Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Summer Break

Aberystwyth Chess Club is taking a break for the summer. The first club night of the new season will be Tuesday 6th September, at the usual time of 7.15. This blog will continue when there is anything to report. (At the moment there are plans for a friendly match against Haverfordwest.) Meanwhile we wish all our readers a relaxing summer.

Farewell to Mark Talbot

Mark Talbot Aberystwyth's regular Board 1 and 2011 Club Champion, Mark Talbot, is about to graduate from Aberystwyth University, and will be returning home to Lancashire after three years here. An extremely strong player (currently fourth in the Dyfed Rating List), he has been a huge asset to the team, and a welcome presence on club nights. Modest, sportsmanlike and always willing to share his knowledge of the game, he will be missed both at the club and in the Dyfed League generally. We wish him well for the future and hope that at least some of us will encounter him across the board at some future event. Mark has said his goodbyes in a very gracious email, which I quote below:

"...I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Aberystwyth Chess club and I will certainly miss it.

"During my three years here in Aberystwyth I have felt very welcome at the chess club and have enjoyed the company of everyone. I have learned a lot about chess through playing different club members and against other clubs, and hopefully taught a few tricks too! I have also enjoyed testing myself in the Dyfed league playing against other clubs.

Thank you all for taking the time to make me feel very welcome and thank you Rudy for giving me the opportunity to play for the team. I'll enjoy reading the aberchess blog and playing through all the games. Hopefully I'll see you again at a tournament some time.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Positively Final Match of the Season

As Carmarthen had been given a couple of weeks' grace to catch up on their missed matches in the Dyfed League, Aberystwyth A played their last match of the season at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes on Monday 14th May. Carmarthen fielded a full-strength side, while Aber were without top board Mark Talbot. That left old rivals Rudy van Kemenade and Gerry Heap to contest the Board 1 game, an English Opening, in which White had a fierce kingside attack, but Black had counterchances in a complex position. In the end it was Rudy who lost his way, allowing a White passed pawn to break through. My game against David Buttell had reached a level middlegame position when he allowed a simple tactic that exposed his king. After that I had the better chances, and clinched the win soon afterwards. Julie van Kemenade's Philidor Defence against Keith Downey resulted in a difficult queenless middlegame where White had doubled rooks on the seventh rank but Black had a counterattack. Later analysis showed that Julie could have broken through but she understandably took the draw that was available. On Board 4 James Cook dropped a pawn early against Huw Morcom's Najdorf and never managed to get back into the game; the extra pawn, on the kingside, proved a destructive weapon in breaking into the White position. The final score was 2½-1½ to Carmarthen. Cardigan A are Champions again, with Aberystwyth A second. Aberystwyth B finished third, and won the Iolo Jones trophy for the best results by players graded under 1700.

Gerry Heap - Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Matthew Francis - David Buttell 1-0

Keith Downey - Julie van Kemenade ½-½

James Cook - Huw Morcom 0-1

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cardigan A Win Again

Cardigan A confirmed their domination of the Dyfed League on Monday 30th April with a sweeping home victory against nearest rivals Aberystwyth A. Aber's only success was on top board, where Mark Talbot, playing White, was never in trouble against FIDE master Howard Williams in an Alapin Sicilian, and achieved an early draw. Rudy van Kemenade tried to unbalance his game with an unorthodox formation of isolated and doubled pawns and an exchange sacrifice which Iolo Jones chose to decline. Black could reach equality in some lines, but never really had an attack, and White was able to regroup and exploit the weaknesses in his position. Julie van Kemenade played a King's Indian Attack type formation against Tony Haigh's Franco-Sicilian. The players ended up castled on opposite sides and her pawns eventually succumbed to Black's pressure. On Board 4 I was facing the King's Gambit for the first time. Howard Leah had a dangerous kingside attack, but I managed to get counterplay; with both players short of time, I baled out into an inferior ending instead of continuing to try for a win, and compounded the error with a blunder just after the time control. 3½-½ to Cardigan A. It is not quite clear at time of writing if the League has now finished for the year, or if Carmarthen will be able to catch up on at least some of their outstanding matches, but Cardigan A, with a record of twelve wins and only a single draw, are worthy champions again.

Mark Talbot - Howard Williams ½-½

Iolo Jones - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade - Tony Haigh 0-1

Howard Leah - Matthew Francis 1-0 1-0