The four-day Brennan Cup campaign ended with another 5½-½ defeat, while I found out that simul exhibitions are harder than they look!
Again, exams and work commitments hit, although this time we managed five boards – meaning that overall, we had scratched half the competition, or 9 of the 18 boards! We’d jigged the team around so Aodhán, Finn and Luke-Andrew were in for their first games of the competition. Des was first to finish – having come so close to a 1400+ scalp on Saturday, he went down relatively quickly to Mervyn Honner this time out. Finn followed on 1 after being finally ground down in a same-colour bishop ending, where his opponent had a protected pawn on a7, which had fatally drawn Finn’s king away from the remainder of his pawns.
As on Saturday, the final two boards to finish were hard-luck stories on our part. Luke-Andrew had launched a strong attack, gone a pawn up and had positional compensation worth maybe as much again – but then he hung a piece, missing that the pawn protecting it was pinned. Suddenly, he was under big pressure, and when a rook fell to a fork a while later, it was game over and we were 5-0 down.
That just left Aodhán, up against a 1350 on board 3. He had also launched a good attack, and had bishop and queen knocking at his opponent’s king’s door. He wound up winning an exchange and a pawn in the end, but his opponent was able to regroup and launch a counter-attack down the open g-file. The win was there for the taking if Aodhán could just survive the attack – but unfortunately, he missed a trick which allowed his opponent escape with a draw by perpetual. Still, we entered this competition purely for the experience, and that’s certainly what we got!
In the main room, I decided to take on all-comers in a simul for the last night – which quickly became all-comers except for Zdravko! I started off well enough, winning a piece against little Liam early enough, but then ran into problems when I overlooked a tactic against Desmond which just won a piece (and somehow then left another piece hanging a couple of moves later), and when given the choice of losing my LSB or saccing it speculatively on f7 in a King’s Gambit against Seán, I went for the latter, which turned out – as I’d kind of suspected – to be nonsense. I did manage to rescue dire positions against Richard and Daniel to win – the former after another nonsense sac was believed, and mate in one was then missed – but hung more material against Odhrán and Liam; it’s harder than you think to keep track of your opponent’s threats when you’re only at the board a few seconds at a time! Really the only game I managed to play well in was against William, who nicely opened up his king for me! In the end, I scraped a plus score, beating Liam C, Daniel, Richard, William and David Dooley, but losing to Desmond, Seán, Odhrán and Liam K.
The club is now closed until the first week of September, except for our senior club championships. The draw for the first round will be published in the last week of June.