The O’Hanlon and Bodley A both recorded repeats of their first round games in last night’s league action.
The O’Hanlon had quite a tough game against a Dún Laoghaire side which would be pushing for promotion from the Ennis; though we had almost a full team out, we were still out-rated by more than 700 points across the boards. One of those was Ronan Sweeney, playing his first home game for the club since March 2008! This even briefly threw the normally reliable Frank Scott, who did quickly remember him as “that kid in Templeogue”, but couldn’t remember a name. In the game, Ronan had asked for white – having basically forgotten how black is supposed to play – and played the Colle, which ended in a position his opponent (not surprisingly) disliked, and so both bailed out into a draw. Given Ronan hasn’t looked at a set since his last game for the club in February, and was 165 points outrated, it was just the start we were looking for.
Elsewhere, Dylan was an exchange up, Anastasija was a pawn up on her Irish team-mate from the summer Alice O’Gorman, Nicky had an interesting opposite-side-castled position where she had rook and queen on the semi-open g-file, but her opponent had a pawn on a4, while Odhrán was level if a bit cramped against a player who scored 6/9 in last season’s Armstrong.
By the end, Dylan won with the minimum of fuss. Anastasija maybe went a bit awry in the face of a king-side counter-attach but emerged a weak pawn up in a rook and knight ending which ultimately ended in a draw. Nicky’s oppponent’s attack came quicker than her own, and she went down to defeat, as (eventually) did Odhrán on board 1, having lost his a-pawn, giving his opponent an unstoppable outside passed pawn.
Board three is next week, so for the moment, we’re 3-2 down. Eddie is playing next week (out in Dún Laoghaire, alongside our Armstrong). A draw would see us match Round Tower’s result against Dún Laoghaire, which wouldn’t be a bad result.
Out in Bray, meanwhile, the Bodley A were steamrollering past their latest opponents. Less than 90 minutes in, Jack was two pawns up, Desmond was a weak pawn up – but better even if it fell anyway – William was a pawn up and Luke’s opponent was ill-advisedly flinging pawns, opening up his own position behind them. The only concern was Finn, who had earlier hung a piece to a two-move tactic (missed by his opponent) and by 9pm “had a win, but was moaning about his position – may not see it”, to quote John.
He did see it, and by half nine, we were 4-0 up, with just William left playing. Having early on won white’s e-pawn in a French defence, his position was rarely anything other than comfortable, and we ended up with our second 5-0 win of the season – more than we managed in the entire of last year. A lack of clinicalness cost us last year, and it’s encouraging to see the points racking up this year – 14 from the first three matches. Our last three games are the tough ones – Curragh, Enniscorthy and Malahide – so the plan is to rack up as many points by then so as to leave us with a decent idea of what we need to do over those last three games to seal that elusive promotion. Meanwhile, the fixture list means the team our B team play one week will always be the one the A team face next – ideal for a bit of scouting!