The first round of the Armstrong Cup got off to a start last weekend on Saturday, September 15 with some of the following results:
Gonzaga 5.5 Curragh 2.5
Rathmines 3 Balbriggan 5
Bray/Greystones 2.5 Kilkenny 5.5
St Benildus A 6.5 St Benildus B 1.5
Dublin 3 Elm Mount 5
Dun Laoghaire 6 Trinity 2
|1||Colm Daly||2268||½ – ½||Alexander Baburin||2420|
|2||Michael Waters||2046||0 – 1||Mark Quinn||2311|
|3||John Cairns||1971||0 – 1||Paul A. Wallace||2217|
|4||John Masterson||1839||0 – 1||Eamon Keogh||1881|
|5||Brian Beckett||1822||½ – ½||Michael Crowe||1791|
|6||Garrett Curran||1858||1 – 0||Eoin Minnock||1728|
|7||Pat Reynolds||1816||0 – 1||Liam Delaney||1732|
|8||James Burke||1646||½ – ½||Jack Lowry||1423|
As can be seen, Kilkenny put out an incredibly strong team on the top three boards and if they had Mark Heidenfeld play a few for them too then they surely would be serious contenders to win this year. The defending champions Gonzaga got off to a good start too with also 5.5 points but we will have to see the full details from their match to be able to gauge how good a team the Curragh were able to put out.
My own club Bray will be trying hard this year to at least make a serious effort at winning this year, though this first round was a minor disappointment considering a 4-4 result or even 4.5 to 3.5 defeat might have been very achievable with a bit of luck.
My own game saw me surprised and unprepared (I had not expected Kilkenny to field this team) to play against Irish number one GM Alex Baburin, who resumed our recent debate from the Irish Championships, about the KingsIndian g3 variation. Then I had obtained an equal position pretty easily when I played the classical variation against the g3 system and accepted an early draw offer when in hindsight it might have been better to play on at the time? Impossible to know, as the position then was no more than equal objectively, and a draw with Black so easily and quickly is a good result against the number one seed.
In this game, I had to work a bit harder as I played into a line that White has had plenty of experience and success with. However, I was able to get an equal game fairly easily here too, but had to absorb some White pressure first.
A key moment I guess was the position below with White to play which quickly went into an equal endgame. If White is not careful he could become slightly worse, but he keeps some pressure with a logical move that forces Black to play accurately for a few more moves and then be able to steer the game towards a draw.
The game went:
25. e5 ¤f8 26. f4 dxe5 27. ¦xe5 ¦e6! 28. £xc5 ¦xe5 29. £xe5 £xe5 30. fxe5 ¦xe5 31. ¥d5 ¤e6 32. ¥xe6 fxe6! 33. ¢f2 ¢f6 34. h4 ¢e7 35. ¢f3 ¦a5 36. ¦d2 ¦f5 37. ¢g2 g5 38. hxg5 ¦xg5 39. ¢f3 ¦f5 40. ¢g2 ¦e5 41. ¢h3 ¦f5 42. ¢h4 a5 43. ¢h3 ¦e5 44. ¢h4 ¦f5 [½:½]
I will post updates to this page as the season goes on and for official results, people should check out the LCU website which has plenty of details and useful information about the teams, matches, and players.
Anybody who wants to leave results here as soon as a match is played is welcome to do so and will be gratefully appreciated. This season looks like it might be closer than last and much more competitive. I heard that ElmMount also have a stronger team this year and I think they won their first match against Dublin too.