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Belfast South trip themselves up

NICS headed off across the city for the Banker's Club to test the mettle of "Kelly's Heroes". Waiting in the bay-window with chess board at the ready was Ray Devenney with Sam Flanagan, camera in hand. This did not look good at all!
Belfast South trip themselves up

Muldoons & NICS at Belfast South

Fortunately it turned out the Belfast South A-Team were entertaining Muldoon's first team. Or at least 4 of them were, fifth board was vacant so Des Moreland had wait it out after travelling over. Sam Flanagan & Danny Malaghan drew surprisingly quickly on board 2. Boards 1, Ray Devenney vs Gareth Annesley, & 3, Bruce McLean vs Nick Pilkiewiz,  flowed the same way but at a slower pace. Board 4, Stephen Wood launched a serious assault against Graeme McCormick down the centre with a pair of Rooks backed by a Bishop & Knight pair. But the Rooks could not deal the fatal blow. With the other two pieces too far away now to offer assistance, the attack fizzled out, reduced to pinging pawns. Graeme was able to recover, getting his own Rooks in to play and another draw resulted. Muldoons  win the match 3-2 with the forfeit board 5.

NICS boards 2 & 3The Division 2 match overflowed the main playing room with board 1 John McKenna defending against Mark Newman relegated to the main bar. Again there was no board 5 from the BSers leaving Pete Storey to join Des in the bar, eventually heading home disappointed and not a little aggrieved with getting no game after rushing back from down the country.

On board 2, Alan Burns defended against Neil Green and when Neil launched a major attack down the c-file it looked as if Alan's Queen was a goner. Alan is made of sterner stuff and not only survived the onslaught but, like last week, had squirrelled a troop of pawns up the King-side posing a serious threat to Neil who was now under time pressure. With most of the pieces still in play, the complexities just gobbled up the remaining time and Neil's clock ran out to give Alan the game.Board 4: George Jackson vs Adrian Donford-Smith

On board 3 Drew Ferguson was getting the better of Martin Kelly shaping up for a convincing direct attack on Martin's King. But a loose move left Drew's Queen exposed forcing the loss of a Knight. Despite a valiant attempt to force through a pawn to promotion, Martin was able to claim the game. Adrian Donford-Smith suffered a similar fate against George Jackson. Adrian dropped a pawn early on which George was able to exploit into the end-game.

NICS hopes to salvage some points were on final board Mark Newman who had John McKenna under the cosh with a back-rank mate threatening. With only White's Rook Bishop against Blacks Rook Knight, a lot of posturing as the foursome danced around each other letting John give  his King some breathing spaceBoard 1: Mark Newman vs John McKenna but at the cost of letting Mark advance an extra pawn to the 7th rank. Eventually John was forced into trading down and with only a few minutes left, conceded the game. Phew, NICS claimed the match to maintain a clean sheet in their Division 3 campaign. Next match against Bangor in two weeks will likely be a reality check for them.

A lot of gurning after the match though over Belfast South's insistence that players travel even though the club knew they could not field a full team for either fixture. And indeed, rather odd that the Division 1 fixture was a board shy when the BSers had players to put up a second squad. Rumours are that questions will be asked in the House with the barrack-room lawyers sharpening their pencils from both Muldoon's and NICS. With two adjudications already featuring the host club, we wonder if the BSers need to consider a renaming.

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