We had two walkovers, unfortunately, with Ross and Tim winning without having to move a piece. By the time they could claim a win though, the bottom board was over, with Kevin Zhang claiming rather a surprise win over Richard O’Rahilly – who next plays Kevin’s sister, Helen. Helen, for her part, had dropped a piece to Declan early on and, when a second piece got pinned onto its king around move 15, it was all over bar the shouting.
Luke-Andrew arrived late but finished typically early against Seán Devilly, but the top six boards were all quite tight affairs. Aodhán was a pawn down but with compensation against Ben in the battle of the two first round surprises – Aodhán beating Cal and Ben drawing with Finn. Cal and Finn, meanwhile, were also up against each other, where Finn had a comfortable advantage with two bishops against two knights – which became two bishops against one knight when Cal got a knight trapped on the rim. Liam had doubled f-pawns and no g-pawn against Dylan, Jack had actually managed to find an interesting continuation as white in the French exchange, while Mihailo had also gone in for the French exchange and had gotten very little out of it against William on the top board.
Aodhán’s attack finally paid dividends and he ended up in a queen and pawn ending three pawns up, which soon became five pawns against nothing, at which point, the point was secured. Aodhán is also on 2/2 now and his round three will be one of the more eagerly anticipated ones of the round!
In round 3, he’ll face Odhrán, who finally overcame 2012 champion Jack, queening with 40 seconds left on his clock and mating with about 38 seconds left. That left just two games remaining – boards 1 and 4, both into the last couple of minutes each. On 1, Mihailo and William had gotten to a knight ending with six pawns each, but when the position simplified into a pure pawn endgame, Mihailo was the one who was able to advance his king into opposition territory and force resignation. Dylan, meanwhile, had a knight terrorising Liam’s defences, and eventually he managed to simplify to a knight and pawn ending two pawns up, which was fairly easily converted.
So Mihailo, Odhrán, Ross and Finn march on, and are joined by Aodhán. But the two previous champions, Jack and Finn, are on boards 3 and 4 in the next round. Round 3 will tell reveal quite a lot about where the Frank Scott Shield will go this year!