It’s that time again, when we look at the league tables and decide whether we are close to winning, comfortable mid-tablers, or destined for life in a lower division. It’s quite an exciting time for many of Rathmines’ chess teams – so let’s do a quick round-up.
In the Armstrong, it has been a grueling and dispiriting campaign. In what has felt like an endless series of disappointing results, almost nothing seems to have gone right for us. This was illustrated again last Monday, when we played a postponed match against Gonzaga. First, Abul was defaulted when his phone went off. I suffered while trying to work out a complex middlegame – I was almost an hour behind on the clock at one point – but had managed to reach a theoretically drawn endgame. But with seconds remaining on the clock, I just couldn’t hold it. It is entirely my own fault, I should have saved some time and then found some simple moves to draw the game.
As a result of all of these (and many other) disasters, we lie in a very dangerous position, 10th, with just a half-point separating us from relegation. On the plus side – or maybe not? – we face the two teams right below us in the league table, Celbridge and Elm Mount B, in the last two games of the season. Gripping or what? However, Tomasz Skrzypnik has joined us just after Christmas and has contributed a measure of quality to the team. Indeed, he scored our only win of the match against Gonzaga.
In the Heidenfeld, the Rathmines A team have been doing superbly. So much so, that they led the league table for most of the season, until their most recent and uncharacteristic 1-7 defeat to Drogheda. That defeat has boosted Drogheda above them in the table and also put Malahide into first place. Rathmines can still win the league, with some good results. They face Bray/Greystones and Tallaght in those last two matches, who are in 8th and 9th positions respectively. Unfortunately, it looks like Rathmines B are in danger or being relegated. And – in an interesting twist – they face Drogheda in the final round. Can they do the A team a favour?
In the O’Hanlon Cup, Rathmines are in a clear first place and look set for promotion at least. This is division 4, so it looks like we’ll have two teams in division 3, Ennis, next year (from none this year). Notably, there have been great individual performances from the Ennis team, featuring John Maher on 6.5/8, John Gaffney on 6/8, and James Osborne on 6/8. Sadly, Paul Mogerley was playing for the Ennis team before his untimely death.
In the BEA, Rathmines are sitting comfortably enough, in mid-table.
(There are insufficient results posted for the Bodley Cup to make an accurate assessment of where we stand, although we were only on 2.5 points after 3 matches…).