Oh dear, oh dear

NICS entertained Muldoons on Thursday night. NICS, a new generation of Civil Servants versus Muldoons, a revamped Mallusk squad with ambitions. Could the new boys challenge the travellers ambitions? Would the visitors be able to deliver on their bold talk? A testing match-up for both teams perhaps.
Oh dear, oh dear

NICS vs Muldoons

Sometimes its difficult to refer to a club as the "new boys" when most of their players fondly reminisce about L.S.D. rattling in their pockets and there was still change from a £1 note after a skin-full & a chip on the way home. Its just as difficult to credit the wandering Muldoons - fives home venues in the past four years and nearly as many name changes - as a settled, established squad. But Ulster Chess is full of such mysteries.

Board 5: Adrian Donford Smith bs Rodney OrrFirst board to fall was Drew Ferguson on 3 taking a dreadful hammering from Nick Pilkiewicz as white. Black got himself boxed in, lurching from one mating threat to another until the inevitable coup de gras. Geoff Hindley on board 4 survived a little longer against Richard Gould.

Adrian Donford-Smith played black on board 5 against new player Rodney Orr; allegedly this was Rodney's first real OTB game with a clock - his usual forte being online blitz competition. Adrian came under severe pressure with a pair of rooks and their Queen drilling a pawn up the c-file. Rodney probably missed several earlier opportunities but eventually found the mate. The surprise of the game was that Rodney was still within his first 15 minutes when the game ended.Board 1: Mark Newman vs Gareth Annesley

On board 1, Mark Newman, spying a mating opportunity on  Gareth Annesley's first rank, attempted to gain advantage by sacrificing a piece for a brace of pawns; the tactic didn't work out. With boths kings castled queenside and an almost open centre Mark appeared to be in a good position pushing an unchallenged d-pawn. Both players took their time trying to shift the balance of play. But as the pawns started to fall and the material balance was firmly with white, Gareth gradually asserted control eventually forcing the black King into a 10-move mate.

So it was down to Alan Burns to try and retrieve some honour for the NICS team. And it looked as if he might well do just that.

Board 2: Alan Burns vs Danny Mallaghan Danny Malaghan as black was under pressure facing a strong attack down the king-side while his own queen-side attack had stalled with the white king well protected - for the moment. Alan's h-pawn had reached h6 supported by a pair of rooks on the g & h files while black's king was more or less trapped on h8. Danny spent a long-time considering his position - with over 30 minutes time difference and his own clock into the final quarter. The break through came when Alan got caught with a check exposing one of his rooks. Now on active attack and with a good material advantage Danny was able to force the mate.

A dismal day for NICS experiencing their first white-wash of the season. And a good result for Muldoons - although not entirely unchallenged. As ever its strength in depth that has the greatest impact in local matches.

NICS 0 - 5 Muldoons

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