Bray had a stronger team out than had drawn against the Armstrong B two weeks previously, not needing their bottom two boards from that day. They took an early lead when John, who had come out of the opening with an advantage, went in for a dodgy sac which Fritz was able to debunk – and more importantly, so too was his opponent after John screwed up his move order anyway.
But that was to be Bray’s only win of the night, and after three rounds, seven of the Armstrong A have scored 2 or more points. Dave Willow and Ciarán Mahon picked up draws on the bottom board, while Mel beat Johnny Joyce after a wild game in which several pieces were hanging at various stages; Mel reckons it wasn’t entirely sound, but it was good enough to win. Kevin McHugh also won, which put us narrowly ahead as the last three games entered the final 20 minutes.
However, we were better across the three boards. Gerry’s opponent had erred in what looked a deadlocked position, and Gerry reached B+3 v B+1. The bishops were opposite colour, but Gerry’s other advantages made the win fairly trivial. Stephen was two pawns up in a queen ending against Colm Daly FM, although Colm had a menacing passed pawn, and in the end, both sides were happy to settle for a perpetual. Brendan was last to finish, swapping from a R+1 v B ending into a won KvK+P ending at an opportune moment and sealing a 5½-2½ win. It’s early days yet, but with Gonzaga meeting Elm Mount on Monday, we could end round 3 top of the league.
A little curiosity worth noting is that last night’s game marked the fifth time the club has visited Bray this season! All of our teams bar the BEA – who don’t play Bray at all this season – have made the trip to the Esplanade in the past five weeks, and we’ve come away with three wins, a draw and just the one defeat, with the game score being 18-15 in our favour.
Meanwhile, the club championships were throwing up some big games on the top boards. It was on the bottom boards where we got the first results though; Daniel got tied up in several pins and forks against Ben and lost, while Stephen was also finished very quickly against Luke-Andrew, albeit in a long game which went to a pawn ending before Luke-Andrew took victory.
Higher up the way, Dylan convincingly squeezed Aodhán out on board 1, while Ross had gone in for a fairly sharp line of the Scotch Gambit against Seán, which soon turned into carnage, and Seán resigned in a curious position where he had two bishops for two rooks, but his rather exposed king proved decisive.
William ground out a win against Richard in an IQP position, while Diarmaid provided the evening’s only upset with a draw against Cal. The last game to finish, as it was last week, was Odhrán’s. Tim had gone for a fairly inventive sac on f6, just dropping a bishop onto the square, allowing it to be captured by the g7 pawn so a white pawn could land on f6. It didn’t quite work out and once the attack waned, there was only going to be one winner – but never any harm in trying!
Round 3 is next week, and the draw will be up over the weekend.