The O’Hanlon team played their delayed first round game tonight, and went down to the narrowest of defeats on a night of what might have beens.
Trinity conceded walkovers in all bar one of their away games last season, and so it was tonight as well, which meant no debut for Desmond Beatty on 6. The match was soon level again though as Dan got lost his queen – pinned onto his king by his opponent’s light-squared bishop – for the second game in a row. Unlike last time, his opponent didn’t let him off the hook and soon won.
Next to finish was Nicky, who’s having an excellent start to the season; her win on board 2 sees her with two of the club’s top five wins of the season. Things were looking ok on the other three boards too, and there were even hopes of an overall win. However, Odhrán very kindly fixed his opponent’s potentially fatal weaknesses, creating one of his own at about the same time, and his game went rapidly downhill. Ray had looked under pressure, with horrible doubled and isolated d-pawns in the middlegame, but fought back to a position where he may have been able to eke out a draw only for his flag to fall. On board 1, Ross played a very nice game – bar a random fit of eight successive knight moves in the middle – to reach 2R, N+6 v 2R + 5. Things were looking good, only for him to lose a piece through a nice tactic, and suddenly his opponent’s connected a and b pawns were monsters. Despite being a pawn down, white may even have had a win, but was happy enough to settle for the draw given all he’d been through!
So 3½-2½ is how it ended. We’re keeping our heads above relegation at the moment, which is all that can be asked of the team –
The two teams we’ve played so far occupy the top two spots, and there’s still nothing at the moment to suggest we can’t stay up. The next game is in two weeks, at home to Inchicore.
Meanwhile, Trinity’s Armstrong also played their first round game this week, drawing 4-4 against Dún Laoghaire. The result puts Dún Laoghaire one point ahead of us, although their score is boosted by a 7-1 hammering of Kilkenny last week. Kilkenny play us in the next round.