Rathmines won in spectacular fashion last night, Dec 1st, by beating the Armstrong leaders, Gonzaga, 7-1, with six wins and two draws. Even with one or two strong players missing, Gonzaga put out a very strong team.
The team was put out with Manuel on board one in order to “sacrifice” him, to maximise our chances on the lower boards. We thought that Sam Collins – Ireland’s #3 ranked player and IM – would inevitably defeat whoever we put against him. But Manuel turned out to be the star of the night, beating Sam and sending a ripple of shock and delight through the club. Aside from being a brilliant personal triumph, it sent a rush of adreniline through Rathmines.
Killian – last to start and first to finish – racked up a win early, even before his opponent had managed to castle. Leon followed up with another win and we were 3-0 up.
Darren looked to have messed things up against Ray Byrne (although I am sure he’ll claim otherwise) in a R+B+4Ps vs. 2B+6Ps ending. White had a passer on d6 which looked ominous. But Darren reached a B+4Ps vs. B+4Ps ending with a tiny edge which he skillfully exploited.
Tomasz looked to have a massive attack against Eoghan Casey, while Tony was comfortable against Carl Jackson. Mel had a distinctly better position in his game against John McMorrow, while I couldn’t see any advantage for either Sam Osborne or Gordon Freeman on board 2. In the time scrambles that followed, Tony went a piece up, almost lost to a counter-attack, then entered a winning endgame 2 pawns up, which was converted. Mel won, cooly converting his advantage.
Tomasz lost the thread somewhere and looked worse right near the end. With both of them in massive time-trouble, a draw was offered and accepted. Times: Tomasz 12 secs, Eoghan 4 secs!
I didn’t see the end of Sam’s game, but it also ended in a draw.
The result puts Rathmines A clear on 28 points at the top of the board, with Gonzaga down to 24.5 points. We’ve played Dublin, Dublin University, Bray/Greystones and Gonzaga, out of five matches, so the opponents have been strong. There are 3 strong opponents left – Kilkenny, Phibsboro, and Elm Mount A. But we fancy our chances now of winning the league.