The Bodley A and O’Hanlon both had excellent narrow wins over local rivals Shankill and Bray/Greystones A respectively tonight.
The Bodley hosted a Shankill side who were one of three teams just two points behind us, so victory was vital in the race for promotion. Finn started it off well by winning a piece on move 6, while Luke Hayden also won a piece, albeit that his opponent emerged with 3 pawns for it. Conor had a raging attack going, while Jamie was doing ok on 1 against the same 1500 he’d beaten in the first game (albeit only after his phone went off!), and Anastasija was a bit better but locked in a very tight middle game.
The games then started swinging wildly. Luke found two of his pieces forked by a pawn; he took, which only led to a losing position, but he had an option of a big attack if he’d ignored both hanging pieces and gone instead for his opponent’s king. Conor played a move which looked to just win a queen, but instead found a nasty counter-attack waiting. His opponent seemed happy with perpetual; Conor, who’d been on the attack all game, wanted more and played the only other move available to avoid check…which lost immediately. That was balanced out by Jamie’s opponent throwing away a good attack in one move, which just hung a rook. Finn converted his win handily enough, which left just Anastasija who, with just five minutes left on her clock, was still in a position with only one piece each off the board. The game sped up, however, and Anastasija opened her opponent’s kingside to get a very dangerous position…and her opponent walked into mate in two. The position was probably lost anyway, but Anastasija had 28 seconds left on the clock, and a win in that time – even allowing for the rook she was probably about to win – was far from certain.
So we move 3 points clear of Shankill, and ½ ahead of Gorey, who now have a match in hand and who’ve already played Round Tower. We’ve a bye in the next round, and we then host bottom-of-the-table Curragh.
The O’Hanlon, meanwhile, were on the latest stage of their incredible escape. The game against a very strong Bray/Greystones A team – our board 1 would barely make their team – started badly, with Mihailo losing inside an hour. After that, while Nicky lost, Eddie and Dan won, as did Ross – his first win for the club in ten attempts! It could hardly have been better-timed, putting us 3-2 up with just Odhrán left, in serious time trouble but in a level position. Inside his last minute, he managed to take a draw, and we recorded our third straight victory. The win means we’re now 5 points clear of Trinity, who played promotion-chasing Dublin on Monday. Assuming they didn’t win 5-1, it means we’ll be out of the bottom two going into the last day, when we face bottom-of-the-table, and possibly already-relegated, Bray B, while Trinity play the other team below us, Finglas. It seems safety is almost assured – an amazing turnaround after the 4½-1½ disaster against Curragh!