When we accepted an invitation from the Leinster Chess Union last September to play in the Heidenfeld for the first time, we knew would face tough challenges. The standard would be higher than we had experienced to date and it was also going to be difficult with our limited resources to field two eight-person teams in the Armstrong and Heidenfeld.

Down and out by Christmas?

At Christmas, it looked like that our worst fears were going to be realised. We were firmly anchored at the bottom of the table with 13 points from five matches, 3 points adrift of third last place and salvation. With some very strong teams to play, we were everybody’s favourite for relegation.

 

Ballinasloe 17.5
Rathmines A 17.5
Rathmines B 17.5
Phibsboro 16
Dun Laoghaire 13
Lucan 13

The comeback

But what a revelation the second half was. In our six matches since Christmas, we scored 25 points, the fifth highest of the twelve teams in the league and only bettered by the top three finishing teams and Phibsboro. Among our opponents during this stretch were Gonzaga and Blanchardstown, the two promoted teams.

This fantastic turnaround was basically achieved by a tremendous team spirit. All individual interests were secondary to the interest of the team. Nobody minded what board they played as long as it helped the team. We exchanged frequent ideas and suggestions about forthcoming matches and opponents and consistently helped and encouraged each other. Everybody contributed to the revival of the fortunes of the team which had a great captain in Brian O’Gorman.

Having successfully met the challenges of our first season in the Heidenfeld. We eventually finished in eighth place ahead of Bray, Rathmines B, Rathmines A and Lucan, we look forward with a great deal of confidence to next season.