Travelling with just four players – including two subs – we were facing an uphill battle from the off, but we did at least manage to bring the tie level early on when Thomas Cooney picked up his first win for the club. After a Bodley-esque exchange of blunders – Thomas hung a piece to a pawn fork, which his opponent missed, instead leaving one of his own pieces en prise – Thomas weathered an attack to finish the game off nicely in this position. White has just played 1. a3, looking to kick the bishop from the defence of the queen, when there might be tactics afoot (although the immediate 1. a3 Ba5 2. Bg5+ Kg7 3. RxB+ doesn’t work as the knight is now blocking white’s idea of QxQ) So how does black, to play, best end white’s attack? Answer at the end!
On board 3, Brian was making his club debut; he had started by making up an English opening as he went along, and quickly built up a strong attack. Unfortunately, the attack petered out in an exchange of pieces, and after an ill-advised queen swap, Brian was left trynig to hold an ending with a weak pawn structure, with his opponent able to pick off some pawns one by one, promote and queen.
On the top boards, where our regular Bodley players were in action, Cal dropped a central pawn, and with a 250-point rating gap to make up as well, this proved too much, and he slipped to defeat. Meanwhile Felix had missed a free piece, then dropped a pawn and looked in big trouble before he clawed his way back in a rook and pawn ending which went as far as kings and h-pawns each before a draw was agreed.
So not the start we wanted as we look to build on last year’s fifth-place finish, but there’s a long way to go yet. Round 2 is later this month, and will be the first of two big triple-headers, with the Bodley playing alongside both our O’Sullivan teams. Subs will likely be needed!
Finally, the puzzle above – Thomas played 1. … RxP!, which is simply crushing. If 2. PxB RxN and white’s attack is over. And white can’t win the rook after 2. Ng5+ Kg7 3. QxR because of 3. … Bc5, and the queen is lost.