Thursday, 21 April 2016

Too Complicated

The recent spate of matches between Aberystwyth and Haverfordwest continued on Wednesday 13th April when the two A teams met at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. It is not often Rudy van Kemenade complains that a game is too complicated, but his game against Colin Denham seems to have bemused even him. Mind you, he was playing Black in a King's Indian (by transposition) in a line where he had once lost to the great Bronstein, who knew a thing or two about complications. If it was a bit much for Rudy it was even more so for Colin, who was the first to crack under the pressure of time and tactics. Julie van Kemenade's game against John Miller, by contrast, was a blocked French Defence, where it seemed neither side would be able to break through. Julie missed the point of Black's careful manoeuvring which threatened to win a pawn and dominate the position. She was still unaware of the danger when she offered a draw, and her opponent, somehow doubting his own success, accepted. I was once again playing Scott Hammett, whom I had beaten in the previous match. This time I got nothing out of the opening or the middlegame (and should have lost a pawn), but managed to take control in the knight and pawn ending, marching my king up the board and creating zugzwang. A temporary sacrifice of my knight in the corner opened up the centre for my king and passed pawn, allowing a transposition to a won pawn ending. Jamie Friel sacrificed his bishop on f7 in a King's Gambit against Gwyn Evans but neglected to secure the centre and lost quickly. A 2½-1½ win meant Aber A overtook their own B team to restore their traditional precedence.

Colin Denham - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade - John Miller ½-½

Scott Hammett - Matthew Francis 0-1

Jamie Friel - Gwyn Evans 0-1

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Alphabetical Disorder

With the season drawing to a close, Aberystwyth B have turned the alphabet on its head by overtaking the A team in the Dyfed League. Following the latter's disastrous match against Haverfordwest B, it didn't look unlikely that the B team would do better against the same opponents, whom they outgraded on all boards. And so it proved when the teams met at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Wednesday 6th April. The new Welsh Ladies' Champion Julie van Kemenade was under some pressure against Martin Jones on top board, with her king still in the centre, when he miscalculated his attack and lost material, and her passed pawn clinched the win. I had the advantage from an early stage against Scott Hammett's unorthodox defence to 1.e4, but found it difficult to get over the line, even missing a mate in two. However, my attack was good enough for a material gain that carried me through the endgame. Tony Geraghty, the only Aber player who had featured in the A team's defeat, got a French-player's dream position out of the opening, but, despite being a piece and several pawns up, he took rather longer to finish the game off than he would have liked. On Board 4, Sam Holman has been on good form recently and had no problems against Sandra Whitby, who showed her inexperience by moving her queen several times in the opening. A 4-0 whitewash for Aberystwyth B made a point to the A team not long before the second Aber derby match.

Martin Jones - Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Matthew Francis - Scott Hammett 1-0

Gwyn Evans - Tony Geraghty 0-1

Sam Holman - Sandra Whitby 1-0