The club’s strength is such that, needing a sub, we could turn to Vjekoslav, who was joint first in the City of Dublin in September and is actually higher-rated than Ross and Dylan. Anastasija was lined up as well, but with one of the Malahide team pulling out sick shortly before the start, she had to settle for a walkover.
But although Malahide were bottom of the table, with a 1000-rated player on 7, they had no intention of going down without a fight, and indeed ended up giving us our toughest match of the season to date. Paul Reilly held John in a game which didn’t quite see the mad attacking it could have, with John ending up ceding the half point after his opponent got doubled rooks on the second rank, while Dave Willow was also held to a draw in his first game of the season.
But Constantin picked up a win on 2 to put us 3-1 up, while Michael was a piece up, Vjekoslav was on the attack and I was starting to get an edge on 7, and we were looking at another big win. But Malahide fought back; Vjekoslav got into time trouble and overlooked a nasty counter-attack, which allowed his opponent in for the win, while Michael – who had been well up on time – was still in a middlegame when he eventually joined his opponent in time trouble, and still a piece up, though facing rolling central pawns, he agreed to a draw.
I’d played far too cautiously against my much lower-rated opponent, maybe more waiting for him to lose the game rather than going out to win it myself, and had wound up in trouble, while Tim was in a drawish ending; two draws would have given us just a draw over the 7 boards on the night.
But the ratings gaps finally told, and we wangled two wins out of what Fritz would see as two draws to somehow end up with a 5½-2½ win. Although it’s our lowest score of the season, it was quickly followed by defeat for Curragh – probably our main title rivals – and so we have a 3½ point gap at the top of the table, and probably about twice that back to third place once all the round 4 results are in. So a third of the way through the season, and things are looking good for a first Heidenfeld Trophy triumph for the club in more than 20 years.
Meanwhile, a rake of byes meant that there was a lot of late late re-jigging to the Frank Scott Shield round 4 draw. The top four boards were all unchanged at least, but below that, only the battle of Danny v Danny remained, while Lochlann – who’s been down for a bye in almost every round at this stage, again avoided it and got a match…and will almost certainly be in for a bye in round 5 again after going down to an f7-attack against Ben.
Other Ben (Murray) had also fallen for an f7-attack against Diarmaid, with a Fried Liver going horribly right and Diarmaid just ending up a rook up, which was an easy point. Danny v Danny, meanwhile, gave us the first draw in the tournament – not through repetition, although for the second time in a week, Danny K ended up retrospectively checking his game to see if there had been a three-fold call (it was only two-fold this time), but after the game ended up in rook v rook.
Finishing off the bottom boards, Richard claimed only a third win in four Frank Scott Shield tournaments when edging out Eoin, while Bhudhav beat teammate Thomas to also record his first win.
At the business end, William picked up a queen against Aodhán, which was just about enough to see the point home, while Odhrán obliterated Felix’s kingside pawns and rolled his own home, and Liam and Utkarsh shared a draw – like buses, two came along at once. Dylan overcame Seán, to make amends for his defeat at the same stage last year and set up a final day showdown against Mihailo, who overcame Ross with the black pieces in a dramatic time scramble – Ross’ flag fell while Mihailo had just two seconds left, although he had been winning anyway.
So Dylan and Mihailo are the only two left on 4/4, and with no-one on 3½, it’s guaranteed that one of those two will take home the trophy at the end of the month, with the other probably having to settle for second on tie-break, with one of Ross, Odhrán or William the likely one to finish in third, although Utkarsh, Cal and Liam can technically come third if there’s draws higher up the draw.
The round 4 results in full were –
|2||Ross Beatty (3)||1756||0-1||1||Mihailo Manojlovic (3)||1807|
|3||Dylan Boland (3)||1647||1-0||5||Seán Devilly (2)||1492|
|4||Odhrán McDonnell (2)||1573||1-0||9||Felix Jordan (2)||1219|
|8||Liam Kelly (2)||1254||½-½||6||Utkarsh Gupta (2)||1377|
|7||William Kenny (2)||1371||1-0||11||Aodhán Keane (2)||1218|
|18||Daniel Fox (1)||788||½-½||15||Danny Kashanin (1)||852|
|16||Diarmaid Carey (1)||809||1-0||22||Benjamin Murray (1½)||559|
|14||Ben Coghlan (½)||1014||1-0||24||Lochlann Kelly (0)||Unr|
|23||Bhudhav Singh (½)||423||1-0||21||Thomas Cooney (1)||563|
|27||Eoin Johnson (0)||Unr||0-1||17||Richard O’Rahilly (½)||791|
|10||Cal Nolan (2)||1219||½-½||Bye|
|13||Luke-Andrew Feeney (1½)||1061||0-0||Bye|
|25||Brian MacCarvill (1½)||Unr||0-0||Bye|
|12||Joe Sheehan (1)||1117||½-½||Bye|
|26||Taylor Harris (1)||Unr||½-½||Bye|
|19||Tim Casey (½)||773||0-0||Bye|
|20||Declan Dolan (½)||773||0-0||Bye|