Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

The St David's Club was the venue for a rare Sunday match on 10th February when Aberystwyth took on Cwmbran in first round of the Welsh Under-1800 Knock-out Cup. On paper the two teams were fairly evenly matched, but it didn't work out like that, though all the games were interesting. First to finish was the Board 3 encounter, where James Cook was surprised by Brian Heath's unorthodox response to the Alapin variation in the Sicilian. The position quickly became double-edged, and, though James should have been OK he lost his queen to a trap rather similar to the one he had sprung on Jamie Sen in his most recent match, resigning after only twelve moves. On bottom board, Georgina Gray also went wrong in the opening against the strong junior Nyasha Katsande, dropping three pawns. She did her best to complicate the position but there was no way back. And it was a similar story on top board, where Julie van Kemenade unsoundly sacrificed a piece in pursuit of a kingside attack. Dennis Jones was too experienced to allow her back into the game. Meanwhile, I was involved in another double-edged struggle against Steven Williams's Torre Attack, each player controlling a powerful open file. In time trouble, I missed a chance for a clear advantage, and, seeing the match had gone, I was happy to offer a draw in a position that was now rather worse. Cwmbran won the match 3½-½, and now go forward to the second round, while Aber have a chance to redeem themselves in the Plate.

Julie van Kemenade - Dennis Jones ½-½

Steven Williams - Matthew Francis ½-½

James Cook - Brian Heath 0-1

Nyasha Katsande - Georgina Gray 1-0

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Two Out of Two

When the A and B teams play on successive nights it can put a strain on the club's limited supply of players. So far, however, we have managed to raise the necessary teams without conceding any walkovers, and the matches on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th February produced heartening results. The B team were in action first, playing at home against close rivals Cardigan B. I tried team-mate Rudy van Kemenade's favourite Leningrad Dutch defence against Cardigan's strong top board Tony Haigh, and, though I didn't get the kingside attack I was hoping for, did a reasonable job of defending my weak pawns, and even gained an advantage in the ending before the position resolved into a draw. James Cook, under pressure early on from Jamie Sen's queen, set a little trap for it, which Black duly walked into and resigned in disgust, though he had compensation and could have played on. Tony Geraghty equalized and even took the initiative against Awne Osinga's conservative play with White, but with both players running out of time in a difficult queen-and-pawn ending, a draw was the safest option. Finally, on Board 4, Ian Finlay won the exchange against Nick McIlvenna's overoptimistic opening play and had a dominant position when his opponent abruptly ended the game with a blunder. The match finished 3-1 to Aberystwyth.

Tony Haigh - Matthew Francis ½-½

James Cook - Jamie Sen 1-0

Awne Osinga - Tony Geraghty ½-½

Ian Finlay - Nick McIlvenna 1-0

Next evening, at the Emyln Cafe, Tanygroes, an A team borrowing a couple of players from the victorious team of the night before had a similar succes against Haverfordwest A. It was not without difficulty. however. On top board, Rudy van Kemenade found himself in a fearsomely complex struggle (admittedly the kind of game he loves) against the much lower-rated Martin C. Jones, who stayed on terms right till the end, when he allowed a passed pawn to get through. Julie van Kemenade's game was also dramatic, though not in a way she will have enjoyed. In another complex position, she was distracted by her attacking possibilities and allowed the win of her queen. She played on to make a fight of it, and John Miller, perhaps still stunned by his good fortune, dropped his own queen in return. After that Julie was ahead, and soon finished the game off. Tony Geraghty showed no fear playing Black against the higher-graded Ron Wade, and looked to have the better position, but was content to construct a pawn blockade to secure the draw. And Ian Finlay played confidently, too, in a sharp queen's gambit, in which he had attacking chances before reaching a drawn rook ending. Again the result was 3-1 to Aber.

Martin C. Jones - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade - John Miller 1-0

Ron Wade - Tony Geraghty ½-½

Ian Finlay - Colin Denham ½-½

Friday, 8 February 2013

Rudy in Gibraltar

Rudy recently played in Gibraltar, scoring 3.5 out of 10,against a strong field, only two weaker opponents. Full details available in reports to main Welsh Chess Union website. An accompanying evening entertainment was a Team Blitz,played at four minutes plus thirty seconds increment. Mark Talbot(ex-Aberystwyth) and his brother, Nathan, were playing in the Challengers' U2300(where both scored 2.5 out of 5). Therefore a team, E4Effort, was formed of Rudy, Nathan, Mark and their father Paul Talbot (2043 FIDE, 2098 ECF correlate, 2130 also and 1850 also). The highlight was in the first round when the team played against 4 Queens, consisting of IM Valentina Gunina (2490) from Russia, IM Elizabeth Paehtz (2482) Germany, IM Salome Melia (2403) Georgia & GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant(2405) from Scotland, originally Georgia. To our surprise we got a draw, both Rudy and Nathan winning their games. On examining further it transpired that Valentina Gunina (who gained a GM norm in the main Masters daytime) actually has a FIDE blitz rating of 2614! (Our team went downhill after that.)

Valentina Gunina - Rudy van Kemenade 0-1