Originally scheduled for Sat 11th, Gorey rang 12 days in advance to ask if we could reschedule one board to Sat 4th. Thanks to this early prompt, it was soon noted that 11th was a clash with BOTH the Leinster Schools Leagues finals – accounting for half the Benildus team and nearly all potential subs – and the Galway congress – accounting for a 4th player and a few more possible subs! So it was with thanks to Gorey for their flexibility, and not a little relief, that the team of 5 set out from the school on Tuesday 7th for the trip down the N11.
Aware of the relative strength of the opponents (averaging +450), consideration was given as to board order. Liam, William and Aodhán backed themselves to take on boards 2,3 and 4, with Desmond electing to play 1 (+750) as Nicky had done against Gorey’s neighbours, Enniscorthy, to great effect earlier in the season.
After an hour, things were looking ok with Desmond progressing well, Aodhán an exchange up in a French exchange position (arising from a transposed Slav) and Nicky with a strong looking attack on her opponent’s king down the h-file. Boards 2 and 3 were both down on time but with no other discernable advantages eitherway.
Things did not last that way for long with Nicky forced to interpose her king between her attacking battery forcing significant loss of material and the game. Desmond drifted from a promising attack into a defensive position and was quietly squeezed of one and then another pawn and his position deteriorated from there to a loss as his opponent pushed ever further into his camp. Aodhán dropped a rook and with it the game for a worrying 0-4 with two still in play.
With all four remaining clocks ticking close to expiry, Liam secured a draw on 2 to remain unbeaten for the season and William secured the full point on 3 against his young opponent fresh from a 3/4 score for Ireland against Sussex over the previous weekend.
So 1.5/5 on the night, 1.5/6 the match score – a useful contribution both to survival for the Bs and table topping for the As who play Gorey in round 10.
For the Bs, 4-5 points from the last two rounds should be more than enough to ensure survival, though with Inchicore securing a 4-2 win over Royal Lopez, nothing is certain.