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 gwyddbwyll.com 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