The O’Hanlons went unbeaten over the course of a match and a half in a productive night up the club on Wednesday.
The half match was for the Bs, with the other half of their crunch tie in the B derby – against Elm Mount B – postponed until next week at the visitors’ request. They went into the night a half point being their opponents, but at half-time, they’re 2½-½ up despite being out-rated on all three boards, and are now 1½ points ahead of Elm Mount B. Luke won an exchange, then blundered material back again and wound up with two rooks for a queen; his opponent missed the best chance of counterplay along the only open file, and instead, with no minor pieces left at all, the game ended up in a draw by repetition.
But the other two matches were wins; Liam took the scalp of Seán Loftus – who has presumably had enough of Benildus for a while, having lost to Cal and Felix in Kilkenny in November, and has a match against our As later in the month – while William won a fairly wild Dutch game on 1 to round things off.
In the other room, the As were up against Royal Lopez, who had lost to the Bs before the break, but who this time out had their 1530-rated board 2 back in action for only the second time this season. The As raced into a 2-0 lead on the bottom boards, where Lopez are relatively weak, with Ronan and Seán making short work of players rated 500 points lower. Elsewhere, the Ciaráns were material up, Odhrán had a slight positional advantage and Anastasija was level enough against a player she’d drawn with in the Leinster Juniors the previous week, despite also having a big ratings lead.
Hopes of a big win were dashed somewhat; Ciarán R built up an attack, won a piece – and then simply hung it back again a few moves later. And as he noted, if there’s one thing worse than simply hanging a piece, it’s hanging a piece against a blind player and having to play the capture move yourself! His opponent offered a draw shortly after, which Ciarán was happy to take, being now in a bit of trouble, although he wasn’t particularly happy at extending his league record this season to six draws in seven matches!
Odhrán, equally predictably, won a pawn and ground out a win, but then Ciarán M had to settle for a draw while still a pawn up but running low on time and with no obvious way of capitalising, while Anastasija was held by her opponent for the second time in a week, and we had to settle for 4½-1½ overall. Still, it’s 1½ more than Gorey managed against the same opposition, and it means the As are guaranteed to be top of the table after round 6 –
The As will be hopeful of staying top after round 7 too, as they next travel to Drumcondra to play Elm Mount B. The Bs, meanwhile, will reach nosebleed territory – seventh – if they can pick up at least a point in the remaining three matches of their tie next week; their next match is away to bottom-of-the-table Ballinasloe.
Enniscorthy face Elm Mount A this weekend, while Gorey host Drogheda, and a few dropped points there certainly wouldn’t be turned down!