Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Going Down Fighting

Aberystwyth B's away match against Cardigan A on Monday 16 February looked something of a mismatch, especially as Aber was below strength while the formidable hosts, unbeaten this season, fielded their best team. The result was as expected, but the manner of it was much less so, as Aber put up an excellent fight. Nowhere was this truer than on top board, where Tony Geraghty held out for some sixty moves against multiple Welsh Champion Howard Williams, and made him work really hard for the win. Tony's decision to give up a piece for a couple of pawns to free his cramped position was not the best, but it was still a difficult ending for Howard, despite all his experience and technique. Mike Weston came under pressure following White's e6 sacrifice in a Pirc Defence, a rare example of Iolo Jones going for a middlegame win. Eventually White won the exchange, and Mike resigned - perhaps rather early, but Iolo doesn't blow advantages like that. Ian Finlay was totally in character, playing for a kingside attack against Tony Haigh in a Nimzo-Indian, but his piece sacrifice only opened his own king's position for a quick finish. James Corrigan was also aggressive, keeping his king too long in the centre in a Sicilian, and allowing Howard Leah to smash through. A 4-0 whitewash to Cardigan A, but Aber showed good fighting spirit.

Tony Geraghty - Howard Williams 0-1

Iolo Jones - Mike Weston 1-0

Ian Finlay - Tony Haigh 0-1

Howard Leah - James Corrigan 1-0

Four club members took part in the annual Dyfed Congress at the Fishguard Bay Hotel, Pembrokeshire, on the weekend of 20-22 February, all of them in the Open section. Rudy van Kemenade scored 3/5, Julie van Kemenade 2½, and Mike Weston and I both 1½, including a draw against each other. Meanwhile, over the same weekend, the Aberystwyth University team, featuring several players who are also members of the town club, performed superbly at the British Universities Chess Association Championship, held in Birmingham, winning the Shield. There were outstanding performances from Adam Robinson (Silver on Board 1), James Corrigan (Gold on Board 2) and Robert Wright (Silver on Board 3 and Gold on Board 4.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Business as Usual

Aberystwyth A is looking unlikely to repeat last season's success in the Dyfed League, as they lost a second match, on Wednesday 4 February at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. The beneficiaries this time were Carmarthen, a strong club which regularly has trouble raising a full team. This match was no exception, but three players were enough for Carmarthen to take the match. Rudy van Kemenade misjudged the transition to an endgame against Gerry Heap in an English Opening, allowing a bank-rank pin that bogged his pieces down long enough for White to gain a winning advantage. Julie van Kemenade, with characteristic sang-froid, turned down a draw against David Buttell in a double-edged position where she had an extra pawn. Both players were soon short of time, and both missed mates in the ensuing scramble before Black managed to land one. Mike Weston was also involved in time-trouble complications, and missed his way, wrongly sacrificing the exchange against Paul Orton before losing on time. With the default on Board 4, the match finished 3-1 to Carmarthen. Meanwhile, perennial champions Cardigan A have won all of their matches so far.

Gerry Heap - Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - David Buttell 0-1

Paul Orton - Mike Weston 1-0