(report by Paul Ward)
A great achievement by the Galway Chess Club in retaining the Connaught League Trophy for another year!
In round 1 we were successful in beating the strong Ballinasloe team 3:2 in Ballinasloe. The match was very tense and evenly fought. I got a lucky break with a quick win due to a combination my opponent missed. Newcomers Carlos and Andrew played very well to take 2 more points while Joona and Ger were unlucky to not get something out of their games, credit to their opponents and I expect Ballinasloe to be contenders again for the title.
Meanwhile, Castlewest defeated Sligo 4:1 in their match.
In round 2 we played Sligo at home. We won 4:1, but the match was tighter than the score line suggests. A very quick win by Carlos, who has really shone for our team, got us off to a great start. David Cormican played his first game in the League and was attacking. Henryk, another newcomer to the team, was in a right old positional scrap in his game, Ger too was in a close battle with the queens off, and I was 2 pawns ahead in my game. David nicely won his game to put us 2:0 up, then Ger also finished off well, and we were 3-0 up. I managed to convert a win into a loss and finally Henryk won his scrap.
At the same time, a shock, Ballinasloe beat Castlewest 3:2!
Round 3, in Westport, we finally renew our battle against our Castlewest friends. The setting was perfect; upstairs in the Shebeen pub, overlooking the bay and in the shadow of Croagh Patrick. Board 1 was our newcomer Gerardo playing Joe McDonnell and he played a very fine game and produced the first point! Brilliant start. All other games were very tight although David was attacking again against Eamon Abberton, organizer of the Connaught League.
I made a bad calculation against David Baird and was struggling. Andrew had a solid position in his game and was slightly ahead, and Carlos was going well against John Hensey. My game was starting to fall apart but thankfully David was all over Eamon’s king and finally took the win 2-0 to Galway, the best game of the match. Andrew played a really good endgame, promoted a pawn to a queen, sacked the queen for a pawn and then promoted anther pawn and won, which is just as well as I had to resign against David Baird, who played well.
At 3:1 up and the match and indeed Trophy secured, Carlos took a draw in his game.
Our team included 4 new comers and represented Argentina, Poland, Ireland, England, Portugal and Finland!
I wish to personally thank them all for their time, commitment, fun and fantastic chess!
Congratulations to the Galway team and Connaught League Champions 2014: Carlos da Silva, Joona Kiiski, Ger Abberton, Henryk Raczkowiak, Paul Ward(Captain), Andrew Barber, David Cormican, Gerardo Artola Pola
Connught League Champions 2014