Saturday, 12 October 2013

Losing Your Balance

Following the previous week's whitewash against Cardigan A, Aberystwyth B had the slightly less demanding task of a home match against the same club's B team at the St David's Club on Tuesday 8 October. Playing Black on top board, Julie van Kemenade was under pressure all game against the strong junior Jamie Sen, who, finding himself short of time against a higher-rated opponent, settled for a draw. Tony Geraghty was also in trouble against Howard Leah, who whipped up a strong attack on the queenside and won the exchange. Again time-trouble played a part as both players made mistakes, and Black eventually agreed a draw in a position where he was still winning. The Board 3 game was yet another unbalanced draw. Ian Finlay went a pawn down against Awne Osinga with his Sicilian but had excellent counterchances, and missed a winning combination at the end. That left the inexperienced James Corrigan to try to hold off Nick McIlvenna, graded some 300 points higher: he put up a good fight, but lost the exchange without sufficient compensation, and his weakness on the back rank proved fatal. The match finished 2½-1½ to Cardigan B.

Jamie Sen - Julie van Kemenade ½-½
Tony Geraghty - Howard Leah ½-½
Awne Osinga - Ian Finlay ½-½
James Corrigan - Nick McIlvenna 0-1

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mixed Fortunes

Aberystwyth B started their Dyfed League season with the most demanding encounter they are likely to have all year, an away match against serial champions Cardigan A on Monday 30th September, and team captain Ian Finlay accordingly picked the strongest team available to him. Top board Julie van Kemenade was surprised by Howard Williams's unusual response to her Veresov Opening, and never seemed comfortable afterwards, even though she got a reasonable position. Lacking a clear attacking plan, she gave up a couple of pawns for no compensation and resigned on losing further material. My game followed a similar pattern: I responded hesitantly to Iolo Jones's unorthodox Queen's Gambit and was soon under pressure, which led to a blunder and the loss of several pawns, giving White an easily won ending. Tony Geraghty scored very well last season with a bold attacking approach, and played in similar risk-taking style against Jamie Sen. He had a clear advantage after only a few moves, but overplayed his hand with an unsound piece sacrifice; though he continued to press in the blocked position, Black's defence held firm for the point. Ian Finlay's Sicilian against Howard Leah was predictably wild, both players enjoying sharp tactical positions. At one point there seemed to be knights all over the place, but Ian had a material deficit as well as the less convincing attack, and had to concede defeat. A whitewash to Cardigan A, 4-0.

Julie van Kemenade - Howard Williams 0-1
Iolo Jones - Matthew Francis 1-0
Tony Geraghty - Jamie Sen 0-1
Howard Leah - Ian Finlay 1-0

The St David's club was filled to capacity next evening with a number of friendly games going on as well as the home match between Aberystwyth A and First to finish was the Board 4 game: James Corrigan developed his pieces quickly and set up a pin on the e-file which Emyr Llywelyn underestimated, unable to recapture his queen in what he had misread as a straightforward exchange. On the top board, Aber's returning Board 1 Mark Talbot played a patient game against Iwan Griffiths, content with equality till the endgame, when his superior technique was enough for the win. By contrast, Rudy van Kemenade went for a sharp line against Owen Llywelyn's Caro-Kann, and was much more comfortable in the complications, winning two pieces. On third board, Ian Finlay was playing the Sicilian again; this time he won an exchange but then went into his shell, allowing his opponent to start what should have been a winning attack. However, Tegwyn Jones missed the best line and settled for a draw. The match finished 3½-½ to Aberystwyth A.

Iwan Griffiths - Mark Talbot 0-1
Rudy van Kemenade - Owen Llywelyn 1-0
Tegywn Jones - Ian Finlay ½-½
James Corrigan - Emyr Llywelyn 1-0