublin got off the mark when John Gibson again struggled against his bogey opponent, Denis Dempsey. Denis’ win three seasons ago had been Dublin’s only point in a 7-1 thrashing; here, he again overcame a 400+ point deficit to pick up a draw this time.
The other four games were much closer affairs. Thomas expertly withstood an onslaught from former Benildus player John Kennedy and came through to take a draw, while Gerry was on the defensive in a pawn ending, but still had enough to draw. Brendan got into time trouble when in an attacking position and missed a winning line –
After 1. Ng3, Fritz actually recommends 1. … Rf8, giving up the bishop as dead and trying for some desperate counterplay. Instead, Brendan went with 1. RxB RxN 2. Rxb5 Rf8 3. Rg1 Rxh2 4. RxP Rf2, and black ended up getting a draw by repetition by virtue of the rooks doubled on the second, even though he was still three pawns down.
Strangely, so, we were 5-1 up and yet had only won one game – all the rest had been draws. Pawel had a queen for a rook, bishop and pawn, but his pieces were far more coordinated than his opponent’s, and he finished off a nice win.
Next up for the Armstrong is Trinity at home in three weeks. For the club, the Heidenfeld get their campaign underway on Wednesday with a home game against relegated Elm Mount.