Stormont Action

NICS entertained Muldoons on Thursday acting as hosts too for the Division 1 fixture between Lindores & Ballynafeigh. The two home teams have struggled to find form so far this season and it looked like another disastrous match for NICS.

NICS vs Muldoons

Board 3: Drew Ferguson thwarted Bernard McCaughey's e4 taking him out of book after 2 moves. But he failed to capitalise and after a series of weak moves Bernard was able to string a number of combinations together to win significant material and the game.

Board 4: Geoff Hindley opened to Pat McKillen and into the middle game it looked as if White might have the makings of a decent attack; however, Pat's defence was solid  and he effortlessly pushed Geoff back onto the starting rank to be mated in the corner.

NICS looked in serious trouble against a strong squad from Muldoons.

Board 5: Pete Storey was already material down and as Rodney Orr mounted a forceful attack through the centre, it looked like curtains for Black. But Rodney had missed a Knight check from h3 supported by  Pete's precious few remaining  pieces to steal a mate in the corner.

Board 2: David Jackson had weakened a balanced position by moving his lone Knight onto the h-file. This allowed Peter Wilson to exert greater pressure down the f-file; but he could not capitalise on his advantage winning a solitary pawn on a2. The resulting end-game favoured Peter's pawn majority on the Q-side but accurate play from David saved the day with all pawns leaving the board to force a draw.

Board 1: this left Mark Newman defending against Peter McGucken and down to the last board in play Peter engineered a forceful attack that was almost unstoppable requiring an apparent Rook sac with check from Mark. Peter did not accept the gambit letting Mark wriggle out of danger with his forces intact and White's Queen en prise. Time pressure forced an error from Peter dropping a Rook and leaving the board open for Black.

An amazing turn-around from NICS, saving the match and earning a bonus to boot. A great save from Pete, David & Mark!

Lindores vs Ballynafeigh 1

Most games getting close to falling flags

Board 5: Robert Lavery had the white pieces against Ian Kilpatrick. Ian played the Petroff Defence, and as the pieces were exchanged off the board the game appeared to trundling towards an uneventful draw until, in the resulting king-and-pawns ending, Robert decided to press for a win with 39. Kg4? instead of the more prudent 39. Ke3. He soon regretted his decision, as his king was shepherded into the corner, leaving the white pawns at the mercy of the black king.

Board 2: A clash of two styles, with Calum Leitch calmly defending against Soren Jensen's energetic pawn drive down the f-file to the 6th rank. Soren dodged a few bullets from Calum but eventually capitulated.

Board 3: Ross Harris defending against Steve Rush, the game was reduced to matched 3 pawn-chevrons each with a roaming Rook trying break through in between irritating checks. After dancing around the board at least three times, they agreed a draw.

Fred MacDonald (Lindores) and Geoff Hindley (NICS) were not talking.Board 4: Fred MacDonald opening to Brendan Jamison got his Queen's Rook trapped in the corner as Brendan stormed down the b-file to harry White's King. An enormous gap opened up on the clock as Fred's time dribbled away while Brendan's economical play gave him almost a forty minute advantage. That was all the advantage Black could manage as White squirmed and wriggled to get his material into play pushing pawns on the a- and g-files whilst restraining Black's King with an active Rook on the back rank. First one pawn promoted and the second was two moves away to have 3 White Queens on the board. But Black's Queen and Rook manoeuvred themselves on the a- and c-files sandwiching White's King between them. There were just too many complications as Fred's clock ran out.

Board 1: Ulster Champion Gabor Horvath, with the black pieces, faced David Houston. After responding to David's 1. e4 with a Pirc Defence, he got a good middle-game, but found himself under time pressure. David sacrificed an exchange with a view to creating complications, and soon benefited from a rare blunder by Gabor, winning the game and drawing the match for the visitors.

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