Saturday, 18 May 2013

End of Another Season

For Aberystwyth's last match of the season, the B team travelled to the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes to play champions-elect Cardigan A on Monday 13th May. I played the Veresov against Iolo Jones, but was uncomfortable with my position from move five onwards. It proved impossible to hold it together against his remorseless play, and I resigned when faced with the prospect of a hopeless ending three pawns down. James Cook was also uneasy from the outset against Tony Haigh's Trompowsky, and allowed a knight fork, which finished the game a few moments before the one on top board. Tony Geraghty has had good results against Howard Leah in their recent meetings; this time they had reached a middle game that looked completely lifeless when Howard, trying to stir things up, walked into a 'family fork', losing his queen - a horrible come-down after his excellent performance in the rapidplay the day before (see below). Finally, John Basterfield made a welcome return on Board 4 for Aber after illness. Understandably a bit rusty, he dropped a rook early on, and Nick McIlvenna enterprisingly gave some material back for chances against the Black king. John made a good fight of it, looking for complications, but the Cardigan player prevailed in the end. The match finished 3-1 to Cardigan A, who win the Dyfed League again, with a perfect score of fourteen wins in fourteen matches. Aberystwyth A finished second and Aberystwyth B fifth.

Matthew Francis - Iolo Jones 0-1

Tony Haigh - James Cook 1-0

Tony Geraghty - Howard Leah 1-0

Nick McIlvenna - John Basterfield 1-0

The previous day, Sunday 12th May, the Emlyn Cafe hosted a well attended one-day tournament, the Jan Sendall and Paul Clark Memorial Handicap Rapidplay, in memory of two Haverfordwest players who sadly died this season. Games were limited to thirty minutes, and, where there was a substantial difference in the gradings of the opponents, the time was divided unevenly to compensate the weaker player. This unfamiliar format made for some exciting games. Aberystwyth's Rudy van Kemenade, a player who seldom takes more than five minutes for his moves anyway, was the predictable winner, with a perfect 7/7. Second was Howard Leah with 6, and third prize was shared by Paul Hatchett and Robert Taylor of Malpas with 5. The under-1700 grading prize went to Carmarthen's Paul Orton with 4½, and the under-1400 prize to Aberystwyth's James Corrigan, playing his first tournament, with 4 - an outstanding result. Here is Rudy's last-round win against Paul Orton, showing the kind of energetic attacking play necessary to win when you only have five minutes against the opponent's twenty-five.

Rudy van Kemenade - Paul Orton 1-0

Saturday, 4 May 2013


A week after their 3-1 defeat to Haverfordwest's A team, Aberystwyth B had the less demanding-looking task of playing the same club's B team at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Monday 29th April. On top board, I got a good initiative with my Sicilian against John Miller, and, after tactical oversights by both players, reached a favourable ending with an extra pawn and the two bishops. Not for the first time this season, I frittered away the advantage with inaccurate play and had to settle for a draw. Tony Geraghty arrived at a quiet-seeming middle-game from his London System against Scott Hammett, with both players castled on the queenside. Then the complications started and Tony - again following recent precedent - went in for a slightly dodgy piece sacrifice. His opponent missed the best line and Tony played the attack vigorously to secure the win. Ian Finlay also reached a level position with his King's Indian against Robbie Coles, who then made a number of small slips, any one of which would have been enough to give away the advantage. After missing some opportunities, Ian finally took control, and White resigned, perhaps a bit prematurely, though certainly in a lost position. Finally, on Board 4, playing his first away match for the club, James Corrigan had an easy game against Margaret Baron, picking up a steady supply of material before giving mate. The match finished 3½-½ to Aberystwyth B.

John Miller - Matthew Francis ½-½

Tony Geraghty - Scott Hammett 1-0

Robbie Coles - Ian Finlay 0-1

James Corrigan - Margaret Baron 1-0