The Br. Dooley Invitational Shield Competition

The Br. Dooley Invitational Chess competition took place in the school library on Tuesday last. It was well oversubscribed by club members, so the final number of competitors had to be reduced down to 16. This enabled us to run four rounds of twenty minutes per player. The first round started with a heavy and somewhat unfair draw for the junior players against the senior members of both the A and B teams.

The senior players took no prisoners and simply waded through the valiant efforts of their opponents with the single exception of Conor Dunne. Conor stood firm and resolute playing with a determination the likes of which you would only see in a young life’s struggle against nature’s harshness. Conor had made it through to the next round, he was now in the lion’s den. The school’s senior players were biting at the bit for the next round to start. They were like a bunch of toddlers tanked up on sweet cakes and fizzy drinks. Their taste for blood was apparent to the large audience. The Senior Players saw Conor’s progression through to the semi-final as a step too far. Conor surprised them all by dispatching his opponent in this round with a speed that was simply jaw dropping. He had made it! Now Conor was to face his toughest match yet. It was to be against one of the big three: Ciaran Gell, Nadeem Naber and Sean Kelleghan. These three students are the best chess players that the school has to offer.

Conor was drawn against Nadeem. Conor played to the best of his ability but sadly it was not enough to stem the might of Nadeem. Conor should be very proud in reaching the semi-finals. He is now ranked 4th in the school. The other semi-final was to be a gargantuan, tension-filled spectacle held between the two big guns of the school – Ciaran Gell and Sean Kelleghan.  Ciaran playing white was aggressive in the movement of his pieces across the board. He showed a certain allusiveness in his attacks. Members could see that Ciaran and Sean  were the ones to watch. It was hard for the audience to contain their excitement as one piece after the other fell to the might of Ciaran’s game. Ciaran seemed like he was in his stride and was so confident with his play. He was playing to the best of his ability and some of his moves were world class! Sean who is one of the most laid back players you could ever see simply took everything Ciaran had to throw at him and smiled. Sean hit back with a thump,slicing through Ciaran’s game, again and again. Sean hit harder and harder. It was clear to see that he had courage, but courage was not enough to stem Ciaran’s game. Sean bowed out to a-round of applause from an audience who appreciated having the honour of seeing one of the best matches ever to be played in Colaiste Eanna.

It was now time for the grand final – Ciaran Gell Vs Nadeem Naber.  A battle royale. The audience shivered with excitement. Ciaran was to play white again. An old adversary of Nadeem’s, he made a few subtle changes to his game. Gone was the aggressive style the audience had witnessed in the final.

Nadeem, in his typical style played tactfully and meticulously in order to overpower the supposed supremacy of Gell on the board.

Any signs of cautiousness vanished as Ciaran went on the attack.  Nadeem knew he would have to come out of his shell and push back. This now meant both players were going hard for the win and it was very tight up until the last 10 minutes.

Unfortunately for Nadeem, his usually beneficial analytical mind was in this case detrimental to his performance and cost him the title on the day. He may have had the winning play on the board, but his timing let him down on that fateful day. It was heartbreaking to see an exhilarating game come to an end due to timing rules.

For the second year running, Ciaran Gell claimed the Br Dooley Invitational Shield and is the Colaiste Eanna Chess Champion 2012/2013.