Sunday, 28 April 2013

Jan Sendall and Paul Clark Memorial Rapidplay

Colin Denham of Haverfordwest Chess Club writes:

"I would like advise everyone about a Memorial Handicap Rapidplay Tournament that I am arranging for Sunday 12th May please.

The link to the entry form: Jan Sendall & Paul Clark Memorial Rapidplay Tournament already appears on the Dyfed Chess Association site.

I would also like to post the following words regarding the recent death of Paul Clark please:

It is with deep regret that I have to inform everyone that Haverfordwest Chess Club has lost another competent player this season - Paul Clark, who passed away on the 11th April 2013 at the age of 62.

Paul was a very keen and inventive player and was arch rival to the late Jan Sendall (who was tragically killed in a car crash on the 10th December 2012) - like Jan, Paul had a cunning ability to manufacture checkmates from almost drawn positions.

I had several tough battles with Paul over the board and will miss being able to play any more challenging games with him.

Hopefully, they can now both continue their battles in the heavens above..."

Business End of the Season

It seemed as if every player in the Dyfed League was gathered at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Monday 22nd April, when Aberystwyth B arrived to find players from Cardigan A and Carmarthen there as well as their opponents for the evening. This is the business end of the season, with clubs rushing to get through their last few matches. Haverfordwest A are a strong team these days, with all four players graded in the 1600s. On top board, I was paired against one of the season's form players, Martin Jones, and got a nice position against his Pirc Defence, before letting the advantage slip. I was a bit surprised when he turned down my draw offer and, finding myself with some more thinking to do and very little time to do it in, panicked and dropped a rook right away. James Cook was faced with an unusual response by John Miller to his Caro-Kann which produced a sharp position early on. Black came off worse in the tactics, losing material. Tony Geraghty has been playing very well recently and once again got a promising kingside attack with his London System against Colin Denham. However, he allowed the tension to dissipate and neither side had a way through in the resulting blocked position. Ian Finlay is another player who has had an excellent run. He dropped a pawn with his Sicilian against Ron Wade, but had a good initiative in compensation. Missing the best chance of attack, he compounded the error by allowing a fork on queen and rook, after which the game was soon over. The match finished 3½-½ to Haverfordwest A.

Matthew Francis - Martin Jones 0-1

John Miller - James Cook 1-0

Tony Geraghty - Colin Denham ½-½

Ron Wade - Ian Finlay 1-0

Next evening, the A-team were in action, a home match at the St David's Club against Cardigan A. The Dutch Defence is an uncompromising opening that can give Black a ferocious attack or fall apart dramatically: Rudy van Kemenade is a great exponent of it, but it all went wrong for him against Howard Williams, whose pieces were suddenly dominating the board, leading to a quick demise. Julie van Kemenade is another player who likes a fight; finding herself in trouble with her Four Knights Opening against Iolo Jones, she went for an enterprising exchange sacrifice which gave her attacking chances. Unfortunately she missed the best move and lost further material in the complications. I have been making a habit of bamboozling Tony Haigh in the opening recently, though it would be more satisfactory from my point of view if I could do the same in the other phases of the game. This time he was surprised by my Tarrasch Defence to the Queen's Gambit, and quickly got a worse position. I looked hard for the winning continuation, but couldn't see it (Rudy and Howard soon found it afterwards), and settled for a draw by repetition. Finally, James Cook went a pawn down in his English Opening against Jamie Sen but was able to hold the difficult ending for a draw. 3-1 to Cardigan A.

Howard Williams - Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - Iolo Jones 0-1

Tony Haigh - Matthew Francis ½-½

James Cook - Jamie Sen ½-½

Monday, 22 April 2013

Friendly Fire

At Rudy's suggestion, I'm posting an example of a typical Club Night friendly game, of the sort we regularly play on a Tuesday evening. "Typical" in that Rudy sacrifices both rooks in the spirit of Anderssen's Immortal game against Kieseritsky, London, 1851; "friendly" in that, unlike Anderseen, he lets me get away with a draw on this occasion. The postmortem quickly revealed the winning line.

