Friday, 3 June 2016

Summer Break

Aberystwyth Chess Club is now closed for the summer. We will resume club nights in September.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Congratulations to Rudy

Congratulations to Rudy van Kemenade and the Welsh team on their performance in the European Seniors Team Championship in Halkidiki, Greece, in April. The team finished an excellent 4th, only narrowly missing out on the bronze medal, while Rudy scored 4/7, and came close to winning against a Grandmaster.

In Rudy's absence, the A team played a match against Gwyddbwyll.com at the St David's Club on Tuesday 26th May. Julie van Kemenade obtained a crushing kingside position against Iwan Griffiths with her King's Indian, while his queenside advance came to nothing, leaving him with a hopeless defensive task. Adam Robinson had a slight advantage in a Caro-Kann with a long way to go when Owen Llywelyn got a knight trapped and resigned. On fourth board, Tony Geraghty won a piece early on against Emyr Llywelyn, and clinched the game with a deadly pin. My game on Board 3 came to an early and unfortunate end when Tegwyn Jones was taken ill with a stomach bug. Happlily, he felt well enough to drive himself home after a while, and the game was abandoned. League Controller Iolo Jones, in Greece with the Welsh Seniors team, ruled that the game should be awarded to Aberystwyth, but neither player's grading should be affected by the result. Aberystwyth therefore won the match 4-0.

Iwan Griffiths - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Adam Robinson - Owen Llywelyn 1-0

Tegwyn Jones - Matthew Francis 0-1 (default)

Tony Geraghty - Emyr Llywelyn 1-0

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Too Complicated

The recent spate of matches between Aberystwyth and Haverfordwest continued on Wednesday 13th April when the two A teams met at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. It is not often Rudy van Kemenade complains that a game is too complicated, but his game against Colin Denham seems to have bemused even him. Mind you, he was playing Black in a King's Indian (by transposition) in a line where he had once lost to the great Bronstein, who knew a thing or two about complications. If it was a bit much for Rudy it was even more so for Colin, who was the first to crack under the pressure of time and tactics. Julie van Kemenade's game against John Miller, by contrast, was a blocked French Defence, where it seemed neither side would be able to break through. Julie missed the point of Black's careful manoeuvring which threatened to win a pawn and dominate the position. She was still unaware of the danger when she offered a draw, and her opponent, somehow doubting his own success, accepted. I was once again playing Scott Hammett, whom I had beaten in the previous match. This time I got nothing out of the opening or the middlegame (and should have lost a pawn), but managed to take control in the knight and pawn ending, marching my king up the board and creating zugzwang. A temporary sacrifice of my knight in the corner opened up the centre for my king and passed pawn, allowing a transposition to a won pawn ending. Jamie Friel sacrificed his bishop on f7 in a King's Gambit against Gwyn Evans but neglected to secure the centre and lost quickly. A 2½-1½ win meant Aber A overtook their own B team to restore their traditional precedence.

Colin Denham - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade - John Miller ½-½

Scott Hammett - Matthew Francis 0-1

Jamie Friel - Gwyn Evans 0-1

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Alphabetical Disorder

With the season drawing to a close, Aberystwyth B have turned the alphabet on its head by overtaking the A team in the Dyfed League. Following the latter's disastrous match against Haverfordwest B, it didn't look unlikely that the B team would do better against the same opponents, whom they outgraded on all boards. And so it proved when the teams met at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Wednesday 6th April. The new Welsh Ladies' Champion Julie van Kemenade was under some pressure against Martin Jones on top board, with her king still in the centre, when he miscalculated his attack and lost material, and her passed pawn clinched the win. I had the advantage from an early stage against Scott Hammett's unorthodox defence to 1.e4, but found it difficult to get over the line, even missing a mate in two. However, my attack was good enough for a material gain that carried me through the endgame. Tony Geraghty, the only Aber player who had featured in the A team's defeat, got a French-player's dream position out of the opening, but, despite being a piece and several pawns up, he took rather longer to finish the game off than he would have liked. On Board 4, Sam Holman has been on good form recently and had no problems against Sandra Whitby, who showed her inexperience by moving her queen several times in the opening. A 4-0 whitewash for Aberystwyth B made a point to the A team not long before the second Aber derby match.

Martin Jones - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Matthew Francis - Scott Hammett 1-0

Gwyn Evans - Tony Geraghty 0-1

Sam Holman - Sandra Whitby 1-0

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Congratulations to Julie

Congratulations to Julie van Kemenade on winning the Welsh Ladies' Championship at the 2016 Welsh Chess Championships. Here she is with her trophy. There is a report on the tournament on the Welsh Chess Union site, from which all games can be downloaded. Rudy has annotated one of her games, a fighting draw with a higher-graded player, below.

Julie van Kemenade - Joe Fathallah ½-½

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Blacker Wednesday

Having already called a recent post Black Wednesday, I am at a loss what to call my description of Aberystwyth A's match against Haverfordwest B at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes on Wednesday 16th March. It sometimes happens in chess that a player will lose to an opponent graded 3-400 points lower: it adds an element of unpredictability that helps make the game interesting. But it doesn't usually happen three times in the same evening. On top board, Rudy van Kemenade played a very sharp game against Martin Jones, and both players got a bit lost in the complications. Mating combinations were missed, before White eventualy emerged with an extra rook. Adam Robinson was the one Aber player who came out on top, keeping his cool as Scott Hammett plunged into more complications that never looked soundly based with his Latvian Gambit. Tony Geraghty tried to sacrifice his way out of trouble against Robbie Coles, and was soon a rook down without compensation. On fourth board, Jamie Friel dropped a piece against Ray Greenwood, but had a chance to draw the king-and-pawn ending, which would have made Aber's defeat a little less devastating. 3-1 to Haverfordwest B.

Martin Jones - Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Adam Robinson - Scott Hammett 1-0

Robbie Coles - Tony Geraghty 1-0

Jamie Friel - Ray Greenwood 0-1

Hungarian Fried Liver

Aberystwyth B played a depleted Carmarthen side at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes on Monday 14th March, and secured a good result. On top board, Julie van Kemenade looked for complications against Gerry Heap, and only got herself into difficulties - it's well known that the best approach against Gerry is to try to bore him to death, but that isn't Julie's natural game. Tony Geraghty got a good active position against Richard Thomas's Queen's Pawn Game, winning the exchange and retaining control until White shortened the game with a blunder. Sam Holman played vigorously against the higher-rated Robert Narayan-Taylor's Hungarian Defence, using a version of the Fried Liver Attack that was even more effective than the original recipe to secure a quick win.With the default on Board 4, the match finished 3-1 to Aberystwyth.

Julie van Kemenade - Gerry Heap 0-1

Richard Thomas - Tony Geraghty 0-1

Sam Holman - Robert Narayan-Taylor 1-0

Two more games from the Club Championship:

Rudy van Kemenade - Ian Finlay 1-0

Sam Holman - Joel Greenwood ½-½