Rathmines faced a strong Phibsboro team in the semi finals of the Branagan team cup on Thursday night.
First to finish on the night was a loss for Killian Delaney against Kevin Butler. Any hopes Rathmines had of winning the match seemed to be fading. The game between Darren McCabe and Kevin Nolan was drawn. 1.5 – 0.5 to Phibsboro. The game between Xavier Busig and Mindaugas Jansuitis looked to be heading for a draw, or maybe even a win for Phibsboro. But Mindaugas never concedes any game, no matter how hopeless looking the position (remembering his game against John Burns recently!). Here was the position, with Xavier (white) to play. He is a pawn up and black’s pawns look weak. Add to that, black’s king looks vulnerable.
White played 1. Qxh7 which was answered by the tricky reply, 1…Qe4. Now, black threatens an uncomfortable check on g4 followed by the win of the g3 pawn. White cannot make casual moves, such as Qg6??, hoping to protect g4, because it loses instantly to Kf2 and – amazingly – checkmate in five! Fritz recommends 2. Qc7+ and a draw (after Kf2, white plays Qc5+ etc). He instead played 2. Qh5+ and black replied 2…Kf2!. Now, how does white stop Qg2+ or Qh1+? Both threats make 3. Qd1 the only move (which was white’s move) but after 3…Qg2+ 4. Kh4 Qxg3+ 5. Kh5 Qf3+, white resigned. The f-pawn queens!
On the top board, John Delaney capped his recent strong run – winner of the Malahide weekender – with a hard-fought win over Stephen Brady. To beat Brady under any circumstances would be remarkable. He has only lost three games in five seasons of the Lenister leagues – over 54 games in total! John’s win was based on constructing an attack against Stephen’s king, despite losing a couple of pawns to his marauding queen. The pace of the attack forced Stephen to drop an entire rook. The endgame featured John’s knight, rook, and two pawns against Stephen’s knight and five pawns. Eventually, the superior material told, John sacrificing his knight for two pawns, then winning a third, before Stephen resigned in a lost position.
Peter Cafolla beat another ex-Irish champion on board two, Richard O’Donovan. The final position featured a crushing attack against Richard’s cornered king by a combined knight, rook, and queen.
Rathmines finished the night impressive winners, 3.5 to 1.5.
- John Delaney 1 – 0 Stephen Brady
- Peter Cafolla 1 – 0 Richard O’Donovan
- Killian Delaney 0 – 1 Kevin Butler
- Darren McCabe 1/2 – 1/2 John Nolan
- Mindaugas Jansuitis 1 – 0 Xavier Busig