Lucky Win For Champions Gonzaga
The Armstrong cup champions Gonzaga had a very lucky 5-3 win against Bray CC in round 10. Despite having already secured another Armstrong Cup win with two rounds to spare Gonzaga still fielded another strong team.
However, a freakish set of bad luck saw Bray CC gift three wins to Gonzaga on the top three boards, and instead of two draws and a win, or three draws for Bray, three losses instead resulted. One by PHONE DEFAULT- [ Daly V ODonnell ], another on time, in an endgame a pawn up which was easily drawn, [ Waters V Delaney ] and the other with a blunder of a whole rook from a knight fork in an easily drawn endgame. [ Collins V Joyce ]
My own unfortunate loss, came after my old Nokia bar phone decided to turn itself on, and make some sort of voice notification, which I have never had happen before, and still have no idea how or why it happened. It was infuriating at the time and only confirms my own view of the absurdness of some rules and or their implementation.
By which I mean to say, that I have always thought that in the context of non-professional and social chess settings like the LCU League team events, there should be some scope for a yellow card – red card type implementation of the rule about phones. For example, if a phone makes a noise then a warning cam be given to the player and team as a whole, thus, in theory, avoiding a situation of having to give a warning to a team of players individually.
The actual disturbance of a phone making a noise, assuming people are not going to be dumb and rude enough to answer a call, is far less than what often transpires in the course of a match.
In the case here, the phone just made that generic 2-4 second sound of turning itself on, and at first, I had not even realized it was my phone, but then when I removed my Tablet from my bag and seen that it was turned off, I rooted in my bag, and indeed I could establish for certain it was this old Nokia phone, which then proceeded to make a 2 -4 second voice message.
I had tried to just ignore the first noise and carry on but my opponent said he wanted to claim and that was that. Can’t be too critical of that as it was my responsibility to make sure this can never happen. Just a sickening feeling, as I know if the situation had been reversed I would not merely have not claimed, but I would have insisted we play on.
When modern chess becomes such a hassle and the slightest infraction is liable to be pounced upon by an opportunistic mindset, one has to wonder in part why people even bother to play at all? Free and undeserved rating points were the reward here in this instance, So again, I should not be too critical especially considering my opponent is so young and results, are at a premium, almost regardless of how they are obtained.By contrast, there is a nice example of an even much younger player, also on the rise, getting such a reward just from good play on the chess board.
From a chess point of view, and as it happens, the game had been a boring and uneventful one in which I had failed to obtain any tangible advantage and funny enough the last move played by my opponent, after some long thought, was an excellent one which solved all Blacks potential problems, and the position was dead equal and dull.
Pretty sure I would not have won the game anyway, which was disappointing in of itself, but a draw would have been still fine. The game with notes is available to play through by clicking on the diagram below. A few mildly interesting variations were possible instead of what occurred in the game.
Moral of the story seems to just don’t bring a phone with you to any chess match ever or remove the battery to be extra safe. After this loss, I was encouraged to see that John Joyce appeared to have outplayed Sam Collins rather nicely and at some point looked to be playing for a win and had the better chances.
The position below is the main starting point of my attention and White has given up a pawn for activity and some attacking chances against the Black king still in the center. On balance I think White has enough compensation for the pawn and may even be a little bit better, (not sure, though – just hard to tell) but he soon seemed to go a little astray and was certainly not better in the endgame that soon resulted. As usual, the game can be played through by clicking on the diagram. Black can consider himself most unfortunate to have just blundered at the end, after a less accurate move one just before.
The last tragedy for the team was the game between Micheal Waters and Killian Delaney when Micheal first missed a pretty clear win when low on time, and a pawn up, but then when he played a natural looking move and had to take great care with his position thereafter, he forced a position that surely leads to a drawn Queen endgame that, though it looked like it might even be a little bit better for White, instead leads to a very drawish position.
Micheal had beaten Killian the year before and considering how much Killian has improved in the past year he was doing well to have got a winning position against him this year too. The key moment in the position below with White to play is interesting and instructive too. Can you spot the winning move?
While it is one thing to not play the winning move here, and very forgivable, it is another to then lose on time, a pawn up, in a very safe position, as was the sheer bad luck to befall Micheal.
So with such an unlucky set of results from the top three boards which should have resulted in at least three draws and 1.5 points and combined with the three fine wins on the bottom three boards, we would and should have actually won this match either 4.5/3.5 or 5-3.
The heroes of the day were Robert Pye with an impressive Smyslov like endgame win against Gordon Freeman and Garrett Curran who had a crushing and no less impressive attacking win against Eoghan Casey
With John Masterson also impressively giving a good lesson in the Sicilian to Liam O’Laoide
The two other wins for Gonzaga were nothing we could complain about really. Carl Jackson beat Eric Bennett which is not shocking considering Carl has 8.5/9. While the game between David Murray and John Cairns could have gone either way and John was even a bit better at one point when a piece down, such was the crazy nature of the position.
So just maybe if we can get out this team next year for all, or most of the rounds, we will really give Gonzaga a run for their money and be serious contenders for the Armstrong. One of our worst seasons we have had now showing us the serious potential to have a good season if we get our act together. Gonzaga are clearly worthy champions, but they were very lucky indeed in this match.