Three matches on the one Saturday was always going to stretch the club’s resources – in the end, despite trying 26 players overall, we had to scratch four of 16 matches and scramble what we could from the games we did play.
The O’Hanlon added to their two available squad players with a sub from the BEA and a sub from the Bodley, so starting the game 2-0 down before a pawn was pushed. Over the board at least, we nearly picked up a draw. Eddie blitzed his way to a draw, and Seán turned around an iffy position against Dayna Ferguson to win. However, Desmond was in trouble for a long part of his game and took a loss, which left Liam, who was a pawn down in a rook and pawn ending, but with a protected passed pawn on e5. His opponent offered a draw, which Liam declined – and then found that the protected passed pawn wasn’t worth the material deficit after all and lost soon after. Still, live and learn!
So after two rounds, the table looks like this –
It’s clear even at this early stage that we’re going to lack the consistency to challenge for promotion, so this may have to be another year of dull mid-tableness, and maybe a fair few more chances for our BEA and Bodley players to play up a level!
While the O’Hanlon hosted Drogheda, the BEA travelled in the opposite direction – with one BEA player and three subs. We had an early setback when Des lost in controversial circumstances – after 7 moves, it was noticed his king and queen were set up the wrong way around, and when they were placed on their correct squares, a piece which had been protected by the queen now wasn’t protected, which shortly proved important in a tactical sequence! Des never recovered from that – not knowing that the correct thing to do is to at least stop the clocks and get out a rule-book rather than accept the loss of a piece. The rulebook would have contained FIDE rule 7.2a – “If during a game it is found that the initial position of the pieces was incorrect, the game shall be cancelled and a new game shall be played.” Note rule 7.2b says that if the board was just set up the wrong way around, the game should continue, but with the board the correct way around. So it’s always worth emphasising that if you ever want to query a decision like this during a game, you’re allowed pause your clock and call a controller or consult with your team captain.
We split the other four boards to take a second 3-2 defeat of the season; still a solid start for a newly-promoted side. Inchicore away is the next stop.
That left the Bodley, who travelled to Enniscorthy with two O’Sullivan players and one player who’d only been up the club for the first time during the week. All things considered, we put in three quite decent performances, but ultimately went down on all three boards. Diarmaid was in a decent middle-game when he made a rash g5 push, hanging his h6 pawn to a knight check, and immediately losing the g5 pawn as well. Stephen was briefly material up in a game where neither side particularly paid much heed to what the other was doing, and as Stephen lined up mate, his opponent swooped first to claim the game. Tim was still fairly level by this stage, albeit a good bit down on time, and as his clock got a lot lower, a couple of mistakes came to the fore, one of which cost a piece. In the end, he lost on time with his opponent about to swap off into a trivial N+5 v 3P endgame.
This means that, in effect, the Bodley’s task for this season is to avoid relegation playing one match fewer than their rivals! We’ll hope to have some actual Bodley players for our next match against Malahide, which we’re currently trying to reschedule (probably to Malahide) to free up time for the Frank Scott Shield.