The Heidenfeld side showed they have no intention of a repeat of the 2010/11’s immediate relegation when recording a stunning 4½-3½ win over newly-relegated Elm Mount tonight.
The sides last met in the 2010/11 Heidenfeld, when both sides exited at opposite ends of the division – Elm Mount won 7-1 on that occasion, one of five times we scored fewer than 2 points in a match. This time around, Elm Mount were weaker than before, but we were still out-rated by at least 50 points on each board. And yet, as it transpired, Elm Mount could arguably consider themselves lucky to pick up as many points as they did.
Kevin May was first to finish, overcoming a 222-point deficit to pick up a draw. A while previously, he’d looked in trouble, with his opponent’s pawns on b5 and c6 cramping his position. However, when the draw was agreed, Kevin was a piece for pawn up and seemed to just need a little while to consolidate before getting a winning position.
Shortly after, Michael – revelling in the extra 15 minutes the Heidenfeld offers – picked up his first mate in many’s the year when his opponent amazingly walked right into a mate in one; Michael had a very strong position in any event.
All over the boards, things were looking good. Myself and Brendan both went with sharp gambit lines, caused a few problems but ended up going down to defeats, but that was as bad as it got. Eddie Gahan and Steven Dixon agreed draws while a pawn up, while Ciarán picked up first one pawn, then another and finally a third to enter a N+4 v B+1 ending, which his opponent didn’t bother to play out.
That left Nicky on 8 in the biggest mis-match of the night – 333 points separated her and Eugene McMorrow. Undaunted, she wound up in a complex position with a rook, two pawns and an attack for two minor pieces. Things became more straightforward when she picked up a piece, which her opponent deemed to dangerous to re-take, meaning the material balance was now rook and two pawns for a piece. As the last game to finish – and with the scores level at 3½-3½ – everyone was gathered around to add to the pressure, but Nicky calmly evaded a series of queen checks and delivered a devastating one of her own, which forced a swap of queens and left a straightforward ending. One match in, and already as many matches won as the last time out in the Heidenfeld!
It was a good first round for one of the other promoted teams too – Drogheda beat a fairly weak Rathmines side 6-2; Rathmines were forced to play 5 subs, including three players under 1000. Meanwhile, our next opponents, Curragh, beat Malahide 5-3.