Aberystwyth's slow start to the season continued in our second match on Monday 14th October when we played Carmarthen at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. On top board, Rudy van Kemenade met Huw Morcom's 1.Nf3 in Dutch style by f5, a line that can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, but Rudy, as usual, was well prepared and reached a position where his knight was much stronger than White's bad bishop, eventually breaking through with his rooks. Julie van Kemenade had to give up the exchange against David Buttell's Sicilian; she had compensation, but her own vulnerable king succumbed before she could force home her attack. James Cook found himself with tripled pawns in a Caro-Kann against Robert Narayan-Taylor; despite this, the position was level for much of the game, till White was able to give up his passed h-pawn for a winning attack against the king. An h-pawn also came in useful for Tom Gunn, playing his first game for the club, against Mark Reynolds. His Colle System brought the kingside attack White tries for in this opening, and the runaway pawn provided support for the Queen to mate. A second 2-2 draw left Aber already with a bit of ground to make up on champions Cardigan.
Steynton B were the opponents at the Emlyn Cafe two weeks later, on 28 October. Rudy's Bird's Opening brought him a dominant centre, which Mark Paffard tried to break up with a bishop sacrifice. After the resulting complications, White's attack was eventually stopped but by now he had an overwhelming material advantage. Adam Watkin-Jones steered for an ending against Scott Hammett's Stonewall, but might have been better advised to keep some of the minor pieces on - he had no advantage in the king and pawn ending, and might even have lost at one point trying to force a win. My Exchange Variation against John Miller's French brought me slight but persistent pressure in the centre, and I was able to win a pawn and the resulting ending as Black played too passively. Tom Gunn, after his winning start in the first match, was brought down to earth in his second. He neglected to deal with a pinned knight when defending Jonathan Jones's Jobava London System, allowing the kingside to be ripped open. At last a win for Aber, 2½-1½.