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