With Cardigan A having played only a couple of matches so far, Aberystwyth A are the unbeaten current leaders in the Dyfed League. On Wednesday 20th November they took on a strong Carmarthen team at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, in one of the double-header evenings that are a feature there this season – another match was going at the same time, making for a lively (though, of course, quiet) atmosphere. Rudy van Kemenade was able to stop Gerry Heap getting one of his favoured Dragon attacks going, and reached an ending with rook and knight against rook and bishop, where he forced a draw. Meanwhile, Julie van Kemenade was engaged in a fierce struggle with a new and very strong Carmarthen player, Nick Jackson, the sort of game where onlookers are glad not to be playing either colour. Nick, playing White, sacrificed a piece in the complications to get advanced connected passed pawns, while Julie gave back a piece for one of them and was able to create a passed pawn of her own, leading to a draw. My draw on Board Three was tamer; against Paul Orton’s Sicilian I allowed an early exchange of queens and saddled myself with a bad bishop. I was able to exchange it off but the resulting position was lifeless. Not for the first time, it was left to Tony Geraghty to win the match for us on Board Four. His active queenside play won him a couple of pawns against another new player, Steve Tanner, before he overlooked a backrank mate threat and dropped a piece. He picked up two more pawns in the process, though, and was left with four extra pawns against the knight in the ending, for a reasonably comfortable win. The match finished 3-1 to Aberystwyth A.

Rudy van Kemenade – Gerry Heap ½-½

Nick Jackson – Julie van Kemenade ½-½

Matthew Francis – Paul Orton ½-½

Steve Tanner – Tony Geraghty 0-1

Next week the A team were in action again at the same venue, this time playing Cardigan B. Mark Talbot played quietly against Tony Haigh’s French, relying on his endgame skills to clinch the win. But Tony, though lower-rated, is also a very strong endgame player, and was able to hold him to a draw. On second board, Rudy had Black against Jamie Sen, the rapidly improving junior who had beaten him in the recent Dyfed Closed. Jamie got the advantage again and should have won the ending with his extra pawn, but his technique in this area is not yet at the same level as his middlegame play; a draw was nevertheless an excellent result for him. I tried the Ruy Lopez against Howard Leah, inspired by Rudy’s and Julie’s successes with it, and got the kingside attack I wanted. In time pressure, Black sacrificed the exchange in an attempt to slow it down, but that only worsened his position and the attack soon broke through. It was the only game of the evening that didn’t go to an ending, as Tony outplayed Awne Osinga in what looked like a drawn knight- and-pawns position, giving Aberystwyth A another 3-1 win to maintain their place at the top of the league.

Mark Talbot – Tony Haigh ½-½

Jamie Sen – Rudy van Kemenade ½-½

Matthew Francis – Howard Leah 1-0

Awne Osinga – Tony Geraghty 0-1

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