Saturday, 31 May 2014

Drawing to a Close

Aberystwyth A and Cardigan A are neck and neck at the top of the Dyfed League at the end of a long season; everything will depend on the last two matches, to be played next week, Aber A against Carmarthen and Cardigan A against Aber B. On a less exalted level, the two clubs' B teams met at the Emlyn Cafe on 19th May, and it was close here too. Julie van Kemenade tried hard to finish off Tony Haigh with queen for rook and bishop and her clock running down. After one move he gave a groan, and Julie, looking as one does in such positions for a clever fork or mating trick, missed the reason: he had left the bishop en prise. She took a chance to draw soon afterwards. There was no such excitement on Board 2. Players of the French are used to the challenge of trying to make the exchange variation interesting; against Awne Osinga, I tried a system I've used with some success on the internet, but the game soon petered out into a draw. Tony Geraghty also got nothing out of his London System and went in for a speculative exchange sacrifice to try to make something happen; unfortunately the thing that happened was a winning attack by Howard Leah. On fourth board Ian Finlay, playing Black in a Sicilian, took advantage of Roland Spencer's loose position and centrally placed king to launch a successful counterattack. The match was drawn 2-2.

Julie van Kemenade - Tony Haigh ½-½

Awne Osinga - Matthew Francis ½-½

Tony Geraghty - Howard Leah 0-1

Roland Spencer - Ian Finlay 0-1

Two more of the outstanding games in the Club Championship have now been played, resulting in wins for the van Kemenades, though the lower graded players Ian Finlay and Jamie Friel were able to make them work for it.

Ian Finlay - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Jamie Friel - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Catch-Up Time

With the official Dyfed League season nearly over, teams are rushing to catch up with their remaining matches, and I am trying to catch up with the games we have played. On Monday 12 October, Aberystwyth B played Haverfordwest A at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, hoping to do a bit better than in the disappointing fixture against Carmarthen last time out. On top board Julie van Kemenade got a strong attack against Martin Jones's Modern Defence and finally broke through despite missing a win in the opening. I was hoping to improve on my last game with Black against John Miller, when I had blundered horribly in the endgame. This time I got pressure with my Budapest Gambit, and won a piece for two pawns but could not find a win with my time running out, and had to be content with a draw. Ian Finlay lost a strategic struggle in a King's Indian, gradually driven back by Gavin Jones's dominant central pawns. Finally, James Corrigan made the most of an open h-file against Robbie Coles, charging through with his doubled rooks. 2½-1½ was a good result for Aber.

Julie van Kemenade - Martin Jones 1-0

John Miller - Matthew Francis ½-½

Ian Finlay - Gavin Jones 0-1

Robbie Coles - James Corrigan 0-1

Meanwhile the Club Championship had got going at the St David's Club over the weekend of 10th-11th May. With eight players entered, we decided on an all-play-all, which involved some games being finished off on subsequent club nights. At least we got most of the games out of the way, despite the fact that Rudy and Julie could not be present on the Sunday. The games proved very exciting, with upsets almost every round.

Round 1

I had a bye, so Tony also sat out. The shock result was Ian's win over Julie, though his aggressive style has sometimes given her problems in the past.

Mark Talbot - Jamie Friel 1-0

Rudy van Kemenade - James Corrigan 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - Ian Finlay 0-1

Round 2

The two favourites met in this round, and Rudy won a difficult ending. Every game was won by Black.

Mark Talbot - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

James Corrigan - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Ian Finlay - Matthew Francis 0-1

Jamie Friel - Tony Geraghty 0-1

Round 3

No upsets this round, though James had his chances against me in a complicated struggle.

Rudy van Kemenade - Jamie Friel 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - Mark Talbot 0-1

Matthew Francis - James Corrigan 1-0

Tony Geraghty - Ian Finlay 1-0

Round 4

The first round of day 2 brought wins for the two lowest-rated players, James and Jamie, against Tony and Ian.

Mark Talbot - Matthew Francis 1-0

James Corrigan - Tony Geraghty 1-0

Jamie Friel - Ian Finlay 1-0

Round 5

Order was restored again in this round, with all games going according to rating.

Tony Geraghty - Mark Talbot 0-1

Matthew Francis - Jamie Friel 1-0

Ian Finlay - James Corrigan 1-0

Round 6

Another upset as Tony beat me for the first time in a rated game. Jamie was crushing James when he got his queen pinned; James's subsequent draw offer was sympathetic rather than pragmatic. Rudy and Julie played their game on the subsequent club night.

Ian Finlay - Mark Talbot 0-1

Tony Geraghty - Matthew Francis 1-0

Jamie Friel - James Corrigan ½-½

Rudy van Kemenade - Julie van Kemenade 1-0

Rudy is thus the only player on 100%, with a handful of games still to be played.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

I'll Get My Coat

Aberystwyth B got nothing out of their match against Carmarthen at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes on Monday 28th April, except a default on Board 4 and a coat. Against Gerry Heap on top board, I lost with the Stonewall Dutch for the second time in succession, but as before it was not the opening's fault. Even after allowing a weakness on the c file, I might have reached equality, but once White had invaded there I had no way back. Tony Geraghty often gets a kingside attack with his London System, but this time he seemed more interested in the queenside, where there was no real target. Meanwhile Nick Jackson built up the pressure on the kingside and eventually broke through to give mate. Ian Finlay got a comfortable position with his Sicilian against Paul Orton, then overlooked a move that pinned his queen. With the default, it was a 3-1 win to Carmarthen. The coat belonged to Paul Orton, and I took it on leaving, despite having arrived without one, only discovering my mistake next day when I found his car keys in "my" pocket. I will aim to confine my blunders to the board in future matches.

Gerry Heap - Matthew Francis 1-0

Tony Geraghty - Nick Jackson 0-1

Paul Orton - Ian Finlay 1-0