The O’Hanlon A recorded a fifth win in a row and will be 2½ points clear at the top of the table for Christmas, while the Bodley, again struggling for players, went down to defeat in Rathmines.
The As travelled to Inchicore last Thursday looking for a big win to keep the pace up at the top of the table. Things didn’t go entirely to plan, however – though we had 300 points or so across each board, Brendan gave up a draw, while Anastasija lost. But we got wins on the other boards to secure a 4½-1½ win, and the weekend’s results were kind to both O’Hanlon teams – Enniscorthy dropped 1½ against Bray, Elm Mount A drew with Drogheda and Ballinasloe took a point off Gorey, results which mean our As are clear at the top and our Bs are also out of the drop zone.
Both sides now face into a run of matches against teams in the bottom half – Lopez, Elm Mount B and Ballinasloe, before finishing with big matches against Gorey and Elm Mount A. But for now, there can’t be many complaints from either camp about how the season has gone so far!
Meanwhile, in Rathmines at the same time, the Bodley lined out with another two subs and a scratch on board 5. While the games were on, I lined up for a one-hour friendly match in the regular club night; I sacced a piece for three pawns in the ending, and after saccing a further rook to stop my opponent from queening, I reached this curious position, which has to be worth recording –
We won’t record that, in mutual time trouble with my blind opponent, I for some reason accepted a draw by repetition here; even with all the checks white has, this is completely winning for black.
In the real match, subs Frank and Bhudhav went down to battling defeats when outrated by a few hundred points, but Felix took his score for the season to 3½/4 – after winning an exchange early on, he was frustrated in the middlegame as his opponent was able to latch his bishop on to the end of his pawn chain and block the position up. Felix turned down a draw and finally found a way through to open things up and swap a set of rooks off. His opponent – now just losing – offered another draw, which Felix again rejected, and his opponent promptly resigned. That just left Cal, who was having an eventful game – he had missed a Greek gift, albeit that it was inserted a couple of moves into a mutual capture sequence, had then come under pressure and protected against a fairly serious threat which it turned out his opponent hadn’t seen, then trapped his own knight rather than put it on a nice outpost, and finally fought well to reach a possibly drawn R+P ending, only to lose it in time trouble when his flag fell.
So a second 4-1 defeat in a row, and any promotion hopes are now gone. We should still have enough to stay up, particularly with only one relegation spot this season, so it looks like another quiet mid-table season for the Bodleys.
There’s just one more league game for the club this side of Christmas, when the Heidenfeld travel to Rathmines on Monday looking to keep up their promotion charge.