Friday, 13 March 2015

Last Post (For a While)

Aberystwyth B had a close match against Haverchess A on Monday 9 March at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. Adam Robinson looked in trouble against Martin Jones's Sicilian after his pawn sacrifice came to nothing, leaving Black dominating the centre. But he was able to turn the tables as both players ran short of time, eventually prevailing in the ending. After my fierce battle against Howard Leah in the last round of the Dyfed Open, I had a similarly stressful encounter with another old rival, Colin Denham. It was one of those games where nothing is what it appears: my "blunders" turned out to be good moves, while several of my "good moves" were errors. Fittingly, I was relieved to end up with a draw in a position where I actually had an easy win. Mike Weston has generally played cautiously in his games for the team so far, but had a rush of blood against John Miller, sacrificing a piece in a good position, and not only getting no advantage but actually letting Black in for a winning attack. Ian Finlay was disappointed with his defeat on fourth board, but it has to be said Scott Hammett played a really good attacking game, and is looking a very dangerous player now he has a more consistent opening repertoire. The match finished 2½-1½ to Haverchess A.

Adam Robinson - Martin C. Jones 1-0

Colin Denham - Matthew Francis ½ - ½

Mike Weston - John Miller 0-1

Scott Hammett - Ian Finlay 1-0

This will be my last report for the blog for a month or so. I leave you with a report from Rudy on the recent Town versus Gown match

A recent Town vs Gown evening proved a success, with an interesting first round set of results. This was followed by a lot of random mixing of partners in a number of subsequent games. With an odd number it was decided to have board one doubled up.

Rudy van Kemenade- Adam Robinson 1-0

ditto - James Corrigan 1-0

Julie Van Kemenade-Jamie Friel 0-1

Tony Geraghty-Robbie Wright 0-1

Mike Weston-Josh Edwards 1-0

Garfield Williams-Alex Cooney 1-0

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Dyfed Open

Here are the games of the Aberystwyth players in the Open Section of the Dyfed Congress 2015, at the Fishguard Bay Hotel.

Round 1

In which Julie neglects her development and pays the price, I get a lesson in the Queen's Gambit Declined, Rudy crashes through on the d file and Mike is undone by a fatally weak d3 square.

Julie van Kemenade - Lloyd Powell 0-1

Tom Brown - Matthew Francis 1-0

Rudy van Kemenade - Dewi Jones 1-0

Mike Weston - Roger Greatorex 0-1

Round 2

In which Rudy's rook can't compete with two pieces, Julie takes a gambit pawn and holds off the attack, and I drop a pawn to Mike without serious consequences.

Sven Zeidler - Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Howard Leah - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Matthew Francis - Mike Weston ½-½

Round 3

In which Rudy wins in eleven moves by a margin of one real piece and one imaginary one, Julie arrives at an equal ending after mass exchanges, I fail to make the most of a positional superiority and Mike takes advantage of an unexpected blow to offer a quick draw.

Rudy van Kemenade - Les Philpin 1-0

Julie van Kemenade - Roger Greatorex ½-½

Matthew Francis - Mike Whale ½-½

Mike Weston - Martin Jones ½-½

Round 4

In which Rudy loses a middlegame advantage but holds a difficult ending, Julie goes a piece down but checks her way to victory, Mike succumbs to a rapid kingside attack and I spend most of my game in time trouble before missing a win at the death.

Jane Richmond - Rudy van Kemenade ½-½

John Waterfield - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Mike Whale - Mike Weston 1-0

David Buttell - Matthew Francis 1-0

Round 5

In which late tournament tiredness has its various effects: Rudy plays out a quiet draw, Julie misses a win in the ending before dropping material, I have a fierce struggle against an old rival, just missing the win at the end, and Mike takes a draw in a superior position.

Rudy van Kemenade - Lloyd Powell ½-½

Julie van Kemenade - Paul Bridges 0-1

Howard Leah - Matthew Francis ½-½

Mike Weston - Jamie Sen ½-½

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Nervous Moments

There's a special kind of pressure in chess that comes with being the higher-rated player. After all, the pieces are the same for both sides, and no one can be beaten unless they actually make a mistake. The longer the game goes on, the more nervous the favourite tends to feel. Aberystwyth A outrated Haverchess B on all boards in their match at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Wednesday 25 February, but it didn't all go smoothly for them. Rudy van Kemenade is an exception to the comments above; he never seems to feel any nerves, and his game against Colin Denham was the least troublesome, as Black gave allowed a destructive fork and compounded the error by overlooking the more powerful of the two threats, to a rook. Adam Robinson, on the other hand, had the kind of heartbreaking experience most of us have had occasionally. He got a strong attack from the Black side of a Queen's Gambit Declined, but an inaccuracy let Gwyn Evans in with a dangerous counterattack against his king; such double-edged positions always seem to be easier for the less fancied player. Mike Weston won a pawn, but Ray Greenwood had an active position in compensation, and Mike's king was vulnerable to checks; he had little alternative but to take a draw. The tables were turned for James Corrigan when he found himself the underdog against the lower-rated Robbie Coles, after losing his queen for a rook and piece. Such unbalanced positions are technically challenging, and in this case it was Robbie who had the heartbreaker, as he turned down a draw and immediately played a losing move. (How often that happens!) The match finished 2½-1½ to Aber, but it was not one of their more comfortable experiences.

Rudy van Kemenade - Colin Denham 1-0

Gwyn Evans - Adam Robinson 1-0

Mike Weston - Ray Greenwood ½ - ½

Robbie Coles - James Corrigan 0-1

Things went a lot more smoothly for the A team in their home match against Cardigan B at the St David's Club on Tuesday 3rd March, where, once again, they were higher-rated on all boards. Rudy gradually got the superior position in his queenless middlegame against Tony Haigh, who then allowed Black to take over the g-file with doubled rooks for a mating attack against the king trapped on the h-file. Julie van Kemenade sacrificed a pawn against Jamie Sen's Caro-Kann, getting a dangerous passed f-pawn in return. Black spent so long working out how to counter it that he lost on time. Adam kept complete control in his attack against Awne Osinga's passive formation, winning a couple of pawns and then neatly exchanging all the remaining pieces for a won ending. Most comfortably of all, on Board 4, I had my quickest ever win in a rated game. Courtney Probert was surprised by my early queen sortie, a book move in the little-known Vienna Game, and lost a piece in the opening, leading to a rapid collapse of his position and defeat in eleven moves. A 4-0 victory to Aber.

Tony Haigh - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade - Jamie Sen 1-0

Awne Osinga - Adam Robinson 0-1

Matthew Francis - Courtney Probert 1-0