Saturday, 24 January 2015

To-ing and Fro-ing

Aberystwyth B's match against at the St David's Club on Tuesday 20 January was a good example of the vicissitudes of club chess. The games on the top three boards could all have gone either way, as the players took it in turns to make mistakes. I played a slow positional game against Iwan Griffiths, building up to an e4 break, but my impressive pawn centre only lasted a move as I miscalculated and lost a pawn. With both players scrambling to make the time control, my desperate bid for counterplay paid off and I got the pawn back with a winning rook ending to follow. Mike Weston got a rook trapped against Owen Llywelyn and had to give up the exchange. Instead of getting the rooks going, White created a weakness on the kingside which Mike exploited with a bishop that turned out to be very useful in the ensuing counterattack. Ian Finlay likes to use his Queen's Gambit to launch a kingside attack. Against Tegwyn Jones, he was too inflexible in this strategy, passing up several opportunities to invade via the weak white squares on the queenside. In a complex game, both players missed a succession of tactical chances, till Black, now very short of time, brought matters to an end by putting his queen en prise. Only the game on board four was one-sided throughout, as Jamie Friel rolled his kingside pawns forward in a Dutch Defence. Emyr Llywelyn tried to escape by castling queenside, but got a bishop trapped, after which his king came under attack anyway, leading to a quick victory for Black. A useful 4-0 win for Aber, but it could easily have been 3-1 the other way.

Matthew Francis - Iwan Griffiths 1-0

Owen Llywelyn - Mike Weston 0-1

Ian Finlay - Tegwyn Jones 1-0

Emyr Llywelyn - Jamie Friel 0-1

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Larsen's Opening

In their first match of 2015, Aberystwyth A faced Haverchess A at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Wednesday 7 January. On top board, Rudy van Kemenade got an advantage with his Leningrad Dutch against Martin Jones, with connected past pawns on the queenside, but still looked to have some way to go to clinch the win when White blundered, allowing the win of his queen. Julie van Kemenade gave up a piece for three pawns against John Miller's French in the hope of unblocking the position. However, her attack never got going, and her static pawns proved to be a target for Black's light-squared bishop. Mike Weston's game against Scott Hammett was a cagey draw in the English opening, with the players choosing to repeat moves early in the middlegame. Finally, on bottom board, Tony Geraghty was too strong for Ray Greenwood, exposing the king with a capture on f7 and eventually pinning the queen on the same file. The match finished 2½-1½ to Aber.

Martin Jones - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade - John Miller 0-1

Scott Hammet - Mike Weston ½-½

Tony Geraghty - Ray Greenwood 1-0

Next week saw the first of the two scheduled matches between the A and B teams, at the St David's Club on Tuesday 13 January. On a stormy night, not all the selected players were able to turn up, and a new member on his very first visit was pressganged into the A team, while I switched from Board 4 of the As to Board 1 of the Bs. That left me facing Rudy, and his unfamiliar Tennison Gambit against my Scandinavian. Recognizing it as a reversed form of my beloved Budapest, I found a reasonable line, but dropped two pawns in the complications and later missed a good chance to equalize. Against Julie, Tony tried the same sort of speculative piece sacrifice that had got her into difficulties in the previous match, with similar results. As his attack ran out of steam, he threw in a rook as well, but with no success. Adam Robinson built up an imposing central position against Ian Finlay's Sicilian and was heard to murmur that he was sure there must be something there for White. There was, but it was not easy to find, and he eventually settled for a draw in a slightly superior position as he was running short of time. That left James Corrigan to face the newcomer on Board 4, only a short time after they had played in a tournament in London. For players of an earlier generation than these two, the prospect of a game against B. Larsen has a menacing sound to it, but in this case the B stands for Bror rather than Bent, and he is Norwegian, not Danish. He is a strong player, nevertheless, and took advantage of James's inaccurate handling of the White side of a French Advanced to put pressure on the queenside, picking up material for an early win. Ian's draw was the only success for the B team, as Aber A won 3½-½.

Rudy van Kemenade - Matthew Francis 1-0

Tony Geraghty - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Adam Robinson - Ian Finlay ½-½

James Corrigan - Bror Larsen 0-1

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Dyfed Closed 2014

Here at last are the games of the Aberystwyth players from the 2014 Dyfed Closed Championship.

Round 1

All the Aber games went with grading, apart from a commendable draw for Jamie Friel with Adam Robinson.

Rudy van Kemenade - Scott Hammett 1-0

David Buttell - Ian Finlay 1-0

Jamie Friel - Adam Robinson ½-½

Julie van Kemenade - Courtney Probert 1-0

Margaret Baron - Matthew Francis 0-1

Round 2

Adam Robinson lost a difficult and hard-fought ending against the always resilient Colin Denham.

Gerry Heap - Julie van Kemenade 1-0

Matthew Francis - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Adam Robinson - Colin Denham 0-1

Scott Hammett - Jamie Friel 1-0

Ian Finlay - Margaret Baron 1-0

Round 3

Julie fought out a typically complex draw with Tony Haigh.

Rudy van Kemenade - Colin Denham 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - Tony Haigh ½-½

Awne Osinga - Matthew Francis 0-1

Ian Finlay - Jamie Friel 1-0

Margaret Baron - Adam Robinson 0-1

Round 4

Gerry Heap blundered in a complex position, giving Rudy the sole lead. Jamie should have won against Howard Leah, but a draw was a good result.

Gerry Heap - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Colin Denham - Ian Finlay 1-0

Tony Haigh - Matthew Francis 1-0

Adam Robinson - Julie van Kemenade ½-½

Jamie Friel - Howard Leah ½-½

Round 5

A draw against David Buttell was enough to give Rudy first place. Ian Finlay won the under-1600 grading prize with 3/5, and Jamie was joint winner of the under-1300 prize with Courtney Probert of Cardigan, on 2/5. Julie finished on 2½, and Adam and I both scored 2.

Rudy van Kemenade - David Buttell ½-½

Julie van Kemenade - Scott Hammett ½-½

Adam Robinson - Tony Haigh 0-1

Matthew Francis - Howard Leah 0-1

Ian Finlay - Courtney Probert 1-0

Sandra Whitby - Jamie Friel 0-1