Matthew Francis - Rudy van Kemenade ½-½

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Old News, Newer News

Two reports this time, one dating from the middle of last month. For once, team captain and regular annotator Rudy van Kemenade didn't play in the A-team's match against on Tuesday 12th March, and he and the scores have been narrowly missing each other ever since. Finally they have managed to be in the same place at the same time, so that the rest of us can see what happened. The Aberystwyth team were in reckless mood, it appears, as all of the top three boards tried speculative piece sacrifices. On top board, David Ferguson's Nxf7 against Iwan Griffiths in an exchange French ignored the weakness of his own back rank, leading to instant defeat. James Cook fell for a common trap on the Black side of a Ruy Lopez, dropping a pawn, which may have induced him to play more aggressively than usual in a search for compensation: his Bxh2+ against Owen Llywelyn didn't get anywhere as the queens came off immediately afterwards, snuffing out his chances of an attack, another defeat for Aber. There were better results for our in-form lower boards. Tony Geraghty's Bxf2+, in a London System against Dewi Jones, at least couldn't be accepted safely, but Black could decline it with good chances; he did, but missed the best line and was beaten in the ending. Only Ian Finlay refrained from sacrifices, saddling Tegwyn Jones with weak doubled pawns and exploiting his positional advantage to grind his opponent down. The match finished 2-2.

David Ferguson - Iwan Griffiths 0-1

Owen Llywelyn - James Cook 1-0

Tony Geraghty - Dewi Jones 1-0

Tegwyn Jones - Ian Finlay 0-1

The A-team's latest match was against Cardigan B at the St David's Club on Tuesday 9th April. Rudy dropped a pawn against Tony Haigh's Trompowsky, but managed to get counterplay. In the resulting difficult rook ending, both players missed chances but finally Tony was left with a desperate race to give mate with king and queen against lone king before his flag fell, which he just managed to do. Julie van Kemenade also lost a pawn against Awne Osinga, who would have been quite content with a draw against his strong opponent, but she played on to reach the potentially explosive situation of queen, rook and pawns for each player. This was well suited to her tactical style, and Black quickly fell into a trap. After being uncomfortable at first against Nick McIlvenna's Larsen's Opening, I won a pawn and had the better position, but could see no way through till he obligingly swapped off a bishop that was doing a good defensive job for him, leaving me with a clear endgame advantage. On bottom board, James Cook won Alex Sen's queen within the first ten moves; there were still a few problems to overcome before he could get to Black's king, but the outcome was never in doubt. 3-1 to Aberystwyth A.

Tony Haigh - Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - Awne Osinga 1-0

Nick McIlvenna - Matthew Francis 0-1

James Cook - Alex Sen 1-0

Monday, 1 April 2013

Deadly Enemy

With the season drawing to a close and Cardigan A once again looking invincible at the top of the Dyfed League, Aberystwyth A travelled to Tanygroes on Wednesday 27th March for an away match against a depleted Carmarthen team. Rudy van Kemenade emerged from middlegame complications against Gerry Heap's Modern Defence with an extra pawn but the less active pieces. Trying to secure a clear advantage he allowed the Black counterattack to break through, and was mated. Julie van Kemenade, on the other hand, despite not getting her customary kingside attack from the Philidor, reached a comfortable endgame with knight versus bad bishop against Huw Morcom, and claimed the point. Tony Geraghty's London System game against Paul Orton was very stodgy for a while, both sides having two very uncomfortable bishops; it was Black who broke out first, only to drop a piece through a misjudged tactic. The position was still not easy for Tony, however, and he finally succumbed to his deadliest enemy, the clock. With Carmarthen defaulting on bottom board, the match was drawn 2-2.

Rudy van Kemenade - Gerry Heap 0-1

Huw Morcom - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Tony Geraghty - Paul Orton 0-1