Naomh Barróg had its first game in Group A of the Killane Shield against Phibsboro on Thursday June 22nd. Despite being out-rated by roughly 400 points on every board, the team punched above its weight to earn 2.5 points.
On board 1, Des played the Slav defence but after the opening found himself stuck for space. He played on the Queenside and managed to exchange pieces and win an isolated pawn. He lost that pawn and with more exchanges, ended up with a rook and pawn against a rook. Luckily, he knew the theory on how to draw such a position.
On board 2, Robert played the Ponziani and succeeded in doubling his opponents pawns on the h file. This damaged his opponent’s defences, but also gave him an open file for his Rook pointing straight at Robert’s King. Whether this open file was a strength or a weakness was the question that would decide the game.
Robert launched a Queenside pawn storm to damage his opponents pawn structure and made it unviable for him to castle in either direction. But his opponent did not take this lying down and launched a strong attack on the Kingside. Robert successfully defended and counter-attacked, adding more and more pressure onto the opposing King until almost all the opposing pieces were tied down and could hardly move. As his opponent ran low on time, he found a tactic to win a Rook and force his opponent to resign.
On board 3, Suzanne’s game was initially reasonably even. She succeeded in winning her opponent’s rook in exchange for a bishop and a pawn, which also exposed his King. However, soon afterwards he turned the table and forked her Queen and King. Despite the vulnerability of his King, the Queen was too strong and she resigned before the Queen gobbled all the pawns.
On board 4, Martin played against the Caro-Kahn and suceeded in placing his Knight on e6 where it threatened checkmate and forced his opponent to resign.
On board 5, Ger played the Indian Defence and quickly exchanged a number of pieces in the centre, including the queens and bishops. His opponent opted for a pawn push on his Kingside, while Ger responded by getting his King off the back rank and trying to double his Rooks on the A file. However this allowed his opponent’s Knight to get back into the game and attack his pawns on the Queenside. He lost a pawn and the Rooks were exchanged, leading to a very tight endgame.
He marched his King up the board with the hope to use it and the Knight to attack the pawns, however it wasn’t to be. The opposing King defended the e pawn and Ger couldn’t figure a way to break through and his position fell apart, leading to his resignation on move 55. Overall, he was very happy with how he played against a strong and very experienced opponent, and considers it a great learning experience.
On board 6, John played the London system and had a very good position from the opening into the middlegame, where he went a pawn up. But the position meant his opponent had more space and movement for his pieces, which he capitalised on and went on to win.